DVSA releases ‘screens in vehicles used for driving tests’ policy

Driver/front passenger screens in vehicles used for driving tests.

Screens between the driver and front passenger in vehicles used for driving tests and driver training provide limited benefits in protecting people from coronavirus.  Key guidance from Public Health England (PHE), is that frequent handwashing with soap and water, (or the use of suitable alcohol gels where facilities are unavailable), coupled with an appropriate vehicle cleaning regime, are the best ways to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Face coverings must also be worn during driving tests, unless an individual is exempt and has notified DVSA of a medical reason for not wearing one.

These screens can restrict vision of the candidate or the road and may prevent quick exit from the vehicle in an emergency.  The screens can also prevent an instructor or examiner taking action in the event of an emergency, for example by using the steering wheel. Incorrectly installed or non-approved screens may also cause injury in the event of a crash where the air bags or other restraint systems are deployed.

For these reasons examiners must not conduct driving tests in vehicles fitted with screens between the driver and front passenger unless the vehicle has been tested with the screen in place. This does not apply to buses and other similar vehicles where screens are routinely fitted as part of normal operations. These vehicles are subject to routine testing to ensure they are safe.  For other vehicles including cars, where after-market screens are fitted, an IVA (Individual Vehicle Approval) test certificate will be required to show that the vehicle is safe.

If a vehicle (other than a bus) is presented for a driving test with a screen fitted between the driver and front passenger examiners should allow a reasonable period time for the candidate or accompanying driver to remove the screen, especially if it is a temporary screen. If the screen cannot be readily removed the test must not go ahead and should be shown as test terminated, vehicle not suitable for test.