DVSA UPDATE 2ND DECEMBER: ENGLAND TIERS VOCATIONAL SECTOR

To help you and your candidates prepare for vocational lessons and tests post lockdown 2.0, DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) has shared latest Government guidance about: 

  • how local alert tiers affect vocational training and testing
  • waiting rooms

How local restriction tiers affect vocational lessons and tests

The Government has confirmed that vocational lessons and tests can safely restart as normal in areas in Tier 1 and 2 when the current national restrictions end on 2nd December 2020.

The Government has also confirmed that driving lessons can restart in all tiers when the current national restrictions end on 2nd December 2020.

Additional measures in Tier 3 areas

As well as DVSA, our top priority is to keep you, your pupils and our staff safe. To allow practical testing in Tier 3 areas from 3rd December 2020, anyone who has a practical vocational test booked in a Tier 3 area who is exempt from wearing a face covering may have to delay their test until the area moves out of Tier 3. DVSA will reschedule tests if they cannot find a volunteer driving examiner to conduct the test without the candidate wearing a face covering.

The only exception to this is for vocational passenger vehicle practical testing that can resume in all areas from 3rd December 2020 without mandatory face coverings because social distancing can be achieved on tests with existing measures in place.

What this means to you and your pupils

DVSA will be emailing everyone in a Tier 3 area who is affected by the face covering measure to let them know what will happen next.

2nd December tests

The Government has clarified that all vocational practical and theory testing can resume on 2nd December in Tier 1 and 2 areas.

DVSA emailed everyone with a practical vocational test booked in a Tier 1 and 2 area via Online Booking Service for 2nd December 2020 to let them know that they opened up test slots on 1st December 2020.

Waiting rooms

Following the successful reopening of waiting rooms in a number of locations, DVSA are able to reopen a further 94 waiting rooms in early December.

For further guidance, or if you have any questions, please get in touch with us.

DVSA Update 30th November: Wearing Face Coverings On Driving Lessons and Tests in Scotland

It is now law in Scotland to wear a face covering during a driving test and on driving lessons.

If a pupil cannot wear a face covering, they must tell DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) before arriving for their test.

The driving examiner can refuse to carry out the test if they or their pupil are not wearing a face covering when you arrive at the test centre. DVSA will not refund these tests.

The examiner will not refuse if you both live in the same household, or you have a good reason not to wear one.

Good reasons not to wear a face covering include:

  • a physical or mental illness, impairment or disability
  • wearing a face covering would cause severe distress

For further guidance, or if you have any questions, please get in touch with us.

DVSA COVID-19: Conducting Driving Tests (Vocational) SOP

To help you prepare your candidates for vocational tests while COVID-19 measures are in place, DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) has shared its updated Standard Operating Procedure SOP for COVID-19: Conducting Driving Tests (Vocational). This SOP outlines the procedures DVSA examiners will follow in conducting a driving test as well as updates including:

  • Face coverings in Scotland
  • Cleaning of vehicles
  • Ventilation
  • Accompanied tests

Download the COVID-19: Conducting Driving Tests (Vocational) SOP.

This SOP was last updated on 5th November 2020.

DVSA Update 20th November: Scottish Local Protection Levels for Vocational Testing and Training

Vocational Training in Level 4 Areas

The Scottish Government has confirmed that vocational training will be suspended in areas that move into protection Level 4. If you live outside a Level 4 area you cannot provide training for pupils in a Level 4 area.

The Scottish Government announced on 17th November that 11 areas of Scotland will be moving into Level 4 restriction from 18:00 on Friday 20th November for a period of 3 weeks. This means that a series of restrictive measures will be in place to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You can read more about the measures and which areas this includes on the Scottish Government’s website.

All DVSA services will continue as normal in areas in protection Levels 0-3. DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) are keeping these under review in line with Scottish Government guidance.

Vocational Tests in Level 4 Areas

All vocational tests will be suspended in areas that move into protection Level 4, including Driver CPC module 4.

If you have booked a test for any of your pupils at a test centre that has moved into protection Level 4 it will be cancelled and you will be automatically refunded.

Theory Tests in Level 4 Areas

All theory tests will be suspended in areas moved into protection Level 4. DVSA will email candidates affected by this to let them know their theory test is on hold and that they will need to reschedule in on the GOV.UK website.

This is in line with Scottish Government guidance.

Travelling out of a Level 4 Area for a Test

The Scottish Government is putting travel restrictions into law on 20th November to further enforce the current guidance that restricts people who live in a Level 4 local authority area from travelling outside their local authority except for an essential purpose.

Any of your pupils who live in an area under protection Level 4 must not travel out of the affected area to take a driving or theory test. If they do, the examiner will not be able to test them.

Level 3 Travel Restrictions

If you live or operate in a protection Level 3 area you can continue to provide driving lessons to any of your pupils as long as they don’t live in a protection Level 4 area.

If your pupil lives in a protection Level 3 area they can take a test in this area and travel out of the area to take a test as long as it isn’t in a protection Level 4 area.

Driver CPC

In-vehicle Driver CPC periodic training courses must not take place in an area moved into protection Level 4. Driver CPC training must be done remotely until the area is moved out of Level 4. This is in line with the Scottish Government guidance.

For further guidance, or if you have any questions about the Scottish level protection levels for vocational testing and training, please get in touch with us.

Important Information: DVSA Update – England Lockdown – November to December 2020

Wednesday 11th November 2020.

National Register of LGV Instructors (NRI) received an update from DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) today – 11th November 2020 – advising that Driver CPC Instructor training can be carried out in a suitable Covid-secure classroom-style location environment if it is not possible to deliver the training remotely. All in-cab LGV and Driver CPC training and testing will remain suspended during the second national lockdown – 5th November to 2nd December 2020.

In the light of this update, NRI practical examinations for LGV Instructors and LGV Assessors will also be suspended during the lockdown, but that NRI Driver CPC Instructor training and examinations can be delivered remotely via webinar or video-conferencing software, such as Zoom, Teams and Skype. Due to the Covid-19 situation this year we understand that remote training and examinations are new to many of you and we offer full support in setting up, so please contact us.

Examination Centres: Centres wishing to offer these theory and remote examinations should contact NRI.

Registered Instructors/Assessors: Instructors and Assessors needing to take these theory and remote examinations should contact their NRI Exam Centre or training provider in the first instance.

Tuesday 3rd November 2020.

Vehicle testing 

The national restrictions do not affect the DVSA heavy vehicle testing service and ATFs can remain open. DVSA can continue to provide the vehicle standards assessors needed to test heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and public service vehicles (PSVs) safely. You should only book your vehicle or trailer in for its test close to its MOT due date. This will make sure vehicles and trailers which legally need a test can get one. You should continue to manage the regular maintenance and inspection schedule for your vehicles and trailers. This is a legal requirement under your operator’s licence.

Vocational theory tests

Vocational theory tests will be affected during the national restrictions in England. All theory tests will be suspended from Thursday 5 November and restart on Wednesday 2 December 2020. DVSA is emailing everyone with a test booked in England to let them know their test has been put on hold and they will need to reschedule it here. Driver CPC courses can continue during these dates if they are delivered online. All face to face CPC courses will be suspended until Wednesday 2 December.

Monday 2nd November 2020.

In light of the Prime Ministers update on Saturday 31st October 2020 around further lockdown measures being introduced in England, DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) are working closely with the Government to agree the impact these will have on DVSA services.

Driver and rider training and tests will be suspended in England from 5th November until 2nd December 2020. DVSA will be contacting affected test candidates in due curse.

Following these guidelines, National Register of LGV Instructors (NRI) practical examinations (for LGV Instructor and LGV Assessor) will also be suspended during this time. As we did during the spring ‘lockdown’ NRI will conduct NRI theory examinations and remote in-class practical examinations.

Driver CPC Instructor examinations are still able to be conducted completely remotely however, we recommend training with an exam centre before presenting for the exam.

Examination Centres: Centres wishing to offer these theory and remote examinations should contact NRI.

Registered Instructors/Assessors: Instructors and Assessors needing to take these theory and remote examinations should contact their NRI Exam Centre or training provider in the first instance.

If you have any concerns or questions please do get in touch with us.

LGV Practical Driving Test pass rates rise with NRI

Improving Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) practical test pass rates

New DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) data for Great Britain shows that in 2019/20, 40,000 LGV drivers passed their Practical Driving Test. A longer look at the data shows that pass rates have been improving. In 2007/08 the overall UK pass rate was 46% but by the end of 2019/20 it had reached 59%. This means that investment in LGV driver training is increasingly likely to result in a successful outcome.

Why are rates improving?

National Standards

DVSA examiners use the national driving standards; set and maintained by experts at DVSA. Test performance, on the open road and during the manoeuvres is assessed entirely against these standards. Whether tests are carried out at DVSA test centres or at test centres based at driver training schools or at haulage companies, the test standard is the same. These standards underpin the familiar Driving Test Report form (DL25) which all candidates are given at the end of their test.   These standards have not changed in the past ten years, so the answer to the improvement in test pass rates must lie elsewhere.

Better Training

LGV driver training takes place through in-company driver training schools or through specialist LGV driver training organisations. In both settings, the past ten years have seen a number of changes which help explain the improving LGV practical test pass rates:

  • Professional Instructors

Road Haulage companies, driver training schools and individual instructors have invested in training and development. They’ve recognised that to prepare candidates properly, the knowledge and skills of professional instructors need be up to date and accurate. Since 2017, over 550 individual LGV Instructors have demonstrated their professionalism by joining the National Register of LGV Instructors. The independent, DVSA-backed exam thoroughly tests their knowledge of driving theory, Highway Code, in-cab and classroom instructional skills to make sure they work to a consistently high quality, enabling them to give their pupils the best opportunity to build their own knowledge and skills. 

  • Professional Facilities

23 LGV driver training organisations have demonstrated their commitment to professional LGV Instructors by becoming NRI examination centres. As well as ensuring their own instructors are members of the NRI, they offer their modern and professional facilities and expertise to all LGV Instructors, Assessors and Driver CPC Instructors who want to build their instructional skills and achieve the NRI qualification. LGV Driver training increasingly takes place in an environment which is more conducive to acquiring professional driving skills.

  • Better Vehicles

The vehicles currently used in road haulage fleets are significantly more sophisticated than they were ten years ago. The most obvious change is the widespread use of automatic gearboxes, but a range of improvements mean that vehicles are less physically demanding to drive, enabling a driver to focus on more precise control of the vehicle. This improved specification is increasingly reflected in the vehicles used for training, both in-house and by driver training schools. 

For more information on NRI qualifications and how to join the register, please contact our team who will be happy to help.

DVSA update 23 October: Welsh Firebreak Vehicle Testing in Wales

Further to the announcement from the Welsh Government about the firebreak, a series of restrictive measures will be in place from 6pm Friday 23rd October until the start of Monday 9th November 2020.

What this means for vocational testing

  • Vocational theory and practical test services will be affected during the lockdown period.
  • All vocational tests will be suspended from 6pm on Friday 23rd October and restart again on Monday 9th November 2020.

What this means for vehicle operators

  • The firebreak does not affect the DVSA’s heavy vehicle testing service and AFTs can remain open.
  • DVSA will continue to provide staff to AFTs in Wales and across Great Britain.
  • You should carry on presenting vehicles and trailers which are coming up to expiry.
  • You should continue to manage the regular maintenance and inspection schedule for your vehicles and trailers. This is a legal requirements under your operator’s license.

The latest guidance from the Welsh Government on the firebreak is available here.

September 2020 Update: DVSA Vocational Training Virtual Meeting

Last week (28th September 2020), National Register of LGV Instructors (NRI) held a virtual meeting with Driver Vehicle and Standards Agency (DVSA) to discuss current issues in vocational driver testing. The session started with an update from Mark Winn, DVSA’s Chief Driving Examiner on their Covid-19 response and the restart of LGV testing.

This led to a lively sharing of experiences and ideas based on questions from NRI registered instructors and examination centres, focussing on the measures in place as a result of Covid-19. Those attending asked that NRI and DVSA arrange another session as the restart programme continues. Key messages from the meeting were:

Capacity

  • DVSA are working to get back to a national, 3-week appointment availability – the pre-pandemic level of service – as soon as possible.
  • Capacity was boosted from 28th September when extra/overtime test slots became available and will increase again from 19th October 2020 when LGV examiners will resume carrying out 4 tests per day.

Local lockdowns

  • So far, DVSA have been able to continue operating during the new local lockdown rules, across England, Scotland and Wales.
  • Unlike March 2020, DVSA now have Covid-related standard operating procedures, Covid-secure sites, office social distancing, stockpiles of face coverings and sanitiser.

What should instructors and candidates do on test day?

  • Make sure that candidates follow the government’s guidelines on staying safe.
  • Face coverings are mandatory on a driving test unless an exemption is declared at the time of booking. Candidates should practice in one that fits suitably in advance of their test. If misting up of glasses becomes a road safety concern the candidate will be directed back to the test centre where the test will be terminated.
  • Instructors with valid medical exemptions are allowed to remove masks at Test Centres.
  • There is restricted access and movement around driving test centres. This means that waiting rooms are closed, but given the winter months are coming, DVSA are looking at possible options to resolve this.

Test Bookings

  • DVSA recognise the problems the current, significant wait time for theory tests are creating and are looking at measures to increase theory test availability.
  • The booking system is a national service, which means that training companies are entitled to book tests in all areas, provided ‘local lockdown’ restrictions prohibiting movement are not in place.
  • The number of tests on the booking system opening day is designed to share the overall number out fairly based on the booking history.

Alternatively-Fuelled Vehicles (AFV) – training only you can deliver

The National Register of LGV Instructors (NRI) is responsible for issuing Alternatively-Fuelled Vehicle (AFV) training certificates on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT) and since the end of August 2019, we’ve issued 965 certificates. This training is delivered by NRI registered LGV Instructors.

To support this, NRI has created training materials for Alternatively-Fuelled Vehicle (AFV) Training. NRI registered LGV instructors are amongst an exclusive few permitted to offer AFV training, providing certain rules are followed. NRI’s AFV Training Pack is compliant with the published syllabus and include an Instructor PowerPoint. From just £35 + VAT, the Training Pack is split into three course sessions:

  1. Operation and driving behavior of the AFV’s you will be driving (Electric or LNG or Hydrogen)
  2. Important legal, safety and vehicle operating issues which apply all van drivers
  3. Practical session

To purchase your copy, please get in touch.

An AFV is classed as a motor which is powered by either electricity, natural gas, biogas, hydrogen or hydrogen and electricity.

UK law now permits Category B driving licence holders to drive an alternatively-fuelled vehicle weighing up to 4.25 tonnes. The recent change in legislation will enable organisations to introduce AFV into their fleets, as well as supporting the government and the light commercial vehicles sector in increasing its access to cleaner alternatives. Under the new legislation, the AFVs should not be driven outside of Great Britain or tow a trailer, and must be used for the transportation of goods.

Drivers must have completed a minimum of 5 hours training which follows the syllabus published by the Department of Transport in order to be permitted to operate the vehicle.

Anyone found driving an AFV vehicle up to 4.25 tonnes on a Category B licence without having completed 5 hours of training will be guilty of an offence under the Road Traffic Act (1998).

Upon completion of successful AFV training, NRI must be contacted to issue a certificate of training (provided to us by Dft) to the driver. This certificate can then be used as evidence to prove to third parties that the required training has been completed. The legislation stipulates that training can only be delivered by members of the DVSA endorsed NRI, or by members of the NVDIR.

Learn more about Training for Drivers of Alternatively-Fuelled Vehicles.

DVSA August 2020 update: Restarting driver and rider testing

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) recent update on some of the main areas.

Theory test availability 

We’ve reopened most of our theory test centres in England, Scotland and Wales.

In England and Wales, we’ve worked with Pearson VUE to change the 2 metre social distancing rule to 1 metre with risk mitigations in place. This means we’re now able to offer more appointments and reduce waiting times.

We will also work with the devolved administration in Scotland to continue to offer more appointments as soon as we can.

Driving test availability 

We’ve opened 291 out of 307 driving centres in England – up from 290 since we updated you on 7 August 2020.

31 out of 35 test centres in Wales have reopened today (17 August).

When candidates arrange a test, they can see available appointments within the next 6 weeks. We’re not taking bookings any further in advance at the moment. This is so we can react quickly to any changes in government guidance about coronavirus.

Test centres in Scotland remain closed, except for motorcycle tests and critical workers. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 advice from the Scottish Government.

Emailing candidates to arrange their test 

Over 210,000 driving tests were put on hold due to coronavirus. We have now emailed all candidates in England and Wales to ask them to rearrange their test – over 170,000 candidates in total.

Some of the email addresses given on bookings did not work, so we’re sending text messages or letters to those affected so they can rearrange their test.

DVSA customer service centre

Our customer service centre is still receiving an extremely high number of calls and emails.

We’re sorry for the delays in getting through, but please help us by only calling if absolutely necessary.

Emergency tests for critical workers 

We announced that the services to apply for emergency theory tests and driving tests for critical workers closed on Friday 14 August.

We have now invited all critical workers in England, Scotland and Wales to either:

• book a new test, if they did not have one cancelled due to coronavirus
• rearrange their cancelled test

Returning to the UK

If you or your pupil have entered the UK in the last 14 days, you must not go to a driving test unless you:

• arrived from a country on the ‘travel corridor’ list
• belong to one of the groups who do not have to self-isolate

The government keeps the conditions in countries on the travel corridor list under review, and it is regularly updated.

France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba have now been removed from the list.

Check the list regularly for the latest information.

Valid theory test certificates checks 

As part of our normal ID and eligibility checks our driving examiners are checking for valid theory test certificates.

If your pupil does not have a valid certificate the test will not go ahead.

If your pupil has lost or damaged their certificate they can apply for a replacement letter by contacting customercare@pearson.com. They’ll need to provide their:

• name
• address
• date of birth
• driving licence number

More information

Check GOV.UK for the latest about:

theory tests
driving tests
instructor guidance