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Learner drivers struggle to book tests as DVSA website crashes after online applications reopen

Learner drivers in England and Wales have described arranging a driving test as "harder than getting Glastonbury tickets", after the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) began taking bookings again after closing them for months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Driving tests across Britain were halted earlier this year because of the pandemic, but car driving tests have already restarted in England and Wales for people who had already-booked tests cancelled. Tests restart in Scotland on Monday 14 September, but remain suspended in Northern Ireland.

For those in England and Wales who want to arrange a new driving test, bookings reopened for the first time at 8am on Friday (21 August). But many learner drivers have complained the website is so busy they've been unable to secure a test, with some saying they're finding that the website repeatedly times out or crashes.

For help on the latest with driving tests, driving licences, MOTs and much more, see our Coronavirus Life-in-Lockdown guide.

'I hope I don't crash as much as this website is'

Here's a snapshot of what some drivers have said about the booking process online this morning:

What to try if you're struggling to book

The website is likely facing problems because of the sheer number of people trying to book tests once applications reopened this morning.

On Twitter the DVSA has told some drivers that the problems may be caused by their computer trying to access a cached version of the page, and has suggested trying to book a test via this link instead. It's also warned that "demand is high, so please be patient".

In a statement it told us: Coronavirus has severely impacted our business as usual operations, including by stopping driving tests for many months as part of social distancing.

“Following unprecedented demand for the driving test booking system after its reopening, we are aware that some users have not been able to complete their test bookings. We are urgently working to fix this and apologise for any inconvenience caused to those who have been unable to book so far.”

To make sure you're fully ready when you are able to get on to the DVSA's site, it's worth having the following things ready:

  • UK driving licence number
  • Credit or debit card
  • Driving instructor's personal reference number if you want to check they're available

If you're really struggling with booking a test, you could try ringing DVSA driving test booking support on 0300 200 1122, although it's likely you'll have to wait a long time due to higher caller numbers.

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