During lockdown, strict social distancing measures prevented anybody from learning to drive, so it’s not surprising that now the government is easing restrictions that we’re seeing record numbers of people seeking driving lessons.
At some major driving schools in England enquiries have actually doubled as people look to catch up on lost learning time. But not only that, people are now nervous about using public transport, and are deciding now’s the time to get their driving licence, so they can use the car as an alternative to having to get the bus, train, or the Underground.
Tom Hixton, the Head Instructor of Support at UK driving school, said the school had thousands of driving instructors without an income, and many more UK residents who wanted to learn to drive or had to postpone lessons and tests until lockdown was lifted. He said:
“We’ve been absolutely blown away by how the industry has been able to get back on its feet after many months of being closed down due to the current pandemic.”
Ian McIntosh, CEO of the UK’s largest driving school, said the business received more than 37,000 enquiries since the start of July—a record high.
All driving schools are now having to adhere to new guidelines to protect both staff and the learners from transmitting COVID-19, and test centres have implemented new social distancing and hygiene protocols, too.
But what no one was expecting was that the demand would be so high that young people are actually struggling to get their provisional licence so they can kick-start their driving lessons.
Up to 750,000 young people are not able to start driving lessons because of an enormous backlog of provisional licence applications being dealt with by the UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
The Swansea-based DVLA is still currently processing applications from back in April, which means that approximately half of all 17-24 year-olds who are looking to take their first driving lesson or driving test will likely have to wait months before they can hit the road.
The DVLA said it normally processes around 4,000 applications for provisional driving licences every day, but said that the delays for young people were in part related to the continued social distancing measures that are in place in Wales. A spokeswoman for the DVLA said:
“While we are posting between 100,000 and 150,000 vehicle log books and driving licences, including 4,000 provisional licences to customers every day, there are delays.”
She went on to say this was “due to the two-metre social distancing requirement in Wales to keep our site COVID secure, which has resulted in a reduced number of staff on site.”
If you’re one of the drivers who are on the road, you might find yourself using your car more than ever to avoid using public transport during the coronavirus pandemic. And it’s important to look after your vehicle now more than ever.
If you’re looking for windshield repair in the UK, get in touch today.