Over 1,000 driving tests fall victim to pandemic
More than 1,000 driving tests were cancelled in South Shields last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, new figures reveal.
Ahead of tests starting up again on April 22, the AA said the disruption may have impacted learner drivers' confidence.
Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) show 1,104 driving tests were cancelled at South Shields Test Centre because of the pandemic between March and December.
In South Shields, 1,131 tests did take place between April and the end of December – with a pass rate of 49%, similar to the average across Britain of 50%.
Nationally, 458,000 tests could not take place because of the pandemic and the DVSA say there are currently 420,000 booked for when testing centres reopen.
Robert Cowell, interim managing director of AA Driving School, said: "Many pupils will have either had a long break in lessons, which may impact their confidence, or have had to postpone driving lessons for many, many months.
"For young people, who have already suffered disruption to their education, not being able to learn to drive will compound an already stilted start to adult life."
Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC Foundation, said: “Learner drivers will breathe a sigh of relief that driving lessons and tests are restarting, however the backlog for those waiting for both practical and theory tests is likely to be huge."
A DVSA spokesman added: “Ensuring new drivers have current, relevant knowledge and skills is a vital part of the training for young and new drivers, who are disproportionality represented in casualty statistics."