Driving test backlog forcing learners to take ‘unnecessary’ lessons

10.18 | 12 October 2021 |

Learner drivers across the UK are ‘haemorrhaging money’ as the ongoing driving test backlog continues, according to insurer Marmalade.

Driving tests resumed in April 2021 – but a backlog still remains for those impacted by 15 months of suspensions and theory test expirations caused by Covid-19.

A survey of more than 1,000 learners, carried out by the learner and young driver insurance provider, found that on average, due to the backlog, learners are buying eight extra lessons that aren’t needed

At the 2021 average of £31.15 per lesson, that’s an added expense of £249.20.

Meanwhile, almost a third (32%) of learners estimate they’ll take an extra 10-19 lessons, which could cost between £311.50 and £591.85.

Crispin Moger, CEO at Marmalade, said:  “The pandemic has had an adverse impact on learner drivers, many of which are young people who have also been impacted far beyond this. 

“Our latest research shows how the aftermath of the pandemic continues to disrupt finances for learners and their families. 

“The compounding backlog means test ready learners can’t secure a test slot and so need to continue with extra lessons, more insurance and in some cases a retake of an expired theory test.”

The survey also found 77% of learners cite the additional cost of lessons as the biggest frustration of the backlog, followed by the need to rely on family and friends to drive (71%).

Learner driver Jennifer Madrell, who is 26-years-old and from High Pittington in Durham, said she has spent upwards of £4,600 learning to drive – almost four times more than the average cost. 

She has faced multiple test cancellations – and says she has paid for around 55 extra lessons despite being ‘test ready’.

Jennifer said: “I’m devastated about how things have panned out, the costs have really started to mount up and I’ve had to sacrifice a lot of the things I enjoy doing, like going out to see friends. 

“Anything that hasn’t been a necessity I’ve had to cut back on which really hasn’t been easy.

“There have been a number of times when I’ve just thought screw it, but then I remember all of the hard work I’ve put in so far. I just can’t let it go to waste. Being able to drive will give me so much more freedom and will definitely help me to find a job.

“The last few weeks have definitely been the hardest for me. I’m really struggling to find a new diving instructor because they’re all fully booked and the waiting lists are four months long. It’s a really difficult position to be in but I’m just trying to remain positive.”



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