Learners in the Borders losing out on chance to pass the test

More than 800 driving tests could have been missed in the Scottish Borders during lockdown.

Monday, 10th August 2020, 7:00 am
It could be quite a while before some learner drivers in the Borders can ditch their ‘L’ plates.

And there are concerns young people, in particular, are missing out on the chance to be able to get around without having to rely on public transport.

The average number of tests taken between April and August in the Borders in the last three year is 831.

The Scottish Government announced that driving lessons can resume from August 24, although this remains an indicative date for the time being.

Driving tests were stopped in March to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

The figure does not take into account those who live in the Scottish Borders but opt to take their test in Berwick Upon Tweed, or elsewhere.

The data relates to tests taken in Duns, Kelso, Galashiels, Hawick and Peebles.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which carries out driving tests in the UK, estimated in June that already 400,000 tests had not gone ahead across the UK.

The DVSA says it will prioritise testing for those who had tests booked before lockdown, before taking any new bookings.

Borders MP John Lamont said: “Although it would be great to say that public transport in the Borders meant that driving was not a necessity for most, we all know that is not true.

“For obvious reasons driving lessons and tests had to stop in March to help stop the spread of coronavirus. This was the right decision. However, now I fear for the hundreds of young people across the Borders who will not be able to drive as quickly as they need.

“Driving to get to a place of work or to college or university is the only viable option for a lot of people. With an already extremely tough jobs market for young people, I fear this will be another obstacle for them to overcome.

“It could be a while before this backlog is cleared and could affect people for months to come. I have written to the DVSA to see if there is any way they can increase capacity.”