All ready to take your test on the 4th or 5th December? Alas, you might not be able to because of planned industrial action by examiners who believe the new test is too dangerous.
While most of us are waiting with some expectation (and a little trepidation) for the new practical driving test touching down on December 4th, the rollout could grind to a halt. This is because some driving test examiners are going on strike on the 4th and 5th because they believe certain elements of the new test are dangerous.
Critically, the action could affect the tests of up to 10,000 learners who are set to do their test on either the Monday or Tuesday, according to the RAC Foundation.
How this affects you & what to do
What does the strike action mean for you if your test is booked on either day? Because not all driving examiners are signed up to the union coordinating the action, there is still a chance your test could go ahead.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) states that you can either:
• Change your test appointment to a later date
• Turn up for your test as planned, but your examiner might be unavailable.
If you definitely can’t take your test because of the strike action, the DVSA says you don’t need to contact them to book another appointment. Instead, it will contact you with a new test appointment within 5 to 10 working days.
If you do decide to turn up for your test but discover it has been cancelled, remember, you will be able to claim out-of-pocket expenses – head here for more details about how to make a claim.
So what’s the strike all about?
We’ve covered the grievances about the new driving test before, detailing how some instructors and examiners believe that parts of it – including the ‘pulling over to the right hand side of the road’ manoeuvre – are dangerous. However, this is the first time that examiners have actually said they are walking out because of the changes.
As well as concerns about manoeuvres, there are also safety worries about using a sat nav as part of the test and the requirement for seven examinations to be conducted by an examiner each day, not the six the union wants.
To add insult to the DVSA’s injury, the strike is due to start on the very day that the new test is set to go live with 2,000 examiners potentially not turning up for work.
Driving test changes are ‘unacceptable’
The union directing the strike action, Public and Commercial Service (PCS), claims that the new test is too dangerous and “our members, whose jobs are about ensuring our roads are safe for drivers and pedestrians, have voted overwhelmingly to demonstrate that these changes are unacceptable. Ministers can avoid this strike action by instructing their officials in the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to scrap the plans and re-enter serious negotiations with PCS.”
The DVSA states though that full risk assessments have been carried out and it even commissioned the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to conduct an independent assessment, which found that the new test manoeuvres were low risk. According to the DVSA, the latest fallout is actually a new development in an ongoing dispute about employment contracts.
The fact PCS is trying to undermine the launch of the new test by calling for strike action shows a shameful disregard for both road safety and learner drivers who have worked so hard to be ready to take their test.”
– Gareth Llewellyn, Chief Executive, DVSA.
Learners should bear in mind that bookings for the theory test remain unaffected by the industrial action. In the meantime, we will keep you informed of any developments as we head up to the (planned) launch of the new test on December 4th.