Writing to the Secretary of State for Transport, Imran Hussain MP has urged the Government to extend the length of time between passing a driving theory test and a practical driving test that a theory test certificate is valid.

In his letter, Imran states that because of the closure of driving testing centres across the country and the cancellation of tests for much of last year, many learner drivers who planned to take their practical test in 2020 have seen their theory test certificates expire, leaving them out of pocket and at a disadvantage because of reasons that are out of their control.

A person’s driving theory test certificate remains valid for up to two years, during which time they must complete and pass their practical driving test. A failure to do so within this allotted time renders their theory certificate invalid, requiring them to retake and pass their driving theory test.

However, rather than rushing to take their practical test as soon as possible, many learner drivers instead often delay taking their test for a substantial period, either because they wish to gain more experience behind the wheel, have limited opportunities to take lessons because of work or childcare commitments, or struggle to afford intensive sessions of lessons.

Imran has therefore urged the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps MP, to extend the deadline for the expiration of driving theory tests to ensure that young people and other learner drivers are not unfairly penalised because of matters beyond their own control during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking on his call to extend the driving theory test deadline for those affected by the pandemic, Imran said:

“Over the past year, many learner drivers have been prevented from taking their practical driving test because of testing centre closures and test cancellations, leaving a large number with now worthless theory test certificates that have expired as they were unable to pass their practical test due to reasons out of their control.

“Learner drivers, many of whom will be young people on already limited incomes, should not be penalised because of something out of their control, and the Government must also take action to minimise the impending backlog of driving tests that have built up over the last year by extending the period between passing a theory test and passing a practical test for which the theory test certificate is valid.

“Even with an extension to the validity of their theory test certificate, learner drivers will of course still be required to pass their practical driving test before becoming legal road users, meaning that extending the theory test deadline will not lead to lower standards on the roads and will not put the safety of other road users at greater risk.”

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