Frustrated learner drivers in Sheffield are facing waits of over three months to take their driving test due to a backlog caused by a shortage of examiners.
An investigation has found that Sheffield learners are waiting between 13-15 weeks to take their test – making the city one of the worst regions in Yorkshire.
Waiting times across the county vary from anything between five and 18 weeks, with more than 6,000 tests cancelled in Yorkshire in the last year alone.
The ‘horrendous’ situation, say instructors, is forcing them to book tests for their students before they’ve even had their first lesson.
Driving instructor Noel Gaughan has set up a petition to Parliament, which has been signed by nearly 4,000 people.
He said: “It’s unbelievably frustrating. We have lots of people ringing. Lots of people crying. It’s absolutely horrific. This is about jobs and livelihoods. Someone, somewhere, has taken their eye off the ball. And it’s only going to get worse.”
Official figures show that learner drivers face a postcode lottery as to how long they have to wait for a test.
In some areas – with Horsforth, Harrogate and Whitby being the worst in Yorkshire – students are waiting more than four months for a test. In others, such as Steeton, near Keighley, options are available within five weeks.
There are two testing centres in Sheffield: Wandsworth has a 13 week wait and Middlewood has a 15 week wait.
DVSA Head of Operations, Phil Lloyd, said staff shortages were to blame.
He said: “The increase in demand for driving tests is continuing, and we acknowledge that waiting times are currently higher than we would like in some of our locations. We are working to address this as quickly as possible.”