Home Driving Instructors Revised Restrictions Following Tier Reviews: Implications for Learners and Instructors (Updated 5/1/2021)

Revised Restrictions Following Tier Reviews: Implications for Learners and Instructors (Updated 5/1/2021)

by WeDrive

England

All types of driving tests are suspended in England because of the national lockdown.

Scotland

All types of driving tests are suspended in Scotland because of the temporary lockdown.

Wales

All types of driving tests are suspended in Wales because it’s in alert level 4.

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The new regionally-tiered system of restrictions for England has been reviewed (December 17th), with several areas entering a different tier. That leaves only a couple of days for people to learn about local regulations in a tier which is new to them, and the restrictions which will now apply to them. In this article we present a handy summary of some key highlights regarding the latest regulations and their impact on both learner and instructors in terms of testing, based on latest information provided by the DIA and NASP, sourced from their websites and recently published updates.

In England, driving tests are taking place in areas in Tiers 1, 2 and 3. All types of driving tests are suspended in areas in Tier 4. You must not travel out of a Tier 4 area to take your test somewhere else. The tier four restrictions – similar to England’s second national lockdown – applies to all areas in the South East which were in tier three, covering Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey (excluding Waverley), Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings

Click here for the latest detailed information about the current regulations.

Click here for the changes in protection level for areas in Scotland. Some areas will change level effective Friday 18th December, 6pm onwards.

Protection level 4 has the strictest restrictions and these include no driving or motorcycle lessons. However, the recent revisions mean that this condition will not currently apply for any area in Scotland once these changes kick in. Driving lessons are permitted in level 3. Click here for more information.

Following the end of recent circuit breaker restrictions, new regulations have now been put in place to control the spread coronavirus in Northern Ireland, effective from December 11th. Click here for more information

Driver and rider training: the current rules

Driver and rider training is now permitted in all three tiers in England. Driving tests in tiers one and two restarted on 2 December and in tier three on 3 December. Theory tests for all three tiers restarted on 2 December.

Driver and rider training is not permitted in Scotland in areas under level 4 restrictions. However, no areas are currently allocated to this level, as per the most recent review.

Driving instructors were not permitted to operate in Northern Ireland during the two-week firebreak lockdown, but this restriction has been lifted under the revised regulations. Driving lessons are now permitted. Instructors are permitted to operate by appointment, though customer contact details must be recorded and retained for track and trace purposes

Tier 3: driving tests allowed – with new special requirments

Driving tests in tier 3 resumed on December 3rd, with additional safety requirments. These measures include:

  • Reducing the number of car practical tests examiners carry out per day to 5 in Tier 3 areas
  • Anyone who has a car practical test booked in a Tier 3 area who is exempt from wearing a face covering may have to delay their test until the area moves out of Tier 3. The DVSA will reschedule their test if it cannot find a volunteer driving examiner to conduct their test without them wearing a face covering

The DVSA pledged to email everyone in a Tier 3 area who has a test booked to let them know about the additional measures.

Instructor training

ADI qualification tests and standards checks in England

ADI Part 1 tests

ADI part 1 tests will continue as usual in all tiers.

Areas in Tiers 1 & 2

The DVSA will continue to provide part 2 and 3 tests whilst supporting the agency with reducing driving test waiting times, ADI Part 2 and 3 tests and standards checks within tiers 1 and 2, have already resumed. The agency will be contacting anyone whose part 2 or 3 test was cancelled as a result of the pandemic to rearrange it in tier 1 and 2 areas and has said they will endeavour to carry out all the part 2 and 3 tests booked in December in tier 1 and 2 areas.

Areas in Tier 3

From 3 December anyone who has a ADI part 2, part 3 or standards check booked in a tier 3area who is exempt from wearing a face covering may have to delay their test or check until the area moves out of tier 3. DVSA will reschedule tests and checks if we cannot find a volunteer driving examiner to conduct the test without the candidate wearing a face covering.

Part 1 Expiring

You do not need to worry if your part 1 pass has expired or is due to expire as long as you already had a part 3 test booked. DVSA will still carry out your test. If you fail your test and your Part 1 pass has expired, you will need to apply to restart the qualification process. Before you do you will need to obtain an up-to-date Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check which is no older than 6 months.

Scotland & Wales:

The same criteria should be used when moving between levels in Scotland or tiers in Wales

For more information visit GOV.UK.

Standards Checks

The DVSA will continue to risk assess and prioritise standards checks for ADIs who are not meeting the standard in England, Wales and Scotland. To enable ADI examiners to spend 50% of their time carrying out driving tests DVSA will be cancelling all routine standards checks. If you have booked a routine standards check the agency will email you to confirm if your standards check has been cancelled.

NASP’s updated test guidance

As per the latest update from NASP, shared by the DIA on their website recently, the DVSA have made updates to procedures for carrying out ADI qualifications tests and standards checks. NASP has published the updated guidance on their website where it is available to view. NASP also produced a handy video demonstrating the COVID compliant procedures now in place for ADI assessments and a walkthrough presentation. These are also available on the NASP website.A video of the NASP’s latest Q&A session with the DVSA is available here where discussion focuses on why communications came out so late for the return to training and testing, whether it was really sensible to open up slots on 2nd December (leaving people little time to take advantage of them), what will happen with ADI assessments, will examiners be vaccinated as a priority, and why aren’t theory test certificates being extended?

Watch the video here.

Current NASP guidance – a summary:

● Check GOV.UK frequently and for DVSA Direct updates for the latest advice● Check local council and regional authority websites for more detailed guidance on lockdowns in your area as local and regional authorities may have different advice and approaches for their area.

● Testing and training has resumed in all tiers in England but those living in, or entering, a Tier 3 area for their must appraise themselves of the additional measures required in their area

● Tier 3 measures driver testing measures include the right to refuse a practical test or ADI assessment if the candidate is exempt from wearing a face mask and a volunteer Examiner cannot be found

● Trainers should continue to take every measure to mitigate the risk of exposure and infection as advised in the NASP Guidelines on driver trainers safely returning to work (2nd July 2020) and available from the NASP website

● At all times consider the risks of continuing to train, and take a risk management based approach to training, considering both regional and central government advice

● If you live outside of a Tier 3 area, consider whether you should be mitigating the risks of working in areas impacted at this time as you could expose yourself to infection, or risk encouraging the spread of infection

● If you live and work within a Tier 3 area consider whether you should be travelling in and out of these area frequently

Other useful information:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-theory-tests

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-driving-tests-and-theory-tests

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-restarting-driver-and-rider-training-and-tests

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