The AA has called on the UK Government to restart driving lessons and tests for key workers, following an announcement that a “limited service” will resume.
Research conducted by the AA found that more than half of drivers (52%) disagree with the government’s decision to stop driving lessons and tests for all key workers in lockdown in England during the current national lockdown, despite allowing tests and lessons to go ahead in the first lockdown from March 2020.
Just last week (Feb 4), the DVSA announced that there will be a “limited theory and practical test service” for key workers from specific employers, allowing people in certain roles who need to drive for their work to sit their tests.
As things stand, learners remain unable to book driving tests themselves and access to driving tests is limited to those who work for NHS health and social care, the emergency services and local councils.
Key workers who have had a test booked for them by their employer will be able to have lessons with a qualified instructor, whilst learners who do not have a confirmed "mobile emergency worker test" booking cannot take lessons. Many key workers with other employers will be left out entirely.
Furthermore, the new testing rules are only being introduced in England and Wales due to alternative lockdown conditions in Scotland.
Robert Cowell, AA Driving School interim managing director said: "The government should be giving all key workers the flexibility to learn to drive as they are already making so many sacrifices to keep the country moving. People who can’t drive have faced huge challenges to get to work during the pandemic as capacity on public transport is reduced.
Driving instructors adapted quickly to ensure the safety of pupils was paramount during the pandemic and key worker lessons remain as safe as they were in the first national lockdown," Cowell added.
In further news, the AA is also pushing for "a more proactive approach" to allow lessons for key workers to be restarted in Scotland where many people in rural areas are totally car-dependent.