Learner drivers who fail their driving test could have to wait 28 days to rebook an exam to make them “think twice” about attempting it unprepared, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said.
The agency said that extending the period from 10 days could help cut down the three-and-a-half-month waiting list.
The DVSA hopes the plans will also reduce the failure rate – 53% over the last five years – and free up test slots for drivers who are better prepared to take the exam.
The measure is part of a battery of proposals put forward for a consultation launched on Tuesday.
The DVSA is also proposing extending the notice period, during which a cancelled test will result in a lost fee, from three to 10 days.
It hopes the move will encourage learners to give more notice when cancelling and so give better prepared learners more chance to take advantage of short-notice test appointments.
The DVSA is also considering allowing the eyesight check section of the test to be carried out in different lighting levels or by reading from a tablet so more exams can take place in the dark winter months and help a majority of new drivers who are not confident about driving in the dark.
Mark Winn, chief driving examiner for DVSA, said: “With nearly half of all learners still failing their first car driving test, it is clear we need to do more to make sure learner drivers only take their test when they are fully prepared.
“These measures will help make sure learners who are test-ready can find appointments and give those who fail more time to get additional practice. Changing the eyesight test will help more tests go ahead in the darker winter days.
“I would encourage anyone and everyone to respond to our consultation, and thank everyone for their time in offering feedback.”
The DVSA is also proposing a new requirement for driving instructors to display their registration certificate on every test to help improve its ability to identify instructors who need support and advice through standards checks.
We have a new consultation and want to hear from you❗
Have your say on proposals that will encourage learners to be better prepared for their car driving test. We believe the measures will reduce test waiting times and allow us to provide more tests 🚗https://t.co/bv6mjZdN0E pic.twitter.com/7yxAMEteYq
— Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (@DVSAgovuk) January 25, 2022
New drivers could also receive a digital pass certificate under plans to modernise the test process.
The consultation, accessible on the Government website, will close on March 8 2022.
The new proposals follow efforts by the DVSA to deal with backlogs following a drop in the number of tests carried out during lockdown.
Measures included offering overtime and annual leave buy-back to driving examiners, asking retired examiners to conduct tests, recruiting 300 additional examiners, and carrying out tests at weekends and on public holidays.