THOUSANDS of driving tests were cancelled in Gwent last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, figures reveal.

Ahead of tests starting up again on April 22, the AA said the disruption may have impacted learner drivers' confidence and compounded a difficult time for many young people.

Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency show 3,384 driving tests were cancelled at the test centres in Newport, Monmouth and Abergavenny between March and December.

The pandemic meant 1,465 tests were cancelled in Newport, 1,278 in Abergavenny and 641 in Newport.


A further 23 tests were cancelled at the Newport centre for other reasons – including 11 for medical absences and 12 because the examiner took annual or special leave – along with 59 in Abergavenny – all for medical reasons. In Monmouth four tests were cancelled due to acts of nature, such as bad weather conditions.

Across Great Britain, 458,000 tests could not take place because of the pandemic in 2020, though the DVSA said there are currently 420,000 booked for when testing centres reopen.

Lessons have recommenced in England and Wales, with tests set to follow from April 22 – and the AA is expecting huge demand.

Robert Cowell, interim managing director of AA Driving School, said: "Many pupils will have either had a big break in lessons, which may impact their confidence, or have had to postpone driving lessons for many, many months.

"For young people, who have already suffered disruption to their education, not being able to learn to drive will compound an already stilted start to adult life."

He added that extending the validity period of theory test certificates – as has been the case for MOTs and driving licences – or offering a free re-sit, could help reduce demand, or at least lessen the financial impact.

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC Foundation, said: “Learner drivers will breathe a sigh of relief that driving lessons and tests are restarting, however the backlog for those waiting for both practical and theory tests is likely to be huge."

He also urged the DVSA to consider a short extension for those whose theory test has either expired, or is about to, but the Government has already said it will not do so.

A DVSA spokesman added: “Ensuring new drivers have current, relevant knowledge and skills to identify developing hazards is a vital part of the training for young and new drivers, who are disproportionality represented in casualty statistics."

In Newport 1,455 tests went ahead between April and the end of December, with 782 – 54 per cent - of these resulting in a pass.

In Abergavenny 1,702 tests went ahead over the same time period, 1,071 – 63 per cent - resulting in a pass.

Of the 558 which went ahead in Monmouth, 325 were successful, a pass rate of 58 per cent.

The UK average pass rate is 50 per cent.

Meanwhile, DVLA figures from March show just 2.97 million people in Britain aged 16-25 hold a full licence – the smallest number since records began in November 2012.