Driving test website brought to a standstill by heavy traffic

Written by Sam Trendall on 24 August 2020 in News
News

Newly reopened service encounters technical difficulties after seven million attempts to book a test within 12 hours

Credit: PA

The online service for booking a driving test has been closed for three days of maintenance little more 24 hours after reopening.

The GOV.UK ‘Book your driving test’ service reopened on the morning Friday 20 August, exactly five months after all driving tests across England and Wales were suspended. 

Within 12 hours, almost seven million attempts to book a test had been made, according to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, which runs the digital platform. This volume of traffic caused technical difficulties that left some users unable to access the service at all, while others could not complete their booking process.

The service was once again shut down from 12.30pm on Saturday and will remain closed until 8am on Wednesday 26 August.


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Users attempting to access the service are currently presented with the following message: “Sorry, this service is currently unavailable while we carry out essential maintenance. You are not able to book a driving test at this time and we're sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused.”

All practical driving tests across England and Wales were suspended by the DVSA on 20 March and did not resume until July. Once they did so, it was by gradually rescheduling tests for those whose originally booking was cancelled as a result of coronavirus – with key workers given priority.

Last week marked the first time in five months that new test bookings have been made available to the general public. 

After the service was, once again, suspended, DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn said: “Coronavirus has severely impacted our business-as-usual operations, including by stopping driving tests in March. Since then, DVSA have only been dealing with applications for emergency driving tests for critical workers. Following unprecedented demand for the driving test booking system with almost seven million attempts to book a test when it opened, we need to carry out urgent maintenance so people can book tests. We have to close the booking service until Wednesday 26 August and are sorry for any inconvenience caused.”

Test slots are being scheduled no more than six weeks in advance, in light of the frequency with which government advice is being updated.

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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