The DVLA has been forced to cancel more tests each winter due to worsening weather conditions in the North East.
According to statistics from a Freedom of Information request, an increasing number of driving tests in the North East have been cancelled over the last five years, as the conditions have been too dangerous for driving.
The conditions, classified by the DVLA as ‘Acts of Nature’, include any bad weather which creates visibility problems or those which may cause dangerous conditions on the road surface.
Overall, the increase in poor driving conditions leading to test cancellations is significant and has continued to rise over the past five years, creating issues for those awaiting a license.
Gosforth Test Centre has been hit with the worst weather in the region, as the number of tests cancelled here far exceeds that of its neighbouring locations.
The data also shows that the rate of cancelled driving tests in our region has more than doubled over the past five years, giving reason to believe that the weather is getting more dangerous for drivers in the North East.
In Sunderland, there were only two cancellations between 2013 and 2014, however from 2017-2018, this number has risen to 276.
Aidan Stephenson, a driving hopeful in Sunderland, said: “I think if there’s bad weather consistently, I’d wait to book my driving test for a couple of weeks or even months.”
In each test centre, the rise in cancellations is increasingly noticeable each year based on poor conditions, which reached its peak in 2017-2018 with cancellations in the hundreds at each of the sampled test centres in our region.
The numbers of cancellations in South Shields also rose significantly during this period. Even though these figures are lower than some found in other parts of our region, they increased from 16 in 2016-2017 to 180 in 2017-2018.
Several driving schools in the region were contacted to see how their instructors were impacted by these conditions, and how they were affected by all the cancellations, however none wished to comment.