Regulations are to be amended to extend the validity of driving theory test pass certificates for learner drivers during the Covid-19 crisis.

Announcing the news, Minister Mallon, Department for Infrastructure said “I am pleased to announce that I have asked officials to amend the Driving Licence Regulations to extend the validity of theory test pass certificates. This will be a welcome relief for many learner drivers who are worried about losing out due to the impact of Covid-19 on our services.

“Test certificates which expire between 1 March 2020 and 31 October 2020 will be extended by eight months, and the validity of off-road motorcycle test pass certificates which expire between 1 March 2020 and 31 August 2020 will be extended by six months.  My priority during this crisis is to keep people safe and to minimise disruption and inconvenience to our customers.  This legislative change will come into effect in September 2020 and will be applied retrospectively.  It will benefit over 1,300 people."

The move followed a call earlier this week by  MLA Cathal Boylan to look at retrospectively extending driver theory certificates that have fallen during the closure of MOT centres and the lack of driving tests.

The Newry and Armagh MLA stated “For learners attaining their driver licence, Covid-19 proved a real set back as driving tests have been suspended during the lockdown.

“ It has been revealed that 1,126 theory test pass certificates have expired between the end of March and the end of June at a time when driving tests were not available. A further 1,312 will expire by the end of September."

Testing Resumes

The DVA plans to reinstate some driver testing services in July for those licence categories where testing can be done safely in line with current PHA advice and guidance on social distancing requirements.  The DVA has reinstated motorbike driving tests from 6 July and tests for drivers of buses, tractors and module 4 CPC tests for lorry, bus and coach drivers, are planned from 20 July. From 6th July driver theory tests have also been reintroduced, with safe social distancing in place.

Minister Mallon added “The DVA continues to work on proposals to safely resume practical driving tests for cars and lorries as soon as possible. While a date for the resumption of these services has not yet been confirmed, this legislative change is a step forward for drivers who have already passed their theory test and are keen to take their practical driving test.  My Department continues to work at pace to find solutions to ensure the safe resumption of all services,  working in partnership with staff and the unions.  I will continue to keep the public updated during this changing and challenging time.”

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