Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency – Covid 19

Dear ATB

I want to update you on what the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is doing to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, and advise you to look at what support the government has put in place for you.

Motorcycle tests

As you know, we have suspended motorcycle tests to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (Covid 19). We are continuing to provide emergency tests for those whose work is critical to the coronavirus response. The details of how to apply for these have been published at www.gov.uk/dvsa.   We will continue to prioritise these and match them against 50 volunteer motorcycle examiners across Great Britain. Not all driving examiners are able to provide this service because those particularly vulnerable from coronavirus need to stay at home. However, those staying at home are helping to process requests for emergency tests.

Providing training for people whose work is critical to the coronavirus response

I’m incredibly aware that some workers including our NHS staff and those on the frontline will have an urgent need to finish their motorcycle training.   I’m very grateful to those of you who are able to continue providing training – including compulsory basic training (CBT) – for people those who need it.   In line with our plans to only provide tests for candidates who have an essential need at this time, when providing training, we recommend that you ask pupils to bring appropriate ID with them demonstrating the need for them to take training – for example, an ID badge, payslip or letter from their employer.

We will share details of the personal protective arrangements we’re putting in place for our motorcycle examiners with you. You may wish to consider similar arrangements if you’re providing motorcycle training to those who need it.

Following the latest Public Health England guidance

We also recommend that you put in place appropriate measures in line with the latest guidance Public Heath England and Cabinet Office guidance, to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid 19). This includes guidance on:

  • hand washing and use of hand sanitiser
  • having good ventilation in place where possible
  • cleaning shared surfaces in vehicles regularly

Visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support for the latest guidance.

Motorcycle manoeuvring areas

To also help reduce the spread of coronavirus, we have taken the decision to close all motorcycle manoeuvring areas (MMAs) for training from 3 April for up to 3 months. The MMAs will still be available for any essential training for those whose work is critical to the coronavirus response.   You can apply to use the MMAs by sending an email to critical.worker.driving.test@dvsa.gov.uk We will contact all motorcycle training bodies who use MMAs before the sites reopen to give more details about future bookings.

Working with you and your associations

I know how challenging the current situation is. I appreciate the impact our decisions have on you, your customers, your business and your family. And I fully understand the uncertainty is worrying.

We are holding regular conference calls with the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) and the Driving Instructors Association (DIA) to make sure your questions and concerns are shared with DVSA. I lead these calls, and it’s a personal priority for me to make sure you have the information you need as soon as it’s available.

Financial support

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has set out plans that will see the self-employed receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least 3 months. If you are eligible for the new scheme, HMRC will contact you and invite you to apply using a simple online form, with the cash being paid directly into your bank account.   The government is supporting businesses through a package of other measures during this period of unprecedented disruption.   To find support, advice and information to help you with the impact of coronavirus (Covid 19) on your business, please visit www.businesssupport.gov.uk. You can sign up for email alerts from there to get the latest information.   If your CBT, direct access scheme (DAS) or DVSA enhanced rider scheme instructor registration certificates are due to expire before the end of June 2020, we will automatically renew them for you.

Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives

The single most important action we can all take in fighting coronavirus is to follow government guidance and stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.   I do not underestimate the challenges this brings for you and your pupils.   When the government relaxes its social-distancing measures, we will make sure we help you understand how this will affect DVSA’s services, your ability to return to work, and what it means for your pupils.
You can sign up to get email alerts from us at www.gov.uk/dvsa.   The priority for us now is to save lives in a different way than we usually do. But when things get back to normal, we will get back to our vital work of helping everyone stay safe on Britain’s roads.   Thank you for your patience and understanding.   I hope you, your family and your friends stay safe.   Yours sincerely   Gareth Llewellyn
DVSA Chief Executive

Coronavirus (COVID-19): conducting driving tests for key workers 

Dealing with key workers requests for a driving test
You can view the new service on GOV.UK using the below links:

  • Apply for an emergency theory test if you’re a key worker
  • Apply for an emergency driving test if you’re a key worker

At the start of the application, they’ll be asked a series of questions and will need to supply their ID, so we have all the information we need to confirm their eligibility.    Applicants will then be matched with available volunteers for test slots at their nearest testing centre.

How deployment will arrange the driving test

Deployment will agree a priority testing work pattern with examiners.

Extra time will be made for each test

To allow the examiner to take all additional precautions as outlined in this standard operating procedure, extra time will be made for each test.

When appointments have been arranged

The examiner will either receive a journal through the Driving Examiner Services (DES) app the day before, or via an email generated by deployment through the testing and registration system (TARS).

Examiners should check their journals and emails daily

As tests will be booked in automatically based on the agreed programmes, examiners should check their journals and emails daily. Examiners must notify their local driving test manager (LDTM) or their deputy about when and where they are testing to make arrangements for keeping in touch on the day, this is to ensure the examiner remains safe.

Taking the driving test

Examiners must wear suitable clothing that fully covers their arms and legs. The test will take place at a DVSA location that has hand-washing facilities for both the examiner and the candidate.

Examiners should:

  • wash their hands before leaving the office and entering the public waiting area
  • wear gloves as soon as hands have been washed and for the duration of the test
  • avoid touching their face with their hands
    Where necessary the examiner must politely remind the accompanying driver of the requirement for social distancing.

Examiners must not shake the candidate’s hand.    Examiners must not let the candidate touch the iPad, stylus or paper DL25. The examiner will provide the candidate with a blank piece of paper and a pen if the candidate doesn’t have their own.    The examiner should read the insurance and residency declaration to the candidate and ask them to confirm they agree with the statements.    The candidate should sign the separate piece of paper so the examiner can compare to the licence signature without handling the licence. The UV check should be carried out without physically handling the licence. This will be a part of the usual identity check.    The examiner should mark a cross X in the signature box on either the iPad or the paper DL25 to confirm that the candidate has agreed with the statements and has satisfied the identity checks.    For DES app users the candidate should continue to be asked if their email address is where they wish the result to be sent.    In cases where the candidate wishes the email address to be changed the examiner should ask for the new email address to be written on the separate piece of paper the candidate has, the examiner should enter this address onto the iPad.    The candidate must be asked to retain the paper and pen, it must not be left on site. This amended process avoids the examiner contaminating their gloves before conducting the test.    The test will be unaccompanied to help with social distancing and to reduce potential spread of the virus.    The examiner should explain to the candidate that a debrief will be offered at the end of the test, but in order to maintain social distancing, the ADI/accompanying driver will not be invited to listen in.    If the candidate comes to the test with clear symptoms (Covid 19) the test must not go ahead.    If the candidate becomes unwell or starts to cough continuously during the test, the test must be stopped.    The examiner must ensure the test vehicle is well ventilated. This may mean asking the candidate to open their window, as well as the examiner window being opened at the start of the test. Examiners should make a judgement to ensure the vehicle is adequately ventilated.    The examiner should conduct the test as normal, as per DT1 guidance.

Additional guidance for vocational tests only

The reversing exercise and uncouple/recouple exercise must be done at the start of the test.    If the candidate gets a serious fault for either of these exercises, then the test must be terminated in the interest of public safety using activity code 4.    This only affects vocational tests being conducted during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and does not apply to car tests.    Once the on-road test has commenced the examiner should conduct the test as normal, as per DT1 guidance.

Additional guidance for Motorcycle tests only

Motorcycle examiners must follow these additional steps:

Mod 1 & Mod 2 (Covid 19)

Signing and kitting up of candidates / completing end of test paperwork and debriefs should be carried out either in the general waiting room or outside, the bike kitting up room is too small to allow for social distancing.

Start of test

Fitting the Bluetooth devices – The candidate must fit their own earpiece which will be provided by the examiner, this will be an unused earpiece.    If the candidate has their own earpiece compatible with our Bluetooth device, it is acceptable for them to use it.  If the examiner has any Bluetooth issues during the test, they should talk the candidate through switching it off and back on again to reset it. Once the test has started the examiner should not handle any of the radio equipment.

End of test

The examiner should wear a pair of gloves provided by DVSA and ask the candidate to remove their earpiece. Once removed the examiner should dispose of the earpiece along with their gloves. The guidance further on in the document relating to disposing of PPE should be followed for disposing of earpieces and gloves.

MOD 1 Tests only (Covid 19)

Sign the candidate up following the advice above.    Make sure that the government rules for social distancing are followed during all briefs for each individual MMA exercise.

At the end of the test

If the candidate has passed, the examiner should read the health declaration to candidate and ask if the statement is true.    If the candidate agrees, the examiner should mark a cross X in the signature box on either the iPad or the paper DL25 to confirm that the candidate has agreed with the statement.    The examiner should take the candidate’s licence in the usual way for ADLI issue, ensuring it’s only handled with gloves on. The iPad and wallet should be closed before the examiner handles the driving licence. This avoids the iPad becoming contaminated.    When the examiner returns to the office they must:

  • shred the licence, if in receipt of it
  • dispose of their gloves
  • wash their hands
  • A new pair of gloves should be used for each test.

If the test was conducted on the DES app then all write ups should be done using the voice to text function.    If the examiner is a non-iPad user or is conducting a test currently not available on the DES app, they should complete the test using the paper DL25 form.    They should post the DL25A to the Newcastle scanning team as normal. Contingency is in place to have staff available to scan the paper DL25s.    At the moment, there remains sufficient traffic on our roads to ensure that a meaningful test can be conducted. This will be reviewed regularly.

Disposing of PPE

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as gloves and antiviral wipes, must be disposed of separately to general waste.    PPE must be disposed of and double bagged daily. At the end of the day the bag must be clearly marked by taping on a note showing the date it can be collected or destroyed. Collection or destruction must be at least 72 hours after the items were disposed of.

MCIA and DIA have also come with guidelines for Covid 19 to ensure the safeguarding of your customers and students. Please read it here.