Instructor driven mad by phone jam

A SUFFOLK driving instructor has had one 'L' of a time trying to book tests - and it's driving him crazy!David Latter has branded the Driving Standards Agency "a shambles" as he claims it is impossible to book or rearrange driving tests over the telephone.

A SUFFOLK driving instructor has had one 'L' of a time trying to book tests – and its driving him crazy!

David Latter has branded the Driving Standards Agency "a shambles" as he claims it is impossible to book or rearrange driving tests over the telephone.

People desperate to book tests before key changes come into the driving tests are being blamed by the Driving Standards Agency.

Mr Latter, who runs his own school of motoring, claims that the problem has existed for around three weeks and that sometimes he tries 10 to 20 times a day before getting through.

He said: "I would have thought they could have anticipated problems if they were doing their jobs properly. It is a regular thing – every time they change something, they have problems.

"They are a shambles. This is a department that has a Charter Mark for customer service as well. They are supposed to be providing a public service."

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A recorded message on the Driving Standards Agency booking line states: "Due to an unexpected high volume of calls, we are experiencing difficulties in dealing with your enquiries quickly and apologise for any delay and appreciate your patience. However, you may wish to call back later."

The Driving Standards Agency requires ten days notice from people wishing to change the date of their tests and Mr Latter, who lives on Collimer Close, Chelmondiston, claims that this is becoming increasingly difficult to adhere to.

He said: "I had one girl who needed to rearrange a test date because she was going to university. I called at every available opportunity.

"Even the girl's father tried but he said that he couldn't get through and said can you do it? I eventually managed to cancel just before she would have lost her money."

The sudden rush in learner drivers putting themselves forward for a test is partly due to the fact that, as from November 14, a section is being added to the theory element of the driving test.

A spokeswoman for the Driving Standards Agency said: "We apologise for an inconvenience but we have been extremely busy with people trying to book before the test changes come into effect.

"Our lines were out of action for two days last week but that has been fixed now. We would ask people to be patient and keep trying."

WEB LINK

www.dsa.gov.uk

The new test being introduced from November 14 – fast facts

It will be made up of two parts.

The multiple-choice element will remain the same as at present.

After the multiple-choice element, candidates may have a break of up to 3 minutes before the hazard perception element starts.

The hazard perception element will consist of 14 video clips, which will feature real road scenes and developing hazards of various types such as vehicles and pedestrians.

There are a total of 15 scoreable hazards in the test. Thirteen clips will contain one scoreable hazard and one clip will contain two scoreable hazards.

Each scoreable hazard has a marking window and a score is awarded when candidates respond in that window. The earlier the developing hazard is identified and a response is made the higher the score. Candidates won't score any points if they respond outside the window.

Candidates will be shown a short tutorial video about how the hazard perception element works before they start that part of the test.

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