The government hopes the measures will help stop the virus spreading.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has decided to suspend driving tests in England, Scotland and Wales for up to three months as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The organisation made the decision last week, and has cancelled tests from Saturday, March 21.

According to the Department for Transport, the decision was made to help prevent the spread of coronavirus as tests involve “extended contact” between candidates and examiners in vehicles. However, the suspension also applies to motorcycle tests, as well as driving instructor tests and tests for budding bus and lorry drivers.

The DVSA says it will contact everyone with a test booked during this time, letting them know their test has been cancelled and it will automatically re-book for them. The organisation also says the decision to suspend tests will “be kept under review”, suggesting the ban could be shortened or lengthened as necessary.

However, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the DVSA would still be offering tests to those with “a critical need” such as the NHS and delivery drivers.

“We are having to take big decisions to protect the public in our national battle against Covid-19,” he said. “Regrettably, we have had to suspend driver testing for up to 3 months to help tackle the spread of the virus. It is vital that those who need a test can get one, so the DVSA is offering tests to those who have a critical need, such as the NHS and drivers delivering goods across the UK. Those who have tests cancelled will have priority when testing resumes.”

Woman stressed taking driving test in car

At the same time, the DVSA has also suspended MOTs for all heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and public service vehicles (PSVs). As with driving tests, the suspension is initially expected to last up to three months from March 21.

As a result, all HGV and PSV vehicles with an MOT will be issued with a three-month certificate of temporary exemption (also known as a CTE) until further notice. Nevertheless, the vehicles must be maintained, kept safe to drive and operate within the terms of operators’ licence conditions.

The government has not yet announced plans to suspend MOTs for private cars, light vans or motorcycles, but the DVSA says the issue remains under review. It has also promised to issue an update “in due course”.

MOT service sign on British road