The big changes to driving tests taking effect from today as they restart in Sheffield

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Driving tests restart in England from today with a huge backlog after hundreds of thousands were delayed or cancelled due to the coronavirus lockdown.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) urged candidates to ensure they have "had enough practice" before taking the test.

Driving tests were suspended across the UK in March in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19.

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Those learners whose tests were cancelled are being invited to re-book first when they resume in England.

Traffic queues on a main route (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)Traffic queues on a main route (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
Traffic queues on a main route (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

DVSA chief driving examiner Mark Winn said: "I know many learners are keen to take their driving test but it is vital they have the right skills and knowledge to help them through a lifetime of safe driving before attempting it.

"Learners should practice driving on a variety of roads and in different driving conditions so they are well prepared for driving independently."

A series of safety measures have been put in place to protect learners and examiners from Covid-19, such as mandatory face coverings unless there is a valid reason not to wear one.

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Candidates who commit a serious or dangerous fault which means they have failed will be immediately directed back to the test centre to minimise the amount of time they spend in the vehicle.

Driving instructors reported a surge in demand when lessons were able to restart in England on July 4.

Some 210,000 tests were cancelled due to the pandemic, according to the DVSA.

RED Driving School chief executive Ian McIntosh said: "Nearly half a million tests have been cancelled or delayed since 20th March, and with hundreds of thousands of new 17-year-olds eager to get behind the wheel, there's a big backlog.

"Covid-19 is likely to be with us for a long time.

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"We all need to get used to new ways of working and travelling, and restarting driving tests is key to our new reality."

Learners in other parts of the UK will have to wait a while longer before they can attempt to get a driving licence.

Tests will resume in Wales on August 17, while no date has been set in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

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