Driving test change introduced today will protect examiners from abuse

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From today, January 25, 2023, driving examiners will begin to wear body worn cameras during driving tests, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency announced. This is due to an increase in unacceptable violent and abusive incidents against driving examiners in recent months.

The body worn cameras will be an essential part of uniform, for the safety of the examiners.

An email was sent to drivers who have a booked driving test today, informing them of the changes.

Body worn cameras are not new to DVSA, as its enforcement staff who tackle road-side issues have worn them for several years.

Any abuse directed towards DVSA staff could result in driving and theory tests being cancelled, or even prosecution.

The cameras will only be switched on if the examiner feels threatened or to capture inappropriate behaviour. 

The footage, where appropriate, will be used to prosecute offenders if abuse occurs.

Any recording captured on the cameras cannot be used to dispute a driving test result.

In a statement to Express.co.uk, Peter Hearn, DVSA’s Director of Operations, said: “Our colleagues have every right to feel safe at work. One assault is one too many and we will not tolerate any form of abuse.

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“Although the majority of people are courteous, we hope that the cameras will help our examiners feel safer from the abusive minority.”

Driving examiners are increasingly being threatened and sworn at by candidates who fail their tests, the DVSA said.

Officials say in 2016 there were around 240 incidents of verbal and physical abuse, compared to 180 the year before.

This comes as driving examiners and vehicle testers will take part in Civil Service strike action on February 1, 2023.

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Some Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) staff who are members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union are planning to take strike action.

The strike action is part of national industrial action by the PCS union over pay, pensions, jobs and redundancy terms.

The strike action might affect driving and motorcycle tests, approved driving instructor (ADI) and motorcycle instructor tests and checks as well as the DVSA’s customers service centre.

MOT tester demonstration tests will also be affected. These are special tests for people qualifying as an MOT tester.

Some Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) staff who are members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union are planning to take strike action. The strike action is part of national industrial action by the PCS union over pay, pensions, jobs and redundancy terms.

However, the strike action will not affect theory tests and MOTs for cars, vans and motorcycles. Previous strikes took place in areas across England and Wales in December and January.

Not all examiners are PCS members, and even if they are, they might choose not to go on strike. People can change the date of their test if they want to, although they will need to give at least three working days’ notice to change the date or they’ll have to pay again.

Learner drivers should go to their driving test appointment as planned if it’s on the date of strike action, unless DVSA contacts people to tell them not to go.

If the test cannot go ahead, the DVSA will automatically rebook the driving test, with the new details being sent within five to 10 working days. If an instructor booked the motorcycle or vocational driving test, the DVSA will refund the instructor instead of the learner driver.

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