The DVSA have given a highly anticipated update on wearing masks during driving lessons and tests as the UK starts to emerge from lockdown on the 19th of July. Since the Prime Minister announced that mandatory face coverings indoors will come to an end, there has been much debate as to whether they should remain for people coming into close contact situations such as driving lessons.
This has left many driving instructors and pupils asking “do I still have to wear a mask during my driving lessons?”
Please note: the below guidance only applies to England. Current measures will remain in place until further notice in Scotland and Wales.
As examiners are coming into contact with so many people each week, most rules on driving tests will not be changing.
😷 Face coverings will still be mandatory for driving tests unless the pupil has ‘good reason not to’. This guidance has not changed since tests restarted in April and looks to be an attempt to protect examiners, many of whom are already having to self-isolate, causing further delay to the backlog.
As before, pupils can declare themselves exempt from wearing a mask if:
- They have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
- Putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress
🪟 As well as the mask guidance remaining the same, one window must still be open on each side of the car throughout the duration of the driving test.
❌ Examiners will still be ending tests early if pupils make a dangerous or serious fault resulting in a fail. This is to reduce contact time within the car.
🚗 Driving instructors may be allowed to sit in the back of tests again soon, as this measure will be under review when social distancing is relaxed. No timescale has been offered for this as yet.
🏢 Most waiting rooms that were closed due to COVID will be reopened, though this will not apply to a handful of waiting rooms that cannot be well enough ventilated. You can check your local waiting room using this guide.
The biggest changes to the measures come in driving lessons, where masks will no longer be mandatory.
😷 Despite this, the DVSA are recommending and expecting that face coverings are still worn during driving lessons. This helps reduce the spread of COVID-19. Many driving schools and instructors are already planning on keeping masks mandatory for their lessons, helping to protect each other from the virus and self-isolation going forward.
⚠️ Driving instructors should exercise caution during lessons, and also be aware that many of their pupils fit into the younger age categories and will not already be double-vaccinated.
🧪 The DVSA also continue to recommend testing twice a week even if you do not have COVID symptoms. Rapid lateral flow tests are free and can be ordered by clicking here.
You will still need to self-isolate if you’ve come into contact with a confirmed case. This is likely to change after August 16th if you’ve been double jabbed, but guidance could change on this in the next month.
😷 Masks will become personal choice, though the DVSA “strongly encourage” the use of them. Dividing screens will remain in place at theory test centres.
Despite the government changing the law on wearing face coverings, it remains the sensible thing to continue wearing one while in confined spaces to help stop the spread of the virus.
Dave Foster MA, Dip.DI (or Driving School Dave) is the most qualified driving school owner in the country, after completing his Master’s Degree in Driver Training Education in 2011 at Middlesex University. He also holds a diploma in Driving Instruction and is a Cert Ed. qualified teacher. Dave is the founder and Managing Director of 1st 4 Driving Ltd, and also looks after over 15 driving schools across the country on a consultancy basis.