The cost of theory and practical driving tests could increase next year under changes being proposed by the Driver and Vehicle Standard Agency (DVSA).
The agency wants to add around 1.5 per cent to the cost of driving tests as well as some MOT services.
It argues that some charges haven’t risen since 2009 while others have actually fallen, and it requires more funding to support investment in its operations, including a new theory test service.
It has warned that without an increase in fees its services will suffer, with learners facing longer waits to secure a driving test and the chance of dangerous vehicles going undetected.
The proposed changes would add 40p to the cost of a theory test, increasing it to £23.40, and 90p to a standard driving test, taking it £62.90. Out of hours driving tests would rise from £75 to £76.10 and a lorry driving test would go from £115 to £116.70.
The cost of the standard practical driving test has not changed since 2009 and in 2014 and 2015 the price of the theory test was reduced from £31 to £25 and then to £23. According to the DVSA, if prices had risen in line with inflation, the practical test would now cost £75 and the theory £38.
In a statement, the DVSA said: “The ongoing investment in our services and keeping the fees the same for so long means we’re facing a shortfall in our income if we do nothing. This is because our fees will no longer cover our costs.
“If our fees stay at their present levels, we will not be able to continue to provide services to their current standards. For example, driving test waiting times may rise.
“We may also be unable to continue enforcement activity at present levels. This would reduce the chance of dangerous operators being detected, and increase the possibility of serious accidents.”
As well as driving test costs, the changes would also affect the cost of MOTs for heavy goods vehicles and increase the MOT slot fee paid by garages for every test they carry out.
The fees charged by the DVSA are set out in law and changes have to be approved by Parliament before they can be implemented. Ahead of MPs considering them, the DVSA has launched a consultation into the proposals.
The announcement comes in the wake of new data which shows learners are already facing a rise in driving lessons costs. Almost half instructors have put up their fees since last year and many are so inundated with enquiries that they are turning away potential students.