A backlog of would-be P-platers caused by the COVID lockdown has meant learner drivers are being forced to wait weeks before they can even sign up to take their driver's test.
Testing resumed at the Orange Service Centre on October 5, but there are still around 60 customers remaining in the backlog before new drivers are even allowed to book a test date. Graham Kidson of Orange Driving School has seen first hand the eagerness shown.
"There's only been a couple been allowed to do the test, because they're only testing the people who got cancelled leading up to and during the COVID lockdown," he said.
"One of my students went down the other day and they were told to come back in about two weeks when they should have it cleared, and then they can look at a date to book him in."
A spokeswoman from Service NSW confirmed that appointments are being scheduled for "priority customers" first, including those who require testing to continue to hold a licence such as aged customers and customers with medical conditions.
"Those who booked an appointment during lockdowns are the focus as tests are rescheduled," the spokeswoman said.
"Available testing times will be increased as restrictions lift in the coming weeks.
"Driver testers are required to be fully vaccinated and customers either need to be fully vaccinated or have received a negative result no more than three days before the test. Face masks, disposable seat covers, hand sanitiser and other personal protective equipment will remain in place."
Dave Toomey from Doug's Driving School has heard that across the state, the backlog sits in the high hundreds.
"We've been very busy, constant calls and just trying to fit everyone in," he said of his business.
"I think everyone is in a bit of a panic and probably worried about the next lockdown."
Mr Kidson said all people can do now is remain patient.
"A lot of people think they have to go as soon as they've had their L's for 12 months, but the license does last you for five years," he added.
"Be patient because they're trying to clear the backlog and they'll eventually catch up. In the meantime everybody is anxious to get their license."
Customers who require a driving test to maintain an unrestricted licence can attend a Service NSW Centre or call 13 77 88 to book.
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