Frustrated learner drivers in Whitby and other parts of Yorkshire are facing waits of up to four months to take their driving test because of a backlog caused by a shortage of examiners.
Analysis has revealed that figures for waiting times across the county vary from anything between five and 18 weeks, with more than 6,000 tests cancelled in Yorkshire in the last year alone.
The “horrendous” situation, say instructors, is forcing them to book driving tests for their students before they’ve even had their first lesson.
Instructor Noel Gaughan has set up a nationwide petition to Parliament, securing nearly 4,000 signatures.
He said: “It is incredibly frustrating. We have lots of people ringing, lots of people crying. It’s absolutely horrific.
“This is about jobs and livelihoods. Someone, somewhere, has taken their eye off the ball. And it’s only going to get worse.”
Official figures show that learner drivers face a postcode lottery as to how long they have to wait for a test.
In some areas – with Whitby, Horsforth and Harrogate being the worst – students are waiting more than four months for a test, while in others, such as Scarborough, options are available within eight weeks.
Government statistics show thousands of tests are being cancelled across the country.
In the year to March 2016, a total of 53,575 driving tests were cancelled across the country, an increase of 36 per cent in just two years.
More than 6,246 tests were cancelled in Yorkshire in the last nine months of 2015 alone.
DVSA Head of Operations, Phil Lloyd, said staff shortages were to blame.
“The increase in demand for driving tests is continuing, and we acknowledge that waiting times are currently higher than we would like in some of our locations,” he said.
“We are working to address this as quickly as possible and will continue with further examiner recruitment campaigns throughout 2016.”
The agency had recruited 193 new examiners in the past year, he said, with a further 44 starting since April.
“We have made offers to an additional 114 people, who are currently either attending the new entrant training course, or awaiting to attend,” he added.
“DVSA conducts over 1.7 million car practical driving tests each year and only a small number of these are cancelled by the agency.
“We recognise that short-notice cancellations are very disappointing for our customers and work to ensure that tests can go ahead wherever possible.”