Of course you could say that it is a luxury problem that you get your driver’s license later. But for thousands of people, a driver’s license and a car are of enormous importance. Such as for 19-year-old Esmee from Hoensbroek, who cannot work in home care without a driver’s license.
The student pays for her driving lessons herself, she has worked hard for that. Just before corona hit, she bought a package of 35 lessons including exam for 2000 euros. Two lockdowns later she has had 28 lessons but no driver’s license yet. She passed her theory exam. The practical exam was scheduled for January 11, but was postponed until further notice because driving school holders and examiners fall under the contact professions.
“I had my last lesson in November. Then everything closed. I have no idea when the exam can take place. And if I can, I am afraid that I will not pass, because I have not driven for a while”, says the Limburgish. Because her exam was already scheduled, she will be given priority when the driving tests for cars are possible again. But even then it can still take months before your turn.
If your exam was not yet scheduled, the waiting time can be up to 20 weeks, said CBR boss Alexander Pechtold yesterday. Indigestible for thousands of young people who have already started their driving lessons. Social media is bursting with messages from desperate candidates. “In 200 years I will come to you by car”, Monica says to a friend on Facebook. “When will I have my driver’s license, 2024?” Wouter wonders on Instagram with some cynicism. “Have all the lessons I’ve already had and paid for been for nothing?”
It CBR says it will pull out all the stops to make the waiting lists as short as possible. Even the possibility of using retired examiners is being considered. Driving schools are urged to properly prepare candidates to pass them in one go.
19-year-old Lars from Berkel en Rodenrijs in South Holland did not succeed. He failed three times after the first lockdown. “I was not able to take lessons for three months then. In that time I forgot a bit. Especially watching, just didn’t go well anymore.” When is the big question, he will take five lessons (at 37.50 euros) for his next exam, he says. “I haven’t been in the car since November. So I need to refresh it a bit.” For his work – he inspects bridges – he can make good use of a driver’s license. “Colleagues now have to bring me or I will drive. That is far from ideal.”
The 21-year-old Jihan from Nijmegen has already fallen twice (of which the second time was completely unjustified, she says herself). She is going to pass the third time, she is sure. What she doesn’t know is when to do that. “It looks like it could take months. And it really can’t. Because my theory exam will end in July.” The theory certificate is valid for one and a half years.
If her practical exam is not short-term, it would mean that Jihan (and many others) would have to redo her theory. There are waiting lists for that too. “Apart from all the money that costs, I have to learn and practice again. And I can only apply for the practical exam again after that, which will also take months.” She thinks that is unfair.
More delay for theory?
According to the CBR, it is up to the ministry to extend the validity of the theory exams if necessary. The CBR webcare team has hardly any answers to the thousands of questions that are asked about the exams. It usually does not get much further than ‘We hope that we can start again as soon as possible’.
And often referrals are made to politics, on which the CBR also partly depends.
Waiting times up to 20 weeks
Due to the corona measures, the number of postponed theoretical and practical exams at the CBR has risen to more than 600,000. The agency conducts a total of 1.5 million such tests every year.
Without additional measures, it will take years for the situation to return to normal, traffic minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen reported in a letter to the Lower House. Since the start of the second lockdown in December 2020, the CBR had already been working on measures to make up for the earlier arrears.
These are no longer sufficient. At the beginning of March, the CBR will therefore come up with a proposal for new measures, which will be discussed with the ministry. Pechtold then announced that the waiting times for practical exams without additional measures will increase to at least twenty weeks. It will then take years to get rid of the backlogs.
If the lockdown ends after March 2 (we may hear that next week) and the driving tests can be resumed, it will be the turn of the people for whom an exam was already scheduled or the exam was postponed due to the second lockdown. Then it is the turn of the rest.
In order to work the backlog, the exams for practical exams for the motorcycle and moped license will start again from next Monday.
Jihan from Nijmegen has a hard head about it. She needs a car to find work. “I have already lost my job in the hospitality industry. For many vacancies you need a driver’s license.”
Esmee from Hoensbroek has the same problem. She was able to work at a home care organization, but she needed a car for that. “Now I can’t do anything. I also lost my job due to corona. The question is when I can finish now.”
And then, if it is her turn, the pressure to succeed is enormous. “If I fail, that would be terrible. Because then I have to do theory again, and I end up on a very long waiting list. Then we will be another year further. Pooh, then I don’t know anymore.”
Source: RTL Nieuws by www.rtlnieuws.nl.
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