Publication of "DVA Monthly Tests Conducted Statistics - December 2021

Date published: 11 January 2022

The ‘DVA Monthly Tests Conducted Statistics - December 2021’ report, containing statistics up to December 2021, is now available.

Statistical press release

The publication is produced by the DVA Statistics Branch of the Department for Infrastructure (DfI), and contains summary volumes on the vehicle, driver, and theory tests conducted by the DfI’s Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA).  The publication is available on the DfI website at:

Key Points

The key points in the report are:

Driving Practical Tests

Following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, driver testing was able to resume from 23 April 2021 onwards.  Due to the nature of particular tests, off-road Motorcycle and certain LGV tests had been able continue prior to this period. The DVA driver testing booking system opened to all customers in the first week of May 2021.

In December 2021, the DVA received 5,003 applications for a driving test appointment, the highest number recorded for any December since 2014. December applications were 1,370 (21%) less than November (6,373), and 54% (1,761) above the five year December average (3,242).

The DVA conducted 4,474 driving tests in December, which is just over 20% (750) above the five year average for December (3,724).

Private cars accounted for 83% (3,729) of all driving tests conducted in December.

Vehicle Testing

Following the initial outbreak of COVID-19, the DVA suspended all vehicle testing from 24 March 2020, and resumed testing in stages during June (IVA), July (priority groups incl. taxis and buses), and September (four-year-old private cars and motorcycles, three-year-old light goods, and all heavy goods).  The DVA was able to continue testing throughout the winter 2020 lockdown, albeit with a reduced capacity due to social distancing measures.  Temporary Exemption Certificates (TEC) were issued to those eligible vehicles that the DVA was unable to test.

The DVA received 78,307 applications for a full vehicle test in December, just over 5% (4,039) higher than November (74,268). Applications were 41% (22,858) above the five year average for December (55,449), and the highest number recorded for any December since 2014.

In December 2021, the DVA conducted 58,288 full vehicle tests, the highest number of tests conducted for any December since 2014. Vehicle tests conducted in December were 31% (13,688) above the five year December average (44,600).

Driver Theory Tests

Following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, theory testing was able to resume from 23 April 2021 onwards. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) took over the contract for theory testing from Pearson on 4 September 2021. With the administrative system still in transition, test applications for August to December and tests conducted for October to December were not validated in time for publication. These will be included in our published series at the earliest opportunity. September theory tests conducted figures are provisional.

The DVA conducted 4,499 theory tests in September 41% (3,141) below that for August (7,640). The transition to a new service provider (DVSA) may help to explain the drop in theory tests conducted for September.

Private cars account for 88% (3,959) of all theory tests conducted in September.

Notes to editors: 

  1. This is the fifteenth edition of the publication ‘DVA Monthly Tests Conducted Statistics’, to December 2021. 
  2. The release presents statistics on vehicle, driver, and theory tests conducted during December 2021, together with trend series over the previous five financial years. 
  3. We source vehicle and driver data from administrative data sources within the DVA, whilst DVSA supply theory-testing data. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) took over the contract for theory testing from Pearson on 4 September 2021. With the administrative system still in transition, the latest monthly figures were not validated in time for publication. These will be included in our published series at the earliest opportunity.
  4. ‘DVA Monthly Tests Conducted Statistics’ is published every month at pre-announced release dates, which are available from the GOV.UK website.
  5. Electronic copies of ‘DVA Monthly Tests Conducted Statistics – December 2021’ can be downloaded from our website at:
  1. A detailed User Guidance document is also available on our website.
  2. This report supplements the existing quarterly National Statistics publication ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics’.  The latest edition of this for quarter one 2021-22 was released on 2 September and is available on our website at:
  1. This is an Official Statistics publication and therefore follows the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.  You can find further information about the Code of Practice at: Statistic Authority
  2. For further information, please contact:
DVA Statistics Branch,
Driver and Vehicle Agency,
Annex 4,
Belfast Test Centre,
66 Balmoral Road,
Belfast,
BT12 6QL
  1. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office at: press.office@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk.
  2. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
  3. Follow the Department on Twitter @deptinfra and on Facebook @DepartmentforInfrastructure.

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