No more L-plates as Edinburgh researcher is among first to pass post-lockdown driving test
A researcher has said he is "over the moon" after he became one of the first people in Scotland to pass his driving test as coronavirus restrictions eased.
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Tests were suspended due to lockdown rules but resumed in Scotland on May 6, having restarted in England and Wales last month.
Oyvind Almelid 35, a Norway-born researcher at Edinburgh University, began taking lessons last August and initially had a test scheduled for February this year.
However when he anticipated that another lockdown was likely, he rescheduled it to 9am on May 6 - which turned out to be the first day tests were able to resume.
He became one of the first driving students in Scotland to take, and pass, his practical driving test after lockdown restrictions eased on Thursday.
Instructors across the country were forced to call a halt to lessons and examinations were scrapped due to strict health measures introduced to combat the spread of coronavirus. Some budding motorists will have to re-sit their theory exams after it emerged their pass result was no longer considered valid due to the time between taking it and sitting the driving test itself.
Driving instructors are now expecting a flood of customers as lockdown eases further and fewer people want to take public transport amid infection fears.
Mr Almelid, who took his lessons with RED Driving School in Edinburgh, said: "I'm over the moon to have passed my test. It feels like there's been more pressure than ever to pass first time given the demand for tests and lessons.
"The 10-day turnaround between lessons resuming and practical tests restarting was a little tighter than I would've liked, but I'm so glad it has worked out with all of Andrew's (his driving instructor) support.
"Now that I have my licence and lockdown has eased, I'm excited to go on big road trips. I'm particularly keen to explore the Highlands."
Students and examiners must wear a face covering during the test unless they have a good reason not to, and drivers are advised to take a Covid-19 rapid lateral flow test beforehand.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said candidates need to have passed a theory test in the last two years to be able to take most types of driving tests.
It said theory test certificates will not be extended because people's road safety knowledge and hazard perception skills need to be up to date when taking driving lessons and their test.
Andrew Simpkins, Mr Almelid's instructor, said he is delighted his pupil had passed.
He said: "I'm thrilled. He's worked so hard to maintain the standard despite the uncertainty, and it's always hugely satisfying to see students' dedication pay off.
"It's lovely to see there's so much goodwill amongst learners, who have all been very understanding of the backlog in lesson and test availability.
"I'm very much looking forward to catching up with all of my other students over the next few weeks."