A LEARNER driver failed her test before even turning the engine on.
Paul Turner said his 17-year-old daughter was “distraught” when her examiner said she wouldn’t be getting her full licence – or even the chance to have a go – because her car was “too dirty”.
The teen had been waiting months for the slot before she rocked up to Blackpool Test Centre.
But the examiner refused to even get into the car as there were tiny pencil rubber filings on the carpet underneath the passenger seat.
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The schoolgirl’s instructor asked for a second opinion, which was refused, then the manager was contacted to no avail.
Paul, from St Michaels on Wyre, Lancashire, said: “It was the instructor’s car and it was spotless apart from a few tiny bits of rubber from when the instructor had rubbed something out of his diary.
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“The filings weren’t on the seat or anywhere where the examiner would be sitting.
“It wasn’t like there were crisp packets and empty tins everywhere, it’s ridiculous.
“They spent about 10 minutes trying to discuss it and sort it out, but got nowhere.
“So she’s failed without even driving the car, and there’s no way of getting the money back.
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“She was distraught, in floods of tears. I can’t see a reason why he couldn’t get into the car.”
He added: “At the end of the day, these people are civil servants and they need to be accountable.
“There’s such a backlog of people wanting to take their test, and this is making it worse.”
It costs £64 to take a practical driving test and there is currently a four to five-month waiting list.
Theory tests expire after two years, which is adding to the woes of learners stuck on a waiting list.
Paul said: “We live in a rural community, we don’t have buses coming past.
“She will be coming to the end of college in summer, and her job prospects will be limited if she can’t drive.
“Not only that, but this is one of the most nerve-wracking things a teenager does, it’s one of those stand-out moments in your life, and this has just made it worse.
“She’s saved up for this for a long time, she’s saved up herself for her first car, and this is so unfair.”
Other would-be drivers have also complained that examiners at the centre, which is handling tests from across the country to deal with the pile-up, are refusing to get into cars if they are “too dirty”.
And dozens of others across the country have said tests are being declined if cars don’t meet new Covid-busting standards set by the Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency.
One motorist in Norwich failed because of mud in the footwell while others haven’t passed because of a blade of grass and even strands of hair.
Google reviews for Blackpool Test Centre show at least three other people have been failed because of “picky” examiners finding fault with vehicle cleanliness.
Elizabeth Quinn wrote: “Followed the gov.uk guidance for Covid cleaning yet the examiner refused to take him on the test!
“Not sure what he was planning on doing on the floor of the back of the car where he’d spotted a couple of small hairs.
“All surfaces were clean and no rubbish or unnecessary items anywhere as was recommended.”
Kath Threlfall said: “My son got a cancellation at Blackpool for yesterday and had to do it in our car.
“Despite having complied with the cleaning requirements for Covid safety i.e. having removed rubbish and unnecessary items and having cleaned and wiped down the dashboard and car controls, the examiner said the car wasn’t clean enough and refused to do the test.
“When offered the use of a hoover by a waiting parent, he then said it was too late to do the test.”
The DVSA refused to comment on individual cases and wouldn’t say whether examiners at Blackpool Test Centre were being investigated.
Instead, a spokesperson said: “DVSA’s priority is to protect our customers and staff and stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Guidance has been issued that cars used on driving tests must be cleaned before the test to lessen the chance of infection.
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“Driving tests will not go ahead if this has not been followed to ensure public safety.”
The guidance for people wishing to take a test is that they must “clear and clean the inside of your car beforehand”.