Driving instructors and their students are relieved that driving lessons are in full swing again. The Driving Standards Agency (CBR) staff in Eindhoven are also pleased with this, although they have an enormous bulk of overdue exams to clear.
A local driving student smiles radiantly at her instructor.”I got it,” calls Britta van der Laan to her instructor, waiting outside. Her driving lessons ceased for eight weeks. Last week she heard she could take her test on Tuesday. “I was able to do a few more lessons quickly to get back into it. And now my driver’s license…YES!”
The CBR’ll have to work through 300,000 postponed exams, nationwide, in the coming weeks. And the agency’s facing an uphill battle. Some examiners are in the risk group and are staying home as a precaution. So, not only has the staff been greatly reduced, there are new exam applications waiting to be processed too.
At full tilt
“We’re now handling the postponed exams, which were scheduled until 6 May”, Irene Heldens, of the CBR, explains. “Then it’s the rest of the exams’ turn.” The CBR expects to be able to catch up in six weeks. At the restart of the exams, the digital intake system began at full tilt immediately. According to Heldens, everything’s now working great again.
Jan Heezen has a driving school in Waalre. He understands the situation: “If everyone hurriedly jumps on the system at once, it freezes. That makes sense. Everyone just has to wait their turn. It makes no difference.” Heezen’s school’s running at full speed again. “We take 15 minutes between lessons to disinfect the car. Anyone who wants to can use a face mask”.
In the driving industry’s ‘new normal’, the use of masks is advised, but it’s not mandatory. Heezen says, “Just like the windows and air conditioning. The advice is to close the windows and turn off the air conditioning as much as possible. But we don’t have to do anything. And that helps, especially with summer approaching.”
The CBR’s anti-corona protocol
Even at the CBR, everything’s slightly different than before. In the theory examination rooms, capacity’s been considerably reduced to enforce the 1.5m rule. A protocol’s also in place for practical exams – at the start of an exam, both examiner and student decontaminate their part of the car. Face masks are used during the exam itself and driving instructors have to wait outside.
Britta took some time getting used to the mask. “My glasses fogged up right away. But that was quickly fixed. And those extra lessons? They cost extra money, but it really doesn’t bother me anymore,” she says.
Editor: Melinda Walraven