Almost two-thirds of HGV test centres are battling with waiting lists of at least 11 weeks, with several booked up for six months, according to a freedom of information (FOI) request.

An investigation into how long the current driving test waiting periods are across the UK found 43 out of the 69 test centres around the country have a backlog of at least 11 weeks.

Three, in Aberdeen, Lerwick and Machrihanish in Argyll, said customers were having to put up with 24-week delays.

The FOI, by Driver Hire Training, also revealed that Cumbria, Isle of Wight and South Yorkshire were the counties with the shortest waiting times across their test centres, averaging out to just one week.

As the government overhauls the testing regime in a bid to get more drivers into the industry, Driver Hire said its study showed the average waiting time across all UK test centres was nine weeks.

But it also showed that one in five centres only had a waiting time of between one and four weeks, which showed that delays are beginning to ease in some areas.

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John Keelan-Edwards, Driver Hire Training director, said: “The demand on the supply chain is continuing across the globe, with Britain experiencing everything from chicken shortages to Co2 shortages.

“Key shopping dates, such as Black Friday and the festive period are coming up, which is always a busy time for the supply chain.

“We can guarantee this is only going to be adding more pressure to the supply chain as a whole, with the increasing number of people shopping for these events online.”

Keelan-Edwards added: “The pressure on driver supply is down to so many factors including the likes of Brexit, tax regulations, and a significant fall in the number of people who are actually able to take a commercial vehicle driving test due to the prolonged effects of the pandemic.

“Although the government are changing rules to HGV tests to help pass eager drivers through their exams quicker, it’s no surprise to see the waiting list for these exams is still up to 24 weeks in some areas, as coronavirus is still adding pressure to examiners up and down the country.

“However, it’s also great to start to see those waiting times come down in some places.”

In April, the Logistics Skills Network warned that the DVSA needed to come up with “radical plans” to resolve an estimated backlog of 46,000 HGV driving tests in addition to the average 72,000 tests delivered each year.