There is almost double the demand for driving tests than there is availability in south-east Wales.

Recent research by learner driver insurance brokers Marmalade showed that approximately 171,528 learners will contend for a test slot in Wales this year, with just 93,554 tests available.

This data suggests that roughly two learners will compete for each available driving test slot in 2024.

The research, which used data obtained through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and existing Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, revealed that this demand for practical driving test slots across the UK far overshadows the testing capabilities of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), despite recently implemented measures.

According to the most recent data, the average number of tests the UK can conduct per month is 163,998.

In contrast, the monthly gross demand is 195,982, about 19.5 per cent more than what is feasible.

In terms of a national perspective, Marmalade predicts that more than 3.7 million learners will vie for test slots in 2024, 82 per cent more than what can be managed.

The report revealed the particular strain on south-east Wales, with a sizeable backlog predicted for the region.

Using the proportion of annual tests conducted in 2023 as a benchmark, the projected testing capacity and demand for 2024 were estimated for specific postcode areas.

The Vale of Glamorgan has a capacity for roughly 1,730 tests, yet an expected demand of 3,171.

Newport has space for about 6,805 tests and an expected demand of 12,476.

Monmouthshire can conduct 7,640 tests, yet the demand is predicted to be around 14,008.

Meanwhile, Cardiff can hold 18,265 tests, with an anticipated demand of 33,489.

Discussing the research, Chris Lawson, head of insurer relations for car insurance at Marmalade, expressed his concerns.

He said: "Learner drivers up and down the UK are being impacted by this backlog and a fundamental disparity between the capacity for testing and this high demand.

"Until testing capacity can increase, we don't believe that the backlog will ever end, it will only get worse and learners will continue to face a lottery when it comes to securing a test."

Driving instructor Mark Steeples advises learners amidst this backlog.

In his words: "If you’ve done your theory, get your test booked now, but only take it if you're confident and ready to pass based on the advice of your instructor and be prepared to reschedule it if you're not fully ready.

"If you know you’re going to start your driving lessons soon, then get them booked in with an instructor to start learning how to drive at least nine months to one year before, not two weeks before as we often see, that just isn’t going to work."

In response to the situation, Loveday Ryder, chief executive of the DVSA, has asserted that measures are being taken to ease waiting times for tests. saying in an email statement: "We are taking all the measures we can to reduce driving test waiting times.

"We strongly urge learners only to book their driving test when they are ready to pass."