Driving chief calls for action after Sunderland teenager given licence without passing test

19-year-old Rheece Lowden has been sent a driving licence despite not yet sitting his test.

19-year-old Rheece Lowden has been sent a driving licence despite not yet sitting his test.

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THE head of a national driving instructors’ group is calling for urgent action after a teenager was mistakenly handed a licence without sitting his test.

Barry Kenward, chairman of Delivering Information Developing Understanding (DIDU), has written to the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) demanding that steps are taken to prevent a repeat of the blunder which saw Rheece Lowden sent a full licence in the post.

As reported in the Echo, the 19-year-old, of Washington Village, was due to take his examination earlier this year, but cancelled it online.

However, the former Usworth Sixth Form student still received the official paper and plastic authorisation just days later.

The teenager, who feared he would be charged for a replacement provisional licence as well as a new test, refused to hand it back until officials took responsibility for the mistake.

“I have written to the chief executive officer at the DSA, Rosemary Thew, to ask questions about how this could have happened and for reassurance it will not be happening again,” said Mr Kenward.

“Additionally, in an attempt to champion his cause, I have also asked that between the DSA and the DVLA they sort this fiasco out and that Rheece gets another test without further payment and that he is not further charged the £20 for a new provisional licence.”

Rheece, who is unemployed, said he hoped passing his test would improve his job prospects, and spent hundreds of pounds on lessons.

Mr Kenward, who is chief of the association of driving instructors, said: “I was heartened to see how Rheece has handled himself and the situation.

“He is a credit to himself, his family and young people.”

A spokesman for the DSA has apologised for the mistake.

“This was an isolated incident and we are grateful to the customer who drew it to our attention,” he said.

“We took immediate action to avoid any repeat and apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho