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DVSA text message trial to prepare learner drivers for taking their test

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Driving instructors, Feature, Learning to drive, Road safety features

A white Toyota with an 'L' plate affixed to the front. The licence plate has been blanked out.

I’m Bob Hannigan, and I’m Head of National Standards and Accreditation at DVSA.

Part of my role is looking into how we can help make sure learners are ready to take their driving test, and to ultimately better prepare them for a lifetime of safe driving.

Trialling the use of text messages

Earlier this month, we started sending out text messages to learner drivers, either encouraging them or asking them to consider whether they feel confident and ready to take their test. These will continue until February 2019.

The texts are designed to inform, rather than replace, the discussions ADIs have with their pupils before their test to check you're both happy with their progress and ability. We think it’s really important those discussions continue throughout the pupil’s learning process. 

Why we’re carrying out research

As we explained in the DVSA direct we sent in November, we’re working with The Behavioural Insight Team (BIT) to carry out research into learner drivers and how we can:

  • make sure candidates are better prepared to take their test
  • encourage learner drivers not to take their test before they’re ready
  • help keep new drivers safer once they've passed

Before we trialled the messages, BIT and DVSA undertook a period of fieldwork to consider the target group and touchpoints of users.

ADIs, learners and test centre staff were interviewed and considered as potential trial participants. A final decision was made to use text messages.

We designed the messages to complement learner drivers’ efforts to adopt safe driving behaviours. The learning we gain from this research will help us develop future communications.

How the text messages are sent

Anyone over the age of 17 in Great Britain is automatically opted-in to be part of research to improve road safety when they book their driving test. The messages are sent between 14 and 1 days before their test.

We know some of you are receiving these messages instead of your pupils, as your phone numbers are on the test applications.

Although we do have some mitigating action in place to prevent this happening, if you receive one, we’d encourage you to share the message with your pupil as part of your normal discussions about their progress and readiness for their test.

What the text messages will look like

Learners will receive 1 of 10 of trial text messages, and only one of these messages will ask your pupils for extra information. This message will be sent from a number ending 284.

If your pupil does receive the text message asking how many hours they've driven for, you should encourage them to respond, as their responses will help us inform future communications to learner drivers.

The other messages will ask the learner to consider things like whether they have had enough practice in different weather conditions or tips on how to relax before taking their test. These will come from ‘Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’.

A message sent by DVSA.GOV.UK to a learner driver. Reads: "Hi Monica, your driving test is coming up. It's booked for 11:30 on 16/01/2019 at NG4 2JU. If you don't feel ready, it's free and easy to pick a new date - just go to" and then a link to the 'Change your driving test appointment' page on GOV.UK.

Data protection rules

Some of you have asked how the text messages comply with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) rules. As a government organisation, we can carry out research where it supports our public task.  Making sure candidates understand and are prepared for their test meets that requirement.

We’ve published the privacy notice on GOV.UK, which explains how we process candidates data. The data collected through this research will be stored for a maximum of 2 years. 

Future plans

We’re committed to reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads. Over the next year, we’ll be carrying out more research into how we can better prepare newly qualified drivers for driving safely on our roads.

We know you work hard every day teaching learner drivers the skills they need and we don't want to undermine the value of your work. However, with one in 5 people killed or seriously injured on the roads, involved in a collision where the car driver is aged between 17 and 24 years old, we need to do more.

Researching learner driver experiences

Our next research phase is planned for January 2019, when we will be working with BMG Research to survey learner drivers. This will help us understand more about learners’ experiences of learning to drive and how prepared they feel when getting ready for and taking their test. We’ll also be asking where, how and why people learned to drive.

We’ll update you next year about the outcome of this research trial and our future plans.

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  1. Comment by Graham Kennish posted on

    Seems to me a total waste of money and effort. And yes, it is another addition to screen busyness as well as the increasing general move towards electronic 'higher authority' rather than face-to-face human contact.

    • Replies to Graham Kennish>

      Comment by David Smythe posted on

      It's much more efficient to have a simple text sent out rather than employing hundreds of people to do the same work. In an ideal world, yes, it would be preferred to have face-to-face conversations, but ultimately there's more important matters that require funding than this, especially since there's a cheaper and more efficient option available

  2. Comment by Tom Foster posted on

    Hello I think this compliments the information given. by the ADI in the pupil has to revalue their driving knowing that they have or not stated as being ready ,giving ownership.
    To often a pupil will insist on attending a test after being told their close but not yet ready for test .
    Tom Foster

    • Replies to Tom Foster>

      Comment by Ian Larkin posted on

      Tom - I really think you should have gone to school in order to be able to write in the English language. I can't understand a word of what you are trying to say!

      • Replies to Ian Larkin>

        Comment by Tom foster posted on

        Thanks Ian I'm sure you can teach or tell me written English, but I would prefer to be coached . Have some books on coaching if you want read ( non on written English though) will put English in grammar in my personal assessment from a 4 to 7 in 3 months , thanks for the thought
        Regards Tom

  3. Comment by Stu Walker posted on

    Is there an opt-out option available?

    • Replies to Stu Walker>

      Comment by Olivia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Stu,

      You can opt out of the research by emailing If an individual has received the text that they need to respond to, they can reply "STOP" to not receive anything else.


      • Replies to Olivia (DVSA)>

        Comment by Stu Walker posted on

        Thank you. Merry Christmas

      • Replies to Olivia (DVSA)>

        Comment by Stu Walker posted on

        Thanks, Merry Christmas

  4. Comment by Alan Playford posted on

    Wrapping up learners in cotton wool and sending them text messages is not going to help in any way for what driving experience they will have ahead of them.

  5. Comment by Steve Boardman posted on

    Car, Cars and Cars! Any mention of motorcycles and their status in this? Any reference to motorcycle instructors?
    I’ll leave you to ponder the answers.

    • Replies to Steve Boardman>

      Comment by Olivia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Steve,

      We held a consultation last year on proposals to improve the way that motorcycle training works. As these were widely supported we'll be looking to implement them as soon as legislative time allows.

      We also relaunched the Enhanced Rider Scheme this summer to help riders improve their skills and experience post-test.


  6. Comment by Dave posted on

    Can the DVSA use text messages to cancel tests too... emails oftentimes yo junk/spam or disappear

  7. Comment by Malcolm Hillary posted on

    Did I read that right ‘One in five 17-24 year olds killed or seriously injured on the road?’ Surely not!

    • Replies to Malcolm Hillary>

      Comment by David N posted on

      Malcolm, I think it's poorly worded, should read that 1 in 5 of those killed or seriously injured are in 17 to 24 years old age group, that makes more sense.

  8. Comment by Alan Fisher posted on

    Anything that encourages a pupil to think seriously whether they feel ready or not has to be useful, it’s all a part of their journey and will encourage them to work towards becoming a safer more prepared driver.
    Texting is the teenagers life these days so this has to be considered progress.

  9. Comment by Dilwinder singh Bola posted on

    I think we should have minimum lessons that should be completed before any learner can apply for the test,recently I went to someone to start lesson and people told me they had three lessons and the have booked the test in four weeks time and I was so shocked that people couldn’t even move the car.?

    • Replies to Dilwinder singh Bola>

      Comment by Ken Fox posted on

      It should never be a case of how many lessons or when a test is booked, it should always be the case is the learner safe & competent. In my opinion learners are better prepared for real driving when lessons are concentrated over a shorter period and combined with extra practice with parents. Driving around test routes for 1 hour on a Monday at 7pm every week does not produce a safe competent driver.

  10. Comment by Steve Butler posted on

    At what stage would you send the above screenshot ,,As an ADI I have prepared my pupil to the best of my ability and WE would have agreed a date suitable to their skills,,,,Now IF the pupil was nervous ( which we know they ALL are)
    That Just Might sway them to postpone their test adding even more stress and Cost of maybe unnecessary extra lessons
    Steve Butler

    • Replies to Steve Butler>

      Comment by Olivia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Steve,

      The texts are sent between 14 and 1 day before the test, depending on the wording. The example text would be sent between 14 and 4 days before the test, to give the candidate time to rebook.

      • Replies to Olivia (DVSA)>

        Comment by Steve Butler posted on

        Many Thanks for your reply
        Seasons Greetings to you and yours Plus your colleagues

  11. Comment by John posted on

    "However, with road collisions being the biggest cause of deaths in young people and one in five 17 to 24 year olds killed or seriously injured on the road, we need to do more."

    Has this been checked? 20% of 17 - 24 year olds killed?????

  12. Comment by Geoff Joyce posted on

    Just puts doubt in a pupils mind as to whether they are ready or not. As an ADI I spend a lot of time boosting a pupils confidence trying to convince them that they are ready. They get this text and all that effort is wasted. Since these texts have been sent out more of my pupils have failed than ever before. Coincidence!

    • Replies to Geoff Joyce>

      Comment by Olivia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Geoff,

      We know good instructors will be having these conversations to reassure and prepare their learner. However, not all learners have professional tuition with an instructor. Some may also book their driving test without speaking to their instructor. The text messages are designed to reach all learner drivers and get them to reflect on their ability and skills.

    • Replies to Geoff Joyce>

      Comment by Ken fox posted on

      Student confidence in their own ability must be really low if a text message can affect them so badly. As ADI's we really need to stop using nerves as an excuse in the testing process. Confidence comes from practice and the learner being made to take responsibility for their learning. There is no place for unpredictable nervous drivers on today's roads.

    • Replies to Geoff Joyce>

      Comment by Stephen Hicks DVSA-ADI. AMIMI. posted on

      I may be a control freak or something on those lines but, in all the years i have been teaching the art of safe driving for life, it is myself that books my pupils driving tests, there is no way my pupils learning curve is going to be disrupted by pointless surveys that destroy hard worked for confidence building.

  13. Comment by Haydn Jenkins posted on

    I have a lot of nervous and SEN clients these texts, are not helpful putting last minute doubt in the candidates mind, as a professional ADI, I would never take them if they weren't ready.

    • Replies to Haydn Jenkins>

      Comment by Olivia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Haydn,

      Thanks for your comment. We know most instructors like you, would never take their pupil for test if they weren't ready. However, not all learners will listen to their instructor's advice, or have tuition from an instructor at all. We want learner drivers to be better prepared for taking their test, and the aim of these text messages is to add to the conversations and advice instructors are already giving.


      • Replies to Olivia (DVSA)>

        Comment by Haydn Jenkins posted on

        I really question the DVSAs intention on this and other initiatives lately, as it seems, you will continue ahead regardless of instructors opinions, even with a good number of instructors, saying its a bad idea, sitting that not every test candidate uses an ADI fine send the texts to candidates who haven't put an instructors reference, but candidates who have put ADI number leave them alone, and stop undermining their confidence.

  14. Comment by Paul posted on

    This undermines the integrity of the Instructor. We are supposed to be professionals with good judgement and suggesting the candidate might change the demeaning. It’s sewing the seed for candidates to change dates without the knowledge or consulting their Instructor.

    • Replies to Paul>

      Comment by Olivia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Paul,

      The texts are designed to inform, rather than replace, the discussions ADIs have with their pupils before their test, to help more learner drivers feel prepared for taking their driving test. We would encourage learners to speak to their instructor about changing or moving their test.

  15. Comment by Ian Rayner posted on

    Further to Malcolm Hillary above - Please CLARIFY the statement :
    'and one in five 17 to 24 year olds killed or seriously injured on the road'
    Thank you.

  16. Comment by Bajita Sarah Elias Kulinga posted on

    I believe if they pass the driving test ,it means they are safe to drive so asking these questions I do not see the point.
    1.How did this person has accident with full driving licence.

    2.How did he passed if he or she was not safe?
    3.Who examine while doing his test?
    All driving examiner should be responsible for all the accident happened in London. If they can fail driving learner dozen times why accident happened?
    Please start from your examiner before asking learner

    • Replies to Bajita Sarah Elias Kulinga>

      Comment by John posted on

      No disrespect but just by a passing any qualifying exam make you good at what you do?

      Your going off topic here though it about the DVSA SUPPORTING US!

      If the trials work then good this some learner's feel they have took too long peer pressure.

      So they ask there Instuctor if they can go for test. The answer should not be NO or Yes as to if l was to challenge you on a route where you are unfamiliar with would you be able to plan and drive safe with no help for said instructor no coaching or instruction.

      Then you get them to prove it!

      Just say if they pass a test when l know a lot of Adi's still teach test routes and over instruct

      The DVSA are hopefully try to promote the learner to thing about there skills as a driver.

      Don't knock it till you've tried it!

      But l do feel that young ones need to bee more responsible so by the DVSA prompting them as long as they are thought provoking questions, l personally don't see the harm.

    • Replies to Bajita Sarah Elias Kulinga>

      Comment by Dek posted on

      We could all easily take pupils on known test routes and have them pass a test. I’d hope that no one would ever do this but it’s a possibility, especially if dad has taken them out. These pupils may not have had all the skills taught to them that they need but display enough competence to an examiner on the day. I’ve taught many pupils who are great drivers but are immature and they often talk of things driving related that concern me after they’ve passed. We have to consider the safety of pupils, examiners and public when deciding if pupil is ready and I would like to think that ADIs don’t take that decision lightly.

  17. Comment by Sharin W posted on

    Isn’t that a discussion that an instructor should have with the pupil? Why would anyone insist that the pupil take it if they feel they are not ready? I don’t see the point of this to be honest.

    • Replies to Sharin W>

      Comment by Olivia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Sharin,

      We know good instructors will be having these conversations. However, not all learners have professional tuition with an instructor. Some may also book their driving test without speaking to their instructor. The text messages are designed to reach all learner drivers and get them to reflect on their ability and skills.


  18. Comment by Eshan Moossun posted on

    I specialise in teaching the Disabled. I have a learner who has been inconsistent with his lessons despite continuous reminders of how important it is to learn to drive to be safe on our roads. A few weeks ago he took a couple of lessons and then disappeared again. Today he texted me asking “where are you?” I thought he must be waiting for me to turn up for lesson by mistake. Instead, he went to the Driving Test centre, somehow waiting for me to turn up for his test when I was completely unaware of his test booking. The sad thing about this is that he was never ready to take a test and wasted the money.

  19. Comment by G Mooney posted on

    This idea has limited value within the driving instructor industry. Most driving instructors care about the standard of their students driving and will not present candidates for test before they are ready. Often hours of work is needed to build a students confidence enough for them even to book a test, for them then to receiving a text message asking ‘ARE YOU READY’ could undermine all that work. Perhaps more emphasis should be placed on maintaining standard in the years after passing the driving test.

  20. Comment by Jessica Jordan posted on

    This is feeding on the nerves of young drivers - those who are capable but nervous will see this as a get out clause. Let's not even mention the nightmare this will cause driving instructors with students cancelling tests through propaganda messages. As a reliable driving instructor you know when your pupil is ready to go in for their test, you wouldn't suggest they book it otherwise. If you want to regulate students to the extent that you are suggesting, I suggest you start funding lessons and tests and stop using tests as revenue.

    • Replies to Jessica Jordan>

      Comment by Olivia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Jessica,

      Thanks for your comment. We know most instructors like you, would never take their pupil for test if they weren't ready. However, not all learners will listen to their instructor's advice, or have tuition from an instructor at all. We want learner drivers to be better prepared for taking their test, and the aim of these text messages is to add to the conversations and advice instructors are already giving.

      • Replies to Olivia (DVSA)>

        Comment by Ger posted on

        Hi Olivia,
        Surely a better approach would be to insist that all test candidates must have been coached by an ADI before attending a test. And must show proof of such. As already mentioned we spend time building our clients confidence and fully prepare best we can..I believe that a last minute text from who they see as the 'big power' would just step them back and create more cost for them.

  21. Comment by Bob Flatters posted on

    Anything that helps pupils become better drivers and more ready for test has to be a good thing, but what about the ones that have passed and are now out there on their own, especially the ones who say " Now I've passed I can do what I like ". These are the ones that are speeding, driving too close, and causing accidents. Isn't there something or someway they can be kept under control until they learn more sense.

    • Replies to Bob Flatters>

      Comment by Ewere Obi posted on

      That's true. Some teenage or youth drive very bad after passing their driving test. Teenager told me he drive 120 in national speed limit apply. I ask him, do you know is very risk.

  22. Comment by Damon Lake posted on

    Why are you the DVSA not using text messages in place of emails to inform candidates of test cancellation? Most 17-21 year olds I talk to DON’T use their emails daily or even check on them!

  23. Comment by Angus McFadden posted on

    I think the idea has merit, but many of the messages I have seen just come with a barb that generates doubt. The trial looks something like an Escher painting to me, and DVSA is only seeing it from its own perspective. Many ADIs will have worked hard to get pupils - many of whom have confidence issues in the first place - up to test standard, so to have a message casting doubt on that could bring the whole house of cards crashing down. Likewise, the advice to just "move your test". Yeah, right. ADIs can fit ANY test in at ANY time, with ANY amount of notice, right? (Well, DVSA seems to think so, given how it can cancel a test at the last minute, often when you've turned up because of not having been informed, and they've moved it to next week.) The trial could be much smoother, and the parts slot together for the benefit of all concerned. Of course, all concerned have to be asked and listened to first.

  24. Comment by Steve Watson posted on

    ...However, with road collisions being the biggest cause of deaths in young people and one in five 17 to 24 year olds killed or seriously injured on the road....

    Really?! Millions of young adults killed or seriously injured? That is clearly incorrect.

    I think someone needs to proof read these communications.

  25. Comment by Roger Borchardt posted on

    I think this is a positive step towards improving the overall standard of new drivers on the roads. I too work hard to coach students to become the safest driver they can be for life only to find a few leave as soon as a mock test is advised to establish where their progress lies in relation to test standard. They move to another instructor who is happy to do as they dictate to avoid a mock test or after learning they have issues needing addressing. A further positive step to stop this would be to provide a system where the instructor could warn the DVSA the student in question is not ready and should not take a test without further preparation. This may minimise another instructors willingness to present a student for test in their car without the necessary additional preparation.

    The positive move to allow qualified ADI’s with dual controls to introduce learner drivers to drive on faster motorway roads is a move in the right direction. Unfortunately some ADI’s have not themselves been taught to drive correctly on these types of roads and are unable to provide the best training. An SE advised it will never be made compulsory due to some areas being too far from motorways. After discussion with a senior traffic police officer, successful completion of a compulsory motorway/dual carriageway simulator training prior to being able to booking a test, could be a sensible step to improve road safety?

  26. Comment by R . Paul Dutton posted on

    If someone passes any test , in any walk of life , they feel qualified to pursue that activity.... clearly the UK driving test is not fit for purpose as evidenced by the number accidents on UK roads.....the test should be a first step only towards a full licence .....government investment and research should be directed towards controlled introduction of new drivers to UK roads after passing the current UK driving test .....

  27. Comment by Mark posted on

    Hi I’m supportive of any resource that may help a pupil think sensibly about taking the Practical test, you could go a step further and inform parents bout the ‘Proper Preparation’ required to pass the test safely..
    In my 28 years of teaching it’s equally the parents pushing for the test when the pupil isn’t ready, as they believe ‘they’ had such few lessons when they passed the test.

    • Replies to Mark>

      Comment by jackie posted on

      I couldn't agree more about parents being pushy. My biggest problem is never my pupils who listen and discuss test readiness with me it's their parents who cause probls

  28. Comment by TREV Thomas posted on

    Sounds like a good idea but where did you get that one in five being killed or injured from ? Will this now be extended for LGV PCV learners as well ?

  29. Comment by Douglas Campbell posted on

    The DVSA states road collisions are the biggest cause of deaths in young people, not true. Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people.

  30. Comment by Stephen Hicks DVSA-ADI posted on

    Surely texting new drivers before or after they have passed a driving test is urging them to pick up on the move, while the rest of law enforcement is
    diss-couraging the use of mobile phones for texting while in a moving
    vehicle that they are actually in control of.

    One of my pupils ( despite being told at the beginning of every lesson to switch off her mobile ) physically picked up and glanced at her phone whilst approaching a set of green traffic lights on her driving test.

    The result for her was a failed driving test with examiner taking verbal action and advising her at the end of her driving test "the law had been broken" while on test, just the same as speeding a fail.

    The result on receiving a text from an unknown source ( "DVSA" )
    without a supervising instructor or examiner to say "NO" will more
    than likely result in an accident caused by confusion of "what / who"
    is this texting and distracting me.

    Despite all our verbal control over learner drivers while teaching
    them, they still cannot resist glancing at a mobile phone or feeling it vibrate in a pocket while being taught to be a safe driver for life, once they have passed they are at they're own mercy, a letter in the post with a pre-paid envelope or text number to respond to would be far safer than randomly texting a potentially new driver that has multi skills to enable them to do 2 tasks at the same time but, how do you all at "The DVSA" know when is a safe time to text.....

    Do'nt do it and Do'nt encourage it ...... Disgraceful ....

    • Replies to Stephen Hicks DVSA-ADI>

      Comment by James Fletcher posted on

      Ummm. I think when it says texting before or after a test, it doesn’t mean 5 minutes before or after.

      Are you suggesting that any learner should never be sent any text messages from anyone at any time during the months they’re learning, on the off-chance that they’re having a lesson and might pick up their phone?

      Perhaps your pupil should have taken responsibility for turning their phone off? If they’re picking up a phone on a driving test, they’re definitely not ready for test.

      • Replies to James Fletcher>

        Comment by Stephen Hicks DVSA-ADI. AMIMI. posted on

        That's a big Ummm James. You only "think" when it says texting before or after a test, it doesn’t mean 5 minutes before or after, how can you be absolutely sure ? Have myself had the DVSA text my phone when just 10 minutes away from entering a test centre with a pupil about to take a driving test, advising me said test has been cancelled due to examiner being unavailable, being a professional instructor my own phone stays out of reach until such time as we are stationary and out of the traffic flow, my pupils are taught to do the same.

        NO i am not suggesting that any learner should never be sent any text messages from anyone at any time during the months they’re learning, on the off-chance that they are having a lesson and might pick up their phone?

        Yes i agree with you that "perhaps" my pupil should have taken responsibility for turning they're phone off ?

        Yes i agree that by picking up a phone on a driving test was not a good idea but, as for saying they’re definitely not ready for test, i will just repeat your opening statement of Hmmmmm.

        Pupil made a passengers choice of picking up a mobile as do so many other motorists with long established years of experience, pupil forgot that the phone was switched on and picked it up to put it on silent / off / mute.

        Her mistake was in doing it while the vehicle was on the move, lesson learnt as it cost her another test fee, better that and have her spread the word of don't pick up, in this case a lesson of expense.

        In my opinion to which i am entitled to air, DVSA is wrong in targeting new drivers in this particular way, surveys if they must be done should be done by post or ( given when booking a test "e.mail" ), instead of paying some-one to sit and text random people running up an unnecessary cost of a wage and using costly mobile technology for a pointless survey that most pupils will just not respond, ignore and delete.

  31. Comment by David Billham posted on

    Telling someone about breathing techniques can be a waste of time when you get an examiner who is blunt & rude. Thankfully most are very good, polite, caring & professional.

  32. Comment by Michael scott posted on

    Ive been an instructor for a very long time now you should advise pupils to listen to their instructors advice as to when they are ready to book a driving test let them drive on their own without the instructors aid verbal and most of them then realise that they are not ready

  33. Comment by Peter Cary posted on

    Bob Hannigan says

    “Anyone over the age of 17 in Great Britain is automatically opted-in to be part of research to improve road safety when they book their driving test. The messages are sent between 14 and 1 days before their test.”

    There does not seem from this comment there is any option to NOT receive these texts before they are sent...

    Have they considered the effect receiving such a text to Special Needs where in some cases years have been taken to get them to the stage where they believe they can achieve success.

    With less than 14 days before the test they are told...

    Are you confident you can pass?

    Females are more likely to fail..

    How many lessons have you had?

    Plus 7 other questions that I have not been told the content of.

    Before gathering more data, could they tell the public..

    How the pass rate has improved and how KSI figures reduced for new drivers

    Due to the introduction of..

    1) Theory Questions

    2) HPT

    3) Independent Driving

    4) New Driving Test

  34. Comment by Chloe posted on

    I’m 27 so it seems you think we are all from 17 to 24 years old. The test now makes everyone feel that we never pass lol. All the instructors make sure that their pupils are ready before letting them to book for the test.

  35. Comment by Kathy Keeley posted on

    Passing a driving test was one of the most useful things I've done (although I don't currently have a car). I think having a written test is probably a good thing, although I've only done a speed awareness test.

  36. Comment by M Fletcher posted on

    A text from the DSA will not stop the learner who thinks they are ready when they aren't.
    Us ADI's try to make them see they are not ready, but they think we want to take more money from them.
    I tell them straight right at the beginning I will NOT let them take a test UNLESS they have a good chance of passing.
    I had a guy who said he would be ready after 10 hours. Lets see I said.
    After 10 hours he had a test booked and expected me to take him.
    I did a mock test with him and he very soon saw he wasn't anywhere near ready. But did he decide to do more hours? No! He said well it's worth a go, you never know.
    Thats when I politely said he would be better off with a different instructor.
    These are the idiots we see on the road every day.
    I think that the test should only allow you to drive for a certain time say 5 years before you have to take another one to prove you can still drive responsibly. If you fail then you have to take remedial lessons

  37. Comment by eddy posted on

    Not quite sure what the point is of asking if the pupil has had enough lessons. IF the driving test is fit for purpose then the people who have not had enough lessons won't pass anyway!

  38. Comment by Dave Fox posted on

    Having been an ADI for many years i feel as though the time is right to introduce a minimum number of hours tuition before a test. We constantly get told about friends of our students who have passed with low numbers of lessons , parents who say they only had low numbers of lessons etc. There are lots of youngsters in particular who nowadays seem to want to pass with as few lessons as they can get away with. Theres a real attitude problem towards buckling down and learning properly ie reward without effort. I acceptthay some may reach test standard with fewer lessons but surely introducing minimum requirements on lessons would still benefit the fast learners and give them the opportunity to consolodate their skills and experience.

  39. Comment by John Owen posted on

    I am not a driving instructor, but I have been driving for over 50 years! I'm not perfect, only had a few SP30s over the years. My father taught me to drive, and I never had a formal lesson, passed test second attempt. I taught all my 4 children to drive, with the aid of lessons from a BSM instructor, as conditions had changed in the intervening years! They all passed first time.
    My point is that not all applicants will have had formal lessons, and these texts will cover everyone. It seems to me there is a simple solution for instructors, which is given in the DVSA explanation. Put your own phone number in the phone number box on the test application, or advise the student to do the same. If the student is unwise enough to book the test against your advice, then they will get the texts as will students who have no formal instruction. You can then filter the texts using your professionalism and perception of the student's readiness.
    Even if you don't do this, surely if your pupil trusts you, and you warn them of the text, then I don't see how that can affect their confidence if properly managed by you?
    But having said all that (because DVSA will do it anyway), I have to say it is all a bit sledgehammer and nut! If anyone (pupil or otherwise) is not ready and they fail - tough. That's life - deal with it. Its their money wasted, not yours.
    By the same token, I also don't understand why it should matter if a student avoids a mock test or anything else. If the test standard is rigorous and consistent, then as I say, if a student fails the real test, then the only person who loses is the student. Tough old world, isn't it?

    Seems to me DVSA maybe aren't sure about their test consistency!
    Or have I missed the point?

  40. Comment by Laurence Wright posted on

    I've been an ADI for 6 years and I think that however this is portrayed by the DVSA, it is another ill-thought-out idea that is more likely to destroy the confidence of any learner in the run up to test date.
    Call me cynical , but I think DVSA texting learners in this way at anytime, is more about trying to find out what ADIs are doing or not doing.

    Is it time for the whole system to be thoroughly scrutinised? I think so.

    The DVSA should be looking at itself to understand its role; looking at the driving test itself and ensuring it is fit for purpose; looking at the training provision for ADIs and how to maintain high standards; also the training for examiners and to ensure their standards are maintained consistently high.

    I am sure all the various departments will be claiming that they are wonderful and doing a perfect job.
    But if that is true, why do the statistics show no real change in driving test pass rates over the last year and why do statistics continue to show high fatality in accidents involving 17 - 24 year olds ?

    There are many hard working professional ADIs out there in the 'real' world doing an excellent job and we all know what can happen on tests, even to the best prepared learners. The DVSA should leave the preparation to us and please stop this texting.

    Perhaps the next thing will be Ofsted texting all candidates to ask if they are prepared for the coming 'A' level exams and would they like to change the date if they don't feel confident !!!

  41. Comment by Dewi Jones posted on

    Some interesting comments and some good points being made.
    However, these texts are just "fluff". I certainly wouldn't criticise their use, but are they going to make a difference to anything? No.
    A group of new drivers known to myself (i did a few lessons with a few of them) are a good example of what i mean. Their opinion of learning to drive is this "its a necessary evil, a means to an end, to be done as cheaply and as quickly as possible". In order to facilitate these aims this group of friends do as few "paid for driving lessons as possible" (i did 6hrs with one and 16hrs with another) and then go for their practical test, hoping to squeeze through.
    Obviously i haven't allowed them the use of my car, but mum/dad have been happy to let the kids use theirs. When i spoke with one of the people, by now she'd failed three times, her answer was "well its cheaper than doing lessons with you, and I might pass"....which she did on her 4th attempt.
    Sending a well intentioned text to people such as these will make no difference.

    What will help would be to make the test harder to pass, and to insist on a minimum number of hours with an ADI. Of course, this will never happen

  42. Comment by Derek Matthews posted on

    From an ADI point of view I feel you're stepping on my toes and interfering in my coaching process which in most cases is tailored to suit the individual.
    Maybe you should canvas to establish those who are taking professional help and those who are not. Then leave those who are being professionally trained alone. Target the ones who really need to be questioning there readiness for test.

  43. Comment by J Bendon posted on

    If you want to improve road safety and have more people pass the test then restrict them too only 3 or 4 driving test in 12 mouths.
    That will stop people from saying

    Let me take it for the experience
    I might be lucky on the day

    All the responsibility is on the instructor to make sure they Pupils are ready for the test,
    when a pupil can take as many tests as they like until they pass.

    If you are teaching someone who refuses to cancel when you have tried to explain that they are not ready then you ether let them take it or you ask them to leave. But there is always an instructor who will take them for the test or there dad will.
    Sending out a text message asking them if they are ready i don’t think will do anything.

  44. Comment by Daz posted on

    A No Dual Controls No Test policy would cut down on have a go test dates and im sure make examiners feel safer.
    Also compulsory re testing every ten years as it's not just the 17 to 24 yr olds that need training.

  45. Comment by Lynda Knight posted on

    One positive from this is that it will serve to remind the pupil of the date, time and location of their test and perhaps avoid the too seldom seen situation of candidates arriving on the wrong day, wrong time or at the wrong test centre. However I fear it will not deter the pupil who is determined to take their test against all advice to the contrary. An ADI may refuse the use of their car under such circumstances but the determined pupil may well turn up for test in a none dual controlled car which places the examiner in a more dangerous situation than if the test had gone ahead in the instructor’s car.

  46. Comment by James Stevens posted on

    My pupils will ONLY take a test in MY car if
    1 I think they will pass
    2 They think they will pass
    3 We both also think that they will be safe on the road post test unsupervised ( they maybe driving towards me!)
    Why do I read so much of pupils booking their test?......I book the test, if the pupil is not ready by the test date, then it is "deferred". Why would an ADI allow a candidate to use his/her vehicle when the candidate is clearly not ready? The driving examiners are human, they will soon I hope, realise that an ADI is not preparing candidates properly and advise the S/E for the test centre, and "words" be said to that ADI to get their act together if a pattern emerges.
    Non of my candidates has mentioned this "text" to me how long has it been going on for?

  47. Comment by Steven Cornwell posted on

    There are some merits to the idea but I believe this has not been given enough thought for many reasons already posted. In particular, causing doubt in the student just prior to test when the ADI works so hard to position the candidate in the best emotional frame of mind.
    It is frustrating that time is spent on this when, in reality, could be focused on improving a driving test process which is dated and still unfit for modern day driving. The biggest elephant in the room is always going to be the human element and driver attitude. This applies to all age groups. Knowing the huge difference in survival rates for a pedestrian hit at 30 mph and 35 mph does not impact on the vast majority of the general public exceeding the 30 mph restriction on a regular basis whether subconscious or not. Deciding whether or not to go for an eye test in middle age, purely optional. Periodical updating of driver knowledge non existent unless on a driver awareness course.
    The introduction to driving should be the same for all. A staged syllabus which includes all the elements of the Pass Plus over the course of the training period and may involve some restrictions in the initial phase. A mandatory black box for the first 2 years (curfew debatable and problematical).

  48. Comment by Yvonne Carchrie posted on

    I think this text message system is a great idea. I just passed my test on Thursday and I recieved a text the day before. I had never heard of this scheme and neither did my instructor but it gave me a little boost of confidence and excitement to go out and pass my test! Within the text it told me to 'remember my last good drive and that I should go out and do just as well as I did'. I feel that positivity is a huge part of helping students pass and get their licence.

  49. Comment by JohnGlover posted on

    Sorry DVSA to my mind this is just scratching the surface of the real problem of driver attitude post test. As an ADI I do my level best to instill into my candidates a good safe, responsible, courteous defensive driving attitude towards driving and only permit a test when truly ready. Yet I witness daily , as I'm sure all ADIs do , increasing levels of irrational , abusive, aggressive and down right dangerous attitude. A few texts asking a candidate if they are ready will do nothing to improve driver attitude post test.

    Once the test is passed ADIs have no control over the driver attitude. As such I would be interested in what ideas the DVSA has to do this? how about;

    Minimum number of hours of professional tuition covering all road types, day/night etc logged by the ADI with the DVSA?

    Make "pass plus " mandatory?

    Extension of the new driver regulations to say 3 years including say a "re examination " after 3 years failure of which would result not in revocation but an extension of new driver regulations for say another 2 years.

    Restriction on car engine size and power to weight output for the period of the new driver regulations?

    I'm sorry guys but I don't think a few texts to ask if you are ready is going to make our roads safer. More radical action is needed.