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Encouraging learner drivers to be better prepared for their test

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Driving test, Learning to drive, Ready to Pass?

The rear of a red car with L plates, with a view of the countryside in the background.

In preparation for our campaign aimed at helping learner drivers and their parents to understand how long it takes to learn to drive, we are working with external researchers. This is to gather the feedback from learner drivers and their family and friends to help us to develop our messages for the campaign that encourage learners to book and take a driving test only once they’re ready.

In this blog post I’ll share some more details on the research we are carrying out and explain how we plan to use the insight we receive to provide more help and support to learner drivers and their friends and family throughout and beyond the initial learning to drive process.

It’s a challenging time

The COVID-19 pandemic and national restrictions had an enormous impact on the number of driving tests that we could carry out. Between April 2020 and March 2021 the number of driving tests carried out decreased by 72.7% compared to the previous year.

This has caused the national average waiting times for driving tests to increase from 6 to 14 weeks which is frustrating to you, your pupils and colleagues. Our priority is to reduce the waiting times as quickly and safely as possible. One of measures we are taking to help us achieve this is to ensure that learners are better prepared for their test and the critical point at which they drive on their own for the first time.

Currently less than 50% of pupils pass their test the first time, and of those who fail, 85% have resulted in their test having to be terminated by the examiner.

We hope that by helping them to better understand when they are ready to take their test will enable more learners to pass first time.

What role do family members play in helping learners prepare for their test?

Before the pandemic we carried out research with you, your pupils and our examiners. I’m very grateful for all this vital feedback.

The findings in this research made it clear that parents and other family members can be influential on a learner’s decision making when learning to drive and feeling ready for their test. Many of you have also indicated this.  We want to gain a better understanding about the influence that friends and family have on learners.

We are working with BMG Research to carry out an in-depth online survey and follow up interviews with people who have helped a learner driver in their family.

I’m looking forward to finding what more we learn from this research and the new opportunities it will identify for the campaign. For example, ways that we can help to educate learners about how long it takes to be ready for driving test and to become a lifelong safe driver, and ways in which we can encourage them work in partnership with you to help maximise their learning to drive experience.

Learning more about the learning to drive experience

We also want to understand in more detail from a learner’s perspective what it’s like to go through the learning to drive process and how, and at what stages, we could improve the information or support they receive.

We are working with an external research company, Kantar on this and they will be carrying out in-depth interviews with learners.

These 2 new research projects will begin very soon, and the data and knowledge we learn, combined with the previous research, will be used to help us develop our messages and content for the campaign and help learner drivers prepare for a lifetime of safe driving.

We’ll share the findings of this research with you as soon as we can.

How you can help

It is possible some of your pupils or their family or friends could be contacted by the either of the research companies we are working with. If any of your pupils or past pupils get in touch with you to let you know that they have been approached and asked to take part in the research, I’d be grateful if you could please encourage them to take part, as their feedback is vital.

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  1. Comment by Lee Doyle posted on

    As an experienced grade A instructor of 11 years in the South East I fully agree with the message about being ready for the test. However, the exceptionally long wait times for tests means that pupils and families of the pupils are not listening to the sound advice of instructors. Instead they are booking tests and just 'giving it a go' due to the long wait times.

    I personally never take a pupil to test unless I think they are ready and have had to refuse the use of my car on two occasions this year because pupils were not ready for the tests they had booked and they simply would not listen to my advice. In both cases the pupils declined to have further lessons with me to bring them to the correct standard. I am fully booked with a waiting list and so this is not about 'ripping' people off and getting them to take further lessons just for the money. However there is a disconnect between understanding the difference between being able to drive a vehicle and being at test pass standard.

    More should be done to emphasise that pupils need to listen to the advice of their instructors and for the general public to understand there is a difference between being able to drive and being at test pass standard. DVSA should also make it very clear that driving schools have the right to refuse the use of their cars if the instructor believes the pupil is not at test pass standard.

    • Replies to Lee Doyle>

      Comment by Aidan posted on

      • Replies to Aidan>

        Comment by Lesley Price posted on

        I agree entirely. I also believe that the number of driver faults (15) is too high if we, the instructors are being indicated at just 5 driver faults.

        • Replies to Lesley Price>

          Comment by Jay Francis posted on

          I been an ADI 35years 78%pass rate. Retried but came back to help with the back log.nothing has changed pupils buy into a 30/40 course then think that's all it takes to pass .as all ADI not always case. The old saying how long is a piece of string..there is not a set pattern pupils need the lessons that they need to pass the test.over the years I seen driver come and go from 10hrs learning to well over 70hours.pupils should be guided by the instructor that's what where trained for with many hours and years on the road.there is and never will be a short cut to passing a driving test. Only practice and more practice.
          Jay Francis ADI74832

    • Replies to Lee Doyle>

      Comment by Ashni Awesti posted on

      Couldn't agree more, well said!!

      Also, people need to realise what's expected on the driving test. The "I only had a few lessons 20yrs ago, and passed" doesn't mean nothing for the standard required in today's test.

    • Replies to Lee Doyle>

      Comment by Richard Boddy posted on

      Hello I agree with everything just been said, the only way to stop people taking a test too early is to limit the amount of attempts to one every two months - perhaps this may make them think twice about just having a GO.

    • Replies to Lee Doyle>

      Comment by Marius Gugeanu posted on

      I am a driving instructor for more than 11 years and I couldn’t agree more with your comment. More should and can be done by DVSA to make the general public more aware about how many hours one would need to pass a driving test and to be able to control a car to a good level. And also on the fact that the number of hours can vary a lot from one person to another, depending on their coordination and learning abilities.

    • Replies to Lee Doyle>

      Comment by Jeffrey Pelham posted on

      Well said I’ve also had the same problem with pupils booking tests before they are ready, also I’m getting phone calls from pupils looking for instructors as they have a test booked but haven’t even started lessons yet and usually a short time before a test is due total joke

    • Replies to Lee Doyle>

      Comment by Tozo posted on

      Hi, I’m a mum who paid good money for my daughters lessons over 20. Due to COVID I helped her drive for 8 months rain, shine, daylight and night we did it all. When her test came she went with her driving instructor of (15 years experience) she had a few lessons before in case she picked up bad habits. She failed twice, both petty mistakes. When we finally got a 3rd test is when my daughter said I would rather take my car as I can’t see out of the instructors window! As a mum I was shocked to think my quiet daughter didn’t like to ask if she needed to move her seat. We took her car on the 3rd test and she passed. Having listened to many of her friends, I like to know why some instructors feel doing the same road every lesson for over 36 lessons, is classed as teaching!
      The worst thing I keep hearing is their instructors are on the phone all the time texting, saying I’m looking for test dates.
      ( Loads have this issue on lessons.)
      When asked by a pupil to learn something new, they being brush, off!
      remind me next week.
      How wrong is this. £1000 paid to let an instructor play on his phone.
      And nowhere near test ready.
      Maybe bad instructors are giving the good instructors a bad name.
      Lots of pupils won’t say anything to the instructor but they sure do tell each other.
      Beware if your texting while in charge of a pupil they just might report you.
      How will this effect instructors, simple parents will teach them, you lose.
      Maybe reading this you can understand why pupils and parent presume they are ready for test having so many lessons.
      I was lucky only 20, and not on the phone unless they pulled in and parked. There are horror stories out there.

      • Replies to Tozo>

        Comment by Lee Doyle posted on

        Hi Tozo, whilst I can't comment on your particular case your are correct. Doing the same road over and over as well as texting is not only bad practise but texting whilst driving and monitoring a pupil is against the law.

        One of the first things I teach is cockpit drill when the pupil gets in the car and that obviously means adjusting the chair etc. Regrettably as in all industries in life, there are good and bad instructors. Most genuinely want to help a pupil and do a good job, but others just want to let the pupil drive around for an hour, sit back on their phone and thanks for the money and see you next week.

        I remember having a pupil once she had taken the driving test 6 times with two different instructors. She had failed each time. After her assessment drive I could see why she was failing, she didn't know rules of the road or any road craft. Her previous instructors just let her drive up and down the same road pretty much. Within 4 months of taking her on I corrected the faults and she passed the next test without issues. As I say good and bad in all industries.

  2. Comment by J. Holmes posted on

    How about carrying out research in to Driving examiners and how they are examining differently due to external pressures such as not wanting to carry out more tests per day and to achieve this they are assessing tests differently. Examiners assessment behaviour is different after Covid lockdown than previous. This needs looking in to.

    • Replies to J. Holmes>

      Comment by Mr Johnson posted on

      I agree with you 100%.
      The DVSA are concerned about huge waiting times for the test.

      When some of their examiners are failing pupils for quite trivial things. Adding to the waiting time as these pupils will then go to the back of the list waiting for another test.
      A pupil of mine failed her driving test for forgetting to apply the handbrake on a stop line. How can you justify that as a sensible decision from a qualified examiner?

  3. Comment by Peter posted on

    Good, this is the side of things that has been sorely lacking from DVSA. ADIs are in a difficult position pushing only from our side to ensure the learner only attempts the test when they are truly ready, without that message and the importance of why, being communicated directly, unambiguously and regularly to them by DVSA.

  4. Comment by Gary Fossey posted on

    Stopping people turning up for test in non dual controlled cars will stop most of the current issues. There’s no point in wasting money on management consultants, who’ll simply regurgitate what everyone knows or come up with unacceptable or unworkable solutions.

    • Replies to Gary Fossey>

      Comment by Gordon Clark posted on

      Totally agree, this would weed out the candidates taking tests who are no way test standard, make a safer environment for examiners and possibly un clog the booking system. Many learner drivers contact us after they failed a test, usually been taught by Mum or Dad.

  5. Comment by Paul Mccaffrey posted on

    I think it’s a great initiative the more pupils and their parents that are made aware of how many lessons they will need to be at a test standard the better for everyone it’s not just about passing the the driving test it’s preparation for driving safety for the rest of their driving lives I tell all my pupils driving safely comes before everything else far to many of them are in such a rush to pass that they don’t realise the importance of it being a skill for life this PlayStation generation we have now are sometimes out of touch with reality and don’t understand what can happen if they don’t give it their full attention and respect it needs to become a good driver it’s a privilege to drive on our roads

  6. Comment by Kim Blake (Mr) posted on

    Dear DVSA

    When will DVSA (DEPT Transport) finally bring in a minimum number of verified hours for a candidate to undertake in the are of driving before sitting a first practical test.

    This should apply both for private domestically conducted tuition as well as that by a DVSA ADI

    This should be of a similar construction of verification as already used by DVSA for DVSA provisional ADI licence (Pink Licence) applications

    Areas I feel need covering and accounted for

    Vehicle Controls & mechanical knowledge
    Correct use of all mirrors
    How & when direction indicators are to be used
    Braking system & lights, Window washers/ wiper use
    Moving off & stopping a vehicle on a public road
    Left, Right Ahead at cross roads
    Act correctly at all traffic light controlled junctions
    Pedestrian crossings
    One way roads & Dual carriageway roads
    Reversing & reverse parking
    All weather driving

    And so the list goes on

    Fact "there are only SIX basic actions that a driver can direct in direction a vehicle to make" (Forward, Reverse, Left, Right, Fast, Slow) In every "professional" training element that the DVSA administers this basic fact is checked relentlessly is of a satisfactory standard BEFORE progressing to final examination by way of accountable monitoring

    Whilst a DVSA ADI is accountable and must meet a judge standard, there is no minimum degree of accountable pre driving test training for L candidates 1st test

    Putting such a measure in place I think will focus a potential candidates mind on safety and that driving needs like all skills correct training and practise before examination, not trusting to luck, in any way

    This in turn will reduce the 85% of tests not completed for safety from the approximate 50% of tests failed, making examiners life safer and improving the pass rate together with the grade of pass. The knock on effect should also reduce post crash risks

    All in all a win win situation

    Please DVSA grasp this political nettle and press ministers for action


    Kim Blake (Mr)

    • Replies to Kim Blake (Mr)>

      Comment by Stephen Haigh posted on

      All The above are very important points, but my students who I advise need a few more lessons cant just put the test back a few weeks due to the waiting times. Most have decided to use the Mum or Dads car to have a go not one as passed which just waists test slots.
      Another issue are the short notice apps when they fail they pay the money and waist another test.
      I still cant believe the number of no shows at my test centre, if they don't cancel and let another student tale the slot they should go to the back of the Que.
      Terminating tests is a good way for the examiner to have a rest, test should now go to the full term they have paid the full fee and should get the full test time

      • Replies to Stephen Haigh>

        Comment by Mr Johnson ADI posted on

        I totally agree, you see many people attending driving tests in their own cars with their parents or friends. Most of these test candidates are (HAVE A GO candidates).
        This could be dangerous for driving examiners and public. As a driving test is the only time when a provisional license holder can drive without supervision. This can be extremely dangerous , Especially when the vehicle presented on the test does not have a dual controls. What will it take for the DVSA to come to its senses ( A serious injury or death ?)
        I’m sure the examiners are not happy about this, but by threatening instructors.
        With a check test even if their pupils fail due to nerves.. you’ll see a lot more private cars on Test.

  7. Comment by Maria ines Gandara posted on

    Examiners should do the timing the pupils paying for. (45m)
    They are failing pupils on regular basis to go back to the test center asap not giving any benefit of a doubt.
    If they have to catch the virus in the car they will as soon as they go in for the first minutes.
    Stop giving covid-19 a excuse and get back to work.

    • Replies to Maria ines Gandara>

      Comment by Balvinder Basson posted on

      Absolutely agree, felt same on many occasions. Taking Learners to test and failing for oweful reasons.
      However understand, dvsa trying to provide 4 to 6 examiners every hour. Honestly 2to 3 examiners coming back within 15 minutes as Learners had major fault.

  8. Comment by Jeremy Ireland posted on

    Since resuming lessons after the COVID lockdowns, it is abundantly clear that students are experiencing much more pressure to pass their test on test day. Students' comments are to the effect that, 'I have to pass today otherwise I won't get another test for months'. This is leading to much higher levels of anxiety and, no matter how well they can drive and how we employ calming techniques, the unrelenting pressure some are putting on themselves to pass seems to be leading to more failures than before the pandemic and huge test backlog.

    This is compounded by the thought that they'll have to finance further lessons if they fail. Despite discussions and reasoning with students, there is now a much more negative mindset, which generally leads to a negative result. ADIs can only do so much and, once test day comes, we cannot influence what happens in the car. The prolonged cleaning and examiner distancing at the start of the test is another unnatural activity, alien to most students, but hugely contributary to test day nerves. It is massively out of proportion to everyday activities in shops, pubs, colleges, restaurants and public transport etc. Please consider revising the pre-test COVID activities.

    • Replies to Jeremy Ireland>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on


      The safety of our customers and examiners is paramount. Whilst we understand your frustrations with the COVID precautions, these aim to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. We are keeping these under review.

      Kind regards.

    • Replies to Jeremy Ireland>

      Comment by Lloyd Hynes posted on

      Completely agree with Jeremy's comment. Pupils are aware of the politics affecting all aspects of the appliction for and the taking of their practical test but their drivers are not politically influenced. One aspect that is becoming more and more apparent is 'Peer Pressure' in schools and colleges as individuals vie to become the first in their friends social circle to pass their driving test first time securing bragging rights. In addition bragging rights must include passing with the least amount of faults.

  9. Comment by stephen beech posted on

    Examiners terminate tests not instructors.

  10. Comment by David Smith posted on

    I believe that the biggest problem that pupils are facing with their tests is the total unreliability of the DVSA to honour the test booking. I’ve had many many tests that have been cancelled with little or no notice given.
    My most recent example was a candidate who waited for 7 months for an appointment only to have it cancelled 3 days beforehand. His new date is mid February 4 months later.

  11. Comment by Steve barber posted on

    I would love some one from DSA to ring me

  12. Comment by Graham posted on

    Please can an ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) approve an application for a test?

    It's not unreasonable for someone being 'home schooled' to attend a session with an ADI who can then confirm readiness - but it is wholy unreasonable that test slots are being filled by people not ready for their test.

    This could start as a trial, and when we see waiting lists drop and passes increase this could become permanent.

    • Replies to Graham>

      Comment by Richard Minkler posted on

      Hi Graham, spot on comment. Don’t know how DVSA will solve it but letting any one book a test just because they passed the theory and never got in a car is the cause of this problem.

    • Replies to Graham>

      Comment by Thomas posted on

      Absolutely spot on Graham. DVSA are constantly saying about "the pressures...". If they stated tests can only be booked by Instructors. Or please provide proof of minimum X hrs (decide the requirements) of ADI/PDI in car tuition. This would change the dynamics completely.

      On a different note if the DVSA are genuinely looking to improve the overall standards, Then scrap the licence exchange programme as totally not fit for purpose and has meant that the standards in UK have dropped dramatically. If we can't scrap it completely then ensure that their is a requirement to do a UK test within 3 years.

  13. Comment by Steve Dayman-Johns posted on

    As an experienced ADI I have found family and friends of my pupils to fall broadly into two camps : Those that are informed ie listen to their instructor and take on board what elements would be helped by private practise , and then : Those that think they know best, offer advice that is worryingly wrong or even dangerous and are generally naive in their understanding of the standard required to stand a decent chance of passing the test.

  14. Comment by Nicky Harris posted on

    This sounds very interesting and I look forward to hearing more. Of course it would be nice if having professional lessons alongside private practice is also actively encouraged by DVSA, to further increase road safety in the UK. The standard of driving by parents - who then teach their children, is not necessarily going to achieve that aim without our professional input too. Perhaps so many lessons to be signed off by an ADI?

    • Replies to Nicky Harris>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Nicky,

      This research will be looking at ways in which we can encourage learners to work in partnership with driving instructors to improve their chances of passing their tests.

      Kind regards.

  15. Comment by Joe wall posted on

    Complexity of subject involves pupil's
    Aptitude and big issue cost . Many a family will say just have a go see how it goes . Trusting their instructor is paramount as when a pupil is ready I’ve found you have to make a compromise many times .

  16. Comment by Nick Cole posted on

    There are two main factors, plus a few subsidiary ones. Firstly driving schools push people too rapidly and fail to prepare for the nerves and anxiety inevitable for those who take a test. Secondly test nerves, these can and do produce a fail, even though candidates have been driving prefectly fine up to that point. Part of this is an examiner's propensity to fail a candidate at the slightest provocation (even though that is well intended) through failing to make due allowance for real world driving conditions. It is well said that there is driving for a test and driving for real. In principle this is to the same standard, but given that candidates have little wide experience and lack the confidence of an experienced driver it is all too easy for a candidate to 'panic' when trying to work out the best course of action for the myriad situations that are not covered by the Highway Code. Due to their lack of experience it is highly likely that they will be in situations they have not actually come across during lessons. It is also important to note that while the candidate is driving under test conditions all other drivers on the road at the same time are not, and they are driving for real. This is not to say the someone shouldn't be failed but that the process of gaining real experience is much much more than a mere 40 or so hours! It is therefore hardly surprising that the fail rate is so high. Secondly and anecdotally, though it will be true, is that an examiner will because of stats and their own performance reviews actually be focussed on finding reasons to fail someone rather than pass. Therefore is much less likely to be prepared to provide 'benefit of doubt' or take account of other drivers' actions. This coupled with the completely unfit for purpose appeal and complaints procedure does little to inspire confidence in the process, all of which creates anxiety. A driving test is a right of passage and very very important to candidates which increases the pressures. The principle pressure is of doing something wrong in front of someone who is making an assessment. In the real world many in fact most people do things wrong all the time, rarely actually resulting in any form of hazard or situation. Ultimately the driving test needs to be restructured. It should have in addition to to the mandatory ADI instruction period, a period of loggable private driving to help ensure as much experience is gained prior to the test. Some of the ADI instruction should be carried out in an enclosed test track where the vehicle controls can be got used to prior to going on the road amongst other users. A written descriptive feedback should be provided particularly for a fail, rather than the brief verbal one, during which the candidate will not be taking things in still less acutally process and understand what may be said. This more formal process would allow the examiner the opportunity to reflect on his/her decision before making a commitment. Bearing in mind that the current assessment process is based around reinforcing the examiners possibly (and not necessarily deliberate) arbitrary decision. Lastly the driving test, inevitably as it is on a real road, will not be consistent for each candidate, there will be different and new scenarios which adds another dimension to the whole process. It may be time to create a two phase test, first to ensure that the driver has reasonable vehicle control and then the second part after a period of further training and consolidation as the test is carried out now. On a slightly different but associated tack, the decision to allow (rightly) learners on to a motorway is somewhat perverse. Previously they could drive on dual carriageways which are much much more dangerous with significant hazards from crossings to pedestrians. the approach to this needs amending. It is much safer to learn driving in high volume and speed environments on a motorway than a typical dual carriageway. Therefore who is allowed to accompany a learner on motorways and in what vehicle needs a rethink, particularly in relation to supervisor drivers who hold vocational licences.

  17. Comment by gavin brownlie posted on

    As long as a pupil has passed the theory test there in nothing legally to stop them from sitting the practical test Ready or not There lies the problem

  18. Comment by Stephen Royce posted on

    I understand the need & support of family in encouraging "practice " make perfect however most family members past their test many years and teach their offspring bad habits which generally take longer to correct rather than professional tuition from day one!!

  19. Comment by Paul Micklethwaite posted on

    This research is a good idea but the area that needs to be researched are the people learning to drive with friends and family who don`t use any professionals to learn to drive.
    On a daily basis I see people being taught by mum`s, dad`s, brothers, sisters who knows who else they use, that are not being taught to drive correctly. The supervising driver on their phone while supposedly setting a good example, not to mention the unsafe driving that is obviously not being corrected.
    How do you plan to reach out to this group of learners to help them understand what they need to do.

    • Replies to Paul Micklethwaite>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Paul,

      This research will be looking at ways in which we can encourage learners to work in partnership with driving instructors to improve their chances of passing their tests.

      Kind regards.

  20. Comment by John Smith posted on

    ADIs will not encourage a pupil to go for a test if they believe the pupil is not ready. Parents will because, on the whole, they are not familiar with the current criteria for test success and see their child doing well on a trip to the supermarket and book a test.

    In order to reduce the failure rate, we need a quick way of preventing learners taking a test when not ready.

    Adjust the booking system to restrict access to 75% of test bookings to ADIs only. Proof of ADI number and password would prevent a large amount of tests being booked for individuals who are not ready.

    • Replies to John Smith>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Hi John,

      As the blog explains, family members can be very influential to learner drivers so we hope the research will help address the issue that you raise.

      Kind regards.

  21. Comment by Graham Carroll posted on

    I can't disagree with the spirit of the blog... But how long does it take to become lifelong safe driver???.
    Although the overall pass rate is 50%,
    This can vary from 30 to 75 % (ish) depending on test centre, so there are many factors not simply number of lessons.

  22. Comment by Sarah posted on

    Complete omnishambles, Less messing about and more action, taxpayers have had enough of this nonsense from the DVSA, get some more examiners trained up and sort out the existing ones rather than faffing about wasting taxpayers money on meaningless surveys that will take 6 months to report back on. The only thing that will sort the DVSA is rapid privatization

    • Replies to Sarah>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Sarah,

      We are also recruiting over 300 more driving examiners to help reduce the waiting times along with this research. Candidates that are better prepared for their test have a higher chance of passing first time, which will also help reduce the backlog.

      Kind regards.

      • Replies to Peter (DVSA)>

        Comment by Mihaly posted on

        Absolutely agree with you. Just done my test in the summer and we arrived with 2 other Learner driver to take the test. While I passed the other 2 failed in 10 min. Was I better prepared? Who knows but definitely had more driving hours under my belt than the others as I was waiting for the test at that time 5 months and in the meantime driving 30+miles a day to commute to work( with wife + workmate). On the test I made mistakes ofc like most of us do on the roads but nothing major. And the experience I gained in that 5 months made me pass the test. Btw I had only 6x2h lesson with an official instructor which was only the basics. The point here is practice. And not just to pick up the milk from the corner shop.

        Kind regards Mihaly

      • Replies to Peter (DVSA)>

        Comment by Balvinder Basson posted on

        Great news, more examiners hopefully shorter waiting list.
        Thank you

    • Replies to Sarah>

      Comment by Susan Thornton posted on

      Well said Sarah, couldn't agree more.

  23. Comment by Alan Powell posted on

    For the last 20 years as A D I been using parents and encouraging them to set good example even were possible to sit in on some lessons. Nothing new was tought this by my trainer who become a a DVSA examiner,
    Alan Powell

  24. Comment by Ken Avery posted on

    Your terminology of 85% of failed tests resulted in test being terminated sounds dreadful. Whilst technically correct as a tool for the DVSA to log, a better form of words to the general public would maybe have been ‘tests where failure is defined early on in the test have resulted in the test being cut short’.

  25. Comment by Darren Brinkworth posted on

    I had a pupil I was teaching a short time ago that I asked to book her first driving test. I did this knowing that the waiting time for tests was greatly exaggerated by Covid and firmly believed that she would be ready by the time we got to the test date. The pupil booked it for mid November 2021.

    Some time passed and the pupil missed one or two lessons and I had Covid so lost some time from work but the pupil was working well towards the test date, making good progress in various driver skill sets and I wasn't particularly worried about the lost time.

    As the end of August approach my pupil's mum informed me that my pupil had taken up the offer of a cancellation and said "its only a few week!" bringing the test date forward by 5 weeks in actual fact. As I was only performing double lessons due to Covid conditions, this amounted to x10hrs of lesson time lost.

    My pupil said that she was looking at cancellations shortly after she booked her initial test date and I told her to sit tight and wait for her date as I didnt think that she would be ready any earlier than the November. My pupil then, going against all that I had said.

    I proceeded to continue with the lesson but put her under test conditions (mock test) playing the role of a examiner. It didnt go well!
    But felt that it needed to be done in order to push my opinion home and to get her to understand that I had a 'Duty of Care' to her,
    the examiner and the public at large; she seemed in denial.

    Needless to say, we went our seperate ways when I stated that I would not be making my vehicle or myself availble for the test unless I saw a vast improvement over the remaining 5 wks to her ammended test date.

    As a driving instructor I endevour to make sure that I only bring pupils to test that I believe are ready and safe. Occasionally, and quite often through nerves on the pupils part, the pupil doesn't perform to there full ability while with the examiner. I also endeavour to balance the needs of the DVSA, the needs of myself and the needs of the pupil. This I do by trying to anticipate the pupils readyness for test and the interests of saving the 'Bank of
    Mum and Dad' a few un-required lessons and additional cost. This is made extremely difficult when the test date availability is at 3-4 months. Perhaps the DVSA should consider this when looking at the new Key Performance Indicators that the body has just introduced.

    Its not easy out here trying to balance between pupil needs mum and dad's pocket and the parents belief that because they passed in 1970 / 80 somthing, in 35 lesson or so, that, that is what it takes on modern road systems and in busy conditions, for their son or daughter.

    If the DVSA want to spend time carrying out this research then I welcome it & they should go for it, but I doubt very much if it will tell me or any other foot soldier out here, anything we dont come accross on what seems like a weekly (and increasing) basis.

    • Replies to Darren Brinkworth>

      Comment by Maria Pelengaris posted on

      I've had very similar situations. Recently a pupil who had initially been on track to be ready for their test missed some weeks lessons for various reasons and was clearly not going to be ready in time. I also did a mini mock test which illustrated the point that he needed more lessons, practise outside the lessons or put the test back. He was not able to do any of these. Parents didn't want to take him out nor to pay for extra lessons and definitely not wanting to put the test back because of crazy waiting list. Anyway, in the end he got another instructor, didn't pass the test and I was given negative feedback that I had knocked his confidence. So in effect I became the problem which can be quite upsetting.
      In other situations where the pupil and parents understand/agree then there's no problem.

  26. Comment by Simon Rose posted on

    How about advising them to have an assessment with a qualified driving instructor before booking a test. They are the professionals that can give the most accurate advice.
    It seems silly to ignore this best way to stop the enormous waste of test slots by people who have absolutely no idea of what the test involves.
    For example, a candidate who failed his test when he was asked to pull over at the side of the road. Something he'd never done while learning with his sister!!!

    • Replies to Simon Rose>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Simon,

      This research will look at ways to encourage learners to work in partnership with instructors to help ensure they are test ready.

      Kind regards.

  27. Comment by david lowe posted on

    The arrangement whereby pupils are brought back early has to be readdressed as it is generating anger among instructors and learners. Test day is a nerve wracking time for all, especially pupils. They are aware of this arrangement prior to test and this factor makes them feel even more intimidated even before they set off. I am surprised little consideration has been given to this.
    I am not the only instructor (20 years by the way) who is aware of this. My pass rate is down for no other reason I can see. Pupils are having more lessons than ever. Are the examiners enjoying this. I don't expect a reply.

    • Replies to david lowe>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Hi David,

      We understand your frustration. However, the safety of our customers and examiners is our priority. This policy is in place to reduce unnecessary contact between an examiner and a candidate to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. We are keeping this policy under review. Kind regards.

      • Replies to Peter (DVSA)>

        Comment by Joe’s mum posted on

        My son sat his test the other day and it ended after 6 minutes. It’s awful for them that they do this, completely knocks their confidence and they don’t get to experience a proper test even if they had failed.
        If Covid is a concern, why not supply the examiners with suitable professional masks?

        • Replies to Joe’s mum>

          Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

          We do supply examiners with appropriate face coverings, but this policy aims to limit the unnecessary contact between examiner and candidates to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19.

  28. Comment by David Featherstone posted on

    Mid April 2022 is more than 14 weeks

    • Replies to David Featherstone>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Hi David,

      Our national average is 14 weeks, although some centres are booked up to 24 weeks.


      • Replies to Peter (DVSA)>

        Comment by stephen OGGELSBY posted on

        how many centres are fully booked. pupils in my area unable to book a test for the last 18 months . although now able to book a theory test, previously impossible for 16 months

        • Replies to stephen OGGELSBY>

          Comment by Andrew (DVSA) posted on

          Hi Stephen,

          The driving test booking system is live and when new appointments are made available, they are added to the system. The average wait for a practical test is 14 weeks but it is 24 weeks at some test centres. Candidates should regularly check the system for new tests as they are added every week.

          Candidates cancelling or rescheduling their test also frees up slots for others to book.

          Measures we've taken to increase the number of tests include:

          • Offering overtime and annual leave buy back to our driving examiners
          • Asking all those qualified to conduct tests, but who do not do so as part of their current day job, to return to conducting tests
          • Inviting recently retired examiners to conduct tests
          • Conducting out of hours testing such as at weekends and on public holidays
          • A campaign to recruit an additional 300 examiners


          • Replies to Andrew (DVSA)>

            Comment by stephen OGGELSBY posted on

            ok let,s have the figures. you have stats for most everything. how many centres are running at 24 weeks . is this up or down on previous week. please can you tell me why it's held at 24 weeks

          • Replies to stephen OGGELSBY>

            Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

            We can only schedule tests based on known examiner availability and the 24 week window allows us to do this, but we are keeping this under review. If you would like more figures on waiting times please send us an FOI request -

          • Replies to Andrew (DVSA)>

            Comment by Joes mum posted on

            Are weekend tests happening in York?

          • Replies to Joes mum>

            Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

            Hi, yes we are carrying out weekend tests in York.


  29. Comment by Jenny posted on

    The reason your "termination"rates are high is because you are currently allowing your examiners to stop a test the moment a pupil makes an error. Previous to COVID examiners conducted a full test for the £62 that the pupil had paid to assess their entire driving ability and then provide full feedback at the end of the test. These old tests, if an error had been made, would be classed and a standard fail. The new test you are conducting with some pupils only getting 10 mins drive before being stopped are now being phrased as "terminations" so as to frighten instructors so they do not bring pupils up because DVSA cannot resolve the backlogs as you do not have enough examiners nationwide. You now have many examiners being paid to do a full test sometimes only doing 10 mins on a test and sitting back in test centre whilst waiting lists continue to increase. Public are getting extremely fed up with excuses coming-out of DVSA and DVLA for all your backlogs.

  30. Comment by John Smith posted on

    I see you are hell bent on reducing the applications to reduce your waiting list rather than put more test slots on. Insinuating that the pupils that fail are that bad they have been terminated. Ive taken a pupil to the test recently and they did fail. It was on the way back to the test centre so it was "terminated" but they drove back so not that bad at driving! In the de-brief, which I listened to, your examiner explained the one thing they had done wrong and then advised my pupil to apply again immediately. No mention of further practice. You are making out these pupils that fail are not ready for a test. This is not the case, they are ready, it's a test, they are being tested, nerves have got to play apart here.

    • Replies to John Smith>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Hi John,

      We are also increasing tests by recruiting more examiners and encouraging examiners to carry out out of hour tests.

      We appreciate nerves play their part during a driving test, but better prepared candidates who are 'test ready' are more likely to pass their test. We hope to improve our information and support to candidates through these research findings.

      Kind regards.

  31. Comment by Judith posted on

    I think it would be safer to make it compulsory for learners to have at least 20/25 hours with a qualified driving instructor before being allowed to practice with parents etc.

    • Replies to Judith>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Judith,

      This research will explore ways we can encourage learners to work in partnership with instructors to better prepare them for their driving test.

      Kind regards.

  32. Comment by Pam Walker posted on

    It would be interesting to see how many learners who take their tests in their own cars pass and if they’d had any lessons beforehand with an ADI.

  33. Comment by Martin Fletcher posted on

    The best way to ensure learners take their test when they are ready and not after a 'certain' number of hours, is;
    Allow them to only take 3 tests before they have to go a full year before they can apply for the fourth.
    At the moment the common approach is "To give it a go"
    The job of being an instructor is that they feel we are after their money.
    Anything we tell them is derided by their peers and parents. If there was a maximum of three tests before they had to wait, you would change the attitude of giving it a go into I'm not ready yet!!

    • Replies to Martin Fletcher>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Martin,

      We understand family and friends are very influential with learner drivers. This research will explore how learners' families and friends can encourage them to take their test when they are ready and not before.

      Kind regards.

  34. Comment by Robert Weston posted on

    In the area I work in waiting times are 24 weeks !!
    This is making the learning to drive process , from a functional on going process almost impossible for ADIs
    Rather than do market research I think the DVSA should be addressing the issue of waiting times much better , it glaringly obvious more tests need to be made available , as ADI s we all KNOW what is the required standard to pass .
    Are dvsa aware tests are being “sold” on the black market in greater Manchester .. this is how ridiculous the situation is

    • Replies to Robert Weston>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Robert,

      We understand this is frustrating for learners and ADIs. We are also recruiting an extra 300 examiners and examiners are carrying out out-of-hours tests to help reduce the waiting times created by the pandemic. The outcome of the research will also help ensure more candidates are ready for their test so they pass first time, which further reduces the backlog. If you have any information on tests being sold in this way please send us the details via a direct message on our main Twitter or Facebook channels.

      Kind regards.

  35. Comment by J Bennett posted on

    Please explain the figures above. Where do you get 14 week waiting list from? You may find the odd pupil who can find a cancellation and pick something up but most test centres are fully booked for the full 24 weeks possible.

    Additionally the figure regarding terminated tests is a false statistic. The SOP has been changed so that all tests should be terminated if a serious fault is recorded, this is a COVID safe measure in order to minimise the amount of time that examiners are in the car with the candidate. This is not the same as the old termination where the examiner walks back as the candidate is too dangerous. Using this data they way you have in this blog implies that the a very large number of candidates are seriously under prepared whereas, in reality, observational evidence suggests that the number of walk backs remains very low. If you change the SOP to mandate termination of tests then you shouldn’t be stunned to see a high correlation between fails and terminations.

    • Replies to J Bennett>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on


      The 14-week figure quoted is the national average, though many centres have a waiting list up to 24 weeks.

      Kind regards.

  36. Comment by Nicola Bridges posted on

    As an ADI I speak on behalf of many. Making the actual test a more human experience. Snappy grumpy impatient examiners fiddling around with heating controls and windows seems to be the norm. Distraction is not part of the test seems most tests come back early within the 1st 10 mins with the pupil complaints being of a similar experience .....gruff examiners giving late instruction and fiddling around with heating controls. Having had the heating set to a comfortable level during the lesson prior to test it really doesn't need messing with. Just one of many observations being made by pupils. Never have so many pupils been this disgruntled I bet. No I don't have research figures or surveys but at ground level examiners are causing a lot of upset amongst candidates and instructors. We can't approach them as we get short shift and told to email complaints.....

  37. Comment by Andrew Ross posted on

    Hi Andrew here, Driving instructor for 30 years.
    Can you tell me if there are more pupils passing theory tests than practical driving tests, if so we will always have a backlog.
    We seem to be opening more theory test centres and with no increase in driving test centres. Throw covid in the mix and it's no wonder the practical test waiting list is long, hence candidates want to give it a go.
    Again resulting in poor pass rates.
    My suggestion would be that 1, anyone wanting to learn to drive would have to be instructor trained by law. 2, Then you could have driving instructors sign a declaration that a pupil is test ready with the application. That way pass rates would for sure improve.
    I have other areas which would vastly improve road safety which I would like to discuss, I look forward to being contacted from yourselves.
    Regards Andrew.

    • Replies to Andrew Ross>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on


      The current pass rate year to date for theory tests is 54% - the full stats are here This compares to the current practical pass rate of less than 50% as outlined in this blog.

      Our research aims to look at ways to encourage candidates to seek support from instructors before taking their test.

      Kind regards.

      • Replies to Peter (DVSA)>

        Comment by Andrew Ross posted on

        Hi Andrew here, it was good to see a lot of my fellow ADIs agreeing with my suggestion where all drivers should be instructor trained and that that instructors sign to confirm that a pupil is test ready.
        Are you taking this on board Peter, We are all in this together it's a team game.
        Being on here is all well and good but another suggestion is that you Peter meet say a small group of ADIs to listen to their views on learning people to drive, I'm sure you would come away with ideas you could use and make better decisions going forward. You don't need an enquiry, there is a lot you could learn from this side.
        On a final note can I ask you Peter if you have been a driving instructor
        Or driving examiner.
        Regards Andrew.

  38. Comment by Gary Walker posted on

    I really think that a statutory minimum set of hours signed off by a qualified driving instructor or at least a signed off assessment drive by an adi is essential to keep everyone safe before being allowed to book a practical test. This would ensure every potential driver will have had a proper assessment from an adi who will give them proper advice as when to book the practical test.

    The adi could then council them on the average time it takes to properly prepare because at the moment people are just 'having a go' and trying to wing it.

    The times have now changed, private tuition should not be allowed on public roads and tuition should be in dual controlled vehicles carried out by professional instructors with tuition signed off and the adi number also given with proper paperwork.

    If the government are serious about raising standards and minimising risks then legislation should be amended as some parents just do not want or can spend the money on proper training.

    I am very aware that parents are very concerned about the cost and I feel some of my pupils are not fully prepared to go to test but I have to try to keep everyone happy.

    Public safety is what all of this is about and only qualified instructors should have the authority to allow anyone to apply for a practical test.

    If we trained pilots like we train drivers think of the disasters we would have every day.

    Training should be standardized with a fixed term of lessons or assessments signed off by a professional instructor delivering a set of lessons that teach the learners how to control their vehicle in accordance with the highway code.

  39. Comment by Stuart mccormick ADI 419261 posted on

    What about the candidate who drives well and do 35/40 minutes test time, against those candidates who are failed earlier, and the test terminated and are brought back to test centre early , on grounds of Covid, all candidates and examiners wear a mask. Candidates are not getting a full assessment of their capabilities and failings for a cost of £63.50,
    Why can’t an instructor sit in on test when, if a check test goes ahead there are 3 people in the car, or when an examiner is being assessed again there are 3 people in the car.
    We as instructors are expected to give 1/2 hour lessons with gaps to sanitise the car, we I feel as instructors are trying to give client centred instruction, why can’t the powers to be give a client cantered approach to us their clients. I would like to receive a response in a reasonable time frame.
    A hopeful but not a happy client
    Email address enclosed

    • Replies to Stuart mccormick ADI 419261>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Stuart,

      We are keeping the policy to not allow instructors to sit in on tests under review.

      The safety of our customers and staff is our priority. The early termination policy helps to reduce unnecessary contact between the candidate and examiners if they fail their test to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.

      Kind regards.

  40. Comment by Fiona Clarke posted on

    85% terminated, but termination is driven by Examiner exposure to Covid. So to reduce time examiners are with pupils.

    Let’s get back to full tests, and see how results compare before and after lockdowns then. Using a level playing field.

  41. Comment by Gareth Marchant posted on

    Is this statement correct regarding the termination rate? Are you counting the covid induced early return of test fails as terminations, rather than actual ‘walk back’ terminations on the grounds of public safety?

    “Currently less than 50% of pupils pass their test the first time, and of those who fail, 85% have resulted in their test having to be terminated by the examiner.”

    • Replies to Gareth Marchant>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Gareth,

      This figure is correct and relates to when a test is terminated early due to a fail.

      Kind regards.

      • Replies to Peter (DVSA)>

        Comment by Gareth Marchant posted on

        Can you elaborate on what you mean by "terminated early due to a fail". Is that on the grounds of examiner, candidate or public safety, or due to minimising contact due to covid?

        They terminology is important here because a "termination" pre covid was considered a test stopped in situ for safety reasons, and not an early return. An 85% termination rate for 'walk backs' is a far more alarming figure than for early returns, and with the current DVSA test based narrative and increasing emphasis on 'enforcement' and historical data comparison, clarity of terms and message becomes even more important if we are to understand your intent.

        • Replies to Gareth Marchant>

          Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

          These are tests were a candidate has committed a serious/dangerous fault, which results in a fail, and the examiner directs the candidate back to the test centre prior to completing the full test. This minimises the amount of time that the examiner and candidate are together in the test vehicle to reduce COVID-19 risk. This procedure does not affect the result of the test.

          • Replies to Peter (DVSA)>

            Comment by Gareth Marchant posted on

            Thank you, Peter, for the clarification. So not really test "terminations" in the widely recognised use of the term within the rider and driver training sector. It may seem pedantic, but the language used does not go unnoticed, particularly when it seems politically motivated.

  42. Comment by Ghazanfar Jawed posted on

    I fully agree that the parents and families can look at the driving of the pupil before he/she books her test. It will provide time for them to pass because subsequent attempts for the test cause money and time at pupils level and also at DVSA.

    If he/she didn't book the test, that test slot would have provided an opportunity to another pupil who could have passed.

  43. Comment by Melanie Tudehope posted on

    I think this a good idea. The driving test is possibly seen by people as just another exam, rather than being seen as a life skill. I feel that candidates and families don't consider the importance of safety to all road users.

  44. Comment by Lee Bird posted on

    If you really want to make sure learners are more prepared and get the pass rates up the the DVSA needs to make it compulsory for each and every student to have completed at least 45 hours of tuition signed off by the instructor before being able to take driving test the DVSA needs to stop sitting on the fence and passing responsibility over to the instructor.

    • Replies to Lee Bird>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Lee,

      One of the aims of this research is to look at ways we can encourage candidates to get support from driving instructors before taking their test. Kind regards.

      • Replies to Peter (DVSA)>

        Comment by lee bird posted on

        They already do,your focus should be on the governing body (DVSA) to show some leadership,making it mandatory for all students to have at least 45 hours tuition would make it clear to all concerned the commitment and standard that is required,the most commonly asked questions by students and parents is”how many lessons will it take”
        Stop sitting on the fence DVSA and lead from the front.

  45. Comment by Maxwell Blair posted on

    It the feeling from driving instructors DSA are pupil to be better prepared for there test by doing more lesson that give them better chance to pass test first time that take pressure off DSA As waiting time for test is up 4to 6 months

    • Replies to Maxwell Blair>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Maxwell,

      The aim of the research is to give better information and support to candidates to help ensure they pass their test first time, which in turn will help reduce waiting times as they will not need to retake their test. Kind regards.

  46. Comment by Keith Graham posted on

    With many years as ADI behind me, my feeling is that most parents want the best for their children ref driving, but want the cheapest lesson, the least number of lessons and nothing in lessons that's not on the test (ie driving in the dark, m'way, for example). The government / DVSA requires nothing (apart from the age 21 and 3yrs) from an accompanying driver who then sits in with the learner. All instructors use a 'dual mirror' and all tests require a dual mirror, too. But there's no requirement for accompanying driver to have / use one. I've never seen a private car with L plates with dual mirror. The accompanying driver (caring parent etc) cannot check what's behind at any time prior to learner changing speed or direction, can't spot traffic activity, emergency vehicles and so on and can't confirm what the learner might comment about ref what's behind. This suggests to me that these accompanying drivers don't see any need to be able to see what's behind and this probably goes to their own driving too. So we have drivers who don't use mirrors, supervising learners. Great. Let's tighten this up and make requirement for dual mirror to be fitted in any car with learner driving. Also let's have all accompanying drivers take current theory test - to confirm they have minimum acceptable standard of knowledge. Let's also have all accompanying drivers take assessment with ADI (or indeed take a retest) to confirm their driving is up to scratch. There will be accompanying drivers out there who already do these things, but the vast majority don't and are putting the learner, themselves and other road users at risk. Because of covid / test wait times etc there have been many many parents who've taken pupils to test without agreement from their instructor and I understand many of these tests have resulted in failure - much more than the norm. Another indicator that we need to put greater requirements on accompanying drivers / parents.

  47. Comment by Simon Mann posted on

    "...and of those who fail, 85% have resulted in their test having to be terminated by the examiner."

    This is an interesting stat. How are terminated tests being recorded? Does it include any where the student has committed a serious fault and the examiner immediately directs the student back to the TC? If so, this stat is more than a little misleading as, prior to the pandemic, the only tests being terminated were those where a dangerous fault had been committed and the examiner took the decision that it would be dangerous to continue, whereas since 2020 as soon as a candidate has committed either a serious or dangerous fault the test is terminated purely to reduce contact time.

    If, however, this stat is 100% in line with the way they were previously recorded, what was the previous figure and can the 85% be split between students taken by instructors and those going in their own cars? I ask because, in almost 15 years in this industry, I have only ever once had a test terminated after a student had a complete meltdown and I can't believe that I am unique in this situation.

    • Replies to Simon Mann>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on


      This statistic relates to a fail which has resulted in an early termination and is recorded as such.

      Kind regards.

      • Replies to Peter (DVSA)>

        Comment by Simon Mann posted on

        Hi Peter, thanks for that.

        This being the case this figure of 85% is, therefore, fairly meaningless as it's more a function of examiners terminating tests as a result of covid guidelines than due to dangerous driving as would normally be the case.

        Unless these figures can reliably be split they're irrelevant.

  48. Comment by Angela Sorensen posted on

    When will your campaign (as mentioned in the blog) be launched? I understand DVSA are working with external researchers so what is the timeline?

    • Replies to Angela Sorensen>

      Comment by Peter (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Angela,

      We are planning to launch the campaign in Spring 2022 and will keep you updated on the development of the campaign.

      Kind regards.

      • Replies to Peter (DVSA)>

        Comment by Angela Sorensen posted on

        Thank you for your reply Peter. I look forward to the campaign and I’m sure it will help us get the message across to our pupils and their families that they must be comfortable driving independently and consistently before their test.

  49. Comment by Lesley Price posted on

    All I hear is how the pandemic has effected the DVSA and the backlog of driving tests etc. There is no mention of how the pandemic has effected our side of the industry. We are the back bone and without us there would be no industry. Driving lessons are like gold dust and this isn’t going to get better anytime soon. My company is turning away, on average, 15/30 new students per day because we are still trying to work our way through the backlog. The DVSA have given little or no guidance to us and with the ‘new 3 indicator rule’ have made it even harder for us to do our job. In general I support the new rules but believe that they should reduce the 15 allowed minors to 4 bringing the estimated driver faults to the same amount for ADIs. This would make it so much easier to explain to the students and parents, and would also result in the students understanding why they can’t go to test and that they aren’t ready! All I hear is “but I’m allowed 15 faults, why can’t I go”. It’s time the DVSA stepped up and listened to what we the instructor gave to say and stop treating us like the black sheep of the family!

  50. Comment by Aidan posted on

    "encouraging learner drivers to be better prepared for their test"
    Makes me think back to the handout I have which I use when people ask me am I ready for my driving test?
    It's the "Most people fail their driving test" handout from about 2004 ish.
    The final sentence says it perfectly "if your not getting it right all the time without your instructor's help then you're not ready to take your test". I still use this handout like all other information. Yes i have been questioned by pupils and parents by how I have answered them even when I have said please book you driving test.
    Research is ok, Facts are ok, Input from people is also ok, how the data is analysed and interpreted then applied into strategies is another thing.
    I like having physical information from the DVSA with the DVSA logo on, it backs up what i am trying to say and they always ask have I got a copy for me. I know most people have mobile tech these days as I do, if where we are telling them to go for this information is not as good as their favorite "apps" you know them, will they go and look at it? I feel like a dinosaur.
    Like the rest of my fellow driving instructors I get lots of questions from pupils and their parents about driving lessons and driving tests why do we do this and that, why has learning to drive changed. Many answers required why can't they access this information for themselves before they start learning to drive?
    It's now 23.00 and I need time to rest for my 09,00 driving lesson tomorrow so good night and god bless.

  51. Comment by Tammy posted on

    All I hear is how the pandemic has effected the DVSA and the backlog of driving tests etc.
    We didn't make this Coronavirus we payed for the theory test and pass alot of the people has to resit there test again due to the lock down before we get back are 2 year what we missed because of this pandemic
    It's not fair on us we have to waste money on the theory test and also the driving lesson £60 pound is alot to waste for 2 hours lessons...
    No1 not thinking bout this many examiners being paid to do a full test sometimes only doing 10 minutes on a test and sitting back in test centre whilst waiting lists continue to increase. 
    Stop giving covid-19 a excuse and get back to work. If they have to catch the virus in the car they will as soon as they go in for the first minutes.
    Stop giving covid-19 a excuse and get back to work.
    I'm sick of this and we should resit it all over again it's alot no1 doesn't understand how we feel

    My examiner phone started to ring when I was doing my test he had the cheek to bring me back to the test centre after he Distracted me he should of switched his phone off but he wanted to look at me like it was my phone after he knows mines was off I only has 6 minutes left to go more examiners know what they are doing why they are Failing us
    wasted alot of money so disrespect 😤 Extend us for are two year that's what they should do we can't even booked are theory test again wtf 😑 ... frustrated Wonder why some people just drive on the road without passing their Theory tests and practical 🤔 think bout

  52. Comment by Sarah posted on

    The driver training and examination system is well out of date - ‘jump in your car with me and let’s see if you can drive - if you make a mistake you fail’. Ridiculous. I teach so many who people who have failed or not continued learning because they were traumatised by their test or early lessons. The new system for ADIs is much improved. The system for learners needs a vast overhaul. It need to be graduated and work far more closely with the instructors. Now that ADI standards and consistency are improving significantly, monitoring them through cpd (online and practical) will support ADIs in turn being able to sign off pupils at 2-3 stages of learning, with the driving test being the final exam. This will support staged learning, which is essential for today’s complex roads, and reduce the pressure on the final test as they’ve already achieved clear milestones giving the candidate the confidence and clarity they need and setting realistic expectations for the learning journey. The dvsa needs to work far more closely with education and coaching specialist - not just talk to one ‘guru’ but interact closely with professional learning and coaching organisations. At the moment it’s all on me as an ADI to structure my pupils learning journey the best way I can and set realistic expectations and hope that the pupil and parents take me seriously with no backup or reference points - this is extremely stressful and makes my job quite miserable because I never know what my pupil will do based on what hearsay they hear and what pre or post lesson experiences they have. I never know whether they will follow my advice or not. I hope that a thorough review and appropriate professional advice will inform a major overhaul of the DVSA system for today’s roads.

  53. Comment by GHP posted on

    Kent ADI here..
    Some excellent comments on this article and thanks Peter (DVSA) for your input.
    So the main balance of views seems to be that we have pupils 'giving it a go', and a lack of regulation where only ADI's should have final sign off on test ready pupils applying for tests.
    Personally, I am less concerned about the return to test centre rule when a serious fault occurs, surely the only benefit of allowing the full test time is linked to value for money for the test pupil which only clouds the issue. We have a duty to continue to work on reduction of road accident casualties / deaths for the vulnerable age group.
    There also seems to be a clear argument to regulate so that only ADI approved tests are conducted. It would be good to get a breakdown of test results with an ADI number and without. When we can see these numbers, perhaps this is one of the key elements on a whether ADI's should take the lead on test bookings.
    Are the number of tests where pupils are clearly not ready outside of the ADI community and its reach?
    As an ADI, my primary focus is to contribute to road safety for the new drivers and do everything I can to set them on a safe pathway when they pass and must make their own decisions on the road.
    In summary, the test wait times needs to be addressed to avoid ‘give it a go’ mentality. Longer term, as an industry consider the numbers of pupils presenting for test without an ADI.

    • Replies to GHP>

      Comment by Thomas posted on

      Excellent comments, my additional concerns are the fact that examiners currently only have to debrief the test taker. This needs to be altered so that the instructor is fully debriefed. This would ensure that examiners are only failing candidates based on the DT1 rather than on "what if's" I fully accept that examiners only have 38 - 40 minutes. However that again is down to the DVSA. Personally and not because of income etc. I've been saying it for the last 30 years. A licence for life, was fine 50 years ago with the amount of vehicles on the road. We as instructors are under constant "test" Therefore perfectly reasonable to make Joe public have a test after 10 years.

  54. Comment by ben posted on

    i believe that the dvsa should make it that
    they should lower the coasts of becoming an
    instructer it's expensive enough learning to drive so why charge more and another thing is
    its not just the physical side of driving that learners one thing that learners struggle with is confidence and anxiety

  55. Comment by Tom Ingram posted on

    Overbearing conduct in my opinion.
    Attempting to use stats such as "85% termination rate" to justify actions when we all know that rate is due to Covid precautions - nothing to do with standards or reducing waiting times. Very poor, underhand tactics being used. You're not contributing to reducing demand on tests by reducing the time candidates drive on a test.
    Speaking as an ADI who performs over these new trigger data points, it's appalling to introduce new performance criteria and then backdate it by 12 months - shocking way to treat professionals and entirely aimed at escalating fear in the industry. You should be ashamed of treating fellow colleagues in the industry with such contempt. In no other industry would this be allowed to happen.
    You've effectively created a two-tier driving test assessment for ADI's vs the public. Shame on you and shame on our instructor associations for now cashing in on S/C training courses due to the fear stoked up by this action.
    This demonstrates a reckless regard for mental wellbeing of driving instructors.

  56. Comment by Neil posted on

    All interesting stuff and before I say any more I have no axes to grind with anyone.

    1.So, you can encourage anyone to do anything for example not break the speed limit by pointing out the consequences etc but how many people end up on speed awareness courses, encouragement means nothing unless there is will to act by the individual/s themselves.

    Unless something is changed in Law e.g you must take 40hrs of professional driving tuition, Im afraid to say encouragement alone is of little value in changing someones mind and a rather expensive survey would have been carried out to highlight it.

    2. You have 30 well trained and test ready candidates but they can't get a test I think this demonstrates that being truly and honestly test ready will still not solve the waiting list problem, the truth is that problem is multi faceted and unless each party plays their role i.e DVSA Examiners, Pupils and Parents and ADIs for the good of all then the waiting list problem will not go away, it is unfortunate but like other areas of life all this pandemic has done is magnify and show up already existing problems and weakness.

    3. Final point there appears to be a slight shift in focus from what was make learners safe drivers for life, to lets get the waiting list down......

    I truly hope this is not the case because this really would be a dis-service to any new driver and road safety in general.......

  57. Comment by Carolyn Wills posted on

    As driving instructors we are stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea.
    The DSA putting pressure on us not to bring clients to test unless unless absolutely ready (of course) on the other hand little Johnny/Jenny or the paying parent wanting to take the test ASAP because of the waiting time and if they don't take it they will have yo wait months for another.
    The need for info to be handed out to learners when they apply for a driving licence about the need to be absolutely 100% ready before an instructor can take them to test would be helpful rather than coming from the instructor themselves so the old "Oh well you're instructor is only after more money" can finally be put to bed for good!
    Considering the DSA have been blarting on for how long about the 45 hours with an instructor and 22 hours of private practice it's about time they made it compulsory then that at least 67 hours altogether is a legal minimum!

  58. Comment by David posted on

    Termination of tests on a serious fault to reduce covid contact is hurting the waiting times. Pupils are failing due to a serious fault within 10 minutes. Fair enough that's a fail. Many of my pupils make a mistake within the first 10 minutes of their lesson, we reflect and work on it.

    The issue is, they aren't getting the full experience to conduct the whole test to evaluate their driving skills. Maybe a pupil is pulled over to the left, fails a blind spot check, classed as a serious, back to the test centre. How much more beneficial would it be if that pupil was able to continue with the full test and only came back with that 1 serious fault? They would be confident to take the test again and pass 2nd time.

    Now, a pupil that's brought back after 10 minutes goes for their 2nd test, they are nervous about passing the 1st 10 minutes, they are unsure of what to expect for the rest of the test, they don't know if they 20 minutes in they will make another serious, termination and 3rd test booked.
    As mentioned previously and I know the copy paste response about minimum contact, but if we can have Part 3 tests, examiners being checked and other DVSA approved 3 person in car situation why aren't test now being carried out for the full duration? Are the examiners monitored out of work hours not to be in small confined public spaces to minimize the risk of covid? No. Are the instructors carrying out 1-2 hour lessons with a pupil, yes. Same should be done for the test.

    This won't stop the 1st time fails, may get rid of the "give it a go" attitude, but it should improve the 2nd attempts. Argument is is a pupil fails on the 1st round about and brought back, 2nd test passes roundabout and fails on parking, 3rd attempt passes all 2 areas and fails further in the test then personally this pupil isn't ready. But a 1st test fully contact and help identify to the instructor if they need to improve the teach. Every pupil failed is failed on parking? There is a pattern that the instructor needs to address. Fails are all silly nervous mistakes? Then that's on the pupil's test day nerves.

    A lot of the waiting times are because of school of mum and dad putting their child in for a test they aren't prepared for. Yet the DVSA decide to change the standards checks for PDI/ADIs to penalise us more, which in turn may mean instructors are turning away pupils that aren't test ready as they don't want their score to be affected, thus making the pupil use school of mum and dad and fail. This is a vicious cycle caused by DVSA hiding behind covid termination of tests.

    It's affecting the statistics too much, pupil A goes out fails in 10 minutes with a serious. Pupil B goes out, does full 40 minutes but comes back with 3 minors and 2 serious. Pupil B looks like they worse off than pupil A, but who is to say pupil A would have done any better? They could have done the full duration had 5 serious and 12 minors for all we know.

    Lots of other contributing factors I'd like to express, looking forward to seeing how we can help with this consultation and research.

  59. Comment by S kauser posted on

    The actual issue has been the lockdown, as instructors we are the ones dealing with the backlog, and trying to prepare pupils to go and pass 1st time, but let’s face it, we have test center percentages we deal with, people don’t always fail because they have made a mistake, examiners make errors, if this is raised it’s a problem for your other students going on test, and complaints going to dvsa are not actioned until months later, it becomes a routine job for examiners to pass or fail, however very good drivers have failed the test not because they can’t drive, and some students go straight for the test passing immediately, I have also noticed a big difference between the markings, I think ADIs should be allowed to sit in the cars and examiners should also show us the mark sheet in the debrief, so that questions can be asked to help, failing a test is not always a lack of preparation, I think nerves is totally overlooked, and the blame is on instructors, we can prepare and teach them well doesn’t always mean they will pass depending on how they handle the test mentally, most prepared pupils fail for trying too hard on test, or being careful, again it does not mean they can’t drive, we deal with individuals who are very comfortable with their instructor, however they may not be very comfortable with the examiner, it makes a big difference on who they get on the day. People also have different abilities and come from different backgrounds, if you have a shy learner we can’t refuse to teach them as they will find it hard to keep their confidence on test, I feel what dvsa need to do is push back and only cancel the tests, of those students who have a long theory date, or change the system , by candidates booking the test and filling out a questionnaire to determine their experience and preference of days and times, and then the dvsa staff give them a test date, as it’s a shame for people who are fully ready but due to short theory dates, have to wait and do theory again, this will give Dsa the opportunity to book tests fairly and everyone should be happy, because the biggest problem we face at the moment is waiting lists, and pupils wanting to make it to a test date, which is problematic and putting ADIs under even more pressure, it’s best for the very old system to return like application booking and a date given with preference, this should resolve and keep everyone happy, as people have lost a lot of time on theory, and are trying to pass before it expires,

  60. Comment by Glen posted on

    Consult with ADIS .
    Return tests to full length , stop returning early .
    Pass rate hasn’t really changed in 22years I’ve been teaching , ummmmm.
    Syllabus should be signed off by ADIS (not necessarily minimum hours but minimum standard )

    Loads good ideas above , external consultants waste of time, money . Use knowledge already in front of you . Please.

  61. Comment by NVS posted on

    It’s great that you, DVSA, are trying to address the issue of learners only taking their test when they are test ready. However, like a number of the contributors to the blog, I’m continually concerned that, although we as ADIs are held to very high standards, our efforts are not supported robustly enough by DVSA. The 39 minute test (yes, 39 minutes - it’s very rare for any learner to be driving for more than 39 minutes in their test) is not a good way to determine whether someone can drive safely (either now or for life). There are many ways in which you, DVSA, could improve the system – for example;

    • graduated learning,
    • introducing a minimum amount of ADI certificated hours of tuition that a learner must have prior to taking a test,
    • only allowing ADI approved test booking

    amongst others. Surely, any or all of these would help.

    With regards to the statement “Currently less than 50% of pupils pass their test the first time, and of those who fail, 85% have resulted in their test having to be terminated by the examiner.”, I’m really not sure you’re taking note of what we’re saying to you. Having just read through the entire blog, I find the use of the same generic reply to the many posts referring to the above statement quite frustrating. This is obviously a somewhat contentious issue which could be settled all too easily if only the DVSA would accept (and make it clear in this blog that they do accept it!) that using the words “having to be terminated…” in the current circumstances IS NOT the same as how it was used pre-COVID. I don’t particularly mind if this practice continues and, if it is to be, it might even help instructors and DVSA alike in convincing pupils that they should not waste their money by booking a test until they have been advised, by their instructor, that they are test ready! But, a simple acknowledgement from DVSA that the term is being used in a different way, may help to clarify the issue and might even make ADIs feel better supported by their governing body.

  62. Comment by stephen OGGELSBY posted on

    what is the pass rate for theory tests.
    and is this cause for concern

  63. Comment by stephen OGGELSBY posted on

    what are doing to encourage pupils to be theory test ready.

  64. Comment by Brian M Stratton posted on

    Referencing the parental influencing of test candidates, this has been the case since the introduction of the test in 1935 and will continue be so for the foreseeable future.

    Naturally, It’s well-meaning and parents want to do their best for their children. Often though it’s based on urban myths or half-remembered advice from when they took their test.

    It’s such a big part of the test preparation that I included it in my Driving Test book: ‘The Driving Test: Essential Information’.

    The chapter is called: ‘My Dad Says… ‘ and various parental sayings were assessed for helpfulness or otherwise.

    The ‘Dadvice’ is discussed and categorised as either good advice or ‘badvice’ with reasons why.

    This chapter in the book has proved to be one of the most popular, with pupils gleefully pointing out to their parents the error of their ways.

    It’s inevitable that parents will want to become involved in their child’s driving test preparation so I think it’s best to engage and discuss the various aspects that crop up, seeing things from both sides and putting forward reasons for the correct approach or procedure.