New driving test rules coming in the summer of 2023 will have a huge impact on learners.
Many driving instructors plan to stop taking learners for driving tests so it will be up to pupils to supply their own car. This is because the DVSA want to record the result of every driving test an instructor does and if their pass rate falls too low the instructor will be retested or lose their job.
While this may seem a good idea, it will cause a huge wave of unintended consequences that will make learning to drive much more difficult and lower road safety standards. Let’s look at this in more detail and you can read the official DVSA document here.
New driving test rules sections on this page
What are the new driving test rules?
The DVSA wants to legally force all driving instructors (ADIs) to have the results their pupil’s driving tests recorded.
If your driving instructor’s statistics fall below a certain level, one of two things can happen.
- They have to retake their instructor teaching test called an ADI Standards Check.
- They lose their job by being removed from the driving instructor register.
It isn’t just passing or failing that matters. They are taking into account:
- The average number of driver faults (commonly known as minors)
- The average number of serious faults
- Percentage of tests where the examiner had to take action
- Overall pass rate
Other changes are being proposed such as publishing sensitive personal data about instructors online such as our pass rates, grades and more.
Before you make the mistake of thinking this isn’t your problem and it’ll only affect bad instructors, read on!
How does this affect me?
Many driving instructors will refuse to take pupils for driving tests.
A driving instructor can’t risk you failing your driving test or that could lead to them having to retake their standards check or lose their job.
You’ll need to supply your own car for your driving test and go with a friend, relative etc.
You can still learn with a driving instructor and they’ll help you right up until the day of your test. They just won’t take you for a test for fear of losing their job.
It’s all about passing now
I have always said that learning to drive must be about becoming a safe driver for life and not just learning how to pass a test.
The DVSA has long said teaching people to drive is more important than teaching them how to pass a test. Their maxim is “Safe driving for life”.
That has all now gone and we must focus on teaching how to pass a test.
The DVSA has even named their new campaign Ready to Pass instead of Ready to Drive.
You’ll be an accident waiting to happen after passing your test because instructors will focus on teaching test routes and all the things the examiner is looking for instead of teaching you how to drive.
This is the most stupid and dangerous change in driving test history.
Talking of stupid, look at this notice from someone at the DVSA who can’t tell the difference between a maxim and a logo! That’s not the only mistake.
Other problems this will cause
One of the ideas behind recording pass rates was that pupils could cherry-pick the best instructors by seeing who had the highest pass rate.
These changes will actually lead to driving instructors cherry-picking the best pupils!
If you have anxiety, a disability or just aren’t very good then you’ll be thrown on the scrap heap because an instructor won’t want to risk you failing a driving test.
The instructors with high pass rates won’t be the best, they will be those that fiddle their pass figures by only taking talented pupils for tests and dumping “bad” pupils who would fail and hurt their pass rates.
Consider the following two driving instructors:
1) Driving instructor A teaches anyone regardless of their skill, helps people with anxiety and nerves and gets them through a test even after a few failed attempts. They have a low pass rate.
2) Driving instructor B only works with the most talented pupils and dumps those that struggle, have disabilities or aren’t as easy to teach. They have a high pass rate.
Which of those driving instructors is better?
According to pass rates it’s instructor B!
This could lead to the best driving instructors leaving the industry while the poorest instructors who fiddle pass rates remain.
Why are some driving schools not mentioning the new rules?
Some think it’ll be bad for business so they’d rather hide it from you.
Some driving instructors and schools say they support the changes and it won’t stop them from taking you for a driving test.
Do they think they’ll still be as keen to take you when their pass rate starts dropping?
Even if an instructor would take you for your test, imagine how you’re going to feel. You’ll have all the usual driving test nerves as well as the added pressure of knowing that if you fail your instructor could lose their job.
I suspect that instructors who are keen for these measures to come in will be the ones who break their legs just before your test and will be unable to take you.
Watch this video I made back in 2015 about this exact problem.
A video I made years ago about instructors lying to avoid driving tests.
Why are the new driving test rules coming in?
There are two versions of why this is happening.
The official reason given by the DVSA is that too many pupils are taking driving tests when they are not ready. This is wasting the examiner’s time and blocking up the booking system which means waiting times are well over six months long in many parts of the UK.
The unofficial reason is that it’s all about them slashing test waiting times to meet targets and a great way to do that is to scare instructors into not wanting to do driving tests while pretending it’s all about raising driving standards for public safety.
Which do you think is true?
Won’t this only affect bad driving instructors?
The standards set are way too high and rather than punishing only poor instructors they punish good ones as well.
The “best” instructors that have the highest pass rates will be those only taking naturally talented pupils. Instructors such as myself who work with anyone will be punished and made to look bad.
I have been a supporter of higher standards for driving instructors for over 20 years. I was one of the first driving instructors on YouTube having started making videos in May 2008. It’s thanks to my work highlighting driving school scams and cowboy instructors that many people became aware of what a bad driving instructor is.
I’m proud that many ADIs across the UK use my driving instructor training videos and they’ve made a positive contribution to this industry.
Despite my being at the forefront of raising instructor standards, I do not agree with these new measures at all.
I’m also a hypnotherapist who specialises in helping people across the world to overcome driving anxiety. I know how the mind works, how people get anxious and what makes people fail driving tests. It is not a bad instructor.
Driving test mistakes are usually down to the number one reason anyone fails a test – nerves.
Nerves are not your instructor’s fault and blaming a failed test on a driving instructor is stupid.
Can they legally do this?
No, so they are changing the law to make it legal!
The law as it stands says that driving instructors must display their badge when giving paid tuition. A driving test isn’t paid tuition so it can be removed.
The majority of instructors such as myself always left their badges in on tests.
This changed in 2021 when these rules were first announced and driving instructors started removing their badges in protest. Now they’re changing the law to stop that.
Haven’t they recorded data for years anyway?
Driving instructors have long had their results recorded but they haven’t been used to punish instructors before.
Up until around 2003, driving instructors used to be sent an annual report showing this data. It helped them spot areas they needed to improve on.
Around 2003 they stopped sending the reports out and we’ve had to request it.
Will the DVSA take action against instructors that don’t do tests?
Driving instructors can continue teaching without taking pupils for tests.
The new rules only apply if you take at least five pupils for a test within a 12-month period. The changes also don’t apply to instructors that only do driving instructor tests and various other types of work.
If they did change the law about this we’d be in an even more farcical situation. There’d be one law saying we have to take pupils for tests and another saying not until they’re ready!
What happens now?
There will be an announcement in the summer of 2023 with the final decision and details.
If the rules change then I and many other great instructors will stop teaching, leaving only the poorest instructors who will only teach the best pupils. It’s either that or you’ll have to take the driving test in your own car.
I will keep this page updated with the latest news on this.