Important Information for learner drivers

Choosing a driving instructor | Preparing for your driving test | The theory test explained | New Drivers Act

Choosing a driving instructor.

If you are paying someone to teach you to drive, they must be approved and registered with the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). Only a registered approved driving instructor (ADI) can charge money for teaching you to drive.

Recent surveys indicate that nine in ten learners who passed both theory and practical tests first time were taught by an instructor. A fully qualified approved driving instructor (ADI) must display a green certificate on the windscreen of the car while teaching you. Some trainee driving instructors are granted a licence so they can gain experience before their qualifying examination. In this case, the trainee driving instructor must display a pink certificate on the windscreen.

DSA is responsible for maintaining and checking the standards of all approved driving instructors (ADI), who to qualify must:

  • have held a full driving licence for at least four years
  • pass a much tougher theory test than the one learner drivers take
  • pass a strict driving test
  • reach and keep up a high standard of instruction. The standard of tuition given by the ADI is regularly checked by a supervising examiner from DSA
  • be registered with DSA
  • display an ADI identification certificate on the windscreen of the tuition vehicle

You should take advice from your ADI on:

  • all aspects of driving
  • what books to read
  • when to take your test
  • how to practice

DSA, as a government agency, is not allowed to recommend an instructor. We suggest that you ask friends and relatives to recommend someone they know. You could also look in a local business directory for ADIs in your area. Try and choose an instructor who:

  • has a good reputation
  • is reliable and punctual
  • has a car that suits you

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Choosing a driving instructor | Preparing for your driving test | The theory test explained | New Drivers Act

Preparing for your driving test - The Driver's record

Those who pass their driving test have had, on average, about 45 hours of professional training combined with 22 hours of private practice. Learners who prepare this way, with a combination of plenty of professional training and plenty of practice, do better in the test.

To help you learn in a structured way, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has produced a Driver's Record. You may have received a Driver's Record with your provisional driving licence. This will help you monitor your progress and provide you with a lasting record of your achievement. You can also get one from your instructor, from your local driving test centre or from the link in the 'When to take your practical test' section below.

Structured learning

The Driver's Record is a way of helping you and your driving instructor keep a record of your progress while you're learning to drive.

The Driver's Record has a list of 24 key skills covered in the practical driving test. It has space for your instructor to fill in as you progress through the five levels shown on the Record. Levels one to four should be initialled and dated by your instructor, and full details added when you reach level five. From this, both you and your instructor will be able to see at a glance which skills you need to improve.

You need to learn the skill and then practise to get the experience. You also need to learn both the theory and practical driving at the same time, especially now that the theory test contains a hazard perception part. The record is a pocket-sized leaflet that you should take with you to all your driving lessons.

What are the five levels?

The meaning of each level is:

  • the skill is introduced
  • it can be carried out under full instruction
  • it can be carried out correctly when prompted
  • it seldom needs to be prompted
  • you can carry it out consistently without any prompting

The Driver's Record will help to remind you what you're trying to achieve, how to get there and how far you've got.

Practising your driving skills

An important part of the structured learning process is practising what you have learned during your lessons. Get together with your instructor and the person who will be helping you to practise and discuss what you need to practise.

You should vary what you do. Try to practise:

  • on as many types of road as you can
  • in all sorts of traffic and weather conditions, even in the dark
  • on dual carriageways where the national speed limit applies - you may be asked to drive on this type of road during the test

You should try to keep a record of any practice you have on different types of road and during different conditions between lessons. This will help you to remember and quantify the amount of practice you have had in the different conditions. You should also record any worries you may have about your driving and then discuss these with your instructor.

When to take your practical test

You aren't ready to take your test until you have a complete set of signatures in the level five boxes. Only then can your instructor sign the declaration. By this time you should be able to drive safely without prompting from your instructor or the person helping you to practise.

Don't forget to take the Record with you when you go for your practical driving test. Keep this as a record of your 'learning to drive' experience.

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Choosing a driving instructor | Preparing for your driving test | The theory test explained | New Drivers Act

The theory test explained

The theory test is made up of two parts; the multiple choice part and the hazard perception part. You need to pass both parts to pass the theory test. Once you have passed the theory test you can then apply to take your practical driving test..

Taking your theory test

The multiple choice part is delivered using a touch screen computer and the hazard perception part records your responses through the use of a computer mouse button.

If you pass one part and fail the other you'll fail the whole test, and you'll need to take both parts again.

The questions in each multiple choice test vary according to the category of vehicle you're hoping to obtain a licence for, ie a motorcycle theory test will contain specific questions that don't appear in any other test.

For the hazard perception test there are no separate versions for different vehicles, each vehicle category takes the same test, however the pass mark is different for different categories of tests.

Part two - hazard perception

After the break you'll then be shown a short tutorial video clip about how the hazard perception part works.

The hazard perception part is also delivered on a computer but you respond by clicking a button on the mouse. You'll be presented with a series of 14 video clips which feature every day road scenes. In each clip there'll be at least one developing hazard, but one of the clips will feature two developing hazards.

To achieve a high score you'll need to respond to the developing hazard during the early part of its development. The maximum you can score on each hazard is five.

You won't be able to review your answers to the hazard perception test; as on the road, you'll only have one chance to respond to the developing hazard.

The pass mark for the car and motorcycle hazard perception part of the theory test is 44 out of 75. For lorries and buses the pass mark is 50 out of 75.

At the end of the test

At the end of the hazard perception part of the theory test you'll be invited to answer a number of customer survey questions.

You don't have to answer the questions if you don't want to, and any information given is anonymous and confidential. The survey questions don't affect the result of the test.

When you have finished the test you may leave the examination room. Once you have left the room, you'll not be allowed to enter it again. You'll then be given your result by the test centre staff.

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Choosing a driving instructor | Preparing for your driving test | The theory test explained | New Drivers Act

New Drivers Act

Your driving licence is automatically revoked if you build up six or more penalty points within two years of passing your first driving test. This includes any penalty points you had before passing the test, which are still valid. You'll have to reapply for your driving licence as a learner driver and resit your driving test.

Who does the act affect

This applies to drivers and motorcyclists from Great Britain (GB), Northern Ireland, European Community and European Economic Area (EC/EEA) countries, Isle of Man, Channel Islands or Gibraltar for a period of two years from passing their first driving test in these countries.

Drivers from designated countries

The act also applies to you if you have exchanged a driving licence issued in a designated country for a GB driving licence.

The first driving test you pass in this country for another type of vehicle eg a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) is treated as a first driving test. If you reach six or more penalty points within two years of passing this test, your driving licence will be revoked.

The designated countries are: Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland and Zimbabwe.

Getting your full driving licence back

To regain your full driving licence you must reapply for a provisional driving licence, pass the theory and practical driving tests again and claim your test pass.

Reapply for a provisional driving licence

You'll need to:

  • complete 'Application for a driving licence' D1 (available from the DVLA form ordering service or Post Office® branches)
  • tick the renewal box 'Revoked under the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995 in section three on the D1 form
  • pay the fee (see 'renewal after revocation' on the cost of a driving licence)
  • post the D1 form to DVLA, Swansea SA99 1AB

Pass the theory and practical driving tests

You'll need to pay for and resit the theory and practical driving tests

Claim your test pass

After passing your driving test, you'll need to exchange your provisional driving licence for a full one.

Your driving entitlement

Full entitlement to drive all categories of vehicle you previously held on your driving licence will only be reinstated when you pass a test in any one of your previously held entitlements.

If you successfully pass a test for entitlement to a category you have not previously held, you'll get a full driving licence for that category only.

Also, previously held HGV or PCV (passenger carrying vehicle) entitlement will only be reinstated after the approval of the Traffic Commissioner.

After passing your retest

It's important to remember that passing the retest:

  • does not remove the penalty points from your driving licence
  • the penalty points remain valid

Your driving licence can only be revoked once under the provisions of the act.

Appealing against the withdrawal of your driving licence

You can only appeal against the conviction that led to you getting the six penalty points. Contact the convicting court for advice on how to appeal.

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Choosing a driving instructor | Preparing for your driving test | The theory test explained | New Drivers Act

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The information on this page is subject to crown copyright and has accordingly been reproduced accurately and not used in a misleading context. The original source material can be found on the www.direct.gov.uk website

Email James Waudby Tel: 07817484380

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