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Learner Drivers. Is professional instruction required by law?


Townie
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Hi people, genuine question as my friends wife has just got her first car and is learning to drive. Is she required by law to have a certain number of lessons under the supervision of a professional driving instructor, or can she learn by just  having full licence drivers sitting alongside her? She was told by "a friend at work" that she legally has to have a certain number of lessons with a professional driving instructor before she can apply for her test. I told her that I'd ask on here as there are a lot of members with FAR more knowledge of the law than me.

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I learnt to drive 45 years ago and had lessons with my dad.

Then had 6 "proper"lessons with a driving school to learn the "proper way".

Passed test first time.😊

 

I don't think it is law to take professional lessons but I may be wrong.

Edited by George&Ade
Missed words
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Had a quick check on DVLA website there, as I was interested to know too out of curiosity.

 

it says the following, which suggests to me that, if there is no minimum number / hours required you could have zero hours tuition and still sit a test, therefore no professional lesson are required (unless I’m missing something).
 

 

Driving lessons

There’s no minimum number of lessons you must have or hours you must practise driving.

How many lessons you need will depend on how quickly you learn. You can download a form to record your progress with your instructor.

You can complain about a driving instructor if you’re not happy with their service or behaviour.

Edited by BM Bairn
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Just checked with a mate of mine, who is a professional driving instructor. 
He advised that you do not need professional instruction prior to taking a driving test, but notes your unlikely to pass without 

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Ha. Buy her some lessons.

 

My daughter took out a stop sign on her very first lesson although the instructor was really new. I was glad it was the instructors car!!!!

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Agree with Lost in the wilderness.

My dad just gave me plenty of experience out on the road but it needed a professional to teach me how to drive to the required standard. 

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45 minutes ago, Townie said:

Hi people, genuine question as my friends wife has just got her first car and is learning to drive. Is she required by law to have a certain number of lessons under the supervision of a professional driving instructor, or can she learn by just  having full licence drivers sitting alongside her?

Absolutely no legal requirement for professional tuition. However, local driving instructors know the test routes and will conduct lessons on them to familiarise the learner. In addition they know exactly what is required on a test so can prepare the learner properly.

One final point, a supervising driver has a greater responsibility than just "sitting alongside" a provisional licence holder. They must be fully aware just as if they were driving and be prepared to react if necessary. That's why driving school cars have dual controls and it's an offence if a supervising driver uses a mobile phone. In addition, a supervising driver can be held jointly liable with the learner for certain motoring offences.

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3 hours ago, Legal Eagle said:

Absolutely no legal requirement for professional tuition. However, local driving instructors know the test routes and will conduct lessons on them to familiarise the learner. In addition they know exactly what is required on a test so can prepare the learner properly.

One final point, a supervising driver has a greater responsibility than just "sitting alongside" a provisional licence holder. They must be fully aware just as if they were driving and be prepared to react if necessary. That's why driving school cars have dual controls and it's an offence if a supervising driver uses a mobile phone. In addition, a supervising driver can be held jointly liable with the learner for certain motoring offences.

Thanks for that L.E. you were one of the ones I was thinking about when I mentioned 'knowledge of the law'. As an aside, I guess that the supervising driver must also be below the drink/drive limit? (A question that I asked a police officer 20+ years ago and he told me that he wasn't sure!!)

P.S. Thanks to everybody who took the trouble to reply.

3 hours ago, Readingblue said:

Ha. Buy her some lessons.

 

My daughter took out a stop sign on her very first lesson although the instructor was really new. I was glad it was the instructors car!!!!

Me? Buy her some lessons?? Let her husband pay for them! He bought her the car!! :D

Edited by Townie
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42 minutes ago, Townie said:

As an aside, I guess that the supervising driver must also be below the drink/drive limit?

Most definitely. As I said, the supervising driver must be fully aware and ready to react if necessary. They are in charge of the vehicle and being over the drink or drug driving limit puts them in charge of a motor vehicle whilst unfit through drink or drugs.

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Mrs H bought a car from her neighbour a few weeks before her test and failed. Fresh from passing my IAM test in a semi-automatic Citroen DS, I offered to help. I was surprised at what she didn't seem to know, e.g. a 'turning in the road' aka 3-point turn. She passed second time.

For the children, I bought a copy of 'The Official Guide to Accompanying L-Drivers' and liased with their instructors. As far as I was concerned, the instructors' word was law even though I privately disagreed with one or two points. We filled out the 'log book' in the back of the official guide and ticked off each listed manoeuvre. It seemed to work; 3 of them passed first time and the youngest second time. I still have a collection of magnetic L and P plates from the days when many car panels were made from steel.

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Make sure, if getting instruction, that the professional actually delivers continual instruction!! I keep hearing anecdotal stories of instructors who will give a bit at the outset as to the controls and then “just sit there” and at the end of the lesson say something along the lines of “Not bad, see you same time next week”! 

 

What is really needed is someone sat alongside the learner continually delivering relevant instruction instruction such as.

 

We are approaching a roundabout so check you rear view mirror, think about your speed, start looking to see what is happening at the roundabout. Is there traffic ahead, will you need to stop, look into the roundabout to see what is approaching from your right etc etc

 

Such instruction will show the learner what they need to be thinking about.What you don’t want is “silent ballast” just sitting there and not delivering any instruction.

Edited by Mr Plodd

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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Retired 30 year DVSA Driving Examiner here.

There is absolutely no legal requirement to have professional tuition from an ADI.

There is no requirement to have dual controls fitted in a vehicle used on test.

It is illegal to pay for tuition from anyone who is not an ADI who is currently on the register. This also includes payment 'in kind'.

From my experience of having conducted approximately 42, 000 driving tests, I can honestly say that the best performing candidates were generally those who integrated private practice with professional tuition - where the private accompanying driver did not contradict what the professional instructor was teaching.

 

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I recall my driving instructor telling me that there were two problems with being taught by friend or family instead of a professional.

One is that most experienced drivers have picked up habits which , although not dangerous themselves, will fail a test.

The other is that learning to drive/teaching someone to drive can be stressful, and any friction can carry on indoors.

He started teaching his wife to drive, but handed her over to a colleague after a 2am argument about "you didn't have to shout at me" "I didn't shout" "yes you did" "No, you were the one who was shouting" "You're a horrible teacher, I hate you". (I add, he was an extremely patient teacher who got me, and several of my friends, through the test without ever losing his cool or raising his voice -  but it may have been different with his wife).

 

 

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No legal requirement but it is the best option. Instructors have qualified and know the best ways to prepare and the routes used in the tests. Another licensed driver has no chance of equalling this and adding a learner to your insurance may be just as expensive as using an instructor.

If you still want to do this you  can hire cars with dual control which helps. Not sure what there is near, you but Arnold Clark do have them here.

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19 hours ago, Wildwood said:

No legal requirement but it is the best option. Instructors have qualified and know the best ways to prepare and the routes used in the tests.....

Driving test centre routes change on a regular basis.

Do you think that Examiners don't notice if a particular ADI is bashing a particular route?  When we saw an ADI doing 'route training', we would always take their candidates in a different direction if they came up for a test.

The best ADI s teach people to drive - not just to pass a test.

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I appreciate they use different routes but when our daughters learned to drive it was clear they were using very similar routes over several years. The other points I made are probably more relevant though. 

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The problem has been driving schools have been fully booked 

my granddaughter could not get lessons so me and her dad taught her in her own car  

She took the test in it  and passed first time

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On 25/09/2021 at 19:19, Mr Plodd said:

Make sure, if getting instruction, that the professional actually delivers continual instruction!! I keep hearing anecdotal stories of instructors who will give a bit at the outset as to the controls and then “just sit there” and at the end of the lesson say something along the lines of “Not bad, see you same time next week”! 

 

What is really needed is someone sat alongside the learner continually delivering relevant instruction instruction such as.

 

We are approaching a roundabout so check you rear view mirror, think about your speed, start looking to see what is happening at the roundabout. Is there traffic ahead, will you need to stop, look into the roundabout to see what is approaching from your right etc etc

 

Such instruction will show the learner what they need to be thinking about.What you don’t want is “silent ballast” just sitting there and not delivering any instruction.

Hmmm Roadcraft ?  Still do this in my head today even 40 years on.

Edited by Towtug
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6 hours ago, Towtug said:

Hmmm Roadcraft ?  Still do this in my head today even 40 years on.

 

The training clearly worked then?  

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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2 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

 

The training clearly worked then?  

You know as well that you dont learn it you live it.

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I think some of the "instructors"who operate in this area need instruction.

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On 27/09/2021 at 11:05, kitj said:

The problem has been driving schools have been fully booked 

my granddaughter could not get lessons so me and her dad taught her in her own car  

She took the test in it  and passed first time

I think that may be a problem due to them not being able to work during the lockdown and now having a backlog. personally I would rather wait until they have a vacancy to get them started even if it means they have to wait a bit longer.  Possibly the most frightening thing I have done was hire a dual control car to help my daughter learn to drive. Instructors must have nerves of steel. 

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It depends in the instructor.

My partner paid for lessons and failed twice with a professional instructor.

We decided to try again without the instructor and I discovered that some things I assumed were essential hadn't even been taught.

First thing my father taught me was how to hold the car on the clutch on a slope.

This made hill starts pretty straightforward and inspired confidence.

Once we worked out what was missing I taught how to hold the car on the clutch and the boost in confidence was amazing.

Past the next test without problems, in our large estate.

 

Oh, my father taught me to drive but a driving instructor taught me how to pass the test.

Edited by LittleGreyCat
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You should never “hold” a vehicle on a slope using the clutch unless it is just momentarily, it causes excessive wear, use the parking brake, that’s whats its for. 

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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10 hours ago, LittleGreyCat said:

It depends in the instructor.

My partner paid for lessons and failed twice with a professional instructor.

We decided to try again without the instructor and I discovered that some things I assumed were essential hadn't even been taught.

First thing my father taught me was how to hold the car on the clutch on a slope.

This made hill starts pretty straightforward and inspired confidence.

Once we worked out what was missing I taught how to hold the car on the clutch and the boost in confidence was amazing.

Past the next test without problems, in our large estate.

 

Oh, my father taught me to drive but a driving instructor taught me how to pass the test.

You clearly have money to burn, the quickest way to destroy a clutch and DMF is to slip clutch holding on a hill, you could get away with it with old asbestos based clutch materials and solid flywheels, but modern clutch materials don't like excessive heat, plus its potentially dangerous. 

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