THOUSANDS of Brits unknowingly use dodgy driving instructors when they go to get their license.
Taking lessons with a dodgy on-road instructor could be life-threatening and mean you won’t be covered by insurance in the event of an accident.
DVSA Freedom of Information data reveals that 961 reports of illegal driving instructors have been made in the past five years.
But only 18 of those reports resulted in a conviction, as it can be difficult to prove that money changed hands between a learner and an instructor.
Section 123 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states that chargeable driving instructions can only be given by registered or licensed persons.
More than 40,000 instructors are currently regulated by the DVSA, with each instructor required to display an up-to-date badge on their windshield.
How to Spot a Questionable Driving Instructor
- All driving instructors must display an up-to-date badge on their screen.
- A pink badge indicates a trainee (a potential driving instructor) who can teach for six months while gaining teaching experience.
- A green badge indicates that an instructor (certified driving instructor) is fully qualified and undergoes DVSA checks
- The badge must bear the instructor’s photograph, a unique reference number and an expiry date
- You can search for a certified driving instructor here
- If you suspect you can report your driving instructor by calling the DVSA on 03001233248 or emailing [email protected]
A pink badge indicates a Trainee Instructor, otherwise known as a Prospective Driving Instructor, who can teach for six months while gaining experience.
An instructor displaying a green badge, a licensed driving instructor, is a fully qualified individual who regularly undergoes DVSA checks.
In an effort to stamp out this behavior, the DVSA initiated prosecutions for alleged illegal conduct in its own fraud and investigations team during the past fiscal year.
Tom Preston, Managing Director of Hippo Leasing, said: “Due to the nature of driving lessons, learners are in a particularly vulnerable position, alone in a car with a stranger for extended periods of time.
“If a driving instructor is not DVSA approved, there is no guarantee of personal or vehicle safety.
“The DVSA relies heavily on witnesses who come forward to prevent illegal driving instructors from operating.”
Andy Rice, Head of Fraud and Investigations at DVSA, said: “It is essential that all drivers demonstrate they have the right skills, knowledge and attitude to drive safely and the outcome of their test depends entirely on their performance on the day.
“Illegal driving instructors pose a threat to learners and the general public. They often use uninsured vehicles, lack the proper training, or are otherwise unfit to train the next generation of drivers.
“We have strict measures in place to detect fraud and bring violators to justice, and DVSA will always seek the most severe penalty possible.”
Last month, we revealed that a record number of learners had cheated on their driving test by using substitutes.
If you’re caught using an impersonator or taking a test for another driver, you could be hit with a driving ban, a community service order, or even jail time. .