Driver SOS (UK)
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Bogus driving instructors - How to spot the fake ones?
All new learner drivers will need to take driving lessons if they wish to pass successfully. This does not necessarily mean they all have to be trained by a professional teacher. It is beneficial to have as many lessons as possible before taking the practical driving test but as the cost of lessons increase, you can also have some private lessons by a family member or friend. As long as the person teaching you is over 21 with a clean licence and has held it for three years, it is legal to do so. It is illegal however for someone to charge you for lessons when they are not certified, regardless if it is a family member or friend giving discounted lessons, it is just against the law.
As a result of bogus driving instructors managing to fool learner drivers who are unaware of what to look out for in an instructor, the DSA have launched a new search function on their website to allow all new learner drivers to find a qualified driving instructor. DSA are not allowed to recommend driving instructors or driving schools, so the results you see published are all driving instructors who have their licence to teach by the DSA. If you find that your instructor or someone you know that teaches students to drive is not listed, then you should contact the DSA to let them know there is someone breaking the law.
The practical driving test is constantly changing and is much harder than it was just 5 years ago, so make sure you learn the right way by taking at least 40 hours of professional driving lessons to give you the best chance of passing first time. Failing to pass can be a costly mistake as you will need to take some more lessons and pay for another practical driving test slot.
This is how you can spot a fake driving instructor:
- All ADI’s (approved driving instructors) have a green badge displayed on the windscreen; check that it is shown clearly and not obscured and still valid as they expire every few years
- Many fake driving instructors have unsuitable cars such as cars that have been modified with alloy wheels, spoilers and even tinted windows
- Instructors who do not have their name on the car or business cards
- All driving instructors also have a badge with their picture on it make sure they match
Even though a driving instructor has his number advertised on a car roof sign and has installed dual controls, it doesn’t mean he is qualified to teach. Unfortunately driving school merchandise is not expensive and dual controls can be fitted to a car for as little as £40. So be vigilant and ask for identification and check with the DSA if in doubt. Don’t be duped into handing over thousands of pounds to a fake driving instructor.