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Learner drivers


Answer

No, all driver and rider training and tests will be suspended in England from 5 November until 2 December 2020. The DVSA will be contacting affected test candidates soon.


Answer

A green P plate on a vehicle means that the person driving has only recently passed their test. Extra consideration should be given to cars displaying a P plate.


Answer

Supervisors

Supervisors must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age.
  • Hold a full EC/EEA licence for that type of vehicle (including manual or automatic) – full EC (or EEA) licence holders can supervise others providing the 3 year, over 21 years age, qualified driver conditions are met.
  • Have held that valid licence for a minimum of 3 years – periods of disqualification don't count. Therefore, if you've held your licence for 3 years but were disqualified for 6 months, you have actually only held your licence for 2½ years and cannot act as a supervisor.
  • Comply with the minimum eyesight requirements.
  • Check that the car is registered, taxed, insured, has a valid MoT and that it complies with the law in relation to vehicle condition e.g. tyres, lights etc.
  • Make sure the car displays L-plates (D-plates in Wales) if the learner is driving.
  • Ensure they are not over the drink/drug-drive limits or are unfit to drive through drugs.
  • Not speak (handheld) on their mobile or text, whilst supervising a learner.
  • Wear glasses/contact lenses if they need them when driving themselves.
  • Not receive any payment for supervising the learner unless they are an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI ).

Learners

Learner drivers must:

  • Have reached the minimum age – 17 for a cars.
  • Hold a valid provisional licence for the type of vehicle.
  • Comply with the minimum eyesight requirements.
  • Check that the car is registered, taxed, insured, has a valid MoT and that it complies with the law in relation to vehicle condition e.g. tyres, lights etc.
  • Make sure the car displays L-plates (D-plates in Wales) when they are driving.
  • Ensure they are not over the drink/drug-drive limits or are unfit to drive through drugs.
  • Not speak (handheld) on their mobile or text, whilst supervising a learner.
  • Wear glasses/contact lenses if required.


Answer

To hold a licence to drive a moped you have to be 16 years old. To hold a licence for a car you have to be 17 years old, unless you are getting or have applied for the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in which case the minimum age is 16. To ride a motorcycle you have to be 17 years old.


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If you get six or more points on your licence within two years of passing your driving test your licence will be revoked.

Any penalty points you get on your provisional licence that haven't expired will be carried over to your full licence when you pass your test – points usually last for 3 years. However, your licence will be revoked if you get any further penalty points that take you up to a total of 6 or more within 2 years of passing your driving test.

If your licence is revoked, in order to be able to drive again, you'll have to apply and pay for a new provisional licence and pass both theory and practical parts of the driving test again to get your full licence back.

The 2 year probationary period only applies to the very first test you take, this will usually be for a car or motorcycle, it doesn't apply to any further tests.


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You can start driving as soon as you pass your driving test but you must have an insurance policy that allows you to drive without supervision. If you are in any doubt about this contact your insurer and clarify the matter with them before you drive. Nonetheless, it's not a good idea to drive straight away after your test, as you'll probably be very excited and this could affect your judgement.

Providing you have a photocard provisional licence that shows your correct name, your driving test examiner will send your test pass certificate to the DVLA, you should then receive your full licence within 3 weeks.

If the name on your provisional licence is not correct or if you have a paper provisional licence, you will need to:

  • Complete the declaration on your test pass certificate.
  • Get a driving licence application form (D1) from the Post Office and complete it.
  • Provide documents that confirm your identity.
  • If you have a paper provisional licence, include a passport photo.

Send your provisional licence and the above documents to the following address:

DVLA
Swansea
SA99 1BN

Note that:

  • Your test pass certificate is only valid for 2 years after passing your driving test. If you don't send it to the DVLA and obtain you full licence within this time, you'll have to retake your driving test.
  • Whilst you can drive on your own you cannot supervise a learner driver, see question on requirements for supervising a learner driver for further information.


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The DVLA maintains a register of vehicles and their keepers. This register is kept for a variety of reasons; road safety, revenue collection and law enforcement. It is important, therefore, that the person listed as the registered keeper is the person who is responsible for the day to day running of the car.

The registered keeper should be the person who is using the vehicle and keeping it, which can sometimes be different to the owner of the vehicle or the person who is responsible for paying for it – see Q743 for the difference between the owner and registered keeper of a vehicle.


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There is a substantial body of research showing that using a mobile phone whilst driving, even legally via hands-free, is a considerable distraction and greatly increases the risk of a driver being involved in an accident. This is because of the mental distraction and the driver having to divide their attention between using their phone/device and driving. Therefore, we would suggest that you don't use a mobile phone/device, even hands-free, whilst driving.
 
Standard of driving
It's important to realise that even if you aren't contravening the mobile phone/other hand-held device legislation explained below, if operating any device whether it's hand-held or not, affects your driving, you can still commit offences such as not being in proper control of your vehicle, careless or even dangerous driving. This also applies to operating any device in your vehicle e.g. car radio, sat-nav etc. Note that if you were involved in an accident and your telephone records showed that you were using your mobile at the time of the incident, even via voice activation, it could have serious legal implications.

Mobile phone/other hand-held devices – legal requirements
The law states that no person shall drive, or cause or permit to be driven, a motor vehicle on a road if the driver is using:
 
  • a hand-held mobile telephone, or
  • a hand-held device other than a two-way radio, which is capable of transmitting and receiving data, whether or not those capabilities are enabled.

Additionally, no person shall supervise a holder of a provisional licence if the person supervising is using a hand-held mobile telephone or a hand-held device as above at a time when the provisional licence holder is driving a motor vehicle on a road.
 
A mobile telephone or other device is to be treated as hand-held if it is, or must be, held at some point while being used.
 
Using includes the following –
 
  • Illuminating the screen
  • Checking the time
  • Checking notifications
  • Unlocking the device
  • Making, receiving, or rejecting a telephone or internet-based call
  • Sending, receiving or uploading oral or written content
  • Sending, receiving or uploading a photo or video
  • Utilising camera, video, or sound recording functionality
  • Drafting any text
  • Accessing any stored data such as documents, books, audio files, photos, videos, films, playlists, notes or messages
  • Accessing an application
  • Accessing the internet.

What does this mean?
The offence of using a hand-held mobile phone or similar device is triggered when a driver holds a mobile phone or similar device and uses it, regardless of whether that use involves interactive communication. This covers any device which is capable of interactive communication even if that functionality is not enabled at the time, for example, because mobile data is switched off, or the device is in flight mode.

Provided that a phone/device can be operated without holding it, then hands-free equipment is not prohibited by the above requirements.

Pushing buttons/touching a phone while it's in a cradle is not covered by the above offence, provided you don't hold the phone. Therefore, in our opinion, if the device can allow for hands-free calls, such as when using Apple's Siri voice command system or using a car's compatible systems, it would be legal but inadvisable to use whilst driving. However, we would emphasise that ultimately this would be a matter for a court to decide.

The use of a mobile phone or similar device for texting/internet access etc., while driving is also prohibited if the phone/device has to be held in order to operate it.

What is the penalty for using a mobile phone/device?
Using a mobile phone/device in breach of the above requirements carries 6 points and a £200 fine.
 
Can I use my phone as a sat nav?
The use of a phone as a sat nav is lawful providing you don't have to hold it at any time. Please see the section on 'Mobile phone/other hand-held devices – legal requirements' for information on touching the screen etc.

Mobile phone - use when parked
Whether someone is driving in terms of the law is a question of fact and degree and is ultimately a matter for a court to decide. If you are sitting in the driving seat of a vehicle on a road with the engine running you will usually be deemed to be driving for the purposes of this offence. There have even been cases where people have been found to be driving when they have let the vehicle roll forward without the engine running. In order to ensure you don't break the law in relation to using a phone/device when parked in a safe and lawful place, we would suggest the following:
 
  • Use a hands-free kit
  • Use the phone/device outside the vehicle
  • Ideally, don't use the phone/device at all

Mobile phone - positioning
The law does not state where your phone cradle must be positioned providing it doesn't obscure your view from the vehicle – if it does you could commit an offence.

Must my phone be in a cradle?
If at any point you have to hold your phone/device to use it whilst driving, you will commit an offence. Therefore, it is best to secure it in a suitable cradle.

What about queuing in traffic?
It's illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device if you're stopped in queuing traffic e.g. at traffic lights, hold-ups etc. Whilst there may be situations when drivers are held for hours in a queue of traffic e.g. following a serious accident, the legislation doesn't specifically provide an exemption in such circumstances. Therefore, to ensure you don't commit an offence in relation to using a mobile phone in such a situation, we would suggest using a hands-free kit.

Are there any exemptions?
Yes, there are three exemptions to the above provisions if someone is using the mobile telephone or other device to:
 
  • Call the police, fire, ambulance or other emergency service on 112 or 999, in response to a genuine emergency, and it is unsafe or impracticable for them to cease driving in order to make the call (or if applicable for the provisional licence holder to cease driving while the call was being made).
  • Perform a remote controlled parking function of the motor vehicle, and that mobile telephone or other device only enables the motor vehicle to move where:
    • there is continuous activation of the remote control application of the telephone or device by the driver,
    • the signal between the motor vehicle and the telephone or the motor vehicle and the device, as appropriate, is maintained, and
    • the distance between the motor vehicle and the telephone or the motor vehicle and the device, as appropriate, is not more than 6 metres.
  • Make a contactless payment for goods/services which are received at the same time as, or after, the contactless payment is made and the motor vehicle is stationary.

Wearable technology
It is not yet clear whether using a smartwatch strapped to your wrist would constitute a hand-held device for the purposes of the mobile phone legislation – this matter would have to be decided by the courts. However, if operating such a device affects your driving, you can still commit offences such as not being in proper control of your vehicle, careless or even dangerous driving – see the section on 'Standard of driving' for further information. Additionally, the legislation on viewing a screen may also apply – see the sections on 'Viewing a screen'. and 'Mobile phone/other hand-held devices – legal requirements' for information in relation to the use of voice command systems.

Viewing a screen
Legislation states that no person shall drive or cause or permit to be driven a motor vehicle on a road if the driver is in such a position as to be able to see, directly or by reflection, a television screen or similar apparatus except one showing information:
 
  • about the state of the vehicle or its equipment e.g. screen warning lights;
  • about the location of the vehicle and the road on which it is located e.g. some GPS tracking devices;
  •  to assist the driver to see the road adjacent to the vehicle e.g. reversing cameras; or
  • to assist the driver to reach their destination e.g. sat navs.

In-ear earphones
There is no specific legislation that applies to using head/earphones whilst riding/driving. However, when driving it is best not to do anything that restricts your senses or concentration, as this may impede your awareness of or reaction to a situation. If this occurred, depending on the circumstances, you could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention but this would ultimately be a matter for a court to decide.

Cyclists
The mobile phone legislation only applies to motor vehicles. However, if a cyclist was using a mobile phone, they could commit offences such as careless or dangerous cycling.

Two-way radios
The use of 2-way radio equipment (unless the device can also be used as a phone) when driving is not included in the mobile phone legislation but note that if a device is a dual or multi-purpose device that can be used both as a mobile phone and a 2-way radio, the use of the device while driving or supervising a provisional licence holder is prohibited. Use is prohibited whether the device is being used as a 2-way radio or as a mobile phone. However, whilst the law on mobile phones doesn't apply to a two-way radio, if operating such a radio affects your driving, you can still commit offences such as not being in proper control of your vehicle, careless or even dangerous driving – see the section on 'Standard of driving' for further information.

Using a mobile phone/smartwatch to scan
Please see the ‘Are there any exemptions’ section above.
 


Answer

From Monday 4th December 2017, four changes were made to driving tests conducted in England, Scotland and Wales. The changes are designed to ensure that new drivers have the skills they need in order to drive safely in modern day driving conditions. Initially, the changes described below will only apply to car driving tests.

Independent driving
The independent driving part of the test i.e. the part of the test where candidates have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the examiner, will increase from around 10 minutes to 20 minutes.

Using a sat nav
During the independent driving part of the test most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav but one in five candidates will be asked to follow traffic signs instead.

The sat nav will be provided by the examiner (Tom Tom Start 52), who will set the route the candidate needs to follow – candidates cannot use their own sat nav .

Candidates will be allowed to ask the examiner for confirmation of where they're going and it won't matter if they go the wrong way so long as they don't commit a fault.

Reversing
Whilst the 'reversing around a corner' and 'turn in the road' manoeuvres will still be taught by driving instructors, they won't be included on the driving test. Instead, candidates will be asked to do one of four reversing manoeuvres:

  • Parallel park at the side of the road.
  • Parking in a parking bay – candidates will be asked to drive in and reverse out.
  • Parking in a parking bay – candidates will be asked to reverse in and drive out.
  • Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two car lengths and then re-join the traffic.

Vehicle safety questions
Candidates will be asked to answer two vehicle safety questions by the examiner – these are known as 'show me, tell me' questions.

Candidates will be asked the 'tell me' question at the start of the test before they start driving. The question will be about how to carry out a safety task e.g. 'Tell me how you'd check the brake lights are working on this car'.

Candidates will be asked the 'show me' question whilst they are driving e.g. 'When it's safe to do so, can you show me how you'd set the rear demister '.

Your driving instructor will be able to tell you more about the questions that may be asked.

General matters
The cost and duration (approximately 40 minutes) of the driving test will remain the same. Additionally, there are no changes to the way the examiner will mark the test – candidates will still pass so long as they make no more than 15 driving faults and no serious or dangerous faults.


Answer

Learner drivers can take motorway driving lessons with an approved driving instructor on motorways in England, Scotland and Wales.

In order to do this learner drivers must be:

  • accompanied by an approved driving instructor
  • driving a car fitted with dual controls
  • the vehicle must display L-plates to the front and rear

Motorways lessons are voluntary - it will be a matter for a driving instructor to decide when the learner driver is competent enough to undertake lessons on a motorway.

It should be noted that:

  • This only applies to learner drivers of cars - learner motorcyclists are not allowed on motorways.
  • Trainee driving instructors are not allowed to take learner drivers on the motorway.
  • Motorway driving is not currently part of the driving test.


Answer

There are a number of different designs of L plate fixings available, as opposed to the traditional flat plastic plates that have been used for many years. Whilst the law doesn't specify how L plates must be attached to a vehicle, it does require that they must be displayed to the front and rear of a vehicle that's being driven by a learner and they must be the correct size – please see the link below:

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency - L plates

L plates should be removed from a vehicle when it's not being used by a learner.

If you fail to display an L plate on your vehicle when you're learning to drive or if it's the wrong size, you can be fined and receive up to 6 penalty points on your driving licence.

Contact your local police force

Enter your town or postcode to see information from your local force

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