/ Motoring

Would you pay an unqualified driving instructor?

The blind leading the blind is probably not the most appropriate metaphor to use when talking about driving lessons. But let’s face it, you’d want to taught by a qualified instructor not a trainee, right?

Ever looked at your driving instructor’s windscreen? I mean, really looked, and not just for squashed bugs. I’m thinking about the little badge they have to display.

If your instructor’s badge is green, they are fully qualified; if it’s pink, they’re not. This means that you, or your son or daughter, could be taught by a trainee.

While this might be no bad thing – especially if the trainee is just weeks away from getting their green card – it could be a very different experience if they are still some way off completing their training. Either way, I’d like to know.

Are you being taken for a ride?

I’d expect the status of the person teaching me to let me know if they still have some way to travel down the training route, or whether they’ve already arrived.

I can appreciate that an instructor needs to get on the job training, just like a nurse does when you’re donating blood. The difference is that at least the nurse will tell you that they’re still learning, so you have the chance to opt for a fully qualified colleague.

Green or pink badge

With driving lessons, I’d want to know up-front that the person whose job is to ensure I am adequately trained is proficient. If they’re not, I’d like the option of switching to a fully qualified instructor (or at least get a discount).

After all, learning to drive is harrowing enough. The last thing an inexperienced driver needs to worry about is whether their instructor is up to scratch.

Momentum says:
28 February 2011

Luckily instructors must display the badge so at least you have a way of knowing whether they are a fully qualified instructor or a PDI. What’s more worrying is people trying to charge for teaching people to drive that aren’t even driving instructors. Both illegal and possibly dangerous too.

James White says:
24 February 2012

I agree that it is possible to learn to drive with the help of a friend or family member who are not fully qualified driving instructors. I also think there is some misconception about the trainee licence holders. I have recently qualified as an ADI who trained whist working as a PDI. As a PDI I was trained in the latest training tecniques. As a PDI I had to go throught 40 hours of training in the core compentencies before I was allowed to apply for the tranee licence with a further 20 hours training whithin the first 12 weeks. I was able to put 11 pupils through their test with 8 of them passing first time. The rest passed second time. To say that any licence holder can put someone though their test without being able to identify and analize the faulst is nonsence. The only way to be sure of being ready for the real world of driving is through a qualified ADI or PDI.


I disagree –

It is the quality of the driving instructor – not their qualifications that matter.

I was taught to drive by a friend – Their “qualifications”? a driving license. The result? I passed first time with ease. – It certainly is NOT illegal to teach someone else to drive if you do not have a formal driving instructors qualification. Nor is it any more dangerous – Unless the driving instructor has claimed they have qualifications (and do not) and charge you for the service – Then it is FRAUD.

I taught dozens of youths to drive under an RAC/ACU system many years ago – My qualifications? A driving license. The majority passed first time – and the ones that failed were the type that would fail first time anyway – being too nervous and basically incompetent – Even these passed eventually.

It is the responsibility of the Driving Examiner to ensure the person being tested is competent.

After all it is possible to learn to drive properly and pass the test first time without the aid of any Instructor. You need a piece of land and the Highway Code.


Richard the precise wording is
Its illegal to charge or get a reward for teaching driving if not qualified
Anyone can give tuition if they are 21 and held a licence for 3 years or more


Type your post code, and the site will return the qualified driving instructors close to your post code

Mel Willis says:
12 March 2011

you will need a large piece of land to teach dual carridgeway driving !! – also, as a general comment to this subject, people need to also be aware driving instructors are also graded up to the highest level of 6


Mel – Nonsense – the piece of land does not have to be a full scale model of anything – it simply needs to offer the facility to indicate the conditions – That includes a length of ordinary road or a field…

Not to mention I actually said “After all it is possible to learn to drive properly and pass the test first time without the aid of any Instructor” Instructors are not actually necessary to pass the test.

Given the choice between a free good unqualified instructor or a mediocre paid instructor – I’d opt for the free good one every time.

An instructor does not have to have passed any driving qualification – except have a full driving licence for three years – to actually be an excellent driving instructor.

Antony says:
25 July 2016

I’m currently in training to become an Approved Driving Instructor and whilst what you are saying is strictly true your attitude is somewhat flippant, if I may say so, given the requirements to pass the test are becoming ever more stringent and change constantly. I would urge caution by suggesting it is possible to learn drive to test standard on a plot of land. While you may certainly teach someone the basics and that may have worked well even 15 years ago nowadays certain test requirements and experiences cannot be replicated on a plot of land IMO.

Sophie Gilbert says:
3 March 2011

I agree with Dan, I would like to know, and I’d like to be given the option to pay less if the driving instructor isn’t qualified yet. Just like the nurses they need the experience, and I would imagine they would try to be as good as they can in order to get fully qualified, sooner or later.

I also agree with Richard that learning with a good experienced driver can work very well too. The only problem then is finding them if you don’t know them already.

Neilonsea says:
5 March 2011

Richard’s 3rd paragraph sums up why he’s not quite right. He says he taught dozens of youths ‘many years ago’ and thereby lies the problem. The driving test has (rightfully) evolved over the years, and has got much harder to pass. Friends or relatives, though well intentioned, will not necessarily be up to speed with recent developments (such as independent driving), and may well pass on bad habits to the learner.

I am all for getting as much private practice as possible, but these days professional tuition (with a good instructor – I appreciate there are too many indifferent ones out there), is almost a must.