On-the-spot ban for dangerous instructorsNew legislation closes loophole in the law

14 November 2009

For the latest car deals, sign up to the Which? Car email 

Learners get protection from dangerous instructors

Instant ban on 'dangerous' instructors should protect learner drivers

Driving instructors who ‘pose a significant threat to the safety of the public’ can now be banned from teaching immediately, thanks to new legislation given Royal Assent on Friday 13 November.

Loophole closed

The introduction of the Driving Instructor (Suspension and Exemption Powers) Act 2009 means it will no longer take 45 days to prevent dangerous driving instructors from taking further lessons - closing a loophole in the existing law.

Under current legislation instructors are entitled to carry on teaching until they are removed from the register of Approved Driving Instructors (ADI). But once the new act is implemented, the Registrar of ADIs will be able to impose a suspension instantly, with a view to removing any risk to learner drivers and public safety in general.

Exceptional circumstances

The new law originated as a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Willie Rennie MP (Dunfermline and West Fife), and was supported by the Department for Transport and the Driving Standards Agency.

The Registrar of ADIs is only expected to use its new power in ‘exceptional circumstances’, and arrangements for its implementation will begin early next year.

Willie Rennie MP said: ‘[The new law] will send a strong message to those driving instructors who are guilty of an offence and present a danger to the public that they will no longer be able to carry on as normal. This will improve the safety of learner drivers and will also offer support to the vast majority of instructors who conduct themselves quite properly in carrying out the valuable role of teaching people to drive.’

Transport Minister Paul Clark added: ‘The overwhelming majority of driving instructors provide tuition in a professional manner. These new suspension powers will allow the Registrar to protect the public in those few instances where there is a need to take immediate action to prevent an instructor from working with learner drivers.’

Trainees included

The new law will also apply to trainee driving instructors, which may go some way towards easing public concerns over the safety of learner drivers taught by trainee instructors.

As Which? reported in a recent news story, 97% respondents in a recent AA members survey expressed concern about the lack of clarity between fully trained and trainee instructors.

Advice for drivers

To find out about the latest changes to the theory test, read our online news story.  

Which? Car on Twitter

Follow Which? Car on Twitter

The Which? Car team is on Twitter, to offer you help and advice as and when you need it.

We're monitoring our Twitter account every day, so if you have an account, please send us you thoughts and questions to @whichcar.

Don't worry if you haven't got a Twitter account - you can still stay in the loop by regularly checking www.twitter.com/whichcar.