Complain about a Driving Instructor

How to complain about a driving instructor, and some of the reasons why you should.

If you are paying someone to teach you to drive, your instructor must either be:

  • an approved driving instructor (ADI)
  • or a licenced trainee driving instructor

When giving driving lessons, these instructors must clearly display a badge of certification on the left-hand side of the windscreen. The certificate is green for an ADI, and pink for a PDI (Potential Driving Instructor).

how to complain about a driving instructor

The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), issues a licence to these instructors. When they qualify, they can apply to join the Register of Approved Driving Instructors. This gives them the right to charge for tuition. But it also means that they have to abide by the DVSA’s basic code of conduct.

The DVSA say that ADIs must show:

  • a high regard for all aspects of road safety
  • a high standard of driving and instructional ability
  • a professional approach to their customers
  • and a responsible attitude to their pupils and profession

When a potential ADI applies to join the register, the DVSA makes checks to ensure they are a ‘fit and proper person’. They will check to make sure there is no criminal record through a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. In addition to contacting the DVLA to eliminate the question of any serious motoring convictions.

Code of Practise

There is also a Code of Practise, which lays out in detail what the DVSA expects of the ADI; both in their performance as an instructor, and in the way they carry out their business. Unfortunately this code is only voluntary, they are not required to sign up to it.

So there are a number of steps in place to make sure that driving instructors behave the way they are supposed to do.

What Happens when Something Goes Wrong?

When you first go about choosing a driving instructor, it is important that you get the right one for you. You should be able to get on with them, without being overly friendly. But it is not all about finding some who is ‘nice’, or fun to be with. You also need to be sure they are teaching you correctly and giving proper value for money.

Physical Contact

One of the major complaints from learner drivers, is that they feel uncomfortable when their instructor touches them. Whether this is by using the hands, leaning across the body, or any other form of contact. This should not happen. An instructor should avoid all physical contact with their pupils. If you find that your ADI is making you uncomfortable in this way then it’s time to make a complaint about a driving instructor.

Paying for Lessons in Advance

Sometimes you may pay for a block of driving lessons in advance in exchange for a discount perhaps. This is fine but be wary. If your instructor starts cancelling lessons, not showing up etc. then you are fully entitled to ask for a refund. If you don’t get this straight away then again it’s time to complain about a driving instructor.

Should I Change My Driving Instructor?

That is a question a lot of people ask. If you have doubts about whether an instructor is right for you; then the answer is probably yes.

When learning to drive, remember that you are a paying customer. Your trainer should ask for your thoughts about your own progress:

  • Are you happy with the way things are going?
  • Is there anything you want to work on?

There should always be two-way dialogue. If you feel that your instructor isn’t teaching the things you want to know, ask them why. There may be a valid reason.

Unfortunately, because of the way the system works however; there are a lot of very poor quality ADIs out on the roads. But how do you know if yours is one of them?

should i change my driving instuctorAsk yourself a few questions:

  • Does your instructor talk too much?
  • Are they overly critical?
  • Do they give praise and encouragement?
  • Are the punctual and professional in their behaviour?
  • Do they ask for feedback from you?
  • Have they taken phone calls while you are driving?
  • How is the training going compared to that your friends are experiencing?

There are a lot of clues that will let you know that your ADI is not giving you the best of service. In this case it is probably time to change. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to make an official complaint about a driving instructor; but never be afraid to make the switch to another one. There is no advantage in sticking with the same trainer out of a sense of loyalty, or fear of trying something different. It’s your money, and your choice.

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