Is the DVSA about to start penalising learner drivers who fail their tests?
There are rumours that the Driving Standards Agency (DVSA) is considering introducing a range of measures to discourage learners from taking a driving test before they’re ready.
One suggestion is that they should have to wait longer before being able to book another test. That seems pretty absurd at the moment however; waiting lists are already sky-high owing to the backlog created by the Coronavirus pandemic.
It also seems counterproductive. The longer learners have to wait for a test, the more likely they are to stop paying for lessons until that next appointment comes around. This will do nothing to improve on standards.
Another measure under consideration is to charge customers more each time they fail a test. Already a minority of people sometimes unjustly accuse examiners of deliberately failing test candidates in order to balance their ‘quota of passes.’ Imagine the accusations and complaints coming from those same people who may now accuse the examiner of failing them in order to make more money. I certainly would not like to be the poor examiner who has to keep telling someone they’ve not been successful while handing them an ever increasing monetary fine into the bargain!
It is a fact that the standard of driving that examiners experience on test is often well below what it should be. Candidates can sometimes be quite dangerous and examiners have to terminate tests for safety reasons. But who is to blame for this? Is it the candidates or is it the people responsible for teaching them?
Teachers at under-achieving schools are sometimes put into ‘special measures’. This means that the authority investigates headteachers and staff, retrains them, or even replaces them. In these situations no-one punishes the pupils for under-achieving; so why are the DVSA targeting the learners instead of their instructors?
Perhaps the answer is that driving instructors are self-employed and the DVSA doesn’t really have any power over them?
The standard required to become an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) is very low indeed; and it’s no surprise that many incompetent trainers manage to obtain an ADI licence. But as it’s the DVSA who is ultimately responsible for setting the standards; perhaps it’s time for the agency itself to be put into special measures?