In order to take driving lessons in the UK, you must be of legal age to drive and produce a valid UK / Northern Ireland full or provisional Category B driving licence (or, subject to future agreements made between the UK Government and the European Commissioner representing the European Union, have a full EU Driving Licence). It is your legal responsibility to confirm your licence is legal and valid, and to inform your instructor of any changes before driving, as such changes may affect your legal status to drive.
In the UK you are asked to produce a ‘permission code’ to verify the licence online initially and at any time on request. However, you will be asked to produce it and it must be given at any time and without delay. If an older style paper licence is held, then you must also produce a valid passport as photographic identification.
You must show your driving licence to your driving instructor at any time upon request and will be asked for validation of this at the start of your lessons by producing a check code from which your instructor can validate your entitlements.
Foreign (non-UK / NI / EU) driving licence holders must comply with UK (DVLA & GOV.UK) rules & regulations at all times. By agreeing these terms & conditions you are agreeing that your driving licence and your residency status complies with these legal requirements, and you must declare to your instructor immediately any changes or concerns that you may have about non-compliance. Users of non-UK / NI / EU driving licences must familiarise themselves with the legal restrictions on driving on use of a non-UK / NI / EU driving licence and restrictions of use due to extended UK residency or visit ("Driving on an International Licence").
2. Ability to drive.
You must meet the minimum eye test requirements, which means you must be able to read a standard UK approved number plate at a minimum distance of 20.5 metres (67 feet). If you need to wear glasses or contact lenses in order to meet this requirement then you must wear them whenever you drive. You are advised to have your eyesight checked prior to your first driving lesson or as soon as you can after your first driving lesson and again at least 3 months before taking a driving test. You should arrange for your eyesight to be retested at regular intervals, and annually is recommended.
In winter months your vision can be affected by a low bright sun, regardless of use of any eyesight correction, so you are encouraged to acquire sunglasses with good UV filers and, if necessary, a pair of spectacles with UV filters suitable for driving in sunny weather. The use of fashion sunglasses (without UV filters) are not of any benefit.
You must not be under the influence of drugs / alcohol during your training or be suffering from emotional trauma, stress or a lack of sleep. In the event of there being any signs of drugs / alcohol misuse, your instructor will withhold the use of the training vehicle for use of tuition or driving test until you are in a legal and fit state to drive, and may terminate lessons forthwith. Any prescribed medication that may affect your driving must be declared to the instructor prior to lessons and to the DVLA medical board. If your medical circumstances change, such that there is a requirement in law to declare these to the DVLA medical board, you must declare these and temporarily withdraw from driving until such times as DVLA medical board have reached a decision regarding your circumstances unless advised otherwise by same. If you are in any doubt about any medical issues, seek advise from the instructor prior to booking your lessons.
3. Changes in status, or temporarily unable to have lessons.
You must notify your instructor of any change of your ability, health changes or entitlement to drive, for example if your driving licence is revoked or, for medical reasons, however slight, and if you have to take any medication either on a temporary or long-term basis. If your health changes or there are medical reasons such that you should voluntarily withdraw from driving, or you are instructed not to drive by a medical professional, you must inform your driving instructor immediately.
If you are feeling unwell, please let your driving instructor know as soon as possible. If you think you might recover in time for your lesson, it is better to have spoken to your driving instructor in advance rather than to cancel without any warning on the day.
If you have to cancel your lessons for a short-term gap, that is perfectly acceptable to do, but the regular lesson slot which you may have used may not be held for you when you wish to resume lessons. If you know when you wish to restart and would like to restart on a particular regular lesson slot, let your instructor know and every effort will be made to secure that slot for you.
Driving lessons must be paid for in car on the day by cash, in advance or in the day (in car) using online banking, by block payment using a banking App or online banking by an amount agreed in advance. Payment by cheque can still be made in advance, with a minimum of 5 working days to clear when paying by cheque, or other payment methods previously agreed with your instructor. If you intend paying in cash on the day of your lesson and you do not have sufficient cash on you, you must notify your instructor at the start of the lesson, so that a cash point can be located. An additional charge will be made if the lesson goes overtime to visit a cash point. Your instructor will advise you to whom a cheque should be made payable.
5. Driving tests.
As your driving test appointment approaches, your instructor may ask you to perform a number of ‘mock tests’ in order to assess and verify that you are ready to take the test and, importantly, to prepare you for the driving test format, if you have not taken a driving test before. Your instructor will advise you if they feel you are ready for the practical driving test, if there are specific practice points you need to work on or if, at this time, you are not ready to take the practical driving test and must defer your appointment.
Sometimes people ask for advice about driving test nerves - if you feel that you may suffer from driving test nerves, please ask your instructor for advice well in advance. It is very unlikely that taking any action independently and just on the day of the test will help and in fact is more likely to work negatively against your performance.
If the instructor advises you that the appointment must be deferred, their opinions will be based on safety considerations for yourself, that of the examiner and all other road users, and they will offer supporting evidence to justify the recommendation. The instructor will not prevent you from taking the practical driving test, but will only offer the use of their time and vehicle if satisfied that you are both fully safe and ready.
On the day of a practical driving test a minimum of a 2 hour fee is payable for the instructor’s time (in addition to the DVSA test fee, already paid). This will cover commuting time, a "warm up" drive and the time taken for the test itself. Your instructor is not responsible for driving tests postponed or cancelled by the DVSA. The DVSA will explain to you what compensation you may be entitled to in the event of a cancellation. A driving test appointment will always take precedence over an arranged lesson.
6. Cancellations & late attendance policy.
Your instructor cannot be held responsible for lessons or practical driving tests that have to be postponed through bad weather, their own illness or unexpected mechanical breakdown of the vehicle. Your instructor will endeavour to arrive on time however, due to unforeseen circumstances such as breakdown, accidents, traffic hold ups etc, lesson times may need to change or even be cancelled. If cancelled by your instructor, no fee will be taken, and an alternative chargeable lesson will be offered.
If you wish to cancel a lesson, a minimum of 24 hours' notice must be given for a one hour lesson and 48 hours for a two hour lesson. You must ensure that your instructor has received your notice of cancellation, as, for example, text messages are not a guaranteed form of communication. Failure to give reasonable notice will result in the lesson(s) having to be paid for in full. Lessons can be cancelled by telephone or text message but must be noted by your instructor (so please make sure you get a reply and if you don’t, call the instructor). You must not assume the instructor received your message if there no response was received.
Your instructor will arrive at the pre-arranged pick up point & time. If you do not show up, your instructor will wait 10 minutes and try make contact with you. After a further 5 minutes your instructor will leave and you will have to pay for the lesson in full, except if an exceptional reason can later be proven, whereupon another lesson may be booked, for a small additional charge, subject to availability. Failure to pay for the missed lesson may result in cancellation of your driving course.
7. Use of tuition vehicle – safety (tuition and driving test).
Should you fail to reach a satisfactory standard of driving and are likely to be a danger to other road users, or are in an unfit condition through substance (eg drugs) or alcohol abuse as described above, the driving instructor has a responsibility to the driving test examiners and the public not to allow the use of the training vehicle for the purpose of driver training or the driving test. This is in the interest of you, the driver / the driving test candidate, your instructor and / or examiner, other passengers and other road users, and is a precautionary safety measure. DVSA guidelines do not allow for a learner driver to take a practical test just for the experience.
Some driving test candidates expect to feel nervous on the day of their test, which is fully understandable. Some candidates resort to using recognised medications and herbal remedies- it is important to check that these treatments do not cause drowsiness and it is encouraged that people planning to use such remedies try them out several times, first of all in a non-driving setting, and then, if considered safe, in a driving environment, but to try this in a controlled way, well in advance and in full knowledge of the instructor.
8. Driving Test cancellation cost liabilities.
No responsibility can be taken by the driving instructor for tests cancelled by the DVSA for whatever reason. DVSA have a compensation scheme to ensure you are not out of pocket. Time-related fees will still have to be paid to the instructor as normal, but may be claimed back from DVSA in compensation. The examiner or instructor will explain how this works.
You must accept responsibility if you cannot take your driving test because you fail the eyesight test. It is a good idea to have your eyesight checked regularly by a qualified optician, we recommend annually, and at least 6 months before your driving test - explain to the optician that you need a check for driving.
Your driving instructor will be responsible for, and liable to you for a retest fee, if your driving test is cancelled due to a faulty condition of the tuition vehicle or a problem with the driving instructor, such as illness. If you have paid any fees in advance for the driving test of use of vehicle, these will either be carried forward to fund the new test or refunded to you.
9. Learner drivers on motorways.
From 4th June 2018 a change in law permits qualified driving instructors with a vehicle fitted with dual controls and insured for the purposes of driving tuition to take their students onto motorways. Your driving instructor reserves the right to make a reasonable decision to allow or refuse this form of tuition.until such time as you are regarded as sufficiently capable to undertake this form of driving. As driving on motorways is not part of the driving test, this form of tuition does not need to be covered throughout your driver training.
NB The new law only provides for learner drivers to experience motorway driving with a qualified and DVSA approved driving instructor (ADI), in a vehicle equipped with dual controls, and does not provide for learner drivers to be accompanied by any other drivers, eg family or friends.
10. Standards of practice.
Your driving instructor will provide a fully maintained, roadworthy vehicle suitably adapted with dual controls and fully insured for driving tuition and driving tests.
Your driving instructor will at all times behave in a professional manner, treat you with respect and consideration and give you instruction to the best of their ability.
Your driving instructor will refrain from any form of physical contact, unless necessary for the purposes of training, and only then with your expressed agreement, except on rare occasions when, in an emergency, your driving instructor has to make a physical intervention in order to prevent or minimise risk of danger of collision with another road user or physical entity.
Your driving instructor will maintain standards of appearance to a level commensurate with learning, best described as "smart casual". The use of water and some sweets is encouraged. The tuition vehicle is a strictly no smoking environment, but if you smoke, you may request to stop the lesson to smoke if you find this necessary. It is perfectly acceptable to ask to do this, and if you need a comfort break for any other reasons, please ask. You are requested not to chew gum as you may be asked to dispose of it.
11. Data Protection.
Smart Driver Academy (SDA) is a sole trader company registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) for the purposes of holding and managing client records, and taking photographic images / audio recordings (such as those captured on a dash cam) for the purposes of training and keeping records of driving lessons and training outcomes. After the training has been completed, other than a record of a client’s name, address and telephone number, and records of accounts (for financial accountancy purposes), all data will be deleted from the management systems held by the company. SDA only retains records on a management system with robust password controls. In accordance with The EU “General Data Protection Regulation” (GDPR), which supersedes “The UK Data Protection Act 1998” on 25th May 2018, and in accordance with GDPR, SDA will from this date be obtaining written from all clients (present and future) to retain personal records for the purposes of training and accountancy. SDA does not undertake any marketing.
Updated 3rd January 2019 Reviewed 1st January 2020