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Supervising Learner Drivers

Many supervising drivers are unaware of their legal responsibilities whilst supervising learner drivers.

The law requires that supervising drivers:
  • are at least 21 years old
  • have held a full driving licence for a minimum of 3 years for the type of vehicle they are supervising in i.e. manual/auto
  • ensure the car is in a safe and legal condition
  • meet the minimum eyesight standards
  • ensure the car displays L Plates
As a supervising driver you should possess a greater amount of driving skill and knowledge than the person you are supervising.  That is why you must have held your licence for a minimum of 3 years.  To ensure your and your learner’s safety, it is advised that you only supervise drivers if you have plenty driving experience yourself.   Remember holding a licence and being an experienced driver are two completely different things.

If as a supervising driver you intend to drive the car at anytime you must make sure you are properly insured to do so.  If the learner is driving your car you must ensure that they are insured to do so.

The vehicle
All cars that are driven on public roads in the UK must be fully insured, taxed and hold a valid MOT certificate.  This goes for vehicles used for the purposes of teaching a learner driver.  Always make sure you inspect your car every time you are taken out for a lesson.  Ask the learner driver to take part in the inspection as this will help to get into a routine of checking the vehicles roadworthiness.  They will also be asked in the driving test to identify key parts of the car.  Obviously layout under the bonnet is different for every car, however having a general understanding of what parts look like will help the learner on the day of their test and throughout their future driving career.

As a supervising driver you must meet the minimum eyesight standard required for driving.  In good light you must be able to read an old style number plate from a distance of 20.5 metres and a new style number plate from a distance of 20 metres.  If you normally wear corrective lenses to drive, such as glasses or contact lenses, they should be worn whilst you are supervising the learner driver.

Important restrictions
Whilst you are supervising a learner driver you are deemed to be in control of the vehicle, even if you are sitting in the passenger seat.  This means that you must abide by the same road traffic laws as if you yourself were driving the vehicle.  This includes not supervising a learner driver whilst under the influence of alcohol/drugs and not using a hand held mobile phone whilst supervising a learner driver. You may also not receive any payment for supervising a learner driver unless you are a DSA approved driving instructor.