Learning to drive at the age of 17 has been the normal course of action for many generations and in the UK there isn't just one way of learning to drive. For most, the norm
was to find a driving instructor and then trust that the driving instructor would do their job and get the individual on the road in a safe manner. Many wouldn't trust themselves to do the job of a driving instructor so it sort of makes sense.
2019 and the world changes. We are all told to stay at home unless you are a key worker. Driving Instructors get told to stay at home unless we are teaching a key worker. The rules also applied to parents teaching their beloved spawn and their were to be no exceptions to this. Now as driving instructors we were told by the DVSA that we cannot work unless we were teaching a key worker and if we were found to be teaching unlawfully, we would lose our permit/licence to teach, therefore bye bye livelihood. Parents, however didn't risk losing their career and only faced a fine, if they were caught.
So the revolution and uprising of "The Driving School of Mum & Dad" accelerated out of the ashes. Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with wanting to save a little money and trying to tell your 17 year old that they are not allowed to drive because of lockdown rules must be hard. They can be very persuasive. In reality, the learning the young person will receive from a parent will not be anywhere close to the detail a driving instructor would give.
So what do we have to go through to get our little square certificate which sits in the bottom left of the windscreen? Most, do not know what it takes and some even believe that the DVSA hands them out to anyone that applies. This of course is untrue. We have to apply to be a trainee and pass an enhanced DBS check and only then, after many months of waiting, we are then allowed to start our training. Once trained, we have to pass 3 qualifying tests. Part one - An enhanced theory test, Part 2 - an Advanced Driving Test and then Part 3 - The dreaded Instructional Ability Test.
Annually, a lot of people apply to train as a driving instructor and its a sad fact that the majority do not realise what is involved. When they realise that its not a quick career fix or there's a lot of training involved, a lot jump ship and pursue a different career. For those who persist and manage to pass the qualifying tests, its around a 2 year process to qualify. Once qualified, the DVSA monitor our results on tests to ensure we are keeping up the standard and if we're not, then we have a call from a Senior Examiner on the way followed by a "Standards Check". If we're unlucky enough to fail on the third attempt of that standards check, its bye bye career. So we have a lot of incentive to do our job properly.
Parents however, are under no pressure at all from the DVSA and they are allowed to take their son/daughter to as many driving tests at they desire. This is of course an issue as the attitude of many of this new uprising is "They just need to have a go, they'll pass eventually". This raises the question, why are parents gambling with road safety and their Children's lives? Gambling, like the lottery! If you play it enough, its only a matter of time before you win something. The driving test is a bit like this and if you do it enough times and manage to scrape it through on one of them, then you get your full licence. This is not the sort of driver we need on the road.
The trend has continued post covid and we are seeing and meeting a lot of parents who are taking their children to a driving test whilst we are at the test centre taking our own candidates. They are normally very open about telling us it is their Childs 6th...7th...8th attempt.
Here comes the new generation of under educated drivers...