Carrying out driving tests: examiner guidance

1. Car driving test and extended car driving test

Guidance for driving examiners carrying out the practical and extended driving tests for cars.

1.01. Introduction

This chapter sets out the background and basic requirements of practical driving tests. It also gives detailed guidance on conducting tests. Information about category B minimum test vehicle (MTV) can be found on GOV.UK. Supplementary advice and guidance relevant to particular types of vehicles is contained in Chapter 6.

1.02. Car driving test requirements

Driving tests are conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations.

Eyesight: read in good daylight (with the aid of glasses or contact lenses if worn) a registration mark fixed to a motor vehicle and containing letters and figures 79.4 millimetres high at a distance of 20.5 metres (or 20 metres for new style number plates).

Vehicle safety checks: answer vehicle safety check questions.

Test candidates must demonstrate competence in their ability to complete, without danger to and with due consideration for other road users, the following:

  • preparation to drive
  • adjust the seat as necessary to obtain a correct seated position
  • adjust rear-view mirrors and seat belt
  • check that the doors are closed
  • technical control of the vehicle
  • start the engine
  • move off smoothly when going ahead, at an angle and on a gradient (where possible)
  • accelerate to a suitable speed while maintaining a straight course, including during gear-changes
  • adjust speed to negotiate left or right turns at junctions, possibly in restricted spaces, while maintaining control of the vehicle
  • brake accurately to a stop where directed, if need be by performing an emergency stop
  • carry out a controlled stop by pulling up in a designated position

Carry out one of the following manoeuvres:

  • park the vehicle (parallel or in a parking bay forward or in reverse)
  • pull up on the right and reverse in a straight line

Behaviour in traffic:

  • observe (including the use of rear-view mirrors) road markings, signs and react appropriately to potential or actual risks
  • communicate with other road users using the authorised means
  • comply with road traffic regulations and any instruction given by police and/or traffic controllers
  • drive with the vehicle correctly positioned on the road, adjusting speed to traffic conditions and the line of the road
  • keep the right distance between vehicles
  • change lanes
  • pass parked or stationary vehicles and obstacles
  • approach and cross junctions
  • turn right or left at junctions
  • join or leave the carriageway

Where the opportunity arises:

  • pass oncoming vehicles, including in confined spaces
  • overtake in various situations
  • approach and cross level-crossings

1.03. Minimum test time requirements

It is important that, unless the test is terminated, the minimum driving times are strictly adhered to.

Regulations state that the time during which a person is required to drive on the road is:

(i) for the case of a test for a licence authorising the driving of a class of vehicle included in the category B+E, C+E, and D+E, not less than 50 minutes

(ii) for the case of a test for a licence authorising the driving of a class of rigid vehicle included in the category C1, C, D1 and D, not less than 60 minutes. This additional time requirement is to comply with EU Directive 2003/59/EC (Driver’s Certificates of Professional Competence)

(iii) in the case of any other test, *not less than 30 minutes’

This means that for category A and B tests, in addition to the above, when taking into account DVSAs requirements, including the manoeuvres and the new test content, the test will last between 38-40 minutes from signing the DL25 to stopping the engine at the end of the test.

Category B Tests

Minimum on road time is measured from when the vehicle starts moving at the beginning of the test to when the engine is stopped at the conclusion of the test. Therefore, manoeuvres carried out in the DTC car park count towards the minimum time period. However, as already stated, when taking into account all DVSAs requirements the total test time will last between 38 and 40 minutes.

Despite correct use of a well constructed route occasionally a candidate, because of their ability, experience and favourable traffic conditions will be able to get round the test route more quickly than is normal. In these exceptional circumstances examiners are reminded that it is still vital that the on road minimum time requirement and the total time of between 38 and 40 minutes is adhered to. Therefore, to comply with DVSA’s requirement examiners should consider modifying the route to avoid returning to the test centre too early. Alternatively if examiners are aware of any hazards on routes, ie road works that would knowingly cause delay, these areas should be avoided. It is not acceptable to deliberately use unsuitable routes at busier times in order to return late and cause cancellations.

Time management is all part of the ‘control’ of test. Providing all legal requirements have been met, the examiner should consider modifying the route if a candidate drives excessively slowly or hesitant and a serious fault has been recorded. It is not acceptable to doggedly follow a full route if this is clearly going to cause such a late return that the next test would have to be cancelled.

Any deviation from the route or other action taken to comply with the requirement should be recorded in the remarks section on the back of the DL25B.

The HEO is responsible to ensure that all routes are sufficiently long enough to ensure that route(s) are not extended on a regular basis. Therefore routes should only need to be modified/extended in exceptional circumstances, as mentioned above.

1.04. General competence to drive

The object of the test is to ensure that the candidate is well grounded in the basic principles of safe driving, and is sufficiently practised in them to be able to show, at the time of the test, that they are a competent and considerate driver and are not a source of danger to themselves or to other road users.

Examiners should remember that, in most cases, candidates will be novices and will have had only limited driving experience, and will have been accompanied by a professional instructor or other tutor. It would therefore be unreasonable to expect them to demonstrate the degree of skill and road sense of a seasoned driver.

It must also be appreciated that many candidates will also be more nervous during the driving test than when driving with their instructor or with a friend. A pleasant outgoing approach, not only in the waiting room and on the way to the vehicle, but throughout the test is particularly important to help candidates to relax.

1.05. Completion of forms

Clear and accurate completion of forms is very important. Forms should be completed in black ink. Examiners whose signatures may be difficult to read should print their names after their signature. Rubber stamps may be used, except in the case of DVSA10 pass certificates.

Completing the DL25

A complete set of driving test report forms consists of four components - DL25A, DL25B, DL25C, DL25D. The top copy (DL25A) is to be forwarded for fast-keying.

The second copy (DL25B) is to be retained at the driving test centre for 2 years - the written report is to be entered on the rear.

The third/ fourth copies (DL25C/D) (this includes the ‘Driving Test Report Explained’) should be given to the candidate at the end of each test to supplement the oral de-brief.

  1. Before the test, enter the candidate’s details. Insert the candidate’s title, i.e. Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms or other title, followed by first name, all known initials, and then the surname, within the boxed area on the (DL25B only).

  2. In the appropriate boxes insert the application reference number and the numerical part of the driver number (middle 6 numbers) followed by the date and time of test.

  3. Complete the driving test centre code / authority box and staff reference number.

  4. Examiner name to be printed within the examiner box, (DL25B only).

  5. Insert the category of vehicle in the appropriate code boxes, this should be based on the actual vehicle presented for test.

  6. Mark appropriate box if the vehicle has automatic transmission* or the test is extended - as identified on the DL34 journal (*for LGV PCV please see para 3.18).

  7. Examiners conducting practical tests at a centre other than their permanent centre will need to be recorded as a ‘visitor’.

  8. Vehicle - insert the registration number when known.

  9. Mark the appropriate box if the vehicle belongs to a driving school and the second box if dual controls are fitted.

  10. Record (if available) the ADI’s personal reference number and certificate number from the ADI’s certificate displayed on the vehicle’s windscreen.

  11. If an ADI, DVSA manager or other observer accompanies the test the appropriate box/boxes at the top of DL25 must be marked.

1.06. Assessment and recording of faults

It is important that, in addition to a common standard of test, there should be a common standard of assessment of candidates’ driving ability. The most reliable basis for assessing a person’s competence to drive is to observe faults as they are committed and to evaluate them as soon as a confident judgement can be made.

Examiners should not be too hasty in making a definitive assessment and marking the fault.

Examiners should wait until the event has finished, then mark the fault. Driving errors must not be double marked. Once assessed, each fault should be recorded on the DL25 in accordance with the definitions laid out below.

Note: When assessing and marking a manoeuvre, it is not considered as double marking to mark both control and observation.

1.07. Definition of markings on forms DL25

  • 1a.Eyesight: Unable to meet the requirements of the eyesight test.

  • 1b.Highway Code / Safety - (Highway Code for Categories F/G/H only. Safety - PCV safety questions only).

  • 2.Controlled Stop: Slow reaction / inadequate braking / loss of control.

  • 3.Reverse/left reverse with trailer: Not applicable to category B tests. Control: incorrect use of controls and/or inaccuracy. Observation: lack of effective all round observation.

  • 4.Reverse/right: Control: incorrect use of controls and/or inaccuracy. Observation: lack of effective all round observation.

  • 5.Reverse Park (road/car park): Control: incorrect use of controls and/or inaccuracy. Observation: lack of effective all round observation.

  • 6.Turn in road: Not applicable to category B tests. Control: incorrect use of controls and/or inaccuracy. Observation: lack of effective all round observation.

  • 7.Vehicle Checks: Answer and / or demonstrate safety check questions.

  • 8.Forward park / Taxi manoeuvre: Control - incorrect use of controls / inaccuracy. Observations - lack of effective all-round observations. Not used from 1/1/2017

  • 9.Taxi wheelchair: Not applicable to category ‘B’ tests. Not use from 1/1/2017

  • 10.Uncouple / recouple: Not applicable to category ‘B’ tests

  • 11.Precautions: Failure to take proper precautions before starting engine.

  • 12.Control:
    • Accelerator: uncontrolled or harsh use of the accelerator.
    • Clutch: uncontrolled use of clutch.
    • Gears: failure to engage appropriate gear for road and traffic conditions. Coasting in neutral or with clutch pedal depressed.
    • Footbrake: late and/or harsh use of footbrake.
    • Parking brake: failure to apply or release the parking brake correctly and when necessary.
    • Steering: erratic steering, overshooting the correct turning point when turning right or left, both hands off steering wheel or hitting the kerb.
  • PCV Door exercise: any faults regarding safe operation of the door(s) at bus stops should be marked here (PCV tests only).

Note: Control faults should not be marked at item 12 if committed at items 3, 4, 5 or 6.

  • 13.Move off:
    • Safely: failure to take effective observation before moving off, including the correct use of signals.
    • Under control: inability to move off smoothly, straight ahead, at an angle, or on a gradient.
  • 14.Use of mirror(s):
    • Failure to make effective use of the mirrors well before:
    • signalling
    • changing direction
    • changing speed
  • 15.Signals:
    • Necessary - signal omitted
    • Correctly: Incorrect or misleading signal. Failure to cancel direction indicators
    • Properly timed: Signal incorrectly timed so as to be either misleading or too late to be of value
  • 16.Clearance / obstructions: Not allowing adequate clearance when passing parked vehicles and other obstructions.

  • 17.Response to signs /signals:
    • Failure to comply with or late reaction to:
    • traffic signs - inappropriate response to traffic signs
    • road markings: e.g. double white lines, box junctions, lane direction arrows
    • traffic lights: (not Pedestrian Controlled crossings, this is covered at 24), including failure to move off on green when correct and safe to do so
    • traffic controllers: signals given by a police officer, traffic warden, school crossing warden or other persons directing traffic
    • other road users: Failure to take appropriate action on signals given by other road users
  • 18.Use of speed: Driving too fast for road, traffic and weather conditions.

  • 19.Following distance:
    • keep a proper and safe distance from the vehicle in front when moving
    • leave a reasonable gap from the vehicle in front when stopping in lines of traffic
  • 20.Progress:
    • appropriate speed: driving too slowly for road and traffic conditions.
    • undue hesitation: being over cautious by stopping or waiting when it is safe and normal to proceed.
  • 21.Junctions:
    • Approach speed: Approaching junctions at a proper speed, either too fast or too slow, for whatever reason.
    • Observations: Not taking effective observation before emerging.
    • Turning right: Late or incorrect positioning before turning right, including failing to move forward into the correct position to turn right at traffic lights
    • Turning left: Positioning too close or too far from the kerb before turning left.
    • Cutting corners: Cutting right hand corners, particularly where the view is limited.
  • 22.Judgement:
    • Overtaking: Attempting to overtake unsafely or cutting in after overtaking.
    • Meeting: Failure to show proper judgement when meeting approaching traffic.
    • Crossing traffic: turning right across the path of oncoming traffic.
  • 23.Positioning:
    • Normal driving: Incorrect positioning during normal driving, including cutting across the normal road position when going ahead at roundabouts without lane markings.
    • Lane discipline: Failure to maintain proper lane discipline at roundabouts with lane markings when going ahead and when continuing to drive ahead in designated lanes.
  • 24.Pedestrian crossings:
    • Failure to give precedence to pedestrians on a pedestrian crossing.
    • Non-compliance with lights at Pedestrian Controlled crossings.
  • 25.Position/ normal stops: Normal stop not made in safe position.

  • 26.Awareness/ planning: Failure to judge what other road users are going to do and react accordingly.

  • 27.Ancillary controls: Failure to use ancillary controls when necessary.

  • 33.Wheelchair: Pass/ fail
    • pass/fail/none
    • total faults.
    • route no.
  • ETA (Examiner took action): verbally/physically (e.g. dual controls/steering).

  • D255 (Special needs test and eyesight failure). Mark when a D255 is submitted.

  • Survey boxes. A-H

  • Eco-safe driving - not part of Pass/Fail criteria

  • Control - Starting / moving off / accelerator use / gears.

  • Planning - Hazard awareness / planning and anticipation / engine braking.

  • De-brief - If any observer (other than another DVSA examiner) who has accompanied the test remains present for the end of test feedback then the de-brief box should be marked. (If the observer does not remain for the feedback, the box should be left unmarked). If the test was not accompanied but the ADI, or any other person attends for the end of test feedback the de-brief box should be marked.

NB: If an ADI, interpreter, supervisor or other observer accompanies the test the appropriate box/boxes at the top of DL25 must be marked. If no third party was present either on test or at the de-brief, both boxes on the DL25 should be left unmarked.

  • Activity code.

  • Pass certificate number, signature of candidate to confirm receipt of pass certificate and for health declaration. Mark box if candidate’s driving licence surrendered to examiner.

1.08. Definition of faults

Faults are defined as follows:

A driving fault is one, which in itself is not potentially dangerous. However, a candidate who habitually commits a driving fault in one aspect of driving throughout the test, demonstrating an inability to deal with certain situations, cannot be regarded as competent to pass the test, as that fault alone must be seen as potentially dangerous.

A serious fault is one, which is potentially dangerous.

A dangerous fault is one involving actual danger to the examiner, candidate, the general public or property. (Note: If the fault has been assessed as dangerous then this should be marked regardless of any action taken by the examiner.

Faults should be marked with an oblique stroke in the appropriate box.

Note: Fails as a result of either one serious fault or one dangerous fault and an accumulation of 16 or more driving faults - the written report only needs to cover the more serious or dangerous fault. Fails as a result of an accumulation of 16 or more driving faults only need to be written up in full.

1.09: Preparations for the test

The examiner should take on test forms DVSA10, DL25 and additionally in the case of ‘home’ tests, forms HS3, D255, DT5 and the official tape.

If the route to be used involves an independent section delivered by means of following sat nav directions, examiners should take a sat nav, preloaded with all test routes, and relevant peripherals. ie dashmat, external power supply, cables, dual 12v adapter and carry bag.

Before going to meet the candidate the examiner should insert on the DL25 all the details available prior to the test eg the candidate’s name, application reference number, driver number, time of test etc.

1.10: Name badges

Name badges must be worn when in face-to-face contact with members of the public.

1.11: Meeting the candidate

The examiner should ask for the candidate by name, greet them pleasantly, and:

  • ask the candidate for their driving licence, (and if not a photo licence, then a valid passport) and their theory test (TT) pass certificate (if applicable)
  • ask the candidate to read and sign the insurance and residency declaration on the DL25. The 185-day residency requirement applies to all candidates who apply for a GB provisional licence before they attend to take a test. If the candidate refuses to sign, the test must not be conducted.

Note: Candidates who present for an extended test do not have to satisfy the residency requirement. The residency declaration on the DL25 should therefore be struck through before meeting the candidate.

Compare the signature on the photo card licence with the signature on the DL25.

Compare the photograph on the photographic identity document against the candidate. If you have concerns that the person in the photograph is not the correct person you may consider that it is a suspected candidate impersonation. See DT1 paragraph 1.17 and ‘Helpful hints and tips when checking ID’ in the Document Library.

Candidates will have to present at both theory and practical tests either:

  • a valid signed UK (or Northern Ireland) or EU community photo card licence*
  • an old style valid signed UK, Northern Ireland or EU community paper driving licence; and a valid passport

*Some first-time licences issued by DVLA to young people have had identity verification through the Passport Office. These photo card licences are issued without a signature and are acceptable at test, subject to all other normal checks as described in this paragraph.

Any EU member state photo card licence is an acceptable form of photographic identification.

From the 8 June 2015: Issue Numbers on licences are no longer relevant.

Expired photos

The photograph on a photo card driving licence expires after 10 years, although in most circumstances the entitlement to drive remains (until aged 70) even if the photograph has expired. DVLA write to all licence holders when their photograph expires advising that by law they must get a new photo to update their photo-card driving licence. However, there may be occasions where a candidate presents for test with an expired photograph on their photo-card driving licence. In these circumstances, the following procedures should be followed:

  • candidate arrives for test with an expired photo-card driving licence and the examiner is satisfied that the photograph is a true likeness of the candidate; the examiner should take the test. If the candidate fails they should be advised to apply to DVLA to have their photo-card licence updated. If the candidate passes the examiner should return the licence and advise them they will need to apply to DVLA for their new photo-card licence.
  • candidate arrives for test with an expired photo-card driving licence, but the examiner is not satisfied that photograph is a true likeness of the candidate. The examiner should not conduct the test and should advise the candidate to apply to DVLA and update their photo-card licence.


Candidates are only required to provide a passport to support their identity where they have a British or EU old style paper driving licence.

The passport does not have to be a UK passport, but holders of non UK passports should check that they are eligible to take a driving test here.

For those taking the ADI test of instructional ability the trainee licence is accepted instead of a passport. If the candidate does not have the correct documents, then he/she will not be able to take the driving test and may lose their booking fee.

Note: Photocopies of documents are not acceptable.

If a test is not conducted, a full report of the circumstances should be made on the DL25 report.

The regulations give examiners the discretion to proceed with a test where evidence of a TT pass is available, even if the certificate is not produced. That discretion must be exercised reasonably taking into account the circumstances of the particular case.

Change of name or gender

If the candidate’s name or gender differs from the details on the journal or their driving licence, the examiner needs to discretely establish their identity. If the examiner is satisfied that the identity of the candidate is correct the test can continue without the need to see any supporting evidence such as a marriage certificate, divorce papers, deed poll or a gender reassignment certificate. However, if the identity of the candidate can’t be established the test can’t proceed. In this instance advise the candidate to visit the GOV.UK website at which covers changing the name or gender on the driving licence

In all instances of a change of name or gender the ADLI route cannot be used.

1.12: (Removed for security reasons )

Driving examiners should refer to DVSAnet for access to this chapter.

1.13: Candidate’s driving licence and insurance

Examiners may receive enquiries about driver licensing matters. Basic information is contained in the DVLA leaflet D100, `What you need to know about driver licences’, and a current copy of this should be retained in each DTC.

If it becomes apparent during the course of a test, eg from police enquiries, that the candidate’s driving licence or insurance is not in order, the test should be terminated and a note made on the DL25 report.

1.14: Northern Ireland licences

Northern Ireland licences have an 8 number driving licence number. They aren’t eligible for the ADLI route, successful candidates must have their licence returned to them.

Northern Ireland ordinary driving licences and LGV drivers’ licences, full and provisional, are valid in this country. Full licences may be exchanged for equivalent British licences without the need to pass a test.

Note: Northern Ireland licences issued prior to 1989 had no provision for a signature but do have provision for a photograph. If the candidate can be identified from the photograph, the test should proceed.

1.15: Under aged drivers

Where the DL34 or driving licence shows that the candidate is below the required age for the category of vehicle being used for the test, the examiner should make discreet enquiries, away from the waiting room area, to establish the correct age. If these enquiries confirm the candidate is under age the test should be terminated.

However, examiners are reminded that the minimum age to drive vehicles in category F and P is 16; and also for category B (and B automatic) when the person is in receipt of the Higher rate of Disability Living Allowance.

Where an under aged candidate is only discovered at the end of a passed test, the examiner should issue the DVSA10 without comment and report the matter to COB, who will inform DVLA.

1.16: Undeclared disability

If the examiner notices then, or during the test, that the candidate may suffer from some restriction of movement, which could be classed as a disability, make discreet enquiries at an appropriate opportunity. In the case of physically disabled persons examiners should ask about any adaptation(s) fitted to the vehicle and how they operate in relation to the disability. This information should be recorded in detail in the appropriate box on the DL25 and will be helpful in completing the D255.

Care should be taken when the test is accompanied to obtain permission from the candidate before discussing disability issues.

1.17: (Removed for security reasons)

Driving examiners should refer to DVSAnet for access to this chapter.

1.18: Pre-brief

Examiners should take the opportunity on the way to the car or before moving off, to briefly explain to the candidate what will happen on the test.

1.19: DL25 Further details

The rest of the candidate’s details can now be entered on the DL25.

ADI Number

If an ADI certificate is displayed in the windscreen or the ADI identifies themselves to the examiner and indicates that they wish the candidate to be linked to their name, then the ADI number and serial number from the ADI certificate should both be entered on the DL 25.

Note: Data Protection Act. If the ADI certificate is not displayed then the ADI number must not be entered on the DL25 and neither the candidate nor accompanying driver should be questioned about the identity of the instructor.

1.20: Eyesight

Care should be taken to select a clean number plate on a vehicle, which can be clearly viewed. The candidate should first be asked to read a number plate containing symbols 79 mm high, which is obviously more than 20 metres away. If the candidate is unsuccessful, they should be asked to read another plate and, if necessary, allowed to walk forward until it is just over the appropriate distance away.

If the second plate is not read correctly, the examiner must use the official tape to measure the precise distance from a third plate. If the candidate fails to read the third plate, and the examiner is satisfied beyond doubt of their inability to comply with the eyesight requirement, they should be informed they have not reached the required eyesight standard, this means they have not passed and the remainder of the test will not be carried out. Item 1 on the DL25 should be marked and a note `Tape used’ showing size of symbol and measured distance inserted on the back of the DL25, together with the correct number and the candidate’s interpretation of it.

A DL25 should be issued, the D255 must be completed, and a copy attached to the DL25b, these should be retained in a file in the DTC for inspection by the LDTM.

A candidate must never be asked to read a number plate at a distance less than 20 metres. If the candidate uses glasses to read a number plate, and then removes them to drive, the examiner should point out that, if they can only read the plate with the aid of glasses, the law requires them to be worn whenever they are driving. If they subsequently take them off during the drive, they should be informed that unless they are worn when driving, the test will be terminated.

Note: If you are aware a candidate has dyslexia you should establish if any adjustments are required for the eyesight test.

Black on Yellow is ordinarily easier to distinguish by most dyslexic candidates. They may also read back to front or in a non-uniform order and may have difficulty distinguishing between certain images, for example B and 8, D and O, 5 and S. They may find it easier to write down the letters and numbers rather than reading them out - this is deemed to be a reasonable adjustment.

The eyesight test is a legal requirement and the correct procedure must be carried out. However, providing the test is not undermined, common sense should be applied where the numbers or letters are ambiguous.

The following advice may help examiners to deal with unusual situations:

  • If at any time prior to the eyesight test it transpires that a candidate is without their glasses, or has the wrong ones, they should be told that, if they take and fail the eyesight test, their driving test will be recorded as a failure. If the candidate elects to continue the examiner should proceed with the test in the normal way
  • If the candidate attempts to read a number plate, with or without glasses, but is unable to do so, and then explains that they have either lost or broken their glasses or has brought the wrong ones, they must fail
  • If the light is suitable for testing but nevertheless cannot be considered `good daylight’, the candidate may, if necessary, be asked to read a number plate at the measured distance. However, if they cannot do so, they should not be regarded as having failed, and the test should be terminated and the circumstances reported to booking section

Bioptic (telescope) spectacles

DVLA Drivers’ Medical Group has advised that bioptic devices are currently not acceptable for driving in Great Britain. Consequently if a candidate attends for test with bioptic (telescope) spectacles the eyesight test must not commence if they try to use one of these devices.

1.21: Vehicle safety check questions

Before moving away candidates must be asked one ‘tell me’ vehicle safety check question. Whilst on the move candidates must be asked to demonstrate one ‘show me’ question. To ensure uniformity the questions must be selected from those listed at annex 1. The questions used should be recorded on the rear of the DL25, for example S1 and T7 - there is no need to write out the whole question.

As a general rule the questions should be used in rotation. However, examiners will need to exercise common sense and discretion at times, for example in deciding whether a question which involves opening the bonnet is appropriate in high winds or heavy rain. Examiners should choose a suitable road to ask the ‘on the move show me’ question.

Although some checks may involve the candidate in opening the bonnet to identify where fluid levels would be checked, candidates must not be asked to touch a hot engine or physically check the fluid levels.


One or both questions answered incorrectly will result in one driving fault being recorded on the DL25 in the appropriate box. However, examiners should not pursue questions unduly in an attempt to elicit the precise responses listed; they should bear in mind that these are basic safety checks, and that in-depth knowledge is not required for the answers to be acceptable.

If the candidate committed a serious/dangerous fault whilst demonstrating the ‘show me’ question on the move, this will be recorded as a serious/dangerous fault at ‘Vehicle checks’. If, during the ‘tell me’ question, the candidate attempts to turn the ignition then the Examiner should intervene and explain that this is not necessary as a demonstration is not required. If, however, the candidate continues and turns the ignition and inadvertently starts the car up in gear and the Examiner has to take action then an ETA would be recorded and a serious fault recorded as ‘Precautions’ on the DL25. The candidate may however complete the check correctly and therefore nothing would be recorded under ‘Safety Questions’.

As vehicle technology advances, more cars are being equipped with electronic diagnostic systems which inform the driver of the state of the engine fluid levels, tyre pressures, etc. It is acceptable for a candidate to refer to the vehicle information system (if fitted) when answering questions on topics such as fluid levels or tyre pressures. Examiners need to be aware that although it may be necessary in order to carry out some of the checks, the ability to open the bonnet is, in itself, not one of the competencies which candidates are required to demonstrate. Instructors are expected to teach it, but should a candidate experience difficulty, it will be acceptable for the accompanying driver to assist in the opening and closing of the bonnet. Candidates should not be penalised if this proves necessary.

Special needs

Where a special need prevents a candidate from carrying out a practical activity for the ‘tell me’ question they should be asked to demonstrate understanding by oral explanation, however they should be expected to carry out the ‘show me’ question on the move. Reasonable consideration must be adopted in cases of disability and if adaptations don’t allow candidates to operate windows or demisters on the move, and they are unable to do so, then an alternative question should be asked.

Health and safety

Examiners must wear fluorescent vests (not full jackets) when asking the vehicle safety questions on the road. If necessary, candidates should be discouraged from standing in a vulnerable location (eg along the offside of the vehicle in a busy road) when carrying out these checks.

1.22: Direction indicators and stop lamps

Before entering the vehicle, the examiner should make a brief visual check of direction indicators and stop lamps. If this reveals any obvious damage, which raises doubts as to whether they are operational, the examiner should offer to assist the candidate in making a practical check and ask them to operate the appropriate control. If the suspect item does not function satisfactorily the candidate should be given the opportunity to rectify the fault. If this cannot be done within 5 minutes the test should be terminated. To avoid subsequent argument, the candidate should be asked if they wish to confirm by personal observation that the particular item does not function satisfactorily, in which case the examiner should operate the control.

In deciding whether or not direction indicators and stop lamps are in an acceptable condition for the purposes of the test, examiners should be guided by the principle that no candidate should be turned away whose test could reasonably be conducted; for example if both obligatory stop lamps are working but the high level light is not the test must proceed.

1.23: ‘L’ ( or `D’ plates in Wales)

If one or both’L’ or `D’ in plates are not displayed the examiner should ask the candidate about their licensing entitlement.

If the candidate has only provisional entitlement to drive the vehicle used for the test, the examiner should explain that the regulations require the vehicle to display ‘L’ or ‘D’ plates clearly visible from the front and rear of the vehicle. Sets of `L’ or ‘D’ plates should be kept at the DTC and offered to the candidate for their use. The candidate should be given reasonable time to comply with the regulations. If they are unable to do so, the test should be terminated.

If the candidate holds a full driving licence issued outside the UK and they’ve not been resident or a visitor for more than 12 months, the test should proceed without ‘L’ or ‘D’ plates.

1.24: Vehicle excise licence

From 1 October 2014 the requirement to display a paper tax disc on a vehicle windscreen has been abolished - this applies to all vehicle categories. Therefore from this date if a vehicle is presented for test not displaying a tax disc or the tax disc is out of date the test must continue.

1.25: Examiner’s door and seating

The examiner must sit in the front passenger seat of the vehicle, as this is the best position from which to observe the candidate’s performance. Before moving away the candidate may check that the front passenger door is properly closed or locked. This is usually done to show the examiner that they are aware of the safety precautions to take before moving off. Examiners should not in any way indicate that this precaution is other than a proper one for any driver to take.

If an examiner would prefer the door not to be locked they should unlock it and, if necessary, politely mention this to the candidate. The examiner should of course exercise ordinary common sense responsibility to see that the door is properly closed.

Cars presented for test must be fitted with a passenger seatbelt, passenger head restraint and an interior mirror for the examiner’s use. A spare stick-on interior mirror should be kept at the driving test centre.

1.26: Seat belt, head restraint and mirror

Before starting the drive, the examiner should ensure that their seat, seatbelt and head restraint is adjusted correctly, to ensure safety and comfort. Examiners should also ensure they are sitting comfortably and in a stable position in order to support themselves in the event of sudden braking or an accident.

The additional mirrors fitted for the examiner’s use should be adjusted so they have a view to the rear. Mirrors must not be moved by an examiner unless they are positioned in a way that obstructs the examiner’s clear vision of the road ahead. If additional mirrors have to be moved they should be positioned as close to the upper part of the screen as possible; this reduces the likelihood of any interference with the airbag deployment should this occur. Additional mirrors should not under any circumstances be placed below the driver’s mirror as this could cause a blind spot and obstruct the driver’s view.

Note: it is not a legal requirement that the head restraint is adjustable, but the passenger seat head restraint must be fitted as an integral part of the seat. ‘Slip-on’ type head restraints are not permissible.

Additional information on rear seat belt use:

  • any rear seat passenger(s) accompanying an examiner during a driving test MUST wear a seat belt
  • any rear seat passenger(s) refusing to wear a seat belt, should not be allowed to accompany the examiner on test - this includes a person who holds a seat belt exemption certificate

If a rear seat passenger refuses to wear a seat belt (whether or not they hold an exemption certificate) and refuses to leave the vehicle, the test should be terminated.

Should the ADI/ accompanying driver choose not to and/or not be able to accompany the test the examiner should ask the candidate if they would like them to be present at the end of test for the result and debrief.

When rear seat belts are not fitted to the vehicle - rear seat passengers MUST NOT be allowed to accompany an examiner on test.

1.27: Instructions to candidates

Examiners should ensure their instructions are absolutely clear. Candidates must not be left in any doubt about the route to be taken. Directions should be given in good time, especially where marking of traffic lanes indicate an option. At complex junctions and gyratory systems, a request simply to turn right or left may not be enough to indicate the route clearly.

Candidates should not be given any grounds to complain of being flustered or uncertain. If you are aware a candidate has dyslexia or dyspraxia you should tactfully establish if it affects their driving and if any adjustments are necessary. This may include confirming directions by pointing or using hand signals.

Independent driving briefing

It is important that the candidate is left in no doubt what is required in the independent driving section of the test. There are two methods of independent driving, following directions given by a sat nav or following traffic signs. The examiner should pull the candidate up on the left and clearly brief the method required. If you are aware a candidate has dyslexia or dyspraxia and you have established it affects their driving, choose an independent driving section that is best suited to their needs (see DT1 7.35).

1.28: Start of drive

The drive should start without any instruction from the examiner except to indicate the immediate route to be taken.

1.29: Starting the engine

The candidate should ensure that the handbrake is applied and the gear lever/selector is in neutral before starting the engine.

1.30: Moving off

The examiner should observe whether the candidate first sees to the front, then to the rear, that the way is clear for pulling out, gives the appropriate signal if necessary, and moves away smoothly and safely. Wherever possible, ability to move off on a reasonably steep uphill gradient should be tested.

A candidate starting on a gradient should be capable of paying attention to other traffic as well as moving their vehicle away without rollback and/ or excessive engine revolutions. If stopping on a hill is not possible an additional designated stop must be conducted. The test must always include moving off at an angle from behind a stationary vehicle.

1.31: Emergency stop

An emergency stop should be carried out on one third of tests chosen at random. It can normally be carried out at any time during the test; but the emergency stop exercise MUST be carried out safely where road and traffic conditions are suitable. If an emergency has already arisen naturally during the test this special exercise is not required; in such cases the candidate should be told and a note made on the DL25.

With the vehicle at rest the examiner should explain to the candidate that they will shortly be tested in stopping the vehicle in an emergency, as quickly and safely as possible.

The warning to stop the vehicle will be the audible signal “Stop!” together with a simultaneous visual signal given by the examiner raising the right hand to face level, or in the case of a left hand drive vehicle, raising the left hand. This should be demonstrated.

The examiner should explain to the candidate that they will be looking over their shoulder to make sure it is safe to carry out the exercise, and that they should not pre-empt the signal by suddenly stopping when the examiner looks round, but should wait for the proper signal to be given. To minimise the risk of premature braking, examiners are advised to ask the candidate if they understand the ES instructions.

The emergency stop must not be given on a busy road or where danger to following or other traffic may arise.

It is essential that examiners take direct rear observation to ensure that it is perfectly safe to carry out the exercise. They must not rely on the mirrors.

If the exercise cannot be given within a reasonable time the candidate should be asked to pull up, care being taken to choose the right moment as the candidate will have been expecting the emergency stop signal and may react accordingly. They should then be advised that the exercise will be given later and that they will be warned again beforehand. Alternatively, if conditions ahead are expected to be favourable, they should be reminded that the exercise will be given shortly, and the instructions repeated if necessary.

If a candidate asks whether they should give an arm signal, they should be told that the command to stop will be given only when it appears that no danger will arise as a result of a sudden stop, but that they should assume that an extreme emergency has arisen and demonstrate the action they would take in such a case.

The emergency stop exercise must not be used to avoid a dangerous situation.

ABS - Anti-lock braking system.

Note: Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) are being fitted to an increasing number of vehicles. Examiners should not enquire if a vehicle presented for a test is fitted with ABS.

Most ABS systems require the clutch and footbrake to be depressed harshly at the same time to brake in an emergency situation; therefore a fault should not be recorded purely for using this technique with a vehicle fitted with ABS on the emergency stop exercise. On the emergency stop exercise, under severe braking, tyre or other noise may be heard, this does not necessarily mean the wheels have locked and are skidding. Examiners should bear these points in mind when assessing the candidate’s control during this exercise. Further advice regarding ABS is given in the DVSA publication ‘driving the essential skills’.

1.32 Manoeuvring exercises

The candidate will be asked to carry out 2 set exercises.

One controlled stop (see DT1 7.35) and one of the following, which may be selected at random:

  • reverse parking (either into a bay, or on the road)
  • forward parking (in a bay)
  • pull up on the right and reverse in a straight line

Examiners should ensure the random use of the reversing manoeuvres is evenly spread. Identifiable patterns (times, routes etc) should be avoided so that the random aspect of manoeuvre selection is retained.

The examiner should select exercises as suitable opportunities arise during the test, and should note the selection on the DL25 by marking either item 4, 5 or 8.

Note: set exercises can be carried out during the independent driving section.

1.33 The reverse park exercise

The reverse park exercise can be conducted either into a parking bay in the DTC car park or on road. Examiners have flexibility in making a choice of which manoeuvre to use (pull up on the right, forward park or reverse park) providing that each manoeuvre is used equally over a period of time.

Parking in a bay in the driving test centre car park

The size and layout of the car park may restrict the options available to the candidate. Examiners should allow the candidate to reverse into any bay of their choice and no attempt should be made by the examiner to determine or dictate which bay is used or how the candidate carries out the exercise.

At the start of the test

After the pre-brief the candidate should be told that, before going on to the road, they are to carry out the reverse park exercise into a convenient bay. They should be asked to drive out of the bay to the left or right (if both options are available in that car park) and stop with the wheels straight before reversing into any convenient bay and parking the car (examiners should not instruct candidates to park in the centre of the bay). The instruction is to prevent them reversing back, into the bay on the same lock.

Providing some attempt has been made to straighten the front wheels, examiners should not be concerned if the wheels are not completely straight. The candidate may elect to drive forward to adjust the angle at which they address the bay they intend to reverse into, or space permitting, they are allowed to drive forwards into one bay before reversing back in a straight line into the opposing bay.

Once the exercise is completed the candidate can be given the instructions for following directions around the route.

At the end of the test

On the approach to the centre the candidate should be advised to turn into the car park and reverse into any convenient bay to park the car. The candidate can again make their own choice of bay and carry out the manoeuvre in the way that they choose, given the restrictions that may be imposed by the characteristics of the car park.

Candidates should park within a bay, but examiners should not be too concerned, when making their assessment, of the final position of the car in the bay. Parking outside the bay is unacceptable. Candidates should not normally be penalised for crossing the lines when entering the bay. Examiners should consider whether the car could reasonably be left, in that car park in the prevailing conditions, in that position. Exceptionally the examiner may feel the need to leave the car before making an assessment. This is acceptable provided the candidate is asked to secure the car and stop the engine.

Irrespective of the presence of other vehicles or pedestrians, the candidate should be expected to take all round observations to ensure that the manoeuvre is executed safely. The question is not whether there is anybody there, but whether the candidate has taken adequate observations to ensure that safety is maintained throughout the exercise. Observation should be assessed as though the exercise was carried out on road.

At some DTCs, to avoid congestion, it will be necessary for some examiners to carry out the exercise at the start of the test and some at the end. The exercise may be completed into any empty marked bay, irrespective of whether cars occupy the adjacent bays, providing that these vehicles do not encroach on the bay to be used.

Parking on the road

The candidate should be asked to pull up well before a parked vehicle identified by the examiner. They should then be asked to drive alongside it and reverse into a parked position either:

  • behind one parked car, when the exercise should be completed within two car lengths or
  • between two parked cars, where the gap should be equal to about two car lengths

Drivers of vans or other small commercial vehicles are expected to do this exercise in exactly the same way as a car driver. Vehicles parked on the offside of the road should not be used.

The candidate should show proper care for the safety of other road users while reversing.

If, because of the examiner’s seating position, the candidate has difficulty in taking observation, examiners should be prepared to adjust their seating position during the reversing exercises.

1.34: The forward park exercise

The forward park exercise should be conducted into a parking bay in a car park along the test route, without the need to deviate too far from the route. The examiner will direct the candidate to a suitable area of the car park, which is not too busy and will not interfere with customers and car park owners / operators. There is no requirement to carry out this exercise between two cars. In exceptional circumstances, and depending on the layout of the car park, this can be carried out at the DTC, providing the manoeuvre can be conducted by steering into a parking bay, then reversing out to the left or right and driving forward into another area of the car park. If test centres are close to each other, this manoeuvre can be carried out in neighbouring test centre car parks, providing the conduct of the manoeuvre is not compromised.

Whilst being directed around the car park the candidate should be advised to drive forwards into any convenient bay, finishing within the lines, either to the right or the left (if car park allows). The candidate can make their own choice of bay and carry out the manoeuvre in the way that they choose, given the restrictions that may be imposed by the characteristics of the car park. The candidate should then be asked to reverse out to the right or left (if car park allows). If there are one way systems in operation, the examiner should dictate which direction the candidate is required to reverse in.

The size and layout of the car park may restrict the options available to the candidate. Examiners should make no attempt to determine or dictate which bay is used or how the candidate carries out the exercise. If the car park is too busy or no bays are available or suitable, the examiner should direct the candidate out of the car park. Candidates should park within a bay, but examiners should not be too concerned, when making their assessment, of the final position of the car in the bay. Parking outside the bay is unacceptable. Candidates should not normally be penalised for crossing the lines when entering the bay. Examiners should consider whether the car could reasonably be left, in that car park in the prevailing conditions, in that position. Exceptionally the examiner may feel the need to leave the car before making an assessment. This is acceptable provided the candidate is asked to secure the car and stop the engine.

Irrespective of the presence of other vehicles or pedestrians, the candidate should be expected to take all round observations to ensure that the manoeuvre is executed safely. The question is not whether there is anybody there, but whether the candidate has taken adequate observations to ensure that safety is maintained throughout the exercise.

1.35: The pull up on the right exercise

This manoeuvre should be carried out during routine driving, on a general main road which would normally carry light to medium traffic flow, therefore it is not necessary to deviate from the test route, into a side road or housing estate. It is not always necessary for the candidate to encounter traffic whilst completing this manoeuvre however carrying this out on busy roads or busy times of day, should be avoided due to the excessive length of time it would take to complete the exercise. The chosen road should allow the candidate plenty of opportunity to pull up on the right on a straight section of road with clear visibility well ahead and behind.

Whilst driving on a suitable road, and at a safe location, the candidate should be asked to pull up on the right when it is safe to do so. Once stationary, the candidate should then be asked to reverse for two car lengths before being asked to drive on again. If the candidates begins to select a location which is not suitable, then the exercise should be aborted before moving across to the right and attempted later in the test.

The candidate should show proper care for the safety of other road users while pulling across to the right, reversing and moving off.

Should the candidate ask the examiner to assist when reversing or moving off to re-join their side of the road, they should be informed that the purpose of the test is to prove their competence to drive it without the help of a supervisor, and that they should carry out the exercise as if they were unaccompanied.

The examiner must not get out of the vehicle to direct or assist the candidate.

If a vehicle pulls in front of the candidate prior to the completion of the exercise, the examiner should take control of the situation and advise the candidate to reverse back further to allow a clear view ahead. If a vehicle blocks the candidate from reversing, the manoeuvre should be aborted and a manoeuvre attempted later in the test. If this situation causes the candidates view to be severely restricted then the examiner should offer some assistance.

The manoeuvre ends once the candidate has stopped reversing and selected neutral.

1.36: Reaction to traffic signs and signals

The examiner should satisfy himself that the candidate reacts promptly and correctly to traffic signals and signs and to signals given by the police, authorised traffic controllers and other road users.

The candidate should be fully aware of their responsibilities at pedestrian crossings, and act accordingly.

1.37: Methods of signalling

Candidates normally signal by direction indicator but may, if they wish, additionally signal by arm. Signals should be assessed on whether necessary and appropriate signals are given in good time, and indicators cancelled afterwards.

In the case of a disabled driver it will usually be apparent whether they are physically capable of signalling by indicator and arm. However, if the examiner can only satisfy himself about this by observing the candidate giving signals whilst actually driving, they should specifically ask the candidate to signal by indicator or arm as appropriate, but only for as long as is necessary to determine whether or not they should be restricted to driving vehicles fitted with direction indicators and stop lamps.

At certain test centres in remote areas, a particular procedure, approved by the LDTM, may have to be adopted in which the candidate is asked to assume during the test that another vehicle is following closely and to give signals accordingly.

1.38: Road junctions

The examiner should observe whether the candidate has the vehicle under proper control and in the appropriate gear, takes account of the type of junction, road signs and following traffic, gives any necessary and appropriate signals in good time, and keeps the vehicle correctly positioned throughout. The examiner should also note whether the candidate takes adequate and effective observation before entering the intersection, and that they do so with due regard for other road users.

The route should still include some urban roads which will allow the examiner to observe the candidate’s reaction to crossing intersections during general driving. A driver who is over-cautious at a main road may act differently at a junction of less important roads.

1.39: Overtaking, meeting and crossing

The examiner should observe the candidate’s actions in overtaking and meeting other vehicles, and crossing the path of other traffic when they are turning to the right. Before overtaking, the mirror(s) should be used to observe following traffic, and appropriate signals given if necessary. While showing consideration for other traffic, the candidate should not give way unduly when it would be safe and proper to proceed. On the other hand they should not be inconsiderate, eg by turning right in the face of closely approaching traffic.

1.40: Stopping normally

A minimum of two normal stops should be made during the test.

Independent driving

A normal stop may be included when pulling up to start the independent drive section, providing the road conditions allow and the correct wordings are used. Candidates may be asked to carry out a normal stop once they have begun driving independently.

1.41: Eco-safe driving

Eco-safe driving is a recognised and proven style of driving. It contributes to road safety while reducing fuel consumption and emissions and is part of the EU 3rd Directive on Driving Licences, which reflects the increased awareness and need for economical / environmentally friendly driving.

Note: Eco-safe driving will not contribute to the result of the test.

The Eco-safe driving boxes on the DL25 are used to record an assessment of the driver’s ability to drive with economy and the environment in mind. The assessment of Eco-safe driving is taken over the whole test, not focussing on one instance - candidates only need to display knowledge of Eco-safe principles they are not expected to be experts. A candidate may sacrifice Eco-safe driving techniques so as not to compromise safety. This should always be carefully considered in the assessment process.

There are 2 eco-safe headings: control and planning:

(The examples below do not cover the whole range of eco-safe driving styles and are for guidance only).


Changing down to lower gears when the road speed is too high is not considered an ‘Eco-safe driving’ technique. It uses fuel unnecessarily, as does needless harsh acceleration and using the higher rev range between upward gear changes. Doing so is a waste of fuel with no gain in safety or performance.

A driver should understand the capabilities of his/her vehicle and should be able to take advantage of the power/torque characteristics of the engine by utilising the highest gear possible without causing the engine to labour. The ability to utilise a lower ‘rev’ range should ensure that fuel is not being used unnecessarily and therefore fewer pollutants will be released through the exhaust system.


Needlessly stopping then moving away from rest has a detrimental effect on fuel consumption. An Eco-safe driver will keep the vehicle on the move whenever and wherever it is safe to do so. This technique can be demonstrated at junctions, roundabouts, slow moving traffic and when negotiating other hazard situations with no compromise to road safety. Keeping a vehicle on the move uses less fuel to regain momentum and demonstrates sound Eco-safe driving principles.

If a candidate is driving on an open road and has to reduce speed to comply with a change in speed limit or road and traffic conditions, he/she should be able to do so by responding early. This will allow timely use of the accelerator to use ‘engine braking’ to assist the vehicle in slowing down smoothly. The alternative of not using this technique is to brake late, which uses more fuel and is not a demonstration of effective Eco-safe driving principles.

In the previous examples, if the candidate demonstrates safe driving procedures by not committing control or procedural faults, then no fault should be recorded under another heading on the DL25 other than in eco-safe driving.

Whether the result of the test is a pass or a fail if an Eco-safe fault has been recorded in either one or both of the boxes the examiner should debrief the candidate in the normal way.

1.42: End of test

At the end of the practical driving test the examiner should advise the candidate of the test result. A decision to fail should be conveyed sympathetically.

Please note: the examiner’s decision is final and cannot be changed. If a candidate questions the test decision, they should be referred to the DL25C for more information.

1.43: Pass

DSA10s certificates of competence

DSA10s should be completed in black ink. Examiners whose signatures may be difficult to read should print their names after their signature.

Note: Rubber name stamps must not be used on a DVSA10 certificate. DVSA10s are accountable documents and are issued against an examiner’s signature. They must be safeguarded at all times.

Provided the examiner doesn’t work out of their `home’ area, they can use any of the books of pass certificates issued from any test centre in that area. If an examiner is working on detached duty in another area, they should draw DVSA10s from the DTC and return them to the DTC on completion of the detached duty.

Issuing of DVSA10

The examiner should ask the candidate for their licence or other documentation and copy the name & driver number details direct to the DVSA10. The driver number should be copied exactly as shown even if the examiner suspects it is incorrect, e.g. the first 5 letters do not match those of the candidate’s surname.

In the case of a Northern Ireland licence, the number should be copied exactly as shown - starting from the left - and a line put through the remaining empty boxes.

The DVSA10 certificate should be completed in the following order:

  • Title - Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms etc
  • Forename, and second forename if any, in full and initial(s) of any other forename(s)
  • Driver number
  • Appropriate category
      1. Strike out whether vehicle used was automatic
      1. Whether an extended test
  • Restriction code (if appropriate)
  • Test date in numeric form, eg 09.06.00
  • Name of test centre
  • Signature/ Name of examiner
  • Applicant’s signature & date (if appropriate - non ADLI route)

1.44: Documentation at end of test


The Licence Surrender part of the DL25 must be completed for all tests.

Automated driving licence issues (ADLI)

Eligible ADLI candidates

With the exception of motorcycle module 1, ADI part 2 or 3 and driver CPC module 4 - all practical test pass results are automatically sent to DVLA. Those candidates who hold a GB or registered with DVLA EU/EEA photo card licence can have their new licence sent to them.

Eligible candidates are asked if they wish to have their licence to be sent to them automatically and their licence shredded in the test centre. The DL25 includes an identifier for DVLA so that they know when to issue a new licence automatically or wait for further information.

An EU member state photo card licence can now be used for the ADLI route. The GB Driver Number can be obtained from the examiner’s journal.

Uneligible ADLI candidates

Candidates are not eligible to use the ADLI if they:

  • refuse to sign the medical declaration
  • hold a Northern Ireland or community licence (all NI licences have an 8 number driving licence number)
  • have had a change in their personal details (domestic and EU/EEA licences)
  • have presented a licence without a signature
  • have changed their address from that which is on the photo card licence
  • have a paper licence
  • are scheduled to take a Driver CPC practical demonstration test within near future
  • have just passed a Driver CPC practical demonstration test
  • have just passed a motorcycle module 1 test

Candidates who aren’t eligible to use the ADLI route or don’t wish their licence to be issued automatically must have their licence returned to them.

The examiner should give the candidate the DVSA10 certificate and 3rd/4th copies of the DL25.


The LMS (Licence Surrender) must be completed and fill in the ‘No’ cross.

In the case of failure the examiner should: give a de-brief and the candidate the 3rd/4th copies of the DL25 and offer a test application form.

1.45: De-brief

At the end of a test the examiner should offer the candidate a brief explanation of the faults marked on the DL25. This de-brief should aim to give the candidate a `word picture’ of their driving, including all serious and dangerous faults recorded and a selection of repeated driving faults. If a candidate fails on an accumulation of more than 15 driving faults then all the faults need explaining.

If the instructor/trainer/accompanying driver is present for the decision & de-brief, the examiner should ask: ‘would you like your (instructor/trainer/accompanying driver) to be present for the conclusion of the test?’ If the instructor/trainer/accompanying driver is not present the question should not be asked.

If any observer (other than another DVSA examiner) who has accompanied the test remains present for the end of test feedback then the debrief box should be marked. (If the observer does not remain for the feedback, the box should be left unmarked).

If at any time the instructor/trainer/accompanying driver comes over to the vehicle to listen to the conclusion of the test, and a debrief is to be given, the examiner must ask the candidate whether they want their instructor/trainer/accompanying driver present - consequently if they do attend for the feedback the debrief box should be marked.

If the candidate elects not to have their instructor/accompanying driver present for the decision & de-brief, then the examiner should ensure that the candidate’s request is complied with.

If a candidate’s performance has been of a very poor standard involving a multitude of serious or dangerous faults, the examiner should use discretion and explain only the most serious faults.

If in exceptional circumstances, an examiner decides not to give an explanation, full reasons for the decision should be noted on the DL25.

Where a candidate refuses the de-brief, the examiner should give their opinion as to why, or any explanation given by the candidate, on the back of the DL25(B).

If the candidate wants to discuss the test in greater detail, it should be explained that examiners are not permitted to do this. However, to be helpful, the examiner should suggest that their comments about the items marked be relayed (by the candidate) to their instructor, who should be able to provide the detail required.

If a candidate argues or becomes abusive, or so upset that an explanation is obviously of no value, the examiner should abandon the attempt and a brief note should be made on the DL25.

1.46: Driving test report

This form provides, for every test, a record of particular details relating in the main to the candidate, their vehicle, and their driving performance. The back of the form is completed in the office after the test.

The appropriate ‘Weather box’ (or boxes) should be marked.

A brief description of the candidate should be sufficient to call them back to mind should the need subsequently arise. The candidate’s gender and approximate age should be given. The candidate’s age should be estimated from the candidate’s appearance and not worked out from the driver number.

Best practice recommends the use of the following categories for ethnic descriptions:

  • White
    • British, Irish or any other white background.
  • Mixed
    • White and Black Caribbean
    • White and Black African
    • White and Asian
    • Any other mixed background
  • Asian or Asian British
    • Indian
    • Pakistani
    • Bangladeshi
    • Any other Asian background
  • Black or black British
    • Caribbean
    • African
    • Any other Black background
  • Chinese or other ethnic group
    • Chinese
    • Any other

Note: Examiners should ensure that any description is factual but cannot be misconstrued as being in any way offensive. Therefore, if there is any doubt about the accuracy of the candidate’s ethnic origin, the written description must commence with words ‘Appeared to be’

eg appeared to be Asian British. Male, about 36, stocky, deep voice. Appeared to be Black African. Female, 40-45, tall, long hair. Appeared to be Chinese. Male, 20-25, slim, glasses.

Alternatively, if there is no doubt about the ethnic description of the candidate it can commence eg White male, 18-20, average build and height, dark collar length hair.

Further guidance/or clarity regarding race equality can be obtained from the pamphlet ‘Guidance on Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000’ or the Equality & Diversity Manager in Human Resources Team Nottingham.

Note: Examiners should ensure that any description is factual and cannot be misconstrued as being in any way offensive.

Mark ‘ID’ boxes.

Under ‘Remarks’ record the safety check questions which were asked and if the test was accompanied by a member of DVSA staff record their name. It’s not necessary to record the name of an ADI/ accompanying driver or candidate’s friend.

After failed tests, details which may be useful in dealing with any enquiry or complaint, should be recorded, eg:

  • the amplification of any serious or dangerous fault recorded on the front of the form
  • notes of variations from standard controls
  • any unusual behaviour or comment by the candidate
  • any other special feature of the test, such as the vehicle being in a car park and causing difficulty before the test started

Note: Plain words should be used with no abbreviations. After passed tests, any unusual incidents or circumstances that occurred should be recorded. Followed by the examiner’s signature in the box provided.

1.47: The extended test

Drivers convicted of certain dangerous driving offences are required to take a mandatory extended driving test following a period of disqualification; these will be identified on the DL34. The procedure for conducting these tests is the same as for any other driving test with the following exceptions:

  • On meeting the candidate the examiner should, in the pre-brief, inform the candidate that the test will take approximately 70 minutes and will be conducted on a variety of roads including those where the national speed limit applies
  • The emergency stop exercise must be carried out on every test
  • 20 minutes independent driving (in line with category B test)
  • Successful candidates should be issued with a DVSA10 certificate

The length of the driving part of the extended test is prescribed in Regulations as being of not less than 60 minutes duration. Examiners must note on the DL25 the time the candidate first moved off and the time the candidate returned to the test centre and stopped the engine.

1.48: Extended test (assessment of faults)

The normal methods of assessment should be applied. However, examiners are reminded that most candidates are likely to have had considerable driving experience, prior to their mandatory disqualification. Because of this, their method and standard of driving will probably be quite different to that of the majority of learner drivers. For example, their ability to take advantage of gaps in the traffic to emerge safely from junctions is likely to be to a much higher standard than that of the less experienced driver. They should not be penalised for this.

1.49: Illegal driving instruction

Examiners should inform their local HEO on the appropriate form when it comes to their attention that an ADI’s or PDI’s certificate is out of date or illegible, so that the correct enquiries can be made and if necessary enforcement procedures started.

ADI certificates are not legally required to be displayed during a driving test. If the certificate is displayed and an examiner needs to remove it from its holder, they should try to avoid causing damage to either the certificate or its holder.

1.50: Unregistered driving instructors

In the normal course of their duties examiners come to recognise the driving schools and ADIs who bring candidates to their centres for tests and to know which cars they use. The re-appearance of an accompanying driver or an unmarked car, particularly one fitted with dual controls, may give an examiner cause for suspicion.

An examiner’s suspicions may also be aroused if a consistently poor standard of candidate is brought forward by a particular driving school or instructor, or if they see instruction being given in a school car not displaying an ADI certificate or trainee licence.

Examiners must not involve themselves in enforcement and enquiry work; it is particularly important that they do not question candidates or accompanying drivers, or make any comments which may suggest that they have doubts about the bona-fides of any person who may have given driving instruction.

If examiners encounter anything in the course of their duties which lead them to suspect that an unregistered instructor is at work in their area, they should inform their LDTM. The LDTM should pass as much evidence (test reports, descriptions, vehicle numbers, details of possible witnesses etc.) as is available to the LDTM(T) for investigation, and examiners will be informed of the outcome in due course.

1.51: Home tests for categories F, G, H & K

Examiners must conduct these driving tests on foot. A suitable location for the test should be arranged with the candidate through the Customer Enquiry Unit and the relevant DTC. The test must be conducted on-road at a location where the examiner can see the candidate making left and right turns. Exceptionally the manoeuvre/s (only) can be carried out off-road if there is the possibility of the vehicle damaging the road, but if the vehicle cannot be driven normally on-road it is not suitable for test.

The Regulations require the candidate to demonstrate competence to drive the vehicle without danger to other road users and, where possible, be observed to drive on roads outside built up areas and if necessary on urban roads.

Additionally the Regulations required the candidate to act correctly and promptly on all signals given by traffic signs and traffic controllers, take appropriate action on signs given by other road users and demonstrate appropriate signals in a clear and unmistakable manner. In the case of a vehicle with a left-hand drive or of a disabled candidate for whom it is impracticable or undesirable to give signals by arm, there is no requirement to give signals which cannot be given by mechanical means.

Regardless of the transmission configuration of the vehicle presented for test, driving licences for categories K, F, G & H are not restricted to vehicles with automatic transmission. Therefore when completing the DL 25 for categories K, F, G & H the automatic box should not be marked because it will cause a conflict with DVLA’s system and delay the licence being issued.

The usual driving test preliminaries of licence checks, identification, eyesight etc. should be carried out. (Examiner must ensure they have an approved tape measure with them in case of an eyesight failure). Two Safety Check Questions should then be asked. The candidate is then directed where to go with the examiner walking to various vantage points to observe the candidate. The normal rules of assessment should be applied. Examiners, who are not familiar with conducting tests of this type, should seek guidance from their LDTM.

The route number for a home test is 88. The standard category ‘B’ test duration should be adhered to.

The candidate will not have taken a theory test, so at the end of the practical drive the examiner should ask five questions on the Highway Code and other motoring matters and a sixth question comprising six traffic signs from the DT5. As these types of vehicles are not allowed to drive on motorways, questions should not be asked on this subject.

1.52: Unitary test requirements for categories F, G, H & K

Note: All the requirements of the test must be carried out.

  1. Read in good daylight (with the aid of corrective lenses if worn) a registration mark fixed to a motor vehicle and containing letters and figures 79.4 millimetres high at a distance of: * a) 12.3 metres for Category K * b) 20.5 metres (or 20 metres for new style number plates) for Categories F, G & H.
  2. Answer Vehicle Safety Check Questions.
  3. Start the engine of the vehicle.
  4. Move away straight ahead and at an angle.
  5. Overtake, meet and cross the path of other vehicles and take an appropriate course.
  6. Turn right-hand and left-hand corners correctly.
  7. Stop the vehicle in an emergency and normally, and in the latter case bring it to rest at an appropriate part of the road.
  8. Answer Highway Code Questions.

1.53: Additional requirements for categories F & G

Carry out a manoeuvre involving the use of reverse gear - usually a left-hand reverse (except in a case where the vehicle is not fitted with a means of reversing).

1.54: Additional requirements for category H

Drive the vehicle backwards and cause it to face in the opposite direction by means of its tracks.

1.55: Minimum test vehicle requirements

Minimum test vehicle (MTV) requirements and minimum age for categories F, G, H & K

All vehicles presented for test must be legally road worthy and covered by insurance for use on test by the candidate. Not all vehicles in categories F, G, H & K are fitted with indicators & stop lamps, such vehicles are suitable for test providing the candidate can give signals by arm.

Agricultural tractors - category F:

  • have two or more axles
  • are constructed for use as a tractor for work off the road in connection with agriculture or forestry.

To drive tractors on public roads you must be at least 16 years old. At 16 you are restricted to a tractor which is no more than 2.45 metres wide and only driving on the road when travelling to and from a driving test appointment until you’ve passed your category F driving test. At 17 years old you can drive any tractor and you can drive unaccompanied on the road displaying L plates, or D plates in Wales.

Road rollers - category G

Before you can apply for a provisional licence for a category G you must hold a full category B driving licence.

At 17 years old you can drive a road roller:

  • with metal rollers
  • weighing less than 11.69 tonnes un-laden
  • which isn’t steam propelled

At 21 years old you can drive other road rollers:

  • which have pneumatic, resilient or elastic tyres
  • that weigh more than 11.69 tonnes unladen
  • that are steam propelled

Track laying vehicles steered by means of their tracks - category H.

Before you can apply for a provisional licence for a category H you must hold a full category B driving licence.

At 17 you can drive track-laying vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes MAM

At 21 you can drive track-laying vehicles over 7.5 tonnes MAM

If the candidate’s view is so restricted that they cannot make their own decisions about emerging at a junction etc. and need the assistance of a third party (e.g. tank commander), then the vehicle is unsuitable for the purposes of a driving test.

Quad-tracks (or four-tracks) steer by means of articulating their body with hydraulic rams and do not steer by means of their tracks. Therefore if they are constructed for use as a tractor for work off the road in connection with agriculture or forestry for driving licence and test purposes they are category ‘F’.

A mowing machine or pedestrian-controlled vehicle - category K – is a specialist, ride-on, grass-cutting vehicle with permanent cutting equipment. You must be 16 years old to drive one of these vehicles.

A pedestrian-controlled vehicle is a powered vehicle where the operator walks with the vehicle, and does not ride on it. This vehicle is not treated as a motor vehicle and the operator does not need a driving licence.

1.56: Technical update

Advisory speed limits:

Advisory speed limits are often being used in particularly sensitive areas, such as outside schools, where it is considered that a reduction in speed would benefit the immediate community; they are there to encourage people to drive at a lower speed than they might otherwise do. In common with assessing all other driving situations examiners must assess whether the driver’s actions are safe and not automatically record a fault if the driver does not rigidly comply. As in some instances there may be mitigating circumstances, such as in school holidays or at quiet times of the day, where there are very good fields of vision and low pedestrian activity and safety is not compromised. However, there will be instances where to exceed advisory limits could not be considered as safe and sometimes especially in narrow residential streets the driver may need to reduce their speed considerably lower than the advisory limit.


To ensure uniformity, when conducting car or vocational tests and ADI qualifying examinations, only assess the candidate’s ability to control the vehicle and do not consider it as a fault if, for example, they do not hold the steering wheel at ten to two or quarter to three or if they cross their hands when turning the steering wheel. The assessment should be based on whether the steering is smooth, safe and under control.