Carrying out driving tests: examiner guidance

4. Taxi test

This section is for reference only, as the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency no longer carries out taxi tests.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) stopped providing taxi driving assessments for local councils on 1 January 2017. Other organisations, such as road safety charities and driving instructor organisations, can carry out taxi assessments.

The information in this section is for reference only.

4.01: Introduction

This chapter sets out the background and basic requirements of the practical driving assessment for the drivers of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles. It also gives detailed guidance on conducting assessments. The term ‘Taxi’ will be used for the ease of use to replace Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles.

4.02: Driving assessment requirements

Taxi assessments are a non-statutory activity for the Agency. The assessment requirements are currently laid down by the Chief Driving Examiner.

Candidates are normally experienced drivers whose livelihoods will depend on the successful outcome of the test. It is therefore very important that examiners portray a professional but relaxed image throughout an assessment in order to relieve what will be a highly stressful situation for the candidate.

As full licence holders it would be reasonable to expect them to demonstrate a degree of skill and road sense associated with that of a full licence holder, albeit they may well have acquired some acceptable driving habits.

The level of ability required is set higher than that of a standard driving test and takes into account issues specifically relating to taxi driving. The emphasis is in road safety and the safe conveyance of passengers.

Examiners should follow the guidelines for the practical driving test for cars as detailed in Chapter 1 and the specific guidance contained within this chapter.

4.03: Minimum test time

It is important that, unless the test is terminated, the minimum driving time is strictly adhered to, which is 30 minutes.

This means that in addition to the above, when taking into account DVSA’s requirements, including the manoeuvre and the test content, the test will last between 38-40 minutes from signing the DL25 to stopping the engine at the end of the test.

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.

4.04: General competence to drive

The object of the assessment is to ensure that the candidate is well grounded in the principles of safe driving, and consideration for fare paying passengers, and is able to demonstrate at the time of the assessment that they are a competent and considerate driver and not a source of danger to themselves or to other road users

4.05: Completion of forms

Clear and accurate completion of forms is very important. Forms should be completed in black ink.

Hackney Carriage/ Private Hire assessment candidates are exempt from the residency rules regulations. Examiners should therefore draw a line through this reference and the health declaration.

A complete set of driving test report forms consists of four components - DL25A, DL25B, DL25C and DL25D (the notes for guidance).

The top copy (DL25A) is sent to Newcastle for scanning.

The second copy (DL25B) is to be retained with other taxi test documents at the driving test centre in a separate file from statutory test documents for 2 years - the written report is to be completed on the rear.

The third and fourth copy (DL25C & DL25D) should be given to the candidate at the end of each assessment to supplement the oral debrief.

4.06: DL25

Complete according to instructions as per Chapter 1.

4.07: Definition of markings DL25

As per instructions Chapter 1, with the following exceptions:

8 Taxi manoeuvre. Control: Incorrect use of controls and/or inaccuracy Observation: Lack of effective all round observation.

9 Wheelchair Exercise Failure to safely install and secure the wheelchair for a journey and reverse the entire process.

4.08: Preparations for the test

The examiner should take on test the assessment form DL25, TPH 10, WTA 10, ‘Cabology’ questions and road signs document (TA5).

Before going to meet the candidate the examiner should enter the relevant details on the DL25 as per all tests. In the case of taxi, the category types should be recorded as:

Category type Z Test type 13 - Private hire: Category type Z1 Test type 14 - Hackney carriage (drive and wheelchair assessment); Category type Z2 Test type 14 - Wheelchair assessment.

Examiners should enter an oblique line within the appropriate test code boxes ie 1 and 3 to denote Private hire (13) 1 and 4 to denote Hackney carriage (drive and wheelchair assessment) (14) 1 and 4 to denote Wheelchair assessment (14)

4.09: Meeting the candidate

The examiner should ask for the candidate by name and greet them pleasantly. Candidates presenting for a Taxi Assessment should be taken on test with either: A photo card driving licence, or a paper licence and current passport. Or a full EU licence (and valid passport if there is no photo on the licence).

Wheelchair assessments - candidates must provide photographic ID in some form to confirm their identity, not necessarily their driving licence as there is no on-road driving. Hackney Carriage & Private Hire candidates are exempt from the residency requirements and this reference should be deleted from the insurance declaration. Compare the signature on the licence with the signature on the DL25. Return the documents and invite the candidate to lead the way to the vehicle.

Note: Should a candidate refuse to sign the insurance declaration, the test must not be taken.

4.10: Undeclared disability

If an examiner notices during the assessment that the candidate is suffering from some restriction of movement, which could be classed as a disability, make discreet enquires 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. Do not complete a D255. The candidate is already a full licence holder and clearly the acceptance of the disability is the responsibility of the relevant licensing authority.

4.11: Suspected impersonation

As per Chapter 1

4.12: Eyesight test

As per Chapter 1 Do not complete a DL77 or D255. Hackney Carriage Black Cab style tests (Z1), if the candidate fails the eyesight test, the wheelchair exercise should still be completed and the appropriate result for this given by the examiner.

The Wheel Chair Assessment (Z2) does not require an eyesight test.

4.13: Vehicle excise licence

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

4.14: 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 taxi assessment.

4.15: At the start of the test

There is no ‘show me tell me’ module on taxi tests.

Hackney Carriage (Black Cab style) - after the pre-brief and if the cab is fitted with a payment meter, the candidate should be asked to switch on the payment meter at the start of the drive. This adds realism and prevents the cab being hailed whilst on test.

The examiner should also inform the candidate not to use bus/taxi lanes during the drive (at this stage they are generally only potential taxi drivers).

4.16: Examiner’s door and seating in saloon style taxi

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.

4.17: observation of the candidate in hackney carriage (black cab style vehicle)

Examiners should, throughout the test, position themselves within the vehicle where they are best able to observe the candidates performance. This will usually be in the rear nearside seat of the vehicle. The examiner will need to ensure that either the intercom system is active or the glass partition is open, to enable the candidate to hear directions and instructions clearly.

4.18: Seat belt, head restraint and mirror

Private Hire as per Chapter 1. Examiners have discretion when deciding whether an interior mirror for their use would be beneficial when conducting assessments in Hackney Carriages, (Black Cab style vehicles).

4.19: Instructions to candidates

Private Hire as per Chapter 1. Hackney Carriage (Black Cab style). Candidates should be asked to open the sliding glass screen between themselves and the passenger compartment or alternatively switch on the passenger compartment intercom system.

4.20: Expert handling of controls

Examiners should be mindful that most taxi candidates are likely to have considerable driving experience. Their method and standard of driving will probably be quite different to that of the majority of L-drivers. The ability to take advantage of gaps in traffic or to emerge safely from junctions for example is likely to be more fluent and faster than the less experienced driver.

Candidates must be judged on their ability to demonstrate a high degree of skill in the use of controls in a variety of road and traffic situations, which should include where possible, motorway driving. Examiners should bear in mind the consequences of incorrect use of gears, brakes and steering on the overall stability of the vehicle and the effect this may have on the safety and comfort of fare paying passengers.

4.21: Emergency stop

Private Hire as per Chapter 1. The emergency stop exercise should be carried out on 1 in 3 taxi tests.

Hackney Carriage (Black Cab Style) vehicles. The examiner should explain with the vehicle at rest 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’. Given the constraints of the vehicle, examiners will not give a hand signal to stop but must ensure that the verbal signal is loud enough.

4.22: Manoeuvring exercise

To carry out the taxi manoeuvre the examiner should pull the candidate up in a road where it is wide enough to execute a turn in the road and where there are options for other manoeuvres e.g. junctions, crossroads. The examiners should then set the scene by saying to the candidate I would like you to imagine that you have just dropped of a fare and you have now received a call on your radio to pick up another fare in the opposite direction'. I would like you to turn your vehicle round by whatever means are available, please don't mount the pavement or use driveways as this could damage your vehicle'. Crossroads are permissible for this exercise and give the candidate the option of carrying out a TIR, left or right reverse or a U’ turn.

Note: At no time must the examiner suggest or instruct the candidate to complete a `U’ turn.

Driving into a minor road and attempting to reverse out onto the major road is extremely unsafe. Examiners should take verbal action when it is absolutely certain that the candidate is about to execute this manoeuvre and then assess accordingly.

4.23: Stopping normally

Two normal stops should be made during the test. The words “pull up as if you’re dropping off or picking up a passenger’ should be used for these stops, the imperative “Stop!” being used only for the emergency stop.

The candidate should be able to pull up within a reasonable distance of the nearside kerb, a reasonably fine degree of accuracy should be observed, applicable to that of an experienced driver.

The examiner should observe final position, location of street furniture and whether the candidate then applies the handbrake and puts the gear into neutral. On these occasions, failure to select neutral on vehicles with automatic transmission should not necessarily be regarded as a fault.

Consideration of passenger safety when alighting or entering the vehicle should be considered at all times.

Independent Driving

A normal stop may be included when pulling up to start the independent drive section, or when pulling up for an additional phase, providing the road conditions allow and the correct wordings are used ie ‘Pull up in a convenient place’. Candidates should not be asked to carry out a normal stop once they have begun the drive.

4.24: 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 two 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 assisting 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 and offer him/her a copy of the Eco-safe leaflet which gives more information on tips and techniques to save fuel and reduce emissions.

4.25: At the end of the test

When parking back at the centre examiners should consider the extra space needed around the vehicle if the candidate is then going to carry out the wheelchair exercise.

4.26: Highway code/ cabology questions

This element of the test should be completed immediately after the drive. It is necessary to ask 3 Highway Code and 2 ‘Cabology’ questions on all taxi tests (with the exception of Z2 wheelchair upgrade), followed by 6 traffic signs from the TA5.

In the case of Hackney Carriage (Black Cab style) tests, examiners may select ‘cabology’ questions relevant to the particular vehicle presented on the test. A ‘crib card’ of the questions and particularly the answers should be taken on test. See Annex 5. Examiners should assess the answers given by the candidate in the normal way. Faults should be recorded under item 1b on the DL25.

In the event of a serious fault being recorded for the lack of theoretical knowledge, examiners should debrief the candidate in the normal way. They may if appropriate give ‘advice’ and refer to the Highway Code and other DVSA publications. All questions put and answers given by the candidate should be recorded on the DL25B.

4.27: Wheelchair exercise

High Visibility Vest Must Be Worn By Examiners

When conducting a Z2 wheelchair (Upgrade) assessment, meet the candidate in the normal way. There is no eyesight test requirement.

If part of a full Z1 test, the exercise could be conducted before or after the drive. This exercise is applicable to all Hackney Carriage (Black Cab Style) vehicles and to some suitably fitted/adapted people carriers.

Do not record driving faults for this exercise.

This element should be assessed in its entirety. The examiner should present the wheelchair to the candidate in a ready to use state, with both wheel brakes applied. The candidate should be asked to demonstrate their ability to load an empty wheelchair into the cab and secure it correctly and safely for a journey by using the equipment supplied by the manufacturer.

Wordings for wheelchair exercise are contained in Annex 7.

Note: The ramps or pull out ramp should be secure, the wheelchair backed up to the `dickey’ seat or baulk head, both wheelchair brakes applied and the passenger seat belt and wheelchair belts or clamps secure. The ramps need not be removed between loading or unloading. Any omission of the above would result in failure of the wheelchair exercise. If the ramp collapses or the wheelchair topples off the ramp as the candidate either installs or removes it, this would also result in a failure.

Successful candidates will receive a WTA10, completed as per 4.31 for the TPH10.

4.28: Test conclusion

In order to pass a Hackney Carriage/ Private Hire assessment, candidates must commit no more than 9 driving faults with no serious or dangerous faults. One serious or dangerous fault would entail the failure of the test. A decision to fail should be conveyed sympathetically as the candidate’s job is reliant on this driving test.

4.29 TPH10/ WTA10 Certificates of competence

TPH10/ WTA10 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 certificates.

TPH10/ WTA10 are accountable documents and are issued against an examiner’s signature. They must be safeguarded at all times.

4.30: Issuing of TPH10s

The examiner should ask the candidate for their licence or other documentation and copy the details direct to the TPH10/ WTA10. 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

Enter the test date in numeric form, e.g. 09.06.00 Enter the candidate’s name clearly in the following way: Title - Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms etc First forename and second forename if any, in full and initial of any other forename Surname The address If the candidate is in agreement enter the licensing authority name Sign the form and enter the name of the driving test centre Obtain the candidate’s signature in the space provided Give the candidate the completed TPH10 / WTA10 If you have a two part WTA10 the bottom copy should be attached to the DL25B If the candidate is applying for a Z1 (HCD) Taxi licence for the London Public Carriage office, the examiner should write the Hackney Carriage ‘plate’ number immediately below the signature of candidate on both the TPH10 and WTA10.

4.31: Documentation at end of test

It is possible on Taxi assessments to pass the driving element and fail the wheelchair element and visa versa. Examiners must ensure they enter the appropriate pass certificate number or numbers into the relevant boxes on the DL25

The examiner should give the candidate a TPH10 and/ or a WTA10, DL25C and DL25D, (notes for guidance), and such road safety or other information leaflets as may be approved from time to time.

Fail The examiner should give a de-brief on the relevant element/s and give the candidate a copy of the DL25C & DL25D, (the notes for guidance). Further postal application forms are available from the candidates licensing authority

4.32: De-brief

As per Chapter 1.