Carrying out driving tests: examiner guidance

7. General operational matters

Guidance for driving examiners on general operational matters.

7.00: General guidance

This chapter contains advice and guidance on a variety of associated operational matters and circumstances, which examiners may encounter in the course of their work. The content of this chapter is jointly provided by DVSA’s Technical standards and Customer support teams. You may wish to consider the source and context of any part of this chapter before making further enquiries.

Technical standards team
Telephone: 0115 936 6370
Email @technicalsupport

Customer support team
Telephone: 0115 936 6449

7.01 Responsibilities of examiner on test

The examiner is present during the test to evaluate the candidate’s ability to drive. This involves identifying mistakes, which the candidate may make.

The examiner is not legally in charge of the vehicle during the test (though they are responsible for the conduct of the test), nor are they supervising the candidate during the test: Regulations do not require a driver to be accompanied by a supervisor when taking a test. This law applies to all practical tests including lorries carrying a load for the purposes of the test (the load being the responsibility of the candidate and trainer/accompanying driver).

Examiners should not, therefore, intervene except when it becomes necessary to do so in the interests of public safety, including their own and that of the candidate. Such intervention may be by warning, advice or by operation of the controls. If a candidate is in difficulties and clearly suffering from nervousness, the examiner should offer a few words of reassurance to help them settle down.

7.02: Dangerous driving by candidate

There will be occasions when a candidate’s driving on test becomes so dangerous that the safety of the public, the examiner and/or the candidate, is threatened. In these circumstances the examiner should stop the test.

The examiner should issue a statement of failure and tell the candidate that the test has been stopped before completion for reasons of public safety. In any case, completion of the test would have made no difference to the decision. A note of the circumstances should be made on the DL25. Also please follow the procedural guidance in DT1 7.03

7.03: Terminated tests - procedure

When tests are terminated with or without a result:

  • the DL25 should be annotated with the appropriate code and a description of the circumstances written in the remarks column
  • the DL34 Journal should be annotated with the appropriate code
  • the Terminated Test Log (TTL) should be completed.
  • the DL25 should be filed with the TTL – exception to this code 4/5s should be filed with the examiners fails - (a copy may be put into the TTL for ease of audit)

If a test has to be stopped away from the test centre, offers to return the examiner to the test centre by an accompanying driver/ ADI should be accepted. If the accompanying driver is not present the examiner should suggest to the candidate that they might prefer to return to the centre with them. However if the candidate is adamant they don’t want to return with the examiner their wishes should be respected.

The most safe and convenient method of returning to the test centre must be sought. Every effort should be made to help a disabled candidate to return to the centre, possibly by calling a taxi or telephoning the centre for assistance. On return to the test centre the examiner should contact the accompanying driver as quickly as possible.

If an examiner feels threatened by the candidate or a third party’s behaviour - please follow this SOP here when reporting your position to the test centre.

It is emphasised that every effort must be made to prevent candidates from joining a motorway, but if they do join a motorway accidentally the examiner must take whatever reasonable course of action is required to resolve the situation safely.

This may mean stopping on the hard shoulder of the slip road before reaching the main carriageway; or if stopping on the hard shoulder is deemed unsafe or no hard shoulder exists the examiner should tell the candidate to continue driving to the next available exit. This may be a normal motorway slip road, the services or emergency refuge area (ERA) whichever is first, but the next available exit must not be driven past in order to get to a more convenient junction off the motorway.

In such instances, if joining the motorway is clearly the candidate’s fault, the test should normally be code ‘4’ and failure papers issued. Exceptionally, if for example, the candidate is forced to avoid another vehicle and the only safe option is to join the motorway the test should be terminated code ‘38’ no result.

7.04: Illegal parking

If the candidate seeks to pull up where the vehicle would be infringing waiting restrictions or any other legal requirements, the examiner should point out that they would be breaking the law by doing so; usually it would be better to intervene so as to enable the candidate to reach a place where they can pull up legally.

7.05: Officers of the agency

Except for driving examiner staff with technical responsibility for the conduct of tests, no officers of the agency, or anyone else, should accompany candidates unless they have first received specific authority from the chief driving examiner or their deputy. Non-operational personnel should be asked to withdraw if a candidate objects to their presence on test.

7.06: Instructors or friends

Car Tests:

In the waiting room examiners ask candidates if they would like to have their approved driving instructor (ADI)/ accompanying driver with them for the test, test result and end of test debrief. The accompanying person must be at least 16 years of age. The examiner should where necessary tactfully explain the third party must not interfere with, or comment on the test, without giving the impression the third person is not welcome.

If an ADI is known to regularly observe their pupils on test it’s not necessary to comment.


If the candidate requests their instructor/accompanying rider to accompany them on test it should generally be encouraged but examiners using their own personal car may decline such a request. If a hire car is being used DVSA has no objection, as the insurance would cover passengers. Following a bike-to-bike test is permitted providing the third party is on another bike and there is no interference with the conduct of the test.

Note: During module one motorcycle tests instructors/accompanying riders are not permitted on the MMA.


If the candidate requests their instructor/accompanying driver to accompany them on test it should be encouraged providing a suitable seat is available. If there isn’t a seat available they can observe the safety questions, but they will be advised to stand outside the manoeuvring area to observe the reversing and un-coupling/re-coupling exercises. Instructor/accompanying drivers will be invited to listen to briefings and end of test debriefs, but they will need to supply and wear hi-viz whilst on the manoeuvring area.

7.07: Interpreters accompanied driving instructor

From 7 April 2014, driving test candidates will no longer be able to use foreign language interpreters on their test. A driving test from this date can only be conducted in either English or Welsh language.

An interpreter may accompany deaf and/or deaf without speech candidates for tests conducted in English or Welsh only. The interpreter must be at least 16 years of age. If a signer is present, it might be convenient to allow them to sit in the front of the car to explain the examiner’s requirements. This will normally only be necessary at the beginning of the test. In any case the interpreter should occupy the front seat only when the vehicle is stationary.

7.08: Discussion with candidates and third parties

Candidates who fail the test are naturally disappointed and may express dissatisfaction either with the test itself or with the manner in which it was conducted. This situation requires most careful handling; complaints about driving tests sometimes originate from comments made by examiners either gratuitously or in repartee to candidates at the time of the test or later.

Examiners must avoid commenting on motoring matters, driving or instructional techniques, or on any articles, books or illustrations dealing with driving or instructional techniques.

Apart from the oral explanation of faults to candidates at the end of a test, examiners must on no account discuss driving tests in general, or details of particular tests, with candidates or third parties; nor must they suggest to a third party that individual candidates would benefit from professional tuition.

7.09: Testing of personal friends or relatives

It is a long established principle in the Civil Service that an officer should not put themselves in a position where official duty and personal interest conflict.

Testing of personal friends

If an examiner finds on their test programme a candidate who is a personal friend, or anyone else whose test they consider it would be unwise to conduct, they should at once inform the HEO who may decide to transfer the test to another examiner. If the position affects the HEO, the SEO should be informed.

Testing of relatives

Testing of examiner’s relatives should be conducted in the first instance by the HEO or higher grade. Exceptionally, if a senior officer is not available, a substantive HEO from an adjacent test centre should be approached to conduct the test provided the HEO has no personal connection with the candidate, the candidate’s relatives or the instructor.

7.10: LGV and PCV deaf and without speech candidates

In view of the recommendations about medical fitness of LGV/ PCV drivers it is very unlikely that an LGV/PCV test candidate would be deaf and/or deaf without speech. If such a candidate does attend for test, the examiner should conduct the test and forward a note about the candidate’s condition to the HEO for sending to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), Swansea.

7.11: Candidate suspected of being under the influence of drink or drugs

Where an examiner has good reason to believe, either before or during the test, that a candidate is under the influence of drink or a drug so that it is likely to affect the control of the vehicle, they should inform the candidate that they appear to be ill and that, in fairness to them, the examiner feels unable to take or continue the test. The examiner will need to use considerable tact in announcing this decision, and must avoid making any reference to drink or drugs.

7.12: Candidate ill

If a test candidate decides that they are too ill to take or continue with a test the examiner should terminate the test. However an examiner should not terminate a test just because they consider a candidate is too ill to continue unless this is affecting their ability to drive safely or they are informed they have an infectious disease. A list of infectious diseases can be found on dashboard in Annex A of the staff handbook. Pregnant examiners should follow guidance in the staff handbook at paragraph 2.6 and ensure they are aware of any additional risks.

7.13: Candidate in advanced stage of pregnancy

Occasionally candidates in an advanced stage of pregnancy present themselves for a test.

Examiners may find the following advice helpful:

Examiners should not ask the candidate whether they are pregnant, as this can lead to an embarrassing situation if the candidate is not. It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure they are medically safe to carry out all the requirements of the test.

If the candidate raises concerns over carrying out some aspects of the test (emergency stop for example) the examiner should tactfully mention that, in view of her condition, certain difficulties might be encountered during the test, referring in particular, to the emergency stop. The examiner should make it clear that they are quite prepared to conduct the test and should not try to influence the candidate’s decision in any way. If the candidate decides not to continue, the test should be terminated and a report made on the back of the DL25B.

Note: The emergency stop must not be excluded from the test purely on the basis that the candidate is pregnant. Normal test procedures (that is, one in three tests should contain an emergency stop) should apply.

7.14: Gifts or offers of gifts from candidates

Examiners must not accept gifts or money as evidence of a bribe. If a gift of any kind whatsoever is offered before, during or after a driving test, examiners should inform candidates that their instructions require them to report the matter. If the offer is made during the course of the test, the test should be terminated. If the offer takes place before a candidate who has failed has actually received the statement of failure, the examiner should complete the statement and hand it to the candidate. A full report of the circumstances should be sent to the HEO, who in turn must report the matter to the Police, the SEO and DVSA’s Fraud and Integrity Team.

If a gift is offered after a pass certificate has been issued examiners should inform candidates that their instructions require them to report the matter. In these circumstances the candidate is hardly likely to persist with his offer, but if they do, a full report of the circumstances should be sent to the HEO, who in turn must report the matter to the Police, the SEO and DVSA’s Fraud and Integrity Team.

7.15: Suitability of vehicle for the purposes of the test

The driving test regulations require a candidate to provide a suitable vehicle for the purposes of the test. This means that the vehicle must be roadworthy, taxed*, insured and of such construction or design as to enable the examiner to properly conduct the appropriate test.

*For information regarding vehicle excise licensing please refer to DT1 1.24.

Examiners are advised to exercise considered judgement and discretion so that no candidate whose test could reasonably be conducted is turned away.

Category B vehicles must be fitted with a passenger seatbelt, passenger integral head restraint (slip on types are not acceptable) and an internal mirror for the use of the examiner. A vehicle fitted with any pedal, lever, or other device, which could allow the accelerator to be operated by someone other than the driver, must be removed or rendered inoperable.

Other examples of vehicles not suitable for test include:

  • a vehicle with a gear which will not remain engaged
  • seat from which the examiner does not have a proper view
  • if one or more external lights are not working - but this does not include the high level brake light if both obligatory stop lamps are working
  • airbag warning light displayed
  • reversing lights are not working (vehicles first used after 1st September 2009 only)
  • a draw-bar vehicle more than 18.75 metres long
  • a vehicle running on a space saver tyre or any wheel/tyre of a different size on the same axle
  • Any electronic warning light that indicates the vehicle is not roadworthy, for example, engine malfunction indicator lamp (MIL)

An engine MIL that doesn’t work or that shows there’s a malfunction is a major defect. If the MIL illuminates part way through a test and the vehicle appears to be performing normally with no obvious signs of malfunction, then the test should continue and the ADI or accompanying driver informed upon return.

Note: A defective MIL is not applicable to motorcycles.

Many vehicles are fitted with warning lights to indicate that a service is due and so on. These warning lights are purely to remind the driver/ rider of the need to book their vehicle in for service and so on. Examiners must not terminate a test purely because this type of warning light is displayed.

ABS Light: Examiners can make the decision not to take the test if it is on at the start of the test; however, if it comes on during the test they should continue.

In the interests of all concerned, tests should not be conducted with persons under the age of 16 years or animals in the vehicle. If a test involves an emergency stop on the road, any vehicle in which the examiner rides must allow a clear view of the road directly behind.

7.16: Automatic door locking mechanisms

Before these devices are allowed to be fitted to vehicles they must have ‘type approval’- part of the approval is that the mechanisms unlock automatically in the event of a severe accident. The emergency services state that they can easily enter a car to rescue the passengers whether or not the doors are locked.

All the vehicles fitted with automatic door locks can have the mechanism disengaged by a switch.

Examiners need to be sensitive when dealing with drivers who prefer to drive with the doors locked and bear in mind that the police often offer the advice that drivers, particularly females should drive in town with the doors locked.

7.17: Rear view mirror requirements

The legal requirements on fitting of rear view mirrors, which are most likely to have a bearing on the conduct of tests, are set out below. They are minimum requirements and, if an examiner is sure that a vehicle does not comply with them, they should terminate the test. The requirements do not apply to vehicles brought temporarily into the country by visitors, or to vehicles in the service of visiting forces. Nearside' and offside’ means, respectively, the left and right sides of the vehicle regardless of whether it is right or left hand drive.

From 1 April 2006, test vehicles used for large vehicle and vehicle-trailer combination tests (bus/lorry) and car plus trailer tests will need to be fitted with outside, nearside and offside mirrors for use by the driving examiner during the test. This includes practical tests to join the register of large goods vehicle (LGV) driving instructors.

Motorcycles, with or without a sidecar, do not have to be fitted with mirrors.

Vehicles first used before 1 June 1978 require:

  • motorcars - one external or internal
  • goods vehicles and passenger carrying vehicles (PCVs) - one internal, or external nearside

Vehicles including cars, goods vehicles and PCVs first used on or after 1 June 1978 require:

  • one internal (or one external nearside if internal mirror does not provide adequate view to the rear)
  • one external offside

Goods vehicles exceeding 3500kg Maximum Authorised Mass and large PCVs first used on or after 1 April 1983 require one internal or one external nearside (if internal mirror does not provide adequate view to the rear) and one external offside, or one external offside and one external nearside.

Good vehicles exceeding 3500kg maximum authorised mass first used on or after 1 April 1985 require one external offside and one external nearside.

7.18: Mirror safety

Internal mirrors must be surrounded by a material which renders the edges and the material unlikely to cause severe cuts if struck by an occupant.

7.19: Registration mark

The registration mark can be taken only as a probable indication of the age of a vehicle as it may have been re-registered.

7.20: Compliance with the law

Apart from making a visual check of indicators and stop lamps, examiners are not required to make a positive check of candidates’ vehicles. It is accepted, however, that it would be unreasonable to expect an examiner to continue with a test if they notice, or has drawn to their attention, anything about the vehicle which would make it illegal or unsafe for use on the road, or which would clearly constitute a risk to the health or safety of the examiner. Examiners should exercise their considered judgement and discretion so that no candidate whose test could reasonably be conducted is turned away.

7.21: Quality control or assurance of tests

Candidates are required by regulation to allow an authorised person to accompany the examiner for quality control or assurance purposes. If the candidate objects, the accompanying officer should ask the reason and may decide not to go on test, if there are special circumstances, for example there is no third seat, or the candidate has been accompanied on a previous test. Otherwise they should explain to the candidate the need for quality control or assurance to ensure, in the interests of all candidates and the public at large, that arrangements for tests are satisfactory and in accordance with regulations. Quality control or assurance officers should also mention the legal situation and that the test will be terminated unless the candidate agrees to their presence. If the candidate persists in his objections, the test should be terminated and the circumstances reported on the DL25.

Tests may be quality controlled by operations directorate operational managers and quality assured by standards and regulation. They must use their discretion as to the tests on which they accompany examiners. The procedure to be followed is set out below. The quality control or assurance officer should tell the examiner beforehand that they propose to accompany them on the test, and should be present when the examiner meets the candidate.

When the examiner has completed the preliminary test procedure, they should say to the candidate:

‘(Name of candidate)…………… a quality control or assurance officer will be coming with us on the test and will sit in the back of the car and take no part in the conduct of the test’

In the case of a large goods vehicle (LGV) test the examiner should first ask the candidate if his cab will hold three people.

Officers intending to quality control or assure a test should not do so in cars where a rear seat belt is not available.

At the end of an accompanied test, following the comparison of faults recorded by both officers, and any discussion to resolve differences, quality control or assurance officers should make their quality monitoring form available to the examiner who conducted the test who should sign it to indicate that they are aware of the contents.

Form DL25 should be marked in the appropriate box.

7.22: Quality control or assurance of visiting examiners and fee paid examiners

To comply with normal procedures and customer service standards, it is important that all examiners are quality control assured regularly. When an examiner spends considerable time at another centre other than their own, either conducting car, motorcycle, large goods vehicle (LGV) or passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) tests, then the HEO at that centre should carry out quality control after consultation with the visiting examiner’s own HEO. At LGV centres where there is a HEO, they should quality control examiners but not those HEOs who are either stationed there or are visiting on detached duty.

For the same reasons, it is equally important that examiners who are employed on a part time basis are regularly quality controlled. Quality control officers should make themselves aware of when these examiners are working within their area of responsibility and make the necessary arrangements for carrying out quality control.

7.23: Seat belts

Examiners must wear a seatbelt when conducting a car test. When fitted, seatbelts must be worn for all large goods vehicle (LGV) and passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) tests too. In LGV/ PCV vehicles first manufactured with seat belts fitted, the candidate must wear the seat belt. If the seat belt has been removed or damaged to the extent that it cannot be worn, the test should be terminated.

Note: From 1 April 2006, seatbelts for the examiner and any accompanying officer will also need to be fitted to lorries used for test, including with-trailer and LGV register tests. Seatbelts will need to be fitted to all buses used for test from 1 July 2007, to tie in with other Europe-wide changes to test vehicles.

7.24: Problems with seat belts

If the belt is in proper working order but the examiner is physically unable to wear it, they should terminate the test and send a full written report to the sector manager. A belt may be dirty but still fulfil the legal requirements. An examiner should not terminate a test solely on the grounds that the seat belt is dirty. They should wear a dustcoat or weatherproof jacket to protect their clothing where it is reasonable to do so.

In rare cases a belt may be so filthy that protective clothing will not deal with the problem. If so, and as a last resort, the examiner may terminate the test. A full report of the circumstances should be made to the sector manager.

7.25: Wearing of seat belts by candidates and third parties

If the candidate does not wear their belt, the examiner should remind them that, unless they are medically exempt, the law requires the seat belt to be worn. If the candidate does not have an exemption certificate and declines to wear the seatbelt, the test must be terminated. The circumstances should be reported on the DL25.

Candidates are allowed to remove their seat belt whilst carrying out a manoeuvre which includes reversing.

When a third party accompanies a candidate on test (for example an instructor or interpreter) and a rear seat belt is available and that person does not wear the belt, the examiner should ask the rear seat passenger to put it on. If the response is a negative one, it should be pointed out that for health and safety reasons and regulations they are required to wear a seat belt - if they decline to do so, the test will be terminated. In these circumstances the third party has the choice of wearing the seat belt, not to accompany the candidate on test, or of having the test terminated. In the event of a termination a note of the circumstances should be made on the DL25.

Should the ADI or accompanying driver chose 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.

Note - examiners should be tactful, especially when dealing with a passenger who holds an exemption certificate (see below) and highlight the dangers of not wearing a rear seat belt.

Additional clarification 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
  • when rear seat belts are not fitted to the vehicle - rear seat passengers must not be allowed to accompany an examiner on test
  • 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

7.26: Large goods vehicle (LGV) driving tests

Although the seat belt regulations do not apply to older types of large goods vehicles (LGVs), examiners must wear seat belts, if fitted, on LGV driving tests. See chapter 7.24/5 above for further clarification.

7.27: Parking before the test

If a candidate tells the examiner that the car is parked some distance away, the examiner should accompany the candidate to his vehicle, provided that they can do so and reach a test route in time to complete a normal test. If, however, from the description of the parking place the examiner is satisfied that this would not be possible, the time factor should be explained to the candidate and the test should not be conducted. If this situation arises when a candidate arrives late for his test, but is not so late as to involve cancellation for that reason alone, the examiner will need to take account of this additional factor in deciding whether or not the test could be conducted.

An examiner may sometimes find the candidate’s vehicle parked in a position from which they consider that only an experienced driver could move it safely. If the accompanying driver is available, they should be asked to move the car to a more suitable position. Otherwise the examiner should ask the candidate if they are prepared to drive the car away and, if so, the test should proceed and a note made on the DL25. If the candidate is not prepared to move the car, the test should be terminated.

7.28: Interference with candidate’s vehicle

Examiners must not drive candidates’ vehicles. Strict observance of this instruction is essential as there are many situations in which insurance cover for the examiner might not be effective. Candidates are rarely familiar with details of motor vehicle insurance conditions or in a position to give the necessary permission. In any case, only third party risks might be covered. Similarly, an examiner’s own motor insurance policy may not provide full cover when they are driving someone else’s vehicle even with the owner’s permission.

Apart from necessary adjustments, connecting the Satnav to the in-car power supply or when assisting a candidate with a physical check of direction indicators, examiners must not operate or adjust the controls or fittings of a test vehicle, except with the candidate’s agreement, or where it is essential to avoid danger to the public, for example risk of injury to third parties or to the occupants of the vehicle, or unnecessary damage to property.

The candidate may ask the examiner to assist in adjusting the nearside door mirror before a manoeuvre. The examiner should not refuse this simple request, and assist the candidate as appropriate. The candidate should not have to lean across the examiner to adjust the mirror.

7.29: Routes

Test routes are laid out and approved by the HEO and should be adhered to. Whilst maintaining an element of urban driving in test routes, as much use as practicable should be made of available opportunities for driving on roads with national speed limits, including rural roads and dual carriageways.

Main category tests should include a section of independent driving nominated on the test route. This section should be closely monitored by the HEO to ensure suitability.

Wherever possible, LGV/ PCV test routes should provide a test of ability to negotiate a reasonably severe downhill gradient.

If, exceptionally, it is necessary to curtail or deviate from an approved route, a note of the circumstances should be made on the DL25. In considering possible alternatives, examiners should bear in mind that:

  • roads with gradients of more than 12% (one in eight) should not normally be used
  • candidates should not be taken where road signs or markings are not readily followed

In the case of LGV and PCV tests, a very serious situation could develop if a candidate were directed to take a road which proved unsuitable because of insufficient headroom, weight restriction, or any other impassable hazard, and where the opportunity to turn back was too difficult to attempt or nonexistent.

Vehicles with a maximum speed of not more than 25mph must use warning beacons when being driven on unrestricted dual carriageways. Such roads should not therefore be used for conducting tests with tractors or other slow moving vehicles.

7.30: Use of lights

Drivers are required by regulation to switch on their lights in conditions of poor daytime visibility. These are defined as ‘such conditions adversely affecting visibility (whether consisting of, or including, fog, smoke, heavy rain or spray, snow, dense cloud, or any similar condition) as seriously reduce the ability of the driver (after the appropriate use by them of any windscreen wiper and washer) to see other vehicles or persons on the road, or the ability of other users of the road to see the vehicle.’

If candidates are uncertain about switching lights on in conditions of poor visibility, or at lighting up times, examiners should remind them about this and, if necessary, advise them on how to operate the appropriate controls. If the examiner operates a switch, care should be taken to avoid physical contact with the candidate. An assessment will need to be made of whether to mark `ancillary controls’. If a candidate switches on lights in conditions which do not seem to require them, the examiner should not comment.

7.31: Examiners conducting driving/riding tests in Welsh (all categories)

At centres in Wales, when a driving/ riding/ LGV test is pre-booked in Welsh, examiners should ensure that a Welsh DL25 is used, and if applicable a Welsh pass certificate issued.

When a test has commenced in English because the candidate did not apply for it to be conducted in Welsh, and it becomes apparent to the Welsh speaking examiner that the candidate would prefer for the test to be conducted in Welsh, then the examiner should continue with the English DL25, and mark survey box D to record that they conducted the test in Welsh in the interest of customer service.

At the end of the test, and if applicable, the examiner may offer an English or Welsh pass certificate to the candidate.

Welsh DL25s should only be used for tests that have been pre-booked in Welsh.

7.32: Special eyesight tests

At the request of DVLA, special eyesight tests are conducted on certain applicants for driving licences. HEOs will carry out or will arrange for the tests to be carried out, in consultation with Operational Services. The test to be administered is the eyesight test as carried out on a normal driving test.

7.33: Mobile phones / tablets on test

In an effort to keep distractions to a minimum on test, all parties present in the vehicle must either turn off their mobile phone / tablet device or ensure they are set to silent mode.

Before the test on-road section begins, the examiner must:

  • make sure their mobile phone is on silent or switched off
  • ask all other parties present to set phones / tablet devices to silent or turn them off

The examiner must manage this carefully. There is no objection to an accompanying driver using a tablet device or smartphone to take notes whilst on test, providing the device is on silent and does not distract the examiner or the candidate audibly or visually (the later may be by window reflection).

If an examiner feels that the use of an electronic device is causing undue distraction, they can ask for the device to be switched off. A decision to terminate a test must only be considered after every effort is made to ensure compliance with these instructions. Should the test be stopped, a full report of the circumstances must be written on the back of the DL25B.

Devices must not be used for any recording purposes, either video or audio.

7.34: DVSA policy on the filming of driving tests

Filming of driving tests is limited to the following circumstances:

  • filming by external parties, for example TV production crews with the agency’s permission, with the agency having editorial control of the film - conducted for promotional or educational programmes
  • filming by DVSA officials for promotional or educational purposes for internal/external customers

DVSA does not allow the recording or filming of the conduct of any theory or practical test activity. This includes recording or filming by use of any internal facing equipment fitted to any type of test vehicle.

DVSA is aware that customers may have external facing cameras fitted to their vehicle (some for insurance purposes) and these are generally acceptable. However, external facing cameras fitted to a motorcycle instructor’s motorcycle cannot be used when they are observing an accompanied motorcycle test. Rearward facing cameras on a candidate’s motorcycle are also not acceptable. If it becomes evident that any equipment is filming an examiner conducting a test either visually or audibly, and it can’t be switched off the test will not continue.

DVSA will not under any circumstances accept, comment on, or review audio / video media provided by a test candidate or third party to facilitate a challenge to the conduct of any theory or practical test or its result. Any footage received in connection with an allegation of criminal activity or intent will immediately be referred to the police.

7.35: Independent driving - general instructions

Please refer to the sat nav SOP.


Independent driving has been introduced into all main categories of practical driving tests to help ensure instructors better prepare candidates for real driving conditions. It is not intended to make the test harder.

The candidate will be asked to complete a section of independent driving by following either:

  • car tests - directions given by a sat nav or traffic signs for approximately 20 minutes
  • all other categories - traffic signs, a series of verbal directions or a combination of both for approximately 10 minutes

During the independent section of a car test, all aspects of the tests, i.e. legal requirements, manoeuvre, ‘show me’ question, can be completed. For all other categories, angle starts, hill starts, normal stops and if appropriate bus stops can be completed.


Any faults assessed in the independent driving section of the test will be recorded in line with the normal criteria as prescribed in annex 6 of the DT1 ‘guide to assessment and marking’. It should be remembered that independent driving is a test of how the candidate uses their forward planning and multi-tasking skills. It is not testing the candidate’s ability to remember directions.

On occasions the candidate may ask for the direction to be repeated or confirmation of direction - in both cases the examiner should respond in a friendly, positive manner. This is not a ‘prompt’ as the candidate will have instigated the query themselves in confirming/planning for the junction ahead.

A test should not be terminated, or a negative result returned simply and only because a candidate cannot follow the independent drive instructions. However, in extreme and exceptional examples of the candidate having difficulty the examiner can curtail the independent driving section and continue using normal directions. This should be noted on the back of the DL25.

Pre brief

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 for car tests, following directions given by a sat nav or following traffic signs; and three methods for all other categories, following traffic signs, a series of verbal directions (supported by a diagram), or a combination of both. The examiner should pull the candidate up on the left and clearly brief the method required. Stopping for the pre-brief may be utilised as a normal stop or hill start providing the road conditions permit and the correct wordings are used.

Cat A - examiners should tell the candidate that if they forget where they were asked to go to simply pull up on the left at a safe place and the examiner will join them (the same as if there is a problem with the radio)

Cat C and D - examiners may, when using the following traffic sign method and providing the road is safe to do so, commence the independent driving section on the move. This does not apply when issuing a series of verbal directions supported by the diagram.

Sat nav

The candidate should be asked to follow directions given by the sat nav. If the candidate requests that the audible directions are turned off, they should not be refused. The examiner will operate the sat nav and select ‘drive’ when the independent driving section is about to commence. If the candidate inadvertently goes off route, the sat nav may automatically redirect back to the route, however if this is unsuitable or impractical then the examiner should take control and direct the candidate appropriately.

Traffic signs

The candidate should be asked to follow traffic signs for example: ‘follow the signs for A1 Edinburgh’, which could become ‘now follow the signs to Bathgate please’. There is no need to stop the candidate to change directional signs as long as it is safe and appropriate. Direction changes should not be given while driving in hazards, such as at junctions or when negotiating oncoming traffic, and so on.

Verbal directions: (not applicable to category B car tests)

The candidate should be given a series of directional instructions verbally, for example ‘at the end of road turn left - at the roundabout turn right third exit - take the first road on left’. Whilst giving the directions the examiner should ask the candidate if they wish to see a diagram. The examiner may also ask the candidate to repeat back the instructions. This process should be repeated with each new series of verbal directions.

No more than three changes in direction should be given at any one time (however, four are acceptable in exceptional circumstances such as when the instructions are particularly straightforward. For example, ‘at end of road turn right, ahead at both mini roundabouts, end of road turn left’).

Combination (traffic signs and verbal directions) (not applicable to category B car tests)

The procedure is the same as set out above for each method. There is no need to pull the candidate up when linking between the verbal directions and following traffic signs as this can be done on the move. However, before issuing verbal directions (supported by the diagram) the candidate must always be stationery in a safe and appropriate place on the left.

End of independent drive

The candidate should be informed when the independent drive section has been completed, this can be done whilst the vehicle is moving but again care should be taken with the timing of this instruction in relation to hazards.

Diagrams: (not applicable to category B car tests)

Diagrams supporting the ‘verbal direction’ method are intentionally basic and simply show the general direction of travel. They are not maps and are not intended to be to scale. The diagrams do not stand alone and examiners should when issuing directions do so in conjunction with additional detail when appropriate, such as:

Follow the road ahead it does bend quite sharply. At the end of the road turn left.


Just follow the road - it is quite a long way. When you get to the traffic lights turn right.


It’s the exit after the supermarket.

The diagrams form part of the route sheet and the master copies are retained electronically on the national folder alongside the associated route.

Diagrams should always be printed on the pastel paper provided and not on white paper (following advice from the British Dyslexic Association). Examiners may include reference to appropriate landmarks in the verbal directions when showing candidate the diagram. For example, ‘end of this road turn right, then take the next road on the left just after the big cinema, and then ahead at the roundabout’.

Diagrams should not be altered or adapted for general use (see section below on disability, special need, language) although where required, in order to help the candidate visualise an instruction, a simple written prompt may be placed on the diagram - for example, ‘petrol station’. (Examiners should ensure that a ‘clean’ diagram is used for subsequent tests).

Control/set exercises

Control of test

Driving tests must be conducted in accordance with regulations and procedure and in accordance with instruction laid down by the Chief Driving Examiner. Going off route, or needing reminders of where to go, are not in themselves faults. Tests should not be terminated because a candidate is struggling to understand independent driving instructions. Examiners should employ their experience, knowledge and judgement where necessary to curtail the independent section and issue normal directions. This action should be necessary only in exceptional circumstances.

The control of the test throughout, including the independent driving section is extremely important. The EU directive demands we conduct two set exercises (one in reverse gear) on each test. These may be conducted during the independent driving section of category B car tests but must not be conducted during the independent driving section of any other categories.

The two set exercises are controlled stop and one of the following, which may be selected at random:

  • reverse parking (either into a bay, or on the road).
  • forward Parking (into 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, and so on) should be avoided so that the random aspect of manoeuvre selection is retained.

A controlled stop must be carried out on every test.

To commence the angle start the candidate first completes a controlled stop by pulling up on the left behind a parked car, reasonably close but not so close as to make it difficult to move away. The angle start exercise therefore combines 2 mandatory elements (controlled stop and moving away at an angle) as required.

The DL25 should be annotated that a ‘controlled stop’ has been conducted on every test by marking survey Box H.

Note: if a candidate self-elects to place their car close behind a parked car this may be considered as a completed angle start exercise. A controlled stop has taken place and the DL25 should be annotated.

Emergency stop

An emergency stop exercise should be conducted in one out of every three driving tests. This is to ensure that as a road safety critical exercise it continues to be taught. Identifiable patterns (times, routes, and so on) should be avoided so that a random aspect of emergency stop selection is retained.

Normal stop and hill start

It is possible to include a normal stop or hill start at the pre-brief stage of the independent driving section. For example, when pulling in to the left before start of the independent drive itself, and/ or between separate sections of the independent drive, e.g. when pulling candidate up to give a further series of directions.

The candidate should be kept on route wherever possible. If a candidate is clearly reacting and planning for a junction but it appears they are taking the incorrect direction examiners should give safe guidance as appropriate.

Disability, special needs and language

Some disabilities may affect a candidate’s ability to read traffic signs, whilst for others following a series of verbal directions could be difficult. If a disability or special need is declared at the time of booking, the examiner’s journal will be annotated accordingly. (DVLA do not require form D255 for deaf, dyslexic, or dyspraxia candidates, unless there is a further associated disability).

Where a disability or special need is declared or is apparent, and providing the test is not undermined, examiners should, wherever possible adapt their approach to accommodate the candidate.

Some candidates might feel the need to use one of a variety of coping strategies when driving independently. This should be allowed wherever possible, without comment, and their driving performance assessed in the normal way. When informed (either by the journal, or personally) that a candidate has a special need such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, examiners should tactfully establish how severely this affects them when following directions.

In these cases examiners should ask the candidate which is their more able method, following directions given by a satnav, or following traffic signs. Therefore, if examiners are made aware prior to the test commencing, they should carry the satnav and peripherals to cover each scenario. Examiners should be prepared to:

  • when using a traffic sign route, write down place names if the candidate is struggling to understand the place name
  • limit the verbal direction section to just two instructions at one time. (not applicable for car tests)
  • on the verbal direction pre-brief suggest if it helps that directions can be given as ‘next side’ rather than ‘left’ or ‘right’ for example ‘at end of road turn to my side, take the next road to your side and at the roundabout take the exit to your side. So, (showing diagram) that’s end - my side, then turn - your side, roundabout - your side. Can you repeat that please’? (not applicable for car tests)
  • include appropriate landmarks in the verbal directions when showing candidate the diagram, for example ‘end of this road turn right, then take the next road on the left just after the big cinema, and then ahead at the roundabout’ (not applicable for car tests)
  • if considered necessary to help the candidate visualise an instruction a simple written prompt may be placed on the diagram, for example ‘petrol station’ (examiners should ensure that a ‘clean’ diagram is used for subsequent tests). (not applicable for car tests)

Wordings, see Annex 7.

7.36: Test transfer guidance - DL91

See also DT1 7.09.

Test candidates are allocated to programmes electronically by the Testing & Regulation System (TARS). Each programme is assigned to a specific examiner.

The Test Transfer Log ‘DL91’ must be kept as a hand-written hard copy and completed fully; it should be quite clear who the donor and recipient examiners are in all instances. The document should be filed and stored on a monthly basis. Original documents must be kept at the DTC on a rolling 24 month basis for audit purposes. There is no requirement to keep this document in an electronic format.

All transfers must be recorded on the DL25 in the ‘C’ box.

Without exception, all test transfers must be authorised by a HEO. Where a manager is not available to authorise the transfer of the test, a transfer can be instigated by the staff member in consultation with deployment; however, it is the staff member’s responsibility to ensure the line manager is informed as soon as possible. For each transfer, please complete all fields; giving details of the requesting person (name and grade) and who the authorising person is. If necessary, state by what means the authorisation was gained (email / telephone).

Recording transfers on the DL91

It is not possible to list all of the reasons why a test should or should not be transferred. All staff should be mindful that, with the exclusion of tests transferred due to sickness or management activity, any transfer is an exceptional event and not a common occurrence. Security and integrity of the test is of the utmost importance.

In all circumstances any test transferred between examiners for any reason must be recorded on the DL91.

When an examiner is absent and the whole day of tests is transferred by deployment into another examiner programme, a single entry transfer showing both donor and recipient (to and from) should be recorded on the DL91. In the reason section provide a brief explanation for the change and in the application reference box identify the slots transferred, ie slots 1 to 7.

In all other circumstances each transfer should be recorded individually on the DL91 by the examiner requesting the change; showing the donor, recipient and application reference for each customer.

All late change journals generated by deployment should be stapled to the original journal.

7.37 Identifying candidates wearing a hijab or niqab

The hijab covers the head; when the head covering is worn in conjunction with a veil, this is known as a niqab. Whenever possible, a female examiner should request the removal of the niqab to verify the identity of the candidate. This should be done in a courteous manner with an explanation as to the purpose of the request.

If a female examiner isn’t available, the candidate should be asked if they would prefer a female ADI or a friend or relative to accompany them when the identification of the candidate takes place. This identification should take place, if possible, in a private area. If a candidate wearing a niqab refuses under any circumstances to reveal her face, examiners should advise the candidate that the test can’t be conducted and that they will lose their test fee.

7.38: Motorcycle clothing - general guidance

DVSA doesn’t want to prevent motorcycle riders taking their tests. However, both examiners and motorcycle trainers have a part to play in ensuring new riders understand the risks they face and do what they can to reduce these by wearing adequate protective gear. Examiners should use their experience and expertise to make an informed decision about the type of clothing the candidate is wearing, and whether it offers so little protection as to create a wholly unacceptable risk of injury if they fell from their machine.

Please bear in mind that some new riders can’t afford expensive clothing and may have tried their best to ensure they are adequately protected.

As a general guide, the following is an indication of the type of clothing that riders should wear:

  • motorcycle boots
  • boots that provide support and ankle protection
  • sturdy trainers/ shoes
  • textile or leather motorcycle trousers
  • jeans/ denim trousers
  • heavy denim jacket
  • textile or leather motorcycle jacket
  • motorcycle gloves

The following is an indication of the type of clothing that isn’t acceptable:

  • lightweight flimsy training shoes, sandals, canvas basketball trainers
  • any clothing which leaves areas of exposed skin such as t-shirts or shorts
  • shellsuits or lightweight tracksuits
  • distressed or ripped jeans
  • lightweight fleece or hoody
  • no gloves

Examiners should bear in mind the test should continue unless there’s clearly an unacceptable risk to the candidate. If the test has to be terminated the activity code to use is 21 - Vehicle/ gear not suitable or no vehicle for test.

Candidates shouldn’t assume that their clothing offers appropriate protection simply because their test has gone ahead. It is always for the rider to ensure, for their own safety, that they wear suitable protective clothing and equipment.

7.39: Motorcycle clothing - frequently asked questions

As well as positive responses, some of the most frequent questions asked are:

Q: Is an open face helmet ok?
A: Yes, open faced helmets are ok

Q: Can a candidate wear jeans when taking the test?
A: Yes, ordinary jeans are acceptable although there are other trousers that provide better protection.

Q: Can the candidate wear sturdy walking shoes or strong trainers instead of boots?
A: Providing the footwear gives adequate protection to the foot then yes, although wearing boots is safer.

Q: Does the candidate have to wear protective clothing by law?
A: Only safety helmets are required by law. However, DVSA strongly recommends that riders taking their test ensure that they aren’t exposed to unacceptable avoidable risks by wearing inappropriate clothing.

Q: What is a trainer’s role in making pupils wear the right gear?
A: Wearing the right clothing forms part of CBT and most candidates come with their trainer to take their test. Promoting the right messages from the start and continuing to provide sensible professional advice is an important part of a trainer’s role.

7.40: Vehicle recalls


Each time an updated list of recalls is produced it should be printed off for the use of examiners in the office. There is a separate poster for the test centre notice board which provides general information about recalls, signpost customers to the up to date information on GOV.UK, encourage ADIs to sign up to email alerts for news about new recalls.

The poster won’t need to be updated each time there is a new recall and the poster should be placed in space 7 of the test centre notice board.

When a candidate presents for test in a vehicle covered by a recall/ safety notice requiring remedial action no free re-test should be offered unless the information has been placed on GOV.UK up to three days before the test date.

7.41: Hire cars on test

It’s the customer’s responsibility to ensure that the vehicle presented is insured for the purposes of the test.

Arnold Clark, who operates in Scotland and Northern England, has confirmed their dual controlled cars are fully insured for the purposes of practical testing; their vehicles are easily identified by the livery.

Generally other hire car companies do make it clear in their terms and conditions that their vehicles mustn’t be used for training or testing and that their vehicles aren’t covered by insurance for these purposes.

Examiners should be aware that these other hired vehicles aren’t always easy to identify.

Category B - licence acquisition tests and ADI part 2 tests

If it is clear that the vehicle presented for test is a hire car without dual controls the test must be terminated. If it is clear that the vehicle presented for test is a hire car with dual controls the test can go ahead. If the examiner discovers it was a hire vehicle (non-dual controlled), when the test is completed, the examiner will be considered to have acted in good faith. Therefore, any subsequent claims can be managed under the Motor Insurance Bureau procedure.

Lorry and bus

Training companies hiring commercial vehicles will do so under their existing insurance policies and therefore hire vehicles are suitable for lorry and bus tests including LGV voluntary register tests.

7.42: Fleet insurance arrangements

DVSA vehicles are covered by a comprehensive Motor Fleet Insurance policy. The details of the policy and an insurance certificate can be found on DVSAnet.

All vehicles hired for a continuous period of 14 days of more must be reported to the fleet management team so that these can be logged on the Motor Insurance Database. This is a legal requirement.

All damage to DVSA vehicles (owned, leased or hired) should be reported to the DVSAs fleet management company. Details can be found on DVSAnet.

7.43: Appointment confirmation

Customers don’t need to bring their appointment notification to the test centre. Customers making a booking via the internet aren’t given the choice of a postal appointment confirmation. Their only choices will be an email confirmation or no confirmation required. This means that there’s a risk that not all candidates will have an appointment notification to take with them to the centre.

Previously the appointment notification asked candidates to take it with them to the centre. This had been used as contingency particularly for out of hours (OOH) tests where there is no admin support available.

In these circumstances, if the candidate’s name doesn’t appear on the journal the examiner may use the confirmation as part of his decision making around whether the test should be conducted or not.

During working hours examiners can contact the contact centre for clarification of who should be taken on test. Currently, for OOH tests (weekends and evenings), if more than one candidate arrives for the same slot, and neither are on the journal, the one with the confirmation would be taken out. If neither have a confirmation, the examiner must decide who to take out and inform Newcastle scanning team the next working day.

7.44: Bad weather - procedural overview

Also see DT1 7.45 and 7.46 below.

The safety of staff and customers is paramount when dealing with adverse weather conditions. We do, however, have a responsibility to ensure tests are delivered wherever this is possible.

A crisis management team will be activated in cases of extreme bad weather. (Contact Customer support for details).

All information on the impact of bad weather received from test centres by examiners will be assessed by deployment that’ll identify if there’s a major problem.

Deployment will then provide co-ordination to test centre and admin staff in cases of bad weather.

7.45: Cancelling and rebooking tests

Also see DT1 7.44 and 7.46.

Batch processes in Tars can be delayed in order to enable deployment staff to work beyond 6:30pm in order to cancel and rebook tests. The NSA office need to be told by email before 5pm if this is happening.

Some customer operations staff are being trained to support deployment to cancel and rebook tests when required. There is a guide for examiners to refer to for advice. Ensure that there are hard copies of this procedure and the guides for you to access if away from the test centre.

7.46: Bad weather guide for examiners

Also see DT1 7.45 and 7.46.

In preparation of bad weather - journals

Keep all journals for each day affected, even if deployment have cancelled your tests and rebooked them. It will be possible to identify the exact slot the candidate was originally booked for.

The DL25

Deployment will try to action cancelled tests on the day and a new journal issued to confirm this has been processed. However, if the weather is particularly severe, this may not be possible and a replacement journal won’t be issued. In these circumstances don’t post the DL25s that day, in case a new journal is issued after you leave for the day, wait until the next day and only post them if replacement journals are not received by the end of that working day. Activity code 61 should be used, this will generate the rebooking.

Candidate contact details on the journal

Candidate contact details are on the journal meaning that they can be contacted directly to tell them that the test won’t be going ahead. If this is the case, deployment needs to be aware that this is happening.

Make sure customers contacting test centres for advice about appointments receive an appropriate response.

When testing has been suspended, a member of staff should be present to offer appropriate advice to customers phoning or attending the centre.

When adverse weather prevents access to the centre, the answer machine should provide customers with the most up to date information. The message should say:

Thank you for calling the ***** driving test centre. As of today (insert date), due to the bad weather, this test centre will be closed. We hope to continue testing at (time) on (date), but this will be subject to improvements in road and weather conditions. Your test will be rebooked automatically and a new date will be sent to you. Thank you.

Candidate can’t get to the centre but the centre is open

Candidates may ring the test centre in cases where there is bad weather at their home and they can’t travel. The answer machine should give them the option to leave a message.

When completing the DL25, use activity code 62, so a free rebooking can be made.

If you don’t receive a journal please follow existing procedures for generating a replacement. It is important you use the most up to date journal so that the correct application reference number can be recorded on the DL25.

The following procedure should be followed if candidate details aren’t showing on the journal:

During working hours

In the event more than one candidate arrives for the same slot examiners should contact the contact centre for clarification about who should be taken out on test.

During OOH periods

In the event more than one candidate arrives for the same slot, examiners should decide who to take out on test and inform the Newcastle scanning team the next working day.

7.47: Lost motorcycle module 1 pass certificates (DSA12)

If a candidate loses their module 1 certificate, (DVSA12) they will be able to take a module 2 test so long as they inform the DVSA in advance so we are able to add the relevant information regarding the module 1 pass to the examiner’s journal.

When a candidate loses their DVSA12 (module 1) pass certificate, they should contact the customer service centre to report the loss.

The customer service representative will confirm the details of the module 1 pass with the RSIS team in Newcastle or contact the test centre where the module 1 test was taken if the DL25 has yet to be scanned.

A message will be placed in the ‘special needs’ field which will appear on the examiners journal. The message will include confirmation that the candidate has passed their motorcycle module one, the pass certificate number, the motorcycle category on which the candidate took the mod 1 test and the theory test pass date.

Message example:

Candidate passed Mod 1 test. Cert 1234567, Cat A DAS, TT passed 21.02.11’

If a candidate presents for a motorcycle module 2 test without their pass certificate, but information of the pass has been provided on the examiners journal, they should be taken on test.

Customers who arrive without the correct documents or no information contained in the ‘special need box’ won’t be allowed to take the test.

In circumstances where the DVSA was informed of the loss before the short notice period (3 clear working days) but no information was entered onto the journal a free retest may be considered and the candidate should contact corporate correspondence.

If the candidate informs us within the short notice period and we are unable to add the information to the journal no free retest will be granted.

Off-road includes incidents occurring during module one testing, approved training bodies (ATB) activities on a motorcycle manoeuvring area (MMA) and compulsory basic training (CBT) and direct access scheme (DAS) activity at an ATB site.

On road includes incidents occurring during module 2 testing, any motorcycle incident involving a member of staff on DVSA business, CBT training during element E and DAS training.

Register of Post Motorcycle Training/ Enhanced Rider Scheme activities are excluded from scope at this point. The procedure can be found on the intranet.

7.49: Vocational driving licence restriction code 01 – eyesight correction

When a candidate takes a practical test for a lorry or bus there is no requirement to carry out an eyesight test. If the candidate has restriction code 01 in column 12 on the rear of their driving licence it means they may need to wear glasses or contact lenses. If they are not wearing glasses or contact lenses the examiner should make suitable enquiries. If they confirm they have never worn glasses or contact lenses or they have had corrective eye surgery the examiner must fill in the 01 Declaration Form here and strike through in section 2 as appropriate This form must be stapled to the rear of the DL25B and retained at the DTC for 2 years.

If the candidate needs to wear glasses or contact lenses the test should only be conducted if these are worn. Where the test does not go ahead in these circumstances code 82 -not conducted incorrect/no lenses worn (VOC) should be used.

7.50: Unaccompanied drivers driving away from the DTC

If an unsuccessful candidate drives away unaccompanied from the test centre, the examiner should report the facts to the local police.

7.51: Test programmes

Test candidates are assigned to programmes electronically by TARS (Testing & Regulation System). Each programme must be allocated to the examiner named on the journal. Examiners must have access to their HEO’s Outlook calendar and should make every effort to contact them for any test transfer approval.

7.52: Detached duty/ permanent transfer

When examiners visit from other centres on detached duty or permanent transfer. They must ensure that time is planned for H & S briefing, any induction and centre familiarization etc. Short term deployments will be given periods to learn a sufficient number of routes. Longer term detachments may require more

7.53: Relations with driving schools and instructors

In line with the Civil Service code of conduct and the agency’s guidance on personal relationships at work advice is provided in areas where personal relationships overlap with working relationships and to ensure that DVSA staff do not fall below the expected standards of behaviour or leave themselves open to allegations of impropriety, bias, abuse of authority or conflict of interest.

You must inform your line manager if any relationship is could compromise the rules of the CS Code.

7.54: Site Access Managers

At centres where a Site Access Manager (SAM) works, either yourself or any of your staff should:

  • ensure that all paperwork is securely stored in the pre-defined location - specific site details can be found on DVSAnet
  • for all DVSA locations ensure that any site-specific issues around test delivery are dealt with on the day
  • for non-DVSA sites minor fuel spillages are treated in the same way as at a normal DVSA site, using the Oil Spill kits that are available
  • ensure the SAM reports incidents to Interserve on the HS5, leaving a copy for the HEO in a pre-arranged place
  • ensure that the DVSA Health & Safety team is aware of relevant incidents
  • not interfere with SAM completing their duties, unless the SAM is failing to carry out their duties effectively - in such cases, the HEO should highlight failings to the SAM and report to the Interserve Helpdesk
  • rovide test centre facilities to the SAM to allow them to complete their duties, as agreed locally

7.55: Quality Control assessments

A HEO is required to carry out a minimum of 4 quality control assessments annually on each permanent examiner at their centres. Regular visiting examiners should also be assessed as necessary. These should be spread proportionately over the year between all disciplines conducted by the examiner, ensuring all disciplines tested are assessed.

In the case of new entrants it is important that instructions laid down in the new entrant development plan are adhered to and the appropriate supervision is conducted.

Where examiners have taken on new skills the HEO must ensure that adequate development and quality control takes place to ensure new skills are consolidated.

7.56: Scrutiny of test documents

All completed paperwork must be legible. Make sure diagonal markings on the test report are kept within the boxes to ensure accurate scanning onto the RSIS system.

Regular checks of all driving test documentation should be made to ensure consistency of assessments; and that the report reflects the assessment made. ADLI SOP

7.57: Driving test routes

The HEO is responsible for quality control of test routes at centres they manage and must ensure content is regularly reviewed. Test routes must be recorded in accordance with the standard operating procedure.

The completed test route document(s) should then be stored by the HEO/HEO in the ‘N’ drive under ‘Test Centre Routes’ for each individual test centre as per the Standard Operating Procedure. The HEO should ensure, so far as is practicable, that examiners conduct tests over approved routes, unless exceptional circumstances arise which make it necessary to curtail or deviate from the set route. They should also ensure that any deviation on the route is fully reported on the DL25.

HEOs are responsible for ensuring that examiners conduct tests that comply with statutory minimum test time requirements as laid out in the DT1.

The choice of which route to use should normally be left to individual examiners. The HEO should, however, ensure that examiners use an even spread of routes so that testing is not concentrated in particular roads or areas. The aim must be to minimise nuisance and inconvenience to local residents. For category B car tests, examiners should generally and over a period of time, utilise the routes on a basis of 4 out of 5 tests deliver the independent driving section by means of a sat nav whilst 1 out of 5 by using traffic signs.

This can be monitored using MI information and reading of DL25s.

Local authority traffic regulation orders may sometimes have an adverse effect on test routes or parking facilities near centres. If this is known in advance the Agency can make representations to the local authority and may be able to secure some modification of the proposals so as to lessen their effect on testing operations.

HEOs should therefore look out for any notice or reports about such proposals which may affect their own or other centres, both L and LGV, and encourage their examiners to do likewise.

7.58: Adverse weather conditions

Examiners have responsibility to decide in bad weather whether it is safe to conduct tests. For example: snow, ice, fog, or high winds etc. Deployment and the centre HEO must be informed of the position at the earliest time.

Examiners should take into account the health and safety of both the examiner and the candidate when deciding if the test should proceed. In addition Motorcycle examiners must ensure that road and MMA conditions are safe for riding.

It may be necessary to inspect the routes, to decide whether conditions are acceptable. Examiners should consider whether conducting a test or tests in the circumstances is in the best interests of public safety and a fair assessment of a candidate’s driving performance.

Where a test cannot go ahead, candidates who arrive for test, or enquire by telephone, should be informed that tests will not be conducted.

At sites that provide facilities for motorcycle training to take place on the MMA, it is the ATB instructor’s responsibility to make a decision on whether they consider the site to be safe to conduct the training session where there is no DVSA staff presence on site at the time of the training.

Where a DVSA examiner is present, a decision can be made on the safety of the site, thus overriding any decision made by the attending ATB Instructor. Where this is so, instructors and candidates who arrive for training sessions, or enquire by telephone, should be informed that sessions will not be conducted.

If it seems that conditions may improve, those with appointments later in the day should be advised to enquire again later.

Candidates who arrive at the centre should be advised to expect a new appointment automatically.

In the event of prolonged interruption of tests by snow or ice, examiners should follow the advice on the intranet. Deployment and the sector HEO should be kept fully informed of disruption to programmes due to weather conditions and also informed when testing recommences.

If a candidate telephones the centre to say that weather conditions near their home are too bad for driving, the examiner should tell them that the agency will postpone the test and that they will receive a new appointment in due course.

7.59: Test documents


To facilitate automatic driving licence issue (ADLI) the top copy of the DL25A is scanned at Newcastle. It is therefore vital that all the fields are filled in accurately, keeping within any box annotated. An EO must check all DL25As before posting to Newcastle. Batch header(s) showing the totals returned for that day should be clipped to the DL25As and sent to Newcastle using a pre-paid postage label.

Form D255 must be sent to DVLA on completion. Instructions are on the bottom of the D255 form. A copy should be retained on file in the DTC.

The latest Incident report form once completed must give a full and accurate statement of the facts of the incident. The report must be comprehensive, and any discrepancies investigated and resolved before it is sent to the Health & Safety team.


The DL25Bs (2nd copy) are checked and filed in the DTC. They should be retained at the DTC for 2 years.


Terminated test log

Test Transfer Log

7.60: Centre records

Examiners are responsible for registering and controlling stocks of pass certificates.

A pass certificate register book (not a loose leaf type) must be maintained showing the serial numbers of the pads of forms held in stock. The book should contain records of all types of pass certificate used at the DTC. Certificates must only be issued in serial number order. For security reasons, the register must be kept securely and separately from the stock of certificates.

Receiving examiners should sign the register to confirm receipt.

Any imperfect or spoiled certificates should be destroyed at the test centre using the shredder.

The certificate numbers should be entered onto the spoilt certificate return form and submitted by email to Operations - at the end of each month.

If certificates have been lost or stolen the matter must be notified to Operations immediately by email.

7.61: Ministerial correspondence

If an MP writes direct to a driving test centre, the correspondence should immediately be forwarded to:

Corporate Reputation
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
The Axis Building
112 Upper Parliament Street

To be dealt with in the normal way for ministerial correspondence.

If the letter suggests that a report will be required from an examiner and/ or the HEO, this should be put in hand in anticipation of the formal request from headquarters.

7.62: Driving instruction by examiners

Examiners are required to obtain authority from their HEO before giving driving instruction to anyone. Authority should not be withheld if the person concerned is a member of the examiner’s immediate family.

Authority in respect of other persons should not be granted automatically. Proper regard must be paid to the particular circumstances in each case, and it must be established that there is no question of any financial or other gain to the examiner. Full consideration should always be given to the question of whether the situation would be likely to embarrass the agency.

In all cases where authority is given the HEO must ensure that he/she is informed of the starting and finishing dates of instruction, and satisfy himself that the examiner does not conduct his pupil’s test.

7.63: Examiners - testing of relatives

HEOs should conduct tests of examiners’ relatives, whether or not the examiner taught them.

7.64: ADI meetings - attendance

HEOs may be asked to attend local driving instructor meeting and can do so on a voluntary basis provided they take place during the working week. The frequency of attending this type of meeting should not be more than once annually unless exceptional circumstances such as a test centre closure require an additional meeting. Your local Enforcement ADI Manager should be informed

Meetings should be reasonably attended, chaired and properly organised. It should be made clear that HEOs will not discuss individual cases or details of particular driving tests. HEOs should report back to their SEO any unusual questions and answers, and provide a general overview of the meeting. HEOs should carefully consider their answers where questions are submitted beforehand and, if in doubt, discuss them with their SEO. Policy issues should not be discussed.

7.65: ‘Check’ on the Journal (DL34)

Journals normally arrive a day prior to the test. If there is a ‘Check’ marker against a booked test, the examiner should contact the examiner help line as soon as possible. Exceptionally, if the examiner cannot get through, for example a late change journal received for an out of hours test, they should ask the candidate to produce the relevant theory test certificates in the waiting room. If the candidate cannot do this, the test should not go ahead.

7.66: Satellite navigation systems on test (non-DVSA supplied)

Satellite navigation systems (sat nav) already present in the test vehicle

Use of satellite navigation in-car is becoming more and more common. Some are after-market fit; some are built in to the vehicle from new.

These devices are allowed to be working (switched on) during a driving test provided the sound and any audible alert system do not cause any distraction. If the test will include independent driving delivered by means of a DVSA supplied Satnav, the examiner should explain the confusion that could be caused with two devices on display, and allow the candidate to switch off / remove the non DVSA device.

Occasionally, the positioning of an after-market device in a vehicle may not be ideal. Examiners should use considered judgment before asking for a device to be repositioned. We must not give the impression the use of such a device is unwelcome but should offer assistance if the presence of such a device may confuse the candidate.

7.67: Run flat tyres

Fitment of run flat (or self-supporting) tyres is becoming more common place now, especially on BMWs and the Mini range.

These tyres differ from conventional ones in that the side walls are strengthened and specifically designed to support the weight of the vehicle.

Conventional tyres support weight through inflation only.

A run flat tyre therefore may not look any different, whether inflated or not.

Some vehicles have a warning system for the driver whereby they are alerted to an issue with a tyre. This could be anything from a change in pressure, to a puncture, to no pressure detected at all.

Major manufacturers such as Pirelli, Michelin and Continental state you can continue following a warning: ‘you can safely drive for up to 50 miles no faster than 50mph’.

Examiners should be mindful of this advice and exercise considered judgment when deciding whether or not to continue with a test when a warning light appears.

If the warning appears at the start of the test - and you are aware the chosen test route has high speed limit roads - it would be unwise to put yourself and others at risk (knowing you will expect the candidate to exceed 50mph). In this instance, the test should be terminated.

Equally, you may be half way round a route, have already completed all high speed road requirements before the warning becomes evident, and choose to complete the test.

7.68: Tests conducted on a motorway

Regulations differ between England and Scotland in regard to what categories of vehicle may be driven by a provisional licence holder on a motorway. Highway Code Rule 253 gives summary information.

Tests conducted in England and Wales

The following categories are the only tests we can conduct on a motorway:

Cat C, C+E, C1, C1+E, D, D+E, D1, D1+E and B+E.

Tests conducted in Scotland

The following categories are the only tests we can conduct on a motorway:

Cat C, C+E, D1, D1E and D+E.

Note that B+E, C1/C1E are not allowed on test on a motorway.

7.69: Electric vehicles for test

A wide range of electric vehicles are now on our roads, from motorcycles to cars, buses and commercial vehicles. Any vehicle presented for test must meet the minimum test vehicle (MTV) requirements. This applies equally to electric vehicles.

These vehicles do not have a conventional gearbox or means by which the driver can disengage the engine from the transmission (clutch). They are therefore categorised as automatic transmission and are perfectly acceptable for test provided they meet the MTV for the category of test they are presented for.