How do you know if a driving instructor is fully qualified?


How do you know if a driving instructor is fully qualified or a trainee?

Until a trainee passes their final exam, they are known as Potential Driving Instructors (PDIs) although they are often referred to as trainee instructors. Quite often, learners (and their parents/partners) have no idea whether they are being taught by a fully qualified or trainee instructor. Please do not be afraid to ask when you enquire.

What is an Approved Driving Instructor?

Fully Qualified driving instructors are formally referred to as Approved Driving Instructors or ADIs for short. An ADI has successfully passed all three qualifying exams and is registered with the DVSA to teach. They can also voluntarily register themselves with the online ADI driving instructor list maintained by the DVSA, which may also show their lates standards check result.

What is a Trainee Driving Instructor?

A trainee must successfully pass three tests that are set by the DVSA before they become a qualified driving instructor. If you are being taught by a trainee driving instructor, this means they have passed their theory and driving parts of these three tests and are actively working their way towards taking their final test.

A trainee instructor will have also had to display a valid licence. The DVSA sets very stringent criteria for obtaining the trainee licence. The licence will be revoked it if the PDI doesn’t undertake sufficient training or if they fail the final test three times.

The DVSA's figures show that the pass rate for a PDI (trainee) passing the final test and becoming an ADI (Approved Driving Instructor - in other words FULLY QUALIFIED; is just 37.1% (Data from the official DVSA figures for 2018/19). This final test is to check their standard of teaching ability.

The figures suggest that a huge 62.9% of trainee driving instructors DO NOT achieve the required standard to teach.

Now that you have the facts and are aware of the differences between a trainee and fully qualified driving instructor, you can make an informed decision regarding who you would prefer to be taught by.

How to Tell the Difference Between a PDI and ADI

All driving instructors must display a valid licence in order to be able to charge for driving lessons. This must be placed on the  nearside of the windscreen of their tuition vehicle.

A trainee driving instructor licence can be recognised as a pink traiangular badge, whereas an Fully Qualified ADI displays a green octangonal licence. If your instructor is charging you for lessons but doesn’t have a valid licence displayed they are breaking the law. If this is the case, you may find that they are not up to the necessary standard to teach you, and they may not be correctly insured.

You can report a suspected illegal instructor HERE.