Learning to drive is a right of passage, and it offers the new driver freedom and is a sought after skill by many employers. However, learning to drive can be expensive, so getting in as much practice between lessons can make a huge difference.
This article will look at the rules regarding who a learner can drive with, the penalties for not adhering to these rules and everything else you will need to know when practising your driving skills.
Can Anyone With A Driving Licence Take A Learner On The Road?
Quite simply, not everyone with a driving licence will be able to supervise a learner driver. To oversee learner drivers, several rules must be followed. Failure to adhere to the regulations regarding handling a learner driver can result in penalty points on your licence, fines, and even a driving ban.
Rules For Supervising A Learner Driver
To help clear any grey areas, the supervising driver must adhere to the following rules:
At least 21 years old
Those supervising have to be 21 years of age or older. It doesn’t matter how much previous experience they have; 21 is always the minimum age for the supervisor.
Doesn’t receive payment
You can’t accept payment for supervising a learner driver unless you are a DVSA registered driving instructor.
Has held a driving licence for three years
The supervisor must have held their driving licence for at least three years. It’s worth remembering that you can drive from 17 in the UK, but you must still be over 21 before supervising a learner driver.
Qualified to drive the vehicle themselves
The supervisor must be qualified to drive the vehicle the learner is practising in. If the supervisor only has a licence that permits them to drive an automatic vehicle, they cannot supervise a learner in a manual car.
Meets eyesight regulations
The supervisor must meet driving eyesight regulations and wear any glasses or lenses required to drive.
Complies with driver’s road laws
The supervisor will have to adhere to all the same road laws as the driver. This prohibits the use of a mobile phone and also means they cannot drink or be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Does The Supervising Driver Need To Sit In The Front Passenger Seat?
The supervising driver is deemed as being in control of the vehicle and will need to sit in the front seat. This will allow them to give free and easy communication, and efficiently observe the surroundings and other road users.
Penalties For Driving Without The Right Supervision As A Learner
Driving without proper supervision while on a provisional licence is strictly prohibited and may result in the following punishments;
- Penalty points
- Driving ban
You can receive up to 12 penalty points on your provisional licence. However, you can only receive six points after passing your test during a two-year probationary period.
Driving without a qualified supervisor would invalidate the learner driver insurance policy and could result in six points on your licence.
Getting six points within the first two years of driving means your licence would be revoked, and you would have to reapply for a provisional licence and start the process again.
You would likely receive a fine, adding to the expense of learning to drive.
Can A Disqualified Driver Supervise A Learner?
You must hold a full driving licence when you are supervising, and you must have owned the right for at least three years. Any breaks when you have held your appointment due to disqualifications must be considered.
Can A Learner Drive With Passengers?
Learner drivers may have other passengers in the vehicle, but the supervisor must be in the front passenger seat. Remember that while passengers are permitted, it’s not advised as the learner should be able to concentrate on driving with only the qualified supervisor advising them.
Learner driver’s passengers should be aware of the rules and refrain from shouting instructions or distracting the driver.
What Happens If There’s An Accident During A Supervised Drive?
Accidents during a supervised drive should be treated in the same way as other accidents. You should;
- Contact the emergency services to report the accident. You will be able to let them know of any casualties.
- You should give your details to the other party involved.
- You should get the other parties’ details.
- Document any evidence required, including photographic or video evidence of the scene and damage to both vehicles.
- Speak with your insurance company to inform them of the accident.
If the learner driver caused the accident, both the learner driver and supervisor can be liable. This is because the supervisor is deemed as being responsible for the vehicle.
Installing a dashcam can help to provide evidence in insurance claims and can also help to provide proof of the advice or instructions given within the car.
What Else Does A Learner Driver Need To Practice On The Roads?
For learner drivers to practice on the road, the following requirements must be met;
- Learner drivers must be at least 17 years old to practice driving on the road.
- Learners must hold a provisional licence for their learning vehicle. You will be able to apply for your temporary driving licence when you are 15 years and 9 months old. If driving someone else’s car, the request must be valid for the vehicle type.
- All road users must meet the minimum eyesight standards. You will have to be able to read a number plate from 20 metres. If you require contact lenses or glasses to do this, you must wear these while driving.
- Learner drivers must be supervised while driving by someone that has held a full driving licence for a minimum of three years and who is older than 21.
- The vehicle used must display L plates on the front and rear.
What Vehicle Requirements Must Be Met For Learners To Practice On The Roads?
For learners to drive on the roads, the vehicle must meet the following requirements;
- The vehicle must be registered with the DVLA.
- The vehicle’s road tax must be up to date.
- The vehicle must be fully insured and covers the learner driver.
- All vehicles over three years old must have a valid MOT certificate.
- The vehicle must be in a roadworthy condition and safe to drive.
What Insurance Is Required For Supervising Learner Drivers?
If the learner driver is using your vehicle, you must check whether your insurance covers a learner with a provisional licence.
Adding a learner to your insurance can increase premiums, and should an accident occur, your premiums will rise again.
It is also worth checking with your insurance provider whether they have any rules regarding the supervision of learner drivers. Some may have a higher minimum age for the supervisor.
The best alternative is for the learner driver to take out a specific learner driver insurance policy. Learner driver insurance is a specific insurance policy that allows learner drivers to practise driving in a friend’s or family’s cat without affecting the car owners no claims discount.
Any learner driver can obtain short term learner driver insurance from specialist car insurance providers such as GoShorty learner driver insurance, Veygo learner driver insurance, and Marmalade learner driver insurance.
Failure to adhere to the conditions set by the insurance provider could result in your warranty being voided. Penalties for driving without a valid insurance policy include unlimited fines, driving bans, and penalty points added to your licence.
Are Learner Drivers Permitted To Drive At Night?
Learner drivers are allowed to drive at night, and it is a good idea to get experience while under the supervision of an experienced driver. Night driving will get more driving hours under the belt, while allowing the learner to experience different driving conditions.
Are Learner Drivers Permitted To Drive On The Motorway?
Learner drivers can only drive on motorways when approved driving instructors accompany them. The car they are travelling in must have dual controls and display L plates on the front and rear of the vehicle.
Learner drivers are not permitted to travel on motorways with supervisors that are not approved instructors.
Do Learner Drivers Have Lower Speed Limits?
Northern Ireland is the only UK country with a different speed limit for learner drivers. Learners in Northern Ireland must not exceed 45 miles per hour. England, Wales, and Scotland allow learners to travel at the assigned speed limits.
What Learner Plates are Required And When?
When learning to drive with either a qualified driving instructor or a supervisor that meets the requirements, you must attach L plates to the front and rear of the vehicle.
Some driving instructors may also have a sign on the roof that makes the car more visible to other road users who can see a learner driver is in the vehicle.
In Wales, learner drivers can use a D plate that uses the same design against a white background.
After passing your driving test, you can display plates with a green P on a white background. Though this is not a legal requirement, it is advisable to alert other road users to your inexperience as an independent driver and allow them to give you more room and treat you with more patience.