From the DVSA:
You may have seen recent media reports about companies that do not employ driving instructors profiting from selling practical driving tests.
This has been done by companies often using bots and exploiting the service set up for you to book and manage driving tests for your pupils.
Many of these companies are charging more than the test booking fee of £62 for a car driving test. We want to prevent a social divide between those who can and cannot afford to use these services.
We are aware of the potential risks of unofficial companies and some driving instructors who are profiting from the booking system and exploiting learner drivers. We have developed a plan to help prevent this.
Cracking down on companies exploiting learner drivers
Loveday Ryder, DVSA Chief Executive, said:
“We’ve already put in place measures to monitor and prevent bots from accessing our systems while also strengthening our firewall to tackle the issue.
“We will work tirelessly to crack down on companies that are exploiting learner drivers.
“We’ve closed the system to new registrations and will rapidly close down accounts that do not belong to driving instructors and driving schools. We’ll also be taking further steps to make sure all future accounts are linked to driving instructors and those with training businesses.”
What we’ve done so far
So far we have:
- stopped accepting new automatic online registrations to use the service – any new applications must be made by email, where they’ll be thoroughly checked by DVSA – we’ll update GOV.UK with the new process soon
- stopped accepting any new registrations from companies who do not directly employ a driving instructor
- started removing any registrations not linked to driving instructors
- reduced the number of times a driving test appointment can be changed from 10 to the pre-pandemic limit of 6 – if you need to make more changes after that, you or your pupil will have to cancel the test and rebook it – this takes effect from tomorrow (Thursday 2 June)
What we’ll do next
We will change the terms and conditions for using the service to make it clear you’re not allowed to use it to make a profit from making and managing driving test bookings. We’ll share more information about this next week.
The number of tests available on our booking service will not be affected by these changes. These measures will not have a negative impact on the waiting times for a practical test.
Nick Taylor, the ADI Registrar, is also reviewing the ‘fit and proper’ criteria to make it clear that profiting from driving test bookings is not considered fit and proper behaviour.