What is involved in appealing a driving test? Can the result be changed?
For the first time since BIG TOM Driving School was established back in 2009. the owner, Tom Ingram has had cause to make a complaint relating to the result of a driving test. This blog will expand on the subject of appealing a driving test result.
Due to the increased recruitment of driving examiners by the DVSA there are many newly qualified examiners being observed by DVSA personnel across the UK. The driving test that occurred today was one such example. So in the driving school car was the pupil, the examiner, the observer of the examiner sat behind the driver, and the driving instructor of the pupil who was sat behind the examiner.
It was clear from the outset that the examiner was new; this was demonstrated in a variety of ways relating to how directional instructions are given, and on one occasion, when it was omitted altogether. The independent drive section was longer than the allotted 8-12 minutes, and the driving test itself lasted for 50 minutes rather than the allotted 38-40 minutes. These issues relating to the delivery of the instructions (given too late, wrong direction eg left instead of the intended right, not familiar with the locality), ultimately resulted in the pupil taking a route that was not as intended by the examiner.
But crucially, about two thirds round, whilst driving on a single-carraigeway road controlled by national maximum speed signs, the examiner quite suddenly and inexplicably grabbed hold of the top of the steering wheel whilst saying “Sorry” and pulled it to the left. It was without doubt more dangerous an intervention than the alleged positional error in the lane itself. There had been a car coming in the other direction but the position of the driving school car presented no danger or safety concern at all, and the intervention was entirely unnecessary.
On return to the Test Centre, the examiner stated “I am very sorry to inform you that you have failed, but you know why” and handed the candidate a DL25 form that indicated there were 4 faults and the fault that resulted in the failing of the test was marked as “Dangerous” within the ‘Positioning – Normal Driving’ category.
Tom Ingram who had observed the test immediately requested to speak to the Test Centre Manager and the observer of the examiner then stated that would be him. An appeal was lodged against the driving test result on the grounds that the action taken by the examiner was entirely unnecessary and actually created more of a hazard.
Within the hour, the observer of the examiner called back and stated that having spoken to the examiner it was agreed that the fault had been incorrectly assessed, and as a gesture of goodwill the test can be re-taken for free. He went on to explain that his role was one of “Technical Support” where he is normally based in Derby, and his purpose of observing the examiner was in an exercise of Quality Assurance in the manner in which the test had been conducted.
When it was raised with him that this “gesture of goodwill” was lacking in sincerity given the fact that had that fault not been incorrectly assessed, it would have been a pass, AND that there is an incredible waiting list for driving tests at Grantham (the next test slot is 19/9/16…. more than 3 months wait), the response back was that the result cannot be changed, even by a court of law, and that was the best offer that could be provided. No apology was made to the candidate, or the driving instructor, or the parents who are then £90 out of pocket, and indeed, no mention was made of any further corrective/remedial action being taken on the examiner concerned, who presumably continues to conduct driving tests.
Tom had the following to say about the incident:
“It’s regrettable that this has happened because although there is clear evidence, even admission of a systematic failure in the assessment process, the only offering given to my customer, who after all has just passed a driving test, is to take another one in the future. I appreciate that new examiners will make errors, but when the consequences to errors of this magnitude affect peoples lives in the manner in which this is going to affect my customer and the prospects of him getting a new job, there really should be a better solution provided. Even a formal apology from the examiner concerned would have gone a long way in calming my pupil who has every right to be totally frustrated.”
It does appear that even in a situation as clear cut as this, the process of appealing a driving test result is extremely limited indeed. There is evidence in this example of a driving test that was poorly conducted in terms of instruction given and overall timing, and including an admission made of it being incorrectly assessed, and yet all that the candidate can do, at best, is expect a free re-test more than 3 months later. It is simply not possible to change the result of a driving test, no matter how justified.
The candidate concerned is needing a driving licence in order to be eligible for an apprenticeship for a maintenance department within a school in Stamford. A further 3 month delay will seriously jeopardize his chances of receiving that apprenticeship.
BIG TOM Driving School provides 5 Day Intensive Driving Courses in Peterborough, Grantham, Lincoln, Sleaford, Stamford, Boston, Spalding and Bourne. Contact us HERE