Driving instructors who have relationships with pupils could be struck off.
Jacqui Turland, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) registrar, said today she would treat a sexual relationship with 16 and 17-year-old pupils, even if consensual, as exploitation.
If an instructor is considered a high risk to learners, they face being removed from the ADI register.
The move comes following Prime Minister Theresa May’s call in the House of Commons last October to look at ways to protect learner drivers.
The DVSA said in 2016-17 there were 109 investigations into instructor misconduct, which includes inappropriate sexual behaviour and other offences.
It said it would investigate serious allegations of improper behaviour, such as instructors using sexualised language, unnecessary physical or inappropriate contact and sending indecent messages or images to their pupils. It would report its findings to the police.
DVSA Head of Counter-Fraud and Investigations, Andy Rice, said:
“DVSA’s priority is to help you through a lifetime of safe driving.
“We take the safety of learner drivers extremely seriously and will thoroughly investigate any complaints about the conduct of instructors and will involve the police where necessary.
“Any driving instructors threatening the safety of learner drivers and failing to meet the ‘fit and proper’ criteria will be removed from the ADI register.”
DVSA guidelines for learners
- It is illegal for instructors to use a hand-held phone while teaching.
- It’s also unacceptable for instructors to be impatient, shout or swear at learners during their lessons.
- Learners should also report any contractual issues they have with their instructor to DVSA, such as lessons that are shorter than agreed; the instructor arriving late; the instructor cancelling lessons, or failing to provide pre-paid lessons
- Learners and their parents can get guidance on how to report a driving instructor’s inappropriate behaviour here.
The best place for learner drivers to find a fully-qualified instructor that meets their needs is here . They can also check if instructors agree to follow the voluntary driving instructor code of practice, which sets out how they should behave towards their pupils.
Only fully-qualified driving instructors - who have passed enhanced criminal record checks and had their ability to teach assessed to a set standard - are allowed to have their details shown on the site. Although qualified instructors can choose to opt out of the service, so not all are shown here.
The ADI register guide can be viewed here .
The driving instructor code of practice can be viewed here.