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Choosing a driving or riding instructor

If you are paying someone to teach you to drive or ride, they must be approved and registered with the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). Find out the different ways of finding and choosing a driving or riding instructor.

Approved driving instructors (ADIs): the basics

Why use an ADI?

Nine out of ten learners who passed the practical test on their first attempt were taught by an ADI

If you're going to pay someone to teach you to drive, they must be an ADI or hold a trainee licence.

It's unlikely that anyone except an ADI would have the experience, knowledge and training to teach you properly.

Nine out of ten learners who passed the practical test on their first attempt were taught by an ADI rather than a friend or relative.

Fully qualified ADIs and trainees

Examples of the green and pink badges

A fully qualified ADI must display a green badge on the windscreen of the car while teaching you.

Some trainee driving instructors are given a trainee licence so they can get experience before their qualifying test. They must display a pink badge on the windscreen.

If your driving instructor is not displaying either a green or pink badge in their car's windscreen, ask them to show it to you. If they cannot show you their badge, you should report this to DSA.

If you need to report illegal driving instruction to DSA, see the section 'How to report illegal driving and riding instruction'.

How DSA maintains and checks standards of ADIs

DSA is responsible for maintaining and checking the standards of all ADIs. To qualify, they must:

  • be registered with DSA
  • have passed a criminal record check
  • pass a much tougher theory and practical driving test, and pass a test of their ability to give instruction
  • display an ADI identification certificate on the windscreen of the tuition vehicle
  • maintain a high standard of instruction - DSA checks this standard regularly

How to find approved driving instructors

DSA does not recommend individual instructors. To find and choose a driving instructor you can:

  • use the 'find your nearest driving instructors' tool on Directgov to find your nearest fully qualified ADIs
  • ask your friends and relatives to recommend someone
  • look online or in a local business directory

How to choose your approved driving instructor

Top tip

Make sure that the instructor you choose is right for you

Once you have found an instructor, you need to make sure that they are right for you. Try to choose an instructor who:

  • has a good reputation
  • is reliable and punctual
  • has a car that suits you

Checking your ADI's instruction standard

DSA regularly checks the standard of instruction of all ADIs. The instructor is then given a grade:

  • '4' is satisfactory
  • '5' is a good overall standard
  • '6' is the highest

To find out which grade your instructor has been given, you can ask them to show you their last grade report.

Once you have started taking driving lessons

Top tip

It's important that you get on well with whoever is teaching you to drive

You should take advice from your ADI on:

  • all aspects of driving
  • what books to read
  • when to take your test
  • how to practice

If you don't like your instructor

If you don't like your instructor after you start lessons, you can always find a new instructor. It's important that you get on well with whoever is teaching you to drive. Different people prefer different teaching styles. You should try to find someone that suits you.

If you want to complain about your instructor

If you want to complain about the non-supply of goods and services from your ADI, you should contact Trading Standards or your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

How to complain about the attitude of your instructor

If your complaint is about the attitude of your ADI, you can:

  • send an email to
  • adireg@dsa.gsi.gov.uk
  • send a letter to: ADI Section, DSA, The Axis Building, 112 Upper Parliament Street, Nottingham, NG1 6LP

You will need to give as much information as possible in your complaint.

Choosing a certified motorcycle instructor

All learner motorcycle and learner moped riders must complete a compulsory basic training (CBT) course before riding on the road.

Only instructors certified by DSA can teach CBT at an approved training body (ATB). ATBs must have instructors who have successfully completed a two-day assessment and have sites approved by DSA for off-road training.

CBT instructors must carry their CBT instructor's certificate with them whenever they are instructing.

How to report illegal driving and riding instruction

Report it

If someone offers you paid driving or riding instruction and they aren't qualified, report it to DSA

It is illegal for a person to give driving or riding instruction for a fee if they are not suitably qualified and registered with DSA.

DSA:

  • investigates every case of suspected illegal driving or riding tuition
  • works closely with the police to take possible offenders to court

If someone offers you paid driving or riding instruction and they aren't qualified, report it to DSA by:

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