A learner must be supervised by a passenger that meets the legal requirements, but in terms of other passengers, yes, a learner driver can learn to drive with passengers in the car.
There seems to be a misconception that a learner can only drive with the supervising passenger, when in fact a lesson can be taken with as many people that the vehicle can legally hold.
I was recently emailed by a disgruntled supervising parent who was ordered to stop by the police and dictated to on the illegalities of teaching a learner driver whilst having passengers in the rear of the vehicle.
After a failed attempt at arguing his case to the police, he sought further advice on the matter, ultimately gaining written confirmation from the DVSA that he was not conducting any illegal activities. This is now also confirmed on the gov.uk website.
Legal Requirements of the Supervising Passenger
A learner driver can receive supervision from anyone that is:
- at least 21 years of age.
- a full licence holder of the same transmission type of vehicle that you are learning to drive in –
- If you are learning in a vehicle with manual gears, the supervising passenger must have a full and valid licence to drive cars with a manual transmission.
- If the supervising passenger has a licence for manual vehicles, they can also legally supervise a learner in an automatic vehicle.
- A supervising passenger with an automatic licence only, cannot supervise a learner in a manual car.
- a full licence holder for three or more years (from countries in the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA).
EU and EEA Countries
EU countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
As the driver of the vehicle, you are responsible and therefore it’s important that your supervising passenger is legally entitled to supervise. Learners who are driving on public roads without the correct supervision may face a fine of up to £1000 and 6 penalty points on their provisional driving licence.
Taking Passengers Whilst Learning to Drive
During the early stages of learning, it’s best to drive with yourself and the supervisor only. This will avoid unnecessary distractions and allow the learner to focus their attention on the task at hand.
Teaching Someone to Drive
If you intend on teaching someone to drive, you can use a similar curriculum to those that qualified instructor use along with a record of training that can be downloaded and printed. See: Teach someone to drive.