Driving Examiner Abandoned Test

A driving test examiner may stop, terminate or even abandon (mid-test) a test for various reasons. It’s fairly rare, so if you’re a test candidate with a impending practical driving test, here are some typical reasons why a driving examiner might abandon a test.

Test Terminated Before the Drive

Some driving tests are terminated even before you get behind the wheel and start the engine. Reasons for this can include:

Licensing issues

Ensure that you take along the correct documents to your test. Most important is your licence. If it’s the older type, take along both the plastic card and the paper counterpart.

If you have lost either part of your licence, don’t risk it, order a new one (which doesn’t have a paper counterpart) in good time, before your test. Ensure also that your licence is not defaced in any way.

Eyesight Test

Another reason for driving test termination is the failure to read a number plate from the required distance (see driving test eyesight test for specifics). If you have a tape measure at home, you can run the test yourself. If you’re in any doubt about the quality of your vision, see an optician as soon as possible. If your eyesight is not up to standard, it may not only fail your test, but may result in legal issues whilst learning to drive.

Vehicle Issues

Legality and safety issues regarding the test car can see a test terminated. If you’re using a driving school’s car, then it’s usually safe to assume that it is legal and in appropriate condition for test procedures. Unfortunate situations can occur however, such as a blown light bulb on the way to a test for example. If an instructor cannot remedy the fault in good time, it’ll require the test be terminated.

If you’re using your own car, ensure the tyres are legal and free from any damage (see tyre tread depth), all lights are working, no engine warning lights (that represent a fault) are illuminated and that the vehicle has tax, an MOT (if applicable) and that you’re insured to use it. Also ensure that the vehicle is free from any damage or wear-and-tear that might represent a safety issue – both inside and out. For example, insecure body panels, cracked windscreen, faulty seat belt or headrest. See car for driving test for further details.

Test Abandoned Whilst On Drive

The examiner abandoning the test during the drive doesn’t happen too often, but if it does, it will be due to the following reasons:

Vehicle Issues

Again, vehicle issues may result in the examiner requiring that you pull over, turn the car off and terminate the test right where you are (providing you have parked legally). This is an unfortunate occurrence as even the best maintained car can become defective at any time. Any electrical or mechanical fault that causes the examiner concern for safety can result in termination of the test.

A driving examiner grabbing the steering wheel is a sign that the test isn’t going too well.

Test Candidate Issues

This falls into two categories, the first being the test candidates standard of driving. If the examiner feels that the standard of driving is putting themselves, the test candidate and other road users at risk, the examiner will ask the test candidate to pull over and stop the vehicle in a legal and safest place possible. This will not be due to typical faults made by learner drivers, but dangerous faults.

The second category is test candidate attitude. If a test candidate exerts an attitude that is offensive of threatening to the examiner, it’s possible that the examiner will abandon the test. The DVSA have been issued new powers to deal with abusive test candidates. This may involve a candidate being banned from test centres, being forced to have an extra member of staff in the car during a test and the potential of criminal prosecution.

What Happens When an Examiner Abandons a Test?

If a test is stopped away from the test centre, if there’s an accompanying driver / ADI and they offer to return the examiner back to the centre, the examiner will accept. If there is no accompanying driver, the examiner is unable to drive the vehicle back to the test centre due to insurance reasons. In this situation, it may be necessary for the examiner to walk. The examiner will suggest to the candidate that they may prefer to walk to the test centre with them, though this is for the candidate to decide.

6 thoughts on “Driving Examiner Abandoned Test”

  1. julia leahy

    If an examiner after less than 10 minutes, you fail a manouver i.e parallel parking, and nudge the curb, they direct you back to the test centre and end the exam. is this reasonable

  2. Hello Julia,
    Once you have failed the driving test (for any reason) the examiner directs you back to the test centre. This was introduced during the pandemic to minimise the amount of time you spend in close proximity with each other. I assume it will go back to normal at some stage.


    So service light came on while my son was on his test. Jenny karr the examiner (boy would I live to throttle her) (pensnett west mids) asked my son what it is. He’s not a diagnostic tool to under stand code 82 which just happens to be a service reminder gets him to pull over and terminates the test without any explanation or advice leaves my son their… Now being rude and unprofessional is one thing but not explaining what he has done or to do next left him scratching his head. He walked back to the centre where his grandad who cant walk short distances due to walking issues had to walk half a mile back to the car. How bloody unprofessional. A formal complaint will be made. Absolutely disgusting!

  4. Hi Wahid,
    Yes, I’ve experienced this before, with young girls taking their test. Examiner simply gets out the car and walks back to the test centre leaving the young lady in tears with no idea of what to do. I understand that there may be reasons to abandon the test, but under no circumstances should they simply leave the test candidate on their own, in charge of a vehicle. Highly unprofessional indeed and even more so for a service reminder light.

  5. Teresa

    Examiner refused test as said car was dirty. It had been washed, windows & mirrors cleaned inside & out, doors, dash cleaned and covid wipes used, mats washed. The carpets were not spotless but mats were on top. We had a hat on the back seat and a box of coke in rear footwell and was putting it in the boot. She said don’t bother as the car is dirty so I’m cancelling test. Just wondered if I should complain or am I in the wrong? We were using our own car but it’s not brand new (10yr old but up together. I appreciate everyone has different standards but this seems very harsh. Thanks in advance

  6. Hi Teresa,
    It really comes down the the examiner’s word against yours and the DVSA usually side with the examiner. It does seem rather harsh, particularly if you cleaned it as you did. You can email the DVSA (customerservices@dvsa.gov.uk) and complain about the examiner. Explain how you cleaned the car and take photos of the vehicle.

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