Your Driving Examiner

The roll of a driving test examiner is a challenging one. Of the tests conducted each day, an examiner will experience gleeful joy, disappointment, sometimes tears and occasionally abuse from test candidates.

Common questions asked about your driving examiner answered.
Common questions asked about your driving examiner answered.

It’s one of those jobs where you simply can’t please everyone all of the time. Here we attempt to answer some of the most common questions asked and comments made about your driving examiner.

Driving Test Examiners are Unfriendly

Working for the public sector, examiners are trained and expected to demonstrate a professional and courteous demeanour to all test candidates. Many examiners do however tend to act impartially towards test candidates which by some, could be misconstrued as being unfriendly.

Some examiners are a little more approachable, ‘warm’ and friendlier than others, but in general when taking your driving test, you should expect professionalism and politeness from your examiner, but don’t expect them to be your friend.

Can You Refuse a Driving Test Examiner?

Generally no. If you were to attend a driving test booking and refuse to take the test with the allocated examiner you would lose your test fee and not be able to sit the test, you cannot request a different examiner.

The only exception to this is if you and the examiner assigned to your test booking are friends or family members. In this instance, the test may be transferred to another examiner if possible. If you do have issues with a particular examiner, and you feel that you have sufficient reasons for your test to not be conducted by this person, contact the DVSA in advance of your test date and explain the reasons why. The DVSA will look into it further.

Driving Test Stopped by Examiner

Driving tests that are stopped by the examiner don’t occur too often. It’s not a situation that you would like to find yourself in, particularly if you’re miles away from the test centre. These are the reasons that a driving test may be stopped by the examiner:

  • Documents – If you forget to take along identification document such as your driving licence, the test will stop before it even starts. See what to take to a driving test.
  • Eyesight check – Before you drive the vehicle, the examiner will conduct a basic eyesight test. Fail this and the test goes no further.
  • No valid tax or MOT – If the examiner suspects that the vehicle does not have valid tax and/or MOT, they will attempt to validate this. The test will only be stopped if there’s clear evidence that the vehicle does not have valid tax and/or MOT.
  • Vehicle defects – Dashboard (fault) warning lights, seat belts, vehicle defects that might be deemed unsafe or defective tyres can also see the test terminated.
  • Dangerous driving – If the examiner feels that the standard of driving by the test candidate is a risk to public safety, the test will be stopped. This could take place away from the test centre. In this instance, the examiner and test candidate will be driven back to the test centre by the accompanying driver / ADI. If an accompanying driver is not present, the examiner will ask the test candidate if they would like to walk with them back to the test centre. The test candidate does not have to oblige.
  • Threatening attitude – If the test candidate exhibits a threatening attitude towards the examiner, the test will be terminated.

Can Driving Examiners Change Their Mind?

No, the examiner’s decision is final. You can however appeal your driving test result, but if you are successful, you will receive a free retest and not a test pass.

Can I complain about the Driving Examiner?

Yes you can complain about an examiner if you feel they haven’t followed the regulations correctly and that they failed you unfairly. You’ll not be able to contest the result of the test but if your appeal is successful, you’ll receive a test booking for free. For driving test complaints, contact the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). For further information, see appeal a driving test.

Will the Examiner Fail me if I stall the Car?

It is possible, but it really depends on how often you stall, whether you stall the car in a hazardous place and how well you recover from it. It’s a little too complex to cover in a short paragraph, but you can read a full explanation by reading Can you fail a driving test for stalling?

Driving Examiners With Bad Attitude

Driving test examiners are trained to a high standard and one of the four core competencies is ‘customer service’. This area of training focuses on how they interact with test candidates from the tone of their voice, body language, how they look at test candidates and a test candidates personal space – even down to car seating position. When dealing with the public, it’s easy for communications whether verbal or non-verbal and an individual’s attitude to be misinterpreted. Examiners are specifically trained in this area and are continuously assessed throughout their career.

When taking your driving test, you should expect professional and polite conduct from the examiner and upon meeting the examiner for the first time, it’s important that you are to be greeted pleasantly as this sets the ‘tone’ for the test ahead.

However, examiners aren’t there to be your friend and for the test to be conducted fairly, examiners tend to adopt an impartial demeanour which by some may come across as a tense and uncomfortable situation. Examiners are required to ensure that instructions are given clearly, in good time and that the test candidate is in no doubt what they need to do and where they need to go.

The above is what you should expect from your examiner, but if you feel that your examiner’s attitude extends beyond this, that it was generally bad or inappropriate, you may wish to consider complaining. You can either contact the driving test centre manager directly or complain to the governing body (DVSA) as detailed above.

Driving Examiners Giving Late Instructions

Examiners giving late instructions often in relation to a change of direction is an issue that many learner drivers complain about. There’s two possible options to consider here;

  1. The instructions provided by the examiner were not given late but were misconstrued by the test candidate as so. This really comes down to a matter of opinion, but it might also be worth considering that some test candidates understand and react to instructions in a way that perhaps isn’t ideal when under stressful conditions.
  2. The instructions provided by the examiner were given late and affected the outcome of the driving test. The reason for this could be that the examiner is temporarily assigned to this test centre and is not familiar with the test routes. Regardless, this does result in the examiner failing to follow the regulations correctly and could be cause for complaint. It’s always worth considering taking your driving instructor along on your test, at least for a second opinion on an issue such as this that may arise.

Can You Ask the Driving Examiner to Repeat?

Yes of course. It is the examiner’s duty to ensure instructions are clear and understood by the test candidate. If an examiner should have an issue with repeating instructions, they would be failing to follow regulation.

Do Driving Test Examiners Have a Quota?

No driving test examiners do not have a quota, but their pass rate and fail rate could be scrutinised by the DVSA if it’s either too high or too low when compared an acceptable average for that specific test centre.

Do Driving Test Examiners Fail You on Purpose?

If an examiner’s pass rate is too high or too low when compared to other examiners at the same test centre, you could argue that they might want to manipulate this, but that’s purely conjecture. In general, an examiner would have little reason to fail a test candidate on purpose.

How Much do Driving Test Examiners Earn?

Based on a 37 hour working week, a driving test examiner’s starting salary is £24,876. In some areas, there may be additional allowances of up to £4,000.

Should I Talk to the Driving Test Examiner?

Some learner drivers / test candidates feel that a little light chat eases their nerves, so providing that it doesn’t detract from your driving or concentration, then yes, talk to the examiner. However, the examiner isn’t obliged to engage in light chat, so you may not receive the desired response.

Driving Test Examiner Talking Too Much

On the other hand, some test candidates have complained that examiners simply talk too much about irrelevant topics to the point where it impacts the test candidates concentration. If you find that your examiner is waffling on a little too much, politely state that you require a little piece and quiet in order to concentrate.

8 thoughts on “Your Driving Examiner”

  1. Mr.Dor

    actually examiners need to be friendly,no body wants a hostile in their car. No thanks..
    i don’t mean close friends or even friends,just having a positive attitude.
    so no hostiles in my car..

  2. Mike

    Mr dor.

    Agreed however I’d recently failed my test and to be honest he made every attempt to be polite and in all honesty it would have been better to be quite and professionally conducted towards the experience.

    Reason for failed test according to examination was speeding I was doing 33 in a 50 and he claimed it was a bendy road and to dangerous to take at that speed regardless of legal road speed looking back he might have been right as I went back to the road in question and it was a bit fast however I had full control even doing 40 on second attempt I’ve not raised this with DVLA as I don’t think much will be done other than a refund so bit disappointing to know the powers are not able to be challenged. On the bright side I suspect in the future it will be better maybe with multiple instructors in the car at one time that way you can sort of get an average of the score and get an overall score or maybe with advancing technology a camera will capture everything and that goes to a governing body who will review it or something until then its just rebook and practice before hand


    My name ALEGRIA SAVIO. I test yesterday but unfortunately I’m not pass my driving test. So are anybody can help me I can get the notification letter about my test. Thank you.

  4. Don

    Today my examinator be so bad mood. Is makes stress for me before sitting in the car. And he’s been wrong in one decision. Looks like his have problem in the family and taking this problems in the work.

  5. pat

    my son took his second test today and failed the driving was good he failed it on the question about a give way my son stopped to check the road got back to the test centre, the examiner said you should have checked the road and you should have not stopped to me that’s wrong

  6. Hi Pat,
    That’s a difficult one because it might relate to a specific situation and/or a reoccurring issue throughout the test. When it comes to open road junctions – that are, T-junctions that are free from obstructions and that you can clearly see whether it’s safe to continue into the junction or whether you should stop, the examiner likely failed your son due to unnecessarily stopping.

    It’s always good to be cautious, but equally, effective observation is essential. Effective observations would allow a driver to assess the junction before they have reached the give way lines and to determine what action to take. Most test candidates fail at junctions due to pulling out when it’s unsafe to do so, but on the other end, being overly cautious and stopping unnecessarily also comes with its hazards.

    I assume that’s what the issue was. Junctions are where most tests are failed each and every year and it can be difficult to find that balance between being too cautious and heading into being careless.

  7. Mubina

    HI Driving examiner Mr Ron was excellent I had exam 2weeks ago in Sunday.I have passed very friendly examiner.Best wishes.

  8. “No, the examiner’s decision is final. You can however appeal your driving test result, but if you are successful, you will receive a free retest and not a test pass.”

    I think that comment is a little misleading for your readers. You correctly state that the examiner’s decision is final – which means that there is NO appeal against the result! The only case a complaint would be upheld is if it were proven that the test was not conducted according the regulations.

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