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Supervising a learner driver

The DVLA has clarified the rules governing the supervision of learner drivers of horseboxes and car/trailer combinations. From 6th April 2010 learner drivers of lorries between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes, vehicle and trailer combinations (and passenger vehicles for nine to sixteen people) will not be permitted to drive on public roads unless they are being supervised and accompanied by qualified driver.

A qualified driver is someone who has taken the necessary training and passed examinations, giving them a full driving licence for the category of vehicle in question.

Prior to this new ruling, drivers who passed their car driving test before January 1997 were granted an implied entitlement to drive lorries (up to 7.5 tonnes), minibuses and vehicle/trailers combinations. As a result of this entitlement these drivers were allowed to supervise learner drivers in these categories. Not so any more.

Under the new rules (effective from April 6th 2010) learner drivers must be supervised and accompanied by a qualified driver. The qualified driver must hold a licence for the category of vehicle being driven and must have held this licence for the required period of time – usually three years.

These changes will not affect anyone’s existing entitlement to drive C1 or D1 vehicles or vehicle plus trailer combinations.

Anyone, particularly in the training industry, who currently relies on implied entitlements and wants to continue to act as an accompanying driver after the change is introduced will need to pass the relevant driving test(s) before 6 April 2010. The DVLA will ensure that such people are already considered to meet the requirement relating to the length of time that the full licence must have been held – usually three years – from the date of the change.

If they pass the relevant driving test(s) and meet the appropriate medical standards after the 6 April 2010, they will have to wait until they have held their new entitlement for three years before they can act as the supervising driver.

Last updated: 27/11/2012
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