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Find out how to recognise Illegal Instructors

Section 123 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 prohibits drivers from receiving payment in monetary terms, or money's worth for providing driving instruction, unless they have passed the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) demanding three-part instructors test.

 All licensed driving instructors have to by law display an appropriate licence clearly in the front windscreen of their car (or your car if you are using it) whilst they are providing paid tuition. The licence will be either pink with a triangle on it, which denotes that the instructor is a trainee. Or it will be green with an octagon on it which donates a fully qualified driving instructor; these shapes will be visible from the outside of the car.

Both the pink and green licence are of a hard plastic and measure 10.5cms by 10.5cms.
They have a valid date on them and a unique instructor number. As well as a photograph of the instructor that is less than 4 years old on the reverse side.


The number of Potential Driving Instructore who actually go on to pass the qualifing 3rd Part of the test to become an ADI  remains low at just 30% pass rate. The figure for this can be clarified via the Department of Transport figures released for 2011.

Instructors can be charged up to £1000 for not displaying a badge therefore there is no reasonable excuse not to display it.

If you do not see a badge displayed then do not be afraid to ask why.  Even instructors working for big companies need to display their badge as the badge is unique to the instructor and not the school.

The DSA ensures all its registered Instructors are CRB checked for your safety. Illegal driving instructors will not have passed the CRB check therefore you could be at risk.

You therefore also need to ask the following

  • Do they have the appropriate instructor insurance?
  • Are they teaching you modern methods of driving?
  • And are they being honest with YOU?
  • Are they taking you for a ride?

Don't pay for lessons until you know your instructor is legal.

Cheap lessons may indicate illegal instruction.

If you have any doubts about whether a driving instructor is teaching legally call the DSA on 02920 581155      

The Driving Standards Agency is the government agency responsible for the running of the ADI register and conducting the driving tests. All reported cases of suspected illegal instruction are investigated by working closely with the Police bringing prosecution wherever possible.

Driving instructors need to pass qualifying examinations which include theory, own driving ability and teaching skills.  Only 3 attempts are allowed this is why when many fail they resort to teaching illegally.

If an offer of paid driving instruction is made to you, by someone who is not a qualified ADI, please report it to the DSA fraud and integrity team by:

  • phone on 029 2058 1155 (during office hours)
  • phone on 029 2058 1290 (out of hours)
  • sending an email to: integrity.team@dsa.gsi.gov.uk All information you provide to the DSA will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Please be vigilant and report anything suspicious.  Thankyou.



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