Terms of Business – Learner Drivers
These terms form a contract between us so it is important that you have read and understood the terms before starting lessons with me. If there is anything you do not understand, please ask me before you accept the terms (ideally at an introductory meeting, before your first driving lesson). I will ask for written confirmation (by email) that the terms have been read and accepted before you start your lessons.
1. Contract – The contract for driving lessons commences from the start of the first lesson until your lessons have permanently stopped (this will usually be at the end of the day you pass your practical driving test). If you wish to stop taking lessons permanently, for whatever reason, you may do so at any time (and no notice period is required).
All learners must read and accept these terms but, where a third party (e.g. parent/legal guardian/relative) has contacted me to arrange lessons on your behalf or is paying me directly for your lessons, they will also be provided with these terms and, if you are under 18, asked to accept the terms.
If I change my terms of business, while you are still taking lessons with me, I will provide you with an updated copy (and a summary of any changes) at least 28 days before they come into effect (and I may ask you to reconfirm your acceptance).
2. My Business Details – I am a self employed, independent driving instructor, operating under a franchise agreement with AA Driving School (AADS). I am registered as a sole trader under the name “Driving Lessons with Martin (Nottingham)” and can be contacted by phone (07980111234) or by email (email@example.com). Although I am contracted with AADS, this is purely for the arrangement of a fully maintained and serviced driving school car. Your contract for driving lessons is solely with me (for the duration of your lessons with me) and not with AADS.
3. Driving Licence – You must have a valid driving licence and produce the photocard version on or before your first lesson. Information about your entitlements to drive and any endorsements are not recorded on your photocard licence but this information is stored and available online via DVLA’s “View My Licence” service. If you have driven before, I will require you to access this service and provide me with a computer generated code (so that I can also view your entitlement to drive prior to your first lesson, using DVLA’s “Check Someone’s Licence” service). You must tell me of any changes (to entitlements or endorsements) during the course of your lessons with me.
4. Medical Fitness to Drive – You must check the list of notifiable medical conditions and advise me if you are suffering from any of the conditions listed, prior to your first lesson. It is your legal responsibility to report any notifiable medical conditions to DVLA but I may seek assurances from you that suitable action has been taken (e.g. that you have discussed the impact of a medical condition on driving with your GP and/or reported this to DVLA). While it remains your legal responsibility to be fit to drive at the time of any lesson (which includes checking that any medication you may be taking will not affect your ability to drive), I may cancel or curtail any lesson where I believe that you are not fit to drive (and especially if suspected to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs). I will also check that your eyesight meets the minimum requirements (being able to read a car registration plate from 20 metres) on or before your first lesson but may also periodically check this during your lessons. In addition, you must let me know if you suffer from any condition that may effect the way you learn (e.g. ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, anxiety issues etc) and advise me of any change in your health situation during your period of lessons.
5. Insurance & Liability – Providing that you have a valid driving licence and are medically fit to drive, you are covered by comprehensive motor insurance should you be involved in a collision whilst driving the tuition car. In addition to the car being insured, I have public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance (provided through my membership of Driving Instructors Association) but I am not liable for any losses that you may incur through circumstances outside of my reasonable control or outside of my legal duty (including, but not limited to, any business interest you have). While I will do my utmost to ensure that your driving is always within the law, the driver is legally responsible for any breaches of the Highway Code and any resultant penalty points/fines and it is my legal duty to report the name of the driver in the event of any incident to any interested party (e.g. the Police, insurance company, any other affected road user).
6. Payments – Prices will be agreed with you (or the person paying me) prior to taking lessons and you will not be subject to any price increases for at least 12 months, providing that you are having regular lessons, with the exception of breaks for holidays (including university holidays). If there is a break in lessons of more than a month, for any other reason, any price increase will apply when resuming lessons. Unless agreed with me in advance, all lessons must be paid for by no later than the end of the lesson, using a method of payment agreed with me. One off sessions (e.g. a refresher session, mock test, motorway lesson) must be paid for at the time of booking (by bank transfer).
7. Refunds of Pre-Paid Lessons – If a block of discounted, pre-paid driving lessons is not fully used, lessons already taken will be recalculated at the PAYG price and any balance will be refunded to you, on request. However, if the reason for no longer needing to take lessons is that you have passed your test (after learning to drive with me), any unused portion of a discounted block booking will be fully refunded to you (or put towards any post test lessons e.g. Pass Plus course).
8. Availability for Lessons – Your availability for lessons will be discussed and assessed prior to your first lesson. Any changes in your availability or any planned breaks in your lesson plans should be notified to me at the earliest opportunity. If there is any change in your availability or any unexpected break from lessons, I will do my best to accommodate your new requirements but it may not be possible for me to continue providing lessons for you. Where there is a clash of requests for the same day/time, booking priority is given to people who usually have a lesson at that time followed by people who have purchased a block of lessons and then other PAYG learners who have regular (at least weekly) lessons. I will share my availability with you and notify you of any planned absences (e.g. holidays), with as much notice as possible.
9. Booking/Confirming Lessons – Booking lessons is subject to my own availability, which can vary from week to week (e.g. affected by the timing of driving tests booked by other pupils). Where lessons are held at the same time on the same day each week, the next lesson will usually be confirmed in the car at the end of each lesson (or an alternative option discussed, if the usual slot is not available). Where lessons are held at different times or on different days or can not be confirmed in the car, for whatever reason, the date/time of the next lesson will be proposed by text message (or using the WhatsApp or Facebook messaging service, if preferred) and will be reserved for you for 24 hours, awaiting your confirmation. If you do not confirm the booking, the slot will become available for others.
10. Cancelled Lessons – My approach to cancellation charges is that any lesson cancelled by you, due to illness, will NOT be subject to any charge providing that you provide prior notification (by text message or phone call), at least 1 hour before the scheduled start time. Similarly, if I am unwell and not fit enough to provide a lesson, I will give you at least 1 hour’s notice (or, if my car develops a fault, I will advise you as soon as I can) and rearrange the lesson as soon as I am able to resume work. If either of us need to cancel a lesson for any other reason (e.g. due to a change of work, school, college or university schedule), at least 48 hours notice must be given. If you fail to provide the minimum notice (1 hour for illness or 48 hours for any other reason) or do not show up for a lesson, a cancellation charge of the full cost of the session will apply and, in the event of repetitive cancellations (where three or more lessons have been cancelled, for whatever reason), consideration will be given to stop providing lessons.
If a practical driving test is cancelled on the day of the test by the DVSA (e.g. due to the absence of an examiner or industrial action), a full charge will be made (as you will be able to claim costs from the DVSA). However, if the test is cancelled due to weather conditions, you will not be able to claim from the DVSA. In those circumstances, I will not charge you, if the pre-test lesson is also cancelled, but a charge for the pre-test lesson will be made if that lesson is not cancelled.
If you are likely to be late for your lesson, please text me as soon as you know. Likewise, although I am a very punctual person, sometimes unexpected traffic can cause me to arrive slightly later than planned. In this case, I will contact you (to advise you) and, where possible, extend the lesson so that the lesson continues for the full scheduled time (or, if not, round up the time to the nearest 15 minutes and extend the following lesson accordingly).
11. Conduct in Lessons – I aim to create a safe and friendly environment in the car, in which learning can take place, and have agreed to abide by the DVSA’s voluntary Code of Practice and the Driving Instructor’s Association’s (DIA) Code of Conduct (both available on request).
Mobile phones must be switched off or on silent mode during the lessons. If your phone rings during the lesson or, exceptionally, if a phone call is required to be made, the car will need to be parked and the lesson will be temporarily suspended until ready to resume again. Please note that, legally, hand held phones can only be used when the car is parked and the engine is switched off.
My car is equipped with dual controls, which I will operate where verbal instruction is neither a timely nor an appropriate option, to ensure that you do not break a law (e.g. speeding or not stopping at a red traffic light or pedestrian crossing) or where actions would create a serious safety issue for either ourselves or others (e.g. emerging unsafely into a road or getting too close to parked cars). I may also use them to help prevent inconvenience to other road users or avoid you becoming too stressed in a particular situation (e.g. stalling at a busy junction) or to demonstrate an aspect of driving. If I do take control, I will explain what I have done and why I have done it. While I aim to avoid any physical contact during lessons, taking control of the steering wheel, gears or handbrake may result in inadvertent, brief physical contact with your hand or arm. If there is a need to frequently take control, we will review whether the plan of lessons is appropriate or if there is an underlying area of learning to focus on. You will probably make many mistakes during the course of your lessons, while you are developing your knowledge or capabilities, and this is an expected part of the learning process. However, displaying a disregard for road safety (e.g. a tendency to frequently drive faster than is legal, suitable or instructed) or showing an inappropriate attitude towards me or to other road users, will result in serious consideration given to curtailing a specific lesson or ceasing future lessons.
12. Progress Review – I will maintain a record of your driving lessons, containing a summary of your progress, in your Driver Record. In your first few lessons, we will discuss how your progress will be measured and monitored and the best way for you to receive feedback during your lessons (and we will review this approach periodically, to ensure that it suits your learning style). Please be aware that every learner makes mistakes while learning to drive. Making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process and provides a key opportunity to check understanding and discuss any gaps in knowledge or difficultly in applying driving skills. Discussion and feedback given, following any mistakes made, will always aim to be constructive and focus on developing skills and measuring progress and should not be viewed as personal criticism.
13. Use of the Tuition Car for the Practical Test
(i) My driving school car is only made available to learners registered with me who have had at least 10 lessons with me and are actively having regular (at least weekly) lessons with me.
(ii) The practical test should only be booked, in consultation with my availability, once I have agreed that you have reached (or are close to reaching) test standard and a lesson plan has been agreed (leading up to the date of the test).
(iii) I reserve the right to withdraw the use of my driving school car for the practical test, where I do not believe that you are appropriately prepared to pass a test (i.e. planned lessons have not taken place, after booking a test, or you have not progressed to the stage of driving independently or safely, without frequent intervention or significant support), but I will advise you of any such decision at least 3 working days before the day of the test (so that you are able to rearrange/cancel the test without losing the DVSA fee).
(iv) I allocate 2.5 hours for the test day. One hour is required for the test itself (including waiting time), one hour for a pre-test lesson and 30 minutes to drive you home (or to an agreed drop off point) and discuss the result afterwards. The cost is structured to reflect a reward for loyalty and reliability, as follows:-
- For learners who have had less than 15 hours of lessons with me, the 2.5 hour test day session will be charged at 2.5 x my standard hourly rate.
- For learners who have had more than 15 hours but less than 25 hours of lessons with me, a charge equivalent to the price of a two hour lesson is applied.
- For learners who have had more than 25 hours of lessons with me, a charge will only be made for the one-hour pre test lesson (i.e. the use of the car on the test will be free).
- For learners who have had more than 25 hours of lessons with me AND have never cancelled a lesson, the entire test day session is free of charge (as a reward for loyalty and reliability).
- Please note that a £15 supplement will be applied if a test is arranged for a Saturday or Sunday if lessons are usually taken during the week (Monday to Friday).
14. Trust & Confidentiality – As trust is an important aspect in any relationship, I am committed not to share details of your progress with others and any personal information you choose to share with me during the course of your lessons will remain confidential. However, where lessons are being paid for by a third party (e.g. a parent) and where the person paying for lessons has expressed an interest in your progress, I will seek your permission to share an overview of your progress with them but will also expect you to be updating them on a regular basis, in more detail.
While I may, on occasion, refer to a situation that another learner has encountered, this will be purely to illustrate a situation that you may face yourself (as part of your learning process) and will not involve divulging the name or identity of any other learner. If you personally know of any other learner who has had (or is still having) lessons with me, I will not discuss their lessons with you (or discuss your lessons with them) or mention any situation that they have faced that might identify them.
16. Complaints – Nothing in these terms affects any statutory rights you may have as a consumer. In the event that you are unhappy with any aspect of your driving lessons with me, you should discuss the situation with me immediately in the first instance. In the unlikely event that any concerns raised with me are not resolved between us, you may wish to contact your local Trading Standards office or DVSA.
17. Law – These terms and conditions are governed by the laws of England and Wales and subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.
Version: Learner Drivers – 2019 (1)
Note: This version of my terms has been updated in October 2018 and applies with immediate effect to all learners except those actively taking lessons with me before 1st November 2018 (for whom they will take effect from 4th January 2019).