Can I Appeal a Driving Test?

Whether you can appeal a driving test depends upon your reason for doing so; but generally the answer is no!

Understandably, when drivers fail the test it’s always going to be a disappointment. They may not be happy about the way in which the examiner has assessed their driving; but who is in the best position to judge?

appeal a driving testExaminers are experienced drivers, some of them with many years’ experience as drivers and driving instructors. They may also have spent many years conducting driving tests. When you’re out on the road with them, they are impartial observers, trained to look out for certain things and how to assess them. They’re not the bag of nerves that you probably are!

As a driving instructor, when I questioned pupils after their tests; most of them couldn’t remember where they had been, let alone what they had done. Then sitting in the back of the car to witness their driving, I often saw them make mistakes that were quite out of character. And again, when later questioned they later didn’t realise that they had made those mistakes.


When you are under the pressure of test nerves, you will probably make mistakes that don’t normally happen. And you will not always be totally aware of what’s going on around you.

But your examiner will. Because of their experience and training, their judgement will always be far superior to that of a novice driver. In essence, they are an expert witness. And once they make a decision no-one can change it, not even a court of law.

The only appeal that you can make, is if you feel that the examiner did carry out the test correctly. For instance:

  • Was the on-road part shorter than the regulated minimum of 30 minutes?
  • Did you carry out all the required manoeuvres?
  • Was your examiner pleasant and courteous?

Even if you didn’t get on with your examiner, this in itself is not a basis for appeal. You must be able to prove that their manner was not as it should be. And you could probably only do that if you had your driving instructor in the back of the car with you as a witness.

So generally there is little that you can do to appeal a driving test. Even if you’re not happy about the result. Plus, it’s always better to wait until you have had time to calm down and think about things. Even if you can prove that a genuine mistake was made by the examiner however, you cannot get the result of the test changed. The best you could hope for if you have a genuine reason to appeal the test, would be to get a free re-test.



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