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The motoring group’s survey of 19,000 members suggested nearly a quarter did not know it was illegal to use a mobile phone while out with a learner driver.
Nearly one in 10 respondents was unaware falling asleep was not allowed.
The law states that somebody supervising a learner driver is effectively in control of the car.
In one case a supervisor was jailed after the learner was involved in a crash that killed two people.
It said many learners benefited from time spent with more experienced drivers, but suggested short driving courses for supervisors might be needed.
The AA/Populus survey suggested drivers were also breaking the law by drinking, sending text messages, or failing to wear their glasses while on practice runs with learners.
Some 23% of respondents did not know they would be breaking the law by using a mobile phone while supervising a learner.
And 13% were unaware of the need to wear glasses if they used them when driving themselves, while 9% did not realise that falling asleep in the passenger seat was illegal.
A total of 4% of respondents who had supervised learners admitted breaking at least one of these laws. The figure rose to 22% among supervisors aged 21 to 24.
The president of the AA, Edmund King, said the issue was highlighted by a case in which a person who was supposed to be supervising was over the drink-drive limit.
“This is where the legal point is quite serious because you are actually deemed to be in control of the car, even when you’re supervising. And in fact there has been a case where tragically the learner driver actually had a crash, two people died and the supervisor was actually deemed responsible and actually went to jail.”
Learners who build on skills they gain in formal lessons by practising with family or friends have a better chance of passing their test and are likely to be safer behind the wheel.
“Yet drivers often lack confidence or don’t know their responsibilities when supervising learners.
“Many are passing on bad driving habits or even risking a run-in with the law.”
Road safety charity Brake said it wanted to see the minimum age for accompanying drivers raised to at least 25.
Katie Shephard from the charity said: “It is vital that learner drivers gain suitable supervised experience behind the wheel, to ensure their safety and the safety of other road users. Accompanying drivers should also be registered as ‘approved accompanying drivers’ by completing a questionnaire to prove their suitability, which could be checked by their insurer.”
Duncan Vernon, road safety manager for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said there was “no doubt” those who supervised learner drivers would benefit from being given more information about how best to teach.
“All-round good practice should involve better co-ordination with approved driving instructors, as well-planned private practice can be invaluable,” he said.
“It gives the novice more experience in all kinds of conditions, thereby reducing the risk of them being involved in a crash once they have passed their test.”
Driving test pass rates continue to rise in the UK with 2013/14 recording the highest level of test passes for seven years, according to Department for Transport (DfT) figures. In total, 47.1 per cent of learner drivers taking their driving test passed, although the total number of tests actually conducted is falling.
The drop off in driving tests taken might be because learning to drive is an expensive business. Those who are determined to learn to drive are under growing pressure to pass first time and as soon as possible to avoid the cost of extra lessons and another test.
So what are your chances of passing your driving test? We’ve analysed the data to find out who, where and when has the best driving test pass rates, plus how much you should expect to pay to get your full driving licence.
Prospective motorists have to shell out £50 just to get their provisional licence these days, but that’s just the start.
Driving lessons cost on average £24 per hour and the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) reckons the average number of lessons you’ll need to pass is 47.
The theory test will set you back £23, while the practical car test costs £62 (£75 weekend & Bank holidays)
Add all this together and drivers are forking out more than £1,250 for the privilege of getting behind the wheel.
It’s all about location and according to the figures the more rural the better for your chances in the practical driving test. Remote locations in Scotland are your best bet with Gairloch – a small village in the Scottish Highlands – returning a driving test pass rate of 93.8 per cent with just one of the 16 people taking a test last year failing.
Clearly, travelling to remote parts of Scotland isn’t practical so where else is best? Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria has the highest pass rate outside of Scotland – 65.5 percent – followed by Whitby, North Yorkshire – 65.4 per cent.
The test centre where you’re least likely to pass is Belvedere, London where almost 70 per cent go home empty handed. Last year that accounted for 1,131 drivers needing to resit the test.
The theory test pass rate has fallen dramatically over the past few years as the DVSA has tightened up on revision guides and questioning. Back in 2007, nearly two-thirds of drivers passed the theory test, but now that’s down to 51 per cent.
That’s better than the practical driving test pass rate, but not significantly. The theory test is certainly less unpredictable than the practical exam, but still requires a degree of practice, both in memorising the relevant signage and learning the Highway Code rules. Then there’s the challenge of applying your road safety knowledge in the recently revamped hazard perception test.
Women are better at passing the theory test while men are better at the practical according to DfT annual figures. For the past six years there’s been a six percentage point difference between men and women passing the theory test, although numbers for both genders are falling. Last year, 54 per cent of women passed while only 48 per cent of men did so.
This is flipped for the practical exam with the gap, surprisingly, the same. 50 per cent of men passed their test in 2013/14 while just 44 per cent of women did. The split of men and women taking the test was around 50-50 for both the practical and theory tests.