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Smoking before test could cost drivers their licence

by LLB Reporter
16th Aug 23 6:51 am

Learner drivers are losing thousands on doomed tests before they even get behind the wheel because their car isn’t up to scratch, data reveals. 

Motoring experts at Quotezone.co.uk are sharing some of the most unexpected reasons why Brits are struggling to get their licence and are encouraging learners to ensure their car meets the basic required standards. 

Forgetting ‘L’ plates, not having extra interior rear-view mirrors and smoking in the car before a test, all make the vehicle unsuitable for the examination. 

According to data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), almost 5,000 provisional drivers fail their test each year because their vehicle doesn’t meet the government’s basic required standards. 

With a driving test for cars costing £62 on average, candidates are wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds a year on tests they have no hope of passing.

Any car without a passenger seatbelt for the examiner, or a proper head restraint, simply won’t meet the required specifications. 

Learner drivers are already facing agonisingly long waits to sit their test around the UK, with delays of up to five months in certain regions.

Driving candidates must make sure they are fully prepared and that their car is up to the correct standards, or face the long wait for a retest.

Greg Wilson, CEO of Quotezone.co.uk said, “After paying for a test and waiting for months to sit it, it would be hugely disappointing to be given a fail before even getting in the car.

“Simple mistakes like forgetting to put ‘L’ plates up before heading to the test site could see drivers failed.

“Tax, insurance and an MOT might seem obvious preparations to most drivers but when you’re a learner driver and perhaps nervous about your big day, these items may not be on your radar. 

“Every year thousands of hopeful soon-to-be drivers are left frustrated because their vehicle isn’t fully prepared and up to the correct testing standards.” 

Quotezone.co.uk’s eight surprising reasons why you might fail your test before you begin:

No ‘L’ Plates

L plates, or D plates in Wales, must be placed on the front and rear of the car.


The official GOV website states that the car must be smoke-free which means that drivers about to sit their test cannot smoke before or during. This means strictly no cigarettes. Learners are also not allowed to smoke or vape in the vehicle during a lesson.

Not taxed

All vehicles must be taxed – if the car is not, the driver will fail their test and could be fined up to £1000, or five times the amount of tax owed. To check if your vehicle is taxed, go to the Gov website and enter the registration number.


All vehicles must have passed their MOT to ensure they are roadworthy and safe. To check the status of an MOT and when it runs out, you can enter the vehicle number plate into the GOV website. 

Not Insured

For a car to be legally allowed on the road, drivers must have insurance. This is to cover you in the event of an accident, or if anything, or anyone, is hurt or damaged. It also protects passengers in the car and the public. If taking the test in the instructor’s car, the cost of insurance will usually be included in the fee for using the car.

However, if using your car, or a family member or friend, then you’ll need to take out valid learner or provisional insurance.  Note if you pass your test, you’ll have to notify your insurance provider immediately and update your insurance or else your insurance will be invalid. 

Tyre damage 

To satisfy the practical driving test requirements all tyres must have the legal tyre tread depth, at least 1.6mm across the centre ¾ breadth of all four tyres, and there must also be no signs of damage. Tyre tread depth gauges can be purchased online or from the majority of vehicle maintenance shops. Also, be sure to check the tyre pressure as it will keep the car steady and stable while driving.


It is important to check the speedometer before the test – the car must be able to reach at least 62mph. The speedometer must also be in mph.

Passenger seatbelt and a passenger head restraint

It is essential to have a passenger seatbelt and head restraint for the examiner who is taking the test. Without these requirements, it would not be legal or safe for them to be in the car with you.

View mirror for the examiner

An extra interior rear-view mirror must be fitted for the driving examiner to use during the test, which can be purchased online.

No warning lights

There should be no warning lights showing on the car being used for a test. For example, if an airbag warning is showing the test will be cancelled and drivers could lose their fee. 

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