We have been asked by members over the last week to clarify the legal and regulatory implications of continuing to deliver on-road training at this time. Here is DIA’s current understanding and advice:
- It is Government advice that on-road and in-vehicle training is suspended in England between 5 November and 2 December to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the NHS.
- All theory and practical testing activity has also been suspended by DVSA.
- However, in answer to direct requests for further guidance on this issue from our membership, there is no specific reference to a restriction on driver or rider training in The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020. This statutory instrument was passed by Parliament and came into force on 5 November 2020. In this same instrument it is stated that education and training should continue, provided it is delivered in compliance with wider guidance designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
- With reference to restrictions on travel, current Government guidance states that:
- If you live in England, you must stay at home and avoid travel in the UK or overseas, unless for work, education or other legally permitted reasons. If you need to travel you should look to reduce the number of journeys if possible.
- However you can and should still travel for a number of reasons, including:
- travelling to work where you cannot work from home
- travelling to education and for caring responsibilities
- Car sharing. Government guidance states that:
“If you are car sharing then you must not share the car with someone from outside your household or your support bubble unless your journey is undertaken for a legally permitted reason. For example, if car sharing is reasonably necessary as part of your work.”
- While we are acutely aware of the continuing impact of lockdowns on the industry, it is DIA’s advice that members should follow current government guidance. This will help mitigate the spread of infection and protect the NHS.
- We advise that members who choose to continue to deliver training at this moment do so under their own advisement, and at their own risk.
- We would strongly urge members to check with their insurers as to whether any policies related to their training business are impacted by this latest lockdown and Government advice.
- DIA has sought advice from the providers of our professional indemnity and public liability insurance as to whether the latest Government advice on driver and rider training impacts cover. Our insurers have responded that they will continue to provide cover where members are operating within the regulations and within a COVID-19 safe environment. If it is government advice, but not in legislation or regulation, then insurers will continue to support that position.
- We have asked DVSA for clarification as to whether there would be any action taken by the Registrar to remove trainers who ignore this Government advice that training should be suspended. DVSA’s response below:
“Enforcement of COVID rules is a police matter. The position remains, if an ADI or a motorcycle instructor is convicted of an offence the ADI or CBT Registrar will take all the circumstances into consideration when deciding whether or not they are a fit and proper person to remain on the register of instructors.”
- DIA is currently not clear as to what the basis of any police enforcement would be, as it seems challenging due to a lack of a specific legal or regulatory restriction on driver or rider training, or driving for work in this context. We are seeking further clarification from the relevant regulatory and enforcement authorities.
For more information, NASP has published further guidance in the form of a series of FAQs, with responses provided by DSVA to the key questions and challenges we had to put to them following the publication of their guidance on 6 November. These FAQs included questions such as the implications of continuing to teach in-vehicle at this time – click here for the FAQs.