THE owner of a Fylde coast driving school has called on learner drivers to pick quality instructors over price.
Lee Hill, who runs Hill Start Driver Training, based in Thornton and St Annes, said a huge increase in the number of driving instructors means more and more were discounting their prices in a bid to win market share.
Mr Hill said: “There are some people out there now charging outrageously-low prices and it decries the whole industry.
“People should be finding out about their instructor rather than going off price.
“Parents who have brought a child up for 17 years shouldn’t be opting for a driver who teaches people just to pass the test – they should pick someone who teaches them to drive carefully.
“The Driving Standards Agency urges people to have 45 hours of professional instruction – but some instructors are promising to get people through a test in 30 – before they’ve even met them or are aware of their abilities.”
Instructors are graded when they take their instructor test – with pass marks ranging from level four – a basic pass – to six – for those who demonstrated no significant weaknesses in their training ability.
He added: “Around seven per cent of instructors have a six and there’s a handful on the Fylde coast. But what’s important is to get background information, get word of mouth about the instructor, and find out if they passed first time and what grade they are.”
Darren Magrane of South Shore-based Darren’s Driving School agreed and said: “People should pick based on quality –that’s why we are graded. It can be easy to pick on price but that’s not right. There’s companies out there who are making it look not as professional as it was before.”
Official Department for Transport statistics show that in August this year in the UK, 126,891 people took tests, with 60,390 passing – a rate of 47.5 per cent.