From the Department of Health:
From From 1 October 2015, private vehicles must be smokefree if they are enclosed, there is more than one person present and one of them is under 18. So it will be an offence: for a person of any age to smoke in a private vehicle that is carrying someone who is under 18 for a driver (including a provisional driver) not to stop someone smoking in these circumstances The rules don’t apply to e-cigarettes."
New drivers definitely benefit if they take private practice with a friend or relative as well as taking professional driving lessons.
As a relative or friend it can be a bit daunting to supervise a learner - and the learner can find it stressful too!
Planning and information is the key, and RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) has put together a useful website with lots of useful tips and information:
At the moment, candidates can take the theory test in one of 19 foreign language voiceovers, and use interpreters on theory tests and practical tests. This will stop from 7 April 2014. Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, said:
"We want to make sure that all drivers have the right skills to use our roads safely and responsibly. One area where we can help ensure this is by requiring all test candidates to take the test in English or Welsh, the national languages. This will help to ensure that all new drivers will be able to understand traffic updates or emergency information when they pass their test. It will also help us to reduce the risk of fraud by stopping interpreters from indicating the correct answers to theory test questions."
A recent study by the Transport Research Laboratory released in October 2013 has recommended that teenagers wait a year longer than current before they are allowed to take their driving test.
The government is considering issuing only 12-month probationary licences at the age of 18 in a bid to cut accidents involving young motorists.
Usually, these reports get a lot of news coverage, but the report's recommendations don't get passed by government. Don't panic just yet :)
Be careful when you book your theory test. There are rogue sites out there which will book your theory test, and charge you more than the correct fee.
The theory test can be booked at the official site, and currently costs £25.00. Some sites will charge much more - typically £60.00 - for exactly the same service.
The official theory test site is at:
(Incidentally, there are similar scams when applying for driving licences, passports, and European health cards).