8th July 2024

Advice for learner drivers

Consumer Tips

Do you, or someone you know, currently have a provisional Jersey driving license?

We’ve recently been contacted by a local consumer asking us to investigate why they are only valid for six months. They thought this seemed like too short window in which to take a test before you have renew it – particularly given that a large proportion of those taking tests are teenagers who are still in education and doing exams, so fitting driving lessons in and getting a test done within just six months could prove difficult.

We carried out a comparison with other jurisdictions and found the following:

Jurisdiction     Fee        Valid for

IOM                    £14       1 year – can have 2 licenses then discretionary

Guernsey           £45       10 years – two years to take your test

Jersey                £30        6 months – renewal discretionary

UK                     £34       10 years - two years to take your test

As the provisional license system is a parish issue, we asked Mike Jackson, the Chairman of Comité des Connétables – who set the guidelines for provisional driving licenses – why Jersey has such a short window.

Here’s what he said:

“Thank you for your enquiry asking why the Jersey provisional licence is only valid for six months as other jurisdictions, for example Guernsey, the Isle of Man and the United Kingdom, granted a provisional licence for a longer period. We note the short length has been queried as your received comment that many learner drivers are teenagers still in education and fitting lessons and a test around examinations is “sometimes difficult”.

Article 11 of the Road Traffic (Jersey) Law 1956 permits a provisional licence to be granted “to learn to drive a motor vehicle with a view to passing a test”. The tests assess a person’s competence to drive and are important for the road safety of all road users, both vehicular and pedestrian. A provisional licence may be renewed though Article 11 provides that it may be refused if it appears to the parochial authority that the applicant does not intend to submit to the test within a reasonable time.

The tests comprised -

  • Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) for motorbikes and mopeds (valid indefinitely)
  • Theory test including hazard perception – category specific (pass certificate valid indefinitely but invalid if the holder was disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence to drive)
  • Practical driving test – category specific (pass certificate enabled the holder for a period of 5 years from the date of issue to obtain a licence)

The Comité understands that there is adequate availability for booking and sitting a test and that the Driver and Vehicle Standards Department now has three dedicated officers to assess practical driving. The current timescales and fees for test bookings are:

  • 3 to 4 weeks for CBT (fee of £153);
  • 3 weeks for a theory test (fee £39.50) and
  • 4 to 6 weeks for a practical test (fee £58.50).

As there appears to be adequate availability to enable a provisional licence holder to take a relevant test (or, indeed, all tests for the category) within the validity period of the provisional licence, the Comité considers the six-month validity period is appropriate. A person should apply for a provisional licence at a time when they are able to learn to drive and study for the tests rather than as soon as they reach the age to drive.”


Our advice

We advise learner drivers and parents of children coming up to 17 years of age, to think carefully before rushing to apply for a provisional license as soon as their 17th birthday arrives.

If your child has a birthday early on in the school year, perhaps wait until nearer the school holidays to give them the best chance to fit in their driving lessons alongside school and studies, and not have to apply for a license renewal.

Shop around for your driving lessons and insurance. With driving lessons averaging at around £42 to £45 per lesson, and insurance costs continuing to rise, it’s good to give this some thought before committing to it all too early.