Page last updated at 20:35 GMT, Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Woman wins driving test fail case


A Ballynahinch woman is believed to have become the first person in Northern Ireland to challenge her driving test result in court and win.

Her instructor, Jim Miskimmin, said the woman failed over what lane she should have been in at one stage of the test in Downpatrick.

Mr Miskimmin advised her to take the case to court and the DVLA admitting liability and refunded her test fee.

By this stage the woman had already resat her test - and passed.

Mr Miskimmin said the woman initially failed because she was in the right-hand lane of the town's Ballydougan Road.

He said she thought she would be turning right towards the test centre but was then told to drive straight ahead.

However, he said the right-hand lane had both a straight-ahead arrow and a right-turn arrow on it and the woman safely moved over to the left lane when told which way she was to go.

The examiner said she should have been in the left-hand lane from the start.


"The highway code in this situation indicates that you use the left hand lane in a two-lane situation unless road signs indicate otherwise.

"In this situation, the road signs do indicate otherwise, so she was committing no offence whatsoever by staying in the right-hand lane," he said.

"I was fairly confident (the case would win) because they would have to change the highway code for me to fail in this."

In a statement the DVLA said: "Having considered the individual circumstances of the case it appears that the candidate may have needed clearer instruction at this particular stretch of road.

"In the circumstances, a sympathetic view was taken of this individual case and the decision was taken to refund her fee.

I know of others and I've spoken to others since that and the same thing has happened to them, but they have just let it go
Jim Miskimmin, driving instructor

"Circumstances in which the result of a driver test can be challenged are relatively narrow and relate solely to the proper conduct of the test and not to the examiner's discretion in assessing the standard of the candidate's driving."

Mr Miskimmin said he knew of other people who had failed their tests for the same reason.

"I know of others and I've spoken to others since that and the same thing has happened to them, but they have just let it go.

"It's quite possible there could be a knock-on with it," he said.

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