Dash cam usage is growing fast in the UK, with the AA estimating around a fifteen-fold increase in just four years. However, there are some conditions around where you can use them. One such instance concerns filming a driving test.
There are plenty of reasons why you may wish to film your practical test, but not all of them are valid. In this article, we’ll take a look at the rules regarding filming your test, and explain what is and isn’t possible.
Filming inside and outside the car
Let’s start off with the big question: are you allowed to film a practical test? The answer is yes… but only if you’re following the rules set out by the DVSA. These are more complex than you might be expecting, so buckle up!
Firstly, we’re paying attention to where you can film. We’re not talking about specific parts of town, though, but rather the inside and outside of the car you’re driving.
Filming the outside of your car is acceptable, provided you meet the conditions set out below. However, filming inside your car is never allowed. This prevents you from taking any covert footage of your driving test examiner! If you do choose to film your test, your dash cam mustn’t block your view, or that of your examiner.
Additionally, if your examiner feels that you’re not abiding by the rules, they may refuse to start the test until you’ve turned off the camera, or may stop the test partway through. In the worst case scenario, they could even end your test entirely, forcing you to pay out for a new one.
The video footage of your driving test is one thing. Next, you’ll have to consider the audio side of things.
As is the case with video, you aren’t allowed to record anything that goes on in the inside of your car. This prevents you from, for example, being able to record your examiner telling you which route to take.
There’s no specific rule regarding recording audio from outside of your vehicle. However, in the vast majority of cases, your dash cam will be placed inside the car. This means it won’t be in a position to record any sounds from outside!
We now know what you can and can’t record in terms of both video and audio. But let’s face it: the only reason you’d want to film a driving test in the first place is if you intended to do something with the footage.
As you may expect at this point, there are specific rules regarding this, too. The important thing to note here is that, when you’re filming, you’re likely to capture footage of people. This brings issues of consent into the mix, and means that you’ll need to think very carefully about what you do with your footage.
The clearest rule concerns driving examiners. You can’t upload any content to social media—be it audio, video or photo—by which you can identify a specific examiner. So, if you can tell an examiner’s voice, likeness or name from your footage, don’t share it.
Can you film a driving test to challenge your result?
There are plenty of things you can and can’t do regarding how you go about filming a driving test. We’ve also covered who can appear in the footage you take. You might not know, though, that there are restrictions on what you can use your video or audio content for.
One of the more surprising rules concerns appealing the result of your driving test. You might think that having dash cam footage on your side would help you to make your case in the event that your test was marked unfairly. However, the DVSA will not accept video or audio recordings used to challenge the result of a driving test.
This might seem to be unfair, but it’s a logical consequence of the rules above. Most of the grounds upon which you can appeal a driving test relate to an examiner’s conduct, and, as noted earlier, you’re not allowed to record the examiner. If you do want to challenge your result, check out our guide to appealing a driving test.
Can you film a driving test for insurance purposes?
At this point, you may be wondering if there’s any reason why you’d be allowed to use your dash cam during a test! As it so happens, though, there is a valid purpose: recording for insurance purposes.
Insurance is one of the key reasons why most drivers choose to get a dash cam in the first place, so it’s reassuring to see that this is okay with the DVSA. Hopefully, this is something that won’t come into play—but, in the event that a collision takes place, having video footage on your side can help to prove your innocence.
What about filming a test for media use?
Learning to drive remains the focus of media attention now as much as ever. In fact, with our roads and driving habits both changing fast, there’s plenty of interest in the practical test!
If you are hoping to use your footage for media use, then you’ll be pleased to learn that this is possible. You will, however, have to get permission from the DVSA before you hit record. If you’d like to apply, you’ll need to contact the DVSA using the details below.
So far, we’ve only looked at information regarding practical tests. However, the DVSA also has rules regarding filming a theory test.
Here, though, there’s no need to go in depth into conditions and caveats. The rule is simple: you cannot film a theory test. You may not take any photos or recordings while inside the test centre. No ifs, no buts!
Film a driving test: Dos and don’ts
We’ve reached the end of our look at filming a driving test! It’s now plain to see that things aren’t as clear cut as you may have expected. However, once you know the rules, you can make an informed decision as to whether or not to record your practical test. Here’s a rundown of the key dos and don’ts.
✓ Do film your test for insurance purposes
✗ Don’t film if you want to challenge your result
✓ Do record what’s happening outside of the car
✗ Don’t record anything going on inside—audio or video
✓ Do ask for an examiner’s permission before recording them
✗ Don’t upload any footage with identifiable individuals whose consent you don’t have
✓ Do get permission from the DVSA if you’re recording for media use
✗ Don’t record or take photos in a theory test centre (ever!)