5. Disqualification until a test is passed

Guideline users should be aware that the Equal Treatment Bench Book covers important aspects of fair treatment and disparity of outcomes for different groups in the criminal justice system. It provides guidance which sentencers are encouraged to take into account wherever applicable, to ensure that there is fairness for all involved in court proceedings.

Where an offender is convicted of dangerous driving, the court must order disqualification until an extended driving test is passed.

The court has discretion to disqualify until a test is passed where an offender is convicted of any endorsable offence. Where disqualification is obligatory, the extended test applies. In other cases, it will be the ordinary test (Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, s.36).

An offender disqualified as a ‘totter’ under the penalty points provisions may also be ordered to re­take a driving test; in this case, the extended test applies.

The discretion to order a re-test is likely to be exercised where there is evidence of inexperience, incompetence or infirmity, or the disqualification period is lengthy (that is, the offender is going to be ‘off the road’ for a considerable time).