Guernsey motorists legally allowed to drive with foreign licence despite failing local test

  • ITV News reporter Roisin Gauson looks at Guernsey's current law around driving licences

Motorists in Guernsey can legally drive on a foreign licence even if they fail an on-island test multiple times.

Currently, anyone who moves to Guernsey has a year before they need to switch their driving licence, regardless of where they took their test.

People with a full driving licence which has been issued by a country that does not have an exchange agreement with Guernsey must then apply for a local licence and take a theory and practical test.

However, if they apply early and fail the test then they can still legally drive on their original licence for up to the end of this grace period.

An experienced instructor is now calling for this to be changed to make the roads safer and the process fairer.

Dave Sheppard explained: "I think it frustrates all the examiners that they can fail somebody and yet watch them drive off into the sunset legally – it’s just wrong. If you fail your test, you fail your test.

"If that driving examiner deems them to be dangerous there should be something in place to say they’ve revoked that right to carry on driving, because it is dangerous."

Dave Sheppard has been a driving instructor in Guernsey for 15 years and described the current law as "just wrong". Credit: ITV Channel

Dilip Kumar moved to Guernsey in 2019 and has spent around £6,000 on driving lessons, tests and a car over the last two years.

Because Dilip's original licence was issued in India and he has overstayed the island's one-year grace period, he needs to take a new test.

He has failed the practical part of the exam twice but will soon be attempting it for a third time.

Dilip added that taking a driving test in Guernsey is very different to New Delhi, which he explained is not carried out on roads.

Dilip said: "In India, to obtain the license it's a very easy process. I think that’s why they [States of Guernsey Driver & Vehicle Licensing] don’t allow us to exchange the license.

"[In Guernsey] it’s quite a fair system when they review your driving on the road. It’s quite good because as a driver you need to be safe for yourself and for the other road users, so that’s quite fair and I’m very happy."

Dilip said driving tests are very different in India and he can understand why it is not part of Guernsey's licence exchange agreement. Credit: ITV Channel

Lead Officer for Guernsey's Traffic and Highway Services, Colin Le Page, said: "The theory and practical driving tests can be taken as many times as required within the one-year period and in the meantime the individual can still drive on a valid full foreign driving licence.

"If the individual does not pass both their theory and practical test in Guernsey before the one-year period ends, they will only be able to drive on their Guernsey provisional driving licence under the supervision of a co-driver at all times, until they pass the Guernsey driving test."