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16/02/2017 - Birmingham

Driving examiner tried to SUE a learner driver for ‘braking too quickly’ during an emergency stop and giving him whiplash

A driving test examiner claimed a learner driver’s emergency stop was so abrupt it gave him whiplash.

Keith Priestley accused Ben Williams, 24, of ‘braking too quickly’ during his test.

But according to his instructor, Elaine Rose, who was sitting in the back seat, his manoeuvre was ‘perfect’

Two weeks later, the novice driver received a letter from solicitors notifying him that Mr Priestley would be making a claim against him.

Ben, an engineer from Birmingham, said: ‘It was an absolute nightmare, it’s nerve racking enough doing a diving test – let alone the instructor trying to sue you afterwards.

‘The instructor asked me to perform the emergency stop, so I did, and then he started moaning and groaning that I braked too hard and fast.

‘But I felt fine, and so did my driving instructor who was sitting in the back seat.

‘I think he was just trying to get money out of me. It’s horrendous to take advantage of a learner driver like that.’

Ben was taking his second test at the driving centre in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham in November 2015.

As Elaine was a witness to emergency stop she was able to defend him against the claim.

Ben said: ‘I asked my instructor afterwards if I had done something wrong during the emergency stop but she said no – and that it was perfect.’

Immediately after performing the emergency stop Priestley told him he had failed and asked the instructor to drive the car back to the test centre.

Ben was not given any major or minor points in the test but was given a note saying: ‘test terminated due to examiner not fit to carry on.’

In December, three weeks after the test, in a weird coincidence, Ben’s instructor caught Priestley strolling down the street turning his head nine days later – proving he wasn’t suffering from whiplash.

In May, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) went in Ben’s favour and even offered him a free re-test.

In a letter addressed to Ben, a DVSA customer support worker wrote: ‘I understand how important taking a test is and appreciate how disappointed both you and Ben must have been when his test was terminated.

‘I’ve investigated the points you raised and on this occasion as a gesture of goodwill I can give Ben a free retest.

‘The instruction for the emergency stop was correctly given and carried out by Ben; no faults were recorded against this on the report, completed immediately after his test.’

The letter also stated that Keith had dropped his claim against Ben and had been disciplined.

Ben said the examiner was removed from his position in August 2016.

But the incident has left him traumatised and terrified to take his test again.

He’d also spent thousands on tests having to pay to take the test four times, along with extra lessons after having to ‘relearn’ how to drive.

He adds his employment suffered as a result of the false claim, as Ben was unable to take the test again while the DVSA was investigating.

In December 2016, Ben finally passed his test.

A DVSA spokesperson confirmed they are aware of the claim and said that ‘Mr Priestley no longer works for DVSA. We can’t comment any further.’