All driving lessons could soon be recorded on camera following a huge rise in sexual harassment complaints from learner drivers.
The number of learners reporting sexual harassment from their instructors has tripled in just three years, with almost 250 complaints in the last year alone.
From April 2018 to March 2019, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) received 247 allegations of sexually inappropriate behaviour or harassment against driving instructors.
The numbers are a huge increase on previous years, having tripled from just 75 reports in 2015 to 2016.
The figures, which were obtained by the Sunday Telegraph in a Freedom of Information request, also revealed that 42 instructors had action taken against them last year. A total of 10 of these were later banned from teaching and removed from the register.
However, 23 instructors were instead issued with warnings and permitted to return to work as there was insufficient evidence in the cases. There are more than 130 cases currently under investigation.
The concerning rise in the sexual harassment reports from learner drivers has prompted calls for in-car cameras to record driving lessons, in an effort to prevent any further incidents.
Commenting on the rise in complaints, Conservative MP Richard Graham told The Guardian, “The authorities responsible for regulating driving instructors should consider the possibility of clearly positioned cameras being fitted in cars.
“It would provide proof if anything inappropriate occurred, as well as protect those instructors who have done nothing wrong from false accusations.”
Carly Brookfield, chief executive of the Driving Instructors Association, added, “It’s important to point out that the overwhelming majority of trainers conduct themselves in a safe and responsible manner.
“However, considering the latest stats, we cannot pretend as an industry that there are zero issues with instructor conduct.
“The rising number of complaints of this nature is a concern and it’s crucial we look at why we’re seeing this increase, and work on how we tackle these issues.”