Objectives. Evidence increases that cognitive failure may be used to screen for drivers at risk. Until now, most studies have relied on driving learners. This exploratory pilot study examines self-report of cognitive failure in driving beginners and error during real driving as observed by driving instructors. Methods. Forty-two driving learners of 14 driving instructors filled out a work-related cognitive failure questionnaire. Driving instructors observed driving errors during the next driving lesson. In multiple linear regression analysis, driving errors were regressed on cognitive failure with the number of driving lessons as an estimator of driving experience controlled. Results. Higher cognitive failure predicted more driving errors (p < .01) when age, gender and driving experience were controlled in analysis. Conclusions. Cognitive failure was significantly associated with observed driving errors. Systematic research on cognitive failure in driving beginners is recommended.