There are many variations of automatic (and semi-automatic transmission) and whilst a driver with an automatic licence needs to undertake a full diving test, a driver with a manual licence has an entitlement to drive an ‘automatic’ without any further instruction.
Frequently older drivers switch to ‘automatics’ for a variety of reasons, however there are some fundamental principles of ‘control’ which are quite different from manual transmission and need to be fully understood.
Non application of parking brake or ‘P’ transmission option on stops including temporary stops leads to a high number of accidents with many of them serious including fatality. Kent Focus group have a specific talk regarding ‘Automatic Transmission’.
We would always recommend some familiarisation training when changing to any form of automatic transmission even though there is no requirement to do so. RoSPA, IAM RoadSmart and ADI’s (driving schools / instructors) will be able to help with this.