Mobile phones.

Following a loophole in the law that allows the use of mobile phones by a driver not using data or a cellular network (no calls, texts or social media) the government is set to make law on the “touching of mobile devices illegal”. After a case of “videoing a crime scene” was declared not  illegal the government has started proceedings of make touching mobile phones against the law. Hd cameras are being installed throughout he country to battle the crime.

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Red lights mean stop!

Not 1, 2 or 3 after the red. The van still charges in while we’re in the middle of the junction trying to turn right. Traffic had begun to move in the adjacent direction but…

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Genius o’clock

He couldn’t possibly have looked. Telemetry on the camera showed -2g in braking to deal with thisDarwin Award candidate 30 to 20 in the blink of an eye. Best watched on the big screen.

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Presenting your own car for test

If you’re one of the few people that decide to take your driving test in your own car there’s a few things you might want to look into 1st.

Make sure any and all recalls are up to date. If your car has an outstanding recall your examiner may not take you out.

Make sure you car is fit for purpose.

No 2 seaters, mechanically sound and all tyres to meet the legal minimum tread requirements.

Insurance, are you actually insured for test? Unlikely as this is specialist insurance nog usually covered by social and domestic pleasure policies.

Tax and Mot must be up to date

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Outstanding!!!

insane parking skills shown in St Helens!! Why didn’t I think of that? Oh yeah because I actually care about what I do.

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How long does it take to pass my test?

In 2013, then named DVLA conducted a survey into safe driving v’s hours behind the wheel. They found that candidates with 20 or less hrs tended to crash in the first few weeks, 30 within months, 40 within the first 6 months. Their £8m survey came to the conclusion that with 62 hrs plus plenty of private practice resulted in very few crashes indeed.

In short then, more experienced novice drivers cost less in the long run through insurance payouts, time of work and as most newly passed drivers insure themselves “third party,fire and theft” they’d have to pay their own car repairs.

Fast forwards a few years and the figures get further apart, most blame this on the “the school child can’t fail so the teacher does it for them” culture that seemed to be happening. So when a candidate is put into a situation where they have to do the work and can’t be carried? A skills deficit isn’t the best way forwards.

DVSA, the insurance companies and various bodies from the driving Industry got together and formed the new driving test with heavy bias on parking manoeuvres and DISTRACTION. These distraction techniques were designed for real world driving where a child, a friend would turn on the stereo, start a conversation, play games on their phones, use of their own sat nav etc. This way the newly qualified driver would be prepared. This of course means more time behind the wheel. Adding two more real world manoeuvres was next on the agenda one of which would be used without warning during the sat nav part of the test all the while asking the candidates to use various controls on the car suck as de misting windows or cleaning the screen. There’s another blog on her containing all the show and tell.

So what’s the end result? Most candidates pass as a safe driver between 40-60 hrs depending on age. 17 year olds learn much quicker than those in their 40’s. In short, it’s not the quickest thing in the world but I can’t put a price on the safety of my children when they come to drive, to me they are priceless and my world.

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What questions should I ask a driving instructor?

The most obvious question is cost right?

Er no.

What should I ask then?

Well first of all I’d want to know what grade the instructor i’m talking to is. What’s that? Well every 2-4 years depending on how their last assessment went went all driving instructors have a standards check to make sure they’re up to speed. They are then graded with either an A or B of if their last grading was a few years ago with a number between 4-6 anything lower than a 4 would have been a fail.

Let’s look at those grades.

4 a competent instructor with some errors in either knowledge base or content not suitable to the learners individual needs.

5 a more productive lesson was taught with less errors

6 a high quality lesson was delivered with few errors and catering to the individual needs of the pupil

Or

B a competent instructor similar to 4/5 in the old system

A high quality same as 6

Ok what else should I ask?

How long have you been an instructor?

If an individual instructor has been teaching a long time and kept up to date with changes within DVSA policies and within the industry they should be pretty good.

Then I’d ask about availability and finally cost.

My last 3 gradings were 6 6 and A incase you’re wondering, I’ve been teaching since 2003 and i’m one of the least expensive instructors out there.

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Sat nav apps on your phone

Motorists who use phone apps to navigate the roads are warned of tough new penalties, including £200 fines A clampdown on motorists using phones to call and text that began in April also extends to using mobiles as satnavs. Though it is not illegal to run a navigation app while driving, motorists can face prosecution if they touch the device while at the wheel. Drivers who have held their licence for less than two years can be disqualified, while the maximum penalty has doubled to £200 and six points for more experienced road-users. A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs Council said: ‘If an officer determines that a driver using their satnav hindered their ability to control the car, the driver could face prosecution.’ These warnings expose inconsistencies between the more lenient penalties for using a traditional or built-in satnav and the harsher punishments involving mobile phone use. In April a report published by comparison website uSwitch found Britian had become a nation of ‘satnav junkies’, causing many motorists to drive dangerously. One in 20 drivers gets a speeding fine because of their ‘addiction’ to satnavs which show the wrong speed limit, according to the study. Motorists’ over-reliance on the devices led nearly one in five of drivers to drive ‘dangerously’. Drivers said ‘incorrect directions’ had caused them to make a U-turn or to drive the wrong way down a one way street. And around one in six of motorists say their satnav has given them the wrong speed limit while out on the road. Meanwhile a survey for Post Office Money in 2015 found 7million adults in Britain have never used a roadmap and 2.5million of these would not know how to use one. Cont…

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Learners on motorways

Allowing learner drivers to have lessons on motorways will help to make sure more drivers know how to use motorways safely as far too many motorists do not. At the moment, you can only have driving lessons on motorways after you’ve passed your driving test pass plus or just lessons. The change will apply to England, Scotland and Wales. Learner drivers will need to be accompanied by an approved driving instructor and driving a car fitted with dual controls Any motorways lessons will be voluntary. It will be up to the driving instructor to decide when the learner driver is competent enough to have a motorway lesson. Trainee driving instructors won’t be allowed to take learner drivers on the motorway. Motorway driving will not be included in the driving test changes coming into force on 4 December 2017. The change will only apply to learner drivers of cars – learner motorcyclists won’t be allowed to have motorway lessons.

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Assaults on Dvsa staff

DVSA launches campaign to tackle unacceptable rise in assaults on staff

 

Too many DVSA employees are physically or verbally assaulted, so the agency is taking tough action against culprits.

Last year more than 300 driving examiners, vehicle testers and roadside enforcement staff suffered physical or verbal abuse while doing their jobs, an increase of more than 50% on the previous year (198).

DVSA’s 4,600 employees play a vital role in helping to keep Britain’s roads safe. They include people who test learners to make sure they can drive safely, staff who help keep vehicles safe through MOTs and annual tests and those who take unsafe drivers and vehicles off the roads.

DVSA is launching a campaign that aims to stop assaults by getting people to report them and showing what action DVSA will take. This includes:

• referring all threat, physical assault and ‘driving away’ incidents to the police

• making abusive learner drivers take their next test elsewhere

• trialling body-worn cameras for front line staff

• referring abuse from driving instructors to the Registrar; and

• including evidence of abuse from commercial drivers and operators as part of any investigation for Traffic Commissioners.

DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said: “I am immensely proud of my colleagues at DVSA, all of whom work incredibly hard to help you stay safe on Britain’s roads. We do not tolerate anyone abusing, threatening or assaulting them.

“Our message is clear – whatever has happened, don’t take it out on our staff. If you do, we’ll press for the strongest possible penalties.”

Attacks on staff range from screamed profanity and threats to kill, to damaging staff cars and offices and serious physical assaults.

Driving examiners remain the number one target sometimes suffering abuse, threats or attacks from people who fail the driving test. One learner, after committing a number of serious errors and being asked to bring the vehicle to a safe stop, resorted instead to swearing at the examiner and driving wildly across a dual carriageway. Luckily, the examiner was able to use dual controls to bring the car to a safe stop. The learner is now banned from that test centre and any future test will have to be taken under supervision.

Vehicle examiners and roadside enforcement staff are also bullied. That’s what happened recently, when a driver and operator from a Shropshire scaffolding firm made a false claim against a member of DVSA staff who had caught the firm committing tachograph offences.

The Traffic Commissioner for Wales, Nick Jones, rejected the firm’s accusation and concluded that the “appalling behaviour” of the driver had been condoned by his “irresponsible” employer and resulted in a “significantly disproportionate” complaint made against an experienced traffic examiner.

Mr Jones said: “My fellow traffic commissioners and I welcome the agency’s campaign to tackle the unacceptable abuse which staff may face whilst carrying out their professional duties

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