New driving test trial

The blackpool evening gazette has interviewed one if the local instructors in the new test trial. I will be writing a report in the page itself soon. In the mean time read on. Resort is in gear to trial driving test changes
Published: 18 February 2015

Losing your ‘L plates’ is every learner driver’s dream, but major changes could be on the way for the driving test – with Blackpool one of the first test centres to trial the measures.

Plans to overhaul the driving test have been revealed by the Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency – with the resort’s test centre at Warbreck Hill Road one of 20 throughout the UK picked to trial plans to revamp the practical exam.

John Guest, chairman of the Blackpool and District Approved Driving Instructors Association, said the new measures would be introduced for some drivers in April and continue until the end of the year.

He added: “We were asked earlier on this year by the Driving Standards Agency if we would be interested in trialling the changes.

“Instructors met last month to vote on implementing the plans. If learner drivers pass the test it will count as a full pass.

“It is hoped the changes will focus on more realistic, everyday manoeuvres.”

Features of the new test include the pupil following a pre-set satellite navigation guided route and the turn in the road and reverse round a corner taken out of the syllabus completely.

Manoeuvres will be added to the test, including pulling up on the right and then reversing back two car lengths, as well as driving into a parking bay and then reversing out before carrying on with the rest of the drive.

One of the ‘show me tell me questions’ – also known as vehicle safety checks – will be asked at the start of the test and another while driving.

Any eventual changes to the practical test would be subject to full public consultation.

Mr Guest said the trial tests, organised by transport consultancy group TRL, will not apply to every pupil, but likely a mix of ages and backgrounds. He added: “Driving instructors who sign up to take part in the trial will not see all pupils involved.

“TRL will decide which of the pupils will be suitable. This is because they need pupils in all categories – young, old, male, female, disabled, non-British.

“They seem to be saying that the main point of the new features, using a sat nav and asking questions on the move is to cause distractions which the pupil will
come across when driving alone.”

Driving instructors will book pupils onto the test if they wish to take part, with those who do not continuing with the current test.

Fylde coast driving instructor Brian Marshall welcomed the plans, adding “things needed to change.”

He said: “There is only 40 minutes to assess how good a driver is.

“The theory test was changed a few years ago and I think these changes will make it more and more like real life driving.

“All driving instructors teach these manoeuvres as it is.

“Obviously these are trials but looking to the future something which could be added is regular assessments for drivers every five years to maintain standards.”

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New drug law part 2

A list of banned drugs to drive on. New drug drive legislation comes into force from 2 March 2015 in England and Wales.
So long as you are following the advice of a healthcare professional and your driving isn’t impaired
you can continue to drive as usual and aren’t at risk of arrest.
In the dawn of new drug drive legislation, THINK! is encouraging people who take medicines and aren’t sure if they are safe to drive to check with their pharmacist or doctor. The new law comes into force from the 2nd March and is designed to catch people who risk other people’s lives by getting behind the wheel after taking drugs, and not those taking legitimate medicines that don’t impair their ability to drive.
The new law sets limits at very low levels for 8 drugs commonly associated with illegal use such as cannabis and cocaine. There are also 8 prescription drugs that are included within the new law. These are:
Clonazepam | Diazepam | Flunitrazepam | Lorazepam | Oxazepam | Temazepam | Methadone | Morphine
However, the limits that have been set for these drugs exceed normal prescribed doses, meaning that the vast majority of people can drive as they normally would, so long as:
they are taking their medicine in accordance with the advice of a healthcare professional and/or as printed in the accompanying leaflet their driving is not impaired
Robert Goodwill, Road Safety Minister said:
If you are taking your medicine as directed and your driving is not impaired, then you are not breaking the law and there is no need to worry. We advise anyone who is unsure about the effects of their medication or how the new legislation may affect them, to seek the advice of their doctor or pharmacist
There will also be a medical defence if a driver has been taking medication as directed and is found to be over the limit, but not impaired. THINK! advises drivers who are taking prescribed medication at high doses to carry evidence with them, such as prescriptions slips, when driving in order to minimise any inconvenience should they be asked to take a test by the police.
Professor David Taylor, Royal Pharmaceutical Society spokesperson and member of the Department for Transport advisory panel on drug driving said:
Don’t stop taking your medicines, prescribed or otherwise, if you are worried about this new law. Instead, talk to your doctor or pharmacist for information about how your medicines might affect your ability to drive. They’ll be happy to give you the advice you need to stay safe

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Foreign car tax avoidance

Dvsa vosa and the police crack down on illegal foreign cars in uk roads.
Foreign-registered vehicles being used illegally on Britain’s
roads are now being seized by some police forces that have
DVLA’s devolved powers. By law DVLA can give police the authority, under devolved powers, to remove untaxed vehicles. This was as a result of growing concerns on the number of foreign registered vehicles staying longer than the 6 month period allowed for temporary visitors to the UK.
Working with our stakeholders
DVLA’s Vehicle Policy Team established a working group in spring 2013 with representatives from the Department for Transport, Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Motor Insurance Bureau and UK Border Force. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) joined the group in 2014.
This allowed us to gauge the scale of the problem and improve our internal processes. We trained up a new enforcement team to deal with the offence reports more efficiently and worked with them and the police to develop a robust enforcement process. A hotlist of overstaying foreign registered vehicles was passed to the police.
A pilot exercise with 4 police forces started in April 2014. Intelligence from DVLA and police sightings of foreign registered vehicles on the road resulted in 123 foreign registered vehicles being seized and impounded over 6 weeks. Because of the positive feedback from the police forces involved, this information is now regularly provided to police forces for use on their Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras. It’s now business as usual for the 6 police forces, Thames Valley, Hampshire, West Midlands, and Northamptonshire, West Mercia and Staffordshire, who have devolved powers from DVLA.
Proof of concept trial
A proof of concept trial started on 3 November 2014 to build on the success of existing compliance and enforcement processes.
Data provided by HMRC to police forces using ANPR helps the police identify and stop vehicles overstaying the 6 month exemption period. Any vehicle overstaying the period is impounded. The keeper can retrieve their vehicle by paying the release fee and surety payment (around £260) but cannot use the vehicle on the road until it is correctly registered and licensed in the UK. The only exemption is if the vehicle is being driven to a pre booked MOT appointment or any other testing appointment.
The keeper has 56 days to reclaim the surety payment once the vehicle is licensed. DVLA will also issue the vehicle keeper an out of court settlement. The amount will be £30 plus 1.5 times the outstanding vehicle tax rate for the time the vehicle has overstayed.
Failure to pay could result in the keeper being prosecuted.
Highlights of the crack down
 over 1100 vehicles have been seized since DVLA changed its enforcement process
 over 2500 offence reports have been sent to DVLA by the police
 over 1300 out of court settlement letters have been issued to foreign vehicle keepers
who have not complied
 DVLA has successfully prosecuted 120 offenders

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Stealth cameras

Stealth cameras are being installed all I’ve the country’s motorways. Do they violate your human rights as they’re invisible?
Critics say that the camouflage cameras enforcing a 70mph speed limit will catch drivers unawares on hitherto unpoliced stretches of motorways
Motoring organisations have reacted angrily to plans for a new generation of “stealth cameras” that are to be rolled out on Britain’s busiest motorways.
Pioneering digital technology will be used in an attempt to catch drivers breaking the 70mph speed limit,
which until recently had been ignored by speed cameras. The plan forms part of the Highway Agency’s expansion of “smart” motorways, which use a range of techniques to maximise ease the flow of traffic.
Motoring organisations say the plans will lead to thousands of drivers being handed fines and penalty points on their license for exceeding the 70mph limit. Critics have also claimed that the introduction of cameras aimed at enforcing the 70mph limit, is not about road safety but about generating income through fines.
The new devices are very small in size and painted grey, rather than the highly visible yellow cameras (a colour that has become synonymous with speed cameras since 2003). often used around roadworks, raising fears that motorists may be caught off guard. Studies have shown that as many as 95 per cent of drivers admit to breaking the limit on motorways.
The introduction of cameras on one stretch of the M25 in Kent (from 22nd October 2014) alone has led to almost 700 drivers receiving fines in little over two months.
Some cameras were installed on a northern section of London’s orbital motorway before Christmas, and more will be deployed on busy stretches of some of the most important motorways including M1, M3, M6 and M60 over the next few years.
In 2013, Patrick McLoughlin abandoned plans to introduce a new 80mph speed limit on Britain’s motorways amid fears the change would alienate women voters.
A Highways Agency spokesperson said: “Variable speed limits on smart motorways are primarily there to smooth traffic flow, reduce congestion and make journeys more reliable. “Hundreds of thousands of motorists use this stretch of the M25 every day. The vast majority are sticking to the speed limits and are experiencing better journeys as a result of smart motorways.
“There are clear signs where cameras are in place and the new cameras are more visible than the previous versions.”

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Counterpart news

Finally a date has been set in stone for the abolition of the paper counterpart part of the driving licence
As part of the government’s Red Tape Challenge initiative to remove unnecessary burden, it’s now been
confirmed by Ministers that from 8 June 2015, DVLA will no longer issue the paper counterpart to the
photocard driving licence. This means from that date, existing paper counterparts will no longer be valid. We’re advising drivers to destroy their counterpart after this date.
Drivers who hold a paper only licence (issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998) remain valid and should not be destroyed.
So how will drivers check their driver record when the counterpart is gone?
In 2014 DVLA launched View Driving Licence service which allows GB driving licence holders to view their driving record online. The service is free and easy to use and available 24/7. Drivers can check what type of vehicles they can drive and any endorsements (penalty points) they may have. Driving licence holders can also check the details on their driving record by phone or post.
How will employers, car hire companies, and anyone else who currently checks the paper counterpart be able to check driving licence information?
DVLA are currently developing two new digital enquiry services. The first service is ‘Share Driving Licence’ which will provide an online alternative for those who currently have a business need to check the information displayed on the driving licence counterpart. Share Driving Licence will be a free, 24/7 service and is currently scheduled to be available in Spring 2015.
The second service is ‘Access to Driver Data’ which will provide real-time driving licence data via a business-to-business interface (or API). Access to this service will be subject to users agreeing contractual terms. Connection and enquiry costs are currently under consideration. The service is currently scheduled to be available in summer 2015

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Hpt update.

Dvsa updates the hpt part of the theory test to cgi.
CGI makeover for theory test
The hazard perception part of the driving theory
test has been updated with computer generated imagery and came into effect on Monday 12th January.
DVSA announced in December that the hazard perception clips in the theory tests will be replaced with new computer generated imagery (CGI) clips.
Filmed video clips are currently used to test candidates’ reactions to developing hazards on the road. The scenarios in these clips are still relevant, but the image quality isn’t as clear or defined as modern digital technology allows.
No change to how the test works
The first new clips show the same situations as the filmed clips, but are clearer on the screen and include updated vehicles, roads and surroundings to reflect modern day driving.
The way the hazard perception part of the theory test works won’t be changing. The pass mark will stay the same.
The clips:
 feature everyday road scenes
 contain at least one ‘developing hazard’ – but one of the clips will feature two ‘developing hazards’

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Drug drive

News from Dvsa on drug drive law. There’s only days left.
New drug driving law comes into force in March 2015: A new offence, to make it easier for the police to arrest drivers who drive after taking illegal drugs or abuse medicinal drugs, will come into force in England and Wales on 2 March 2015.

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