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…
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.
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
Digital driving license will appear on phone but plastc licenses stll available
The (DVSA) will test the system this September and roll it out in spring 2018 as the DVSA plans to modernise tests and to prepare for driverless cars. Searching under the dash to find your license will soon be a thing of the past. By next year motorists will be able to store digital licenses on their smartphones. The DVSA will trial the system this September and hopefully roll it out in spring 2018. CEO Mr Morley tweeted a photo of a prototype for a digital licence which showed an iPhone screen displaying the image of a licence in the Apple Pay app. Morley insists it will be ‘quick, easy and secure’ to prevent forgeries but plastic licenses will still be available. He wants the free digital service to allow people to share and validate information with ‘trusted’ third parties such as employers and insurers.