Gender neutral or just miss/mrs?

THE DRIVING LICENCE—IS IT ‘SEXIST’ ? The DVLA insists on printing women’s titles but not men’s on licences. Why won’t it change its baffling gender rule? 

Small, rectangular, green or pink, usually found in a pocket, wallet or occasionally down the side of the sofa – a driving licence is something millions of us possess, male and female, young and old. It’s strange, then, that the DVLA should process the licences of men and women differently. This is despite the issue being raised with the agency seven years ago by Zoe O’Connell, now a Lib Dem councillor for Cambridge. 

Driving licences automatically include the titles of women – mostly in the Mrs, Miss or Ms format – while men do not have their titles printed unless honorific (doctor, reverend, etc). The agency has repeatedly refused to change this practice, which appears to place importance on women’s marital status but not on men’s, and arguably contravenes section 19 of the Equalities Act 2010. 

It was brought to the attention of the DVLA in 2010 in a Freedom of Information request by O’Connell. “There is no reason for any form of gender identification on official documentation,” she says. “When it comes to titles on driving licences, why should someone need to know if I’m married?” She points out that despite the need for exceptionally high security levels within their profession, the armed forces removed all gender identifiers from their military IDs about 10 years ago. 

In March 2017, Emma James of Guildford wrote to the DVLA, once again querying the practice. In its response, it stated: “The DVLA does not print Mr on licences but does print Miss, Mrs, Ms or other … If you do not wish your licence to display a title, send your current licence with a covering letter requesting it be removed.” 

The DVLA and the Department for Transport both refused to answer why the licences of men and women are printed differently. Instead, the DVLA simply said that anyone could choose the “No Title” option, which is seventh on a list of eight options in the online application form. 

The Guardian tried to approach the DVLA for further comment on several occasions, as well as the DfT. Both refused, with the DfT saying it was entirely a matter for the DVLA, before admitting that the DVLA does indeed report to them, so ultimately the responsibility would lie with them. Still, no comment was provided.
In the meantime, if you would like your title removed from your licence, you can write to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BN. Perhaps the additional workload will spur its bosses into joining the 21st century. 

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Ofstex for instructors

I got one am 100% behind this. It will remove poor quality instructors therefore improving the standard out OUR children’s driving skills and making the roads safer. Driving instructors told they must publish ratings According to an article in the Times… 

Figures show that less than half of driving tests are passed, with learners taking up to 39 attempts to gain their licence 

Ofsted-style ratings for driving instructors will be published amid concerns that too many learners are being forced to sit their test repeatedly because of substandard tuition.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is threatening to release rankings for Britain’s 40,000 driving instructors for the first time to steer novices away from poor-quality lessons. 

It follows the publication of figures showing that less than half of tests are passed, with learner drivers taking up to 39 attempts to gain their licence – leading to long waiting lists in some areas.
However the agency revealed that alternative plans mooted by the government over a year ago to introduce financial penalties to prevent badly prepared drivers from taking their test too soon had been scrapped. Source: The Times 

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Insurance guide for candidates and instructors. 

This document is merely a guide intended to challenge some of the misconceptions which many ADIs and candidates have on the complex subject of insurance which could have a profound effect upon their business practices and test day for the pupil. It is not intended to be a comprehensive or detailed text on driving tuition insurance and the ADINJC strongly recommends that all ADIs should contact their insurance provider if any of the topics below are relevant to their business.
Tuition in Students own Vehicle
It is a common misconception that, just because your own fully comprehensive insurance policy allows you to drive any car not belonging to you or under a hire arrangement under third party only cover, you are also entitled to provide lessons in the student’s car using your car insurance policy.
Most insurers only provide this cover in an emergency to allow you to briefly drive a car away from a dangerous situation to a place of safety, i.e. the student stalls the engine at a busy junction and is incapable of moving away. Very few, if any, insurers are going to provide you with indefinite cover in an undefined vehicle.
It may be the case that the student has their own insurance policy in their own name for that vehicle. Even in this situation it is not safe to assume that you can legally provide driving lessons to that student. It is most probable that the student’s insurance policy is to provide Social, Domestic and Pleasure cover and is potentially insured in the name of a parent, not the pupil. As soon as an ADI sits in the car it will be regarded as being used for business purposes and the insurance cover will become invalid. Even if the student has business cover included on their policy it will be for use within their own business and not for your business as an ADI.
In the happy event that the student passes their driving test it is important to advise them that they must inform their insurance provider before they drive again because, as they are no longer a provisional licence holder, it may affect their insurance status.
Driving Tests in Students own Vehicle
At the beginning of every driving test the candidate signs a declaration that the vehicle to be used is adequately insured for the purposes of the test. This disclaimer passes the responsibility of car insurance to the candidate enabling the DVSA to walk away from an incident should things go wrong.
Driving School vehicles with the proper insurance in place obviously do not have a problem but private vehicles with standard domestic insurance cover are at risk. Even if the candidate is a named person on the policy they can only drive as a provisional licence holder whilst under the supervision of a qualified driver. The problem is that whilst on test the DVSA examiner is regarded as an observer andnotasupervisor,renderingtheinsurancevoid.
In addition, many provisional driver polices which are quite fashionable these days will become void as soon as the pupil passes their test. Therefore, the pupil has no insurance to drive the vehicle home and if stopped both the pupil and the instructor could be given a no insurance conviction.
Public Liability Insurance
Public Liability Insurance is included to a compulsory limit of £20 Million within a vehicle’s motor insurance policy. It pays out for damages caused to an innocent third party for damage to property or injury to persons whilst an incident occurs involving the vehicle. All providers of car insurance for driving instructors include Public Liability Insurance as standard as per the compulsory limit but it must be understood that this benefit is only applicable to incidentswhicharedirectlyrelatedtothetuitionvehicle.Incidentsnotassociatedwiththevehicle,e.g. classroom training, visits to schools or pupils home are not covered. The exception to this is the Show/Tell part of the driving test which occurs outside the vehicle. Most policies will be amended to say incidents occurring in on or around the vehicle for the purpose of the driving test. You should check to see if you have this cover provided.
Most Local Authority and other third party organizations normally require their sub-contracted trainers to have their own personal Public Liability insurance to conduct training on their behalf and of course it is essential if the training occurs in customer’s own vehicle, Fleet or Blue Light Training for instance.
Many industry regulators insist upon having Public Liability Insurance as a condition of registration although at this time the DVSA does not.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
No one is perfect and everyone occasionally makes the odd mistake!
Most mistakes however are trivial and can be brushed aside and forgotten but in business even a simple mistake could prove costly both in financial terms and business reputation.
Professional Indemnity Insurance pays out for errors or omissions in the training which an ADI or PDI might provide to a student and which could cause the student financial or other non-material losses. This could be something which was overlooked or not dealt with fully in a student’s training resulting in a test failure. The student could take legal action against the ADI / PDI on the grounds of inadequate or incomplete training, e.g. if that student then lost a job opportunity because of the test failure the ADI could be sued for loss of potential earnings and court costs. These costs could be substantial and the additional bad media coverage could be damaging to the ADI’s reputation and future earning potential.
This type of insurance cover is NOTincluded in standard car insurance policies, not even for tuition insurance. Insurance ‘Fronting’
A popular method used by some new, young drivers to reduce the cost of their otherwise expensive car insurance premiums by persuading parents to insure a second vehicle in their name. The parent then adds their son/daughter as a named driver to the policy and allows them to use the car as if it were their own, i.e. the principle driver.
Insurance companies take a dim view of fronting and should a claim occur the insurer will check to see if there are other vehicles in the home, if the vehicle was used to go to a place of study or if it was kept at a different address. The outcome of this is the policy could be voided leaving you to pay the claim and the parent becoming uninsurable due to having a policy voided and committing insurance fraud.
 

Food for thought indeed. 

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Test centre closure 

Kendal test centre due to close. 

The last day of testing at the current site at Castle Street Community Centre will be Saturday 20 May. Testing will start at the new site on Saturday 3 June and bookings can now be made at the new site. This site will provide candidates with a permanent test centre and also gives us scope to increase the number of testing workstations.
The address of the new theory test site is :
Office Suites 2 & 3

Kentgate Place

Kendal

LA9 6EQ
Candidates will be informed of the new address in their email confirmation of their test booking.

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Take a test for someone else?

Woman who took driving tests for ‘desperate’ learners jailed A woman who impersonated five learner drivers during their practical driving tests has been jailed for seven months. 

Regine Tezangi was paid hundreds of pounds to sit the DVLA exams across south-east London.
She had earlier admitted six counts of fraud. The women she impersonated pleaded guilty and were also sentenced at Southwark Crown Court.
Judge Deborah Taylor said their actions had created a “risk of serious injury” which could have been “catastrophic”.
She said the crime “totally undermines the driving licence system”.
’Tezangi, 52, was said to have carried out the offences between June 2014 and February 2016 after hearing “stories of desperation”. She was paid £500 to take the test by Ruphine Impiri, who had become “frustrated” by the number of lessons she had taken. Tezangi originally failed the first test for her client and had to re-sit it two weeks later.
Impiri, 44, was given a three-month suspended sentence and ordered to complete 200 hours’ unpaid work.
Two others, Esther Ehigbor, 53, Galech Barry, 30, received the same sentence.
Sylvie Omango, 37, was handed a three-month suspended sentence and a three-month curfew.
Riskiet Olawuyi, 46, was also given a three-month suspended sentence with a 20-day rehabilitation order. 

Source: BBC News 

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Common sense from insurance?

Young drivers are hit harder every year on insurance costs. 

Car insurance – Government debate £1,200 cap for 

young drivers as costs SKYROCKET 

Changes to personal injury compensation claims meant that UK drivers are set to be struck by increased insurance premiums. 

Young and old drivers may be affected the most by the new rates. 

Motorists under 22 could see their insurance premiums skyrocket by £1,000 while those over 65 could pay up to £300 more, accountancy firm PwC predicted.
The reason for the increase is after the rate used by courts to calculate serious injury claims changing from 2.5 per cent to minute 0.75 per cent. 

On March 20th, the Government were debating a car insurance cap for young drivers of £1,200 after an online petition gained 185,000 signatures.
Rhys Parker, 19, started the petition online saying he was quoted £2,500 for his first year of driving, before eventually getting it down to £1,400. “That’s very much basic insurance. I think it’s ridiculous. Young people just don’t get the help they need.” 

Steve Double, Conservative MP (St Austell and Newquay) opened the debate.
He said: “We need insurance companies to treat young people fairly. There is a case for greater transparency in the premiums charged to young drivers, and for companies to behave more responsibly. We want them to be able to drive and to have access to insurance that they can afford, but we want that to happen in a way that keeps them safe and that sees the number of tragic accidents among young people reduced. It is a competitive industry, and any attempt to cap the price that insurers charge would surely simply result in other groups having to pay more than they should. 

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Mobile phone law

What you need to know. 

WHAT IS THE LAW CONCERNING USING MOBILES WHILE DRIVING? 

Ordinarily it is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone or similar device – such as a sat nav or camera – while driving or riding a motorcycle. 

These rules apply even while stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic. 

Motorists can only use a hand-held mobile in the case of a genuine emergency that requires a 999/112 call and it is not safe or impractical to pull over and park. 

Drivers are obliged to remain in full control of their vehicles at all time. 

If a police officer feels the motorist is not in full control because they are tuning their radio or using a sat-nav or phone in a cradle, they can face prosecution. 

Drivers supervising learner drivers or riders are also banned from using hand-held de- vices despite being in a the passenger seat. 

Motorists can only use a hand-held device if their car is safely parked in an appropriate location. 

Pulling over to the hard shoulder to take or make a call could result in prosecution. 

Breaching the legislation can result in 6 penalty points and a fine of £200.
If the case goes to court, the driver or rider could face a ban and a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles face higher fines of £2,500.
Motorists with their phones or sat navs attached to their windscreens can also face prosecution, if the area swept by the windscreen wipers is obscured. 

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Mobile phone use 

Where will it end? Park up for god’s sake!

A34 fatal crash driver meets victim’s girlfriend 

A driver who killed a man in a head-on crash has told his victim’s partner he lived “to pay for what I’ve done”. 

Lewis Stratford met Meg Williamson ahead of his sentencing for the crash he caused during an argument with his girlfriend on the phone.
Gavin Roberts, 28, died after Stratford’s car crossed the central reservation on the A34, in Oxfordshire.
At the meeting, which Ms Williamson set up, Stratford, 24, said he knew he had ruined lives.
”When I had the message she wanted to meet me I felt upset because I’m guilty and I feel like a bad person,” he told the BBC, which filmed the encounter. 

Ms Williamson asked to see Stratford, of Field Avenue, Oxford, after he pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. He is due to be sentenced at Reading Crown Court on 3 March.
He had been driving southbound towards his girlfriend’s home, while Mr Roberts – an Australian who was living in Swindon – was going northbound on his way to work as an electrical engineer. 

Stratford lost control of his Vauxhall Corsa during the argument on 11 June last year and crashed through the barrier before colliding with Mr Robert’s BMW.
Both men were taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries, but while Stratford survived, Mr Roberts died days later.
Stratford was the first to speak in the meeting, saying: “I know I’ve caused a lot of pain with something that could have waited till the next day. “I know the lives I’ve ruined, I deserve everything I get. I am sorry but I can’t keep saying that because it’s not going to make things better.” Speaking after the meeting, Miss Williamson told the BBC: “The hardest bit originally, I think, was just walking through the door, not knowing how I was going to be feeling, how I was going to react. 

“Back in June, when I was sat in the hospital, I did have that hatred and I did have the anger but then over time you realise Lewis is a real person and he had compassion and he was sorry for what he did.
”It’s very difficult to warm to somebody when you know why you’re sat there but I was understanding of his emotions and compassion and thankful to him for having agreed to meet me.” 

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Mobile phones behind the wheel

Some drivers say they’ll never stop. Stupidity. It causes more deaths than drink driving yet they’d “never do that”. 

Still flouting the law: Drivers caught using their mobile phones at the wheel despite tougher legislation coming into 

force this week 

A series of shocking photographs taken on the A338 in Bournemouth, Dorset, show motorists putting other drivers at risk by using their phones in moving vehicles. 

One van driver is seen puffing on a cigarette with one hand while holding a mobile in the other as he drives along a busy dual carriageway, seemingly not in control. 

The alarming images were taken along the A338 over the past week and are all of moving vehicles 

Clearly these drivers are unaware of, or are choosing to ignore, new tougher legislation coming into force where they risk six penalty points on their licences and a £200 fine 

The driver of a Ford Ka is caught using his mobile phone which he is holding with his left hand directly in front of him, blocking his view of the road ahead 

Last year in Britain, drivers distracted by their phone were a contributory factor in 440 accidents, including 22 which were fatal, Government figures showed 

A report published by the RAC in September 2016 revealed 31 per cent of drivers had admitted to using a mobile phone when driving, up from just 8 per cent in 2014 

Police hope the changes will have a significant impact motorists, particularly younger drivers, who risk having their licence revoked following a first offence 

Meanwhile another van driver is caught flicking through the pages of a book, possible a diary, when he should have been looking at the road. 

Inspector Matt Butler, of Dorset Police’s traffic department, said: ‘It has been illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device while driving or riding a motorcycle since December 2003. 

‘However, many motorists still fail to see that it is not possible to use a phone and be in proper control of a vehicle. ‘Whatever the reason for using a mobile device when driving – texting, scanning a news feed or streaming video content – it can wait until your journey is over. 

‘Nothing is more important than your safety and the safety of
road users around you.’ 

A brazen Eddie Stobart driver was caught on camera allegedly using his mobile phone while behind the wheel at a busy junction. 

The driver, who was contracted by an agency rather than an employee of Eddie Stobart, can be seen apparently holding the mobile with his right hand as he manoeuvres the 44-tonne truck over a pedestrian crossing in heavy rain. The footage, thought to have been filmed in Newport, Wales, was uploaded to YouTube by a cyclist who was stunned as the lorry passed him whilst he waited at a junction. The video description reads: “Another professional driver using mobile phone while driving and then blocks junction with his trailer, no yellow box there so happens all the time. 

A spokesman for Eddie Stobart told Mirror.co.uk: “We take health and safety very seriously.
”All Eddie Stobart drivers are trained to the highest standards and we expect the same from any con- tracted agency drivers. 

Source: Mirror 

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Insurance to rise again

All caused by accident management companies that harrass you until you claim. 

Car Insurance costs to soar with young drivers to bear the £1,000 brunt 

Young drivers could see their car insurance premiums soar by up to £1,000 as a result of changes to personal injury payouts made by the Government. 

Experts predict the changes will add £75 to the price of an average insurance policy, with drivers aged 65 in line to pay an extra £300 for insurance and young drivers losing out by up to £1,000. 

The Ministry of Justice has announced it would cut the lump-sum compensation payout discount rate from 2.5 per cent to a -0.75 per cent. When accident victims are given large compensation payments by insurers, the sum is adjusted to take into account the extra interest they could earn from investing it. 

The new, -0.75 per cent rate will apply from 20 March onwards, and will mean insurers will end up paying more for compensation claims, which in turn increases premiums for motorists.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) labelled the move “crazy”. It said: ”Claims costs will soar, making it inevitable that there will be an increase in motor and liability premiums for millions of drivers and businesses across the UK. We estimate that up to 36 million individual and business motor insurance policies could be affected in order to over- compensate a few thousand claimants a year.” 

The ABI added that the changes will hit drivers most commonly involved in accidents that result in injury payouts, namely young and old drivers.
Mohammad Khan, UK general insurance leader at accountancy PwC, said the move was “not anticipated by the insurance industry.” He added: “As a direct result of this change, we anticipate an increase of £50-£75 on an average comprehensive motor insurance policy, with higher increases for younger and older drivers – potentially up to £1,000 for younger drivers (18-22 year olds) and a rise of up to £300 for older drivers (over 65 years old). 

“This announcement, on top of the recent increases in insurance premium tax, will make redundant any savings to premiums as a result of the Government’s personal injury legal reforms which were anticipated to generate approximately £40 saving per motor insurance policy.” 

The ABI pointed out that it’s not just insurers and motorists looking to lose out, but also institutions like the NHS, who will likely face a “£1 billion hike in compensation bills when it needs it the least.”
The MoJ said the reason it decided to cut the rate was because the old formula, used since 2001, was based on interest obtained from investing in Government bonds. 

But when inflation is taken into account, the returns from the bonds would have been negative, so it had to adjust the rate so that: “Compensation awards using the rate should put the claimant in the same financial position had they not been injured, including loss of future earnings and care costs.” 

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