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MSA Newslink April 2013


Issue 250

The ADI’s Voice

MSA questions first shoots of Green Paper on driver training

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Increasing concern over new driver crash statistics and – in particular – the number of new drivers killed, coupled with public anger over soaring insurance premiums, are the key factors influencing a soon-to-be-published Government Green Paper, which will set out reforms to the driver training and testing regime. However, while any moves that improve road safety and reduce crashes are to be welcomed, MSA national chairman Peter Harvey MBE has already pointed out to the Department for Transport that the MSA believes there are flaws and omissions in the proposals. At a meeting with the DfT and DSA officials at Great Minster House, London on Wednesday, March 27, Peter briefed senior civil servants on the association’s position on the suggested changes. While ideas such as a minimum learning period of 12 months sounded good on paper, and had led to a positive response from the media, “in practice, this will achieve little,” he said. “The DfT’s own research found that the average learning period of new drivers was 14 months, so clearly the vast majority are passing their test well after the 12 months the Government is asking for.” What concerned Peter more, however, was the belief that ‘training for training’s sake’ would achieve the desired results. “There is little point learning to drive for a minimum of 12 months if the learning isn’t structured and of quality. We

need learners to be following a syllabus, which ties in to the DSA’s own National Standard for Driver and Rider Training. Without that the learning could be of little value.” In its official briefing on the contents of the Green Paper, the DfT had said: “Young drivers could benefit from improved training and lower insurance premiums through this Green Paper, which focuses on improving the safety and reducing risks to young drivers.” Interestingly, and perhaps highlighting who has the lead in briefing the Government’s at the moment, the proposals were unveiled at a summit for the motor insurance industry, hosted by the Department for Transport. The Government is expecting the changes to result in a reduction in the high cost of vehicle insurance currently facing motorists – especially young drivers.

Continued on page 6 » » »

Thanks, Cos

Cos Antoniou, former chairman of MSA Greater London, was named our Member of the Year at the MSA Conference. Full coverage of the conference starts on pg 24

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This issue: DSA cuts back on contacts centre The DSA has announced a sharp reduction in the opening times of its public telephone lines for booking practical driving tests. The changes came into effect on Tuesday, 2 April. The decision reinforces the drive to digital, with the agency pledging to be ‘digital by default’ by 2015

News, page 5

Teaching in a digital world THE MSA joined other ADI representative groups for a roundtable discussion with senior DSA officials over the future of its digital and online services. With the success of the professional bookers’ online booking service (OBS), what’s next for the agency’s IT team?

News, page 8

The examiner fights back... A LETTER in last month’s Newslink has prompted an examiner from Suffolk to mount a spirited defence of the DSA - and questionned whether ADIs get their sums right when setting lesson prices

Letters, page 12

Editor: John Lepine MBE t: 0161 429 9669 e: f: 0161 429 9779 Motor Schools Association of Great Britain Ltd (MSA), 101 Wellington Road North, Stockport, Cheshire SK4 2LP The paper for this magazine has been sourced from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources. See


Privatisation is a threat to integrity of the L-test Coaching on your check test? A CHECK TEST is a stressful time for anyone - but Sue McCormack’s came with just 48 hours notice, and she was determined to deliver a client-centred coaching session to boot. Find out how she got on as the SE role played a nervous pupil who didn’t like meeting other cars.

Features, page 14

B+E is trial of strength FANCY lifting 600kg into the back of your trailer? No, John Lomas doesn’t either....

Regional pages, page 40

THE MSA has delivered its response to the Motoring Services Strategy by calling on the Government to drop any plans to privatise the L-test, and asks whether a new strategy of developing high-quality test centres alongside ad hoc, pop-up centres would be a sensible way forward

News, page 16

EU road deaths fall puts UK figures in the spotlight THE UK has long congratulated itself on having the safest roads in Europe – but that proud boast is looking increasingly under threat as a number of European nations post sharp falls in road deaths while the UK reports an increase.

News, page 22

All change: Rosemary Thew urges ADIs to embrace new era

THE MSA Conference 2013 was another roaring success, with proceedings kick-started by DSA chief executive Rosemary Thew. Rosemary got the delegates’ minds whirring as she rattled through a host of changes – completed, proposed and projected – which could radically alter the shape of the driver training industry in the years to come. Full conference report: starts pg 24

Production editor: Rob Beswick t: 0161 426 7957 e:

Newslink is published monthly on behalf of the MSA and distributed to MSA members throughout Great Britain by Chamber Media Services, 4 West Park Road, Bramhall, Stockport, Cheshire SK7 3JX

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Views expressed in Newslink are not necessarily those of the MSA.

©2013 The Motor Schools Association of Great Britain Ltd. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden without express permission of the editor.

DSA calling time on the check test

The DSA has formally announced its intention to scrap the ADI check test by April 2014, replacing it with a new ‘standards check’. This move has been widely discussed for some time in Newslink, and DSA chief executive Rosemary Thew told members at the MSA Conference that it should be viewed by ADIs as a positive step forward. It brings the ADI test more in line with the ‘National Standard for Driver and Rider Training’, launched in 2011, which sets out the skills, knowledge and understanding that you need to be an effective trainer. In a statement, the DSA said: “The new check will assess how well you meet the standard, which is why it’s being called a ‘standards check’. “We want the examiner to assess whether ADIs instruction helps a person to learn in an effective way. So, during the standards check, the examiner will observe you giving a normal lesson to a real pupil. “There’ll be a new assessment form which will have three assessment areas: • lesson planning • risk management • teaching and learning strategies “The form will give you clear and specific feedback about your strengths and areas where you can develop your competence.” ADIs will receive more information about the new standards check over the next few months. The proposed consultation on modernising driver training will ask for views on making the standards check booking process fairer. Options include: • an online booking facility • whether you should pay a separate fee for the standards check. This final point was raised by Rosemary Thew at the MSA Conference, who said it was in line with the Government’s ‘user pays’ principle. It would split the single registration fee into separate fees – one when you register, and one when you book the standards check. It would inevitably mean that ADIs who receive fewer standards checks would pay less for their ADI licence than those who have regular assessment.

What do you think?

Do you agree with paying per ‘standards check’ - and with the new emphasis the DSA will place on your teaching? Let Newslink know by contacting the editor (address in the panel left)


MSA stays committed to CPD by signing deal with Highfield The MSA’s commitment to improving ADIs’ skills through continuing professional development (CPD) has been given a further boost with the news that the association has gained accreditation by the Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC) to deliver nationally recognised qualifications. MSA general manager John Lepine made this exciting announcement at the national conference and training day at Hellidon Lakes, Daventry, on March 16. During his opening remarks to conference, he said the main aim [of today] was “to make you better at what you do”; conference was all about “developing new skills and raising your status and reputation as a driver trainer”. The accreditation as a deliverer of a nationally recognised qualification is an extension of this key part of the association’s aims, he said, adding that he was delighted that such a renowned body had agreed to work alongside the MSA on these courses. Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC) is the UK’s leading awarding organisation for compliance

Association gains accreditation to deliver national PTLLs qualification qualifications and is recognised by a number of educational and governmental bodies, including Ofqual, the Welsh Government, CCEA and SQA. It’s own strapline says a lot about the organisation and its values: ‘The awarding body that listens’. Its qualifications/apprenticeships cover a wide range of subjects, ranging from health and safety, quality assurance and manual handling to teaching, risk assessment and conflict management. As spokesman for Highfield commented: “We are committed to quality, value, service and integrity, and we are looking to bring these standards to the driver training industry.” The first course available will be the popular Award in Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector, more commonly known as PTLLS. We will be adding more courses as the year goes on, so keep a look out in Newslink for more details.

PTLLS is the initial qualification for new teachers or ADIs wishing to move into adult education and classroom teaching. It covers a range of topics, including understanding your roles and responsibilities in lifelong learning, providing inclusive learning for all students and planning for assessment. It has been designed as a blended learning course, which means it is a blend of distance learning and attendance, to reduce the amount of time away from your own students. It is available nationwide and results in the nationally recognised PTLLS qualification. The cost for the course is £360. For more details, contact the MSA head office. The course will be run by Steve Garrod who has been involved in running teacher training courses for over 20 years. The MSA is delighted to be working alongside him on this exciting project.

Final warning over CPC date

The DSA has issued a ‘six months’ warning to professional drivers over the Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) periodic training. Lorry, bus or coach drivers face a fine of up to £1,000 and could lose their livelihood if they don’t finish their training in time, the DSA has warned. The Office of the Traffic Commissioner has also reminded operators to be aware of their drivers’ training hours to avoid penalties. Driver CPC was introduced in 2008 for bus and coach drivers and 2009 for lorry drivers. Existing drivers were given ‘acquired rights’ which took their previous experience into account but to stay within the new rules, all drivers must do 35 hours of periodic training every five years. For bus and coach drivers with acquired rights, that runs out on 10 September this year. Rosemary Thew said: “It is encouraging to see that those who need Driver CPC are participating in periodic training but we urge all professional drivers to be aware of the deadlines and make sure they comply.”


DSA news

Module 2 bike test sites open

Thousands of motorcycle test candidates will have access to a more convenient, local service as DSA opens up more sites for module 2 tests. From June this year DSA will be offering module 2 motorcycle tests from the following eight driving test centres: Bridgend; Chesterfield; Hamilton; Letchworth; Rhyl; Southampton Maybush; Southport; and Stranraer. These driving test centres were chosen after looking at issues including the feedback trainer bookers gave DSA when asked where they’d like module 2 tests; the volumes of tests; the distance candidates have to travel; and examiner resources. DSA has said it plans to further improve the service offered and will continue to look at opening more sites where demand and examiner resource allows. It also plans to actively recruit and train more motorcycle examiners ready for 2014. Newslink will carry details of more test centres as they come on line.

DSA announces cuts to telephone contact centre The DSA has announced a sharp reduction in the opening times of its public telephone lines for booking practical driving tests. The changes came into effect on Tuesday, 2 April. From that date onwards, the lines will be open from 8am to 12pm to reflect the declining volume of calls. Previously they were open from 8am to 4pm. The decision is another clear signal that the agency intends to drive all future business through its online services. “The DSA chief executive Rosemary Thew, speaking at our conference in March, was keen to stress how far the agency’s digital services were expanding,” commented MSA general manager John Lepine. “Rosemary is proud that the DSA is seen as at the forefront of the Government’s digital-by-default agenda. The introduction of the ADI’s online booking service confirmed this. I suggest that this decision is a forerunner to further cutbacks in the number of contact staff manning the phones at the DSA in other areas. “It is easy to see a future where the DSA’s contact centre is manned by a skeleton staff. Again, returning to the conference, Rosemary stressed how contact centre staff ’s first priority was to guide callers in the direction of the website, offering assistance to any who were struggling to use it. I am only surprised that the contact centre will be open to the public for as long as four hours a day.” But as John pointed out, that reduced coverage could be compromised if IT problems hit the DSA. “I wonder how the system will cope if the DSA website goes down? Are there contingency plans to bring in extra staff to man

Minister embraces agency’s push to lead ‘digital by default’ Transport Minister Stephen Hammond used a trip to the DSA’s training centre in Cardington to see at first-hand how the agency is offering more and better digital services to motorists. The Minister is pictured right with the DSA’s head of publishing, Bill Pope, demonstrating the agency’s re-vamped online practical test booking service which is now easier to access from mobile devices like tablets and smart phones. Making the most of digital options to reduce costs and improve customer service is a key recommendation of the current consultation on the


Government’s Motoring Services Strategy. DSA is one of the leading Government agencies on digital services and has pledged to become a ‘digital by default’ organisation by 2015. • The DSA used this meeting to reinforce its warnings over using websites that charge extra for booking your test. By scanning the code (right) with your smart phone you can go straight through to the official DSA practical test booking website at bookdrivingtest

the phones in that event?” In its statement on the cutbacks, the DSA highlighted that for theory tests, “the quickest and easiest way to book a test is online, but telephone bookings will continue to be available from 8am to 4pm. “Business customers will continue to have access to the current business phone line from 8am to 6pm by using the fast track number. Call 0300 200 1122 and dial one of these options: • Theory tests - dial 11 • ADI - dial 25 • LGV - dial 26 • Motorcycle - dial 27 “The take up of digital services has led to fewer calls to DSA – down by around 100,000 in the past year. The DSA online business service for trainers and instructors has had a major impact on reducing numbers of calls. “In addition, the recent launch of the new version of the practical test booking service, which now works well on mobile devices, will speed up the reduction in calls.” People without internet access should contact UK online centres to find the nearest place they can get internet access. Call on 0800 77 1234 text ‘online’ and your postcode to 80809 (text costs 25p plus your standard network charge)


Green light for Salford ‘blue light’ station to host L-tests Plans to offer practical driving tests from fire stations have been given the go ahead by Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond. From 16 April, driving tests will be available from the Salford Fire Station in Greater Manchester every Tuesday and Thursday. This move is part of the DSA’s initiative to offer a more local service in areas that don’t have a test centre. Mr Stephen Hammond, said: “By working alongside Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service the Driving Standards Agency is ensuring people taking their driving test have access to a more convenient option.

“This partnership is a great example of how the public sector can work together to reduce costs and provide a better service.” Chair of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor David Acton, said: “This is a really exciting partnership as GMFRS is the first fire service in the country to see its stations host driving tests. “It’s an example of the Service’s innovative approach to road safety, because firefighters are called to road traffic collisions to cut people from the wreckage of cars and sadly many of them involve young drivers.” A number of other fire stations in the Manchester area could also offer tests in the future.

Strike action hits L-tests across Britain Strike action by DSA examiners on March 20 led to over 1,000 L-tests being cancelled. Just under a quarter of examiners went out on strike (24%), though this led to slightly fewer tests pro-rata being cancelled as a percentage (20%). In total, 5,707 L-tests were scheduled for the day, with 1,125 cancelled. The DSA pledged to rebook any tests cancelled as a result of the PCS union’s industrial action as quickly as possible, at no extra charge. Candidates will usually hear from the agency with a new date within 5 to 10 working days. As a result of a query raised by members at conference, the MSA has asked if the rebooking policy for tests cancelled through strike action is different to that when tests are cancelled due to bad weather. It was claimed that the latter may be rebooked quicker. However, the DSA says that all cancellations are treated the same as far as rebooking and waiting times are concerned for the revised test date.

Update for MSA guides THE MSA has updated its four popular ADI guides to bring them bang up-to-date with the latest changes to the driver training and testing sector. The MSA Part 2 Guide; the MSA Check Test Guide; the MSA Driving Test Guide and the MSA PDI Guide provide help for instructors at different stages of the career ladder. They are all written by experienced ADIs and provide insight and advice for all instructors, no matter what stage of their careers they are at.

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“The Government’s plan for a proposed minimum learning period of 12 months sounds great ... but its own research suggests the average learning period is already 14 months” Continued from front page Among the items being considered by the Green Paper are: • a minimum learning period before candidates are permitted to sit their test. • enabling learner drivers to take lessons on motorways, and perhaps during adverse weather conditions or during darkness to encourage greater practice prior to taking a test. • increasing the existing probationary period from two to three years for a new driver’s licence to be revoked if they receive six or more penalty points. • making the driving test more rigorous to better prepare learners to drive unsupervised. • incentives for young drivers to take additional training after passing their test. The Government is also considering the possibility of imposing temporary restrictions on newly qualified drivers. Further details will be included for discussion when the Green Paper is formally published. In his meeting with the DfT, it had been stressed to Peter that there was a sense of urgency behind these proposals. “They are open to consultation but I get the feeling this is not one that they want to be consulting on for a long time. The full paper will be published in late spring – and that’s this year, not next – with legislation before the end of 2014. If the Bill is not through Parliament by then there is a chance it will fall because the Government may not press ahead in 2015 as we would be heading towards a general election. “It is not clear cut at the moment whether all or any of this paper will be carried forward but there is widespread enthusiasm within the DfT for its proposals, and the Secretary of State is apparently fully supportive.” There is clearly still time for ADIs to

have a hand in shaping this potentially exciting legislation. Peter stressed how, “during my meeting, the officials were keen to hear my views, as a working ADI. I brought up a number of points that they’ve taken away and will consider.” Among those, said Peter, was the issue of log books. “We have a syllabus to follow; it links well with the return to the idea of log books, signed off by the pupil and the ADI in partnership, perhaps in a modular framework. It creates a structure to the way people learn to drive that is a solid platform on which to build a lifetime’s driving.” Peter also suggested that officials should consider the role of parents in teaching their children to drive. “The attitude and ability of parents as drivers is a key part of how young people learn. I suggested an educational course for parents and/or

points would lead to the licence being forfeited, is something the Secretary of State appears keen on, but Peter suggested a better way forward. “I proposed keeping it at two years but reducing the number of points required to trigger a licence forfeit. Perhaps also rather than a forfeit we should consider automatic retraining. The issue for many is the number of drivers who lose their driving licences through this Act but do not come back into the system. Have they given up driving? Or are they driving without a licence?” One of the interesting asides emerging from the meeting, Peter said, was that the DfT was going to take driving without a licence more seriously, with a publicity campaign highlighting the penalties. A comparison was made with the proposed changes to the Northern Ireland new drivers’ scheme. “If new drivers gain

“We have a syllabus to follow; that links well with the return to the idea of log boooks, signed off by the pupil and the ADI in partnership, perhaps in a modular framework. It creates a structure to the way people learn to drive that is a solid platform on which to build a lifetime’s driving.” supervising drivers. If we expect our pupils to go away and practice with members of their family, we need to make sure that the influence they have on the learners is a positive one.” There is clearly enthusiasm within Government for telematics, with the insurance industry stating that that is its preferred course going forward. Government isn’t quite as convinced: “There are issues around the cost, and making driving unaffordable for some.” The extension of the New Drivers’ Act, extending the period during which six

more than four points there is a suggestion of automatic retraining with an ADI. It is a ‘more carrot than stick’ alternative to simply removing the licence which might prove better in the long run in changing drivers’ attitudes.” On the subject of graduated licences, and possible curbs on passengers and hours of driving, it was clear that organisations such as ACPO are strongly in favour. “The DSA has issues around the cost implication of this and asked me if I thought it would impact on the price of learning to drive. In my

Your local MSA AGM

opinion it may not have any impact at all; if anything it may cost less as learners would practise more and not waste money taking tests they will not pass,” said Peter, “making them better prepared for both their L-test and driving on their own once qualified.” ACPO was comfortable with the issue of enforcement. “Their view is that it would be like the seatbelt law: selfenforced by the vast majority who know it is the law and are aware of the penalties for non-compliance.” It was encouraging, however, to see action from Government on this issue. Certainly the MSA has been asking why sensible proposals such as allowing learners on motorways had been dropped after being announced in such a fanfare by former road safety minister Mike Penning, and it was heartening to see this proposal included here. It appears road safety, particularly for new drivers, has edged back up the priority list in Whitehall. The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “It is alarming that a fifth of people killed or seriously injured on our roads in 2011 were involved in a collision where at least one driver was aged 17 to 24. Improving the safety of our young drivers is therefore a real priority and will not only reduce casualties but should also mean a reduction in the sky-high insurance premiums they pay. “I have been clear that I want to see insurance premiums reflecting conditions, performance and risks on the road. We have already done much as a Government to address the concerns around motor insurance but more still needs to be done before young drivers feel satisfied they are getting value for money. I look forward to working with the industry and hearing from them how these proposals will help reduce premiums.”

NOV. 03

The MSA has finalised the dates for all 10 of its regional training days and AGMs for 2013. Details of venues, timings, costs and speakers will be announced in due course, but make a date now of your local event. October 20 Eastern 21 South East 27 North East

NOVEMBER 3 Scotland 9 South Wales 11 Western 16 Greater London 17 West Midlands 18 North West 24 East Midlands

Make a date of your local event NOW! 06 : APRIL 2013 : MSA NEWSLINK

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DSA in a digital world As readers will be aware from the March Newslink, the MSA was invited to join other ADI groups in discussions with the DSA on online services. The minutes of that meeting are published below See green panel for key to participants 1. Welcome and introduction MR welcomed the group for the second meeting of the ADI online services forum. 2. Minutes and actions The minutes of the last meeting were agreed and actions updated. Action 1 (Nov 2012 meeting) – GM to feedback issues on Find Nearest Instructor service to ADI Registrar - completed. Action 2 – All members to review draft terms of reference and feedback any comments to Cara Nurse - completed. Action 3 - SB agreed to look into the feasibility of providing a QR code for ADIs to display to direct pupils to DSA’s booking service. JP said QR codes were launched on Wednesday, 27 February with the Despatch ezine – which had been published at publications/despatch-ezine-issue-01-2013. Action completed. Action 4 - GM to investigate withdrawing the application form for first registration following part 3 test pass – Ongoing. Currently, if a Part 3 result hasn’t been loaded onto the IRDT database a PDI can’t apply online to register as an ADI. DSA staff are exploring ways to enhance the transfer of these results and once we are satisfied that this is efficient we’ll reconsider the proposal for examiners to give successful Part 3 candidates instructions how to register online, rather than an application form. Action 5 – CN to distribute the presentation with take up levels - completed. Action 6 – DSA to clarify whether an ADI can be registered with two businesses – completed. DSA confirmed this wasn’t possible. Action 7 – DSA to distribute the OBS presentation before 1 December – completed. Action 8 - ES agreed that a meeting will be set up for the afternoon some point around the end of February - completed. 3. Digital by default take-up and update on new internet booking service (IBS) and launch MR gave a presentation on the take-up of online services. GM handed out up-to-date figures covering the period November 2012 and January 2013. HR suggested posters for test centres and something in Despatch to help the ADI industry. He also asked for a direct line for the meetings’ representatives for them to be able to resolve their queries. JL suggested a ‘quick start guide’ to the booking system as there was nowhere online telling ADIs how to do these things and that might increase take-up further. Action Feb 1 – JP to co-ordinate publishing guides on GOV.UK that help ADIs understand how to use DSA’s online services. JL asked if GOV.UK had been designed to display less detailed information than DirectGov.


JP said that the content that the government was responsible for providing had not all been transferred to GOV.UK, eg, advice on wrapping up warm when having a barbeque that was on Directgov wasn’t moved over to GOV.UK JL asked about missing content from DSA that was no longer on GOV.UK JP confirmed the information was still there as most of DSA’s information was content the government had to provide. He also confirmed that the redirects from Directgov and Business Link to GOV.UK would continue. JP commented that he had been looking through different search engines to understand and make changes to GOV.UK to use relevant terminology, eg ‘first ADI badge’ rather than ‘certificate’, GM said it was encouraging that PDI online applications had risen in the last three months, however ADI certificates had fallen. JL said you can’t fully complete the CRB check online because applicants had to pay £6 to post their documents; ADIs didn’t realise this until later which was frustrating. This affected take up. GM explained that some of the procedural problems that PDIs and ADIs experienced were due to CRB processes not DSA. She could raise issues with DSA’s contractor, TMG CRB, to see what could be done. She was due to meet them on 6 March and would welcome any more feedback beforehand. Her email address is Gillian.Mather@ Action Feb 2 – Representative to let GM have feedback Action Feb 3 – GM to feedback to the contractor JP confirmed the new version of the internet booking service was now also available for smart

ADI online services forum - 25 February 2013 In attendance: DSA Martin Richardson - Chair Jo Bembridge (JB), Specification and development mgr Helen Buchan (HB), Customer support manager Trish Lavery (TL), Internet systems manager Helen McKinnon (HMc), Operational procedures Gillian Mather (GM), Deputy Registrar John Ploughman (JP), Digital communication manager Cara Nurse (CN), Minute taker ADI industry representatives Lynne Barrie (LB), ADINJC Chair Richard Carrick (RC) , ADINJC David Hickenbotham (DH), UNITE John Lepine (JL), MSA Howard Redwood (HR), DIA Cameron Smith (CS), DIDU

phones and tablets. 4. Online business service (OBS) update A presentation of the OBS service to date was given. It was explained that representatives from the ADI industry had been involved in ‘usability testing’ at the start of the project and operational acceptance testing just prior to ‘go live’ where they had been able to give feedback. Presentations had been given to ADIs around the country in autumn 2012. These presentations had been an opportunity for ADIs to find out more about the service and to learn about the benefits the system could offer. They had been able to ask questions and gain confidence in the system. DSA had implemented a staggered approach to businesses registering and using OBS. Trainer bookers were invited to enrol in October and ADIs who were booking tests via their business ID were invited to enrol from January. The presentation included statistics of take up. RC highlighted that there appeared to be a high number of changes. However, these would be from vocational and bike trainer bookers naming tests. TL said feedback on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter was very positive and had looked at suggestions such as texting or emailing notifications to ADIs when slots became available. TL confirmed this was not feasible. JL asked why ADIs who delivered intensive courses couldn’t use the trainer facility. TL confirmed this wasn’t in regulations and wasn’t being looked at. TL asked whether accessing the Government gateway was an issue. RC said once ADIs had the information to register it worked well. CS said it took about 50 minutes which appeared quite long. JL asked how he would go about getting a business ID. TL said search for Business ID on GOV.UK or email and DSA would send a DAT code. HR also asked if the booking system could be used to see ADIs availability for organising check tests. Action Feb 4 - GM to investigate whether the check test team can make use of ADI’s diary information from Tars when arranging check test appointments. LB asked whether check tests would be available for ADIs to book online. GM said that was something DSA were looking into. JL said he had received no feedback from ADIs about OBS but ADIs were not shy of complaining so that must mean they think it was good. TL said DSA were sending out a survey to find out if there were any improvements which could be made and identify any usability issues. The survey would be sent to all ADIs who were using the current service in the next couple of weeks. 5. ADI online registration services update JB confirmed there is a system update due in April which would mean that external customer passwords for the online instructor service, would


never expire. Currently passwords expired after 60 days, and this could be problematic to the customer, who does not have to use the system on a regular basis. Also email confirmation functionality to all application types will be implemented in April. During June changes were planned as follows • a link to the DVLA, which will check the validity of driving licence numbers entered onto the system by members of the public submitting an application online to commence the instructor qualifying process • a system-generated letter to be sent to a training school informing them when their employee’s trainees licence had expired and they could no longer legally teach for payment or reward JL asked if there were any plans for an automatic confirmation for when a certificate was being issued. JB confirmed customers should check online, as this information was displayed to the customer, via the doc trail on their homepage. It was confirmed that ADIs could ‘trainer booker’ theory tests up to three months in advance and name the candidate by 4pm one clear working day before the test. This service was available at and following the meeting DSA has put the link on social media sites. 6. Feedback JL asked whether the same format of the site being used for theory tests would continue when the new contract for the theory test is in place. MR said the re-let of the contract was due in September 2014 and more information would be given when known. RC raised the issue of special needs tests not being available online at some test centres. MR confirmed that DSA continually review the

JL said he had received no feedback from ADIs about OBS but ADIs were not shy of complaining so that must mean they think it was good...”

availability of extra length special needs tests across test centres. JL asked if two slots were allocated for a special needs test. No, MR said that it depended on the type of special need as to whether an extra length slot was required. Note: Following the meeting it was confirmed that all examiners were trained to conduct special needs tests. 7. AOB JL raised the issue of old application forms and asked if this route was being made harder to encourage people to use internet services. MR confirmed DSA would still be accepting these and this would continue. HR asked if the fast track number was still

available and queried a direct line number. HB confirmed that the fast track was in operation but there was no direct line number. GM explained that the ADI 14 was gradually being moved onto GOV.UK pages. She suggested that the associations’ contacts should be limited to just their website addresses, rather than giving contact name, phone and email address. JL said he would prefer the link to be to a specific page on their website. Action Feb 5 - Associations to send GM their preferred website address for publication on GOV. UK 8. Date of next meeting It was agreed the next meeting would be three-six months hence (to be confirmed).

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Comment: DSA

Deadline looming for driver CPC ROSEMARY THEW Chief Executive, DSA

The new, upgraded booking system for candidates and instructors was demonstrated to Transport Minister Stephen Hammond last month during his first visit to DSA’s Training Centre at Cardington, near Bedford. The re-vamped online practical test booking service is now easier to access from mobile devices like tablets and smart phones – ideal for ADIs who work on the move. The new service is also in line with the Government’s drive to offer more and better digital services to reduce costs and improve customer service as outlined in the recent Motoring Services Strategy, which is due to report this summer. But DSA is already on the record as committed to become a ‘digital by default’ organisation by 2015, which means more than just transacting with our customers online. It involves working digitally by using technology to support remote and flexible working, improving processes through digital tools and maximising use of the information we hold.

Clock is ticking over driver CPC training, says Rosemary Thew

More arrests over fraud DSA’s Fraud and Integrity team took part in a successful joint operation with the Metropolitan Police on Wednesday 20 February. Together with the police, DSA investigators raided a test centre in North London and arrested a driving examiner following an investigation into alleged bribery on practical driving tests. At the same time, police officers elsewhere also arrested two driving instructors in connection with the same investigation. The driving examiner is suspected of conducting at least 100 fraudulent tests, with candidates paying up to £3,000 a time

for a guaranteed pass. Four test candidates have also been arrested, and around 100 licences are now being revoked. The operation was recorded by a BBC news team and a report on the arrests was broadcast on the national television news and the BBC News website. Andy Rice, Head of Fraud and Integrity, said afterwards: “Although rare, when it happens, driving test fraud is a serious offence that puts the lives of innocent road users at risk. “We have stringent procedures in place to ensure that any fraudulent activity will be detected. As this operation demonstrates, we take all allegations extremely seriously and will work with the police to bring offenders to justice.” Don’t lose livelihoods With just under six months to go before Driver CPC comes into force for bus and coach drivers who have acquired rights, we are warning drivers

of these vehicles and their employers to stay on top of training requirements or risk being fined or even losing their livelihood. When the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) was introduced in 2008 and 2009 for those who drive buses, coaches or lorries for a living, new drivers entering the industry had to start taking the Driver CPC initial qualification. However, existing drivers were awarded ‘acquired rights’ which took their previous experience into account. To remain within the rules, all drivers must do 35 hours of periodic training every five years and the first deadline (September 2013) is looming for drivers of buses and coaches with acquired rights.  Lorry drivers with acquired rights have just over 18 months to comply, as do ‘dual category’ drivers who have an entitlement to drive both bus/coaches and lorries on their licence.

Background details: CPC You must do Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) periodic training if you’re a lorry, bus or coach driver. You face being fined up to £1,000 and even losing your livelihood if you don’t finish your training in time, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has warned. The Office of the Traffic Commissioner has also reminded operators to be aware of their drivers’ training hours and deadlines to avoid penalties. Driver CPC rules Driver CPC was introduced in: • 2008 for bus and coach drivers • 2009 for lorry drivers New drivers who drive for a living had to start taking the Driver CPC


initial qualification from then. Existing drivers were given ‘acquired rights’ which took their previous experience into account. Training deadlines To stay within the rules, all drivers must do 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years. Bus and coach drivers with acquired rights have until 10 September 2013 to finish their first 35 hours of periodic training. The deadline for lorry drivers with acquired rights is 10 September 2014. Dual category drivers Drivers with acquired rights and a licence to drive both buses/coaches and lorries have until 10 September 2013 to

finish their first block of training. They’ll then keep their rights to drive buses and coaches professionally. As a one-off arrangement, DSA has agreed that after the September 2013 deadline, these drivers will have six years to do their next block of training - from September 2013 to September 2019. Check your Driver CPC periodic training hours You can find Driver CPC periodic training courses online. The majority take periodic training. DSA’s Chief Executive Rosemary Thew said: “Great Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world and one of the ways we aim to keep them so is by encouraging all drivers to keep their

skills up to date. This is particularly important for professional drivers. “It is encouraging to see that the majority of bus, coach and lorry drivers who need Driver CPC are participating in periodic training. We urge all professional drivers and their employers to be aware of the deadlines and make sure they will be able to comply.” Joan Aitken, lead Traffic Commissioner on Driver CPC, said: “This is a critical time for any bus or coach driver who has not started or completed their Driver CPC. It is not an optional extra for drivers - it is a must. “Operators must make sure that their drivers have done the training. The consequences of not doing this could be loss of livelihood and action against operator licences.”

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Comment: Letters

JOHN LEPINE MBE General Manager, MSA

Thanks for making it a great event Thanks to all those who worked so hard to make this year’s MSA Conference and Training Day such a great success. In particular, I would like to thank our keynote speaker, DSA Chief Executive Rosemary Thew, and our workshop presenters: Alan Prosser; Sue McCormack and Tony Stanley; and all our exhibitors and supporters. A special thanks to all those who attended the training day. Hopefully you had a great time, learnt some useful information and made some new friends. On a different subject, I recently read the following in an article about graduated licensing that made my blood boil: “As you might imagine, the driver training industry is quite keen on some form of graduated scheme, in whatever form that might take, but then you might claim that they would be given the vested interest, which they have.” I felt I should respond and submitted this to the article’s author. “I have no idea where you find the justification for this scurrilous slight on hardworking driver trainers. I do understand that talk off graduated licensing means different things to different people. However, I don’t think anyone is currently putting forward a scheme for graduated licensing that would create a great pool of wealth for driver trainers. “Most driver trainers’ support for graduated licensing is based on the altruistic view that placing limits on new drivers as to the age/ number of passengers they can carry, the power of the vehicle they drive and the time of day they can travel might save some lives; there is certainly no extra money in that for driver trainers. “In fact, one of the principal policy aims for the MSA has been to save new drivers’ money. We would like to see them learn smarter by learning to drive properly before they take their driving tests. Most learner drivers fail at least one driving test before they eventually pass, meaning more lessons and test fees. “The MSA has, for many years, pursued the policy that all learner drivers should be required to undertake a structured programme of training, covering the DSA recommended syllabus, with an ADI before taking a practical driving test. This would greatly improve their chances of passing first time and saving some money. Not a policy you might expect from a group with a vested interest. “Most driver trainers care passionately about what they do, about road safety and about helping their students to drive safely for life and pass their driving test first time.”


Newslink Postbag. We welcome contributions from our members. Would all contributors please remember that Newslink cannot publish letters anonymously. Pen names will be used to protect the identity of the author if necessary. Please address all correspondence to The Editor, Newslink, 101 Wellington Road North, Stockport, Cheshire SK4 2LP. Letters can also be sent by email, to

Examiner fights back in defence of the DSA Dear Sir, I am employed as a driving examiner by the DSA and would like to respond to the letter printed in your March issue, and said to be from ‘Mr Right Thinking ADI’. I am surprised that a magazine would print such a rude, condescending and inaccurate letter such as this, but then as this was the first time I have looked at your magazine perhaps this is the type of readership you encourage. Comments such as, “what planet is he on or what retirement home does he live in” show that the writer has no real argument to put forward and can only resort to insults to get his point across. Allow me to address some of the points he did try to make. The minimum charge rate of £65 is the correct rate for the [driving] test. The writer was most likely comparing the rate with that charged by the majority of driving instructors in the country, who charge around £20 per hour for tuition. This rate is exceptionally low when you consider car purchase costs, running costs, holiday pay, sickness pay, retirement planning, labour cost and profit. Unfortunately, instructors all try and compete with each other for the few candidates that are around so will cut the rates as far as they dare. Perhaps Mr ‘Right thinking ADI’ should properly cost his business before he criticises the way others run theirs? The author also tried to compare the driving test with that supplied by Pearson Vue, which is responsible for supplying the theory test. A comparison cannot be made between the two. Pearson Vue supplies a test over which it has no input as to the result of the test. A candidate sits in front of a computer and as long as he or she hits the right button at the right time and in the right order they will pass the test. This is not the way the driving test works. Examiners are trained by the DSA to a very high standard, and that standard, and our integrity, is checked on a regular basis, as it should be. It is, after all, through this training that we are able to assess the driving of the candidate in front of us, and using our tools of assessment decide if the candidate should be issued with a full driving licence. Some years ago the government said it was looking at privatising the driving test. After much consultation it was announced that the plans were being scrapped because the ‘integrity’ of the test could not be guaranteed. What has changed since then, that the government thinks they could now privatise driving tests? I would suggest nothing. Integrity is key. The reason you can hire a car anywhere in the world when you go on holiday is because the rest of the world knows that the licence you hold has been awarded honestly, and after much tuition and testing. This does not apply to all countries.

Unlike ‘Mr Right Thinking ADI’, I have supplied my name and address and am more than prepared to stand up for the good job the DSA is doing. Stephen Pavey, Lowestoft, Suffolk Editor’s note: In answer to the opening criticism of why Newslink published the letter from ‘Rightthinking ADI’: the reason we carried the letter is because we live in a democracy, Mr Pavey, in which all are entitled to their opinions as long as they are not offensive, libellous, defamatory or rude. Which is why we were delighted to receive, and publish, your correspondence.

Plenty more CPD available for ADIs Dear Sir I really enjoyed the conference at Hellidon Lakes. I would like to thank all concerned for the warm welcome and the excellent programme. If anyone who attended would like some more CPD or if you missed out on Hellidon Lakes, I am running a CPD event on May 19 at the home of the Widnes Vikings RLFC, the Stobart Stadium, Widnes, Cheshire. For further details, Google ‘Insight Conference 2013’. I can promise you a great programme, including an address from MSA General Manager John Lepine. Kathy Higgins, ADI ORDIT Trainer and Master Coach, Liverpool

Does everyone know the rules? Dear sir, According to recent issues of Newslink, and on the oft-watched You Tube video, there is a very well-known protocol in place for dealing with ‘blue light’ users who come up behind you while you are driving. It goes along the lines of: look for somewhere to pull in when safe, don’t do anything rash, don’t panic and certainly don’t do anything illegal. The last thing the ‘blue light’ wants is to be diverted from its current course to deal with another emergency caused by a driver trying to get out of its way and crashing as a result. Given that we all know this procedure, would it be useful to pass this information on to the fire engine driver I saw in a south of England town centre in February? On approaching a red light controlling a busy T-junction, he kept his ‘blues and twos’ on all the way to the lights, siren blaring, and crept intimidatingly close to the stationary cars. He kept his siren and lights on, resulting in – understandably in my opinion – panic setting in to the cars sat at the lights. The car at the front of the queue edged forward past the Stop line and

Comment: Letters News

Looking back: How Newslink covered this issue in December 2012

pulled over to the right in an attempt to clear a path for the engine. The car sat behind it followed suit, pulling to the left, thus creating the space required. Cars on the main carriageway stopped and the fire engine set off, turning right on its way to put out a fire/rescue a cat from a tree/get home before the chips got cold* (*delete as appropriate). I totted up the errors. At least two cars broke the law by ignoring a red light; one of them turned left from a right-hand-only lane; cars on the main carriageway stopped for no reason when it was their right of way. In my opinion, a serious incident was only averted by fluke. Does anyone else think the fire service should watch the YouTube video that the MSA helped to produce? Concerned non-ADI Stockport

Admiral’s policy flies in face of common sense Dear Sir, As a road safety professional with extensive experience in casualty reduction activities, including driver training and development at all levels, I am concerned by the actions of some motor insurers. In particular the position of the Admiral group of insurers could lead to the demise of speed awareness

Admiral criticised for be ing blind to NDORS’ benefits

Insurer slammed for deci sion labelled as ‘a failure of mora responsibility’ and ‘perversel ’

evidence to support this. It ignores the idea course if it were free; very few put that NDORS helps people who offend this hands up. It shows the reluctance their year to not offend again. of the public to take driver training. It also ignores the views of If those the insurance advantage from we remove involved at the delivery point these of courses, I wonder whether courses – the police and ADIs these people will – who attend, and if that happens believe they do work and what impact INSurANcE coMpANy make a huge AdMIrAL has will it have on road safety?” contribution to road safety. been heavily criticised by the police, other MSA Western chairman Colin With few drivers taking any insurers and ADIs after it Lilly was revealed that thought the insurers should once they pass their driving training actually take it is treating participation test – there is on speed the opposite tack to Admiral. an irony that the only time awareness courses in the same “I think the people who attend NDORS way as it majority of drivers come into vast courses are does motoring convictions contact with lower risks afterwards. We when post-test training is when teach them how calculating driver premiums. they have been to change their ways so they found guilty of an offence don’t make Previously, some drivers who – speed the same errors. They merit awareness courses remain a discount.” caught speeding were offered were one of the last He a place on a was also surprised that the ways to improve standards. speed awareness course through The anecdotal Government hadn’t been the evidence suggests they do more National Driver Offender vocal in its a great deal of Retraining support for them. “This is good. Three MSA members a GovernmentScheme (NDORS), rather who are active than backed scheme,” he pointed in these courses, Geoff Little, Indeed, competitor Direct out, “and convicted of the offence and being Colin Lilly Line was Admiral are going against receiving and Mike Yeomans, were forthright in its condemnat official policy.” fine and penalty points. Attendance a unequivocal in ion of this He also wondered where on the their support for them. decision. Said a spokesman this course usually costs around , “It seems whole concept of driver training.left the £80, more “Speed perverse awareness to effectively punish someone than the usual speeding fine, courses are excellent. I going against the idea of education“They are but for don’t need a slew of data to taking part in road safety are added to the driver’s licence no points being a tell training. benefit. I wonder if they give only need to see the reaction me that, I “Direct Line will not be following crucially – it was always thoughtand – discounts to of this people who undertake advanced that participants to confirm their course lead.” insurers would not class this driver value,” said training.” as Geoff. “I always open courses When pressed, Admiral admitted conviction, which often adds a speeding with it had as much as The people running NDORS information on stopping distances some no hard facts to support its £100 a year to premiums, have been and by decision, but and can do so for said that: aware that an insurer could the first coffee break, I know take up to five years. “Our claims statistics show the same the course is decision as Admiral for some that having the right impact. I drivers who have committed time, but has However, the insurance industry hear people a speeding advised course leaders that chatting, saying how much offence are, on average, a it had consensus on this issue has they’ve learned higher risk than legal advice and we were advised “sought been already, particularly over Admiral which will no longer broken by drivers who do not commit speeding that the differences attendance on an NDORS be between collisions at 30mph offences. course cannot this approach. It is now rating taking and 35mph. be seen as a conviction.” course “Speed awareness courses “Drivers who commit a speeding attendees in the same way are a good it rates However, it has now cautioned and then take a speed awareness offence way of re-educating drivers. I have convicted speeders who had its very course are few offenders course leaders not to claim simply more likely to make a claim attending more than once insurance accepted the points and a than drivers – fine. premiums will be lower through possibly one per cent. I know who have not committed It is feared that the loss of you cannot a speeding participation on the course. this re-attend within three years offence in the first place, so protection from an insurance but we The difficulty is that there premium participants were more likely if policies accordingly. Although price these is rise could prove a powerful to a speed hard data to support the value very little disincentive to as Admiral seems to suggest, re-offend, awareness course is a replacemen take the course for many of NDORS. I would come As Direct t for offenders. across a large number of familiar Line admitted, “with penalty points, it does not Certainly it is a decision that faces – change the fact participation on an NDORS us, yet I don’t.” that the person involved has course means worried ACPO, the Association has committed a you are not convicted so we of Chief Mike Yeomans backed this speeding offence.” have Police Officers, which has view. “I’ve long of which of our policy holders no record taken courses in Hull for The only statistics they have championed the NDORS have been 13 years, once a scheme. on one, so we cannot track fortnight, with around 40 change of heart is “our statisticsfor this their ACPO’s lead on roads policing, people attendshow that subsequent driving career. Deputy ing. I doubt if I’ve had more (people caught speeding) are ” Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, than a handful roughly 10 per Certainly, this lack of serious told of people cent who more have Newslink: “Police want to been with us before.” likely to have an accident data has improve road (sic) in been raised by the Mike added that the Admiral the next 12 months than a safety and speed awareness view ruled Insurance, which Chartered Institute driver who was courses are out one of the best points has called for never been caught speeding. designed to do just that. about ” analysis of the impact of speed a thorough – it’s ability to educate offenders.NDORS While the MSA cannot challenge awareness “These courses reduce risk “When the courses. Its New Generation and raise the North Report suggested Admiral statistics on risk, Underwriting awareness of road safety so NDORS, we can challenge North Group has been involved it is not took the view that changing Lord the assumption that ‘drivers in researching appropriate to increase insurance who commit a the issue of speed awareness behaviour was crucial, and speeding offence and then courses premiums for drivers who and it was better take a to speed go on to educate awareness insurance. Its spokesman, offer education than retribution. James Ward, themselves in these areas. course are more likely to make That’s said: “There has been a lack a what the NDORS scheme claim than drivers who have of analysis into “Drivers should not be deterred does.” not committed the impact of speed awareness from NDORS’ role in the road a speeding offence in the first informing themselves on safety place’. What road safety.” driver behaviour and whether courses on spectrum should not be underestim this statement does is assume the A spokesperson also told ated, that the accident or further convictions risk of the pointed out Geoff. “I always courses do not work, when they thought Admiral’s decisionMSA that is different ask there is no compared with convicted was participants if they would speeders. We unfair, inappropriate and attend this a real concern need to gauge their long-term for road safety. “This has demonstrat effects on “police want to improve drivers. In turn, this will allow ed a road safety and speed failure of moral responsibili to understand if, statistically, the industry awareness courses are deigned ty. It incumbent on everyone involvedis these drivers to do just that... these are an increased risk or not. in courses reduce risk and ” driving to try to improve standards: this James pointed out that participants flies in the face of that pledge. on safety so it is not appropraise awareness of road speed awareness courses now ” riate to increase insuran made up a Thankfully, so far no other sizeable slice of the motoring insurer has premiums for drivers who ce followed Admiral’s lead, which public. “Nearly three per cent of drivers insurance under its Confused.c also offers themselves in these areas...go on to educate attended a course. This representshave om, Bell, ” Diamond and an .uk brands. unknown risk to insurers, Deputy Chief Constable Suzette and could mean they are paying the wrong Davenport, 06 : DECEMBER 2012 : level of MSA NEWSLIN premiums.”

courses. I know that this issue has been raised in the past in Newslink, generating strong responses, particularly from those of us involved in the delivery of these and similar courses. After an exchange of letters with the Admiral Group it is clear to me that they aim to maintain their position of increasing premiums for drivers who complete speed awareness courses, despite these drivers not being convicted of any offence. Admiral continues, mantra like, to reiterate that “drivers who have committed a speeding offence could be higher risk” than other drivers. Apart from being blindingly obvious, this is exactly why speed awareness courses were devised. Admiral defends its approach to setting premiums, stating “it is the speeding offence committed that affects the premium, not the conviction code that records the offence”. In effect they are not penalising drivers for speeding, instead they are penalising them for being caught. K

Admiral is choosing to ignore the findings of studies into the effectiveness of speed awareness courses, which show improvements in the key attitudes that support better driving standards. These findings indicate that when supported by the right intervention, drivers can choose to change. Perversely, Admiral is penalising drivers for choosing an option that is proven to improve driving standards. This is illogical. It flies in the face of all natural justice, and as those of us involved in the courses know, it can deter people from taking the course, threatening its very future. I believe that insurers should actively incentivise speed awareness courses, instead some now penalise drivers who complete them. If you agree, please add your name to the e-petition I have created. The petition can be found at: . I am not an apologist for drivers who blight our lives with their thoughtlessness; despite its limitations I firmly believe that there is a role for prosecution. However, speed awareness courses exist to fix the problem not the blame and should continue to do so. Ian Procter MA, DipASM, FIRSO, FAIRSO, FInstLM, MAC. PeopleNET, Coaching, Mentoring and Training, Kent. Former Chairman of the Association of National Driver Improvement Schemes (ANDISP). Editor’s note: As a responsible magazine, we offered Admiral the opportunity to reply to Ian’s comments. Unfortunately, they declined our offer.


Towards your CPD: Coaching

Coaching on check test? Suits you! Does a client-centred approach to learning work on a role play check test? Sue McCormack took the gamble to find out


was going to write my article this month on the use of questions during lessons but changed my mind, opting instead to write about my check test instead. I hope that it might help some of you when considering how to adopt a client-centred approach. At 8.45am today, Wednesday, I had my check test, having received a phone call on Monday saying I hadn’t acknowledged receipt of my invitation to attend and therefore did I intend turning up? My invitation to attend for check test had arrived early January but I hadn’t seen it because I was away for a couple of weeks and it must have then got lost. In any case, I apologised and said I was able to attend in two days’ time but wouldn’t be able to find a pupil at such short notice and therefore would like to take the role play option. I decided to ask for a DL25 and conduct a remedial session. I know my area very well and felt confident that we would be able to find suitable roads to practise on depending on the marking sheet. I was apprehensive because, despite the fact that I have a great deal of experience in driver training, I don’t always perform well in these situations and have a tendency to rush and overlook the importance of a solid lesson structure in my eagerness to get the car moving and focus on the faults. I was also determined to adopt a client-centred approach and ‘show off ’ my skills in the time given, which would mean that I could perhaps only give a snapshot of what I’d normally do with my customers. All these conflicting thoughts and feelings were going through my head and I had to rely on my self-awareness to manage these to ensure I could turn them to my best advantage. The Wednesday morning of the test was cold and wet. The examiner, we’ll refer to him as M, introduced himself. We confirmed that I would like to do a role play, signed the declaration of insurance and made our way to the car. M said the role play would not start until we were in the car and I confirmed that, at that point, it would be safe to assume that eyesight and licence checks had been carried out already. In the car I had a few moments to study the DL25 which had two serious faults for junctions – turning right and meeting. In addition to this there were 10 driver errors, including moving away – safety and control, signal – correctly, mirrors – signalling and a further two for meeting. We spent a few minutes discussing the DL25 and


I asked M how he felt he had done on the driving test and whether he had expected to do better. I was keen to ensure rapport was established so turned in my seat to face him and smiled and nodded as he explained what had happened and how he didn’t understand about the positioning on the approach to right turns and felt quite confused about meeting traffic. He also said that he stalled on one occasion and the examiner had told him he had missed his blind spot before moving away. I asked him what he would like to be able to do by the end of this short lesson and he said he wanted to know how to deal with meeting situations.


id he know the area well? He said yes, and vaguely pointed over to the right and said he thought there were some narrow roads with parked cars over there. I explained that we would drive for around five minutes to get to an area where we could look at meeting traffic and on the way there would be a couple of right turns where I could check his position on the approach. I asked if he would like to chat during these few minutes or remain in silence, and discussed with him the importance of making his own decisions when driving. I might ask a couple of questions to check his planning and anticipation on the approach to hazards and would that be okay. On the move little was said except some encouragement. He missed his mirrors before signalling left at the first junction and on the approach to the next left turn I prompted him, saying his mistake at the previous junction had been spotted. Thereafter, his mirrors were fine. His clutch control on the approach to a roundabout uphill was very good and he said how pleased he was with it.

The first right turn he did he was over the centre of the road on the approach. It was quite a tricky right turn on an uphill gradient requiring a bit of ‘creep and peep’ so I let him get on with this and then asked him to pull up straightaway. The conversation went like this: “OK M in those few minutes of driving how do you think you got on?” “Yeah, I was quite pleased.” “In particular, what were you pleased about.” “Well, my clutch control was good coming up to the roundabout.” “It was wasn’t it? And up to the junction just now where we turned right.” “Oh yes … yes, I did well with that.” “Is there anything you would do differently next time to improve that right turn?” “I don’t know.” “How was your positioning on the approach?” “Oh was I a bit over to the right?” I drew a diagram, showing him where he was positioned and analysed the fault by asking him if he knew why it had happened. He gave me the answer straightaway, saying he thought it was because he was looking early to the right; it was explained that we often steer where we look and that it was important to fix his position in his mind’s eye before concentrating on looking for a safe gap. I checked that he understood the risk of positioning over the line and asked him if he knew how to judge his position and he said he could look at the bonnet. I also suggested he looked in his door mirror to see the white line. Would like to go around and practise that again – and how much help he would like from me? There were actually four right turns we could do which would also involve meeting traffic, so I would give him some help with his positioning for a couple of right turns

and that, between us, we would agree what support he would like thereafter. That strategy helped to see how he dealt with any meeting situations. As he moved away he did a moving blind spot check; this was pointed out to him and he was told that we would look at this the next time we pulled up (which we did) because directly ahead of us was a meeting situation. He seriously hesitated, forcing me to jump in quickly and tell him to keep going. We could about this shortly but now needed to focus on the right emerge ahead of us.


he first right turn was good – I reminded him about his positioning and to check his right door mirror and keep the wheel straight. As soon as we emerged I had to instruct him again as he wanted to stop for an oncoming vehicle in a meeting situation but was already committed and needed to keep going. In fact, the other driver ended up having to reverse because she had headed in too fast. I prompted him on the next right turn and then asked him if he felt happy to deal with these himself from now on. He said yes, he understood how to position now. That was good because we now needed to focus on meeting traffic and would pull up shortly to discuss what had happened. He did the next two right turns very well on his own and I gave him positive feedback and we then pulled up. As he secured the car he knocked it into neutral before applying the handbrake; I decided to tell him quickly about this rather than asking questions because I wanted to get onto the meeting situations. I did, however, remember to get a prompt in as we pulled up the next time about applying the handbrake first. For meeting I drew a diagram and he explained to me, pointing to the diagram, what he thought

Towards your CPD: Coaching had happened where the car had reversed. He appreciated the fact that I had stepped in and told him what to do because he would have just stopped otherwise and he was concerned that it was his fault that the other driver had reversed. I noticed that there was good rapport and the questions I asked meant that he identified and analysed his own faults, saying that he would have stopped because he wasn’t looking far enough down the road and therefore wasn’t giving himself enough time to decide whether to give way or go. Again, in response to my question he said he would like to approach the meeting situation from the same direction as the other car had so that he could see what the visibility was like. We switched the route around in order for him to do this. He said he would like some help and I suggested that I would let him get on with things after a couple of meeting situations. M had made a couple of comments about dreading meeting situations and I wanted to get him to notice his feelings so asked him, ‘On a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 is in a state of panic and 0 is very laid back and relaxed, where are you now with

regard to meeting situations?’ He said he was about a 5 and would like to be a 0 or a 1. Once we pulled up again I asked him where he was now on his scale of 0 to 10. He thought a moment and said he was at a 1. Back at the test centre I asked if he would like to reverse or drive into the bay. He said he didn’t know. I told him to drive in, recognising that it was the end of the lesson and he had worked hard making decisions. M then went off to make his assessment. When he returned he said he couldn’t fault the lesson and was really pleased to see a client-centred approach in practice. We discussed how I had balanced coaching and instruction and stepped in and instructed on a couple of occasions while remaining client-centred by encouraging him to make choices and raising his self-awareness and helping him to take responsibility. He liked the use of scaling on feelings and the fact that I had helped him boost his self-confidence and made him feel good about his driving. He gave me straight sixes.

About the author:

Susan McCormack has been in the driver training industry for over 25 years as an ADI, instructor trainer and producer of training materials, and has an MSc in Driver Behaviour and Education from Cranfield University. She is a director of Tri-Coaching Partnership Limited, which delivers driver training and coaching courses to all driver trainers. In particular, the company offers a BTEC Level 4 and Level 3 in Coaching for Driver Development, as well as a two-day course called ‘aCCeLerate’. Visit the website for further information: Susan can be contacted on 07817 646970.



Privatisation offers threat to L-test integrity, says MSA Association offers its views on DfT’s Motoring Services Strategy The Motor Schools Association of Great Britain (MSA) has made the following response to the Department of Transport Consultation on Motoring Services Strategy. In order to gather the views of MSA member’s details of the consultation were circulated, via the relevant chairs, to all of the ten MSA committees of the regions and nations of Great Britain. Details of the consultation were published in our news magazine, Newslink, and on the association’s web site at In addition the information was transmitted to followers of the MSA on social media sites. In Newslink we published an indication of our intended response and invited members to comment.

Summary of our view

STANDARDS: The regulator to maintain full control of the regulation of all driver testing and training, including the training of examiners and responsibility for standards of test and quality control. PRICES: Test fees should remain frozen for the foreseeable future and if tests are to be conducted in the private sector, fees should then be reduced to prove the good value of privatisation. WAITING TIMES: The control of waiting times at all types of centres is vital. We believe that waiting times for tests should be set by the regulator and driver trainer representatives working together and when agreed remain fixed for a period of at least three years.

Consultation questions

Q1. Which Agencies do you deal with and how often? MSA Response: MSA members deal with the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) and, from time to time have dealings with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The MSA has regular contact with the DSA and occasionally have dealings with the DVLA. Most members will not have any dealings with The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) or the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) and neither to the MSA. Q2 Which services have you used in the last 12 months? MSA Response: Most if not all members will


have had some dealings with the DSA regarding driving tests and their Registration as Approved Driving Instructors. Some will have had dealings with the DVLA regarding MOT testing of cars and driver licensing. The MSA have dealings with various officials and departments within DSA on a regular basis. Q3. Referring to page 15 of the strategy, “Our Guiding Principles”, please tell us which of the principles, if any, would help you in your dealings with us? MSA Response: While there is always room for improvement in any organisation, generally speaking the services our members receive from the DSA are of a reasonable standard and we do believe that most of the time they try to put the consumer at the heart of what they do. We have concerns that rationalising the number of agencies and bodies may reduce the level of service we receive while none of the savings made will be passed back to the customers. We already have experience of working with a broader range of partners through the contracting out of the driver theory test. Our experience with these contractors has been excellent; our members notice that theory tests are never disrupted by strike action. Q4. Will the vision for digital services outlined on page 17 of the strategy help you in your contacts with any of the four agencies? MSA Response: Yes, we believe the work done by both DSA and DVLA has been excellent in this regard. The recent launch by DSA of the Online Business Service (OBS) and Internet Booking Service (IBS) has been well received by members who rate them highly. We have two principal concerns about the digital by default agenda: We are concerned about the disenfranchising of those who don’t wish to be involved in digital services. In the Government’s mid-term review

Together in the National Interest it states: “We will make sure that no one is left behind by ensuring there is assisted digital provision for those who are unable to use digital services by themselves.” This suggests that only those who are unable to use digital services will be helped not those who are unwilling to use them. This would appear to be an extremely draconian measure that flies in the face of the Government’s commitment to reduce the financial burdens on small businesses. We would urge that arrangements should be kept available where contact with the test providers and regulators can continue to be made by post and telephone for the foreseeable future. The DSA seems to cherry pick the projects they decide to improve. The new OBS and IBS systems replace previous online services that were not as good but did work. In the meantime, the driver trainer profession has to struggle on with a booking system for Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) qualifying examinations and for tests of continued ability and fitness to give instruction (check tests) that is not just antiquated but is arguably not fit for purpose. We have been talking about a new online scheme for over five years with no date yet proposed for the introduction of such a system. Q5. We plan to move to greater delivery of services online or by other digital means. Will these changes help you in your dealings with us? MSA Response: They will help those who are online. However, they will make it increasingly burdensome for those who are not. Q6. Do you think the proposals to reform VCA as outlined on page 17 of the strategy will help you and/or the UK economy? MSA Response: Very few of our members deal with this agency. Continued on page 18 » » »

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MSA response to Motoring Services Consultation « « « Continued from page 16 Q7. Do you have any suggestions for the future structure of VCA or the range of services it offers? MSA Response: Very few of our members deal with this agency. Q8. Do you support our plans to bring the driving test closer to the customer as outlined on page 17 of the strategy? MSA Response: TESTING FROM OTHER LOCATIONS: We do support the concept of bringing the driving test closer to the customer and have campaigned for this for a number of years under the banner “Local centres for local people”. The principal of testing from other locations is not new. Large parts of North West Scotland and the Islands have operated in this way for many years. We believe that the key point is that the location has to provide suitable facilities for the candidate and access to sufficient suitable routes for the number of examiners operating from that centre. We are, however, concerned that taking tests to the customer could lead to a watering down of standards and affect the integrity of the test. If tests are to be conducted almost anywhere to suit demand, will suitable test routes be available or will examiners be left to make up their own routes? Suitable routes should include access to a range of hazards to make a meaningful test possible and to ensure compliance with the 2nd EU Driving Licence Directive. In addition, the tests need to be scheduled in such a way that adequate and meaningful quality assurance is carried out. This does not just include direct supervision but must enable management information to be collated on each examiner that operates from that location so that a comparison of performance is possible (fault analysis, pass rates, complaints etc). The more locations used, the fewer tests conducted from each and the more examiners that operate from that location, then the less likely it is that any meaningful comparison can be carried out. It is also a concern that local testing could affect the integrity of the test. The routes could be less demanding which would lead to candidates having an easier test. If the routes were left to the examiners, candidates could be tested on a too difficult or too easy route. We understand that full time driving test centres (DTCs) have an overall pass rate of 48 per cent while occasional DTCs, typically those in remote areas, have a 68 per cent overall pass rate. This may be explainable but needs to be kept under review. Working away from main test centres increases the likelihood of procedures being ignored or tests being fraudulently conducted. This is something that Government needs to be mindful of in light of the recent arrest of a driving test examiner in London. We do not believe these problems are insurmountable but we do believe that Government needs to be mindful of these matters when progressing the concept of bringing the driving test closer to the customer. TEST DELIVERY OPTIONS: We do not believe that test delivery by a non-Government agency would necessarily be a bad thing. It happens successfully now with the theory test and is common across the European Union. Driving test booking could be privatised quite


easily without directly affecting the public. However, we do have grave concerns about the effect that privatisation might have on standards or at best the public perception of standards. We are concerned that public perception may be that the service provider is adjusting the standards to meet key performance indicators or to maximise profit. Robust procedures would need to be established to address this concern and we believe all complaints relating to content and conduct of tests should be dealt with by the regulator not a contractor. Ideally the task of standards regulation would stay within the remit of a relevant Government body and they must set and monitor the standards and use robust contract management procedures to ensure that excellent customer service is delivered and standards are maintained. It is also important that steps are taken to maintain the standards of the regulator. Regarding the question of service standards in a contracted-out service, we would hope they would concentrate more on the customers than the staff. We currently have a situation where DSA staff can decide their own working hours meaning that for some, the working day concludes by mid afternoon, leaving the customers without the option of late afternoon test appointments. Hopefully a private company would be looking to offer a better service to its customers, including weekend service when called for, providing traffic conditions are suitable. It will be important in the future to ensure that examiner contracts include weekend working. We also have concerns about the prices that may be charged for driving tests in the future. We believe that test fees should remain frozen for the foreseeable future and if tests are to be conducted in the private sector fees should then be reduced to prove the good value of privatisation. ESTATE REVIEW: It would appear that with a very mixed estate it will always be impossible to make every test centre come up to the same standard, so we suggest that a radical view of the way in which tests are marketed to the public. The testing authority will want to have as few centres as possible each with a high throughput of candidates. However, many members of the public and some ADIs favour more localised testing. The facilities available in the corner of retail shop premises are unlikely to provide the same facilities that could be available at a modern multi-purpose test centre (MPTC). This means that waiting times at occasional centres, despite a lack of facilities, routes or planning permission may rise to unacceptable levels. We would suggest that a review of the DTC estate should consider the creation of core centres sensibly sited to ensure reasonable coverage, with pop-up/occasional type centres wherever necessary to meet demand. In order to encourage throughput the core centres should be made particularly attractive for the public and driver trainers by making them worth travelling to. Rather than the ostentatious parsimony currently practised by the DSA, where coffee machines have been removed in order to meet carbon reduction targets that could probably have been better met by transferring a large number of staff journeys to public transport, waiting rooms should be designed to be welcoming for candidates and trainers. Coffee machines, public computers, free WiFi and toilet facilities would all encourage the use of these centres alongside the possibility of discounted tests at core centres perhaps to fill less popular appointment slots like early mornings.

The control of waiting times at all types of centres is vital; we believe that waiting times for tests should be set by the regulator and driver trainer representatives working together and when agreed remain fixed for a period of at least three years. Q9. How would our plans to bring the driving test closer to the customer affect you as a customer or a business? Q10. Do you support our plans to reform HGV, bus and coach testing as outlined on page 18 of the strategy? Q11. How do you think our plans to reform HGV, bus and coach testing will affect road safety? Q12. How do you think our plans to reform HGV, bus and coach testing will affect convenience for customers and businesses? Q13. How do you think our plans to reform HGV, bus and coach testing will affect red tape for customers and businesses? Q14. Do you have any comments on our plans to reform HGV, bus and coach testing? MSA Response: We feel that our answers to the other questions in the consultation apply equally to questions 9 to 14 about HGV, bus and coach testing. Q15. Do you agree with our outline proposals for defining our organisations to deliver better services as outlined on page 18 of the strategy? MSA Response: We refer to our answer above regarding ESTATE REVIEW and the provision of tests available throughout the day at centres the candidates and instructors want to go to. Delivered within sensible waiting time criteria and at reasonable prices. Q16. Do you have any comments on our plans to re-define organisational boundaries? MSA Response: Or concern with reorganisation is that the expertise contained within the DSA is not diluted by these actions. We believe that it will be important to retain a cadre of testing and training experts within the regulatory body. Q17. Do you have any other comments on how we can improve our service to you? MSA Response: Yes; DSA, DfT should do what it says it is going to do. The service provided by the DSA to driver trainers and driving test candidates is generally of a satisfactory nature. However, the lack of any progress on the introduction of long discussed and often promised proposals to improve road safety is appalling. There are still no statutory provisions to underpin the standards of HGV, bus and coach driver trainers or fleet trainers, or those involved in train-the-trainer activities, all of which were included in the Road Safety Act 2006 but have never been introduced. Compulsory CPD for ADIs, worked on for years by the DSA and driver trainer bodies, but now abandoned. The abolition of the trainee licence system and changes to regulations to allow ADIs to take learners on motorways, promised in 2011 by ministers, but still not introduced. Q18. Do you have any other comments on our approach as outlined in the strategy? MSA Response: We view this consultation paper as a refreshing opportunity to perhaps have some input into policies and ideas before they are fully developed. We look forward to more detailed consultations on these subjects in the future.

Membership benefits

Safeguard your income with an HMCA plan Safeguard yourself and family by joining the HMCA Income Protection Plan. Ensure that in the event of loss of earnings you have money coming in. Your income may cease or be radically reduced but your commitments will not. The plan is designed to provide income if you are unable to work, due to illness or accident, after you have been incapacitated for 90 days. You are eligible for monthly payments of up to ÂŁ1,000 per month, but no more than 60% of your normal gross income Payments will continue to be made for up to five years while you are unable to work Cover will remain in force until your 65th birthday or until you retire or receive a pension, as long as subscriptions

are paid continuously You are eligible to join if aged between 18 and 54 and are in gainful employment of at least 16 hours a week, whether an employee or self-employed For more information enquire online at or call 01423 866985 for a free, no obligation quote. • HMCA is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (reference no. 307587) and has been providing these services to membership groups for over 30 years. Key benefits above are correct as at 01/02/2013.

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Budget offers hint of relief over fuel prices A number of key announcements impacting on the motor industry were contained in Chancellor George Osborne’s March Budget. The headline for many ADIs will have been news of the scrapping of the proposed increase in fuel duty. The increase – set at 1.89p per litre – was planned for September 1 but has now been cancelled. It means that fuel duty will have been frozen for nearly three and half years, the longest duty freeze for over 20 years. The Government has calculated that cancelling the duty rise amid concerted pressure from consumer and industry groups will mean it will cost the typical motorist £7 less to fill up their tank every time they visit the pump from next month, and £10 less by the end of the Parliament in 2015. In addition, a small business could have saved £340 in total over the last two years when compared with previously announced fuel duty increase plans and will continue to save at least that amount annually. Other key issues include: Vehicle Excise Duty. From April 1, 2013 VED rates will increase in line with RPI, apart from VED rates for HGVs which will be frozen in 2013/14. The Government has ruled out plans to make significant reforms to the structure of VED for cars and vans in the current Parliament, having previously said that it had been considering changes to ensure that all motorists made a fair contribution to the sustainability of the public finances, and to reflect continuing improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency.

Company car tax. From April 6, 2015, two new company car tax bands will be introduced at 0-50 g/km CO2 and 51-75 g/km CO2. The appropriate percentage of the list price subject to tax for the 0-50 g/km CO2 band will be 5% in 2015-16, and 7% in 2016-17. The appropriate percentage of the list price subject to tax for the 51-75 g/km CO2 band will be 9% in 2015-16 and 11% in 2016-17. In future years company car tax rates will be announced three years in advance. Additionally, the Government says it will review company car tax ‘incentives’ for ultra low emission vehicles in light of market developments in 2016. Capital allowances: The Government will extend the 100% full year allowance - due to end on March 31, 2015 for a further three years until March 31, 2018. From April 1, 2015, the CO2 emissions threshold at which the allowance applies will be reduced from 95 g/km to 75 g/km. The case for extending the full year allowance for cars beyond April 1, 2018 will be reviewed at Budget 2016 alongside a review of the 130 g/km main rate threshold (18%). Van benefit charge: The Government will freeze the van benefit charge at £3,000 in 2013/14. Car fuel benefit charge: (FBC) 2013–14 - From April 6 2013, the FBC multiplier for company cars will increase from £20,200 to £21,100, and will increase by RPI in 2014/15. Van fuel benefit charge: (FBC) 2013–14 - From April 6, 2012, the van FBC multiplier will be frozen at £550, and will increase by RPI in 2014/15

Pint of beer costs 50k, says IAM A new advertising campaign in London has calculated the real cost of being caught drink-driving: £50,000. The IAM made the claim after research showed that the personal financial cost of a drink-driving conviction is between £20,000 and £50,000 based on the fines, legal costs, rise in insurance premiums and possible job losses faced by those who are convicted. Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “The total cost of a drink driving conviction was a lot more than we expected. £50,000 is an awful lot to pay for just one more drink.”

Changes to rules on eyesight, epilepsy Revised minimum driving licence standards have been announced on eyesight and epilepsy. The changes come into force from 8 March. Eyesight: Group 2 – Buses and lorries. For these drivers, there will be a new relaxed visual acuity standard for the ‘weaker eye’ when each eye is separately examined. Eyesight can be weaker in one eye than the other. Epilepsy: Group 1 – Cars and motorcycles. Drivers who have only ever suffered seizures while asleep may now be considered for a licence after one year, instead of three. Drivers who have only ever suffered seizures that have no impact on consciousness or the ability to act can apply for a licence one year from the date of their first seizure.


Road safety news INBRIEF Scots give their backing for lower drink/drive limit The Scottish Government is to go ahead with cutting the drink-driving limit after a consultation showed that three-quarters of people want it reduced. Ministers propose to lower the limit from 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood – the limit for drivers across the UK – to 50mg. That would bring Scotland in line with other European countries including Spain, Germany and France. It will mean drivers who consume just one regular alcoholic drink could find themselves over the new limit. Justice Secretary Kenny Mac-Askill said: “Drink-driving can shatter families and communities and we must take action to reduce the risk on our roads.” “On average, 30 families every year have to cope with the loss of a loved one and around 900 people are treated for injuries caused by someone who thought it was acceptable to drink alcohol and get behind the wheel and drive. We cannot let this continue.”

Look longer for bikers this spring The Government has urged car drivers to take a longer look for motorcyclists in its spring road safety campaign. The £1.3m campaign is timed to coincide with the anticipated increase in motorcyclists’ return to the roads. Roads safety minister Stephen Hammond said: “Motorcyclists account for just one per cent of traffic but 19 per cent of deaths on Britain’s roads and 30 bikers are killed or injured in accidents at junctions every day. I am determined to reduce this terrible toll. “That is why we are funding this THINK! campaign to remind drivers to look out for motorcyclists - particularly at junctions - and to see the person behind the helmet not just a motorbike.”

New inquiry into whiplash claims The Transport Committee has launched an inquiry into whiplash claims, following its recent inquiry into the cost of motor insurance. Committee chair Louise Ellman MP believes it’s vitally important for policymakers to understand the reasons for the very high cost of motor insurance, especially for young drivers, and to take steps to bring that cost down. She said: “Whiplash claims undoubtedly play a part in driving up the cost of motor insurance, but access to justice for injured people must be preserved. “We want to hear the arguments on these points and will publish a report in the summer about the best way forward on this difficult issue.” Britain has the highest rate of whiplash claims in Europe.


EU road deaths fall puts pressure on UK to keep its lead in road safety Recent rises in the number of fatal/ serious injury incidents on Britain’s roads – and the worrying lack of Government targets to reduce them again – have been put into sharp relief by a press release from the European Commission congratulating the continent’s many governments for helping reduce the number of fatalities on the roads. Road fatalities across the EU decreased by nine per cent in 2012, while the latest figures for the UK saw deaths rise by six per cent. 2012 saw the lowest number of people killed in road traffic in EU countries since the first data were collected. Vice-President Siim Kallas, Commissioner for transport, said: “2012 was a landmark year for European road safety, with the lowest ever number of road deaths recorded. A 9 per cent decrease means that 3,000 lives were saved last year. It is hugely encouraging to see these kinds of results. Still 75 people die on Europe’s roads every day, so there is no room for complacency. We have ambitious goals to cut EU road deaths in half by 2020 and we need to keep up this momentum to get there. “Road deaths are only the tip of the iceberg. For every death on Europe’s roads there are 10 serious injuries such as damage to the brain or spinal cord. We need a strategy to bring down the number of serious road injuries everywhere in the EU.” Country by country statistics show that the number of road deaths still varies greatly across the EU. Looking positively at the figures, the UK remains one of Europe’s leading nations for road safety, along with Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark, reporting around 30 deaths per million inhabitants. Compared to the disappointing figures of 2011, when progress in cutting road deaths went into reverse, the reduction of nine per cent in 2012 means that Member States are back on track towards the objective of halving road deaths between 2010 and 2020. In order to reach this goal, an average reduction of around seven per cent is needed. The most worrying feature of the road safety statistics for 2011 was a high increase in the number of killed vulnerable users such as pedestrians, motorcyclists and elderly people – in spite of an overall reduction of road fatalities. Based on the provisional data for 2012, the number of vulnerable user fatalities has decreased substantially in 2012. The European Road Safety Action Programme 2011-2020 sets out challenging plans to reduce the number

of road deaths on Europe’s roads by half in the next 10 years. It contains ambitious proposals focussing on making improvements to vehicles, infrastructure and road users’ behaviour. For example, key recent initiatives include: • A new EU Driving Licence, since January 2013, with tighter rules for the access of young people to powerful motorbikes; • National enforcement planssubmitted by Member States providing a rich source of best practices; • Cross-border enforcement rules to crackdown on traffic offences committed abroad (drink driving, speeding etc) in force since November 2012; • Work towards the development of an injuries strategy. Towards an Injuries strategy: the current situation It is estimated that for every death on Europe’s roads there are 10 serious injuries and 40 more slightly injured. A key factor contributing to success in tackling road fatalities has been the results-based approach adopted in two consecutive ten-year EU road safety strategies. Much could be gained by applying a similar focus to serious but non-fatal road injuries. The problem is that current figures on serious injuries are general and they are estimates. There

are problems with misreporting and underreporting of serious injuries and the figures are not comparable across the EU. For these reasons, the European Commission has published a document on serious road traffic injuries outlining the next steps towards a comprehensive EU strategy on serious road injuries, notably: a common definition of serious road traffic injury (applicable from 2013); a way forward for Member States to improve data collection on serious road accidents, (first reporting using comparable EU wide data collection methods and using new definition, 2014); the principle of adopting an EU-level target for the reduction of serious road traffic injuries (for example for the period 2015-2020). A key step forwards was already taken in 2012 with the agreement on an EU wide system for the definition of serious road injuries. The European Commission has worked extensively with Member States in the High Level Road Safety Group to agree on the use of the MAIS trauma scale (Maximum Abbreviated Injury Score), for the definition of serious road traffic injuries.

• For more information and statistics, members might like to see Serious_Injuries_ETSC_Press_Release.pdf

Key facts on serious injuries • Every year, about 250 000 people are seriously injured in road accidents in the EU – compared to the 28 000 road fatalities in 2012. • While the number of road deaths decreased by 43% during the last decade, the number of seriously injured people decreased by only 36%. • The most commons serious road injuries are head and brain injuries, followed by injuries to the legs and spine. • Vulnerable road users, for example pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists or users in certain age groups – notably the elderly – are especially affected by serious road injuries. • Serious road traffic injuries more often occur in urban areas than on rural roads.

All change: ADIs urged to embrace new era for driver training industry MSA National Training Day & Conference: Hellidon Lakes Hotel, Daventry, March 15-17


GET READY FOR CHANGE: whether you are an established ADI, a newcomer to the industry or a pupil, there is going to be a shake-up of how you work, the things you teach, how you are monitored and the goals you set for your learners. That was the clear message from Rosemary Thew, DSA chief executive, to the MSA National Training Day and Conference on March 16. She used her keynote address to take delegates on a whistlestop tour of changes, both implemented, planned and projected, and highlighted the impact of the new National Standards for Drivers and those for Driver and Rider Trainers, both of which were key to the direction in which the industry was heading. The Modernising Driver Training consultation paper – soon to be published – would deliver more concrete details on changes, but the current position was that ADIs should prepare for major changes. Rosemary paid tribute to the MSA for its role in the consultations the agency had implemented during the past 12 months. “Your contribution has been vital in taking a number of ideas forward,” she said, thanking the association for giving her the opportunity to address conference and discuss some of the issues that arisen during the consultations with members. ADIs could expect a radical new approach to the check test. It’s new name – Standards Check – hinted at a subtle change in emphasis from the DSA. Gone would be the fault-based principles that underpinned the current check test, to be replaced by a new requirement to see pupil progress through structured lesson planning more closely aligned to the national driver standards. ADIs would be asked to spot, rectify and remedy faults; risk-assessment – and eliminating risk – were to be at the heart of the new testing regime. The Standards Check would create a profile of the instructor, highlighting strengths and weaknesses in their tuition. What wouldn’t change, however, was the position of the DSA over two areas dear to the hearts of many conference delegates: mandatory CPD and the issue of closing the ADI Register to newcomers, or at the very least introducing a ceiling on numbers. CPD was something the DSA continued to encourage – indeed, the Minister for Road Safety, Stephen Hammond, had personally told Rosemary that he thought it was imperative ADIs continued to improve their skills through CPD – but making it a compulsory feature was impractical. As reported in Newslink, Rosemary explained that while advisable, mandatory CPD was at odds with the Government’s desire to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses, while removing ADIs from the Register for non-compliance after grading them highly in their standards check would appear nonsensical and open to challenge.

MSA National Training Day & Conference 2013

Old colleagues: Former ADI Registrar Charles Morton was a welcome guest at conference, pictured above with his former boss, Rosemary

The ADI Register could not be closed, nor would it be, even if the current numbers were to rise higher than their recent high point of 47,000. It currently was on 45,000 ADIs. However, there was a clear suggestion that the DSA thought numbers could fall as the standards required to become an ADI were raised. More information was to be placed in the public domain about what was required to become an ADI, while a toughening up of pre-entry standards would inevitably increase rejections and reduce applications. Rosemary was at pains to stress that both the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, and Stephen Hammond, had both raised their concerns with her recently over driver standards, particularly of new drivers, and both were committed to improving standards and reducing the appalling casualty rate. This was welcome news to conference. Many professionals working in the road safety sector had come to believe the Government had put such issues on a back seat in recent months. While the minister had not acted as yet on his predecessor’s plan to scrap the ADI trainee licence scheme, consultations would be looking at enforcing constant supervision on trainee instructors, which would help maintain standards.

The DSA was also keen to introduce a vocational qualification for ADIs that tied in to the new driver standards, to be run by outside agencies operating in the training/educational sphere, and to create an enhanced route to qualification. The changes were driven by a new goal: to create safe, responsible, respectful and risk-aware drivers. The minister was particularly anxious to see this last goal given greater prominence. Any Government intervention that improves road safety is to be applauded but it wouldn’t be a total cynic to ask whether the ministers’ new-found enthusiasm for improving driver standards is down to a desire to reduce KSI statistics – or to respond to soaring insurance premiums for new drivers, which are generating a huge amount of negative publicity at present. Insurance companies have responded to complaints over high premiums by pointing out the

disproportionate number of claims made by new drivers. The minister, keen to keep middle England on side with a General Election on the horizon, is hoping to salvage something from the current mess by introducing measures that may encourage lower premiums in the future. As part of this new interest in the sector, a host of other ideas are under consideration, Rosemary said. Included among these are extending the learning period, both pre- and post-test, more changes to the L-test, and possible post-test restrictions. Reports were due on a trial of a new approach to teaching – getting pupils more actively involved in the learning process – while the latest addition to the L-test, independent driving, had been well received and was proving very popular with pupils and examiners.

Answer this: Rosemary on stage with MSA general manager John Lepine during the lengthy Q&A session that followed her address

Continued on pg 26 »

Talking point: Delegates listen to Rosemary’s address to conference


Continued from pg 19 Turning to the DSA itself, Rosemary reported how delighted she was at the most recent customer responses to the agency’s service levels. It was meeting its targets – waiting times were as low as four weeks in most places outside London – while customer service levels were graded as ‘excellent’ and the DSA had maintained its Customer Excellent award. The increased take-up of the DSA’s online services was a particularly encouraging development. The new Online Booking Service for professional bookers was targeted at having 200 ADIs signed up by the start of March; over 2,500 had used the service already, which was a great start. It was an extension of the DSA’s lead in the ‘digital by default’ agenda; over 80 per cent of L-tests were now booked on-line, and over 90 per cent of theory tests. Reaction to the online booking service had been overwhelmingly positive, though Rosemary was at pains to say it was still an evolving service and any suggestions for improvements would be considered by the agency’s in-house IT team. The downside of this, however, was that the opening hours of the contact centre were to be reduced – though staff had been briefed to direct callers to the online services and would help in any way possible to make sure ADIs could access internet services.

The DSA view: Rosemary’s take on.... Taking test to the customer Taking driving tests to the customer was proving very successful, said Rosemary. The integrity of the test was paramount but no complaints had been received and examiners, pupils and ADis were overwhelmingly enthusiastic. It allowed the DSA to offer more choice and flexibility and delivered tests where the public needed them. She was particularly keen on seeing the results of the new tests to run out of Nottingham Trent University –

On driving test fraud

“We were delighted with the media response to the arrest of an examiner, ADI and L-test candidate on fraud charges. “The report had made the lunchtime news on the BBC and led the website news page. It showed the agency’s determination to crack down on fraud – though it’s important to stress how rare cases of driving test fraud were. Only two examiners had been convicted of taking bribes since 2000 – that was out of 1.6 million tests

taking testing to students could be a way forward on a bigger scale in the future. The addition of tests out of fire and rescue service stations was also an exciting development. When questioned on where candidates would park prior to tests at these sites, Rosemary said that changes in fire service practice had meant drilling was no longer part of their duties but most fire stations still kept large parade grounds; these would be used by test candidates.

conducted annually.” She added: “The theory test offers greater scope for abuse and since its inception there had been 10,000 suspected cases linked to impersonation. Considering the number of tests held, however, this was still a relatively minor figure but it was one that was causing DSA concern. Where fraud was successfully proved, 3,000 licences had been revoked. “We shall remain vigilant.”

Consultation on help with language on test This is an area where the DSA has real concerns over fraud, Rosemary admitted. It was imperative that the integrity of both theory and practical tests was maintained. Translators could help candidates by providing answers or guidance during tests, and while the presence of a translator was paid for by the candidate, the cost of policing translators was expensive, as was the cost of providing voiceovers on theory tests. There was also a road safety issue: did you need to be able to speak English to drive safely? Was there a risk if


you couldn’t read road signs. Options on the table included removing the right to a translator on the practical test and a voiceover on the theory test, or allowing one to remain. There would be no changes made to the assistance given to pupils with dyslexia or autism. It was clear that this issue was very controversial. DSA consultation documents usually provoked “dozens of responses”, said Rosemary. This one had elicited over 1,300.

MSA National Training Day & Conference 2013

Q &A

Putting the questions: MSA members Providing the answers: Rosemary Thew Was the increasing use by councils of 20mph limits compromising driving tests? RT: No, there have been no complaints though if you have concerns, please take them up with your local DSA manager. What will replace Pass Plus? RT: The current take-up of PassPlus is less than seven per cent. It is disappointing. The problem is the insurance industry is not enthusiastically backing the scheme any more. It’s high-point was shortly after launch when 25 per cent of new drivers took the course. We have changed tack and we’re now asking the insurers, what would you like to see us do to reduce premiums? Clearly, insurers like black box/ telemetrics technology and graduated licences. At this stage the Secretary of State is not keen on going down the latter path though there is scope for the former to be used more. Should we re-test drivers on a regular basis? RT: There is no enthusiasm for this in Government though the DfT would like to find a way to encourage drivers to take CPD post-test, both new drivers and old. Has the introduction of independent driving affected the L-test pass rate? RT: There is no evidence emerging that it has had any impact one way or the other. There was talk of reducing the number of less serious faults that constitute a test fail, from the current 16 to 10-12. Is this going to happen? RT: No. It is very rare for candidates to fail for producing 16 less serious faults; there is usually a serious fault in there too.

If CPD is so valued, should I take my CPD folder to my check test? If so, why did my recent SE show so little interest in looking at it? RT: You don’t need to take it to the check test but we do value the extra training ADIs take and CPD is something we would actively encourage all ADIs to do. With the introduction of the new standards, could it be possible to create an apprenticeship for driving as a vocational course? RT: That is an interesting idea but there are no plans to do so. John Lepine added: This is something we have been arguing in favour of for a number of years, that learning to drive be acknowledged as a vocational course, which would make it eligible for funding. However, while it is recognised that learning to drive is useful for getting a job, it isn’t a job in itself. On waiting times, I don’t really care about how long they are as long as they are consistent. We know when pupils are getting ready for test and plan accordingly. But for re-tests the waiting times should be shorter, particularly when a pupil is test standard but has made a simple mistake. Can anything be done to make it possible to access second tests (re-tests) quicker? RT: The current system was created to stop people taking a test in the morning then another in the afternoon. You have a minimum of 10 days between tests. It is hard to see how we could organise the booking system to accommodate test failures in the way you request.

What is the DSA view on the recent examiners’ strike? Does this action make the DSA more likely to be privatised? RT: We regret the strikes. I appreciate that they mess ADIs and pupils about and I’d like to apologise for that but there is little we can do to prevent industrial action as it is the right of union members to go on strike. As we now think that the way forward is to hold driving tests in ad hoc centres such as branches of Halfords, does that mean that all the money spent of building the MPTCs was wasted? RT: No, the MPTCs were introduced to comply with EU legislation on off-road bike testing. There building was completely separate from the other issue, which is part of the DSA’s plans to take testing to the public. Why, if an L- test is cancelled due to bad weather, can a new test be arranged within three days, but if examiners go on strike, it takes 10 days? RT: I will look into that inconsistency in service delivery. (The MSA took up this point with the DSA; their answer is on page 5) Our thanks: MSA national chairman Peter Harvey present a bouquet to Rosemary as a token of thanks for speaking at conference

Conference workshops

Drivers takes centre stage - in a cardboard box! Sue McCormack Director, TriCoaching Partnership Ltd Newslink columnist Sue McCormack delivered an invigorating and thought-provoking workshop on how drivers’ feelings and personality affect the way they drive, making a powerful case at the same time for a more client-centred approach to teaching. In her scenario, four ‘cars’ – well, cardboard boxes ‘driven’ by volunteers from the audience – acted out an oft-repeated scene. Cars 1 and 2 were approaching each other on a main road; car 3 was at a junction looking to enter that road; while car 4 was approaching the same junction behind 3. When Car 1 flashed its headlights a chain of events was put in motion that highlighted each driver’s inattention, impatience or hesitancy, resulting in a nasty three-car pile up. The fact that the crash was easily preventable highlighted the importance of getting the right messages across to learners, but in a manner that fitted their personality. While the workshop allowed the delegates to have a

little fun with the various characters involved in the crash, it was apparent that all four had deficiencies in their driving – but for very different reasons. The crash was a random event, occurring because four drivers happened to be in the same place at the same time, and acting in a way that produced the collision. Take one out of the equation and the crash would not have occurred and the remaining three would have driven on oblivious to their close call. As Sue pointed out, we allow our personality to take over our driving. Aggression, day-dreaming, frivolous: no matter what character traits we display, they all manifest themselves when we get behind the wheel. Coaching delivers a client-centred approach to learning that focuses on each individual’s behaviour. It is vital that ADIs identify the behavioural traits that will lead learners to become aggressive, inattentive or uncaring drivers; how any learner feels on any day will have an enormous impact on their driving.

Diversify and take the pressure off needing new learners coming through Tony Stanley Transport & Training Consultant, AJS Training ADIs whose usual income stream – 18-25-year-old learners – has reduced in recent months would do well to spend a little time with Tony Stanley, of AJS Training. Tony used his workshop at conference to highlight the many other avenues there are for ambitious instructors looking to increase their tuition hours and branch out into new sectors, many of which are more secure than the currently vulnerable new driver market. He broke this ‘new’ business down into two sectors: the Familiar, and the Less Familiar. Pass Plus may be a much maligned training programme but it still helped bring in more tuition hours, and motorway lessons were a great idea for keen novice drivers in some areas of the country. However, Tony also highlighted other potential sectors: defensive driving, advanced driving and UK familiarisation programmes for overseas citizens who had moved to the UK were all a good source of income, depending on the area of the country you live in. A growth area for some instructors had been under-age tuition, with Young Driver courses, often aimed at the 14-16-year-old age group. However, there were other options – which he bracketed under the ‘less familiar’ heading. Fleet driver training was an excellent avenue to explore. Many businesses


were concerned about the risks their fleet drivers were taking: insurance costs were escalating as a result, and with corporate manslaughter a real concern, many businesses had taken the decision to improve the standard of their fleet drivers. The MSA’s recent agreement with Highfield was a potential source of good income too, as Tony stressed the possibilities within the classroom sector, via the PTLLS qualification. Finally, don’t neglect trailer and towing: links with the Caravan Club and similar bodies could prove fruitful.

MSA National Training Day & Conference 2013

Unit puzzle is driving up the breath-test failure figures Alan Prosser NDORS Development Director, TTC Group The message on drinking and driving had been hammered home to the public for decades, said Alan Prosser of TTC 2000 – but there was clearly a huge amount of confusion still as to what the accepted limit was, how many units were in a standard measure of alcohol and how long it stayed in the system. TTC 2000 had been formed as a consequence of the North Report in 1993, which had led to the trialling of driver improvement courses for drivers convicted of drink-driving offences. The trial had been expanded in 1997 to take in 175 courts around Britain, before being made permanent nationally in 2000. It had been proven that course attendees had lower re-offending rates than on average, and participants were consequently a lower risk. However, as figures from last Christmas highlight – when over 7,000 drivers failed the breath test – the drink-drive message was clearly not getting through, and in Alan’s view, it wasn’t just a disregard for risk, but a clear lack of understanding of the issue that was one of the major problems. A quick test of ADIs in the workshop found that there was considerable confusion over what constituted a ‘unit’ and which drinks were stronger. ‘Home-poured’ drinks were considerably stronger than those sold in a pub; in one role-play, a ‘healthy’ glass of whisky for a house guest actually worked out at a pub quintuple – or enough in a single glass to put a driver over the limit. Understanding units of alcohol was the key: to work out the number in any drink, a quick calculation of: alcohol % x volume (ml) 1,000 Working it out: Leading the conference workshops are Sue McCormack with her infamous cardboard cars (top), Alan Prosser gets the drinks order in (above) and Tony Stanley makes a point (left)

delivered the answer! Left your maths at school? Try a bottle of whisky, at 40%. Multiplying that by a 700ml (size of the bottle by volume) gives you 28,000; divide that by 1,000 gives you 28 – the number of

units in a standard bottle of whisky. A 440ml can of strong lager, at 5%, gives you 2,200. Divide by 1,000 and you have 2.2 units in a can – or roughly half the level at which you’ll lose your licence for drink-driving, with the ‘legal’ limit usually viewed at around five units. Those figures were for men; for women, alcohol had a bigger impact due to their different physiological make-up. Being larger in build, men have more blood volume and less body fat than women. In addition, men have a higher concentration of dehydrogenase – an enzyme that breaks alcohol down. On the other hand, women have a smaller body size, more body fat and lower amounts of dehydrogenase. In addition, while the concentration of water in the body of an average man is around 61 per cent, a woman has less water content – 52 per cent. As a result, a man’s body is naturally equipped to dilute alcohol more efficiently than a woman’s body – regardless of the weight factor. Body fat is also directly related to the absorption and metabolising of alcohol. Women have a higher concentration of body fat than men and as fat does not absorb alcohol, the entire alcohol content remains in a highly concentrated form in the bloodstream. Consequently, while men could pass a breath test with five units of alcohol in their system, for women it was as low as three. Talking to ADIs afterwards it was clear that the biggest shock was how long this alcohol stayed in the system. Alan ran through the usual ways that people tend to think you can ‘encourage’ alcohol to leave you – black coffee, exercise, food – and dismissed all of them. The only way to really remove alcohol is a blood transfusion as it sits in your blood stream – for up to two hours per unit. Drink 10 units (roughly five pints of beer or a bottle of red wine) and traces of the alcohol would still be in your system up to 20 hours later. It brought the old RAF adage – 24 hours between bottle and throttle ­– to home for many.

Take the test:

See pg 39 for an alcohol-related test, as taken by participants at Alan’s workshop at Conference


MSA National Training Day & Conference 2013

So what do you think? Roundtable discussion led by Peter Harvey MSA chairman Peter Harvey led a lively and interactive session in which he asked delegates to do a spot of work as conference took part in a new venture for the MSA: ‘flipping the classroom’. In their pre-conference packs all delegates had been asked to consider a number of issues surrounding suggested or projected reforms of the driver training industry. They had also been asked in what order they believed certain driving skills should be taught, and their views on the proposed latest draft of the ADIs’ Code of Practice. The Code was launched in 1997 and was not a Government-led initiative; instead its introduction had been led by ADI membership bodies. Its fourth iteration was currently being worked on to take in new developments. The new National Standard for Driving Cars sets out what the DSA believes is required to be a safe, responsible driver, and Peter asked conference to consider the correct order to teach: ancillary controls; turn in the road; handling pedestrian crossings; reverse round a corner; the emergency stop; roundabouts; bay parking; and dual carriageways. After a lively discussion the conference agreed that under client-centred learning, it was impossible to state a ‘correct’ order. As South East chair Jo Chapman pointed out, “There is no order in a client-centred approach to learning; you have to consider pupil needs, wants, traffic conditions and

other facts, including the weather, when deciding what you teach, and when.” As another member drily pointed out, there was considerable difference in the need to teach hill starts and close clutch control for inclines in Norfolk than in Cumbria or North Yorkshire! Members were also asked to consider several key reforms for the industry, including the introduction of minimum hours of professional tuition, graduated licences and a change of the provisional licence age, as well as privatisation.

Here’s what I think...

Delegates break-out into small groups to work through the issues


This last issue proved contentious: there was a real concern over future rising costs of tests, which could be a further barrier to learning, and over the standard and integrity of the L-test. On graduated licences, there was no real consensus. It sounded good in theory but in practice, enforcement could be an issue, particularly with the number of police reducing. Stating that new drivers could not drive at certain times seemed sensible to curb the practice of young, often male, drivers getting behind the wheel after a night out, but at the same time, in areas where there was little or no public transport, this would be a real barrier to mobility and could hamper young people’s ability to get jobs. Why should a 21-year-old who is working hard in their job at a restaurant be told they cannot drive home after a shift?

One of the key reasons why young people get a driving licence is to give them the mobility they need to contribute to the economy. Reducing the engine size of the car’s driven by new drivers was unlikely to reduce crash statistics: one-litre cars were more than capable of delivering the acceleration and top speed a young driver needed to kill themselves! Conference stated that it was down to attitude and that little or no legislation would change that – education, and changing attitudes to risk, was vital. Getting parents to understand that fact, and to realise how much their own driving influenced fledgling drivers, was also crucial. As one delegate put it: “We need to get to a situation where holding a licence is regarded as a privilege, not a right, and that passing the test is not the end of the learning journey.” There was some support for requiring licences to be renewed every 10 years, with a short period of professional training, but while potentially lucrative for instructors it by-passed the danger age group of 17-25-year-olds. It could be useful to tie-in the DSA’s enthusiasm for CPD – though not enough to make it compulsory – to allow drivers to obtain insurance discounts if they could prove they had taken their own CPD. It was noted that despite all the pressure ADI groups had placed on the minister over recent years, the group that seemed to have real power was the insurance industry. By ratcheting up premiums and blaming it on bad driving, insurers appear to be the first port of call to reform driving for the Government, which remains desperate to be seen to be doing something that helps ‘middle Britain’ and lowers the cost of driving. Whether this was fair was doubtful but it seemed possible to many that future changes to the driver testing and training sector would be led not by road safety professionals but accountants and actuaries!

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26/10/2012 10:29

Our award-winning team It’s all yours: Cos Antoniou receives the John William Peek Memorial Trophy as the MSA’s Member of the Year from Peter Harvey, Geoff Little and Paul Russell, BG Insurance

Thanks, Cos Cos Antoniou, the former chairman of MSA Greater London, was the unanimous choice of the MSA Board of Management as the MSA’s Member of the Year. Chairman Peter Harvey commented: “This award is usually very challenging, as we have so many members who contribute so much to the association, but this year it was an easy decision. Cos was such a deserving choice. As many members are only too aware, particularly in the London region, Cos has been suffering from ill health recently but despite that he has kept up all his hard work for the association and led his region with distinction until he stood down in the autumn. “He has been a bedrock for the MSA in London for many years, a true stalwart of the industry and friend to hundreds of ADIs in London. “We were delighted to have this opportunity to publically acknowledge his hard work on our behalf, and to thank him. “We know he will be a hard act to follow but in Tom Kwok we think we have just the man to do so - though Tom is well aware that he will be able to count on Cos for advice and assistance in the future, as we know he intends to stay involved with the MSA for years to come.”

‘Topical, amusing irreverent and packed with industry knowledge’ was how John Lomas’ editorial pieces for Newslink were described as he collected the Jon Gross Memorial Trophy for Editor of the Year

Winning regions: The MSA recruitment trophy for the best-performing region on membership was collected by Bob Baker on behalf of MSA Scotland, who received the Ron Feltham Memorial Trophy (above left); MSA Western’s Colin Lilly accepted the runners-up cup (right)


Our sponsors and supporters Insurance update, with Paul Russell, BG Insurance Paul Russell, business development manager at MSA partner BG Insurance, was a welcome guest at conference, delivering a pre-AGM presentation on the current state of his industry. He knew insurance was a concern to ADIs. Rising premiums for young/novice drivers was gaining a huge amount of media attention, and while it was hard to prove that the downturn in learner drivers was solely down to their fear of not being able to afford insurance post-test, it was obviously a factor for some. BG was doing its best to broker lower rates for both ADIs and young/new drivers. One of the problems BG had found in recent years was a reduction in the number of insurers who were covering ADIs. His company worked with Markerstudy, Chaucer, Enterprise and Zurich, of which the latter was the biggest. Paul highlighted Zurich’s current and exclusive five per discount to MSA members. With the contraction of the learner market, BG had noticed a number of ADIs taking secondary occupations. However, this came with the possibility of raised premiums, though BG was willing “to fight the instructors’ corner on this” as he clearly had a lot of sympathy with ADIs over this issue. Why were the general public seeing rising premiums? A number of factors were in play, most well documented in Newslink and elsewhere. In particular, the UK’s current claims culture was ramping up the cost of each collision, with some ending in eye-wateringly large settlements. While claims running into the millions of pounds were rare, often they were warranted, as loss or injury was grievous; the damage to insurers was more at the lower end, as drivers injured made small-scale claims for minor, negligible or non-existent injuries. The rise of referral fees – where insurers pass on claims details to other parties such as accident management companies – had been outlawed as of April 1 though Paul believed companies would get round the legislation in some way. The irony was that claims management was introduced to streamline the system and help people involved in a crash put the whole business of their insurance claim in one place, meaning they don’t have to juggle dealing

I’m a winner: MSA Western’s Colin Lilly accepts

the draw prize for a month’s free contract hire courtesy of conference supporter Hitachi, from the company’s marketing manager Deena Tanna


with insurers, solicitors, garages and car hire firms themselves when their car was off the road. This industry had spiralled out of control, however. The total bill for personal injury claims now ran to over £14billion in the UK – far higher than in any other country in the EU – and this bill had to be paid by someone: unfortunately, it was the insured driver. The EU’s machinations were having their own effect on premiums. The Gender Directive had banned insurers from using gender as a factor in setting insurance premiums and women drivers were seeing the cost of motoring rise as a result; men should see a slight fall. It was a nonsense decision: women were less of a risk on the road and their premiums should be able to reflect that fact, said Paul. Looking forward, he explained how the new Consumer Insurance Act had introduced a subtle change to insurance. Previously it was the responsibility of the driver to provide all details relevant to their

insurance. This requirement for disclosure had led to problems where drivers had inadvertently not told their insurer details that were subsequently deemed important when a claim was made; it placed the responsibility on the public to know “what the insurers needed to know”. The new Act changed this: it meant insurers had to ask all the questions they wanted answers to and if key details were omitted because the question wasn’t asked, that was the insurers’ fault and would not impact on a claim. It took the pressure off the motorist – but would make applying for insurance a longer process, with more questions, in the future. He offered his own views on the ongoing debate around expired photocard driving licences by reiterating

that holding an expired licence did not affect your right to drive. However, he felt in the current climate it was sensible for ADIs to check licences were valid before lessons or courses. It was interesting that during conference one MSA member had updated him on a change in policy for his driver improvement course, which now refused to accept people with an expired licence even if the course was solely classroom based. Paul ended with a run-down of the services offered by BG. Driving instructor insurance was a small part of their business, and they also arranged cover for vans, home, travel and commercial purposes. The company offered flexible payment and had a claims hotline – Accident Assistance – which was open 24/7 to protect you and your earnings and get your car back on the road as quickly as possible in the event of a collision that was not your fault. A key component of this service was its fleet of dual-controlled vehicles: his company understood you had to get back on the road as quickly as possible and could offer a replacement car, which many of their rivals could not. In addition, BG Insurance offers specialist cover for misfuelling errors, breakdown cover – and will give you a £20 gift if you recommend a friend who takes policy from the company.

MSA National Training Day & Conference 2013 Spirit Hyundai:

Members enjoyed the chance to test the latest Hyundai models, kindly supplied by Spirit Hyundai Right, BG Insurance representatives

Backing the MSA: We were joined by our friends at AIRSO (left), while (below) Ms Chauhan greets Basil Smith at the Driving School Supplies stand. Far left, Members quiz Instructor Software over the company’s specialist ADI products Below left: Get organised: Colin Martin at Instructor Apps chats to an interested member. In the background – spot Colin’s tins of beans?

More sponsors and supporters, plus the MSA AGM – see pg 36 » » » MSA NEWSLINK : APRIL 2013 : 35

Peter Harvey to continue in role as MSA chairman

Here to serve the members The MSA’s management team: From left, deputy chairman and chairman of the West Midlands, Geoff Little; MSA chairman Peter Harvey MBE; Carol Lepine, membership secretary; and MSA company secretary and general manager, John Lepine MBE

Prior to lunch at the Conference, the MSA’s AGM was convened. John Lepine, company secretary, highlighted key points from the recently published Annual Report and Handbook, which outlined the current position of the association. The drop in ADI’s income had clearly impacted on MSA finances but the association was using its reserves to fund on-going activity. He highlighted the association’s considerable disappointment that mandatory CPD had been rejected by the DSA, and the lack of progress on ending trainee licences and allowing learners on motorways. He looked forward to future progress on both issues. John was delighted to announce that Peter Harvey had been re-elected unanimously by the Board of Management to serve another 12 months as national chairman. Geoff Little, MSA West Midlands, had been asked to continue in his role as deputy national chairman.

Right Great business: Members check out the goods on the Driving School Supplies stand Far right, Mike Parkes of TWD Accountants, the MSA’s approved tax experts

How about this: Hitachi‘s Deena Tanna makes a point to a member (above) We can help: Driving Instructor Services’ representative (right)


All smiles at the insurance stand. BG Insurance business development manager Paul Russell talks premiums to Arthur Mynott

MSA National Training Day & Conference 2013

It’s not all work, work, work... The Conference weekend featured the inaugural MSA Golf Tournament, a fun bowling and golf simulator competition on the Friday night and our Party Night on the Saturday, featuring an excellent fourcourse meal and entertainment from local band Hunsbury Central

New skills: Members and guests try out the hotel’s bowling alleys (above) Right, local band Hunsbury Central, who entertained delegates at the Party Night

Eyes on the ball: Members get in to the swing of things on the hotel’s golf simulator. We reckon the chap below’s got the talent to make it as a pro...

Ready for the tee-off: Golfers prepare to tackle the course

Charity night During Saturday’s Party Night a raffle was held for prizes donated by the MSA’s regions and nations and our publishers, Chamber Media Services. Karen and Claire Lepine (pictured above, with their mother, Carol), sold tickets for the charity raffle. Over £300 was raised for local charity Time2Talk, which offers a free information, counselling and preventative intervention service in Daventry and throughout South Northamptonshire for Young People aged 13 – 25.

Ace golfers: James Hale (right) took the honours by winning the inaugural MSA Golf tournament, which was played on Hellidon Lakes’ superb undulating parkland course. He is pictured with the runner-up Phillip Morton. It proved a double success for Phillip, who also won free admission to next year’s MSA Conference as the highest placed member


MSA Scotland chairman Bob Baker and Steve Garrod man one of the MSA’s information stands at conference. Steve will be heading the MSA’s new link-up with Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance to deliver the nationally recognised PTTLs qualification to prepare ADIs to teach in the adult learning sector and for classroom tuition

So who was there? Some pictures of the many members who attended conference Members were given a free raffle ticket at the start of conference, giving them the chance a host of ADI-related prizes kindly donated by He-Man and Focus Multimedia. Many thanks to those companies for supporting the MSA


MSA National Training Day & Conference 2013

Take the TTC 2000 test on alcohol One of the most popular workshops during the Training Day was run by Alan Prosser, of TTC 2000. It asked the question ‘What do you know about drink’ and proved an informative session. During the 1. One pint of ordinary strength beer has as much alcohol as: a) One small glass of wine (125ml) b) One double tot of whisky (2 x 25ml) c) One single tot of rum d) Two pints of cider 2. Which statement is true? The legal limit for drinking and driving is a) 40 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of blood b) 60 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of blood c) 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of blood d) 150 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of blood 3. Which statement is true? The legal limit for drinking and driving is a) 35mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath b) 50mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath c) 80mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath d) 100mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath

workshop attendees were invited to test their own knowledge on alcohol and its effects. The questions asked are reproduced here: we think it would be interesting 6. Which statement is true? After you have drunk 21/2 pints of ordinary beer, the risk of having an accident is a) 5 times greater b) No difference c) 10 times greater d) 21/2 times greater 7. Alcohol begins to affect the brain: a) The moment it is swallowed b) Within five minutes c) After 20 minutes d) Only after several drinks 8. You drink a pint of beer. How long is it before the alcohol in it is completely broken down by the body and will no longer affect you? a) About half an hour b) 2-3 hours c) 10-12 hours d) It depends how regular a drinker you are

4. Alcohol travels in the body by: a) The blood b) The nervous system c) The urine d) The digestive juices e) Don’t know

to put these to your pupils to see how much they know about the effect alcohol has on the human body, and get them thinking about some of the issues surrounding drinking and driving 9. If you have two small 125ml glasses of wine (12%) with a meal, followed by 11/2 pints of ordinary beer (3.5%) and then have a double whisky at the pub (50ml), how many units of alcohol will you have consumed? a) 4 b) 6 c) 8 d) 10 10. How many units drunk in one hour would put an average man /woman at the legal drink-drive limit? Male a) 2 units b) 3 units c) 4 units d) 5 units d) 6 units Female a) 2 units b) 3 units c) 4 units d) 5 units d) 6 units

5. The most accurate way to find out how drunk you are is to: a) Measure how much alcohol there is in your blood b) Count the number of drinks you have had c) Attempt to walk along a white line d) Measure how long you have been drinking

1) b 2) c 3) a 4) a

5) a 6) a 7) b 8) b

9) c 10) male: d female: b


The Conference photographs were kindly supplied by

Jay Duncan, freelance photographer • Weddings and receptions • Private parties

• Conferences • Corporate functions • Portrait days

See or call 07811 574884 for details MSA NEWSLINK : APRIL 2013 : 39

Regional view:

» » » The MSA’s nationwide network of editors with the news and opinions that matter at local level

New B + E category will be a real test – of strength JOHN LOMAS

Editor, North West & MSA Editor of the Year

Contact e: johnstar driving@ t: 01254 705999 m: 07796 091767 a: 7 Devon St, Darwen, Lancashire BB3 2JZ

I would like to start this month by saying thank you to all members and other Newslink readers for all the support I have received over the past 20 years as a regional editor, culminating at last month’s AGM when I was named Editor of the Year for the second time. I would also like to thank the Board, who made the decision, for your encouragement over the years. When I first took up the office back in 1993 I was asked to do it mid-year to replace a member who had stopped attending committee meetings. My comment at the time was something along the lines of “Well, I’ll give it a go, but I haven’t written anything since leaving school, except cheques”. At that time I didn’t even have a typewriter let alone a computer; how things have changed over the intervening years. Having been subsequently re-elected each year it seems my efforts are appreciated and this is quite rewarding but at the same time also somewhat humbling. Be assured that at this time I will continue until asked (or pleaded with) to stop.

Category B+E

The current minimum test vehicle rules state: Category B+E Category B vehicle + a minimum of one-tonne MAM* trailer Trailer of closed box construction - can be slightly less wide than the towing vehicle. Trailer must be of such a height that driver rear-view is only possible through external mirrors. RTM** 800Kg for the trailer. Note: RTM - changes to MTV’s involving RTM are deferred until 2013 RTM = Real Total Mass.

However, from September this year this is changing. It transpires that the DSA has provided evidence that the trailers being used for these tests are around 200kg unladen and this evidence has persuaded the minister to decide that a minimum load of 600kg will be needed in future. The load is shown for: • bagged sand • intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) which are made from moulded plastic or steel


Definitely over 600kg... one tower doesn’t have to worry about being under the limit

You can’t use any other type of load. The load must be secured appropriately onto the vehicle or trailer. Other than commercial vehicle driving schools, which also offer B+E, which driving schools would be able to load and offload this sort of weight easily? The physical dimensions of 24 x 25kg bags of sand are approximately 2m x 1m x 0.25m. What is the likely time needed to manhandle 24 bags of sand one at a time? Obviously it would be impossible to load/unload a full IBC, though I suppose it would be possible to fill one with water and then empty it when the trailer was needed for other purposes, though that would involve a significant waste of water. It might be possible, using two IBCs and a pump, to transfer the water between one in the trailer and another outside with an occasional top up needed to compensate for lost content. An empty plastic IBC on a wooden pallet is approx 60 kg so even that is a bit of a handful for single-handed loading. I suppose there might be some trainers using relatively small trailers, albeit they fit the current rules, but many of the ones I have seen are twin axle load carriers with unladen weights of between 350kg and 600kg, so when loaded with another 600kg they will then be between 950kg and 1200kg, well over the minimum ‘real total mass’; this will also increase appreciably the fuel consumption and/or emissions. Because of past experience with vocational drivers learning in unladen vehicles and then having problems when confronted with heavily loaded lorries, there is a need to test with a loaded vehicle/trailer but is it right to use what appear to be exceptionally small trailers as the guideline datum to determine what the minimum load should be? One interesting aside to this is that vocational D-class drivers will still be learning and tested in empty vehicles even though the characteristics of the vehicle handling change dramatically when fully loaded

Electric cars

I noticed last month that Vauxhall is offering to top-up the Government’s 75 per cent grant towards the cost of installing a home-charging unit by paying the other 25 per cent. Unless of course this was just another early April fool. But it made me start wondering about how many drivers could actually take advantage of either Vauxhall’s or the Government’s largesse. I know it is impossible for everybody to drive electric at the moment, but that is what the green lobby really want. In my town I estimate that 50 per cent of dwellings do NOT have off-road parking so, without having power leads snaking across the pavements, how are those people supposed to be able to run an electric car? You can’t even guarantee being able to park outside your own house, sometimes not even on the same street. It’s a problem I don’t think the Government has ever considered.

Honest Truth

It was interesting to see the report from Devon and Cornwall, last month, about the successes of the Honest Truth scheme, which has been running since 2009 and was rebranded in 2012. The report said that participating young people’s awareness of the benefits of PassPlus and black boxes had increased as a result of the course, as had their awareness of the risk factors involved. Anything that suggests behavioural changes among young road users has to be encouraging news. But there were some statistics missing from the report. They didn’t show that these young drivers have been involved in fewer or less serious RTCs and have received fewer penalty points, since having been involved in the scheme, as compared with those who didn’t participate. I know one of my faults is that I tend towards cynicism, but without those sort of figures my thoughts are also coloured by an awareness that many people know what the required response/answer is and give it, without actually changing their underlying beliefs and attitudes. It may be that the evaluation has shown a real performance improvement, but please show that in your report as well as self-reported changes from the individuals concerned.

Yes, it was

Just in case you’ve been wondering, yes my story about the new practice of print-yourself tax discs was an April Fool. The quaint Welsh town of Llafporio should have given it away, if you think about it for a second or two!

Conference thumbs-up Paula Morris p40

Big Brother’s a nosy chap Tony Phillips p40

RAC backs my view - one year on Colin LIlly p42

Tailgating giants highlight how bad modern driving can be Check test

DAVE pepperdine Editor, East Midlands

Hi all. Another month gone and loads of snow came with it, but fortunately it did not lay much in my area. I have recently been to Selsey and the journey there and back was generally uneventful in some respects, though on the other hand, considering that we Brits are supposed to be among the best drivers in the world, I was somewhat dismayed at some of the antics I saw on the way there and back. First, the amount of vehicles displaying only one headlight and, in some cases, the side light as well, was quite frankly appalling. There were some vehicles actually travelling on side lights only even when there were no street lights on. What seems even more serious was the amount of LGVs and coaches who were tailgating – and I mean two car lengths at 60+ mph. So if we are the best, it doesn’t say much for the rest of the world. I am not trying to sound ‘holier than thou’ but there is a difference between a mistake, which we can all be guilty of, and a continually deliberate violation of the rules of the road. Having the word VOLVO in your rear view mirror in pouring rain at 60mph at night can be a little intimidating, to say the least. A less confident driver could have lost the plot in these circumstances .

I’ve just had my second check test since returning to the fold and received a Grade 4. It was entirely my own fault but in mitigation I always fold up in ‘examy’-type situations. I did what I intended to do but for some mind-blocking reason did not mention something that I should have. In hindsight I should not have even considered that Mr Examiner was sat in the back but I did, so it’s done now. It will not stop me from doing what I normally do as it has worked for the past 33 years, and my clients keep passing first time, so I must be doing something right. I am still learning and will continue to do so. I am all for change where it is needed but I sometimes think that some changes are made by the powers-that-be because they can!

Hi-tech vehicles

New technology in vehicles is moving forward at a pace and while some of it is great, some, perhaps, is unnecessary. I can remember when the only things on the options list were features such as over-riders on bumpers, wheel embellishers and for the real techy, a heated rear window! Look at what we have now: ABS; EBD; TRC; SRS; Comfort and Sport settings; Hybrid drive, etc. You name it, you can have it, and they are all being embraced by the DSA on the L-test. Just a moment, there is one that isn’t accepted on a standard test, isn’t there? I refer to the sequential clutchless gear box. There are more and more desirable cars coming to market that can only be specified with such a gearbox, such as the Skoda Fabia VRS, various electric vehicles and hybrids. I gather that there is no intention to alter the test format and allow a sequential gearbox for a Blicence, which is a shame because these types of vehicle are becoming more popular because of climate change and the cost of fossil fuels. Let’s hope things will change sooner rather than later.

Traffic light cut backs

I don’t know if it is just my town or if the same thing is happening in others, but our council seems to be getting rid of secondary traffic light poles, so that if you happen to stop on or a little over the line you cannot see the lights, even if you crane your neck. I find it very uncomfortable and unnecessary. Why not put small signals on the posts like they do in some other countries? Another point is traffic lights seem to be on longer poles; one in particular in my town is positioned so that at a certain time of the day the sun (yes, you know what the sun is) is directly behind the light so to look at it you are looking directly into the sun. Not a very safe thing to do as it can damage the eyes and certainly hampers vision for a while afterwards. I wonder if the powers-that-be ever take these things into consideration when they are ‘planned’.

Pensions woe

I have just been reading Rod Came’s article on pensions in the March issue of Newslink. How true it is. I know if I had had my time over again I would have kept the Lotus Cortina I had and instead of selling it for £450 I would have nurtured and fettled it and could now sell it for £15-20k; same applies to the VW Beetle that I sold for a similar price that would have netted me another £7-8,000. Then there was the £100 Austin A35, the £150 Morris Minor and the 998 Mk 2 Mini Cooper; between them, maybe another £10,000. Instead, my monthly pension is about as much as most youngsters would spend on a weekend. Aahhh, the wonder of hindsight. Still, I’ve got my old Dinky and Matchbox toy ones still in the boxes so who knows, I may be sitting on a fortune! Until next time, stay safe and keep well to the left!


Regional News: North East/Greater London

Superb speakers, company and venue: a recipe for a great first conference! PAULA MORRIS Editor, North East

I attended my first MSA Conference and AGM this weekend. Prior to agreeing to attend I had to be convinced by my fellow committee members, as I was a little wary of a spending a weekend talking about driving instruction when I had just spent my working week being an instructor. I had always wondered how interesting the weekend was going to be with a few hundred other ADIs all talking about being one ... I was, to say the least, a little worried! But I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I had a brilliant weekend – shock horror! Not only did I learn some pretty interesting information, there were lots of things that you think you know but, when you listen to the experts, actually realise you didn’t know as much as you thought! Rosemary Thew, the DSA’s chief Executive, spoke on many interesting subjects such as the national standards and the online booking service. It’s always nice to put a face to the name and realise that, yes, there are human beings working at the DSA! I attended the alcohol awareness workshop and thoroughly enjoyed Alan Prosser from TTC 2000’s presentation on alcohol units and how long they stay in your system. It was relaxed, fun and educational to say the least!! Peter Harvey’s afternoon discussion was equally thoughtprovoking and got everyone discussing some interesting topics such as graduated licences and compulsory lessons for pupils, the privatising of L-tests and much more. Listening to the varied opinions on such subjects got me thinking


– your opinions on any of these topics can always be emailed, by the way!! If you thought for one minute that the conference and AGM was not ‘gonna be your bag’ then I urge you to think again. Both in terms of the amount learnt, and the interesting chats I had with other ADIs, it was well worth it. About the only thing that didn’t work out was the weather, which was horrible. It was a shame as the hotel – The Hellidon Lakes Golf & Spa Hotel, Daventry – was in a simply beautiful spot, but it was hard to get out and make the most of it. However, that didn’t detract from the weekend at all. I stayed over on the Friday and Saturday night and I couldn’t have asked for more. The hotel itself was big enough to accommodate the MSA conference and plenty of other activities besides, the food was delicious and there was plenty of it… ( the diet starts today!) and, to end this personal review, I’d like to thank all the speakers, the organisers and especially all my fellow North East committee members – old friends and new – for the company, laughs and not to mention the Champagne! It all contributed to such a successful and enjoyable weekend that I’m already looking forward to next year’s! I also got to meet the superpatient and professional Rob Beswick, who produces Newslink each month. A massive thanks to him for being so patient and encouraging me to have my photo taken! Ugh! Reluctant to the end! Thanks Rob and to Jay, our photographer for the event. • You can contact Paula at

Big Brother’s watching – and he’s now even nosier Contact e: tony@tonys Please ensure all emails contain MSA Greater London in the subject

Who’s watching you? A still from the 1984 film of the same name, which starred John Hurt and Richard Burton


Editor, Greater London

PICTURED OPPOSITE ARE a couple of photos taken from inside my car while driving up the M1 through Luton. Before anyone asks, the pictures were taken by my wife, who wasn’t driving at the time. You may be able to see that the variable speed limits were in operation, and 60 mph was posted on the overhead gantries at the time. However, you can also see the amount of traffic on the road. Believe the pictures and what you can see. They aren’t a trick. The open roads that you can see really were present at the time we took them. That’s why we did it. The prevailing traffic conditions – or more specifically, lack of traffic – of course, may be a result of having the variable speed limit in operation. However, it continued for around five miles or so through the various Luton interchanges and the traffic remained very, very light. The two pictures were taken a minute or so apart, so at 60 mph, about a mile from each other.

Regional News: Greater London

“Why 60?

Is this just a case of a local authority arbitarily deciding the 70mph speed limit isn’t for them?”

I recall some years ago that my attitude at the time was that I rarely followed advisory speed limits as they were very often left on hours after their original purpose had cleared and were just the motorway sign equivalent of ‘crying wolf ’. However, these signs are a much different species as they are mandatory, not advisory and therefore to ignore these signs is to break the law, ie, commit a speeding offence. Furthermore, these signs are, I believe, linked to safety cameras and therefore the authorities could issue fixed penalties to anyone that passes through the variable speed limit zone in excess of the speed limit. According to Rosemary Thew, who as we all know is chief executive of the DSA, the insurance companies are looking towards ‘black box’ technology as a means to reduce insurance premiums for younger drivers rather than looking towards the driver training industry for solutions. As you may be aware, the name used for this technology is really a misnomer as it derives its name from the very well-known aircraft black box, which records all the flight details of civilian aircraft and is used as a means of finding out what went wrong, usually after an aircraft has fallen from the sky. (Incidentally, they are not black. They are actually a high-visibility colour for ease of detection in difficult and dark places such as deep water). The technology that is referred to here is a piece of equipment that records how a car is being driven in real time and, via a GPS, transmits this information to the insurance company. The insurance company can then determine whether a car that is covered by them is being driven safely and legally. This in turn can help them calculate the amount of risk involved and determine whether the policy holder’s premium will increase or not, as the case may be. In effect, then, the insurance company has now become a post-driving test adviser on how to drive correctly (I wonder if there is a breach of the 1988 Road Traffic Act here in the sense that they must have an ADI’s certificate to give tuition for money or money’s worth? They’re being paid an insurance premium, after all!). To be fair, I understand why they haven’t gone down the route of backing Pass Plus. That particular idea, noble as it is, has been seriously compromised by some of our ‘fellow ADIs’ who have seen fit to sell signed documents for a cheap fee without conducting the training. Besides that, the attitude of most people that obtain a driving licence is that they’ve passed their test so why on Earth should they take any further training? The problem seems to be that there’s no real incentive to take post-test driver training and more importantly, not very much enthusiasm for it. Back to my main point, however, along with the ‘driverless’ Google car that has now hit the streets in the UK, how long will it be before driving a car becomes a thing of the past? Simulators, driverless cars, gps, radar detection, etc are all combining to take away the driving task and in the meantime, the Highways Agency in Luton has seemingly decided that the national

speed limit of 70 mph for cars and motorcycles on motorways is way too fast and imposed a local 60 mph speed limit instead. Meanwhile, according to the BBC News published on 20 July 2009, we have more CCTV in operation in this country than many other countries. The London Borough of Wandsworth, adjacent to my home borough of Lambeth, has 1,113 cameras; that’s more than the police departments of Boston (USA), Johannesburg and Dublin, COMBINED! How long will it be before insurance companies insist on ‘black boxes’ in every vehicle they insure, and then when will the law be passed making these insurance companies pass on their findings to the authorities, including the police? In the meantime, if we also throw into the mix such items as household technology such as video cameras linked to home computing for Skype telephone calls, we really are getting into scary territory. Ben Elton, the guy that wrote the Blackadder series, has written a few novels in addition to his comedy stuff. One of them, Blind Faith, is set at a time in the not-too-distant future where privacy is almost illegal and certainly considered deviant. People are expected to put great detail of their most intimate secrets on the internet and there is CCTV controlled by a kind of supervisor in each area who can watch every room in your home, which they do quite openly and comment on how you’re enjoying your most intimate moments with your partner. It’s very much in the vein of George Orwell’s famous story 1984, with Big Brother and Room 101. Although written in 1948 (hence a future time of 1984), are we now very quickly going back to George Orwell’s nightmare future vision written so many years ago? Big Brother, to an uncomfortably large extent (in my opinion) is already watching us, but how long will it be before it goes from watching to suggesting (such as the insurance companies may already be doing) and then to completely controlling our lives, both in public spaces and the privacy of our own home? We have already seen how electronic communication can be abused by the recent press scandal, what happens to our liberties when it becomes legal?

Greater London

Regional Seminar Where?

Brighton Road Baptist Church Brighton Road Croydon CR2 6EJ When?

30th April 2013 18.30-21.30 Who’s speaking?

Tom Kwok – The New Standards Check Tony Phillips – Client-Centred Learning How much? Free to MSA Members: Only £5.00 to Non Members (Join on the night and entry fee is waived!)

More details from Email or Call 020 7690 0298 MSA NEWSLINK : APRIL 2013 : 43

Regional News: Western

RAC research confirms our story – 12 months on

Regional News: Weste rn

Has the US fallen out of lov car... and are we following e for the suit?

ON A FEW OCCASIONS last year I wrote about the decline in business levels fewer young people are applying and that for provisional licences. It may come as some comfort to you that we are not the only country suffering. I recently came across a news item about the decline in the number of American teenagers showing an interest in would appear that the American driving. It car culture has experienced a demographic shift with the idea of driving becoming less relevant to an increasing number of under 30s. In 1978 50% of American 16-year-olds (the minimum driving age) held a driving licence. Thirty years later this had fallen is not just a case of teenagers to 31%. This postponing learning to drive for couple of years. The figures for 19-year-olds are 92% in 1978 and 77% in 2008. These statistics are little out of date but the trend typically a is accelerating. Much of American commerce relies on the country’s car culture and these changes are being viewed seriously by many in business. Marketing and advertising professionals refer to the current young generation as generation Y (Gen y-ers) being the children of generation X, otherwise known as the baby boomers. Both generations have a lot of influence on the American commercial sector through their buying habits and spending power.

Some observers blame the digital age reshaping the world in the early part of this century in much the same way as the development of the car did in the last century. Aspects of digital media and technology make the car less useful and desirable and public transport more attractive. Texting while driving is now considered as socially unacceptable and dangerous, as is working on a laptop or watching television. An increasing numbera mobile generation would rather pursue of current the internet while on public transport than give it up in favour of the car.


Another possible reason for the reduction has been given as the environment Gen y-ers being more conscious with the of the effects of driving on the climate. Digital technology, in particular social media, allows teenagers to feel connected to their friends virtually and therefore do not feel that they have a need to drive to see them. Their parents also adapt their lifestyle

to petrol prices. In recent years the profits of Walmart has mirrored fuel prices. When the fuel is cheaper then their profits are higher. When the cost of driving to the mall begins to cost more, then on-line shopping takes its place. Unemployment is cited as another factor along with rising insurance negative A further deterrent has been costs some state licensing requirements and restrictions by high schools and colleges on students driving. The nanny state mentality is not helping. I apologise for the Americanism report but it reflects the problem s in this the United States. Some people existing in feel that what happens in the States will arrive here a short while after. Trends in this country suggest it may have already arrived. However, it could be that North America and Europe share the same problem.

Campaign pays off as Trowbr

e: cglilly@bt t: 01934 514336 m: 7 Bampton, Tamar Road, Worle, Weston-super-Mare BS22 6LD

idge centre opens for busine

AFTER A LONG CAMPAIGN by instructors in the Trowbridge area, driver testing at Longfield Community Centre, Trowbridge and Leighton Recreation Centre, Westbury has commenced as part of a national trial to provide a more local service for driving test candidates selected areas across the in country. The trials will be monitored by the DSA, so it is important that local ADIs make use of this service. As these are shared venues as opposed to dedicated DSAoperated DTCs, learner drivers, drivers and driving instructors their accompanying should refrain from using the venues for practice purposes. They must have regard for local residents and other venue users. Overuse for practising could adversely impact the trial. There is


already some local opposition to the Westbury venue. The Wessex Association of Driving Schools is the local driving instructors’ association and will be making an input to any formal DSA review process. They would welcome information from driving test candidates, their accompanying drivers and driving on venue access, venue facilities, instructors. Opinions test availability, waiting times and customer service can then be passed to the review. This should not include comments on individual tests. This should be raised directly Comments on the trial should with the DSA. be sent by e-mail to the chairman and/or secretary of the Wessex Association of Driving Schools at c.gladwell@t and susan. respectively.

Start them early but teach them right 38 : JANUARY 2012 : MSA


Chairman & Editor, Western

I am not normally prone to singing my own praises. However, I was interested to read in last month’s issue of Newslink the item on the reduction in the number of young people learning to drive. This bore a number of similarities to the item I wrote for Newslink in January 2012. The RAC-funded research came to the same conclusions as I did. So I suppose this confirms my findings. As MSA members you were able to have the situation brought to your attention over 12 months earlier. At the time I was accused by some of being negative and depressing. I only pointed out the situation as it existed. ‘Say it like it is’ could be my motto. I felt that those who attempted to deny the situation were trying to profit by selling unrealistic and unachievable dreams to driving instructors. I will continue to report things as I see them and aim to advise members on the best ways to adapt to changing circumstances.

Are you sure you’re not hurt?

Last year, I had a very light rear-end bump in my car. The driver behind moved off promptly on a green light without noticing the two cars ahead had not gained speed. I was the one in the middle. The speed of impact was probably no more than two miles an hour but was sufficient to crack the plastic valance. After inspecting the damage it looked that a smart repair might be the best way of dealing with it. Before agreeing to pay for the repair the other driver contacted their insurers to see what affect a claim would have on their premium. In the end they decided to pay cash. The smart repair was satisfactory and no claim was made on any insurance. A couple of weeks later I received a call from a claims company suggesting I should make a claim for injuries. There was no justification for making a claim as I was happy with the outcome and did not want to get embroiled in a claims process. The person on the telephone was very keen to discover a reason to make a claim, especially as no other claim had arisen from the incident. I know many of you will have had a similar experience but this did cause me to think. If the claims companies are that keen to make some sort of claim, how long it will be before they ask, in the event of the driver being injured during a driving lesson, ‘could the instructor have done more to prevent the situation?’ This type of claim would not be covered under the motor insurance but by professional indemnity insurance. As MSA members you will, of course, be covered. This is not a benefit for those outside of associations and they could be left with life -changing financial penalties. In this event it could be one of the most valuable benefits of membership.



For 20 years the Devon Travel Academy, formerly Devon Drivers’ Centre, has provided an excellent opportunity for pre-drivers to practise on a full-size road circuit. In February I used it for the first time with a pupil who will be 17 in March. I would not normally travel 60 miles to use this facility, but in this case the pupil was my granddaughter, so commercial interests did not apply. Devon Travel Academy is an almost unique opportunity in this country so I was willing to travel further to take advantage of it. I believe that using a facility like this for a pre-driver allows a trainer to set standards for the future and to teach the rules from the beginning. While I was there, however, I was surprised to see an ADI using the circuit wno allowed their learner to park for 10 minutes on the zigzag lines next to the light-controlled crossing. Later they were parked opposite a solid centre line approaching a bend which incorporates a blind brow. What message does the learner take away? 1. Do the rules really matter? 2. I need the rules for the test but they do not matter in practice. 3. The instructor will allow me to get away with this. This leaves them with two thoughts; a) If I take lessons with this instructor they will not push so I will have an easy time. b) If I take lessons with this instructor will he teach me what I need to know to be safe? When using this valuable opportunity it is essential to start training as you mean to continue and to protect your business. NEWSLINK JAN 38-39.indd


21/12/11 16:45:55

Cheque carefully

Editor, West Midlands


Editor, MSA Western

A growing number of people are finding that it is more productive working on digital media while travelling to and from work on public transport. This has become known as telecommuting. The share of car travel driven by 21 to 30year-olds has fallen from 18.3% in 2001 to 13.7% in 2009. Generally there shown in the car. A discussion is less interest the social media is more likely about cars on to involve older generations.


I recently received a telephone call from a member with a cautionary tale. They had taken on a client to train as an ADI, including operating on a trainee licence. Once the initial training was complete the member applied for a trainee licence on their behalf. First, they sent the paperwork with the necessary fee as a cheque. The cheque was cashed but the paperwork mislaid by the DSA. This was replaced by a second application with replacement paperwork and a second cheque to speed the process. Once again the cheque was cashed but the record of training mislaid. A third application was sent this time supported by a card payment. On this occasion the licence was received. It later transpired that the trainee was not as reliable as first thought. There were reports of drink-driving and the school was left with a parking fine to pay. The application for the licence was withdrawn. When the member tried to get a refund of their payments from the DSA the card payment was returned to that account, but the two cheque payments were returned to the trainee in line with the DSA refund policy. None of this side of the trainee’s character had been revealed by the CRB cheque. The member has now been left out of pocket to the tune of £400. They accept that there is little chance of retrieving the money as the trainee is a man of straw. The moral of the story is; do not make payments on behalf of others using cheques.

In February’s Newslink I asked if any other council in our area was introducing ‘shared spaces’. Alan Thorpe told me about a problem around Leek in Staffordshire Moorlands. There were a series of road changes thanks to the building of a new superstore, which has resulted in a free-for-all at one end of the main shopping street – the reason being there are no traditional pavements to separate cars and pedestrians. At first it caused confusion, but slowly the locals appeared to be getting more used to the idea, until a recent event highlighted a whole new problem that had not been considered as far as Alan was aware. It concerned the blind and their dogs. Both are trained to find the road by either sight or stick so there is obviously a problem for them here. One man was ‘spoken to’ as he walked across the road, totally unaware that traffic may be there. His dog seemed just as confused. Guide dogs are taught to wait by the kerb and then assess the situation before proceeding. Alan’s daughter is a Girl Guide leader locally and they recently had a guide dog trainer come in to a meeting to give the girls a talk. The trainer agreed it is a problem with no obvious solution. With all the areas I have looked at with ‘shared spaces’, the common problem is their lack of concern for the visually impaired. Another area is High Street, Warwick. According to the National Federation of the Blind it is no longer safe for blind people to cross without sighted assistance. They state the council now expects people with no sight to step out in front of approaching vehicles which they cannot see, without the safety of the legal pedestrian crossing at which motor vehicles must stop, but which has now been removed. The four road junctions along High Street from which the kerbs have been removed are in fact ‘shared spaces’, but called ‘informal crossing points’ by the council. Most drivers are unaware of this new principle and therefore will not stop. Sighted pedestrians find it difficult to cross in busy periods, and blind people cannot see where they should walk, or if they are walking on the footway or in the road. I walked down the street to see how it worked and although some motorists were polite and gave way, the road sign in this picture (above) says it all. It will be 2014 before the council may consider relenting. I found this comment from National Federation of the Blind of the UK, which sums up the situation nicely: “In many areas, planners are now effectively pushing back blind people towards the 1940s when they were expected to stay at home and wait for someone to take them out!”

Teaching the disabled

West Midlands committee member Haydn

Regional News: West Midlands What happened here then? High Street, Warwick - looking at the traffic sign, someone didn’t get the new rules!

Jenkins has sent me information from Disabled Motoring UK. It is one of the country’s leading disabled rights groups and it’s looking to start a database of suitable qualified ADIs. They would like to hear from ADIs who are interested and/or have adapted vehicles. People with disability contact this group asking for local suitably qualified instructors who could help them learn or return to driving. Haydn has worked in this challenging and interesting sector of the driver training market for many years and says that it’s very rewarding to help those with disability and special educational needs. If you phone DMUK they will send you a simple form to fill in as this is early in a new project. Haydn found the form restricted, so he also enclosed a CV with appropriate training/CPD and listing the adaptations available and details of his vehicle, but you will need to sign the form to enable DMUK to pass on your details. So if you have experience training and an adapted vehicle and an interest in teaching special needs clients with physical cognitive and hearing impairments, give DMUK a ring on 01508 489 449 or email Haydn also informed me that Derby DrivAbility is running its successful Driving Instructors Course during March and April. Unfortunately my deadline missed the March session but the remaining part of the course with module 3 & 4 is on 23 April at Derby. The course fee is £60 per person for each of the separate modules. The fee includes all course materials, certificate and refreshments. For further details on this course or subsequent ones, contact NCORE (National Centre of Rehabilitation Education) on 01332 254679 or email them at or Although Haydn went on a course in 2010/11 he hopes to go again to hear the very interesting Julia Malkin MBE, who many MSA members will know well. Julia has agreed to personally present an introduction to the Revolutions Course, designed to help ADIs teach people with learning difficulties, on module 3 (Modified teaching techniques). Details of the Revolutions Course can be found on:

Don’t tell ’em, Pike

I recently had a short break in Derbyshire. On the way back to the hotel from the restaurant at about 8.45pm we passed a supermarket so we

Contact e: t: 02476 335270 a: 20 Brownshill, Green Road, Coventry CV6 2DT

decided to get some items for the following day. The fuel was good value so while my wife shopped I went to fill the car up. The price for diesel was 141.9p, which was 2p cheaper than anywhere else I had seen that day. When I paid I remarked to the cashier how good value they were and she seemed genuinely pleased to get the compliment. However, as I drove off the forecourt I noticed the display board was being reset. When the diesel price came on I was surprised to see that she had increased it to 142.9. Interesting to see the technical way they decide what to charge. Perhaps we should all complain when we pay to see if the price comes down!

Early notice for AGM

The West Midlands annual training day has been arranged for Sunday, 17 November, 2013 at the Stonehouse Hotel, Stone, Staffordshire. I will let you know when we have more details. We have managed to keep our price the same as last year at £40 for members and £50 for nonmembers but there is a £10 discount for early bird bookings before the end of August 2013. Bookings can be made either from the MSA website or telephone head office on 0161 429 9669.

Training evening

As you will see from the advert (right), MSA West Midlands has arranged a training evening for April 23. We’re delighted that John Sheridan, DSA area operations manager, has agreed to speak. He will be joined by our regional chairman, Geoff Little. Thanks to the support of Renault Birmingham, this event is Free to members, and just £5 for non-members. Payment will be on the door, although pre-booking is not essential it would be a great help to have some idea of numbers, so if possible please help the dealership with their planning and catering by letting us know you are coming. Either contact Geoff Little via his e-mail: or mobile 07770725436. See advert for more details.


Training Evening Where?

Renault Birmingham, 75-80 High St, Bordesley, Birmingham B12 0LL When?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 starts 7pm Who’s speaking?

John Sheriden, DSA Area Operations Manager Geoff Little MSA Deputy National Chairman and Chairman, West Midlands How much? Free to MSA Members: Only £5.00 to Non-Members (Join on the night and £3 refund)

For more details contact Geoff Little on 07777 0725436 or via


Regional News: South Wales

Ah, spring, when the traffic cones start to bloom... DAVID JAMES

Editor, South Wales

Spring must be just around the corner. Daffodils are starting to grow and the younger and braver among us have begun to cast off their warm winter clothing. One of the surest signs of all is the forest of traffic cones that begin to appear when any road improvement works are started. It is noticeable that they begin to grow as soon as the weather improves and the daylight hours lengthen. We all know that the work is necessary, but it can sometimes feel that there are people who have been busy drawing up plans during the long winter months to rip up our roads and create the most disruption possible. Potholes are a constant problem now and I am using them as a part of lessons to teach how to avoid them! In South Wales a joint project has begun involving various agencies, including the police, where motorists are being given eyesight tests at the roadside. It seems that this is involving older drivers at the moment and there are a number of them failing the roadside test and being advised to visit their optician. It will be interesting to see if this will be moved to other parts of south Wales and to all age groups. There have been concerns for quite a while that many drivers do not pay attention to their eyesight standard. The development of in-car technology is moving at an ever faster rate. Volvo has announced an improvement to its collision detection system which will now detect a cyclist swerving into a car’s path. It sounds good but there are concerns that it shouldn’t be a substitute for a driver’s alertness.

With all that’s happening, it may be inevitable that we will soon be living in a world of driverless car technology. Here’s a thought: ever had your pc crash? A consultation has been carried out which may bring changes to some parts of the driver training industry. The Government is looking for views on privatisation and all transport agencies are being considered as part of the project. I cannot see how some parts can be privatised, such as training and examiner standards. There may be some functions in need of efficiency improvement and possibly privatisation is worthy of consideration in some cases. One thing which I believe should be done is that

the savings actually made from any changes should be published. It needs to be done in plain language that can be readily understood by the people who provide the public purse – us! We all have our own views on the future of driver training and it will be good to see how the results of this consultation are used. Will we see any improvements, or just more talk?

East Midlands Curry Night – in Lincoln Training ... Networking... Curry! What better way to spend an evening Where

Royal Tandoori Restaurant 118 High Street Lincoln LN5 7PR


Tuesday, 21st May How much?

£20 place must be booked in advance

To book Book through or call Andrew Coward on 01522 827395 46 : APRIL 2013 : MSA NEWSLINK

Contact David James can be contacted via e: d.james869@ or via 07733 070888

MSA’s ADI guides:

A quartet of good advice THE MSA has updated its four popular ADI guides to bring them bang up-to-date with the latest changes to the driver training and testing sector. The MSA Part 2 Guide is designed to assist those studying to take the ADI Part 2 examination by bringing much of the theoretical information together in one place. It is not a substitute for training or for a thorough study of other literature, in particular the DSA manual Driving - The Essential Skills and the Highway Code. It explains the three sections of the ADI Part 2 examination and gives advice on what to do when you arrive at the test centre, including the documentation you need to take with you and the way the safety check questions will be conducted. Advice is given on the Part 2 Test of driving ability. It is explained that this is an advanced driving test and a very high standard of driving competence is required. Candidates must show that they have a thorough knowledge of the principles of good driving and road safety and are able to apply them. The MSA Check Test Guide gives you full details of what is required on your check test. It is written for ADIs by ADIs and will demystify the whole business of the check test and help you to prepare properly. The guide gives details of the list of pre-set lesson plans that are used and advises what happens on the day; the type of pupil to take; the questions your examiner will ask you and the sort of answers s/he is looking for. It also explains the core competencies of fault identification, fault analysis and remedial action. The MSA Driving Test Guide is designed to explain how the driving test works, what examiners are looking for and what the markings on the DL25 marking sheet actually mean. It details the duties of a professional driving instructor who presents pupils for test and goes on to explain the driving test assessment guidelines, and gives full details of the differences between driving faults/serious faults and dangerous faults. The guide goes on to give details of how errors are categorised in order to assist ADIs in interpreting the DL25, the Driving Test Report form. The MSA PDI Guide provides help for those who want to become ADIs. It is not intended to be a substitute for instructor training or for the information contained in the DSA folder “Your Road to Becoming an Approved Driving Instructor” (ADI 14) which the MSA recommends all PDIs read. The guide gives details of all three sections of the ADI examinations and explains the qualification system. It gives help and advice on the test of theoretical knowledge and hazard perception skills and suggests strategies to help candidates to prepare for the test. It also includes a number of helpful tips for preparing for the Part 2 exam. These invaluable tools for all ADIs are available to purchase from MSA head office at a cost of just £6.50 each. Telephone 0161 429 9669 now with a credit card number or send a cheque made payable to the MSA to MSA Head Office, 101 Wellington Road North, Stockport, Cheshire SK4 2LP.

Recommend a colleague to join the MSA – and receive a £10 M&S voucher

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Regional News: South East

Could you do better? Asking ADIs’ advice before changing road layouts and designing new highways could save a lot of problems later, says Rod Came

ROD CAME Editor, South East

Driving instructors are a resource very under-used by both local authority and DfT highway engineers and traffic managers. Just consider the areas where you work, not necessarily test routes or those towns where tests take place, but the areas you actually teach in. Initially you take new pupils to the nursery slopes where you teach them the basics, then gradually extend their knowledge and expertise by going to more difficult and complicated junctions and areas of town. This in itself is no bad thing – they need to have their ability stretched and their experience widened. But some junctions and road layouts defy logic. They are made unnecessarily difficult and complicated, often not complying with the ground rules that we teach our pupils by. An example of such a problem (which I am pleased to say no longer exists) was M23 junction 10 southbound. When the M23 was first constructed the exit slip road at J10 was found to be too short, consequently it was extended to accommodate queuing traffic waiting to get off the motorway. To those of our pupils who are conscientious enough to have a motorway lesson, we teach them that they should signal left at the 300m marker to give other drivers plenty of warning that they are going to exit the motorway. Unfortunately, although the slip road was extended to about three times its original length the countdown markers were not moved, so the 300 marker was about halfway along the off-slip. I contacted Surrey County Council, which was the contractor responsible for maintenance of the M23 at that time. They agreed that the countdown markers were in the wrong place and that they could be confusing, but said they would not move them. As we advise drivers to signal their intention to leave the motorway at the 300 marker what happens when the markers are in the wrong place? Several vehicles came off the road at that location apparently by making their exit move too late and/ or at too high a speed from lanes 2 and 3, probably due to the incorrect of signage. On occasions over the years the countdown markers were either blown over by the wind or


knocked over by vehicles, but the authorities steadfastly replaced them in their original position. I said that the problem no longer exists, but it took 25 years, yes years, to rectify it. Crawley, which is a new town with a modern road system, should be a shining example of the highway engineers’ craft, but sadly that is not so. Southgate Avenue, Crawley, travelling south toward the junction with Hawth Avenue (look up all the following locations on Google Earth and you will clearly see the problems I refer to), has a bus lane on the left. The Highway Code says “keep well to the left, unless road signs or markings indicate otherwise”. At the end of the bus lane there is a straight ahead arrow in each of two lanes and a compliant driver will move into the left lane, only then to be confronted by a ‘left turn only’ arrow, thereby finding themselves in the wrong lane. At Hazelwick roundabout, Crawley, travelling

east toward the M23, two lanes of three are clearly marked with straight ahead arrows. At the exit there is only one lane – dangerous or what? Especially for the driver on the outside, who gets shunted across the central reservation into the oncoming traffic because there is no crash barrier. Don’t think that these stupidities are only in Crawley. Take the A27/A26 junction at Lewes, East Sussex. This is a recent road re-construction costing millions. It is a very busy east/west highway which in the evening rush hour becomes chaotic. Why? Because coming east from Brighton there are two lanes marked straight ahead at the roundabout and another coming out of Lewes to go east, all leading into just one lane, which unsurprisingly cannot accommodate three lanes of converging heavy traffic – a cause of serious aggravation as some drivers push and shove to get into the queue ahead of others. This was actually planned at vast expense by DfT highway engineers. A similar situation exists on the A21 Pembury by-pass travelling north at its’ junction with Longfield Road, Tunbridge Wells. Two lanes are clearly marked straight ahead ie. toward London. Travelling east out of Tunbridge Wells one lane is marked to turn left, and again all three feed into one lane – another cause of driver aggravation. The only difference here is that there are plans to dual carriageway the road going north which may cure the problem. It has recently been announced that this will go to a public enquiry on May 14 this year, with a possible construction start date in 2015. It is not just in our area. The A2 out of London, travelling east, in several locations is marked ‘A2’ with a straight ahead arrow in each of three lanes. Woe betide you if you are silly enough to go in lane one during the evening rush hour, because periodically lane one becomes the exit lane for local traffic and you have to try to get out into a solid line of traffic in lane two. You soon learn to keep out of lane one, contrary to the advice in the Highway Code. It is not just road layouts and markings. Often in Newslink we read of obscured or confusing signs and road markings, but signs which could help are

Regional News: South East

Some junctions and road layouts defy logic. They are made unnecessarily difficult and complicated, often not complying with the ground rules that we teach our pupils by...” also not put in place. The A21 Tonbridge by-pass at its eastern end has a junction with Pembury Road where it goes from two lanes into one. Every evening there is a long queue of traffic. The good boys line up on the left lane in a true English fashion, the smart money goes down the outside in lane two and pushes in at the last moment. All very legitimate but it causes bad feeling among the queuing drivers. There is one miserable little sign about half a mile back saying ‘use both lanes’ but there are no signs where it matters, ie where drivers are queuing. Why not? This simple measure would reduce most, if not all, of the aggravation caused by drivers pushing in. Frustration and anger brought about by these types of traffic management schemes (cock ups?) can so easily boil over and lead to risky driver manoeuvres further down the road, with consequent crash potential. Where are the brains of the people who design these schemes? Do they ever use the roads they design after they have been constructed and think, ‘That’s not very good, must do better’? So I say, yes, highway engineers do create the circumstances that lead to crashes on the roads in the UK. Advice from ADIs at the design stage could, perhaps, alleviate a lot of the problems. Could ADIs make a safety contribution in highway design? What are your thoughts on the matter? The road to …… The other week I was out with the most delightful, intelligent, witty and gorgeous person I know, my nine-year-old granddaughter, who has the same attributes as my other three - by the way they outnumber the grandsons by one. I just thought you would like to know that. Anyway, in an effort to increase her knowledge I asked her to outline a route using my prized 1999 edition of the AA Road Atlas of Britain, which of course she duly did with admirable enthusiasm. This was a purely theoretical exercise because by the time she is old enough to drive, or years later when she can afford to run a car, she will be guided by the head-up display of her satnav which will not only automatically drive her car to her desired destination, but will also tell her the size, colour, and price of every item of lady’s apparel in stock at FF-One as she passes each store. We set out on our journey and periodically I asked her where we were. Each time I enquired she studiously marked down our position with the bold endorsement HERE. She was doing such a good job I could not chastise her for defacing my antique road map. We progressed, but whether she got bored or because she had been to the DSA School of English Language Desecration & Gobbledegook (D SASoEL D&G for short) I do not know, whatever. By the time we reached our destination she had decided to omit the spacing between words and had written NOWHERE. So there you have it – I have been on the road to Nowhere, and I think I am still travelling it.

Good design? Or would it be improved if an ADI’s opinion was sought first?

I have a little Satnav

The origins of this little poem are something of a mystery, writes Rod Came. It’s certainly not my work – but I thought you’d enjoy reading it. I have a little SatNav. It sits there in my car. A SatNav is a driver’s friend, It tells you where you are.

It tells me when a light is red And when it goes to green. It seems to know instinctively, Just when to intervene.

I have a little SatNav. I’ve had it half my life. It’s better than the normal ones. My SatNav is my wife.

It lists the vehicles just in front And all those to the rear And taking this into account, It specifies my gear. I’m sure no other driver Has so helpful a device, For when we leave and lock the car, It still gives its advice

It gives me full instructions, Especially how to drive “It’s thirty miles an hour,” it says, “You’re doing thirty-five.” It tells me when to stop and start And when to use the brake, And tells me that it’s never, ever Safe to overtake.

It fills me up with counselling Each journey’s pretty fraught, So why don’t I exchange it And get a quieter sort?

Ah well, you see, it cleans the house, Makes sure I’m properly fed. It washes all my shirts and things And…keeps me warm in bed! Despite all these advantages And my tendency to scoff, I really wish that just for once, I could turn the damn thing off. Rod adds: I wonder if this is what our pupils think of their ADIs?

Contact e: t: 01424 883333 or 07930 842833 a: Crown Cottage, Cackle Street, Brede, Rye, E. Sussex TN31 6EA


Motoring News

I haven’t checked this exhaustively, but my hunch would be that the Astra, from Vauxhall, is just about the UK’s longest-standing unbroken individual car brand apart from the Golf. It’s been around since 1979/80. All its rivals of that era – Escort, Corolla, 205, various Renaults – have gone the way of all flesh, and the only one that’s still standing is the VW Golf. There’s the Mini but I think it stopped production for a few years, and the only model that gets close to it for longevity is the Micra, but I’m pretty certain that started life in ’82. It’s a name that has been carried with distinction over the decades. Few people won’t have considered buying one at some point – and now in its sixth generation, it is still definitely going strong. Last year it was the UK’s fourth best-selling car, behind the Fiesta (first), its stablemate Corsa and the Ford Focus. Interestingly, it is slightly older than the Fords, so the fact that it is competing so strongly against slightly fresher opposition is a feather in its cap. It has the distinction – and edge, for me – that it is British, too. Built at the GM plant at Ellesmere Port, it is one of the last American-owned plants still in the UK. Ford gave up on the UK some time ago: odd that we should remain so loyal to a brand that has ceased to be loyal to British workers. That’s not the reason why it’s a big seller, however. It’s very popular with the company car sector, where Vauxhall does better than VW. The fact is that this is a crucial sector to crack: not only are the sales figures big, but as fleet buyers are so picky, doing well here sets your stall out as a car that others, who are perhaps more professional about doing their car buying, can trust. Which brings us nicely to its appeal to driving instructors. ADIs have often seen the Astra as a good compromise vehicle.


There’s a reason why Astra’s been at the top so long Not so big that it intimidates young, nervous novice pupils - but not too small that it is useless as family car. It also helps that one of its latest iterations, the ecoFLEX, is both well-equipped and cheap to run, with stunning economy and low CO2 figures.

Astra factfile

Based on 1.7CDTi 16v ecoFLEX Price: £18,680 Fuel economy Urban: 57.6 Extra urban: 76.3 Comb: 67.3 CO2: 110g/km Max speed: 116mph 0-62mph: 11.6 seconds

EcoFLEX is Vauxhall’s brand of super-efficient models, with others in the

Corsa and Insignia ranges. For the Astra, expect the 16v 1.7-litre turbodiesel engine to return 67.3 mpg on the combined cycle, with CO2 emissions of 119g/km. Those stats mean you qualify for a low rate of car tax and they compare reasonably well with similarly sized rivals. However, it isn’t just as an economical workhorse that the Astra shines. Expect very polite driving manners: good handling, responsive engine and very comfortable seating. An afternoon behind the wheel won’t leave you feeling crabby and cramped, with lots of leg and headroom, sturdy and supportive seating and a general feeling of opulence in the cabin. In fact, when compared to, say, the Golf, it comes out head and shoulders above. One particular point of interest is Vauxhall’s Flexride system. At first it felt a little gimmicky but once you get the hang of it it becomes a bonus. It offers a choice between comfort and sport settings for the suspension and the difference in the two is obvious.

Interestingly, however, it is an extra cost item and the standard suspension setting is so good I’d be tempted to keep the extra cash for a DAB radio – but then again, I like my cricket! For lessons, it is ideal It is whisper quiet, even at speed, with no road or wind noise percolating through to the cabin. Engine noise is suitably muted too. Talking of engine, the gearbox is light, has a precise action and delivers instant response. I’m told that the interior is a straight lift from the Insignia; why bother redesigning, one assumes. Whatever, it is classy and solidly built. I couldn’t criticise the switchgear or ancillary controls, which appeared well-placed and logical something that couldn’t always be said for Vauxhall’s in time gone by. Best of all, through the Vauxhall/MSA partnership, you can get one cheaper. If you’re prepared to look for a car a touch down the range, an Astra can be yours for just £179 per month; a stunningly low price for such a cracking car, albeit one with a smaller engine, at 1.4-litres.

Becoming an AA Driving Instructor never looked so good

We’re proud to introduce an exclusive new vehicle option for all new AA Driving Instructors* – the recently launched 1.0 Ford Fiesta Titanium Ecoboost. With just the right combination of style, economy and comfort, you could be one of the first behind the wheel of these brand new cars – just join us today.

SPECIFICATION INCLUDES: • Fuel savings of up to £1,000 a year** with EcoBoost • 67 MPG on a combined cycle • 125 BHP

*Offer subject to availability of vehicle stock. **Saving is not guaranteed. Calculation based on current Ford Fiesta 1.4 Zetec petrol model MPG 49.6, assuming you drive an average of 600 miles per week and petrol costs £1.40/litre.

To find out more call the AA Driving School

0800 107 1552

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