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The Gloucestershire Group of Advanced Motorists

NEWSLETTER Spring 2012

Disclaimer All copy submitted for inclusion in this newsletter is on the understanding that it may be edited. Views expressed may not be those of the Editor, Committee or the Institute of Advanced Motorists. Please send all items for publication to the Editor by email. A warm welcome to new members, associates and friends to the Group. Associate Simon Wainwright Anthony Higgs Ruth Pitt Virginia Pawlyn Karen Mercer Rachel Abbott Arabella Risbey Robert Mills

Observer John Kitchen Peter Davies Peter Davies Rod Harrison awaiting observer awaiting observer awaiting observer awaiting observer

We wish you well with your Skill for Life training programme and your preparation for the advanced driving test. We also hope that associates will take up full membership of the Group on becoming an Advanced Driver. Congratulations to the following associates who recently passed their Advanced driving test and are now full members. Candidate Benjamin Castle Gordon Millar Lucy Jackson


Observer Mac McGarry John Kitchen Peter Davies

Editorial: It is my pleasure to welcome two new members to our group’s Committee. On the occasion of Dennis’s stepping down from the post of Secretary, Rod Harrison was elected to replace him. Rod introduces himself a little later in the newsletter. Also elected to the Committee is Jean Sheraton to whom we offer a warm welcome. It is good to welcome Peter back as Chairman, a post that Phil took on for a short while. I would like to offer thanks to Dennis and Phil for their excellent work as Secretary and Chairman respectively. Much of the work done by these post holders goes unseen and unheard my many, so it is appropriate to put our appreciation on record. It was my intention to dedicate much of this issue of the newsletter to Motor Insurance matters, but as so much other important material has surfaced, I decided to spread the Insurance material out over the next two issues. If you have any comments to make, or experience to share, regarding Motor Insurance, or any other driving issue, for that matter, do please let me know. David. Introduction from the new Secretary. At the AGM in February I was voted in as your Secretary, succeeding Dennis Sutton who has decided to stand down after serving for 4 years in the role. Firstly, I would like to express my thanks to Dennis for the sterling job that he has done as your Secretary over that period, and for the very efficient and helpful way in which he has subsequently handed over to me. I hope that I shall be able to live up to the high standard that Dennis has set during his tenure. My background is an extensive military career, as a pilot in the Royal Air Force, followed by a secondment with the Royal Air Force of Oman. I flew fast jet aircraft and also qualified as a Flying Instructor and Weapons Instructor, and retired as a Wing Commander. I then spent 10 years working in BAE Systems as an Air Advisor and P4

Flight Simulator specialist. I retired in March 2010. I had an ambition to become an IAM member for many years, but was prevented from realising it by a globe-trotting job. Immediately after retiring I finally realised my ambition and passed my advanced test in 2010. I have since qualified as an Observer with the Group, and enjoy that role immensely. I am delighted to be taking on this office and look forward to the challenge with enthusiasm. Please feel free to contact me at any time, if I can be of assistance. Rod Harrison Secretary Gloucestershire Group of Advanced Motorists. Welcome aboard, Rod! New Web Manager As has been mentioned elsewhere, the Group website management has been taken on by Mac McGarry from Michael Cunnane. Michael has been managing the website since 2008 which was the same year he became a member after passing his Advanced Driving Test. He is currently studying at The University of Gloucestershire and it is therefore understandable that much of his time is taken-up with this, leaving little time to spare. As a young person, (one of the youngest in our Group), we hope that his studies will not mean all work and no play. We wish Michael well in all that he does and say a huge thankyou for transforming and maintaining our Group website over the course of some years. Mac is a relatively new member having passed his Advanced Driving Test in 2010. He became a Qualified Observer and last year achieved IAM Senior Observer status. Mac, already a committee member, has completed a considerable amount of re-arrangement with the website and we understand that there is more to come. So watch those pages and thank you Mac for stepping-in just when needed. P5

Peter Writes I suppose this should start with Peter Writes Again. It was the Winter edition of 2010 I intended to be the last time you would hear from me in this role. I will feel happier if I pretend that I’ve had a long holiday, although this is not quite the case. However, I must say that I am not unhappy about being back as Chairman and that I look forward to serving the Group to the very best of my ability. I welcome Rod Harrison as our newly appointed Secretary and thank Dennis, reinforcing what I said more fully in the last newsletter, for his sterling work in this role. Rod is not a stranger to the Group. Since he joined us as a member, coming from another Group in 2011, he has fully qualified as an Observer and, I am pleased to note, will continue observing as well as attending to the secretarial work for the Group. I welcome Jean Sheraton as a new Committee member. Jean became an IAM member last year and it was during our rest periods in between Observed drives, in addition to visiting country churches as we both share an interest, we talked about the needs of the Group, the benefits of active regular publicity, more ways to persuade drivers to become better drivers and other related matters. Jean has already encouraged additional support, particularly from the Dean Forest. We have several new associates who have started training, leading from Jean’s encouragement, and there are others just about to step-in. Jean assures me that this is not beginners luck, but I already know she is good at that sort of thing, and we do need that sort of thing. I am pleased to see continuing support from the other existing Committee members, John, Phil, David, Frances and Mac. I hope to see others joining our Committee this year and they will be welcome too. We plan to represent IAM, and indeed the Gloucestershire Group, at a number of public venues this year. The first, apart from previous events, will be the Gloucestershire Motor Show at Highnam Court on 9th and 10th of June. Just as last year and the year before, this will be in aid of the Pied Piper Appeal to help sick children from and across Gloucestershire. P6

Just as in those last two years, we hope to make some new friends and gain some additional candidates for Skill for Life. Please look at the dates of our evening meetings and training course days. Phil has worked hard to secure some good speakers covering interesting subjects and there is more to come. It is nice to see a whole sea of eagerly waiting faces during the initial introduction at the meetings, so do try to bring with you another or others. Remember tea, coffee and cakes are provided and that everyone is welcome. This year, at meetings and courses we will concentrate on knowing more about each other, where we will try to speak to at least three people we think we may not have properly spoken to before. We try very hard not to have very long session with speakers so there is time at the end to partake of the free refreshments and to talk to others, not just the ones we know, and perhaps usually sit next to, but more especially the ones we think that we do not know in aid of, knowing more about each other. Finally, thank-you those Group members, of whom there are many, who have already paid the £10 subscription for 2012. Just as IAM values existing membership so we very much appreciate continued Group membership from those who were with us last year and those who have been with us for many years before that. Someone once wrote in my autograph book, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver, the other gold. I may have written this at some time before, but it is so true. Chief Observer’s report We are still waiting for more precise details of the new Observer training scheme from Chiswick which, for unknown reasons at the moment, have been delayed. It is hoped that the new plans will be in place when we have our first Group Observers meeting for this year, which will be quite soon. In the meantime we will, of course, continue operations in the usual way. Some good news is that we have just learned the cost of a re-test, should a candidate not pass the Advanced Driving Test, has been reduced to £35. I think that, P7

considering the normal cost of the test, this is a generous offer and it is good that, despite the obvious disappointment when an associate does not pass, by using the special re-test form that will be sent from Chiswick there is the opportunity to have another go without breaking the bank. You may note that according to recent advice I have not used here the title “IAM House” or the term “HQ” but instead, “Chiswick”! Peter Running the ‘Introduction to Advanced Driving’ course, aka ‘A Day with Mike Addis’ We have already held the first ‘Day’ of 2012. Saturday 11th February saw 30 people in attendance at Churchdown Community Centre. Members of the audience came from far and wide, including visitors from Chepstow and Newport. The audience listened with keen attention, asking pertinent questions and taking on board all the information and advice Mike gave. His talk was illustrated, as always, with anecdotes, video clips and slides, and was delivered with his usual humour alongside a level of expertise that some of us can only dream about. If you were there on Saturday the 11th, why not bring someone along next time? If you were not there on Saturday the 11th, why not???? Further ‘Days with Mike Addis’ will be held throughout 2012. See dates on p25 of this newsletter for details. The lecture is designed for experienced drivers, wishing to brush-up their driving skills, new advanced drivers, associates and those merely wishing to ‘find-out’ what is involved in ‘Skill for Life’. Tea, coffee, biscuits and cakes are provided as always. Thanks, Mike, once again, for an excellent day. P8

As the holiday season approaches, there is to be a new driving regulation in France. Every car in France will have to carry a breathalyser from July 2012. The announcement was made by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The new law will force every driver to have a breathalyser kit in their car so they can check their alcohol level before driving. A single-use kit costs just €1.50. Any driver caught without such a kit will be fined €17, although a spokesperson for the French police stated that warnings only would be given until November. The President has made it a personal crusade to cut the number of road deaths in France. In 2007 he pledged to get the annual number of deaths below 3,000 by 2012, which now seems unlikely. The total fell just below 4,000 for the first time ever in 2010, with a total number of 3,994 deaths. The figure for 2011 is likely to be similar. France has made huge improvements in road safety over the last ten years, with the number of deaths being cut by half. France’s road safety association has reported that alcohol is the biggest factor in deaths on the roads of France with over 28% involving a car driven by someone with an excessive blood alcohol. The idea of getting drink-drivers off the roads is of course a thoroughly commendable one, but these measures do seem a little toothless, affecting only the most responsible drivers. This is especially obvious given the fact that the average blood alcohol level in drivers involved in drink-related fatal accidents is 2.25 grams per litre - four-and-a-half times the legal limit in France. Is this legislation going to stop these people? It seems unlikely. In January 2012 the French introduced a new law banning satellite navigation systems that show the location of speed cameras. Such units are subject to confiscation and the driver can be fined up to €1,500. The new law is broken by having such a device in the car – it does not need to be in use. P9

IAM Skills Day Mac McGarry (Senior Observer) wrote about his attendance at an IAM Skills Day in the December 2010 edition of the group’s newsletter and he also attended a further Skills Day during 2011. If you have any questions about his experiences, Mac would be pleased to hear from you. His contact details are in the front of latest newsletter. There is a 2½ minute video as an introduction to Skill Days. Cost is £189 for a morning or afternoon session. The IAM Skills Days for 2012 are: Croft - 23 March

Stowe - 11 Apr

Stowe - 6 June

Stowe - 18 October

Croft is in North Yorkshire . Stowe is a one mile circuit inside the main Silverstone circuit. Silverstone is beside the A43 between Oxford and Northampton approximately 60 miles from Cheltenham . Full details and booking are available from ****************************** On the subject of courses for members............. The High Performance Club will be running another Young Drivers’ Day on the 14th of July 2012. This is open to those who are aged 26 years or under, and hold a full driver's licence, and are not already HPC members. The aims of the day are as follows: * * *

Promote awareness of driving skills at advanced levels Encourage the participants to develop their own skills Have fun P10

Our previous events have been very well received by the participants. Some of the comments include: * "Thank you for such an informative and entertaining has really lifted my enthusiasm for driving" * "Really good having the amount of knowledge available from HPC Members" * "It was great finally getting to meet some people who enjoy their driving" * "The lectures were really thought provoking, and as for the demo runs, what a joy!" * "Great event, brilliant fun" The day will be a mixture of demonstration drives by HPC members, participants' observed drives, and lectures and workshops, given by a mix of HPC instructors, police advanced instructors and specialist experts. The emphasis will be positive and informative, aiming at giving participants insight into how they can take their driving on to new levels. Places are restricted to 40, and preference will be given to those who have not attended before. A reserve list will be held of previous participants who may wish to attend if there are spare spaces. Location will be Oxfordshire and the cost of the event will be £30 to cover catering and room hire. Further details can be found at ( Youngest test pass In my ‘Editorial’ section of the last edition, I mentioned the name of James Frost who passed the Advanced Driving test at the age of 18 years. We wondered if he was our youngest ever pass. P11

My comments prompted a number of emails from which a selection is reproduced below. Back in 1996 I taught a lad to drive, Matthew Clarke. Six months after passing he took his IAM test. The event made news in the Gloucestershire Echo because he was the youngest group member at that time, and had been observed by the oldest group member who was about to hang up his observing hat. Matthew’s mother seems to remember he was 18 or 19 when he took his IAM, so although he may not be the youngest member, he was at the time. Regards Doug Birch Clearway Driving Tuition Tel 01684 276061 and... In the December, 2011, issue of the Group Newsletter you say "it might be interesting to find our oldest test pass". Do you mean by age of the applicant or the longest period since the test was passed? If the latter, then I am submitting my application herewith. My I. A. M. membership number is 92045 and my membership card states that I have been a member since Jan. 1972 and I have been a Group member since that time. This means I must have taken my test back in 1971, the exact date long forgotten, so I do lay claim to being the longest serving Group member, even keeping up my membership when I was working in Australia and the Far East. My Observer was John Gough and I was a Committee Member for a number of years after passing my test and also Treasurer for several years, mostly in the time of the late Ron Harley's period of Chairmanship. I well remember the Road safety rallies, Treasure Hunts and Manoeuvrability contests held in that period, (oh, happy P12

memories!!!), even helping to organise some of the rallies and Treasure Hunts and I am forever grateful for the skills learned in the manoeuvrability tests especially when having to park in confined spaces these days!!!!! Anthony and Jean Whitehouse have been friends for many years and might be able to recall things long gone from my aged memory!! Lionel Perry. The Group Annual General Meeting The group held its AGM on Thursday, February 16 th in the Churchdown Community Centre. Phil Tebble our acting Chairman welcomed our President, Dr. Tim Brain, Andy Poulton, Staff Examiner, Richard Furneaux our Regional Co-ordinator and members. Dr.Brain gave us an interesting perspective on some accident statistics which he had put into graph form to show differences, similarities and trends more clearly. However, he started by considering the human side of road traffic collisions, especially the trauma involved for families and friends of those involved in fatal collisions, and for the police who attend and follow up the incidents. He stressed that fatal accidents were only a small proportion (2%) of the total, most collisions involving only slight injuries or none. In terms of accidents/kilometre the UK has a good record which is better than Australia or the United States. Numbers killed in the UK have fallen from 5,000 in 1920 to 1,800 in 2010. He highlighted factors such as the national speed limits, compulsory seat belts (front at first and then rear) and the breathalyser. Average speed cameras and the banning of mobile phone use while driving and improved car design had also helped. Dr. Brain showed that the principal cause of accidents was driver error: • failure to look properly • judgement failure • loss of control (a very significant cause of deaths) P13

• driving too fast for the conditions or exceeding the speed limit • driver inexperience. • careless or reckless driving. The figures showed that, overall, women were more careful than men and that young drivers were most likely to be involved in a road traffic accident. Older drivers were more likely to be involved than drivers in their 40’s and 50’s. In summary Dr. Brain referred back to the overwhelming cause of accidents being driver error and the importance of the group’s work in helping drivers to improve their behaviour and skills thereby improving road safety for all. Moving on to the business of the meeting, the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer reported the activities of the group for the year, many of which have already been reported in previous newsletters. We hope to publish the minutes on our website soon The elections resulted in the following Committee for 2012 Chairman Secretary Treasurer

Peter Davies Rod Harrison John Seed

Other Committee members; Phil Tebble Mac McGarry Frances Hunter Jean Sheraton David Sheppard After the formal meeting there was an opportunity to chat with other members over a cup of coffee and cakes. Dennis Sutton P14

Chairman’s AGM report Currently the Committee has 7 members. We would like to see more members joining the Committee to enable us to represent as broad a spectrum of members as possible. We would particularly like to see younger members become involved. Thanks to all who have served on the Committee during the year. Our current Secretary. Dennis Sutton, is not standing for re-election. He is involved in the running of a number of associations and societies and feels that after 4 years as Secretary it is now time to hand over to someone else. Dennis has been an excellent Secretary and a great source of guidance to all members of the Committee. During the year, 4 newsletters were compiled, printed and distributed. Thanks are due to David Sheppard and Frances Hunter for their work on the newsletter and to Stella Boyd-Carpenter for assisting with proof reading. Peter Davies also handles the printing of labels, the envelope stuffing and posting of the newsletters. Thanks also to all who contributed items for inclusion in the newsletter, please keep them coming. There have recently been a number of changes to the group’s website and those are on-going. Thanks to Mac McGarry for the time he has spent on improving the web-site. The IAM has also improved its web-site, particularly the Member’s section. As in previous years the group ran 4 Saturday courses as an introduction to what advanced driving is all about. All the costs of running these courses (room hire, refreshments, printing, etc.) are borne by the group as part of our campaign to encourage drivers to consider further training. Thanks to Mike Addis for giving up Saturdays to present the courses. As many of you know Mike is the local IAM test examiner and also a member of our group. During the year the group promoted the IAM and safer driving at a number of events including the Higham Motor Show, the EDF Health P15

& Safety Days and the Chinese New Year celebrations held at Cheltenham Ladies College. Phil Tebble. Group subscription The yearly subscription to be a member of the Gloucestershire Group of Advanced Motorists is currently £10 per year and is entirely separate from the annual subscription to the national IAM. The Group subscription for 2012 was due on 1st January. The current state of your subscription for 2012 is shown by the front cover of your copy of this newsletter. Red strip – a reminder that your 2012 subscription is yet to be paid. In order to control our costs no newsletter will be sent to any member whose subscription remains unpaid when the summer newsletter is dispatched. A subscription form is included with this newsletter. We do hope that you will continue to support our efforts to promote additional training for drivers to improve the safety of the roads in Gloucestershire. Green strip – your 2012 subscription has been paid. Thank-you for your support. No strip – we haven’t forgotten you. It just means that no subscription is due for 2012, probably because you are an Associate or passed your test after 1st January 2012. Please note that if you have paid in the past few days your payment may not be included in the red/green strip indication. Peter.


Pete Wood, Senior Observer from Severnside’s motorcycle group was a recent delegate at the lecture given by Mike Addis. He writes the following. IPSGA and Elephants Using the IPSGA model and information gleaned from recent and personal experiences (on a motorcycle) in Nepal and India. My tips for overtaking Elephants One could be forgiven for believing that elephants only move slowly. In fact, because of their huge size, their speed can be quite deceptive. When walking (first gear) elephants can reach 20 mph or so and have been known to reach 50 mph at the full charge or top gear. These speeds may sound slow but elephants are usually to be found on tracks where 30 mph on a motorcycle can be quite adventurous... In terms of the Information phase of IPSGA there are one or two things to think about before going for the full Elephant Overtaking Manoeuvre (EOM). Firstly, work out if is it a wild elephant or a domesticated elephant. When dealing with a group you may need to know that often elephants, naturally, like to hold on to each other, trunk to tail. So plan your overtaking manoeuvre of a group without assuming that you will be able to cut in between the elephants as one could be plucked bodily from the saddle by an upset elephant. If the mahoot (elephant driver) is on board of a domesticated elephant then so much the better. Occasionally, domesticated elephants will go for a walk on their own to see their friends. Secondly, remembering that both ends of an elephant are not without their risks - natural bodily functions, wee, pooh and fart are all of gigantic proportions. For the first two they tend to stop first but elephants can fart at any time and it may be enough to break even the most focused overtaking motorcyclist's concentration. P17

Given elephant pooh comes in football size dollops, it is best avoided by the front wheel, and one can be caught out by the flood of urine an elephant can suddenly deposit right in the path of an on-coming or overtaking motorcycle. Elephants communicate with each other at a distance either by a powerful low frequency rumble that we can hardly hear, or by a very loud trumpeting noise. This trumpeting would easily drown out the sound of a big Harley with slash cut pipes and at full chat. Be prepared at any time to be deafened half way through the overtake. Grit teeth and bars to see the EOM through to conclusion. Hearing will return later. So, positioning needs to be wide to get a good view all the way to the front. Let the elephants see you (eyes on the side of its head). Wild elephants, especially males can be quite unpredictable. Male elephants, in general have much longer tusks and much shorter tempers. If the single elephant in question is painted and decorated, perhaps with geometric symbols, then it's a domesticated elephant. If not - be careful and don't cut back in too early as the power and reach of the trunk is not to be under estimated.

Elephant following position, careful of the cyclists ahead and the duck. The goat on the left is eating so it will likely stay there. P18

When all clear, move out and give the elephant plenty of room.

Head on pass. This elephant is decorated and a partially grown female, Mahoot is aboard so no real problem anticipated. P19

Speed needs to be reasonable, compared with the speed of the elephants, perhaps 15 mph faster. Changing gear can make either more noise or different noise and just look at the size of elephant's ear trumpet. So maybe keep the same gear! As for acceleration, then that really depends upon the size of next pot hole, rut or crater. In conclusion, like white van man on Friday afternoons in the UK most, but not all elephants are good natured and patient. Thanks for this item, Pete. It goes to show how adaptable and flexible the system of car/motorcycle control has to be. There will be more from Pete in the next issue. Ed The Committee is constantly looking for people to come and speak to us on interesting topics on our Thursday evenings. The following two speakers are lined up; Thursday 15th March 2012 Martin Evans - BLOODHOUND SSC The project aims to produce a vehicle capable of 1000mph and raise the land speed record currently standing at 763mph (faster than the speed of sound). The attempt will be on a 500m wide by 19km long (550yards x 12 miles) track on the Hakskeen Pan dried up lake bed in Northern Cape, South Africa. The vehicle will be driven by Andy Green, who set the current record in ThrustSSC in 1997. The record attempt is planned to take place in late 2013. The project is being used to stimulate interest in Science and engineering in schools. P20

The talk, which will be illustrated with slides and videos, will be given by Martin Evans (from the Bristol Group of Advanced Drivers) who is a trained ambassador for the BloodhoundSSC team. and..... Thursday 31st May 2012 THE BUILDING OF THE CHANNEL TUNNEL

Alan Heath will give a talk on the construction of the Channel Tunnel All are welcome to these FREE talks, which will take place at Churchdown Community Centre at 7.30pm. Doors open at 7pm. Tea, coffee, biscuits and cakes will be provided. **********************************

I have recently received a number of items on various aspects of the thorny issue of Motor Insurance. Firstly.... Underinsured Drivers When choosing an alternative insurance provider it is important to compare policies on a like for like basis rather than just the price. A survey by Sainsbury’s car insurance has found recently that drivers collectively are paying £37 million pounds a year, above their existing car insurance premiums because they had found that there was no or insufficient cover for a whole range of common claims. Specific items mentioned include replacement car keys, transport to a destination after an accident and the cost of post-accident courtesy cars, and there are others. The survey concludes that although motorists should be encouraged to shop around for competitive prices, they do need to make sure that false economy is not the result Peter P21

This is an item from three A Level students from Ribston Hall High School, Gloucester. They have recently had a similar item published in the Gloucestershire Echo. The rising cost of insurance is a problem that is facing many young and prospective drivers at this point in time. It is a concern that we, as young members of society are unable to change easily but feel that we deserve the chance of being able to afford to insure a car and become independent citizens. As a group of drivers ourselves, we believe that because of the increase in fraudulent claims, it is taking its toll on young people significantly, due to the fact that many of us cannot afford to insure and maintain our cars. Some students from our school are paying as much as £2000 a year just to insure their car which is quite often more expensive than the car itself. In modern society, it is essential for one or more family members to have a car as it is otherwise inconvenient. We have campaigned for the ban of ‘no win no fee’ adverts in an attempt to raise influence of how it is affecting young drivers. However, it will take some time before our voices will be heard and before our opinions are considered. Thanks to Charlotte, Laura and Muhammad for this item. And then, from Phil...... Adding a parent as a named driver on the insurance can literally knock thousands of pounds off the quoted price for the first year. I suspect that in many cases the insurance companies don’t expect young people to pay such high insurance premiums; it is their way of saying ‘we don’t want your business’. From the recent experiences of ‘children’ of friends the cost for girls, although still high, is considerably less than for boys. P22

What a huge drop in the cost of insurance for the second year although even that is very high at over £2,500. Perhaps Surety can provide a large discount (or a sensible quote in the first place) for young drivers who pass the IAM test? That would certainly raise the number of young Associates, although I suspect that insurance companies would take no notice of an IAM pass until they had a number of years of statistics to prove an IAM pass did considerably reduce the chance of a claim. My younger daughter got around this problem by having a job straight from university that supplied a company car. 4 years later she bought her own car (with my money!) and after 4 years with no claims on the company cars she received a sensible quote and was allowed 3 years NCB as well. Even then, adding me as a named driver knocked £50 off the premium (although the insurance company wasn’t interested that I had an IAM pass). Warning over insurance 'fronting' A fraud called "fronting" occurs when a young person has a car in their own name, but the insurer is falsely told that a parent is the main driver. Premiums are cut by hundreds of pounds but claims are rejected as the driver is told they are not properly insured. The young drivers can also find themselves in court. Some insurance firms are being criticised for not doing more to stop the fraud during online application processes. Why do people 'front'? Insurance can often cost a young driver who owns a car more than a thousand pounds a year; because they have not built up any noclaims bonus and they are seen as a far greater risk than older drivers. P23

But if a parent is put down as the main driver on the insurance policy, it can significantly lower the price. If an insurance company believes "fronting" has taken place, it can refuse to pay any claim. The young driver can then be treated as driving without insurance and face a fine with six points penalty on their licence. Critics, however, question whether the insurers themselves are doing enough to discourage fronting or giving adequate warnings to people that they might be committing insurance fraud. During the online application process some, firms allow a car owned by a young person to be insured by a parent who then puts their child down as an occasional driver. Other companies insist that the owner of the car and the main driver must be the same on the insurance application, so there is less risk of "fronting". The insurance industry itself will not reveal any figures on how many claims it is turning down, but the Financial Ombudsman Service says it is dealing with between 100 and 200 fronting disputes each year, and that indicates that firms will be dealing with around 1000 such cases annually. In many cases customers have a difficult task to show they have not been "fronting". "This is a question of the evidence, so if you are the parent and you have said you are the main driver and the car has been in an accident, or stolen, at your son or daughter's university, you have got a lot of work to do to explain how that has come about."

Many thanks to all the contributors on this issue. There will be more on Motor Insurance in the next newsletter, so if you would like to share your own experiences, which firms have given good/bad service, drop me a line at Ed.


Dates for your Diary Evening meetings are in the Purple Room at Churchdown Community Centre in Parton Road. They begin at 7.30pm; entry is free to anyone as is tea, coffee and cakes served during the evening. The doors will be open at 7pm, bring a friend or friends. Remember all are welcome. Speakers have been arranged for the following dates. Details will follow; Evening meetings 15 March Land speed record attempt 31 May Building the Channel Tunnel 19 July Electronic aids in cars. 17 September (Monday) at 8pm 15 November Saturday Driving courses – ‘A Day with Mike Addis’ 26 May 1 September 3 November (All in Purple room) All dates, starting times and other details are correct at the time of going to press. Please visit the Group Website at for confirmation of these details. Course days are from 10am to 4pm. The course is designed for advanced drivers, associates, observers and anyone else, interested in improving their driving skills. Attendance is free, but please let us know you are coming.


The theory course days are at Churchown Community Centre. Starting at 10am, there will be a mid-morning break for coffee, tea and cakes and lunch break is between 1pm and 2pm. We normally close between 3.30 and 4pm. Entry is free. Why not come along and bring a friend or friends! ******************* Directions to the Community Centre: From Cheltenham take the B4063, Cheltenham Road, turn left at traffic lights after Staverton Airfield and the factories into Parton Road. Follow the road for about half a mile where the Centre will be on the right. Churchdown can also be approached from the A46 by turning into Badgeworth Lane at Shurdington. After that, follow the road signs to Churchdown. From Gloucester take the B4063 at Elbridge Court roundabout, turn right at the second set of lights into Parton Road and follow the road or about half a mile where the Centre will be on the right.


Many thanks to all contributors to this issue. Please continue to send any thoughts, ideas, photographs, suggestions, opinions, or other items to David at Please mark them ‘for publication’ See you next time. David.

Spring 2012  

Gloucestershire Group of Advanced Motorists - Spring 2012 Newsletter

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