Category Archive: Learner Drivers

Learners to be Let Loose on Motorways from 2018

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After a lengthy consultation period, the Driving & Vehicles Standards Agency has finally given the thumbs up to learners being allowed onto motorways.

In a push to make new drivers safer than ever, the DVSA has said that the new law will come into effect at some point in 2018. Learners will only be allowed on to motorways if they are with an approved driving instructor (ADI) in a car fitted with dual controls. It means if an issue should arise during the motorway lesson, the ADI will be able to step in and take over quickly.

What the Change Means for Students
The DVSA says that motorway driving is strictly voluntary and will not be included in the all-new driving test coming this December. Critically, it will be up to instructors to decide if they feel their students are ready to head out on to Britain’s busy network of motorways.

The Highway Code rules on motorways will also be updated to reflect the new change. Remember though that until the new law comes into play, it is still illegal for a learner to drive on a motorway and, if you’re a trainee motorcyclist, you still won’t be allowed on to them after the new law is introduced.

What the Change Means for Instructors
The DVSA has said that it will offer no specific training for ADIs who intend to take advantage of the motorway lesson option but the agency does say it will update learning materials and the car driving syllabus. It should be noted that trainee driving instructors will still not be allowed to take students on to a motorway.

Finally, ADIs can decide for themselves whether they want to keep their driving school roof-top box on during a motorway lesson. If the box is removed though, the instructor’s car must display L-plates both front and rear.

• For the official results of the DVSA’s consultation, click here.

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Image © Highways England

Learners Attacking Driving Examiners On The Increase

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Examiners and driving test staff are increasingly on the receiving end of verbal abuse and even physical assault from learners who fail their test, and the Driving & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has had enough, launching a zero tolerance campaign to take down offenders.

According to statistics released by the DVSA, over 300 driving examiners, vehicle testers and roadside enforcement staff have either been physically or verbally abused while doing their jobs. Most worryingly, the number of incidents represents more than a 50% increase from last year, which saw 198 incidents. Other data reveals that in 2016, examiners were on the receiving end of 236 verbal assaults and 13 physical assaults.

Assaults rising
Abusive behaviour can come in many different forms including “failed driving test candidates even driving off with their examiner still in the car against their will”, says the DVSA. Other media-reported incidents include a learner smashing up a waiting room before attacking workers.

An examiner also found himself having to flee a learner by hopping on a bus and another was punched twice in the face, his assailant subsequently locked up for six months. Even instructors aren’t safe – one learner chased both his ADI and examiner, yelling at them: “All I have to do is make one phone call and you are both dead. I will kill you.”

It makes for shocking reading and it’s why the DVSA has now launched a new campaign that highlights how the agency will protect its 4,600 staff from such abusive behaviour.

Clamp down
If you’re a learner and are caught swearing at staff after a failed test, you can expect to be dealt with quickly and abruptly; you will be forced to take your next test at another centre and will need to have an extra supervisor present in the test car. Any learner who is found to be threatening or assaulting an examiner – or drives off with them against their will – will be reported to the police and “face the strongest possible penalties”, says the DVSA.

And it’s not just students who are being abusive. Though rare, the agency says that driving instructors have been known to try and influence the outcome of a driving test, sometimes harassing or even threatening examiners after their student has failed. Again, the outcome for the instructor will be swift and severe; first they will be banned from specific test centres and secondly, they will be struck off the approved driving instructor register.

dvsa-assaults-poster

Taking safety seriously
According to news reports, the agency is also considering fitting examiners with body cams in future to protect them from assaults with the DVSA trialling the technology on some of its frontline staff. Whatever the outcome of the trials, the message is clear – for the minority of learners who lose their rag because they couldn’t muster a pass, such behaviour will not be tolerated.

I am immensely proud of my colleagues at DVSA, all of whom work incredibly hard to help you stay safe on Britain’s roads. We do not tolerate anyone abusing, threatening or assaulting them. Our message is clear – whatever has happened, don’t take it out on our staff. If you do, we’ll press for the strongest possible penalties.”

– Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA Chief Executive

 

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Revealed: The best time of day to take your test

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According to new research, there is a time of day which will give you the best possible chance of passing your practical driving test – but it’s not the time experts have previously said is ideal.

In the past, pundits have proclaimed that booking your test in an early slot is the best option as it’s when you’re at your most alert; over the course of a day, your ‘cognitive function’ slowly decreases as you become gradually more tired. But research by Dayinsure has uncovered that the optimum time is in fact the exact opposite – the true sweet spot is apparently between 7pm and 9pm.

It’s Official
That’s based on official data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) that revealed the 7pm-9pm slot sees 65% of students passing. Now compare that to the worst performing time slot – between 11am and 1pm – with a pass rate of 48% while the traditional 7am to 9am slot comes in at 50%.

The results are even more intriguing if you consider that the 11am-1pm slot is often seen as an ideal time to take test as well because there is no rush hour or school traffic to contend with plus you’ll still be feeling relatively fresh. In fact, the second best slot to take your test is 9am to 11am with a 52% pass rate, a slot where you can still expect some rush hour and school traffic. But whatever the time, the evening slot still wins out by a big margin.

Analysing the results, Tim Shallcross at IAM Roadsmart told the Sun newspaper that “the much greater success rate for tests taken in the evening is interesting – the most obvious difference is no daytime or rush hour traffic. Quieter roads and most drivers in less of a hurry may well make the test less stressed and nerves are the most common reason for failing.”

The Cost of Success
There is a catch though; the cost of an evening test is more expensive than one taken during the day with learners expected to fork out £75 instead of the standard £62 – but some may argue that the extra cash could well be worth it if it boosts the chances of passing.

While we all want to be in the best possible position to pass our test, Theory Test Pro believes that learners shouldn’t obsess over time slots. Instead, students should rely on their driving instructor to tell them when they are ready to take the test, no matter what the time slot is. If pupils feel they need to rely on an optimum time to gain a pass, it suggests they’re not 100% ready to take the test in the first place.

Here is full rundown of the time slot pass rates:

7am-9am: 50% • 9am-11am: 52% • 11am–1pm: 48% • 1pm-3pm: 50% • 3pm–5pm: 49% • 5pm-7pm: 49% • 7pm-9pm: 65%.

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Meet the ADIs: Stewart Latcham & Family

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After the driving school he worked for closed down, ADI Stewart Latcham started his own family-run business, KSL Driving School, with wife Karen Latcham, which has been operating in the Stafford and Telford areas since 2009.

So successful has the school been that the couple have gone on to create franchises with their son, Tom Latcham aged 22, when he qualified in September 2016 plus close family friend Dan McCabe and Graham Turney, their son-in-law, who is currently a PDI training to be an ADI. Here we talk to Stewart about why keeping it in the family has been vital to the driving school and its franchises’ reputations.

Why did you decide to work together?
Having a family-run business means the pupils get an excellent experience as we can do mock practical tests with each other’s pupils. We have built up a sound reputation in Telford, Stafford and surrounding areas and no longer need to advertise with pupils typically contacting us because of recommendations from previous pupils.

Dan has said that the support from the family is reason he is with the company plus he, Tom and Graham wanted to have genuine career and professional status. Also, they will eventually take over and run the business together.

The benefits of a family working together means close communication with each other, close relationships, standing in for each other and having the benefit of sitting in on each other’s lessons to offer peer support.”
– Stewart Latcham, owner of the KSL Driving School

What is the appeal of the job to you?
The ability to expand someone’s knowledge and awareness – not only of what they can achieve but how their actions influence others. The satisfaction of taking on a pupil who has no idea about driving and then training them to understand all aspects so they can pass their driving test and become a safe driver is very rewarding. It gives a real sense of job satisfaction.

It’s also great to be self employed and in control of your own diary and time management without the bureaucracy of being an employee.

How would you describe your teaching style?
We all have a relaxed, informal style of teaching, making sure that the pupil enjoys their lessons and feel as though they are getting the most out of them. Once a pupil’s potential has been identified, we feel a great sense of responsibility to bring it out of them. We encourage a relaxed atmosphere in the car as well and never become annoyed when pupils take longer than expected to achieve their potential.

A good rapport is built up between the instructor and pupil to ensure their confidence increases, enabling them to pass their driving test and become a safe driver. If a pupil is struggling with a teaching method then the approach is changed to meet their needs. We also give them the option to change instructors if their reduced learning is due to the instructor’s personality.

My favourite part is seeing a nervous pupil that lacks confidence pass their driving test. Least favourite part is becoming frustrated with pupils who are not committed to their lessons.”
– Stewart Latcham

“My favourite part is building up a pupil relationship over the duration of their lessons and becoming very proud of their achievement when they pass. Least favourite part is the frustration when students don’t listen to advice.”
– Karen Latcham

“My favourite part of the job is the satisfaction when a pupil passes their test. Like my dad, my least favourite part is becoming frustrated when pupils are not committed to their lessons.”
– Tom Latcham

“My favourite part has to be the satisfaction of my pupils coming out of the test centre with that pass certificate. My least favourite part would be when you can see the potential of a pupil and put the work in but get nothing in return or they just don’t have the commitment needed.”
– Dan McCabe

“My favourite part of the job is having the freedom to work set hours that fit around family life.”
– Graham Turney

Attachment-1

From left to right: Stewart Latcham, Karen Latcham, Tom Latcham, Dan McCabe & Graham Turney.

 

How do you run the business together? How do you allocate responsibilities?
We are all proactive members of the KSL team, making joint decisions to ensure the business runs smoothly. Having spent many years in sales, I make the sales decisions and am always coming up with new sales and promotional materials to enhance company prospects.

Karen has spent many years in management and teaching roles so she takes the lead on ensuring all our instructors have the support they need. She also organises our monthly team meetings to discuss moving the company forward while developing our teaching materials.

Being young ADIs, Tom and Dan are both aware of what young pupils need and they communicate on the same level as the pupil. They have received excellent pupil feedback and have excellent first-time pass rates. Tom is also bringing KSL into the digital age by having a social media presence and improving the website design.

Also, because Tom is qualified in photography, he uses this skill to photograph our instructors and cars, etc. so the pupils are aware of what their instructors look like when they meet us for the first time. Finally, Graham has run his own business for many years so has knowledge of sales and marketing too.

What is the current state of your business and your plans for the future?
We’d like to have more instructors working for us as we have to turn away pupils daily due to lack of instructor capacity! Turning business away does not sit well with the KSL strategy of offering a valuable service.

We will also be delivering instructor Part 3 training and this is something that all our instructors are keen to do. Running some Continuing Professional Development (CPD) events for our instructors is also something that we will be doing next year.

Finally, as a long term user of Theory Test Pro, how do you find the system helps your students?
Our pupils benefit from both the desktop version and the app, the latter allowing them to access TTP wherever they are. We can track their progress and test their knowledge periodically. The hazard perception section is also larger than most other programs and is invaluable.

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Learners Benefiting From Quicker Bookings & More Examiners, Says DVSA

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The Driving & Vehicle Standards Agency has just released its annual report and is sounding mighty pleased with itself – and for good reason judging from the improvements they claim learners have experienced over the last 12 months.

The agency has been making significant changes to its extensive range of services. According to the DVSA, 2.2 million driving theory tests and two million practical driving tests were undertaken in the past year.

Clamping Down on Delays & Dire Trainers

Critically, the DVSA says that it is successfully addressing the issues surrounding preferred theory test centres and tackling the long waiting times that have bedevilled pupils who are test ready but frustrated by chronic delays.

The agency claims that 97% of theory test candidates now get an appointment at their preferred test centre within two weeks. More significantly, the average waiting time for a practical driving test has been stripped back from 11.9 weeks as of June 2016 down to six weeks by February 2017 thanks to bringing on board 350 new examiners to help deal with overstretched test centres.

Two years ago at my local centre the waiting time for a test was 16 weeks. This had a terrible effect on my students who’d failed. They had to pay for many more lessons until the next slot came around … [The DVSA] took on new examiners and introduced extra test slots, which meant that my students could get a new test date so much more quickly.”
– ADI Keith Metcalfe, Keith Metcalfe Driving School, Rochdale.

The DVSA has also been cracking down on poor motorcycle training by conducting spot checks on trainers and updating the current standards check to ensure it is in line with the standards expected from approved driving instructors.

More Improvements Set for the Future

Looking ahead and the DVSA is planning more improvements across the board. As well as the new changes to the practical driving test being introduced in December, the agency is also improving its ADI search facility on the gov.co.uk site.

Links to ADI websites and Facebook pages are being allowed for the first time and learners will be able to filter search results depending on their area, what standard the instructor has achieved, and if the ADI is continuing to improve and develop their professional skill sets.

ADIs To Be Pushed Harder

Instructors can also expect to be more closely assessed by the DVSA in future. While there are three parts to the existing qualification process, the agency intends to replace ‘Part Three’ (which currently tests an instructor’s ability to give instruction) with a standards check. Such a check is already carried out every four years on existing qualified ADIs.

Instructors can also expect to be assessed on the new car practical test to ensure that they are able to teach it effectively to their pupils. All qualified ADIs will also be subject to an increase in the overall number of standard checks that are carried out by the DVSA with the focus on tackling poor performance and targeting those instructors who have yet to undergo a new standards check.

– For the full DVSA report including details on law enforcement and developments in MOT testing, click here.

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Lesson © Wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com

Blame Game: Which Driver Is At Fault? You Decide

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Show off your Highway Code knowledge by acting as judge and jury on this selection of six driving cock-ups – and decide who you think is at fault and critically, why.

The proliferation of dashcams in cars and trucks has seen the internet becoming littered with thousands of clips of truly terrible driving. In some cases though, it’s not always clear just who is at fault for causing a crash, smash or simply a good old-fashioned shouting match.

So use your Highway Code knowledge to decide who is in the wrong – and why – in this round-up of some of the most outrageous driving foul-ups we’ve come across:

Clip 1: Car Vs. Lorry Junction Crunch

This incident filmed at a junction on to a dual carriageway has split opinion down the middle. It shows a blue Toyota pulling up to the left of an HGV at a junction; the truck moves off, striking the car before dragging it up the road. But is the truck driver to blame here?

Clip 2: Learner Scooter Vs. ‘Hot’ Hatch Showdown

A learner scooter rider vents at a Vauxhall Corsa driver after the the car cuts him up by performing a U-turn in the road – but is the scooter rider right to lose his rag? Be warned – this clip contains strong language.

Clip 3: Cyclist Vs. Cop Car Standoff

A cyclist takes offence to a police car passing him too closely – but the police driver disagrees, believing that the cyclist wasn’t giving other road users enough space to pass. Cue a standoff between the two with neither willing to take responsibility – but who is in the right? Skip to 1.20 to see how the incident unfolds.

Video: Evo Lucas

Clip 4: Motorcyclist Vs. Car Crash

A driver cuts in front of a motorcyclist as it turns right, leading to the biker going over the bonnet (fret not, he survived the accident). But who is to blame for the what could have easily been a fatal crash?

Video: Usman Feroze

Clip 5: Bus Vs. Car Backoff

A Ford Focus goes to overtake a bus pulled up at a bus stop – but the bus driver pulls out. Cue the car having to brake hard and drop back. Did the bus driver have the right of way or was their manoeuvre dangerous?

Video: Sammy Millar

Clip 6: SUV vs. Parking Smash

According to the insurance companies involved in this caught-on-camera reversing fiasco, both drivers are at fault because they were both reversing at the time – but who would you deem the guilty culprit for this feckless fender bender?

 

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‘Dangerous’ New Driving Test: DVSA Says Changes Promote Safety

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The revised manoeuvres featured in the new driving test have been heavily criticised by instructors for being ‘dangerous’, perhaps forcing the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to explain why it believes the changes are necessary.

As has been well publicised now, the new test touches down in December and followers of the Theory Test Pro blog will know that serious concerns have been raised by instructors about the new manoeuvres. In particular, one planned manoeuvre will require pupils to pull over to the right to park before reversing back two spaces. This is seen as dangerous by some ADIs because it encourages drivers to potentially cross over into the path of oncoming traffic.

The DVSA though has set out its main reason for introducing such a manoeuvre – to better reflect real-life driving scenarios. While the agency admits the Highway Code discourages motorists from parking against the flow of traffic, it states that the manoeuvre is actually legal and often used by people when parking up to go into a shop or post a letter.

New Manoeuvres – Putting Safety First?

“It’s important learner drivers are trained to do it safely,” states the DVSA’s Neil Wilson in his blog to ADIs, putting the onus on the instructor to teach the manoeuvre properly. “All your pupils will need to be prepared to pull up on the right when safe to do so, and then reverse.”

He also clarifies the reversing element of the manoeuvre: “If a vehicle pulls in front then the exercise will continue. If a vehicle pulls in behind and stops your pupil from reversing, then the exercise will stop and another manoeuvre will be carried out later in the test.”

The other new manoeuvre – forward parking in a bay – has also been criticised because ADIs prefer to teach learners to reverse into a bay so they are able to pull out more safely. Again the DVSA says that in a real-life scenario, drivers often find it more convenient to drive forward into a parking bay so they can, say, load shopping easily after visiting a supermarket.

Again, the DVSA underlines that it is up to instructors to ensure that the manoeuvre is taught correctly and also to be considerate: “We understand you’ll need to use a car park to let your pupils practice this manoeuvre,” states Neil Wilson. “We know you’ll be considerate of the car park owners and their customers by varying the car parks you use and moving on promptly.”

Most fatal collisions happen on high-speed or rural roads, so we want to make sure that everyone can use these roads safely. Revising the manoeuvres will allow more of these high-risk roads to be included in driving test routes, as they won’t all need to be carried out on quieter side streets.”

– Neil Wilson of the DVSA

Further Sat Nav Details Revealed

satnav

A less controversial addition to the new test has been the sat nav whose instructions students will need to follow in the independent driving section of the test. The DVSA has revealed that the sat nav – a TomTom Start 52 – will be secured to the car’s dashboard via a special ‘dash mat’ and that during the test, the learner won’t be required to touch it.

When the independent driving section of the test begins, the examiner will instead trigger the pre-loaded section of the route for the pupil to follow onscreen. Vocal directions will be issued by the sat nav unit but students can ask for the volume to be muted.

The DVSA points out that sat navs are also being introduced to aid in the assessment of deaf drivers as well. Working closely with the British Deaf Association, the sat nav was ultimately judged to be highly beneficial to deaf learners, says the DVSA, making it easier for directions to be communicated to them via a visual aid.

Using a sat nav on the test will also help to introduce better routes and different types of roads. Currently, we carry out the independent drive on quieter side streets where there are more traffic signs for your pupil to follow. Using a sat nav means we’ll be able to conduct more of the test in more challenging driving environments such as on rural roads where there are fewer traffic signs.”

– Neil Wilson of the DVSA

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Oncoming Traffic @ Mike Knell

TomTom Start 52 image @ TomTom

New Practical Test Is “Dangerous” Claim Driving Instructors

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Big changes to the driving test touch down in December – but some instructors are not happy with the new manoeuvres while many drivers believe the new test doesn’t go far enough.

When the new test was confirmed in April, the change that dominated headlines was the introduction of sat navs. The move was met with thumbs up across the board but on closer inspection of all the changes to the practical test, one is now causing serious concern among instructors.

While the ‘reversing round a corner’ and ‘performing a three-point turn’ manoeuvres have both been retired (because they apparently don’t reflect modern driving), one of the replacement manoeuvres has raised the heckles of ADIs: “Pulling up on the right-hand side of the road and reversing two car lengths”.

In a nutshell, learners taking the test will be expected to cross over to the other side of the road into the path of oncoming traffic before reversing for the required distance. From there, they will then invariably need to pull out safely, again into the flow of oncoming traffic.

ADIs Demand Changes to New Driving Test

Its inclusion has infuriated instructors so much that one, Anthony Cove, has even started an online petition to have the manoeuvre removed. On the petition, Anthony states: “This is an unnecessary and dangerous exercise which also goes against the Highway Code (rule 239). Another proposed new part of the test is driving into a parking space and reversing out. Again I was always told to reverse in then drive out as it’s easier to look for pedestrians.”

Other instructors have also spoken out with ADI Ann Moyes writing that “I’ve always disagreed with these two particular introductions to the new test. But they don’t listen to the folks who are out there trying to actually teach people why they now have to contravene the Highway code to pass their test. All my students when I explain think it’s stupid and dangerous.”

And the very people charged with conducting the new test don’t appear to be happy either as retired examiner William Young explains: “It is bad enough at times getting a candidate to move off after a normal stop, never mind moving off on the wrong side of the road. Another example of people in the Ivory Tower making decisions that affect the lives of others… Why don’t they consult examiners before they make these ludicrous decisions.”

2017-06-29 01.28.41 pm

Set up by instructor Anthony Cove, the Change.org petition is demanding the removal of what some ADIs believe are two dangerous manoeuvres that are to be used in the new driving test.

Drivers Want the New Test To Go Further

According to a recent survey conducted by Confused.com, motorists aren’t enamoured of the manoeuvre either with 43% questioning the wisdom of asking drivers to pull over into incoming traffic. But their concerns don’t end there with 33% believing that the new test won’t reduce the number of people being killed or seriously injured on our roads.

Ultimately, motorists believe that the new test doesn’t go far enough with 66% stating that night driving should feature and 73% saying motorway driving must be included. But the biggest demand from motorists is for ‘driving etiquette’ to be taught in lessons including the risks of middle-lane hogging, tailgating, phone use and other bad habits that are rampant on UK roads.

Confused.com’s motoring editor, Amanda Stretton, says: “To help improve the quality of driving on our roads, there is a valid argument that new drivers should be taught general road etiquette and how to treat fellow drivers. This could help to minimise stress levels, road rage, and the risk of accidents, providing all drivers an easy ride.”

What Motorists Want Included in New Driving Test

Here are the full results of Confused.com‘s survey into what motorists want to see introduced to the new practical driving test:

Motorway driving – 73%

Night time driving – 66%

Tailgating – 65%

Middle lane hogging – 52%

Indicating etiquette – 52%

Improved cyclist awareness – 49%

All weather driving – 47%

Selfish parking – 36%

Thank you wave – 20%

Financial knowledge – 18%

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UK Drivers Say Learners Should Be Allowed Onto Motorways

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Last year the government launched a consultation on whether learner drivers should be allowed to practise on motorways – but a recent survey reveals that British motorists are already giving the potential move two thumbs up.

The government’s proposals would see learners allowed to head out onto a motorway before their test as long as they are accompanied by a professional instructor and are in a car fitted with dual-controls.

While we wait for the consultation’s outcome, the RAC has revealed in a survey of 2,000 motorists that 79% of respondents thought learners should be allowed onto motorways with 78% stating that learner driving standards would be driven up as a result. Nearly a fifth of those surveyed thought that introducing motorway driving would make no difference – and only a tiny 3% thought it might actually drive down safety standards.

Perhaps such a positive reaction from the public shouldn’t come as a surprise – after all, only 14% of those surveyed felt that they themselves were ready for driving on Britain’s fastest roads once they’d passed their own practical and theory tests.

Revealing what is potentially a serious driver education issue, half of the motorists said that neither test had prepared them for driving on the motorway with 40% stating that they only felt partially prepared. As a result, nearly 60% of those surveyed revealed that they were either somewhat or very nervous when heading out onto a motorway for the first time.

Tragically, 1% of respondents were so scared at the idea that they have never been on a motorway since qualifying to drive – this despite the fact that motorways are Britain’s safest roads.

While the RAC thinks it’s an “apt time” to introduce the policy, the organisation was at pains to point out that it should be up to approved driving instructors to decide if a pupil is actually ready and able to have a lesson on a motorway – and that the Government must provide clear guidance on how ADIs should assess whether a learner is ready for a motorway-based lesson.

“Many learner drivers do not live in an area which has access to the motorway network. In addition, those drivers that live regions furthest away from a motorway are less likely to drive on one on a regular basis. Such high speeds can make a driver who has recently passed test feel nervous and more vulnerable the first time they venture on to these types of roads.”
– Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesman

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Image © Jo

The iPhone Set To Stop Drivers Texting At The Wheel

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With drivers still continuing to use their mobiles while at the wheel, the maker of the iPhone, Apple, has decided to introduce a mode that could cull the killer practise overnight.

We all know that using our phones while driving is bad news – you are four times more likely to have a crash according to the British Medical Journal plus 60% of car accidents in the UK were caused by phone use in 2016.

But motorists don’t seem to be getting the message; even with new laws that could see new drivers losing their licence instantly if caught, over 200 drivers were caught each and every day in March using their mobiles. Perhaps then it is unsurprising that mobile phone makers are now stepping up to help us keep our eyes off our mobiles and on the road.

Enter Apple who announced this week that it is introducing a powerful new feature on the next version of the iPhone’s operating system (iOS 11): ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’. When the mode is enabled, the iPhone detects when you may be driving and darkens the screen so any incoming notifications won’t distract you.

To ensure your contacts aren’t left in the dark as well, the mode can automatically send notifications to those trying to contact you, telling them that you can’t respond because you’re behind the wheel and won’t be available until you’ve reached your destination. If you should still be tempted to reach for your phone though, the screen will remain locked while you are moving, stopping you from accessing distracting apps.

Thankfully, passengers wanting to use their phones need not fret – they can choose to opt out of the system and resume their WhatsApping unimpeded. While drivers can simply not enable the mode, we nevertheless feel that the feature is an important one for encouraging drivers to help themselves – and to keep their licences and driving safe.

– iOS 11 will be available to download in the autumn.

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