New driving test changes

From the 4th December the driving test will change, no longer will the test candidate have to demonstrate the turn in the road or reverse around a corner although good instructors will still

teach these skills as they enhance reversing skills and enable drivers to turn the car around. The candidate will now be  expected to be able to drive or reverse into a parking bay either between the white lines or between two cars and reverse out safely. You may be asked to parallel park or  you may be asked to pull up on the  right safely reverse back two car lengths and drive on. These are the manoeuvres that are tested however only one will be demonstrated in the driving test.

The show me tell me questions are changing in as much as you will be required to demonstrate operating one or more switches on the move.

These changes are nothing to worry about as indeed as a driver you should be able to carry the tasks out with ease.

White Lines

You may have noticed how the road markings are slowly but surely disappearing from our roads due to wear and tear. It is obvious that the

county council either do not know, and do not care that as a result of this wear and tear our roads are becoming more dangerous day by day.

Take for example give way lines especially at crossroads a driver may think they have the right of way causing a crash. When i am teaching now i tell

the pupil to look for the remnants of the give way lines, the road markings were put on the roads for a reason in the first place so why are they allowed to wear out

making our roads more dangerous? your guess is as good as mine.

Learner drivers to have motorway lessons

Take a look and read this, why voluntary. The reason is because some people do not live near a motorway. Can you believe that, this is no excuse, if my tyres are worn out i cant make the excuse, i don,t live near a garage. It is obvious that the government do not care a hoot about road safety if they did our roads would be in better condition, lines and road markings would be kept up to date etc etc i could go on and on.

A motorway course should be mandatory post driving test/, end of story that way ALL our drivers will have been trained on motorways which i admit are the safest roads to drive on in the country

BUT and its a big But only if you know what you are doing, if it goes wrong then many people could be KILLED or MAIMED in one incident

Learner drivers will be allowed to have driving lessons on motorways with a driving instructor in a car fitted with dual controls.

Learner drivers will be able to take driving lessons on motorways before passing their driving test under new plans set out today (30 December 2016) by Transport Minister Andrew Jones.

At the moment, you can only have driving lessons on motorways after you’ve passed your driving test. Some newly-qualified drivers take lessons through the voluntary Pass Plus scheme.

Voluntary motorway lessons with a qualified instructor

Under the new plans, learner drivers would need to be:

  • accompanied by an approved driving instructor
  • driving a car fitted with dual controls

Any motorways lessons would be voluntary. It would be up to the driving instructor to decide when the learner driver is competent enough to have a motorway lesson.

Note from me: Why voluntary? make these lessons compulsory, otherwise whats the point some young people will have motorway knowledge but most of other young drivers still will not.

Any change to the law would be well-publicised before coming into effect. Until then, it’s still illegal for a learner driver to drive on a motorway.

Driving instructor training and vehicles

The Department for Transport is also asking for views on whether:

  • the current driving instructor training and testing system gives instructors the skills they need to provide motorway lessons to learner drive
  • specially-adapted vehicles must be fitted with dual controls if they’re used for motorway lessons
  • L plate roofboxes on cars must be removed before a motorway lesson

Have your say on the proposals by 17 February 2017.

Better prepared for a lifetime of safe driving

Allowing learner drivers to have lessons on motorways will help to make sure more drivers know how to use motorways safely.

Note from me: Correction!!!!! only very few will have these skills because motorway lessons are still VOLUNTARY.

The changes will allow learner drivers to:

  • get broader driving experience before taking their driving test
  • get training on how to join and leave the motorway, overtake and use lanes correctly
  • practice driving at higher speeds
  • put their theoretical knowledge into practice
  • Note from me: Only if they have the lessons!!!!!!

Right skills and understanding

The proposed changes will help to contribute towards the government’s commitment to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads, and ensure safer journeys.

Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, said:

We have some of the safest roads in the world and we want to make them even safer.

Note from me : Is that why 17 to 24 year olds only drive 6% of the total miles driven in this country but are involved in 15 yes 15% of all accidents.

These changes will equip learners with a wider range of experience and greater skill set which will improve safety levels on our roads.

Note from me No they will not all the time it is voluntary, its as they say a NO BRAINER.

RAC Foundation Director, Steve Gooding, said:

The casualty statistics tell us that motorways are our safest roads, but they can feel anything but safe to a newly qualified driver heading down the slip road for the first time to join a fast moving, often heavy, flow of traffic.

Many are so intimidated by the motorway environment that they choose instead to use statistically more dangerous roads, so we welcome this move which will help new drivers get the training they need to use motorways safely.

Note from me: ALL THE MORE REASON TO MAKE IT COMPULSORY THEN

latest punishment for phone use in vehicles

Although it is a good thing to move in the direction of higher penalties especially for phone use while driving, in my view we need to be even tougher.

I have seen some very vivid photographs of crashes caused as a result of either talking on the phone or texting whilst driving and they make my stomach turn.

The reason for more people using phones whilst driving is simple, there are not enough traffic or patrol police on our roads as a result of the cuts. This leads people to think they can get away with this offence, and therein lies the problem, a lot of drivers think it is their right to do this and they do NOT see it as an offence they do NOT realise or do not CARE that they are putting you and i and your family in great danger.

So what is the answer ? well that’s easy, we must get tougher, what i would suggest is this: get caught the first time then the car should be seized for one month and the license taken for one month and six penalty points added, after the month is up the driver should pay for the car being kept and the cost of the seizure and the police time taken to deal with the offender. Get caught a second time and a 6 month ban and seizure with the costs involved and another 6 points, a third time seizure and sale of the car at auction and a 5 year ban, when the ban is over give a provisional license, therefore the offender would have  to have driving lessons as well as be made to  attend road safety classes (not like the ones we have now they are useless) and have to pass an extended test. If caught again after all this then a much longer ban would  be necessary.

I can hear you saying “crikey thats a bit harsh” would you say that if your mum, dad, brother, sister, or other family member or friend was killed or injured as a result of phone use whilst driving? no i didn’t think so.

My reasoning behind this is , if you take a persons car away and their license for a period of time even a short period they will be far far more inconvenienced than just having points and a fine, this means nothing to some people, of course they would moan a bit but soon forget and then reoffend but possibly with dire consequences. Lets make them walk, wait for a bus in the rain  or train, or pay for taxi,s that,s inconvenience to a driver!!!

What right do you have to put me and every one else in danger? answer: NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER.

Autumn Driving

Now the summer is almost over and Autumn is rearing its head Winter will not be far behind, where does the time go.

It is however time to take more care with our driving from the perpetual potholes to the leaves that are about cover the roads.

It is time to check those wiper blades and make sure they are clearing the screen correctly, and  remember to approach the leaves with caution if they are wet then slow down gently and plan your drive.

Changes to the driving test

DVSA wants to make sure the test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently in modern driving conditions.

So there is yet another consultation taking place at god knows what cost to see what we the instructors think of the new proposals.

I don,t know why they bother they haven,t taken any notice of our views in the past!

The changes are to:

increase the ‘independent driving’ part of the test from 10 to 20 minutes

1 Ask candidates to follow directions from a sat nav during the ‘independent driving’ part.
2 Replace the ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn in the road’ manoeuvres with more real-life scenarios, e.g driving into and reversing out of a parking bay.
3 Ask one of the vehicle safety questions (known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions) while the candidate is driving.

DVSA wants to make sure the test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently in modern driving conditions.

These changes can only be good and do to some extent bring the driving test more up to date, however they seem to be just fiddling and making small adjustments to the driving test.

In my view and that of many other instructors we need to be more radical, we must now make motorway training a part of the test instead of it being voluntary, which has always been a bit daft.

This has been looked at but as usual nothing has been done.

Learner drivers should have to have say 4 hours training and practice on motorways either before taking the driving test or after and the instructor should be able to sign off the pupil as having completed the training. Other than this we can expect more fatal incidents on our motorways caused by inexperienced drivers. This plus the state of our roads, which are in a dangerous state now, begs the question. Does the government REALLY CARE about ROAD SAFETY, look around you and the question will be answered, which  is NO they DO NOT.

 

Driver distraction app coming.

The DIA have teamed up with tyre giant Goodyear to launch a VR 360-degree gaming app to make young drivers aware of the extreme dangers of driver distraction.

The Driving Academy app utilises the Google Cardboard to create a realistic situation involving distractions one can encounter when behind the wheel. By rotating your head, the app picks up eye movements to identify where you are looking and points are gained by demonstrating safe driving.

Alternatively, making eye contact with things you shouldn’t be taking notice of, loses points.

Research commissioned by Goodyear Tyres as part of their Young Driver programme shows that nearly a quarter of drivers aged 17-25 (23%) say their behaviour worsens when they have a friend in their car.

The study also showed one third (32%) of young drivers said they don’t concentrate as much on the road when their friends are in the car, whilst a further 30% said they feel more stressed, stretching to 40% of drivers aged 20-22.

The aim of the gaming app is to make young drivers more aware of the distractions that they could face when their time behind the wheel arrives. Being able to identify distractions through the game will help contribute to their awareness in the real life situation.

Carly Brookfield, CEO of the DIA, said: “Teaching new drivers how important it is to keep concentration whilst behind the wheel is one of the most important things our instructors do. It’s crucial this issue remains a talking point when it comes to improving road safety for young drivers.”

The game incorporates distractions such as billboard advertisements and an active mobile phone, where usage is still prominent in young drivers while behind the wheel. A staggering 40% of young drivers said they have used their mobile phone illegally whilst driving in the past year.

The game tasks the player to drive through various scenarios whilst navigating internal distractions, such as text messages appearing, or passengers talking, and external distractions, such as pedestrians crossing the road.

Goodyear Tyre UK PR Manager, Kate Rock said: “The aim of the app is to educate young people of the dangers of driver distractions through an immersive experience which puts them literally in the driving seat.”

The app will be available for public use on drivingacademy.goodyear.co.uk (available in Google Cardboard and non-VR formats) and will also be used as Young Driver centres across the country as part of the Goodyear Driving Academy programme.

The Google Cardboard devices will also be available to use at future DIA events.

Deaths caused by potholes, how much more evidence do we need to prove that the authorities just DONT care about road safety.

Pothole-ridden roads claims second cycling victim this year

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

An 83-year-old cyclist who suffered serious head injuries in a fall from his bike after striking a pothole on a busy main road, has died, it’s been confirmed.

Roger Hamer, of Manchester Road, Ramsbottom, died at Salford Royal at 12.45pm on Sunday, April 4.

Mr Hamer had suffered a ‘life-threatening’ head injury after hitting the pothole on Bury New Road in Ramsbottom on the afternoon of Saturday, March 5.

Mr Hamer, who had not been wearing a helmet, was treated by paramedics at the scene before being taken to hospital.Police said that there is no evidence to suggest that any other vehicles were involved.

Earlier in March Surrey man Ralph Brazier, 52, of Thames Ditton, suffered fatal injuries when he rode over a deep pothole fell on a busy road in Weybridge.

DIA CEO Carly Brookfield commented:

‘Incidents like these are all the more tragic as they are avoidable. Although £250 million was apparently set aside in the Autumn budget (in a special pothole fund) to help fill the ruts, it’s too little money and what there is is not reaching our roads quick enough. In fact according to a rather depressing report issued by Asphalt Industry Alliance, it will take an £11.8 billion investment and 14 years to fill all the potholes currently littering UK roads.

‘Coming from Rossendale, where the latest man perished, and still visiting regularly I know how bad the state of the roads are all over the valley and also in Surrey where DIA is based. However, it is equally tragic the latest victim was not wearing a helmet either to offer some level of protection-with the roads in such a state of poor repair-and with all the other hazards they face-cyclists really must take safety seriously and wear the right protective clothing. Having lost my uncle to a similar accident I am so saddened to see people still taking these risks’.

My personal view is the government just does not care about road safety, if France and Germany can maintain and replace their roads on a regular basis then why cant we, after all we are all equal in this wonderful EU aren,t we ??????

Dangerous Potholes in Hastings

 

Pothole damage hits 6m drivers

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Repair bills have hit over six million UK drivers in 2015 thanks to potholes.

Research from car repair company Kwik Fit found that over last year, 6.3m drivers had damage from hitting potholes totalling £684m in bills – an average £108.60 for repairs to tyres, wheels, suspension, exhausts or other bodywork.

Hitting a pothole is most likely to have caused damage in Yorkshire & Humber and London, where over a third (37% and 35% respectively) of drivers hitting a pothole had to make repairs. Welsh drivers were most likely to be financially unscathed from the impact of a pothole, although even here, 17% faced repair bills.

Collectively,  drivers in the South East, who have had to pay £108,149,130 for repairs caused by potholes, followed by drivers in London, with the capital’s roads causing £91,368,450 worth of damage.

Per individual driver, the costliest damage was suffered in the east of England, where drivers had to pay an average of £163.68, nearly three times as much as drivers in Wales, where the average repair bill was £61.83. Welsh drivers have collectively faced the lowest bill of all regions at £12.4million, less than half the cost to drivers in the north east of England, the second lowest region.

The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey out today (23.03.2016) reveals that only £13.5m has been paid out in compensation in England and Wales, just 2.1% of the total cost of damage.

Kwik Fit also found that 31% of motorists who hit a pothole in the last twelve months say they did so because it was hidden by water and they thought it was just a puddle.   Kwik Fit found that nearly half (46%) of those hitting a pothole said they would have risked colliding with other traffic if they had swerved around it.  4% of those hitting a pothole were honest enough to admit that they were driving too fast, and couldn’t stop in time.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “We all understand that council budgets are stretched right across the country, but this research shows the financial burden being placed upon individual motorists.  And that’s purely the repair bill – it doesn’t take into account the inconvenience to people in having their cars off the road for repairs.”

This is a ridiculous situation, the roads in East Sussex are verging on medieval. We need our roads to be replaced it is a waste of time just filling them only to have to fill them again after a downpour.

All recent governments seem to really know how to waste our tax pounds, common sense seems to be lacking among the people we elected to put things right, they must get away from this make do and mend attitude that has spilt over from world war 2 and get a grip. We hear our politicians talk about investment all the time, for god sake invest in our roads and stop wasting our tax pounds on this ridiculous merry go round of filling the same holes time and time again especially here in Hastings. And by the way lets have our white lines replaced some of our mini roundabout markings are completely worn out and are an accident waiting to happen.

Safety Post Driving Test

I have just helped out at the scene of an accident involving a motorcycle and a car.

The young man laying on the ground with his shin bone broken and pushed through his flesh and indeed right through his jeans was very frightened of what was happening  and about to happen to him.

As i held his hand and spoke to him in an effort to give him some comfort and help him relax as much as i could the memory of a telephone call i had taken this morning came flooding back to me.

The pupil on the phone was asking me if they could book a driving test, this is despite having failed three driving tests previously with another instructor  through nervousness and a lack of confidence.

I am trying to build confidence in this pupil and making some headway, however instead of trying to hurry and possibly getting through the test by the skin of their teeth more energy should be put into building that confidence up so that drivers can deal properly and correctly with any given situation. There are enough dangerous and selfish drivers also pedestrians glued to their phones out there  so let,s not add to them.

Accidents are avoidable all it it takes is observation, observation, and a damn sight more observation, so please think about learning to drive safely, we are all human and make mistakes including ME but we need to try much harder, look ahead more, drive at an appropriate speed and start SIGNALLING again you are not the only road user we SHARE the roads.

So think on the next person laying in the road could be you, your mother, father ,sister, brother or wife or husband. The roads are not safe given the potholes and lack of white lines and signage being hidden behind overgrown trees, so do your bit look for any vehicle at juctions including bikes. IF YOU DON,T LOOK FOR IT YOU WONT SEE IT.

I sincerely hope you make a full recovery Ian my thoughts are with you.