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 (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.

Mobile use while driving

Why oh Why do some drivers still use mobile phones while driving. How on earth can you be in control of a vehicle when using a mobile, and texting. Show some common sense and pull up at the side of the road to use the phone. What gives them the right to put the rest of us in DANGER. Most drivers have children, spouse, siblings, how would they feel if a member of their family was killed as a result of a careless driver using a mobile phone.

Food for thought?

Lets hope so.

Teenage driver crash risks remain.

More than 200 teeenage car passengers were killed when a young driver was involved

in a crash in 2013 according to the latest figures.

In 2013, 234 teenage passengers were killed, more than four each week of the year and when casualties of all severities are included the annual figure rose to 2,144

or around 41 each week according to research by the RAC foundation.

The data also shows that of all teenage car passengers killed or seriously injured over this period:

– 45% were passengers in cars driven by 17 _ 19 year olds(1.5%

of all full license holders)

– 23% were passengers in cars driven by 20 _ 24 year olds (5.8%

of all full license holders)

_ 31% were passengers in cars driven by drivers aged 25 and over ( 92.6%

of all full license holders)

_ 1% were passengers in cars driven by drivers aged 16 and younger, drivers (17_19) make up only (1.5%) of full license holders , but they were involved in (12% ) of accidents where someone is killed or seriously hurt.

RAC foundation director Stephen Glaister said: the coalition government repeatedly promised to publish a green paper on young driver safety and repeatedly failed to do so. In the meantime young people have  continued to die on our roads. We would urge the new government to do what the the last one did not and debate the subject formally and publicly.

Drugs and driving

Motorists who get behind the wheel after taking illegal drugs and continue driving face a criminal record, loss of their license for at least a year and a fine of up to £5ooo in England and Wales.

New legislation came into force as of 2nd March 2015 making it illegal to drive with certain drugs in the body above specified levels, including 8 illegal drugs and 8 prescription drugs.

People using prescription drugs within recommended amounts will not be penalised.

Police forces will have accsess to new screening equipment to test suspected drug drivers and will be able to screen drivers for cannibis and cocaine at the roadside.

In addition officers will be able to screen for other drugs including ecstasy,LSD,ketamine and heroin at a police station, even if a driver passes a roadside check.

The law covers the use of 8 drugs commonly associated with medicinal use, that are sometimes abused and the limits have been set at higher rates based on the evidence of the road safety risk and to reflect their use as medicines.

These drugs are

: Morphine : Diazepan : Clonaepan : Flunitrazepan : Lorazepan : Oxazepan : Temazepan : Methadone : Amphetamines

If in doubt as to the strength of drugs you may have been prescribed seek advice from your G.P.

Don,t take chances let,s keep safe no drugs and driving.

Middle aged and Older drivers

Middle aged and older drivers,

Have you had a near miss lately?

Do you feel confident and competent with your driving?

Ask yourself this question “Could my driving be improved”?
If you are honest with yourself the answer will
be yes it certainly could be improved.

It is well worth spending an hour or so with a
good instructor i will guarantee you will be shocked at the amount of learning that will take place.

Better still why not take an advanced course, this will really enhance your driving skills and keep you
and every one around you safe.

You will be trained to read the road and truly anticipate hazards,
this could also get you a discount on your insurance.

You may think you are safe but are you really SAFE?????

Would,nt it be nice to take pride in your driving again rather than it being a chore.
Take the opportunity to vastly improve your safety on the roads show your passengers that even if you are middle aged or an older driver you are proactive in keeping up to date with the ever changing road and traffic conditions call today.

You know it makes sense.

Choosing the right instructor

Choosing the right instructor is so important.
Learning to drive should be a very enjoyable experience, but it has to be realised that gaining the skills to be able to deal with any given situation on the roads today should be taken extremely seriously.

It is not good enough to be just able to pass a driving test , the test is not the be all and end all it is simply a doorway to being qualified to drive unsupervised.

All drivers young and old should be trained to the highest possible standard before they are allowed to take the test and then be allowed on our roads which are unsafe in themselves given the number of potholes, lack of white line replacements, dirty signage, signs covered by overgrown folage, the list goes on.

Young people make up 25% of of drivers in this country, yet are involved in 66% of crashes a lot of which are fatal, BEGGERS BELIEF in my view!!

Our roads are the third most dangerous in europe, we are behind Germany and Italy yes Italy, this is not something we should be proud of.

When choosing a driving instructor ask questions I.E. what is his or her grade, what is their pass mark, you need to know if you are going to get along with the instructor and is he going to give good value for money and is he going to teach you to be an extremely good and safe driver.

So you want to know how good he is and not how cheap he is, pay cheaply for lessons and you will get CHEAP LESSONS!!! that is unless you want to be counted among the equivilant to an airliner full of people killed every nine weeks or 2 airliners seriously injured on our roads every WEEK.

I have just had a call from a really nice chap i had taught to be a taxi driver, he recomended me to his girlfriend, to cut a long story short she went with a cheaper instructor.
He informed me she had 30 lessons and just failed her driving test miserably. I have agreed to put her driving right and get her to the safe standard that she should be at and take her for test when she is READY.

This situation is really common ,so why not learn from others mistakes before you waste your time and hard earned money.
Driving lessons advertised cheaply are nothing more than a con, remember the old saying”pay for it cheap, pay for it twice”.

You only want to do this ONCE so do it RIGHT call today you know it makes sense.

STOP PRESS!!!!!!!!!

Figures just released from The Department of Transport show that and i quote. Deaths on our roads in 2014 were up by 1% to 1,730 compared to 2013.
The number seriously injured was up by 4% to 24,360 compared with 2013. ( Stats obtained from Driving instructors association)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT?????? Think when choosing an instructor

(Statistics from the Driving Instructors Association.)