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John's Blog Posts

Vive la France! Vive la (automatique) révolution!

All sales of new petrol and diesel cars as we know them today will cease in the UK by 2040, under Government plans to tackle air pollution. The ban is planned because poor air quality is thought to be linked to about 40,000 premature deaths a year.

What this means to the average ADI is that in little more than 20 years’ time it will be impossible to buy the kind of cars that driver trainers currently use to teach nearly 95% of all new drivers – cars with manual gear boxes.

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Heavy Vehicle Platoons on UK Roads

Photo from: DfT at GOV.UK

Lorries on motorways are a step closer to accelerating, braking and steering in sync through wireless technology, thanks to £8.1 million government funding for trials that has been announced.

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ADI Pass Rates: the simple steps to ensure you’re top of the league

The MSA GB has always fought against the publication of individual Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) pass rates, on the basis that the data differences make both correlation and therefore sensible comparison, of data, virtually impossible.

Considering the relatively small number of tests per instructor it is unlikely, from a statistical point of view, that it would be possible to produce reliable statistics even if a complicated algorithm were to be developed to try to cover all the variables.

As I understand it the chi-squared test, used to keep a check on examiner variances relies on a large sample. In a year a driving examiner probably conducts around one thousand five hundred driving tests. A driver trainer is unlikely to take more than fifty pupils for test in a year and probably less.

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How soon is the future coming?

I recently attended a conference on Connected & Autonomous Vehicles, hosted by Herbert Smith Freehills, an international firm of solicitors located in the heart of the City of London and founded about 150 years ago.

Some readers will be familiar with the graphic reproduced right, which is taken from the paper Connected and Autonomous Vehicles – The UK Economic Opportunity produced by KPMG and SMMT earlier this year. It refers to ‘levels’ of automation for cars. We are currently at Level 2 – partial automation – with such items as park assist (steering only), cruise control, adaptive cruise control, lane assist, collision avoidance, etc.

Many ADIs are asking where this automation will go, how long before the driver is simply carried to his/her destination by a self-driving car? In my view, it will be a good few years before this dream or nightmare, according to your point of view, becomes a reality.

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EFA Charter for High Quality Road Safety Education for the Safety of All

Patrice Bessone
Président CNPA -Éducation Routière

At the recent CNPA Congress held in Lyon, France I was very pleased to sign a new EFA Charter for Road Safety Education. The idea for this charter was first raised at the EFA delegates meeting in October 2016 – held in Copenhagen, Denmark by Patrice Bessone, Président, CNPA – Éducation Routière (France). His ideas were welcomed by delegates and the final charter was agreed at the EFA meeting held in Prague, Czech Republic in April 2017. Patrice kindly invited me to come to Lyon to formally sign the charter.

The CNPA Congress is a large event with around a thousand delegates attending. I last attended THE CNPA event at Reims in 2015.

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Czech it out: dual controls – on a motorbike!

Czech trainer Jiří Novotný and BOVAG (Netherlands) representative Christa Grootveld pose for pictures on Prague car park
Czech trainer Jiří Novotný and BOVAG (Netherlands) representative Christa Grootveld pose for pictures on Prague car park

My duties as President of the European Driving Schools Association (EFA) often brings me into contact with colleagues across Europe who have different approaches to teaching learners how to drive, and different rules and regulations surrounding testing. Many are interesting, some are surprising… others, well, really shock! But more of that later…

EFA held a delegates Meeting in the Czech Republic in April most of the organisations twenty-three member countries were represented. In addition, the President of CIECA also attended.

Several speakers addressed the meeting including Stanislav Dvořák Director of the Czech Driver Affairs Department and Roman Budský who discussed the Statistical Analysis of Selected factors on the Rate of Accidents.

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Cameras, NIPs, speed awareness, FPNs, fines and points

1239px-Earlyswerver_UK_Speed_Camera_Sign.svgWhat happens to a learner driver who breaks the speed limit?

The procedure is the same whoever is driving. The registered keeper of the vehicle will be sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP), detailing the offence. Plus, a document called a Section 172 notice. Whether you agree with the NIP or not, within 28 days you must complete the Section 172 notice declaring who was driving the car at the time of the offence.

The driver will then receive either an option to attend a speed awareness course if they have not been convicted of any other speeding offences in the past three years and have been caught driving over 10% plus 2mph of the limit, but below 10% plus 9mph. In a 30mph zone, this means anything between 35mph and 42mph, while in a 70mph zone it means anything between 79mph and 86mph. (These figures are only guidelines and different police forces may set different limits.)

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Driving licence codes

 

M5AGBI was recently asked a couple of questions about Driving licence codes:

  1. How does a full Category B licence holder go about removing the “01” restriction from their driving licence?
  2. Where can I find a schedule of the codes within regulations. I can find plenty of copies of the codes on government and other websites, but not within the schedule to a regulation. Do you know if they are not set out in regulation?
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To signal or not to signal, that…

Picture © Copyright Stephen Sweeney
Picture © Copyright Stephen Sweeney

I was recently discussing the merits of lane departure warning systems, which many readers will know is an in-car mechanism designed to warn the driver when the vehicle begins to move out of its lane unless a turn signal is on in that direction.

The systems are designed to minimise crashes by addressing the main causes of collisions: driver error, distractions and drowsiness.

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