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John's Blog Posts

What’s the best way to look after most vulnerable road users?

In May (Everyone has an opinion on road safety I reported that I had attended a meeting to discuss the Department of Transport ‘Call for Evidence Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy: Safety Review’.

That meeting was attended by a wide variety of stakeholders including representatives from transport operators, cycling and walking organisations, associations representing other road users, disability groups, road safety professionals, researchers and academics, community health bodies, ADIs, cycle trainers, and other interested parties.

Following on from that Call for Evidence wit emerged in August that ADIs were to be offered bespoke training to ensure cyclists’ safety is at the forefront of their minds when they teach new drivers, as part of the Department for Transport’s Cycling and Walking Safety Review. The review’s aim is to make walking and cycling the natural choice for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer one, rather than driving. This, of course, fits into the higher order skills outlined in the GDE Matrix Level Three “modal choice”

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Cyclical road safety campaigns

 

An ophthalmologist examining her patient’s eyes

Over the years there have been various campaigns to toughen up road safety standards. Like so many campaigns, however, things tend to be cyclical and come around several times before anything is done.

Here are a handful of examples that immediately spring to mind to prove my point:

Single/Double British Summertime (SDST)

Campaigners say that one of the consequences of the UK’s current time system is that more people are killed and injured on the road because of darker evenings in the autumn and winter than there would be if we used SDST.

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No pupils? Don’t believe everything you read!

Proportion of people holding a full driving licence

During July the Department for Transport produced a whole heap of data on who holds a driving licence and why some don’t want to. The figures are part of the statistics and data about the National Travel Survey, which is based on an annual survey to monitor trends in personal travel.

One of the big stories coming out of the figures was a perception that ADIs were going to struggle in the future, as young people were losing interest in learning to drive. Indeed, that story made it on to Radio 5 Live. Yet in fact the actual findings painted a very different story, as I will explain.

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Transport Tribunal makes landmark ruling

The Transport Tribunal – that’s the body that ADIs can appeal to, if the ADI Registrar decides to remove them from the register, and is more properly known as the First-tier Tribunal, (General Regulatory Chamber) Transport – has recently published something of a landmark decision in an appeal.

The case in question was heard in April but the ruling has only recently been released. It involved an ADI appealing against his removal from the register and marks, as far as I can recall, the first time the Tribunal has dismissed an appeal against such a decision even though it involved no criminal or motoring convictions. The tribunal found that the appellant (the ADI) could not satisfy the statutory requirement to be a ‘fit and proper person’.

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Everyone has an opinion on road safety

Picture: By Rovernut

I recently attended a meeting called by the Department of Transport to discuss its Call for Evidence Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy: Safety Review.

The meeting was attended by a wide variety of stakeholders including representatives from transport operators, cycling and walking organisations, associations representing other road users, disability groups, road safety professionals, researchers and academics, community health bodies, cycle trainers, and other interested parties.

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Graduated licences do have my support

Images of the word gradual from www.canacopegdl.com

John Miller, author of the Driving Instructor’s Handbook and someone whose views I have long respected, recently took me to task for not being more supportive of the idea of Graduated Driver Licencing (GDL).

I don’t think that’s necessarily true; indeed, I think I have on behalf of MSA GB supported GDL for many years. Indeed, the following is an extract from the oral evidence I gave on behalf of MSA GB alongside Robin Cummins OBE, road safety consultant, BSM (and previously chief driving examiner); and Steve Grigor, then driving examiners’ branch secretary, PCS Union, to the House of Commons Transport Committee Inquiry into Novice Drivers. It clearly shows that all three of us supported graduated licensing.

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EU equivalence legislation creates subtle change in UK supervising driver rules

The question of who can supervise a learner driver, and in what kind of vehicle, is one that is fraught with difficulties and pitfalls.

As I understood it to supervise a learner in any category a Supervising Driver must: be at least 21 years old; have a full driving licence (for the type of vehicle being used – manual or automatic); have held that valid licence for a minimum of three years; ensure the car is in a safe and legal condition; and meet the minimum eyesight standards.

However, it seems that – and not for the first time – I was wrong, and I have received the following statement from the DVSA.

The Driving and Motorcycle Riding Instructors (Recognition of European Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2016 enables instructors from other member states to have their instructor qualification recognised.

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Follow the 5-90-5 rule: it’s a recipe for better social media relations!

See the Footnote concerning Zingerman’s below

In a previous issue of my Blog (published 7th December  2017) and in the January issue of Newslink I wrote about how a short appearance on TV provoked a somewhat fierce response on social media.

Thanks to all those who got in touch, most to say I was not that bad. Dave Vicary, from Liverpool, got in touch and said ‘I have just received my magazine. I have only read the first few pages but I want to say that I disagree with everything derogatory that people on social media have written about John Lepine.

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DVSA ‘threat’ over ADI badge driven by rise in ETA cases

All NASP reports are published on the NASP web site and are also distributed on line, through social media and on participating organisations’ websites, as soon as possible once they are available.

As a result, some within the profession have already commented on the report – and on one section in particular: the part which states ‘those [ADIs] taking their badge out should be warned that this will not hide them from the Registrar, who can monitor test results by using the car registration alone to identify the ADI. If an ADI is bringing up a lot of people who are not test ready a letter will be sent to them, comparing them to the average, and the LDTM will call them in for a discussion.’

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So how was it for you?

The first few weeks after the introduction of the new L-test has passed quietly, with no news of major problems or frustrations filtering back to MSA GB.

While it was brought in under something of a cloud, as its launch date coincided with the first of two days of strike action by driving examiners, the tests themselves have produced positive feedback from most ADIs who contacted head office.

Indeed, to be truthful, for such a major change in the driving test, we expected more response from ADIs – both members and not. Could it be that the considerable amount of effort that has been put into pre-trailing this by the DVSA has paid off – that everyone knew what was happening, everyone was prepared, everyone knew what was coming… and so everything went smoothly?

Could it be that the DVSA has put together a simple, straightforward, common-sense reform that was long overdue? Who knows.

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