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Category: John’s View

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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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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Porsche: fancy a drive?

Porsche Carrera 911 C2S
Porsche Carrera 911 C2S

“This time we are going to try a launch control start”, said Mark, my Porsche driving consultant as we sat at the start line of the circuit’s straight.

We were on a safe and controlled part of the circuit at the Porsche Experience test track, a place designed to allow drivers to fully explore how a Porsche accelerates and stops.

We had already tried accelerating hard – and braking equally hard – along these straights,

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They can have all the advice they want – as long as it’s on driving

Driving instructors are asked for information and guidance about all aspects of learning to drive and road safety, but how much advice should they give?

The first question most learners ask is “When will I be ready for test?”. Instructors are often somewhat guarded in answering this question, many turning to the joint TSO and DVSA web page www.safedrivingforlife.info, which advises: “Check out our infographic – a pdf file that opens in a new window.” This states that, “on average you need 40 hours of tuition with a professional driving instructor and 20 hours of private practice before passing your driving test.”

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Not Nostradamus …

nostradamus_by_lemudAs the end of the year approaches my thoughts turn to what next year might bring. However, I won’t be making a lot of predictions after the abject failure of my forecasts over recent times.

It started in May 2015 when I confidently predicted that there would be a hung parliament … clearly, I was wrong and David Cameron’s Conservatives won an, albeit small, majority and he formed a new Government.

Moving on to this year and in June the long-awaited EU Referendum took place. I felt sure that the people of the UK would vote to stay in the EU despite its many obvious faults. I had always believed the view of Winston Churchill “to jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war”, would prevail, and we would continue in membership, to ensure peace and seek to find political solutions to our disagreements with our fellow Europeans. Not to be: a majority of those voting decided we should leave.

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