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Category: John’s View

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.’

Perhaps this needs a bit more of an explanation as on first reading it sounds very ominous – and not a million miles away from a threat!

DVSA has shown evidence in the past that candidates in driving school cars that have the ADI badge removed – when it is usually left in – have a lower pass rate and higher instances of ETA (examiner takes action).

Therefore, the agency wishes to try and lower the instances of this happening. It believes that, by removing their badge, the ADI is signalling that the pupil they are bringing for a driving test is not actually test-ready.

The DVSA view – and that of NASP members – is that an ADI should not take a pupil for test unless they are test-ready.

In January 2017, when the ADI Code of Practice was updated, it included the point that: ‘the ADI should ensure that when presenting a client for the practical driving test, the vehicle displays the instructor’s certificate or licence correctly.’

Some on social media questioned how the DVSA could use vehicle registration numbers to track ADIs; others seemed convinced this was not allowed under the terms of the Data Protection Act.

It was suggested that as many ADIs use lease cars they could not be traced by means of the car registration number. Those ADIs who remove their badge for some tests but leave them in for others will be able to be identified by their vehicle registration number.

Is the DVSA about to breach the Data Protection Act? Unlikely; using information it holds legitimately to raise the standard of pupils presented for test is clearly in DVSA’s interests and would be covered as being in the legitimate interest of the data controller.

The answer to this issue is two-fold: first, always leave your certificate or licence in the car; and second, do not take candidates for test who are not ‘test ready’.

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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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You must be in it to influence it

I made a brief appearance on BBC Breakfast on the day the revised driving test was introduced. You may have seen it – but it was fleeting, perhaps a three-minute interview in total.

Not everyone was happy with what I said, and it caused a bit of comment on social media. These are some of the comments on one social media site.

“Very unhappy with John Lepine’s interview on BBC 1. Wish I could cancel my membership of his organisation. Shame I’m not in it!

“Extremely unhappy he accused the examiners of being untruthful. That’s simply not on. Why is it his place to go with DVSA propaganda.

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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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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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