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John's Blog Posts

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, 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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Create a stir over cocktails

BSM Training Course Standing third from right me.
BSM Training Course Standing third from right me.

Writing the post Now, just reverse out on to the main road for me… about my own driving test experience reminded me that everybody remembers something that happened on their driving test.

Many of these stories become embellished over time and to the ears of many a professional driver trainer or driving test examiner they are clearly a bit tedious and

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Now, just reverse out on to the main road for me…

The Clock Tower, Herne Bay believed to be the earliest purpose-built, free-standing clock tower in the World.
The Clock Tower, Herne Bay the earliest free-standing clock tower in the World.

In the September issue of Newslink (the MSA GB members’ monthly magazine) Tony Phillips, MSA GB Greater London, discussed in his column the driving test trial. One section stated: ‘Upon entering a side road which is a two-way road but is heavily parked on both sides with no immediate passing places, you see a removal van stopped in the middle of the road and just about to commence loading. What would you do?’ He was suggesting that the best course of action would be to do a manoeuvre you wouldn’t usually recommend, mainly reversing out of a side road on to a busy main road. Otherwise, you could be sat there all day!

In my mind’s eye I was immediately transported back to Arkley Road in Herne Bay, Kent on a pleasant spring day – the day I took my own driving test. I had just turned left off King’s Road, down Stanley Road, and as I passed King’s Road School, where I had been a pupil, I was asked to turn left into Arkley Road.

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Future offers hope for a better link between testing and real driving

Graphic © Competency Frameworks
Graphic © Competency Frameworks

At a recent meeting I attended I was surprised to hear one of the speaker’s state that driver testing was flawed because the new drivers who pass the driving test in the shortest time, have the fewest lessons, incur the fewest driving faults on test, have the highest pass rate are the group of drivers who are involved in the most collisions?  The speaker also suggested that the driving test would be much better if it was competence-based rather than fault-based, and they were not too impressed with the current driving test trial, either.

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NASP looking to update the ADI CoP

Safeguarding LsThe number of complaints against driver trainers regarding incidents of a sexual nature with pupils have increased in recent times.

Some of this increase has been attributed by some commentators as down to the “Saville effect”, whereby there is a general increased awareness of abuse and a greater willingness to come forward and report it.

The official Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has also proved a catalyst for many to report incidents to the police, both recent and historic.

All the ADI representative bodies and the DVSA take these complaints very seriously and act quickly if cases demand it.

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Could MOT testers be leading the way for Driver Trainers?


New plans have been revealed by the DVSA to improve road safety and give consumers a better service when they take their vehicle for its MOT.

There are currently around 58,000 MOT testers and around 27 million car MOTs are carried out in Great Britain each year.

The vast majority are done to the correct standard, but DVSA data shows that some errors are made and they hope that the new qualification and training process should help to reduce them.

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Brexit uncertainty for all, including the road safety profession


Picture credit
Picture credit:

As the dust settles on the UK’s decision to leave the EU, many are asking what effect this will have on driver training and testing in the UK and on road safety matters in general.

The simple answer is probably nothing this week, next week or even next month, but fairly soon there will have to be discussions about how we move forwards on a whole variety of issues.

Exactly how we will set about disentangling UK law from EU Regulations; Directives; Decisions; Recommendations and Opinions will probably keep an army of lawyers and civil servants busy for years. Here are my thoughts on some of the challenges ahead.

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A somewhat technical issue…

Dual_carriagewayRecently I was posed a question by a member who asked about a pupil who currently had six penalty points on their driving licence and was due to take a test.

He had been practising with a friend a couple of weeks prior to his test and they had fallen out (it happens when learning to drive!) argued and the friend tried getting out of the car while they were travelling at high speed on a dual carriageway.

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Suzuki Celerio

CelerioFollowing the recent MSA conference at Wakefield Suzuki offered me the opportunity to test drive their Celerio model and my first impressions were very favourable. The Celerio is a cracking little car, the build quality is good, and the value for money excellent.

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