Peterborough learners have most penalty points

Learner drivers in Peterborough are most dangerous, according to a new report.
Hippo Leasing put in a Freedom of Information request to the DVLA and discovered learners in the PE postcode are the most likely to have penalty points on their provisional licence. Almost 67,000 learner drivers in the area have points.
Peterborough is closely followed by Nottingham, Northampton, Bristol and Wakefield for the learners with the most penalty points.
Learners in the PA postcode in Scotland, which covers the Paisley area, are the least likely to have points on their provisional licence. Glasgow, Kilmarnock and Harrogate are the next safest areas as their drivers have the fewest points.

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Changes to licence requirements for alternatively-fuelled vans

The Department for Transport has announced that drivers who hold a category B driving licence can operate alternatively fuelled vans (AFVs) up to 4.25 tonnes, provided they complete a minimum of five hours additional relevant training.
The new law comes as part of the government’s commitment to encourage the transition to ultra-low emission vehicles, as set out in the Road to Zero Strategy.
Future of Mobility Minister Jesse Norman said:
“The government’s Road to Zero Strategy sets out our ambition for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040.
“By changing these driving licence requirements, we are seeking to support business owners by enabling them to use alternatively fuelled vehicles more easily.”

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New site for Isle of Tiree test centre

The location of the Isle of Tiree test centre has changed.
Testing will start at the new site on Saturday 11 May and bookings can now be made at the new site.
The address of the new theory test site is:
Tiree Library
Cornaig
Isle of Tiree
PA77 6UR.
Candidates are being informed of the new address in their email confirmation of their test booking.

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#MeToo and the driving instructor industry

DVSA recently published a blog from NWG Network on the importance of safeguarding training to ensure both learner drivers and instructors are protected from abuse.
If you are interested in safeguarding training, click here to find out more about the DIA’s Principles of Safeguarding course.

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Poll of UK’s worst driving habits reveals worrying behaviour behind the wheel

Nearly a quarter of millennials say they are so addicted to social media that they have checked their Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or Facebook accounts while driving.
Privilege Car Insurance conducted a survey of 2,000 motorists to find British motorists’ worst driving habits. The poll revealed that 23% of 18 – 34 year olds would browse their phones while driving, more than double the average among all motorists of 11%.
28% of millennials also admitted to having sent text messages at the wheel, compared to 15% of all drivers.
Other poor habits include indicating too late, or not at all, before changing lanes, refusing to let other drivers in when queuing in traffic and using mirrors to check hair or make up while on the move.
The most common bad habits among motorists:
Accelerating to get past an amber light before it turns red (56%)Eating or drinking (50%)Refusing to let people in when in a queue of traffic (45%)Driving with dog(s) in the car without properly securing them (38%)Indicating too late before changing lanes or turning (32%)Fiddling with personal belongings (31%)Getting distracted fiddling with sat-nav (27%)Failing to indicate at all before changing lanes or turning (26%)Checking hair, make-up or appearance in the mirror (24%)Not checking the mirror before signalling (22%)Deliberately approaching a roundabout in the wrong lane because it has a shorter queue (20%)Having a long (hands-free) phone-conversation (19%)Cutting in front of other drivers (19%)Sending or checking text messages (15%)Checking social media or other apps (11%)
A worrying 3% of those surveyed (the equivalent of half a million drivers) admitted that their driving was so poor the roads would be safer if they lost their licence.
Charlotte Fielding, head of Privilege Car Insurance said: “We all develop bad driving habits, many of which can make us less safe on the road, but it’s particularly worrying to see the impact of social media on our driving.
“Hopefully by identifying some of our worst habits, we can create more awareness amongst drivers, which will help to eliminate them.”

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Corsa top car for young drivers

The Vauxhall Corsa is the most popular car among young drivers, followed by the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo, according to new research.
Comparison site MoneySupermarket analysed four million insurance enquiries from 17- to 20-year-olds between April 1 2018 and March 31 2019.
Despite its popularity, the Corsa was not the cheapest car for younger people to insure with an average quote of £943, 68% higher than the average price of a quote for someone aged 21-plus.
Young drivers were quoted highly on several other popular models, including an average of £994 for a Ford Fiesta and £916 for a Volkswagen Polo. Those figures are 122% and 79% more than those for older drivers respectively.
The least expensive car to insure in the list was the Ford Ka at £644, while the most expensive was the Volkswagen Golf at £1,651.

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Motorists blame poor roads for wrong-lane incidents

According to new research, Britain’s deteriorating roads mean many drivers are risking their own and others’ lives as they veer out of their lane to avoid potholes.
A recent poll of drivers found that around 75% of those who had drifted out of their lane on a single-carriageway were avoiding a damaged road surface.
The majority of cases were the result of swerving to avoid potholes, puddles and other obstructions in the road, but 17% admitted trying to take a ‘racing line’, risking a head-on collision to make their journey quicker. 14% of motorists blamed distractions caused by in-car technology for veering out of their lane, and a worrying 10% said they had experienced a moment of ‘micro-sleep’ and lost control of their vehicle.
The survey, conducted by Select Car Leasing, found that 23% of motorists had noticed an increase in other drivers driving into their lane or crossing the lane division, while 21% admitted to doing it themselves.
Company director of Select Car Leasing, Mark Tongue, said: “When you think of ‘road hogging’, you immediately think of those who sit in the middle lane of the motorway, causing a backlog and mayhem behind them
“But our research shows a growing trend for motorists to also hog lanes on single carriageways. By its very nature it’s incredibly dangerous to end up on the wrong side of the road with a flow of traffic coming towards you.
“Whether it’s pot holes, cutting the corner, trying to take a ‘racing line’, or pure laziness, there’s never an excuse to drift from your side of the road unless it’s a planned overtaking manoeuvre. You might think you’re being clever by taking a better line, or that a momentary lapse won’t matter, but ask the emergency services and they’ll tell you these bad driving habits can have devastating effects.
“We’d urge motorists to make all efforts to stay on their own side of the road to reduce the risk of collision.”
While not a specific offence, if caught driving on the wrong side of the road by police, you may risk a fine and points on your licence if you are considered to be driving without due care and attention.

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Lighting unlit roads see rise in motorway casualties

An initiative, which aims to save energy by switching of lighting on motorways, has seen the number of people killed or seriously injured on these roads almost double.
Since 2010, Highways England have turned off road lighting on sections of the M2, M5, M6, M54 and M65 between midnight and 5pm in a bid to reduce carbon emissions.
Highways England figures reveal an 88% rise in the number of casualties on “lighting unlit” sections of the motorway. These are sections where lights are either deliberately turned off to reduce energy use, or aren’t working.
Figures show that there were 175 casualties on lighting unlit roads in 2017, 83 more casualties than in 2010.
Over the same time period, overall road casualty figures have fallen. Casualties across the whole of England’s strategic road network fell by 12.4%, and deaths and injuries on the 1,433 miles of road lit during darkness fell by 18.4%.
Richard Leonard, head of road safety at Highways England, said safety was their top priority: “We light what needs to be lit, and we know where those locations are.
“We have a greater understanding of where night-time collisions occur and the impact road lighting would have.
“This means we can target lighting where it is needed, rather than putting lights everywhere.”

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Serious misconduct complaints against instructors increase

Recent statistics from DVSA reveal a worrying rise in complaints against instructors made by students relating to indecency, sexually inappropriate behaviour or harassment.
In 2017/2018, 150 cases of this nature were investigated by DVSA’s Counter-Fraud & Investigations Team. Year to date, this figure has already increased to 246, nearly 100 more claims being investigated than in the same period last year. Compared to 2015/16 figures (where there were only 75 cases investigated), 2018/19 already represents over 200% increase in cases.
As a result of complaints being investigated in this current period of reporting, action has been taken against 42 instructors, with 10 removed from the register. At present, 135 investigations are on going.
A DVSA spokesperson said: “DVSA takes the safety of learner drivers extremely seriously and will thoroughly investigate any complaints, involving the police when necessary.
“We do not tolerate any abuse. Driving instructors found to be threatening the safety of learners will be removed from the Approved Driving Instructor register and stopped from teaching.
“To help tackle the problem we have encouraged learner drivers to report any incidents.”
In cases of insufficient evidence, ADIs are not removed from the register but warned about future conduct. 23 warnings were issued in 2018 along with reminders about the Code of Practice. While the majority of ADIs investigated were given warnings, some let their accreditation lapse and chose not to renew. Some had no further action taken against them.
The ADI Code of conduct is clear and states that instructors should:
Avoid inappropriate physical contact with clientsAvoid the use of inappropriate language to clientsNot initiate inappropriate discussions about their own personal relationships and take care to avoid becoming involved in a client’s personal affairs or discussions about a client’s personal relationships, unless safeguarding concerns are raisedAvoid circumstances and situations which are or could be perceived to be of an inappropriate nature.
Carly Brookfield, CEO of the Driving Instructors Association, said: “It’s important to point out that the overwhelming majority of trainers conduct themselves in a safe and responsible manner (246 complaints equates to only 0.6% of trainers on the register).
“However, considering the latest stats, we cannot pretend as an industry that there are zero issues with instructor conduct. The rising number of complaints of this nature is a concern and it’s crucial we look at why we’re seeing this increase, and work on how we tackle these issues.
“The MeToo and similar movements have naturally encouraged more people to come forward with complaints of this nature and I would be interested to see how complaints against ADIs stack up against other professions (such as other teaching, coaching and training specialisms) where there is this regular interaction between members of the public, particularly young people, and the professional and see what we can learn from how other industries tackle such issues”.
Ms Brookfield believes issues like this are symptomatic of the lack of safeguarding training and knowledge in the industry and is calling for safeguarding education to be an integral part of the approved driving instructor qualification process (as it is in other training professions, particularly where children and young adults are the pupil) and instructor CPD. “Every new entrant to the sector should receive safeguarding training and, like other professions have done when they’ve noticed a risk in their profession that isn’t covered by its current qualification process, we should encourage those already qualified licence holders to undergo training in this area too.” “In defence of instructors themselves, advice and training in this area has been scant previously. We were the first organisation in the sector to not only highlight this knowledge gap, but actually do something about it in terms of providing training and guidance. Those who have been through the training have found it hugely beneficial.
“I passionately believe that instructors can actually – with appropriate training and guidance – play a powerful role in spotting, reporting and helping to stop safeguarding issues occurring – rather than us just focusing on the tiny minority as perpetrators. Trainers get to know pupils well over the course of learning to drive, and our members have shared with us that they have had pupils disclose that they being bullied or abused in some manner by third parties (such as partners and family members) and they want to know how they can help such students without compromising their professionalism.” Ms Brookfield believes that safeguarding training would not only protect students, but also driving instructors if they are more aware of the risks and can protect themselves from complaints. “We also have to be aware of the flip side to some of these investigations, where trainers have found themselves on the end of malicious complaints and false allegations of misconduct, and we have defended members against such claims. ADIs can also find themselves threatened, harrassed and even physically harmed by pupils or members of the public too. The safety of trainers, who we must remember are largely lone workers and vulnerable to harm themselves as a result, is just as important part of this discussion and we also offer advice to members on how to protect themselves’.
For further information on safeguarding and resources to help develop your knowledge in this area please visit DIA’s website.
DIA Members can also access free webinars on Safeguarding in their member’s area on the DIA website.
ADIs can contact DIA’s ADI Helpdesk with any concerns they have about safeguarding issues, all correspondence is treated with the strictest confidence and we are able to offer expert advice about any concerns you may have about pupils, your own welfare and safety, or should you find yourself the subject of a complaint. Simply email or call 02086868010 for advice.
For any press enquires relating to this post please email media-enquiries@driving.org

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Roadworks lifted for Easter weekend

Highways England has promised to lift over 400 miles of roadworks over the Easter weekend.
Around 459 miles of on-going roadworks will be removed between 6:00am on Thursday 18 April and 12:01am on Tuesday 23 April; meaning 99% of England’s arterial road network will be roadwork-free over the Easter bank holiday weekend.
Highways England’s traffic officers will still remain on station over the weekend to help motorists who become stranded or are involved in an accident.
The organisation has advised motorists to carry out a range of basic vehicle checks to help prevent breakdowns that could cause issues for traffic over the weekend. Motorists are being asked to check they have enough fuel, as well as checking tyre pressures and condition, engine oil, washer fluid and carrying out light checks to help avoid unnecessary breakdowns.
They are also advising drivers familiarise themselves with smart motorway signage. Overhead gantries display a red X in any lane that is closed if there is an incident. Driving in a red X lane is dangerous and illegal, carrying a penalty charge of up to £100 and three points on the driver’s licence.
Customer service director Melanie Clarke said: “We’re doing everything we can to make journeys as smooth as possible this Easter and that’s why we’re keeping around 99% of the road network we manage free from roadworks.”
“Safety is our top priority and we know from experience that almost half of breakdowns can easily be avoided if motorists carry out simple vehicle checks before setting off over this period.”

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