01/03/2018

From Monday 4 June 2018, learner drivers will be able to take driving lessons on motorways in England, Scotland and Wales.

Traffic sign

This will help to make sure more drivers know how to use motorways safely.

At the moment, you can only have motorway lessons after you’ve passed your driving test. Some newly-qualified drivers take lessons through the voluntary Pass Plus scheme.

How the change will work

Learner drivers will need to be:

  • accompanied by an approved driving instructor
  • driving a car fitted with dual controls

Any motorways lessons will be voluntary. It will be up to the driving instructor to decide when the learner driver is competent enough for them.

Until the law changes, it’s still illegal for a learner driver to drive on a motorway.

The change only applies to learner drivers of cars. Learner motorcyclists won’t be allowed on motorways.

Trainee driving instructors won’t be allowed to take learner drivers on the motorway.

Motorway driving isn’t being introduced to the driving test as part of this change.

Making sure road users are ready for the change

The change is being well-publicised so that:

  • driving instructors and learner drivers are prepared
  • other road users know what to expect

The Highway Code rules on motorways will be updated.

 

 

26/11/2017

Three Shires and Bedford Fire and Rescue Service………..

What were two driving instructors doing with Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

The answer is that we were Guinea Pigs trialling a brand-new course aimed at helping us deliver a key message to new drivers and any driver seeking improvement.

Our roads have been getting busier over the years and this will only increase. More traffic, more people and more hi-tech cars but this can often result in shear panic when the driver is confronted by an emergency vehicle.

The fire service work closely with the police when it comes to driver training and response driving. They are working hard together to increase the standard of driving expected from their response drivers. Looking at both physical and psychological factors they assess their drivers and help the driver decide on their own fitness to drive. Has the response driver been working all day trying to get to the emergency? Are they fit to respond to the final call of the day? What use is a response driver if they cause a crash or injure a pedestrian on the way to a call?

So you see, the emergency drivers are working hard to get their own standards as high as possible. That leaves us, the general public. Many drivers do not know how to respond to a vehicle on blue lights, nobody has ever told us and often the information given isn’t as accurate as it could be. How do we find out what to do? We can’t read the mind of the response driver and although some of their vehicles are on the bigger side, they don’t have a banner saying, “Move left and stop”. There is no advert on T.V. and if there were, how many people would take notice?

Step in the driving instructor. The person who educates a new driver. The one with knowledge of all things driving. Are we doing the best by our trainees if we can’t give the accurate information on how to react?

Day 1,

An introduction to response driving and what the driver has to go through before they ever get behind the wheel. The training is intense. It’s long and it’s tough. There is far more to driving than just vehicle control. Can your brain work as fast as the environment is changing? Do you have the ability to respond to a driver that hasn’t noticed you and how fast you’re approaching? Are you even fit to drive, let alone drive fast? Of course, we like to think that as they are responding to an emergency, they can simply break the rules. This isn’t the case. Yes they do have some exemptions to the rules but not many and even then, they (the response driver) have to take responsibility for their actions.

Today we have witnessed firsthand how people respond (or don’t) to a response vehicle, especially if it is an unmarked Volvo 4x4. Often, the response is poor; although well intended, please don’t crash your car up the nearest pavement. We witnessed a small van mount the kerb when there was a pedestrian just a couple of metres away. Another driver simply swerved into a space on the right-hand side of the road. So, the question has to be asked – “What should we do?” The simple answer is think about your actions and don’t rush in. Work out where the response vehicle is coming from and where it wants to go. If there is a safe place to pull in, put your left signal on and move over, to a stop if needed. They have no exemption for the solid white line in the middle of the road so unless you come to a total stop, they cannot legally pass you. Don’t stop on bends and the crest of hills. If there is no safe place to pull in, carry on driving until you find somewhere. Once they have passed, have a good look around you before moving off again. Make sure that there are no more vehicles following or that another member of the public is taking advantage.

Picture the scene, you’re stopped at a red light, sat waiting for the lights to change and an emergency response vehicle comes from behind. Do you cross that line to get out of the way? Simple answer, NO, they don’t want you to. If there is no way through, the response driver will turn off the noisy stuff but leave the blue lights on. They will wait patiently. Once the lights go green, just move in to a position where they can get through. The noise will go back on and they will be off – often with a wave of thanks from the response driver.

One thing really stood out for us today. The fact that response drivers actually care about us, the normal every day driver. It’s not a case of blue lights on, foot down and go. The skills involved are incredible. Putting yourself in the best place to be seen but at the same time keeping maximum control. Reading the road like a normal driver will never need to. Still, they need to get to the emergency as soon as possible. Then there are the manners. A thank you wave to every road user and pedestrian that tries to help.

As a driver, it’s quite simple. Drive your vehicle to the best of your ability. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by a mobile phone, radio, passengers or your environment. If you see one of these vehicles approaching, form a plan in your head. Make your intentions clear with obvious signals but at no time should you put yourself in any danger. The response driver is highly trained. Move out of their way as much as you can then let them take over. Let them deal with getting through. Remember, they are human too. They understand your feelings of anxiety, you may even see them make a mistake, they’re human.  They need to get to the emergency but they can’t get there if you cause or are involved in an incident as they try to get through.

 

With the knowledge and experience gained today, we can help our trainee drivers and learners. Hopefully, they will share with family and friends. Together, we can make our roads a safe place to be.

Looking forward to day two now. Getting in the bigger vehicles on a Saturday in a big busy town.

Day 2 report to follow

 

 

 

 

 

 

08/08/2017

Are you ready for the new style Part Three Test? – We are!

The Instructional ability assessment (Part 3 Test) is moving to a competency-based assessment from October 2017. Trainee instructors will be assessed over a single one-hour lesson on the 3 main competencies of lesson planning, risk management and teaching and learning strategies. They’ll also be assessed on an additional 17 sub-competencies.

Trainee instructors must provide a ‘real’ pupil. This could be a friend, family member or colleague but not an ADI. This replaces the role play element.

The lesson will have to reflect the learning goals and needs of their pupil.

The marking sheet is to be similar to the current Standards Check marking sheet.

As a training company we will continue to adopt the role-play style training based on the preset test system and adapting it to meet the new requirement, we see great value in this training method which has stood the test of time over the years. Bringing it up to date will not be too difficult as the new Part Three test will be marked in almost the same way as the Standards Check for which we currently give training and assistance. You also have a training session by session record of what we have covered and a record of your progress so at all times you know exactly what stage you are at in your training.

Once the new test comes into force in October 2017 you will not be able to take the old style role-play test so, if you are training elsewhere and have, or will have, a test after that date please be sure that your trainer is up to speed and is delivering competency-based training.

 

25/07/2017

Dunstable Community Fire Station opened its doors to the public to show what the service is all about.

Not only do they put out fires, cut people from cars and rescue cats from trees but they also provide road safety and training, especially on motor bikes. They work closely with police response drivers to develop the best, fastest and safest way of reaching emergency situations. There was fun for all. A tour around the station, opportunity to sit in the fire appliances and on response bikes, demonstrations of rescues at height and even a bouncy castle for the little ones. 

Our role was to give information on what is needed to not only pass a driving test but also go on to be a safe driver. What we will do to train new drivers and how to respond to an emergency vehicle. OSCAR the Central Beds safety car was there as was IAM Roadsmart.

 

 

 

15/04/2017

The driving test will change from Monday 4 December 2017 to include following directions from a sat nav and testing different manoeuvres.

 

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has confirmed that the driving test in England, Scotland and Wales will change from Monday 4 December 2017.

The changes are designed to make sure new drivers have the skills they’ll need to help them through a lifetime of safe driving.

The changes will only apply to car driving tests to begin with.

The 4 driving test changes

  1. Independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes

The independent driving part of the test currently lasts around 10 minutes. During this part of the test, you have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner.

This part of the test will be made longer, so it’ll last around 20 minutes – roughly half of the test.

  1. Following directions from a sat nav

During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav.

The examiner will provide the sat nav and set it up. You won’t need to set the route – the examiner will do this for you. So, it doesn’t matter what make or model of sat nav you practise with.

You can’t follow directions from your own sat nav during the test – you have to use the one supplied by the examiner.

You’ll be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where you’re going if you’re not sure. It won’t matter if you go the wrong way unless you make a fault while doing it.

One in 5 driving tests won’t use a sat nav. You’ll need to follow traffic signs instead.

  1. Reversing manoeuvres will be changed

The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will no longer be tested, but you should still be taught them by your instructor.

You’ll be asked to do one of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres:

  • parallel park at the side of the road
  • park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
  • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and re-join the traffic
  1. Answering a vehicle safety question while you’re driving

The examiner will ask you 2 vehicle safety questions during your driving test – these are known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

You’ll be asked the:

  • ‘tell me’ question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving
  • ‘show me’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving – for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers

Pass mark, length of test and cost not changing

The pass mark is staying the same. So, you’ll pass your test if you make no more than 15 driving faults and no serious or dangerous faults.

The examiner will still mark the test in the same way, and the same things will still count as faults.

The overall time of the driving test won’t change. You’ll still drive for around 40 minutes.

The driving test cost will also stay the same.

Why the changes are being made

Road collisions are the biggest killer of young people. They account for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19.

DVSA wants to make sure that training and the driving test reduce the number of young people being killed in collisions.

These changes are being made because:

  • most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads (not including motorways) – changing the format of the test will allow more of these types of roads to be included in driving test routes
  • 52% of car drivers now have a sat nav – DVSA wants new drivers to be trained to use them safely
  • research has shown that new drivers find independent driving training valuable – they can relate it to driving once they’ve passed their test

Information from the DVSA website https://www.gov.uk/government/news/driving-test-changes-4-december-2017

 

03/2017

Booster Cushion Rules March 2017

Current UK law states that all children must use the correct seat when travelling in a car until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall. New regulations have come into effect which will change that, meaning backless booster seats will only be approved for older children.

Old Style Booster Cushion

New Style Booster Seat

New Style Booster Seat

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT ARE THE NEW RULES?

Under the new rules, backless booster seats or booster cushions will only be approved for use by children taller than 125cm or weighing more than 22kg.
Currently children as young as 3, or 15kg, are able to use a backless booster seat. The new rules mean that backless booster seats will no longer be approved for young children.

DO I HAVE TO BUY A NEW SEAT?

The rules only apply to new products. This means that if you’re looking to buy a new booster seat you’ll see that they’re only approved for children over 125cm or 22kg. If you’ve got an existing booster seat you will be able to use it without breaking any rules, but it is recommended that you buy your child a high-backed booster seat which can offer more protection in a side-impact crash situation.

WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE?

High backed booster seats for children aged 4-12 (group2/3) are recommended by experts as offering a safer alternative to a backless booster seat until your child reaches 125cm tall or 22kg.

 

03/2017

Proposed changes to ADI Part Three Test

The DVSA are proposing to change the Part Three instructional ability test in October.

What is changing?

The two-phase roleplay test will be replaced by the trainee training a ‘live’ candidate. The candidate can be a friend, relative, learner or full licence holder but not an ADI or someone who has passed Part Two of the ADI qualifying exams.

How is it marked?

The test will be marked in the same way the current Standards Check is marked using the same format marking sheet with slight changes to the wording to differentiate between Part Three and Standards Check.

Who sets the lesson plan?

Using client based learning techniques both the pupil and trainee agree the lesson plan.

Is it still in two phases?

No. The test will last approx. one hour with the trainee delivering the agreed subject for the full hour. Should there be a need to change the subject part way through because of a driver fault, with the agreement of the pupil, the lesson plan should be changed to address the fault and if time and progress permits return to the subject.

When the changes take place can I still take the old-style test?

No. Once the changes are in place the old test will no longer be offered except in exceptional circumstances, for example: – if your old-style test was cancelled by the DVSA and you were not offered a date before the changeover. If you fell ill and couldn’t take the test etc. These are examples only and may not qualify for an old-style test.

I have just started my part three training which test should I prepare for?

Your trainer and you should adopt a dual style training approach which will set you up for both tests. Go through the current pre-set tests and try to get experience either training a learner or full licence holder and sitting in on some driving lessons can be a useful experience.

 

Remember this is a proposal and may not change in October

 

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