Motor Schools Association membership magazine, driver training and testing, ADIs, road safety


The Voice of MSA GB

Issue 336 • January 2021

We work for all Driver Trainers. Want to join? See pg 39 for a special introductory offer

For all the latest news, see

A click of the calendar page isn’t

the end of the Covid chaos

Colin Lilly

Editor, Newslink

Well, here we are in 2021. Up to now it

does not feel a great deal different to the

end of 2020, does it. At least this year

we are starting from a low point so

things should improve.

I sense that some people thought that

a change of year and the release of the

vaccine meant all our problems were

over. I am afraid that is not so. We still

have to be influenced by that element of

society who feel the advice about

lockdowns and restrictions is only there

for people who feel like complying.

Our granddaughter works in a

department store in Bristol, currently tier

3. She spent much of December serving

people who, judging by their accents,

come from surrounding areas that were

in higher tiers. Naturally, she was quite

anxious about the situation. I accept that

given the motorway network in the area

it is difficult to police this behaviour. It

does, however, speak volumes about the

individuals who are willing to spread the

virus contemptuously.

With the tier changes it has been

feeling like a game of business Snakes

and Ladders. In North Somerset we went

from lockdown to tier 3, then to tier 2 for

a week and then back up to tier 3. This

may not have affected driver training but

has had a very severe effect on the

hospitality trade which, in turn, affects

our client base.

I was talking to a trainer in another

sector of teaching a skill to late teens.

They commented that the current batch

of 17-year olds do not seem as prepared

for adulthood as their predecessors. Their

interpretation was that this year group

has missed out on their ‘coming of age’.

Less time in school, no exams to prove

themselves, no standard process of

leaving school including the much-loved

prom. This year is shaping up to be a

similar outcome. Once again, a case of

children suffering for the actions of adults.

During the pandemic income has been

hit and many people have been reducing

their outgoings and cancelling subscriptions

and other regular expenses.

Some expenses are unavoidable: car

payments, insurance, rent or mortgage. I

would also add your MSA GB

membership to that list. Why?

Information. Throughout this pandemic

there have been steps in and out of

lockdown with different rules for each of

the four countries all being dealt with in

a different way. Amid this potential

confusion members were seeking

clarification on conducting driving

lessons, the legal position and DVSA

availability to conduct driving tests.

Throughout 2020 the value of

membership was highlighted by the

sheer volume of members contacting

MSA GB Head Office to seek clarification

on the rules. We tried to keep members

up to date through e-mail notifications,

updates on and the

News Bulletin and, latterly, Newslink.

Representation: An important issue

during 2020 was the use of driving test

centre waiting rooms by ADIs. MSA GB,

along with other members of NASP, was

able to encourage DVSA to take some

action on this matter.

As a result, access has been granted to

many more waiting rooms than would

otherwise have been allowed; the quest

goes on to convince DVSA to open as

many more as is possible as soon as is


Other benefits: There are a host of

specific benefits for members that have

been important during the current

pandemic, but many more are available

to members at Just

visit the website, click on the Member

Discounts logo, and see what savings

you can make on supplies and services.

A primary benefit is the Professional

Indemnity and Public Liability cover,

which is included in every membership.

The highest successful claim we have

been aware of left the instructor with a

bill of half a million pounds (details

available). They were not an MSA GB

member; if they had been, they would

have been covered.

So, for the above reasons your MSA

GB membership should be there as

essential to your business.

This year, more than any other, I wish

you a safe New Year in the hope that we

will approach 2022 in a much better

position than we currently find ourselves.

Welcome to your

digital, interactive


See a pale blue box in any article

or on an advert? It it contains a

web address or email, it’s

interactive. Just click and it will

take you to the appropriate web

page or email so you can find

more details easier.

You’ll also find these panels across

the magazine: just click for more

information on any given subject.

To get the

full story,

click here

How to access this


You can read Newslink in three


Go online and read the interactive

magazine on the Yumpu website;

or, if you would like to read it

when you don’t have a mobile

signal or WiFi, you can download

the magazine to your tablet, PC or

phone to read at your leisure.

Alternatively, a pdf can be found

on the MSA GB website,


Follow the

link MSA

GB sends

you to



and then

just click


to save a

copy on

your device


Lockdowns are back:

See pg 8 for help and

advice as the driver

training and testing

sector closes

down again.


Inside this issue





More tough challenges

Peter Harvey mbe offers his thoughts on

what could be a challenging year – pg 6

New restrictions and

regulations for Covid-19

Latest news on the rules regarding

L-tests and driving lessons – pg 8

Fund set up for

hard-pressed ADIs

Can you help ADIs who have fallen on

hard times? – pg 10


The Voice of MSA GB

Devon tops the table for horse

related road incidents

Big rise in equine fatalities is causing

concern – pg 12

More test centre confusion

DVSA policy towards driving test centres

is a case of one step forward, two steps

back, says Rod Came – pg 14

Setting up your sat-nav

Make it easier on test by matching the

examiners’ settings – pg 16

L-test failures

Same as they ever were, it apears, as

pass rates refuse to budge from the

mid-40s – pg 17


The Motor Schools Association

of Great Britain Ltd

Head Office:

Chester House,

68 Chestergate,


Cheshire SK11 6DY

T: 01625 664501


Newslink is published monthly on behalf of the MSA

GB and distributed to members and selected

recently qualified ADIs throughout Great Britain by:

Chamber Media Services,

4 Hilton Road, Bramhall, Stockport,

Cheshire SK7 3AG

Editorial/Production: Rob Beswick


t: 0161 426 7957

Advertising sales: Colin Regan


t: 01942 537959 / 07871 444922

Views expressed in Newslink are not necessarily

those of the MSA GB or the publishers.

Although every effort is

made to ensure the

accuracy of material

contained within this

publication, neither MSA

GB nor the publishers can

accept any responsibility

for the veracity of claims

made by contributors in

either advertising or

editorial content.

©2021 The Motor Schools

Association of Great

Britain Ltd. Reprinting in

whole or part is forbidden

without express

permission of the editor.

For all the latest news, see



It’s time to re-evaluate the L-test

ADI Simon Elstow opens a two-part look at

the current state of the L-test and asks if it is

fit for purpose as we hit 2021– pg 18

Hesitancy and not making progress

Steve Garrod looks at the differences between

two similar sounding problems – pg 20

Look at the eyes

A rise in traffic incidents in which poor

quality light has played a part, has set Mike

Yeomans on a hunt for the facts – pg 22

Keep in

touch 1

Keep in touch:

Just click on the icon

to go through to the

relevant site


If you have updated your

address, telephone

numbers or changed your email

address recently, please let us

know at head office by emailing

us with your new details and

membership number to

If you can’t find your

membership number, give us a

ring on 01625 664501.



The problem with rural roads

London – pg 28

Western – pg 29

Signs of the times...

West Midlands – pg 30

North West – pg 31

Fingers crossed we’ll get going again

Scotland – pg 32

East Midlands – pg 33

‘I love getting an ADI over the line’

North East member Graham Kent is this month’s ADI

under the spotlight – page 36

Goodbye to all that

MSA officials offer their thoughts on 2020

and hopes for 2021 in a three-page review

of the worst year in living memory– pg 24

Follow MSA GB on social media


Keep in

contact with

the MSA

MSA GB area contacts are

here to answer your

queries and offer any

assistance you need.

Get in touch if you have

any opinions on how MSA

GB is run, or wish to

comment on any issue

affecting the driver

training and testing


n National Chairman:

Peter Harvey MBE

n Deputy National

Chairman: Geoff Little

n Scotland:

Alex Buist

n North East:

Mike Yeomans

n North West:

Graham Clayton

n East Midlands:

Kate Fennelly

n West Midlands:

Geoff Little

n Western:

Arthur Mynott

n Eastern:

Paul Harmes

n Greater London:

Tom Kwok

n South East:

Terry Cummins

n South Wales:

All enquiries to

n Newslink:

All enquiries to or



Examiner advice

for L-tests

The DVSA has shared with NASP the

latest advice to examiners. The

information contained here will help you

prepare your pupils for their tests – when

we get back to them!

Vehicle ventilation

n The car must have the windows open

throughout the test. Candidates are advised

to wear clothing suitable for the weather.

n At least two windows on opposite

sides of the car must be open throughout

the test. Any combination of windows

can be opened, for example, one from

the front and back.

n In bad weather, you do not need to

open the windows so far that it makes

the inside of your car overly wet.

Vehicle cleanliness

You must clean the inside of your car

before your test. This means:

n tidying any unnecessary items away

from the dashboard, footwells, door

pockets, cup holders and seats.

n wiping down the dashboard and car

controls and touchpoints such as door

handles and seat belt controls

The examiner will do an additional clean

of some surfaces.

Completing insurance and residency


n Pupils will be able to fill out an

insurance and residency declaration and

have their licence checked inside the car

in bad weather.

n Please tell your pupils to bring a pen

with them to complete the paperwork.

Examiners will only offer a pen if they do

not have one, which will be wiped with

an anti-viral wipe on return.

For more information:

NASP has all the latest and

updated guidance here

(click button right)

On theory tests

(click button right)

More tough challenges ahead

but by working together,

we can get through this

Peter Harvey mbe

National Chairman


May I start by wishing you all a very

Happy New Year and hoping it brings

good health to you and your families.

I hope you all had an enjoyable

Christmas and New Year; the

celebrations were probably not what

you are used to, I’m sure.

Hopefully this year will see us getting

on top of this virus and all of us learning

to cope with it much better.

January 1st saw MSA GB taking over

the chairmanship of NASP; I’m sure

that will bring its challenges, however

we as a group will work together to

influence DVSA, DfT and other groups

on your behalf and bring you the most

up to date information as and when it

becomes available.

Looking ahead to this year, we had

planned for our annual national event to

take place on March 21st at Gaydon

Motor Museum; we hoped it would be

our first face-to-face event for a very

long time. However, looking at the news

it looks unlikely the UK will be back on

its feet by then, but we are planning to

host it as an online event as we try and

get some normality back into our lines.

What’s the

latest on



The event will be held on an

interactive platform and will include a

couple of topical speakers and our ever

popular awards ceremony.

We will publicise details in our

February issue of Newslink and through

our regular emails, including details of

how you can sign up to the event.

For the time being save the date in

your diaries:

SATURDAY, MARCH 21st, from 2pm.

If you have not done so recently, I’d

urge you to go and have a look at the

Members Discount page on the website.

We have recently added a new

discount, from Ford, which is offering

substantial exclusive discounts to MSA

GB members.

I would just like to conclude with

thanking all our members for your

loyalty during 2020. We know times

have been hard for everyone, after what

has been an unprecedented year for us

all. The many messages we receive

from you really are appreciated. Let’s

hope this phase of lockdowns in various

formats are brought to a close fairly

soon; we can, I’m sure, all help end the

grip of this virus by following the

relevant Government guidance.

By working together we can get

through this and find some normality,

whatever that may look like.

Stay safe, and all the best to you all

for 2021.

L- tests

(click button right)


Instructor guidance

(click button right)

The latest advice and guidance on Covid-19 tiers can be be found at



ADIs hit hard again as new lockdowns

suspend driver testing and training

As all MSA GB members will be aware,

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, along with

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in

Scotland, instigated a raft of new

restrictions on Monday. They effectively

mean all driver testing and training

activity in mainland Great Britain will be

suspended throughout January, with little

hope that any in-car tuition or tests will

be conducted until mid-February at the


The decision was taken, Boris Johnson

said, with a heavy heart, but with

soaring new cases, pressure on the NHS

worse than in March and April 2020 and

deaths rising, he felt he had little choice

but to call for a second lockdown in

England. Nicola Sturgeon’s interpretation

of the data for Scotland led to her

arriving at the same conclusion.

Wales is currently in the middle of its

own lockdown which began before

Christmas, and this has forced the

suspension of driver testing and training,

too. While the regulations are due to be

revised on Friday (January 8), this

position is unlikely to change. The same

is true for Northern Ireland, where all

testing and teaching is suspended as part

of its own running six-week lockdown.

Peter Harvey, MSA GB National

Chairman, said the news was not

unexpected, but would still be difficult

for instructors to handle for all that it was

predictable. “We have all seen the figures

showing cases rising over the past few

weeks, and it was inevitable that

stronger action would be needed,” Peter

said. “To that extent MSA GB supports

this suspension of driver testing and


“However, it will be a devastating blow

to many instructors who are worried

about paying their bills over the next few

weeks if they cannot work. I hope all the

franchises will be reasonable about fees,

and instructors can be given time for this

lockdown to finish and get back on their


However, he stressed that “despite the

financial worries this lockdown will

cause, it’s imperative we all follow the

new rules. We all are really in this

together, and if we can get through to

spring I hope we can say the worst of the

virus will be behind us.”

He reminded all instructors to take

advantage of the Government support

schemes that are available, and said

MSA GB was standing by to offer any

assistance it could to help members who

are struggling. “We are a member

association, run by members, for

members. Remember that. We are ready

to help in any way we can. See pg 5 for

our contact numbers.”

• See also a new scheme set up to

help ADIs, on pg 10

Theory tests: Pearson Vue has taken

the decision to close its call centres after

it was proving impossible for staff to

handle the volume of calls and signpost

candidates to available testing slots. In a

statement Peasron Vue said: “All

enquiries will need to be made by email

until restrictions are lifted.

“Please email customercare@pearson.


It stressed that ADIs or candidates

“must not call the DVSA’s contact centre

as they will be unable to help with theory

test enquiries.”

If you do need to contact Pearson Vue,

the exam body has asked that any urgent

enquiries about a test in the near future

are marked ‘Urgent Action’ in the email



Standard Operating Procedures...

the latest guidance

The latest rules and guidance for driving instructors is changing all the time. Make

sure you know the latest rules affecting you, wherever you are in Great Britain.

Even if you checked them recently THEY MAY HAVE CHANGED, so check them

again. Click on the appropriate link below for more details

Driving Test SOP

Driving test


Vocational Test SOP


test SOP

Motorcycle Test SOP


test SOP

ADI Part 2 Test

ADI Part

2 Test

ADI Part 3 Tests and

Standard Checks

Part 3s,





For all the latest news, see

Somewhere to sit while you

wait for tests to resume?

There are now approaching 200 driving

test centres where the waiting room has

been re-opened by the DVSA.

Unfortunately, of course, testing has

been suspended ... but it is hoped that

when testing does re-start, the DVSA

will keep the waiting rooms open...

fingers crossed.

To see the full list of which waiting

rooms are open, click here

To get the

full story,

click here

What are the rules for using waiting rooms?

Pupils are not allowed in test centre waiting rooms. However, they may still use

the toilet where provided and the examiner will still meet you and your pupil at

the vehicle.

If your local test centre is in the latest roll-out you will receive an email from

the DVSA to explain the measures that have been put in place to help keep

everyone waiting at the site safe.

These measures will include:

• wearing face covering at all times inside the waiting room

• recording a visit by scan the QR code and ‘check in’ or recording it on a paper


• asking visitors to wipe down touch points when they enter the waiting room

and before they leave

Your safety and that of candidates and staff is a priority and the DVSA is

working to safely open up other waiting rooms around the country. You can

provide feedback on the Covid-secure procedures in waiting rooms at

Wear a face covering in Scotland

In Scotland, ADIs and pupils must wear face coverings during driving lessons

and practice sessions. If you do not wear a face covering, you must have a good

reason, eg:

• you have a physical or mental illness, impairment or disability

• wearing it would cause you severe distress

• you and the person you’re teaching live in the same household

Wearing glasses does not count as a good reason. You can be fined £60 if you

do not wear a face covering.

Advice for motorcycle trainers can be found at

What help is


Many ADIs will be very concerned by

the latest news, and worried if they

will be able to cope financially with

the latest lockdown – particularly if it

goes on for a long time, as the first

one did. Remember, that there is

help available, from both the

Government and MSA GB. We have

highlighetd some of the support

mechanisms open to you below.

If you cannot pay your

tax bill on time

Contact HM Revenue and Customs

(HMRC) as soon as possible if you are

struggling to make payments.

If you did not make a Self Assessment

payment on account due in July

2020, your payment deadline will

have been delayed (deferred) until 31

January 2021. You do not have to

contact HMRC and will not have to

pay a penalty.

Contact the HMRC helpline if you

cannot pay any other tax bills because

of coronavirus.

To get the

full story,

click here

If you’re self-employed

If your business has been affected by

Covid-19, you may be able to claim a

grant through the Self-Employment

Income Support Scheme.

To get the

full story,

click here

You can set up a payment plan to

spread the cost of your latest Self

Assessment bill if:

• you owe £30,000 or less

• you do not have any other

payment plans or debts with HMRC

• your tax returns are up to date

• it’s less than 60 days after the

payment deadline

You do not need to contact HMRC if

you set up a payment plan online.

Call the Self Assessment helpline if

you’re not eligible for a payment

plan or cannot use the online

service, via 0300 200 3822

Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm.

To get the

full story,

click here



Can you help? New fund set up

to help hard-pressed ADIs

2020 was a hard year for everyone, but

our industry was particularly hard hit.

Most driving instructors are selfemployed

and have been unable to

work during the various lockdowns and

more restrictive Tiers in operation.

Although the Self-employed Income

Support Scheme has provided an

income for some, there are a number

who have been unable to access funds

under the scheme. This group includes,

but is not limited to, those who have

not been self-employed long enough or

have earned enough prior to the start of

the 2020-21 tax year. This has left a

lot of people wondering how they will

survive this current pandemic and its

related challenges.

Bobbie Hicks and Susan McDonald

are two well established ADIs who

have set about organising a fund to

help ADIs and PDIs who are struggling


The ADI Fund: How it will work

Bobbie and Susan say: “As driving

instructors ourselves, we want to help

others who are struggling financially,

even if it is only with small amounts. In

these trying times everybody needs a

little help and if the Government cannot

help us all, then the least we, as driving

instructors, can do is help each other

and share what little we do have.

By doing so we also show those less

fortunate than ourselves that we care

about the predicament they are in.

We are asking driving instructors and

driving schools if they could make a

small donation – as little as £1 if you

want, but more if possible – to a fund

that will help instructors who will not

receive Government assistance through

the usual channels set up to respond to

the Covid-19 pandemic.

We know it is hard for everybody at

the moment, but with around 39,000

ADIs on the register, if everyone was

able to donate £1 to this fund it would

show that while we may work alone

and vie for the same customers, we

don’t have to be alone when we need


Who will decide if a grant

is to be made to an ADI?

Grants will be considered by a panel

drawn from members of the leading


As driving instructors ourselves,

we want to help others who are

struggling financially ...

everybody needs a little help

and if the Government cannot

help us all, then the least we, as

driving instructors, can do is

help each other and share what

little we do have...


national associations. The panel will be

unaware of the identity of the applicant,

who will have had to provide supporting

evidence of their need when making an

application. Small grants will be made and

will be on a one-off basis only.

We will have an independent person,

not an ADI, to monitor and audit our

income and expenditure and bank


No expenses will be taken by us or by

the panel; all monies received will be for

the fund to help ADIs and PDIs, other

than any bank charges that may be

incurred. Payments will be made via bank

transfer into the recipients’ bank accounts.



Ongoing plans

Although this fund has been set up as a

result of Covid-19, and to help people

through the current situation, it is hoped

that if funds can be secured on an ongoing

basis this project can continue to help

those in our industry who need it in the


Thanks must go to everyone who has

donated so far and made the fund such a

success to date.

The link to the fund is:


The link to the rules is at:


By going to the link you can see the

amount that has been raised so far.

Everyone who has been working on this

fund for the industry is extremely grateful

to the people who have donated. These

include Marmalade Insurance, which has

donated £2,500 at the beginning and has

promised to donate another £7,500 if the

fund can reach £12,500.

This would make an amazing

achievement of £20,000 as a starting

point. All the organisers would be grateful

for any small donations to help our


The Government’s Self-Employed Income Support scheme

MSA GB members are encouraged to check out the latest on the support packages

available from the Government, through the website.

Click here for the latest

on the support for the


... and on the

Bounce Back

loans here...






For all the latest news, see

Saudi Arabia on the hunt for new instructor

trainers in bid to raise standards

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is on

the look-out for high quality ADIs to lead

an instructor training programme as part

of a long-term collaboration with the

European Driving Instructors Association


For this purpose, KSA wants to recruit

female and male driving instructors with

at least five years’ experience. We offer a

challenging and independent position

within a young and growing organisation

with a pleasant working atmosphere and

good working conditions.

Are we looking for you?

Task: Train trainers (lectures and


The requested qualifications are as


• English speaking and preferably


• Skilled in running lectures

• Skilled in basic IT and management

of PowerPoint, Word, and online


• Skilled in teaching methods

• Flexible personality with an open


• Willing to work abroad for a lengthy


• Minimum five years’ experience as a

driving instructor/trainer

• Minimum three years’ experience as

an ADI trainer

• Maximum age 55

• Appropriate Health condition

The position offers:

• US $4,500 per month based on five

days a week and eight hours per day

• All travel expenses, including visa,

will be reimbursed

• Accommodation including food is

provided by us

• The insurance and transport will be

arranged by us

• Project is for a minimum of three

consecutive months

• A KSA visa allows you to stay in

Saudi for a maximum of three

consecutive months

• The target is for you to spend as

much time as possible in Saudi for the

next three years.

If you are interested in this special

challenge, please send your CV, a copy

of your passport and your reasons for

applying to:



Equine fatalities on the rise as

drivers struggle to handle horses

Colin Lilly

Editor, MSA Newslink

Following a presentation at the MSA GB

National Training Day at Nottingham in

2019 by Alan Hiscox, director of Safety

at the British Horse Society (BHS), there

have been a number of follow-up stories

in Newslink on the particular challenge

presented by horses on the roads.

In November 2020, in conjunction with

the Brake Road Safety Week, the BHS

published the statistics for 2019-20 of

traffic incidents involving horses and

other road users. That year saw 1,037

incidents involving horse and other road

users, an increase of 23 per cent on the

previous year. Sadly these resulted in the

deaths of 80 horses and one person,

with a further 136 horses injured along

with 135 people.

Further analysis revealed that:

n 40 per cent of the incidents involved

a vehicle travelling too fast.

n 81 per cent involved a vehicle

travelling too close.

n 43 per cent riders reported road rage

and abuse.

Looking at these figures the survey

showed that 203 incidents were in the

south west. More than half, 104, were in

Devon, and they involved one rider and

33 horse fatalities.

These figures are particularly worrying

in a county like Devon which is

principally a rural county with active

farms, stables and riders; it is a county

where animals should be anticipated as

part of the environment.

Nationally, a number of incidents

involved semi-feral ponies such as those

found on Dartmoor, Exmoor and in the

New Forest. These covered 127 of the

incidents – well over 10 per cent. It is

worth noting that two of the named

national parks are in Devon.

In December four ponies were killed in

a collision in the New Forest on Roger

Penny Way, a road with a history for

such collisions. It is thought that the

ponies had wandered on to the 40mph

road to lick salt from the freshly gritted

road. The vehicle involved, a Land Rover

Discovery, was severely damaged.

Earlier in the month three donkeys had

been killed on the same stretch of road

which is known locally as a blackspot for

similar incidents.

The New Forest is the largest remaining

area of land where ‘commoners’ can

allow their animals to roam freely on the

heathland; this includes cattle, ponies

and donkeys.

The New Forest National Park

Authority (NNPA) reported that in 2019,

58 animals were killed and 32 injured; it

added that as the animals roam

throughout the area 24 hours a day,

motorists should anticipate their


But do drivers take the issue seriously?

Earlier this year Warwickshire Police held

a campaign highlighting riders being two

abreast. Many drivers claim this is not

allowed, despite the Highway Code

suggesting that this is sensible if one

horse/rider is accompanying a young or

inexperienced horse or rider.

There has been talk recently about the

need to train drivers on rural roads where

possible. Even if this cannot be factored

into your training plans because of

distance, discussions with your pupils

about some of the potential hazards

peculiar to a rural environment should be

an absolute must.

ADIs asked to shape the future of autonomous cars

A major new survey has been launched

to assess how motorists will accept and

use connected, co-operative and

autonomous and automated transport in

the future.

IAM RoadSmart is part of this

EU-funded research project, which is

called Drive2theFuture. The outcome of

the survey will also assist the developers

of these technologies to understand and

meet users’ needs and wants.

Driver trainers’ views are very

important to this project, and IAM

RoadSmart has asked MSA GB

members to complete a short online

survey which will allow the consortium

to consider their views going

forward. The survey is being circulated

to driver trainers and driving schools

across Europe.

More about Drive2 the Future ....



To take part in survey, click here

Drive2 the






Test centres: it’s a case of one step

forward, two steps back

Rod Came

MSA South East

DVSA has invented the wheel. Not that

wobbly, out of balance, circular, spoked

thing that you used to have on the front

of your bicycle. Oh no, this time it is the

fully fledged gold plated alloy example. It

was many years ago ... sorry, I will come

back to that later.

Gareth Llewellyn, the Chief Executive

of that august body the DVSA of whom

we have all heard, appeared before the

MPs of the Transport Select Committee

and said, probably with a straight face,

that “We haven’t had a fee increase for

10 years... ” which is true. He then went

on that with increasing costs there is

only so much that can be done. Which is

also true.

I was not at the meeting and did not

Zoom in on it so I cannot be sure of what

was said, but I wonder if he mentioned

that about a decade before the DSA (as it

was then called) launched head first into

providing 66 super test centres so that

motorcycle candidates could be tested on

site for their ability to stop as in an

emergency from 31 mph.

Apparently, the EU would not accept

30 mph on a public road as being

realistic enough.

This little shenanigans cost a fortune

and probably locked DVSA into leases as

long as your arm which still have to be

paid for.

Where was I? Oh yes, the wheel. It

was many years ago, when the Earth

was flat and all the trees were little, that

DSA had a nice driving test centre in

Crawley, West Sussex. The examiners

lived on the first floor and their visitors

sat in a comfortable room on the ground

floor, expectantly waiting for them.

Outside there was an asphalt car park

with a pretty blue painted low steel fence

around it, and an area of grass with

some little trees on it. Perfect.

One day, without let or hindrance,

some ‘gentlemen’ of the road and their

‘ladies’ accompanied by some smaller

examples of themselves, thought that the

car park looked inviting and decided to

set up home within its precincts.

Of course, this meant that there was

not quite enough room for driver trainers

to park their cars alongside the Transit

pickups and twin-axle caravans,

especially as the ADIs rather liked their

cars to have shiny paint and remain the

same shape as when they left the

factory, so an executive decision was

made for the DSA to debunk to a suitable


The George Hotel, High Street, Crawley

became the DSA Driving Test Centre for a

time. Well, not all of it, but with the use

of the car park and a comfortable lounge

area it became a home from home for

examiners and ADIs alike.

It has apparently now occurred to

DVSA that premises other than their very

expensive super test centres could be

used for driving tests. Sports centres,

supermarkets, maybe even village halls

could be requisitioned by the DVSA in

order that they can meet and greet their

candidates in the car park, thereby

making it more convenient for them, the

candidates that is. Really?

Huw Merriman, one of my local MPs

and who chairs the Transport Select

Committee, displayed his understanding

of how ADIs work when he expressed the

thought that this would be a ‘positive’

move, in that the DVSA could save

money and that the ADI, who has lost

his car for an hour, would have a better

Cheadle Fire Station,

Stockport. As cosy a

driving test centre as

you’ll ever find...

environment to spend his time in. That

was a quote from him.

But some questions remain.

1. How will this save the DVSA

money? I imagine that they will have to

pay for the use of the facilities. Perhaps

they are going to close more test centres.

2. The owners of car parks endeavour

to keep ADIs and their pupils out of their

premises, not invite them in. Maybe

money will talk.

3. Business premises have car parks

for their customers, not driving test


4. ADIs should be in the back of their

cars on test where they can learn a lot,

trust me. But the DVSA has done an

aboutface on this for now.

5. “I would like you to reverse into that

space and stop before you hit my Range

Rover behind you.”

6. “Do I really have to use the same

toilet as the public?”

7. “Have you got a test today, dear?

Oh good, here’s the shopping list”. No!

No! No!

The wheel has gone round but lost all

of its golden gloss on the journey. The

DVSA is suggesting a square wheel for a

round hole to solve a problem of their

own making.

As always – one step forward, two

steps back.



For all the latest news, see

Maximise your income with minimum effort

As driving instructors, your opinion

around all things car-focused is often

sought after and well respected by your

pupils, and insurance is just one area

they may have no idea where to start

and so turn to you for advice.

To assist with this, Marmalade has

designed an informational booklet to

encourage wider thinking and discussion,

and if the young person goes on to

choose Marmalade to buy from, there’s a

commision bonus for the driving instructor.

Marmalade has a suite of products for

young people to choose from, from

learner driver insurance – a ‘bolt on’

policy to the main driver’s insurance – to

products that convert from learner to

post-test with no increase in price on


For more details visit

Excitingly, Marmalade’s latest product

to market is Pay as You Go insurance.

Young people aged 17 to 27 who’ve

passed their test are able to get

insurance on demand on a parents’ car,

paying only for the miles they need.

Safer, Fairer, Simpler.

Young driver safety is at the heart of

everything Marmalade does, and in the

knowledge that a new car is a safer car,

Marmalade’s Cars for Young Drivers

scheme enables young people to buy a

brand new car with two years’ FREE

insurance (ts&cs apply).

ADI bonus

Driving instructors can earn commission

on all Marmalade products at

There are many pupil referral schemes

out there, but Marmalade Network focuses

solely on supporting and rewarding ADIs,

and with commissions ranging from £25

- £250, it’s one well worth joining.

Suzy Walsh, Marmalade Network

manager, says: “There’s no limit as to

how much an instructor can earn, all we

ask is that they hand out a booklet,

leaflet or business card. Many ADIs pop

one of these into their pupils’ Welcome

Pack, others may hand them out during

a lesson. If an instructor wants to be

even more active, we can provide

banners for their website / social media

that automatically link the ADI for

commission via their unique referral code.

“There’s no selling involved and many

members receive multiple payments with

very little effort on their part when their

pupils take out Marmalade policies. ADIs

are generally happy in the knowledge

they’re going that extra mile by informing

their pupils about reputable companies

offering tried and tested products.”

The Network is well established, with

several thousand subscribers. Over time

it has listened to the needs of instructors

nationwide and added to its offerings.

Suzy says: “We have a dedicated team

ready to answer enquiries and to

signpost ADIs to Marmalade products

ranging from commercial breakdown

cover to tuition vehicles with the option

of insurance included.”


Bearing all this in mind it makes sense

to consider referral schemes when

looking at ways of supplementing your

income. Visit www.marmaladenetwork. to find out more!


Setting the

sat-nav: how


do it on test

MSA GB has received a few calls from

members asking which set-up to use for their

Sat Nav, to ensure it is the same as the one

used by examiners on the L-test.

Below we have compiled some helpful tips to

ensure your pupils see the same on their

lessons as they will see on the test if the

examiner is using the SAT Nav.

DVSA Standard settings for current Sat Navs

First time use and settings

When using the satnav for the first time, you will need to apply

the following standard settings.


To set the volume to 80%:

1. From the main screen press MENU

2. Move the slider along the bottom of screen to adjust the

volume to 80%

To change the display settings on the satnav:

1. From the main screen press MENU

2. Press the right arrow tab twice, then press the settings icon



Theme Colour

Summer Blue

Brightness 100%

Switch to Night Colours When Dark On

Route Bar

Arrival Information

Show Arrival Information for

Route Information

Show Current Time

Show Wide Route Bar if Possible

Guidance View

Show Current Street Name

Guidance View Style

Automatic Zoom

Based on road type

Automatic Map Switching

Show Previews of Motorway Exits

Show remaining time

Final destination

Turn all options off





Based on road type




Choose a voice

Read aloud arrival time

Read aloud early instructions

Read aloud road numbers

Read aloud road sign info

Read aloud street names

Read aloud foreign street names

Route Planning

When a faster route is available

Always plan this type of route

Avoid on every route


Toll roads

Car pool lanes

Unpaved roads

Sounds & Warnings

Warning type

Speed cameras & hazards

When speeding

Screen touch sounds

Read aloud traffic warnings

Language & Units

Language & Units




Time & Date

Date Style








Don’t ask me

Fastest Route





None / Visual Only





English (UK)

United Kingdom

English (UK)

Miles & Yards

Use 24-hour clock - ON




For all the latest news, see

L-test pass rate refuses to

budge out of mid-40s range

but zero faults rises again

A review of the DVSA’s pass rate

statistics for 2019-20 has revealed that

the pass rate has fallen from a high

watermark of 47.1 per cent in 2016-17

to 45.9 per cent in the year 2019-20.

The 10 top reasons for failure on test

for 2019-20 were identical to those in

the previous year, with only marginal

changes on the years prior to then.

The only crumb of comfort on the pass

rate front was that the 45.9 per cent

level for 2019-20 was up by 0.1 per

cent on 2018-19.

The number of tests passed with zero

faults also rose but by a larger

percentage – from 18,922 to 19,346 –

on marginally fewer tests, as the year

under review was slightly affected by

Covid-19, which saw tests cancelled

from mid-March onwards.

By way of comparison, pass rates in

2017-18 and 2016-17 were 46.3 per

cent and 47.1 per cent respectively, and

the number of tests with zero faults was

18,410 and 17,950 respectively.

The top ten reasons for failing the test

in 2019-20 were:

• Junctions (observation)

• Mirrors – (change direction)

• Control (steering)

• Move off (safely)

• Junctions (turning right)

• Move off (control)

• Response to signals (traffic lights)

• Positioning (normal driving)

• Reverse park (control)

• Response to signals (traffic signs).

Exactly the same 10 reasons appeared

in the list for 2018-19, with marginal

changes in position. The top three were

identical, however.

Looking back over the past 16 years

reveals that the pass rate rose steadily

from 43.3 per cent in 2006-07, going

up year on year until hitting 47.1 per

cent in 2012-13. It then plateaued for

four years before dipping down in

2017-18 to 46.3 per cent, followed by

further falls in the next two years.

The only marked change is on zero

fault L-tests, which have shown a major

improvement over the past decade and a

half. In 2006-07 there were just 3,329

tests where the examiner reported no

faults. This figure has grown steadily over

the years, passing 10,000 tests in 2011-

12 and continuing to rise every year to

its current mark of 19,346.

Covid drives huge fall in traffic levels

New DfT figures have highlighted the

impact of Covid-19 on traffic levels, with

an 18.9 per cent fall in the year ending

September 2020 representing the largest

on record.

The figures show 288.7 billion vehicle

miles were travelled in the year ending

September 2020 – compared to 355.9

billion in the previous 12 month period.

The fall was highest among car traffic

– down 20.9 per cent to 219.9 billion

vehicle miles – while van and lorry traffic

decreased by 11.4 per cent and 10.0 per

cent, respectively.

The DfT says exploratory analysis,

based on provisional road traffic statistics,

suggests that without the impact of

Covid-19 on travel, the total figure for the

year ending September 2020 would have

remained broadly stable at 357.0 billion

vehicle miles.

Therefore, the provisionally estimated

impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is to

have decreased road traffic by 68.2

billion vehicle miles, or 19.2 per cent of

rolling annual traffic levels.

Reacting to the statistics, the RAC says

the “million pound question” is what

happens next?

Rod Dennis, RAC data insight

spokesman, said: “After two decades of

increasing vehicle traffic, the drop in

traffic volumes we’ve seen this year is

nothing if not dramatic.

“The million pound question now is

what happens next?

“Will 2021 see a return to historically

high levels of vehicles on the roads, or

will a longer-lasting effect of the

pandemic – and the economic fall-out

from it – be lower numbers for the

foreseeable future?”

Green plates offer

access to low

emission benefits

The Government has given the go-ahead

for green number plates which will, it

hopes, help motorists benefit from local

initiatives such as cheaper parking and

cost-free entry into zero-emission zones.

The new number plates took to the

road for the first time just before

Christmas, and are also designed to

raise awareness of the growing number

of zero-emission vehicles on UK roads.

Figures on electric car sales released

by the Society of Motor Manufacturers

and Traders (SMMT) show that low

emission cars continue to gain in

popularity, with 86,291 pure electric

cars registered between January and

November – compared to just 37,850

during the entirety of 2019. The sharp

rise in EV sales also came during the

pandemic lockdown when car sales as a

whole were far down on previous years.

Transport minister Rachel Maclean

says introducing the green plates will

help accelerate the transition towards

electric vehicles – and builds on the

Government’s surprise announcement

before Christmas to end the sale of new

petrol and diesel cars and vans in the

UK by 2030, adding that “not only will

green number plates raise awareness of

the increasing number of cleaner

vehicles on our roads, they could also

unlock a number of incentives for

drivers. It’s clear there has never been a

better time to make the switch to a

zero-emission vehicle.”

The new number plates can be

retro-fitted to any existing vehicles,

including cars, vans, buses, HGVs, taxis

and motorcycles – as long as they emit

no CO 2

emissions at the tailpipe.

They will consist of a green flash on

the left-hand side of the plate and can

be combined with the Union flag and

national identifiers already permitted by

the regulations.

The move follows the conclusion of a

consultation involving the public, local

authorities and stakeholders on how

best to introduce green number plates.


Towards your CPD: The L-test

Stress: It’s the

failure box the

DVSA has left

off the DL25

Simon Elstow thinks it’s

time the driver training and

testing sector takes a long,

hard look at the current

L-test and asks, is it still

fit for purpose?

This is a two-part editorial. In this

issue I want to look at what the

current L-test really does. In Part

2, I want to see if the L-test

supports client-centred learning and ask

the big question, is the L-Test still fit for


The following is a criticism of the

L-Test. Throughout I hope, dear reader,

you will see evidence of my humility

about the brave examiners and DVSA

who have to deliver it.

What is the L-Test’s true aim?

Many years ago I sat with John Cullen,

then the DSA’s Assistant Chief Driving

Examiner. I remember how open and

friendly he was. He told me a story of

two tests he observed. One was at

Bettyhill, in the north of Scotland. It

involved a left reverse on the beach,

where the examiner drew an ‘L’ in the

About the author


sand with his shoe, so he could

check if the candidate had gone

over the line – genius!

After a drive into the countryside, on a

single track road, and no traffic at all, the

candidate didn’t slow down in response

to a sheep which looked like it might

cross the road. Under the line on the

DL25 which then read ‘Anticipating the

actions of pedestrians/cyclists/drivers’;

the examiner crossed out the word

pedestrian, wrote ‘sheep’ and failed the


The second was overseas. While on a

world cruise, John Cullen stopped at Fiji

and asked if he could sit in on a driving

test. The test wound its way around the

island and on returning the examiner

said that unfortunately they had not

passed on this occasion, because

“nothing had happened that sufficiently

challenged” the candidate.

Are we looking for a fail or assessing a

pass? One thing is for sure: if you have a

pedantic test you will get a pedantic


Does the L-Test assess a person to drive

for the real world?

Real world driving is complex. There is

vehicle control, anticipating to blend in

Simon started teaching learners in 1988. He was an instructor trainer for BSM, a

fleet trainer at Drive & Survive plc and training manager for the Institute of

Advanced Motorists. He sat on the DVSA steering group for CPD and was

recently a consultant for ROSPA. He has returned to teaching learners and is a

Porsche Driving Consultant at the company’s experience centre at Silverstone.

Simon holds an MSc in Coaching, a 7307 Teacher’s Certificate and has been a

Grade A (previously Grade 6) instructor for the whole of his professional career.

His passion is Continuing Professional Development – making things better.

with other road users, managing your

journeys and applying emotional

intelligence to driving.

Tricky, that last one. In driving we

might say emotional intelligence is being

aware of your own ‘agendas’ and that

other road users have theirs. And it

means managing the risks of both. So

not just one thing then! This list of skills

is my derivation of the GDE (Goals for

Driver Education) hierarchy; the

European standard, via Finland, Michon

and Maslow.

Can a 38-minute test assess all of this?

I ask my clients what they think

passing the test means, as opposed to

when they are ‘on their own’. One said;

“The test is showing you can control

your vehicle, and driving after your test is

about controlling yourself”. As Gregor

Bartl (an Austrian traffic psychologist)

put it, “The test shows you can, not that

you will”.

It’s important, I think, to make a

distinction between what experience is

and what skills are. I put this as a

question to my clients. One said: “Skills

are things you learn to do, but

experience is learning from different

situations you come across”.

But the L-Test can’t mandate for

experience. The traffic conditions can

mean that the candidate isn’t ‘challenged’

(as in Fiji). It’s too dependent on luck –

what if those sheep hadn’t been there

that day? (as in Bettyhill).

To what extent does the test marking

sheet DL25 reflect reality?

All this test malarkey might pass as

okay if the test criteria was easy to


For all the latest news, see

understand and ‘real world’.

There are 45 digital boxes (for car

drivers) where an examiner can mark a

fault. So 45 different reasons for failure.

No, not really real world, then.

Imagine a counter, like a black cab fare

meter, counting up all the different

combinations of faults.

Then there are many faults on the

DL25 form which are masquerading as

one thing when in fact they are many

different things. Common use words like

‘observation’ and ‘judgement’ are limited

to very specific situations. And then

there’s the ‘what if’ scenario.

It’s as if the DL25 had invented its

own dictionary.

What number of reasons for failure will

our fault-counting clock cost the pupil?

With the introduction of the new digital

DL25, the feedback to the candidate has

been streamlined in an attempt to ease

confusion. But could anyone, not in

DVSA or ADI-land, list all the reasons for

failing the L-Test, let alone list concise

examples for each? Of course, mums and

dads (and most pupils) don’t take any

notice of the DL25; why would they, it

doesn’t make sense.

But the real problem with the DL25 is

that it only records failure – not what

skills the candidate actually has.

What is the L-Test really assessing?

One experienced driver I ‘prepared’ for

the L-Test failed for not using their

mirror(s) when leaving roundabouts, via

the ‘totting up’ rule. They said to me

afterwards: “I knew there was no one

close by, because I had monitored the

situation”. This introduces a conundrum:

the examiner can’t see what the

candidate is thinking; because they can’t

discuss that as ADIs do. Result: some

weird decisions.

But here’s the thing: examiners don’t

know what the ‘normal’ learner’s

awareness level is, in any situation.

The L-Test doesn’t really assess

awareness, it really assesses process

What can we learn from L-Test statistics?

Ah! The murky waters of the L-Test

pass/fail rates. Can examiners only pass

a certain percentage of people? Can Craig

Revell Horwood give a perfect score on

Strictly? Yes and yes! There is much

confusion here; ‘regression to the mean’

et al. Read for that: no examiner wants

to be (can’t be) the ‘odd one out’.

When I sit in on tests, I don’t see that

examiners ‘find fails’. I do mock tests

with all my clients. And here’s the thing:

It’s rare for me to find a definite pass. In


There’s no such thing as a

‘perfect drive’... but that’s not

what the L-Test purports to be

about. It’s a test of competency,

not perfection...


other words, I can almost always find

something which is ‘potentially

dangerous’ – a criteria for failure.

The examiner must decide, there and

then, for each fault, between four levels.

Was it dangerous = actual danger?

Serious = potentially dangerous? Driving

= could add up to being serious? Or not

worthy of mention = which does not

compromise safety? More complexity!

Mums and dads quite reasonably ask

me “Will they pass?” I laugh – if only on

the inside. Maybe that’s what a test

should be – a device that can fail

anyone, however good they are. Really?

There used to be a phrase trotted out

in driver training – ‘there is no such thing

as the perfect driver, and the perfect

drive has never taken place”. That’s still

true – we are human! But that’s not what

the L-Test purports to be about. It’s

supposed to be a test of competency not


What part does stress play?

The stress of the L-Test is really the


Do you remember Stavros from

Britain’s Got Talent? He was asked who

invented a string of things and to each he

said (with an appropriate dramatic

pause), “Greek!” As in everything was

invented by Greeks. I would like to

borrow from Stavros. Whatever fault the

candidate commits you can quite

reasonably say “stress!”

Did our very fine England manager,

Gareth Southgate, miss that fateful

penalty in Euro ’96 because he can’t

score penalties? (careful!) Or did he miss

because he reminded himself that the

whole country was watching and if he

didn’t score…

Sports psychologists tell us that we

underperform because we think about

the consequences of failure rather than

focus on ‘the doing’. The best sports

performers are those who focus on the

action and block out other distractions.

In any event failing the L-Test can be

such a set-back for a young person that

they give up. Every year I teach people

who are later in their life and who gave

up on driving years before. But some

never return. This is real failure. But

whose failure?

When all said and done, stress is the

main barrier to the L-Test’s veracity.

So where are we up to?

Examiners and DVSA do their best,

both to deliver the piece and be

considerate and kind while doing it. But

the current L-Test has many serious


• Simon will continue this look at the

L-Test in the February issue.


Towards your CPD

Hesitancy and progress:

you can link them

both to pupil confidence

Steve Garrod looks at the

twin problems of making

progress and avoiding undue

hesitancy, and asks if better

planning can eradicate them

from your learners


am often asked how to deal with the

two issues of making progress and

avoiding undue hesitancy, or what the

difference is between being hesitant

and not making progress.

Now we are not able to sit out on test,

it can be tricky to interpret these faults if

you are not present on the debrief after

the driving test or you do not receive the

email of the driving test report form.

From my examining days, I can share

the following (although thinking can

often change and there are those who

may not agree!)

Being hesitant means not taking safe

opportunities to proceed when safe to do

so. The reasons for not doing so (the

analysis) could include the pupil:

• has not prepared the car and is

therefore not ready to move off when


• is unable to identify a safe gap

• is unsure of who has priority

• being over cautious (when deciding

to move off)

Not making progress means driving

well below the speed for the road and

traffic conditions. It is NOT simply failing

to drive at the speed limit. Some of the

reasons for not driving at an appropriate

speed could include:

• missing speed limit signs

• failing to understand the national

speed limit for the type of vehicle being


• lack of confidence

• mistaking KPH for MPH

• being over cautious (mistaking

driving slowly for being safe)

Although both faults are relatively easy

to identify, they are not always so easy to

analyse, because they can often be to do

with a lack of confidence, therefore

telling someone to ‘Go now’ or ‘Speed

up’ is not helpful (although tempting!).

As with all faults, if they are not

analysed correctly it is unlikely they can

be cured. The remedy for hesitancy is not

moving off quicker, but moving off

earlier. It is more helpful to explain the

importance of moving off earlier and

what steps can be taken to prepare the

car earlier to achieve success.

The origin of this fault can stem from

the first few lessons when dealing with

junctions. For example, when pulling up

at the side of the road (for a normal stop)

pupils are correctly taught to stop the

car, apply the handbrake then select

neutral. If pupils are allowed to transfer

this procedure to stopping at T-Junctions,


Although both faults are

relatively easy to identify,

they are not always so easy

to analyse, because they can

often be to do with a lack of



however, they are likely to develop a

habit that is hard to break. In most

situations, hesitancy is caused by failing

to prepare to move off before the car has

stopped or, if the car has stopped, not

selecting first gear before deciding if it is

necessary to apply the handbrake.

Some learners are unaware that they

can select first gear while the car is

moving, although the speed must be at a

slow walking pace. Whether you

encourage your pupil to select first gear

as they are coming to rest or when they

have stopped will depend on their ability

and the layout of the junction, but when

dealing with emerging, learners should

be encouraged to be ready to move off

when the opportunity is first identified

and not wait until the gap arrives before

preparing the car. (This is a fault ADI

trainers will role-play during their training


ADIs are taught to watch their pupils’

eyes, hands and feet when they are

teaching. If you look at a pupil’s feet you

will often find (in a manual car) that

when a pupil is waiting to emerge from a

side road or at traffic lights, their right

foot is on the foot brake and not covering

the accelerator and very often the

handbrake is not applied. This could lead

to a number of faults when they try to

move off. If the handbrake is not applied

the car may roll backward or stall as they

try to quickly counteract the car rolling

by moving too quickly from the brake

pedal to the accelerator; they could over

accelerate and move off into the path of

passing traffic, or if the car does move off

then it could be too slowly, as their foot

is not on the accelerator pedal as they

rely on ‘tick over’ to move off.



For all the latest news, see

Even with the handbrake applied,

some learners try to find the biting point

between the clutch and brake, rather

than the clutch and accelerator once the

handbrake is released, which can cause

its own problems.

I appreciate that some diesel cars act

like automatics insomuch as little

acceleration, if any, is required to move

off, but it takes time to build up such

delicate footwork in a petrol car.

Part of any discussion on emerging

should include the risks of not being

ready to emerge when opportunities


If learners are encouraged to be ready

to move off when a safe opportunity can

be seen, once the last vehicle passes

them, they can move off earlier and

under control rather than any quicker. If

following drivers can see you are moving

forward then they are less likely to

become agitated and add more pressure

to your learner.

Teaching learners to select first gear

before deciding if the handbrake should

be applied encourages them to look at

the layout of the junction, for example is

it up hill or down hill, and develops

fluency. Although I have mentioned

selecting first gear in these examples,

second gear can be used for some

downhill junctions.

As ADIs we can be a little negative, eg,

focusing on looking for hazards as we

approach junctions, when we really

should be encouraging learners to


As ADIs we can be a little

negative, eg, focusing on looking

for hazards as we approach

junctions, when we really should

be encouraging learners to

identify safe gaps to proceed on

approach to all hazards


identify safe gaps to proceed on

approach to all hazards to avoid them

approaching hazards too quickly, for

example arriving at a junction when a car

is passing causing your learner to stop.

In some situations arriving a little slower

would allow the passing car to clear the

junction leaving it clear to emerge.

I heard a good saying some years ago

on a Lancashire County Council course:

‘Slow to Flow’. Slowing on approach to a

hazard, such as a meeting situation or

roundabout, increases the chance of

being able to flow into the clear road.

Making progress is driving at an

appropriate speed, not necessarily at the

speed limit, and I have listed some of the

reasons above. If you can identify

potential faults you will be able to find

solutions to reduce the likely hood of the

faults happening. For example, a

questions and answer session on road

signs and speed limits and where to find

them, such as a the end of the road,

repeater signs on lampposts, or at the

mouth of a junction. Many signs are

quite high on poles which means they

can be easily missed because there is a

tendency to look at eye level for hazards

rather than out of the top of the

windscreen. Learners should be

encouraged to look into side roads for

speed limit signs. If the side road is

displaying 30mph signs the chances are

the road you are on is a higher speed


The practice of aiming the eyes high

and keeping them moving to take in the

big picture (Taken from the Smiths

System of Driving) on approach to

hazards is still valid. Look for speed

limits and other signs to help you plan

your approach to hazards, and look for

safe gaps to proceed and reduce the risk

of missing vital information, such as who

has priority.

Not making progress can become a

serious fault, particularly if following

traffic is being held up. Some learners

feel that driving slowly or giving way to

other traffic when they have priority is

safe, but in reality can be dangerous.

The risks of driving too slowly can be

discussed as risk management before

you take learners out on to faster roads,

and help make sense of the subject.


Towards your CPD

Mike Yeomans, Chairman of

MSA GB North East, has a

theory about seeing in the

dark when driving

Over the years I have observed

many students struggle with

driving in the dark, particularly

coping with low-light situations.

Not all of the people who struggle need

eyesight corrections, though some with

glasses or contact lenses have reported

that they suffer from the starburst effect

with lights during a night drive.

I have often wondered why this is and

I have come up with a theory, that there

is a link to the colour of the driver’s eyes

and this has an impact on your ability to

cope with poor light conditions.

It’s something I’ve seen evidence of

during my time running National Driver

Improvement Schemes (NDIS: see panel

below for more on these). While over the

years the people behind NDIS courses

have looked in depth at the causes of

traffic collisions, there has never been a

serious study around incidents at any

time of day, and linking that to eyesight


Certainly, however, in NDIS’s early

years, it was noted that many of the

traffic incidents recorded happened

during poor light, whether that was the

time of day or to weather conditions

affecting the light available for driving.

Therefore, the following is more of an

anecdotal study, but it does answer some

questions as well as ask some. It is by no

I blame the iris:

What’s behind

drivers’ problems

with poor light?

means a scientific study.

But let’s step back to a time when no

one had transportation and could not

easily move from one continent to

another. (Not quite dinosaur times but

the time of man in each continent for the

NDIS: a little background information

The National Driver Improvement

Scheme (NDIS) is a driver rectification

scheme currently employed by an

increasing number of police districts in

the UK as a direct alternative to a court

prosecution for minor traffic offences. A

study evaluated the effectiveness of

NDIS in terms of changes in the

self-reported attitudes and behaviour of

clients, with significant improvements

in both driving behaviour and attitudes

towards traffic violations immediately

after completion of the course, and

again after three months.

NDIS came as a result of the North

Report in the late 1980s. I was

involved with the first courses, from

October 1997 to September 1998.

These early evaluation courses became

the national model over the coming

years, and although the name and the

hours of delivery have changed, it still

thrives today.

The criteria for attending an NDIS

course covered much of the psychology

studies from the 1980s and 1990s.

For a relevant link to information about

the history and formation of the

scheme, I recommend articles from

Chris Burgess and Paul Webley from the

school of Psychology: University of



It is worth looking at the link to

establish reasons for accidents /

incidents on the road. Such topics that

should be included in the intervention

schemes were:

• Participants’ beliefs regarding the

causes of traffic collisions

first time). In the lands we currently

refer to as Iceland where the daylight can

be limited to four-five hours a day, and in

the Scandinavian countries which also

have short daylight hours, the indigenous

human at that time would have fair hair

• Research into traffic collisions

• Social influences

• Anatomy of an accident

• Client perceptions of risk

• Hazard perception and risk control

• Stress and time management

• Fatigue

Practical driving sessions to observe

the driver and their link with the above

or later in the course the GDE Matrix

can be found at https://www.



The link lists the Goals For Driver

Education references from John

Passmore’s research.



For all the latest news, see

UV light rays will pass through the irises

of those with lighter coloured eyes and

cause damage through the development

of cataracts or a disease called macular

degeneration. UV-blocking sunglasses

can be worn to reduce these risks.

and light blue eyes. In the areas nearer

the equator where daylight is on average

longer but brighter (for example, Central

Africa, parts of South America and also

South-East Asia) the indigenous human

at the time had very dark eyes and

darker hair.

Humans developed to meet their

environment. Even now if you have very

blue eyes you may suffer from watery

eyes in bright light conditions, whereas

those with darker eyes tend to be less

affected by the brighter light.

Could it be simply that the darker the

iris, the less light sensitive the eyes are

and therefore one could almost consider

such eyes as having almost built-in

sunglasses to act as a screen against

bright light? But there would be a

balance to this: such a person would see

less well in poorer lit situations.

This correlated to many of the

attendees on the courses I observed,

where those whose incidents had

occured during poor light situations also

had darker irises.

As humans over many years have

mixed their gene pool, through the

crossing of continents, then I will assume

the results of any study would not be

fully conclusive. It does more recently

appear that the darker eye colour gene is

more dominant in a family, so that even

those with blue eyes are sometimes not

affected by watery eyes/sensitivity to

bright light in the same way I observed

maybe 15 years ago.

But my own conclusions would suggest

to me that many with poor night vision

may well be those with a darker iris.

So does the colour of someone’s eyes

affect their ability to see objects in low

light situations? It’s an interesting idea,

and one medical paper looked at it in

depth in a study called ‘The Relationship

Between Eye Colour and Sight.’ It can be

read at https://www.scienceforkidsclub.


So why would this be the case? We’ll

look at some facts about our eyes.

Eye colour

Melanin has an effect on the way light

distributes the colours and are reflected

or absorbed by the eyes. The melanin

concentration in the pigment of the iris

cells acts as a way to protect the iris

from higher sunlight by spreading the

light out.

While eye colour doesn’t affect how

people see something, the colour of

someone’s eyes can cause them to have

different sight abilities in various lighting


Darker eyes

Someone with darker eyes has a higher

amount and density of melanin.

This means that in bright sunlight, the

melanin reflects light inside the eye, and

they experience less problems with glare

from the sun.

Melanin acts as a kind of protector,

spreading the light rays away from the

iris. This does give them better contrast

ability in these conditions.

An example where darker eye colour is

an advantage might be in the glare of

headlights when driving at night.

Lighter coloured eyes

People that have less melanin tend to

have lighter coloured eyes and therefore

they lack the protection from the brighter

light and can experience more discomfort

of glare and less contrast.

In sunlight, the risk is that the harmful

Scientific studies

There have been some scientific

studies that suggest that there is a

relationship between eye colour and

reaction time. Those with darker coloured

eyes did well in things like hitting a

tennis ball or boxing. These are called

reactive tasks.

By way of comparison, those people

with lighter coloured eyes performed

better at golfing or bowling.

These are called self-paced tasks.

Lighting conditions

While the colour of someone’s eyes

does not directly affect how they see

things, the lighting conditions can be a

secondary level that can affect sight.

No matter what colour of eyes,

everyone is recommended to wear

UV-blocking sunglasses when they are

outside in the daylight.

In conclusion, I propose the following

statement: People with darker eyes cope

less well in low light/dark conditions;

genetically they have have poorer night

vision.People with lighter eyes should be

able to see better in low light situations

but struggle with brigher light. However,

for driving during the day we have

sunglasses to help us; it is at night when

they are dazzled by others’ headlights

that they in turn struggle.

However, as previously mentioned, the

dark eye gene could become more

dominant in the future, so could we see

an increase in low-light driving incidents?

As motorists demand even brighter

lights on their vehicles and better/brighter

street lighting technology to empower

them into feeling safer on the road, while

at the same time having the increase of

the dominant dark eye gene and more

traffic on the road, are we in danger of

creating a situation where instead of

making the roads safer, we increase low

light incidents due to drivers ‘out

dazzling’ other road users?


So that was 2020... roll on 2021!

Goodbye to bad rubbish!

There can’t be many years where there is

a unanimous response to the question

‘so, how was your year...?’, but 2020

pulled off that remarkable feat with 12

months of pretty much undiluted misery,

stress and sadness that sucked the joy

out of life and left the vast majority of the

public on their knees.

Even those people who used their

lockdowns wisely and learnt a new skill,

relaxed, enjoyed more time with close

family or managed to keep working

through, can’t have got away unscathed,

as they mourned lost loved ones or

friends... or were simply left wondering

what the long-time impact the pandemic

was going to have on the nation’s

finances. Big tax rises and spending cuts,


But we’re through it now, and with

vaccines making their way through the

most vulnerable, let’s hope 2021 will be

a marked improvement on the year we’ve

left behind. Let’s face it, it can’t be much

worse... can it?

We asked a few MSA GB committee

members for their views on the year that

has been and the year ahead, from both

a personal view and a professional one.

See if their responses chime with yours.

Take the hint, 2020

Cartoon by Amy Beswick

What did you learn about yourself in


Colin Lilly, MSA Western: Over a

working life of almost 60 years I had

been unemployed for three weeks – until

March this year, that was. Since then I

have been struggling with the decision,

should I retire now or not? I still keep

coming back to ‘I don’t feel ready to


Guy Annan, MSA Western: I learned

that I want to retire! Never thought about

it before because I really love the job, but

I enjoyed lockdown so much it got me

thinking, I not due to retire for another

seven years...

John Lomas, MSA North West: I

learned that, while I can withstand 1m

distancing for a short time, I prefer the

2m distance as my personal space.

Karen MacLeod, MSA Scotland: I

learned that work wasn’t everything and I

really enjoyed not doing it!

Mike Yeomans, MSA North East:

Resilience and being positive despite the

constant bombardment of the media

negativity – and the value of friends.

Paul Harmes, MSA Eastern: Sorry, this

is going to sound boring and clichéd, but

the importance of family and friends, and

my admiration for the everyday folk who

worked continuously throughout this

year. My own wife and son were among

them. We saw who supports the country

and keeps us going in these dire times. A

big slap on the back to you all.

I also missed interaction with others;

Zoom can only do so much.

I have become very good at sudoku,

completing most puzzles in under 20

minutes ... and I’ve finally built my man

cave after years of talking about it!

Rod Came, MSA South East: ‘God give

me patience, to reconcile with what I am

not able to change. Give me strength to

change what I can, and give me wisdom

to distinguish one from another.’

I have yet to receive this wisdom.

Russell Jones, MSA East Midlands:

No matter how tough life was for learner

drivers there were still enough of them

willing to pay ‘top dollar’ for lessons, and

with just a little initiative it was easy to

find them.

Terry Pearce, MSA West Midlands: I

had the resilience and willpower to

overcome problems.

What’s the one thing that cheered you

up in 2020 – your beacon of hope?

Colin Lilly: A Lilly family funeral is a

time when we reflect on the happier

times involving the individual. My uncle’s

funeral in June followed a similar format.

The coffin was moved to the crematorium

to the strains of the Ying-Tong

Song by the Goons; even the undertaker

and crematorium staff were amused. It

told me that even in the midst of a

pandemic, a sense of humour can be




For all the latest news, see


Guy Annan: My beacon of hope was

awaiting the arrival of another

grandchild, and Thomas was born

Saturday, 13th November. Unfortunately

he lives in Australia so thank goodness

for Skype.

John Lomas: D-Ream already said it.

Things Can Only Get Better.

Karen MacLeod: The arrival of my first


Mike Yeomans: The strength of my

colleagues to give support and humour in

difficult times. Mainly through zoom

meetings and social media

Paul Harmes: Seeing my grandson

come round and spend time with us. He

struggled with not being able to go out,

then going out and stopping again.

And a glimmer of hope is we could

spend Christmas with him this year.

Peter Harvey, MSA Scotland: To see

everyone starting to be able to get back

to work even with all the restrictions;

hopefully the vaccines will help even


Rod Came: To wake up each morning,;

my beacon of hope is to achieve that

small miracle the following morning!

Russell Jones: One thing that cheered

me up in 2020 was that, despite having

a family bereavement in the first 48

hours of the year, I was able to take a

young driver for her test the next day.

She had been born with sight in one

eye only, and her learning curve had

been particularly challenging for both of

us, so her success on her driving test

really cheered me up a great deal given

my circumstances, which she knew

nothing about.

Terry Pearce: The development of a

vaccine and hope of getting an injection

early in 2021.

What’s the one thing you’re looking

forward to most in 2021?

Colin Lilly: A vaccination

Guy Annan: Going back to keeping

racing pigeons.

John Lomas: Getting back to work and

meeting more instructors. (Sorry about

that, because it means you will have had

a crash if you get a visit from me)

Karen MacLeod: Being there when my

grandson is learning to walk and talk.

Mike Yeomans: Delivering classroom

interactive presentations, and being able

to spend time networking and meeting

family and friends.

Paul Harmes: Normality would be nice

or even getting close to it.

People to understand we are all in this

situation together, and we should follow

the rules and help built this pandemic.

What did I learn? That I have the

strength and the willpower to

overcome problems when things

look bad...

We did so well in lockdown #1 and

then it all went wrong again.

Peter Harvey: To be able to meet

friends, family and fellow MSA GB

members in real time rather than via the

various digital platforms.

Rod Came: Well, it has got to be

Brexit. Other than the end of WW II,

which I was too young to remember,

Brexit has to be the greatest change that

this country has known in the last 75

years. Whether the decision to leave the

EU was the right one only time will tell,

but the die is cast and we have got to

live with it. The future is unknown to us

all but history has a peculiar way of

repeating itself, this country has excelled

in the past and can do again given the

right impetus. Once we have beaten off

the shackles and restraints of the past 47

years, the only way is up.

If this upsets any Remainers please see

comment under ‘build back better’.

Russell Jones: The one thing I’m

looking forward to in 2021 is for those

ADIs who persevered through the

Covid-19 pandemic and not ‘jumped

ship’ to realise that success is possible

no matter how much difficulty they are

finding it, and they can reap the rewards.

Terry Pearce: Being able to continue

safely travelling around Britain by train.

Who did you raise a glass to on

Christmas Day?

Colin Lilly: The scientists and volunteers

who have assisted with the development

of vaccines and treatments for

Covid-19. Often forgotten but are most

likely to take us out of this pandemic.

Guy Annan: Absent friends.

John Lomas: Ebenezer Scrooge and to

acknowledge that I have woken up again.

Karen MacLeod: On Christmas Day we


We need to restructure both

practical and theory testing... the

long waiting list for both is starting

to affect ADIs’ businesses...

raised a glass to the swift departure of

this virus.

Mike Yeomans: A glass to the

remarkable achievements in science over

the year and to a brighter future

Paul Harmes: A few friends have gone

this year and they will be missed sadly.

Peter Harvey: Good health, wealth and

to see coronavirus under control all over

the world.

Rod Came: I raised a glass or two for

my wife’s birthday on Christmas Eve,

and on Christmas Day - to Brexit on 1st


Russell Jones: I raised a glass on

Christmas Day knowing that because I

don’t need to work, and while hoping to

maintain good health, I’ll be able to

spend a little more time on a golf course,

as well as working as much as I wish to.

In my view it’s a continuation of onwards

and upwards.

Terry Pearce: My family and memories

of relatives I have lost.

What’s the one thing the DVSA has to

do first in 2021?

Colin Lilly: Simply, to get its act

together. Driver training and testing is an

important part of its remit and needs

more attention. The clients will not

tolerate slipshod short notice treatment,

when aspects of their lives are at a


Guy Annan: To continue to try and

bring the waiting list down. However, I

was advised by an examiner in Taunton

that to do that they may need to take

back the waiting room!

John Lomas: Ensure that priority is

given to candidates whose tests have

been cancelled multiple times, whether

due to Covid, weather or their own

examiners’ actions.

Karen MacLeod: Sort out the

availability of theory tests in Scotland.

Mike Yeomans: Improve its

communication with the ADIs to restore

confidence in the DVSA.

Paul Harmes:To make a big effort to

bring as many examiners to a full day of

testing, whenever testing is available.

Weekends to be opened back up on both

days again.

To go back to the previous situation,

that if a pupil does not attend they will

not get a refund. Too many pupils are

booking and not arriving after knowing

they’re not ready and not losing the fee.

Perhaps create a standby service for

pupils waiting at the test centre for any

no shows. I understand this could be

both controversial and difficult, but we’re

in strange times so need different

responses. Continued on page 26


Review of the Year

Continued from page 25

What’s the one thing the DVSA has to

do first in 2021?

Peter Harvey, MSA Scotland:

Restructure the way it is dealing with

both practical and theory testing; the

long waiting lists for both, but

particularly theory testing, is starting to

affect ADIs’ business.

Rod Came, MSA South East: Acquire

a computer-based booking system that is

capable of performing the simple

operation of booking driving tests.

Like many other Government computer

systems the one that DVSA is using is

out of the Ark and not fit for purpose.

Without up-to-date technical equipment

there is little hope of them achieving any

other goals, of which there are several.

For example, when testing is cancelled

those people at the front of the queue are

dispatched to the back, which is

ridiculous; a decent system should be

able to move everybody who has a test

booked to be shunted back by whatever

the non-testing period is, thereby

inconveniencing a large number of

people by a small amount rather than a

smaller number of people by a totally

unrealistic large amount of time.

Then, and only then, will there be the

slightest chance of getting the driving

test waiting times to a sustained, realistic

level to the benefit of both candidates

and ADIs.

Russell Jones: The one thing DVSA

should do in 2021, and preferably during

the first week, is to give contracts to

recently retired driving examiners, plus

hundreds of advanced driving examiners

from RoSPA, IAM Roadsmart, and

DIAmond, to reduce the very long

backlog of people waiting for driving

tests. The role is far from being ‘rocket

science’ and requires no further training

for contractors. A 30-minutes ‘safe drive’

is easily recognised by those who have,

‘been there and got the T-shirt’. Driving

tests should be arranged to take place at

ad hoc venues, with existing examiners

being assigned to prioritise the testing of

candidates with special needs. Even the

Prime Minister would view it as an ‘oven

ready’ solution to the problem.

Terry Pearce, MSA West Midlands:

Rebuild trust with ADIs.

How can we ‘build back better’ – in any

area, not just driving instruction?

Colin Lilly: A recognition that we are

all in this life together. If you need to

break or pause aspects of your habitual

life style it will not just save you but

many others also.

This life is not just an easy route for


Guy Annan: ADIs must work together

more. As secretary of the local ADI group

I’m doing my bit to encourage that to

happen: United we stand, divided we


John Lomas: Acknowledge that

everybody is entitled to their own opinion

and you have no right to try to convert

them to your way of thinking.

Karen MacLeod: This virus has taught

us that we can work from home. I would

like this to be a great kick-start to getting

the country ahead on being greener and

lowering our carbon foot print.

Mike Yeomans: Continue sharing the

humour and interaction which we have

shared among our colleagues to improve

greater understanding of life together and


Paul Harmes: I would love to see

people really following the rules regarding

Covid-19. I can’t put into words for this

magazine my thoughts about those that


Peter Harvey: We all, including

politicians, need to work together to start

building the new future, whatever that is

going to look like, and make a start at

getting all our small businesses open


Let’s go back to basics, with no

more ‘cottage industry amateurs’

allowed within a million miles of

our profession


Rod Came: When I write for Newslink

I read back what I have written time and

time again to try and ensure that I am

not going to upset anyone, be they

members, ADIs, DVSA staff (as

individuals) or any occasional reader.

I grew up in an age where I could call

a spade a spade, but now some people

need to find something to complain

about when there is nothing there.

I well remember the father of one of

my pupils telling me that he worked as a

lecturer at a technical college where he

taught plumbing. A complaint was made

about the terminology he used, ie, he

referred to male and female parts,

technical terms used when describing

two pipe ends that fit together. Whether

the young lady completed the course I do

not know, but it illustrates how people go

looking to make an unjustified complaint,

which could have serious repercussions.

If only we could build resilience by

going back on occasion life would be


Russell Jones: Build back better?

Exterminate the DVSA and have the

Department of Education take over the

role for delivering driver education and

training, led by a team of professional

educators and trainers.

The disarray experienced during the

pandemic has presented a huge

opportunity and should be urgently taken

up. Let’s go back to basics and start

afresh, with no more ‘cottage industry’

amateurs being allowed to get within a

million miles of the driver training profession.

Terry Pearce: By valuing each other

both personally and professionally.



For all the latest news, see

Caveat emptor – a classic

case of ‘buyer beware’

Rod Came

MSA South East

Let me tell you a story. Just over a year

ago my daughter bought a used car from

a large local dealership complete with

an extended warranty.

It was a four-year-old BMW 3 Series

diesel, all black and shiny with all the

toys, just what she wanted. She went to

Inverness in it in the middle of winter,

really enjoyed the drive, used it locally

for eight months, no problems.

After she had the car for eight months

her husband noticed a ticking noise

from the engine that was a new sound,

so it was booked into a local garage for

a service and a diagnosis of the new

noise. On collection the noise was still

there and could not be explained. Four

days later he was driving to work when

there was a loud knocking from the

engine, He dropped it off at the servicing

garage for their thoughts, which were

that it should be recovered to the local

BMW dealership for their opinion.

BMW stripped the bottom off the

engine and found that the crankshaft

had snapped. But not to worry, the car

was covered by a warranty. Not any old

warranty but a GOLD warranty which

covered all the mechanical parts

including any sudden failure of the


For those not of a mechanical bent,

the crankshaft is a big bit in the bowels

of the engine which links most of the

moving parts; it is not a service item as

it is not accessible.

She approached the warranty

company and told them of the problem,

at which point they started to backpedal

as fast as their little legs could

carry them using every excuse under the

sun, from you must have broken it, to

the servicing garage didn’t put any oil in

the car. Their contact is either on

holiday today, in a meeting, on another

call or has just popped out; which ever,

he does not like returning phone calls.

We are talking about a substantial

claim, circa £16,000 for a new engine

and fitting, the original one cannot be

repaired because of swarf in the oil


It must be said that the BMW

dealership has been more than helpful,

but the problem remains unresolved four

months after it happened. I must stress

that the car was not bought from a

BMW dealership.

The point of this tale is that if you are

thinking of purchasing a used vehicle

which is either out of the manufacturer’s

warranty or does not qualify because of

missed servicing and you are

considering an after-market warranty, be

very careful. Make sure that the

warranty is backed up by an insurance

policy from a named company. If you

have any doubts about the provider

check their entry on the Companies

House website, that could save you a lot

of grief.

The saga continues, with many

avenues still being explored.

Driving test centre update

Bristol (Brislington)

As reported in the December issue of

Newslink, the driving test centre at

Bristol (Brislington) will be closing after

the landlord served notice for DVSA to

leave the site.

The last day of testing at Flowers Hill

on Bath Road will be February 19.

The DVSA is hoping to minimise

disruption to ADIs and candidates by this

development and is holding an online

meeting with stakeholders at 7.30pm on

January 7.

Please register

your details to

attend the meeting

by clicking here:

To get the

full story,

click here

Birmingham South Yardley driving test

centre: temporary closure

Driving tests at South Yardley driving

test centre will be unavailable from

Monday, March 22 until Monday, May 3

to allow refurbishment work to be carried


The DVSA expects to be able to restart

driving tests at South Yardley on Tuesday

May 4 and will confirm whether testing

can restart on this date nearer the time.

Examiners from South Yardley will

move to Garretts Green driving test

centre, where they will take tests while

the refurbishment work is carried out.

The address of the alternative centre is

Garretts Green driving test centre, Granby

Avenue, Garretts Green S33 0SD

Bad weather

driving advice

GEM Motoring Assist has produced an

online video highlighting the dangers of

driving in times of heavy rain and


It can be viewed at https://www.

It highlights how rain causes tyres to

lose traction, increasing the dangers of

skidding and loss of control.

In addition there is helpful advice,

such as using dipped headlights, as well

as a discussion on the safe depth of

water that can be driven through.

GEM’s advice is ‘driving through any

depth of water can be dangerous. Even

just six inches – or 15cm of water – will

reach the bottom of most passenger

cars. Above this depth you can lose

control or stall the engine because water

can be sucked into the exhaust or

washed into the air intake.’


Regional News

New research on the threats posed by rural roads prompted two

contributions on the subject this issue. On this page, Janet Stewart from

MSA Greater London offers her thoughts and, facing, Guy Annan from

MSA Western does likewise. By their nature they cover the same facts and

figures but offer different takes on what is an important subject

Rural road risks make it vital you take

your learners out into the country

Alex Brownlee

MSA Greater London

A quick note on the MSA AGM Greater

London meeting, held at the end of

November. It was very well attended –

via Zoom, of course! Many thanks to the

National Chairman Peter Harvey MBE

and Geoff Little Deputy National

Chairman for taking part, and to all those

members who participated.

Do you teach on rural roads?

I have been supplied this article by

Janet Stewart, one of the MSA GB

Greater London committee members.

It’s easy for me to teach on all types of

roads. I live almost on top of the M25

and can easily reach the M1, the M40,

lots of dual carriageways and the city

roads of central London.

However, I actually live on a rural-style

lane with passing places, and some of

the roads around here are such

backwaters that they have grass growing

down the middle.

So, I’m lucky – though despite my

good luck (in a manner of speaking) to

have a broad range of road types on my

doorstep, I’m pretty certain that most

instructors can find some rural roads to

teach on with a bit of effort.

After talking to a few instructors it

seems that there is still a tendency only

to teach what can come up in a test –

and for most candidates, that won’t be

rural roads. I’m happy to stick my neck

out and say that this is not good enough.

In a recent survey 58.61 per cent of

crashes on rural roads involved cars, 9.1

per cent bicycles and 8.7 per cent

pedestrians (the rest miscellaneous).

The drivers at most risk of crashing are

the elderly and new, inexperienced


A survey carried out by the DVSA

found that a fifth of new drivers had had

very little preparation for driving on rural

roads, and that 10 per cent had no

experience of them at all.

The four top crash types are:

a) head on collision (at over 45mph

the fatality rate is very high);

b) single vehicle run off the road –

taking bends too fast, trees and ditches;

c) side impact at junctions usually

turning onto a faster road (again, a high

fatality rate); and

d) pedestrians on the road.

That brings me to the three Es.

Enforcement is not our business.

Engineering is something we can lobby

for. Education is very definitely our


The biggest issue remains speed. Neil

Greig of IAM RoadSmart has pointed out

that “people take their speed cues from

the environment”. My lane has a speed

limit of 60mph. I cannot get even close

to that with my very best efforts. What

are we always (I hope) telling pupils? –

“it is a maximum not a target”. We need

to get learners onto these roads and talk

to them about risks and hazards. We

spend so much time telling them to keep

an eye on their speed in a 30mph area,

reducing it for parked cars, visibility, etc,

that perhaps we fail to talk about

appropriate speeds on other types of

road enough.

We are in unfamiliar territory with

Covid-19. More people than ever have

been walking and cycling. More people

than ever have been speeding because

they feel more confident in lower traffic

volumes. Various organisations such as

the Road Safety Foundation and GoSafe

Wales are looking at how to effect

change in road systems and markings/

signage and also in attitudes. Perhaps we

too, as driving instructors, should

“capture the moment” as Teresa Ciano of

GoSafe Wales has said.

I know I am preaching to the

converted, but I am saying it anyway.

Many thanks for supplying that, Janet.

As ever, if other members in Greater

London would like to contribute to

Newslink, just get in contact at the

address in the panel below.

It just remains for me to say that I

hope everyone has had a Merry

Christmas and I hope this year will be

better than the last!


To comment on this article, or provide

updates, contact Alex at



For all the latest news, see

Poor road


play a key

factor in rural

road threat

Guy Annan

MSA Western

New research has proven that rural roads

are the most dangerous roads for all

users, with more than half of all fatal

crashes in Britain occurring on these

types of roads. Per mile travelled, rural

roads are the most dangerous roads for

all kinds of road user.

I thought it was timely to ask why rural

roads are dangerous for all road users, as

well as look at the most common types

of collision that take place on rural roads,

the speed limits on rural roads and

overtaking and other risky driving


We must start by saying that rural

roads pose high risks, accounting for well

over half of all fatal crashes. Cyclists,

motorcyclists and car drivers are more

than three times as likely to be killed per

mile travelled on a rural road than an

urban road.

Speed is often a major factor in rural

road crashes. A study of singlecarriageway

rural roads estimated that a

10 per cent increase in average speed

results in a 30 per cent increase in fatal

and serious crashes.

The most common crash types on rural

roads are collisions at junctions, head-on

collisions and running off the road.

Why are rural roads so dangerous?

Many rural roads are narrow, with

blind bends and brows and limited safe

places to pass. They often don’t have

pavements or cycle paths yet are

frequently used by some of the most

vulnerable road users, such as people

riding or walking.

Many rural roads have poor road

surface conditions and limited or no

crash protection (such as no crash

barriers either at the side or in the

middle of the road).

Traffic often includes vehicles travelling

at a wide variety of speeds, including

slow-moving farm vehicles. There may

also be animals.

Speed limits on rural roads.

Most rural roads in the UK have a

60mph limit. However, due to their use

by vulnerable road users and the design

and condition of many country roads,

60mph (or anywhere near it) is rarely a

safe speed to travel.

Rural roads frequently have debris

such as mud and leaves on the road

surface, meaning that in wet and icy

conditions stopping distances are much

greater. These factors mean that if a

driver is going too fast, they won’t be

able to react in time to people or hazards

to prevent a crash. They also mean that

if a driver is going too fast, they may lose

control and end up in the path of an

oncoming vehicle or running off the road.

Yet despite these stark threats, in a

Brake and Direct Line survey, more than

six in 10 (68 per cent) of drivers said

they feel it is acceptable to drive above

the speed limit on rural roads. Nearly

half (48%) of drivers said that they had

driven faster than the speed limit on a

single-carriageway rural road in the past


Perhaps that’s why the following

sobering statistics apply:

• 10 times as many people die on

rural roads than on motorways

• Motorcyclists are more than twice as

likely to be killed on a rural road than an

urban road

• Finally, cyclists are almost three

times as likely to be killed on a rural than

an urban road.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to

make sure your pupils understand these

statistics, and if you can, get them out on

rural roads as much as possible.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates, contact Guy at g.annan@


Rural roads frequently have debris such as mud and leaves on the road

surface, meaning that in wet and icy conditions stopping distances are

much greater. These factors mean that if a driver is going too fast, they

won’t be able to react in time to people or hazards to prevent a crash



Regional News




Signs of the times

Terry Pearce

MSA West Midlands

In the October issue of Newslink, Colin

Lilly wrote an interesting item about

bridge strikes.

You would think councils would take

the possibility of this kind of incident

seriously, but that is not my experience in


Over six years ago my local council

updated the 13-foot-high safe

clearance signs on a railway

bridge to show both metric and

imperial. Although the road

height stayed the same the

signs on the bridge were

changed to show a reduced

clearance of 3.8m/12 foot 9 inches, one

approach sign was changed to 3.9m/13

foot while the other approach sign stayed

at 13 foot (See photos A, B and C).

No rhyme or reason for what they did;

let’s hope the safe height is still 13 foot!

I informed the council at the time, but

they ignored me. Recently I contacted

Network Rail and they confirmed it was

the council’s responsibility to update the


I am in the process of trying to get

some clearway signs, which were all

incorrectly put up over ten years ago,

Drink-drive bill adds up to 70k, says IAM Roadsmart

Next time you are giving your pupils a

pep talk about the perils of drinkdriving,

don’t forget to slip in the

financial cost of being caught.

For the amount might make them

think twice, says IAM RoadSmart.

The charity has calculated that the

personal financial cost of drink driving

could be as high as £70,000 or more

when taking into account fines, legal

fees, higher car insurance premiums,

alternative transport costs and potential

loss of earnings following conviction.

Costs following a conviction now

include: fines of £5,000, although since

these are now unlimited this could be

much more; legal fees of £11,000

which is the average following conviction

after a not-guilty plea; increased

insurance premiums of £13,500 over

five years after a driving disqualification;

£2,000 for taxi and public transport

costs for alternative transport during a

ban; and £38,500 loss of earnings for

15 months following a conviction,

based on an average UK salary.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director

of Policy & Research, said: “It’s

important to remember that an extra

drink comes with a huge hidden cost if

it pushes you over the limit.”

He added: “Drink driving wrecks lives

and is totally unacceptable. However,

some people still think they are safe to

drive when they’ve had just a couple of

drinks or use home measures, which

can quickly push them over the limit.

“The £70k impact of being convicted

of drink driving is very sobering. This

should be more than enough to stop

people, along with the thought of the

damage they could do.”



For all the latest news, see

changed. When that is done, I will try

them with the bridge signs again.

I did have more luck 12 years ago

when the council put new height signs

up but left the old ones in place.

On every approach to the bridge one

sign said 12 foot 9 inches and the other

12 foot 3 inches. You would think the

workmen would notice. Strangely these

were sorted immediately when I told

them. (See photo D)

On a lighter side if you want to see

the damage that can happen, I


On a more serious note, photo E

below shows the potential dangers

poorly marked low heights can create. I

took the photograph of the damaged

school bus back in 2004. The bus

driver was on a route traditionally used

by single deckers which involved going

underneath a bridge that was only

10-foot high. I believe the bus driver

knew the route well, he just forgot that

on that day he was driving a double

decker bus rather than the usual

single-decker. He paused to allow traffic

to clear and when he could see the road

ahead past the bridge was clear, he

accelerated through, which caused the

extensive damage.

Thankfully, he was on his way to the

school, so it was empty.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates from your area, contact

Terry at



A quiet time –

just like for

everyone else!

John Lomas

Editor, MSA North West

Welcome to the New Year. I hope you

have all had a pleasant Christmas and

New Year’s Eve while staying safe and


Along with many people I didn’t do

my usual round of visiting family,

whether in Swindon, Stockport or

Yorkshire. I got one of those turkey leg

joints for a traditional Christmas lunch

taste and I’ve never really celebrated on

New Year’s Eve, but I did raise a glass

of single malt to say ‘Goodbye and

Good Riddance’ to 2020.

But I’m still wary of the next six


A helping hand with edit

I haven’t been out and about much in

the last month, so have no particular

observations to make on any good or

bad driving incidents I might have


I am always open to hear about any

of your experiences, anonymity assured

if requested, so if you have anything to

report from round the region, please let

me know.

Worrying rumour

However, I have heard of something

which, I feel, is somewhat strange.

I have been told, admittedly at third

hand, that allegedly somewhere out

there is an instructor who is offering to

sell L-test appointments to other


Now, as I understood it, tests can

only be booked or exchanged with

permission from the original candidates.

I know times have changed and ADIs

can book tests via the business booking

system and I know exchanges are now

easier, but I’m not sure about the

morality of this alleged practice.

Have you heard of this in your area?

Is it actually happening? Do you think

this is a good practice?


To comment on this article, or provide

updates, contact John at


Regional News

We’ll have to wait for a restart

Karen MacLeod

MSA GB Scotland

It’s 2021! Happy New Year to everyone.

We have been waiting on last year

disappearing, but unfortunately the

beginning of this year is looking quite

bleak, too.

This column was originally written as

the Scottish Government was putting the

country into Phase 4. At that point we

were promised a review date of January

12, but as we all know that date never

got close to the review: instead we

reached January 4 before the axe came

down for the time being.

The ‘R’ number is up, which isn’t good

news as this new strain of coronavirus is

now sweeping Britain. The new strain

has emerged in a village just six miles

away from me. My thoughts are with all

those affected, whether health-wise or

those whose businesses and livelihoods

have been hit.

I have been left really sad at the loss of

some of these, and I just hope that

everyone has had the same attentive

treatment that members of MSA GB have

received. I would like to say on behalf of

myself and all the Scottish committee a

huge thank you to Peter Harvey MBE for

his help during 2020. From my own

prospective I have relied very heavily on

the information we’ve received from the

MSA GB to keep me within the law,

advice on keeping my car spotless and

my pupils safe.

When there was an all-too brief

relaxation of restrictions I managed to

take three pupils for their L-tests. I would

like to say how professional and

understanding the driving examiners at

my test centre in Irvine were. It has been

a difficult year for us all, but if we work

together I hope we can soon see a


One of the highlights for 2020 for me

was finishing it with a zero fault driving

test for one of my pupils who has special

needs. I have heard that in some test

centres examiners are not as responsive

to special needs pupils and instructors

feel saddened by this. MSA GB has been

having discussions with the DVSA

regarding this, and those talks are


In November 2020 I managed to get

some theory tests booked for pupils for

the beginning of January but as I was

writing this editorial I received emails

from Pearson Vue advising me they have

been cancelled and I will need to reapply

at a later date.

This must be the biggest headache

DVSA has at the moment, and I can only

again give the agency praise in this

difficult situation; we all need to hang


Finally, as I mentioned in the

December issue of Newslink, MSA

Scotland had a bit of a fright when Brian

Thomson, a member of our committee,

contracted the first strain of the virus. I

am happy to report that he is on the

mend and was well enough to return

home for Christmas.

If anyone would like to voice any

opinions in their driver training world or

any subject close to their heart I would

be more than happy to look into it and

help write the piece or give help in you

writing it.

Please drop me an email or give me a

call, I will be delighted to hear from you.

Take care everyone and stay safe.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates from your area, contact Karen


Who’s nicked the motorway...?

I spotted this recently and wondered, what’s happened

here, asks Karen MacLeod. If you look in the far distance

the road ends... it almost looks like the motorway is meant

to continue on elsewhere... but where? It’s in Glasgow near

the M74/M8 junction. Anyone got any clues?



For all the latest news, see

Be bold in 2021: there’s plenty of work and

plenty of hope for the brave and ambitious

Russell Jones

MSA East Midlands

Followers of national news bulletins

knew it was inevitable that driver training

would be interrupted again by Covid-19

restrictions, but it’s no surprise that a

significant number of ADIs would take to

social media to pronounce the ‘end of

their world’, as they knew it.

Spending some time researching their

game plan showed that the most prolific

complainers were those who had

undervalued they’re services of delivering

driver training by charging too little.

It is difficult to feel any sympathy for

them. What 2021 is going to do for

them does not bear thinking about. It has

not gone unnoticed in the East Midlands

that many ADIs have increased their

lesson fees in the past month, and more

claiming they will do so after the festive

season, so there is some hope on the

horizon for them.

If only the complainers would take

notice of what is possible it might give

them a little inspiration to get a grip!

Right now, business for ADIs in the

region is booming beyond belief, so no

complaints from those concerned.

Missed opportunity

The DVSA and its ‘Master’, the

Secretary of State for Transport, missed a

great opportunity this year to conduct a

thorough overhaul of the driving

instructor recruiting and training process.

I was recently viewing a video where a

true professional was explaining how

staff from other nations were spending a

couple of years in various departments of

his organisation, bringing in new ideas

with great effect, and that the ‘exchange

programme’ had existed for several


I was shortlisted to take part in a mini

version of the programme in my previous

career but missed the boat due to time

limits. I sometimes wonder what I would

have learned during what would have

been a few months in Australasia. I’m

sure it would have been very productive.

New committee member

We have a new member on

the East Midlands Region

committee: Dave Hall, a

former chairman of the

Loughborough ADI

Association. He’s pictured


Dave had a 30-year career

with Leicestershire Police, and

was an advanced driver and

motorcyclist with the force.

During his 12 years as an ADI he has

assisted numerous people to become

instructors, so he obviously brings a

wealth of valuable experience to the

committee and MSA GB.

Welcome aboard, Dave!

Unforgiveable and criminal

On a nice day in the middle of

December I drove to an establishment to

collect a learner for his lesson.

Having parked I commenced sanitising

the car and then noticed another ADI

enter the car park. Moments later I saw

the individual open their door window

and drop some litter onto the ground. I

was so shocked at his behaviour I

immediately took a photograph of the

scene. Before I could even think more

about it, the man jumped out of the car

and kicked the rubbish underneath the

vehicle, before going to rummage in the


My stress factor had already gone sky

high and I could not leave the matter

without an intervention, so I strode

across to discuss the problem with the

offender, whom I did not recognise. I

took him to task using my experience

gained in a previous career, advising him


It has not gone unnoticed in

the East Midlands that many

ADIs have increased their

lesson fees in the past month,

and more claiming they will

do so after the festive season


I had photographic evidence of

his disgraceful offending.

While he did not

apologise, he did bend

down to retrieve the

rubbish and place it into

his car boot.

Finally, I told him that

he should not be

surprised if he had a visit

from someone in authority

with copies of the photographs

and seeking an explanation for his


I am still considering whether to

forward the evidence to that nice fellow

at the DfT, The Right Honourable Grant


To be or not to be

In early 2020 those jolly nice folks at

the ADI Registrar’s office sent me

notification that I would need to undergo

a DBS check if I chose to remain on the

register and purchase a new green badge

later in the year.

I gave it some thought, for at least five

seconds, and concluded that the

Covid-19 pandemic would dispense with

the services of a few thousand ADIs,

leaving loads of work for me and other

enthusiastic instructors.

After all, what is there not to like about

teaching some very pleasant people of

varying ages to drive motor cars?

So, with a new badge displayed in the

window and yet another price increase,

I’m looking forward to a great 2021, as

I’m sure thousands of like-minded ADIs

are, too.


You may recall I popped a quiz

question in the last issue. Well, there

was not a single result remotely close to

the correct answer to the question, so I

am reserving it for later when it could

appear in a different format.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates from your area, contact

Russell at



High risks of at-work driving

revealed in new crash statistics

The unacceptable death and injury toll

involving people driving for work on UK

roads has been revealed in a major new

study. Nearly one-in-three road deaths

involves a driving-for-work trip the survey

found, and 39 per cent of pedestrian

deaths involve a ‘working’ driver.

The study was made on behalf of

Highways England and charitable

partnership Roadsafe.

It means that more deaths occur from

at-work road trips than at the workplace,

despite the dangers posed by industries

such as construction, farming and

mining. Most of those involved are

non-professional drivers, meaning they

drive company cars or are in the ‘grey

fleet’ sector.

In 2018, 520 people died in collisions

involving a driver or rider driving for work,

but only 12 per cent (63) of them were

working drivers or riders. Five per cent

(25) of the fatalities were passengers of a

driver driving for work, while 83 per cent

(432) of those killed were non-working


The figures are in sharp contrast to the

total of 144 people killed in workplace

accidents during the course of work in

the UK in the year 2017/18.

The survey – Driving for work - a

strategic review of risks associated with

cars and light vans, implications for

policy and practice – estimates that up

to 39 per cent of pedestrian fatalities in

the UK were in collision with a ‘working’

driver, causing up to 11 pedestrian

deaths a month.

The study, conducted by UCL and

Agilysis, says there is a “lack of attention

to work-related road safety” by

policymakers. It warns that despite a

rapid increase in vans (up by 27 per cent

from 3.24m light goods vehicles in 2011

to 4.12m in 2019) and people working

in the gig economy, this sector falls

outside the strict regulations governing

other occupational drivers.

Despite businesses switching to ‘last

mile deliveries’ by vans – coinciding with

the boom in internet shopping – vans and

drivers are not subject to the strict driver

training, drivers’ hours restrictions and

roadworthiness regulations on HGVs.

On average, finds the study, vans are

being driven 12,800 miles a year,

accounting for 15.4 per cent of all vehicle

mileage. Two in 10 of these journeys

occur on minor urban roads.

Nick Starling, Chair of the Transport

Safety Commission Work Related Road

Safety Forum said: “As a society, we rely

on those driving for work. Twenty-nine

per cent of all fatalities, 24 per cent of

the seriously injured, and 21 per cent of

all casualties are sustained when

someone involved in an injury collision is

driving for work. Vans and drivers are not

subject to the same strict regulation as

HGVs and buses/coaches.

“This report highlights the importance

of stakeholders across all sectors working

together to understand and manage the

risk better.”

Rules change for EU drivers in UK

The Government has revealed the new

rules for non-UK drivers coming to these

shores and driving.

If the drivers have a non-UK licence

they can still drive in the UK, and do not

need an international driving permit


If the vehicle’s insurance was issued in

the EU, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein,

Norway, Serbia or Switzerland, the driver

should carry an insurance green card or

other valid proof of insurance, however.

To be valid, other proof of insurance

must be a document issued by the

vehicle insurance provider which

includes the:


• name of the insurance provider

• number plate or other identifying

particulars of the vehicle

• period of insurance cover

Contact your vehicle insurance provider

before you travel.

If the vehicle is insured in a country

outside the EU, Andorra, Iceland,

Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia or

Switzerland, what you’ll need to do will

depend on if your country is a member of

the green card system.

If your country is a member, you will

need to carry a green card.

If your country is not a member, your

vehicle will need UK vehicle insurance.

Jellylearn links

up with EFA

The DVSA’s tech partner for

developing the theory test, Jellylearn,

has signed up to become an Affiliate

member of the European Driving

Instructors Association, EFA.

A spokesman for the company said:

“We are proud and excited to be

joining the EFA as an Affiliate member.

I am confident that by combining our

skills, expertise and knowledge we

can put a very strong proposition to

the EU as to what the benefits to

road safety would be of introducing

Hazard Perception (HP) testing as

part of its driver licensing system.”


Treasury accepts green cars

will lead to big loss in tax

For all the latest news, see

A Treasury spokesperson has admitted

that, if Government plans to push

motorists into electric cars are

successful, other taxes will have to rise

to compensate for the huge fall in fuel

tax and other driving-related duties.

Treasury officials have suggested that

the loss in revenue could be as much as


It comes after news leaked late in

2020 that Chancellor Rishi Sunak was

investigating a road mile tax, in which

motorists would be charged for every

mile they drive.

An alternative from the AA is for every

motorist to be given 3,000 free miles

(4,000 in rural areas) before any

charging takes place.

However, the overall tone of the latest

Treasury review is a little less alarmist

that some others in recent years when

the debate has looked at environmental

issues. It states: “Overall, in the context

of the rest of the world decarbonising,

the net impact of the transition on

growth to 2050 is likely to be small

compared to total growth over that

period. It could be slightly positive or

slightly negative.”

It continues: “Climate change is an

existential threat to humanity. Without

global action to limit greenhouse gas

emissions, the climate will change

catastrophically with almost

unimaginable consequences for societies

across the world.”

Environmentalists welcome what they

say is a dramatic change in tone from

the Treasury,

Doug Parr from Greenpeace told BBC

News: “Finally the Treasury has

admitted that tackling climate change

could actually be good for the economy.

“For years it’s been a total drag on

climate policies - it used to get in the

way of any good proposals.”

He said the Treasury should save

money by scrapping the £27bn roads

programme and the £100bn HS2 rail

line – both of which will increase carbon


April driving licence

extension nearly up

ADIs: was your driving licence ready to

expire when the UK was placed in the

first national Covid-19 lockdown back

in March 2021? If so, you may have

taken up the chance at that time to

have its shelf-life extended by up to a

further 11 months, after the DVLA said

it would do this automatically while it

set about shifting its workload to cope

with Covid-19. However, that period of

grace will be up soon and you’ll need to

renew your driving licence soon. The

quickest way is online at

But watch out! if you Google ‘renew

driving licence’ the first companies who

come up before the DVLA are the types

that charge you £79 for a new licence!

Warning against over-zealous parking pavement ban

IAM RoadSmart has called for a targeted

and local approach to combat pavement

parking rather than one that could create

problems where no problems exist.

A Department for Transport consultation

entitled ‘Pavement parking: options for

change’ has recently finished, with a

summary of responses due to be

published within three months.

IAM RoadSmart has called for a

legislative change that would allow local

authorities with civil parking enforcement

powers to enforce against the ‘unnecessary

obstruction of the pavement’, defined as

less than the width of a standard wheel

chair or child’s buggy.

Two other options up for consideration

are a complete blanket ban on pavement

parking in England, as already exists in

London and is due in Scotland in 2021,

or improvements to the existing Traffic

Regulation Order through traffic signs or

road markings.

IAM RoadSmart believes the more

targeted local approach is beneficial. A

blanket ban could remove parked cars

from many roads where they have a traffic

calming effect, clearing parking cars can

also lead to an increase in the speed of

traffic. It also argues that a local approach

will get more public support as enforcement

would be carried out more effectively.

Neil Greig, policy and research director

at IAM RoadSmart, said: “A focused and

local approach would allow selfish

individuals and problem areas to be

targeted without causing displacement

problems in areas where there are no

actual problems for pedestrians.”

Many neighbourhoods have developed

informal pavement parking arrangements

which still allow the free flow of traffic

down narrow streets without causing any

pavement obstruction. Disrupting these

long-standing arrangements could lead to

local tensions and stress. IAM RoadSmart

is also concerned that hard-pressed

councils will lack the resources to

effectively implement a blanket ban.

Neil added: “Local councils should be

encouraged to use their existing powers

and these new ones to sign, define,

review and enforce local bans as required.

“We have no problem with local

solutions for local problems, but a blanket

ban of pavement parking is a ‘hammer to

crack a nut’.”


Meet the ADI

There’s nothing better than getting

a new ADI over the line ...

Continuing our series of

Q&As with MSA GB members,

this month, Graham Kent

from Grimsby

When did you become an ADI, and

what made you enter the profession?

After 20 years of working in senior

management for United Biscuits with

brands such as Youngs and McVities I

was made redundant.

I considered my strengths and things

that I enjoyed doing and I came up with

people, cars and training. I was in

Grimsby job centre and a company was

advertising for driving instructors. I knew

immediately that that was what I wanted

to do.

What’s the best bit about the job?

Training instructors and them, in turn,

getting great feedback from their new

pupils in the first week – such as “I’ve

learnt more with your instructor in that

first 90-minute lesson than I did with my

last instructor over 10 hours!”

And the worst?

Experiencing rude examiners.

Thankfully it is rare but occasionally I

and my team experience treatment of our

pupils that is unacceptable.

The ITV driving test programme The

Secrets of the Driving Test showed that

examiners can be excellent at putting the

candidate at ease and give a high

standard of customer service. I wish all

examiners would be like this.

Graham and his team an

Anderby Driving Centre

Ltd. ‘I’ve owned the

company since 2005,

and built it up from five

ADIs to over 30. I also

train people to become

ADIs and have been

ORDIT since 2008.’

What’s the best piece of training advice

you were ever given?

To do the Education and Training

course – Level 3. It focuses on how to

teach adults. It was a tough course but

very worthwhile. It confirmed many

things that I had been self taught over

the years but also introduced me to

many ways in which to train adults

(including learners and instructors)

What one piece of kit, other than your

car and phone, could you not do


The radio. My first company car didn’t

have one as standard. I immediately

installed a Motorola. Now I couldn’t do

without listening to Radio 4 – especially

the Today programme, World at One

and, of course, the extremely funny show

I’m sorry I haven’t a clue quiz hosted by

the brilliant Jack Dee

What needs fixing most urgently in

driving generally?

Getting people to realise that

distractions while driving are extremely

dangerous. Most of the time drivers get

away with being distracted by talking on

their hands-free phones or a quick look

at texts, etc, but if that moment

coincides with a child running out or a

Graham writes: ‘I appeared

on the ITV 1 programme

‘The Secrets of the Driving

Test’ last April, with my

pupil Shaunna. She had

been trying to pass her test

for 10 years, and had had

11 attempts when I met

her. I really interesting lady

and fantastic to see her pass

finally on her 13th go... and

great to have it shown on

such a prestigious channel

at 8.30pm.’



For all the latest news, see

Graham back in 1976 shortly after passing his own L-test. He’s stood

next to his pride and joy, a Singer Vogue. ‘My mate called it a Rolls

Canardly... meaning it rolls downhill but can hardly go up ‘em!’ Would

MSA GB members please note, the fashion police HAVE been called...

cyclist wobbling in front of them, it can

be fatal

What should the DVSA focus on?

During the 20 years I’ve been in this

industry the DVSA has got most things

about right for me. I think the move

away from driving test centres is a

positive one, hopefully this will reduce

the cost of the practical test and giving a

better customer service.

What’s the next big thing that’s going to

transform driver training/testing?

As above, the move away from physical

test centres and also more car autonomy

Electric cars – yes or no? And why?

If the electricity provided has come

from a green source then this is a

positive move. Range anxiety is the main

problem that should reduce with a proper

infrastructure of charging stations

throughout the country.

How can we improve driver testing/

training in one move?

Make some form of training

compulsory in the school classroom –

especially with the introduction of

affordable virtual driving simulators so

that young people can see the benefits as

well as the dangers of learning to drive

Who/what inspires you, drives you on?

People coming into our industry

wanting a new career and knowing that I

can train them to a become a very

successful fully qualified driving

instructor, is highly motivating

What keeps you awake at night?

Nothing, I sleep like a dog!

No one is the finished article. What do

you do to keep on top of the game?

I have an open mind. For example, I

occasionally teach learners to keep my

hand in – and I often learn more from

them than any other source.

What’s the daftest /most dangerous

thing that’s ever happened to you while


Soon after qualifying, my pupil, driving

at around 30mph in a country lane,

slammed the brakes on to avoid a crow

that landed in front of us. Okay, you

might think... but the juggernaut driver

behind only just managed to brake in

time. His ‘following distance’ was far too

close at about a car’s length away! My

seat needed the services of a valeter!

That’s when I decided to ensure that,

before they drove my car, all my pupils

knew that I couldn’t stop them braking!

When or where are you happiest?

When I attend a driving instructor’s

Part 3 or Standards Check debrief and

the examiner says: ‘I am pleased to say

you’ve passed’ – and especially, when

they get a Grade A pass!

If you had to pick one book/film/album

that inspires, entertains or moves you,

what would it be?

A series of programmes by the brilliant

the late Sir John Harvey Jones. His TV

programme ‘Troubleshooter’ inspired me

to run my own business.

Voi offers a new

safety angle on

e-scooter range

In December’s Newslink we discussed

the increasing concerns raised over


Usually found in urban areas, they

require no licence to operate them but

can reach speeds which are a danger to

pedestrians, cyclists and other roads

users – and not least to the riders


In order to combat this problem,

e-scooter manufacturer Voi has

announced that its e-scooters are to

include an AI vision system that will

offer real-time pedestrian detection,

similar to that available in luxury cars.

The technology, which relies on

high-end machine vision, sensors and AI

algorithms, offers pedestrian detection

so that an e-scooter can understand if it

is in a heavily pedestrianised area and

reduce its speed, based on predefined


It will also equip e-scooters to detect

the kind of surface or lane they are

riding on (bike lane, pavement, road),

and respond with appropriate measures.

As part of a wider partnership with

Voi, micromobility start-up Luna will

also provide precise positioning

technology so that it can control parking

to centimetre-level accuracy in

designated areas, helping to eradicate

street clutter that endangers vulnerable


The GPS technology will also

improve operational and environmental

efficiency for Voi, thereby accelerating

and sustaining the deployment of low

cost, socially distanced e-scooters.

Trials of the new technology

commence in Northampton in January,

focusing on pedestrian detection.

The first phase will see the local Voi

operations team use Luna’s technology

to enable scooters to learn their


Once this phase is complete, Luna’s

technology will be integrated into Voi’s

e-scooters for public use in the city.

Northampton’s e-scooter trial is part of a

Government-led initiative to introduce

e-scooters to the public as an

innovative, safe, carbon-neutral and

socially distanced mode of transport.



Members’ discounts and benefits

MSA GB has organised a number of exclusive discounts and offers for members. More details can be found on our website at To access these benefits, simply log in and click on the Member discount logo, then click the link at the

bottom of the page to allow you to obtain your special discounts. Please note, non-members will be required to join the

association first. Terms and conditions apply

Ford launches special offer

for MSA GB members

Some exciting news for members: Ford has partnered with

MSA GB to offer exclusive discounts on all car and

commercial Ford vehicles.

Take a look at the Ford website for vehicle

and specification information.

For further information, to view frequently asked questions,

to request a quote and to access the member discount

codes, please go to the Members’ Benefits page on the MSA

GB website and follow the Ford link.

Please note these discounts are only available to MSA GB

members and their immediate family if they are members

who pay annually.


MSA’s Recommended

Accountancy Service, FBTC

offers a specialist service for

driving instructors. It has been

established over 20 years ago and

covers the whole of the UK. The team takes

pride in providing unlimited advice and

support to ensure the completion of your tax

return is hassle free, giving you peace of mind.

MSA OFFER:: FBTC will prepare you for

Making Tax Digital and will be providing

HMRC compliant software to all clients very

soon. Join now to receive three months free.


IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s

largest road safety charity, is

proud to partner with the

Motor Schools Association GB

in order to work together to

make our roads safer through driver skills

and knowledge development.

MSA OFFER:: Enjoy a 20% saving on our

Advanced Driver Course for MSA members.


Easy-to-use bookkeeping & tax spreadsheets

designed specifically for driving instructors. It

will reduce the time you need to spend on

record-keeping. Simply enter details of your fee

income and expenses throughout the year and

your trading profit, tax & national insurance

liability are automatically calculated.

MSA OFFER:: We’re proud to offer all MSA GB

members 25% discount.


Mandles’ handmade scented collections use

quality ingredients to ensure

superior scent throw from all

its candles and diffusers.

Check our our website for

further details.

MSA OFFER:: Special discount

of 20% on all car air fresheners and refills.


MSA and SumUp believe in

supporting motor vehicle

trainers of all shapes and sizes.

Together we are on a mission to

ease the operational workload of our members

by providing them with the ability to take card

payments on-the-go or in their respective

training centREs. SumUp readers are durable

and user-friendly. Their paperless onboarding is

quick and efficient. Moreover, their offer comes

with no monthly subscription, no contractual

agreement, no support fees, no hidden fees

– just the one-off cost for the reader coupled

with lowest on the market transaction fee.

MSA OFFER:: We are offering MSA GB

members discounted 3G reader.



As part of its new relationship

with MSA GB, Tri-Coaching is

delighted to offer a massive 20% discount

across the board on all our training products

and courses, exclusively to MSA Members.

MSA OFFER: 20% off all Tri-Coaching



Driving shouldn’t just be a

privilege for people without

disabilities; it should be

accessible for all and there’s

never been an easier time to make

this the case! MSA GB members can take

advantage of BAS’s Driving Instructor

Packages which include a range of adaptations

at a discounted price, suitable for teaching

disabled learner drivers.

MSA OFFER: Special Driving Instructor

Packages for MSA members.


The Motor Schools Association of Great Britain

has agreed with HMCA to offer discounted

rates for medical plans, dental plan, hospital

cash plans, personal accident

plan, travel plan, income

protection and vehicle

breakdown products.

MSA OFFER: HMCA only offer

medical plans to membership

groups and can offer up to a 40% discount off

the underwriter’s standard rates.

This is a comprehensive plan which provides

generous cash benefits for surgery and other


To get the full story of

the discounts available,



For all the latest news, see


Help your pupils private

practice by signing them up

to Collingwood’s instructor

affiliate programme.

MSA OFFER:: £50 for your first

referral and a chance to win £100 of High

Street vouchers!


Effective PPE (Personal

Protective Equipment) is

vital to provide the protection

your workforce requires in

order to work safely and ensure

that all employment laws are complied with.

MSA OFFER:: 15% offer for MSA members.


Driving Instructor Services offers call

handing, web design, reports and pupil

text reminders, to name a few

of our services.

MSA OFFER:: Free trial

of all our services and 10%

discount for the life of your

MSA membership.


Confident Drivers has the

only website created

especially for drivers offering

eight different psychological

techniques commonly used

to reduce stress and nerves.

MSA OFFER: One month free on a monthly

subscription plan using coupon code.


Go Roadie provides students

when they need them, with

all the details you need

before you accept. Control

your own pricing, discounts

and set your availability to suit you. Full

diary? No cost!

MSA OFFER: Introductory offer of 50% off

the first three students they accept.


VRedestein’s impressive range

of tyres includes the awardwinning

Quatrac 5 and the

new Quatrac Pro – offering

year-round safety and


MSA OFFER: 10% discount on purchases

across our tyre ranges.

To get the full story of

the discounts available,


Membership offer

Welcome new ADIs

We’ve a special introductory offer for you!

Congratulations on passing

your Part 3 and becoming

an ADI.

There’s an exciting career

open to you from today.

It’s one that is alive with

possibilities as you build

your skills, your client

base and your income.

But for all the excitement, it

can also be a challenging

profession. Who can you turn to if

you’re struggling to get over key driver

training issues to a pupil? Where can you

go to soak up advice from more

experienced ADIs? Who will help you if

you are caught up in a dispute with the

DVSA? If the worst happens, who can you

turn to for help, advice and to fight your


The answer is the Motor Schools

Association of Great Britain – MSA GB

for short.

We are the most senior association

representing driving instructors in Great

Britain. Establised in 1935 when the first

driving test was introduced, MSA GB has

been working tirelessly ever since on

behalf of ordinary rank and file ADIs.

We represent your interests and your

views in the corridors of power, holding

regular meetings with senior officials from

the DVSA and the Department for

Transport to make sure the ADIs’ voice is



We’d like you to join us

We’re there to support you every

step of the way. Our officebased

staff are there, five

days a week, from 9am-

5.30pm, ready to answer

your call and help you in any


In addition our network of

experienced office holders and

regional officers can offer advice

over the phone or by email.

But membership of the MSA doesn’t just

mean we’re there for you if you’re in

trouble. We also offer a nationwide

network of regular meetings, seminars

and training events, an Annual

Conference, and a chance to participate in

MSA GB affairs through our democratic


In addition, you’ll get a free link to our

membership magazine Newslink every

month, with all the latest news, views,

comment and advice you’ll need to

become a successful driving instructor.

You’ll also automatically receive

professional indemnity insurance worth

up to £5m and £10m public liability

insurance free of charge.

This is essential legal protection covering

you against legal claims ariving from your


So join us today and save £25

including the first year’s joining fee:

just £60 for 12 months.

Join MSA GB today!

and save yourself £25

Call 0800 0265986 quoting

discount code Newslink, or join

online at



for 12 months

membership 39

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