Newslink February 2021


Motor Schools Association of Great Britain membership magazine; driver training and testing; road safety.


The Voice of MSA GB

Issue 337 • February 2021

MSA Conference 2021

See pg 5 for details



It’s time to start

thinking about

the future, DVSA

We work for all Driver Trainers. Want to join? See pg 43 for a special introductory offer

For all the latest news, see

Refusal to extend theory test

certificate is hard to accept

Colin Lilly

Editor, Newslink

“Ah, the good old days, I remember the

good old days.” These are phrases more

likely to be spoken by members of the

older generations, but now they can

justifiably be spoken by a person in their

late teens.

They will remember their siblings or

cousins taking their final school exams,

learning to drive while waiting for their

exam results and heading off to

university and all it has to offer.

Sadly, the current round of late

teenagers does not have these options

available to them – and the powers that

be aren’t helping, either. The refusal to

extend the validity of theory test

certificates while not providing an

opportunity to retake means that many

young people hoping, justifiably, for a

practical test as soon as available now

have two successive waiting lists to join.

To refuse a change on the grounds of

safety I find difficult to swallow. A learner

who took a theory test two years ago is

thought to be less safe than a banned

driver with more than two years off the

road being allowed to simply reapply for

their licence. Can anyone justify that


Is the refusal based on earlier mistakes

that were made in the early days of the

theory test? Does the stressing of a

safety element seek to validate the

previous mistakes?

At this point let us spare a thought for

the motorcycle training business. As with

the Theory Test, the Compulsory Basic

Training CBT certificate is valid for two

years, after which, if not upgraded to a

full licence, it must be retaken. These too

are not being extended. This means that

those small motorcycle and moped riders

who never take a full test but go from

CBT to CBT will have to stop riding.

I know of many people in this category

who use this form of transport to travel

to work due to unsocial hours. Several of

these are care staff and shop workers;

recently categorised as front-line workers.

The lack of provision of training and

recertification for these, frequently low

paid staff, must make them feel like

‘Tommy Atkins – Front-line Worker.’

(Apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

In mid-January, the financial website

‘’ published an

excellent analysis of the financial loss to

learner drivers from this policy. It

estimated that, so far during this

pandemic, learner drivers had lost over

£1.1 million. During the lockdowns

during 2020, 49,543 theory test

certificates expired. This resulted in a

loss of £1,139,489. This is money that

has been wasted as the process must be

repeated. These figures are calculated on

the assumption of first time passes and

we all know that is far from reality.

Any money lost will have to be

re-spent to obtain a new certificate when

the tests become available. This takes

the total to over £2.25 million from a

combination of expired theory test

certificates over the two national

lockdowns last year and the cost to

retake the £23 exam.

It is also estimated that during the

current lockdown at least 13,944 theory

passes will expire, with a further loss of

£320,712 for learner drivers.

Meanwhile, for those managing to take

and pass a theory test when they were

available between lockdowns, the clock

is already ticking.

When the test centres reopen there

will be a massive backlog to clear of not

just expired certificate holders but those

wishing to start the process.

In addition to these costs there will be

many learners who will feel that they

have ‘lost’ some money on lessons taken

and not capitalised on.

This situation will continue until we get

back to work.

The Government has announced that

when the first four priority groups have

been vaccinated other front-line workers

such as teachers, police officers and

shop workers should form a priority


In order to get the training and testing

process up and running again, with its

positive effect on the economy, perhaps

driver trainers and examiners should be


One day, we will reach the end of the


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Do we need to start

re-imagining the way

driver training and testing

is run in Great Britain,

asks Rod Came

See pg 26


Inside this issue






Reed steps in to the

learner testing mix

DVSA is employing a new partner from

September for testing – pg 6

Lockdown latest

Is there a glimmer of hope for a quicker

return to work for ADIs? –– pg 8

Extend theory test passes

MPs debate issue as MSA GB and

NASP keep up the pressure – pg 10


The Voice of MSA GB

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of Great Britain Ltd

Head Office:

Chester House,

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DVLA in the spotlight after

surge in Covid cases

MPs less than impressed as senior staff

refuse blame for infections –– pg 12

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M-way lesson plan

Two years on, how are your motorway

lessons shaping up? – pg 20

Looking but not seeing

Mike Yeomans explains your saccadics

from your fixations – pg 24

Time for a Plan B, DVSA

Once the pandemic is over, is it back to

business as usual? It shouldn’t be, says

Rod Came –– pg 26

Regional news –– from 28

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Britain Ltd. Reprinting in

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without express

permission of the editor.

For all the latest news, see


We’re going Zoom to bring you all the

latest information and guidance you need

MSA GB National Conference

& Annual General Meeting

Saturday, March 21

Time: 2pm - 4.30pm

Cost: Free of charge

Industry updates | DVSA Speakers |

MSA GB Awards | AGM |

Workshops and Spotlight presentations

Due to current lockdown restrictions MSA GB

has decided to move its 2021 Conference &

AGM on to the Zoom platform.

While it is disappointing we will not be able

to meet up face-to-face for our annual get

together, we have organised what we hope

will be an inspiring and informative afternoon

for you, with guest speakers from the DVSA,

workshops, short presentations from industry

experts, our ever-popular Member of the Year

Awards and the MSA GB AGM.

Speakers confirmed so far include, from DVSA:

Mike Warner, Senior External Affairs Manager

Jacqui Turland, Registrar

John Sheridan, Driver Training & Policy Manager

All three will follow their presentations with

time for some questions from delegates.

To book, go to

annual-conference-2021/ .

Keep in

touch 1

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.

Keep in touch:

Just click on the icon

to go through to the

relevant site


If you don’t

have an internet

connection, you can join

by phone and still take part,

just call head office on 01625 664501 and

we will arrange that for you.

So make a note in your diary and plan to

join us on the day. We will make sure it is an

afternoon well spent, and that you’ll pick up

some great advice and information that will

serve you well in your role as an ADI.

Follow MSA GB on social media

Jacqui Turland

and John

Sheridan will

be joining us at

the online


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



L-test tuition


granted for



The DVSA has confirmed that ADIs

working with learners who require a

driving licence to carry our frontline

emergency services roles can carry

on teaching for the time being – but

only if an L-test has been booked

and confirmed it is still going ahead

by the DVSA.

In a statement the DVSA said:

“We are working with theory test

contract provider, Pearson VUE, to

respond to requests for theory tests

from organisations such as

ambulance authorities on behalf of

frontline mobile emergency workers

who require a driving licence to

carry out duties in their employment


“The DVSA is also looking to

respond to requests for practical

driving tests from organisations on

behalf of frontline mobile emergency

workers, who require a driving

licence to carry out duties in their

employment role.

“There is a limited service subject

to examiner resource, and we are

restricting any testing to candidates

working in health and social care,

and other public bodies involved in

work responding to ‘threats to life’,

such as the Environment Agency’s

flood rescue staff or local authority

gritter truck drivers.”

The DVSA is contacting NHS

Trusts explaining how to nominate

candidates; candidates cannot apply

for tests themselves. Applications

from other organisations will be

considered if the mobile emergency

worker criteria is met.

Where an ADI is teaching a

mobile emergency worker, if their

employer has booked a test they can

continue tuition.

Reed steps in to

theory test mix

The DVSA has announced a major change

to the way the theory test in Great Britain

is organised.

While Pearson Vue, the company with

the contract currently to conduct theory

testing, will retain a leading role, Reed in

Partnership Ltd will now join it in

organising tests across large swathes of

the country.

Reed in Partnership is a giant public

service skills provider that started out as

the employment agency Reed, but has

since branched out into other sectors,

including education and training.

Currently Pearson Vue handles the

day-to-day management of each of the

test centres, such as the computers and

the staff, the online booking system and

customer service.

However, as part of the new

arrangements Pearson VUE and Reed in

Partnership Ltd will share the day-to-day

delivery of theory tests, which will be

separated into three geographical regions:

• Region A - Reed In Partnership Ltd

Covering: Scotland, Northern Ireland,

North West, North East and Yorkshire and


• Region B - Pearson Vue

Covering: Wales, West Midlands, South

West and South East

• Region C - Reed In Partnership Ltd

Covering: East Midlands, East of England

and London

The DVSA has stressed that the changes

will not affect the typical candidate

experience or the content of the test, but it

may look and feel slightly different.

Crucially, because the contract to operate

the theory test centres has been awarded

to more than one company, the location of

many theory test centres will change,

particularly in those areas covered by

Reed in Partnership.

As more details emerge, MSA GB will

keep you updated.

AA maps out a route to vaccinations

The AA is offering councils free road signs

to help people find temporary Covid-19

vaccination centres. There are currently

around 280 community vaccination

centres (excluding hospitals, GP surgeries

and pharmacies), but this is set to grow to

500 once locations in Wales, Scotland

and Northern Ireland are announced.

While many people know how to get to

their local hospital, pharmacy or GP

surgery, the temporary vaccination centres

may be harder to find, says the AA.

The organisation says it will provide,

distribute, install and maintain the

recycled plastic signs as well as removal

and recycling at the end of the vaccination


AA chief executive Simon Breakwell

said: “We are offering free signage to

around 500 temporary Covid-19

community vaccination centres such as

sports halls, religious venues, nightclubs

and community buildings.

“The AA Signs team have come up with

a bespoke solution to design, print, install,

remove and recycle approximately 5,000

road signs and I am proud of our expert

teams who have bought this idea to life.

The AA is delighted to help sign the way

to vaccinate Britain.”

Latest on lockdown restrictions: See pg 8-9




Lockdown to stay for now – but

glimmer of hope of earlier restart

As members will be only too aware,

national restrictions have forced the

suspension of driving lessons and theory

and practical testing in all but a handful

of cases.

While this restriction is open to

change, and all Governments involved

have vowed to review their restrictions

on a regular basis, it is unlikely to do so

in February, MSA GB believes.

However, a shaft of light was offered

by DVSA chief executive Loveday Ryder,

who told MSA GB national chairman

Peter Harvey, in his capacity as

Chairman of NASP, that ADIs’ request for

driving lessons to recommence two

weeks before the restart of practical

driving tests “was being actively


In a letter to Peter Ms Ryder said: “I

am also aware of the request from NASP

for ADIs to return to work approximately

two weeks prior to practical tests

resuming. This will also be considered

as part of the recovery plan.”

Peter said the comments offer a

tentative glimmer of hope that ADIs

could return to work slighter sooner than

examiners. “One of our major criticisms

at the relaxing of rules around the first

lockdown was that driving lessons and

L-tests restarted on the same day,” he


“How were candidates for those first

few tests meant to get themselves in the

right frame of mind to take their test,

when they had not seen their instructor

in weeks?

“At least this time the DVSA appears

to have taken on board the need for

ADIs to start well before testing, to give

their pupils a fair chance of passing the

test when they come round.”


A review will take place in all nations

at various points this month but it is

unlikely to see major changes, with the

best hope a ‘roadmap’ plotting a gradual

opening up of the economy from early

March. Whether this will include the

driving training and testing sector is


While there are subtle nuances

between each of the nations, the basic

rule is the same:

• You must not provide driving lessons

or motorcycle training, and this includes

ADI Part 2 and 3 tests and standards


• You can supervise someone from

your household or support bubble during

an essential journey during the national


• Minor exemptions exist for frontline

emergency workers (see page 6).

In England a review of restrictions will

be undertaken on 22nd February.

In Scotland a review will be held on

February 2. However, one difference is

that driving lessons and motorcycle

training can take place in areas in

Protection level 3. This area is confined

to some of the islands of Scotland.

In Wales: on January 29 the First

Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, said

lockdown restrictions will continue for at

least another three weeks. The next

review will be on February 19.

Practical tests

All candidates affected by these latest

restrictions will be contacted by the

DVSA with a rescheduled test date. If

you booked the test for your pupil, the

DVSA will let you know. Remember to

inform your pupil of the cancelled test.

The DVSA has urged ADIs and

learners to be patient over rescheduled

tests. There will be considerable delays,

but the DVSA will organise a new date

as soon as possible

Theory tests

All theory tests will be suspended until

the restrictions are lifted.

The DVSA will email anyone who has

booked a test and is affected by this to

let them know their theory test is on

hold and that they will need to

reschedule it by visiting


If you booked your pupil’s theory test

you will need to log into the booking

system and rearrange their test for a new

date and time.

The latest details can be found at

To get the

full story,

click here

Key information

Follow the links for the latest up-to-date news on

NASP updated

guidance here

(click button right)

On theory tests

(click button right)

L- tests

(click button right)

Instructor guidance

(click button right)

The latest Standard Operating Procedures

can be found on the NASP website for:

Driving Test

Vocational Test

Motorcycle Test

ADI Part 2 Test

ADI Part 3 Test and Standards Checks

They are changing all the

time. Make sure you

know the latest rules

Check the




For all the latest news, see

Update on ADI registration

and qualifications

Because of coronavirus lockdowns and

restrictions, the DVSA has published

advice about what to do if:

• your ADI registration expires soon

• you were issued a trainee driving

instructor licence in January 2021

• your trainee driving instructor licence

expires soon

• you’re thinking about applying for a

trainee driving instructor licence

If you’re qualifying to become an ADI

If your trainee licence was issued in

January 2021, you can ask for your

trainee licence to be reissued when

coronavirus restrictions have been lifted.

Contact the DVSA for advice about the

options available in your personal

circumstances, at

You need to include your: personal

reference number or driving licence

number, date of birth and postcode.

If your trainee licence expires soon

Contact DVSA for advice about the

options available if your trainee licence

expires soon, via

You need to include your: personal

reference number or driving licence

number, date of birth and postcode.

If you’re thinking about applying for a

trainee licence

Again, contact DVSA at padi@dvsa. for advice, including your

personal reference number or driving

licence number, date of birth and


Taking the ADI Part 3 test

The law says you must book the ADI

Part 3 (instructional ability) test within

two years of passing the ADI Part 1

(theory) test. You can take the ADI Part 3

test more than 2 years after you passed

your ADI Part 1 test, as long as you book

it within the 2-year limit.

If no appointments are available when

you book, you can book an ‘on hold’ test.

This means you have to pay for the test

but the DVSA arranges the test date

when appointments become available

again. This meets the legal requirement

for you to book your test within 2 years.

DVSA cannot extend your ADI Part 1

theory test pass certificate.

If you’re already an ADI

If your ADI registration expires soon

you can choose to not renew your ADI

registration. You then have up to 12

months from the date it expires to

re-register as an ADI without having to

take the qualifying tests again. It costs

the same to re-register (£300) as it does

to renew your ADI registration.

Remember, you cannot charge money

(or monies worth) for instruction while

your registration is lapsed.

DVSA does not have any legal powers

to extend your ADI registration or waive

or reduce the ADI registration fee.

Full guidance on

these issues

available here:

To get the

full story,

click here



Theory test extension plea goes to the

House but DVSA rejects NASP ideas

MSA has vowed to continue to pressure

the Government over theory test pass

certificates, in a bid to convince the

DVSA to grant an extension of 12 months

for all certificates due to expire in 2021.

After an Adjournment Debate in the

House of Commons led by SNP MP

David Linden failed to win the backing of

the Transport Minister for an extension

(see below), MSA GB national chairman

Peter Harvey said it was important the

ADI community kept up the pressure.

“There are two sides to this story. The

first is fairness: pupils who passed their

theory test have been denied the chance

to take the practical test by Covid.

“They have missed out through no

fault of their own.”

But he admitted fears over what

impact learners losing their theory test

passes would have on the profession in

the coming months was also a concern.

“By refusing to extend the shelf-life of

theory test passes the DVSA is going to

create a huge logjam in the system that

will take many months to clear. We are

already seeing big waiting lists for theory

tests, with so many tests cancelled in

2020 and this year. How is adding

several hundred thousand more people

looking for tests going to help that

situation? The system is close to collapse.”

Without a theory test certificate – or

hope of obtaining one soon – “pupils who

began learning to drive in 2020 will

decide that their tuition needs to be

paused. If you know you need a theory

Road safety minister

Baroness Vere

test pass to book an L-test, but cannot

get a test slot, there does seem little

point in carrying on with practical

lessons. This will inevitably create a log

jam in the system, with learners half-way

through practical lessons putting them on

Correspondence from Baroness Vere to

Peter Harvey

hold while their secure the theory test

certificate they need.”

There is considerable frustration

growing within ADI ranks over what is

seen as DVSA/Government intransigence

on the issue. “In Northern Ireland they

have extended the life of theory test

passes,” Peter pointed out. “Why is the

logic so different across the Irish Sea?”

He rejected comments by the Road

Safety Minister, Baroness Vere, that “the

maximum duration of two years between

passing the theory test and a subsequent

practical test is in place to ensure that a

candidate’s knowledge is current.”

“If we are to keep driver’s knowledge

‘current’ for safety reasons, why are we

not asking drivers to take refresher

Let’s keep the pressure up on this vital issue

Peter Harvey mbe

National Chairman


I hope most of you were able to watch

MP David Linden support our quest to

extend the life of the theory certificate on

a temporary basis in the Adjournment

Debate on January 28; if you missed it,

it’s at


3d95908cd9f4 .

I would like to convey our sincere

thanks to David. He did an excellent job,

but the minister was not for moving.

Sadly, the focus seemed to be on

telling us what we already know. I don’t

need to be told that different laws cover

different items, such as extending MOTs

etc; I know that. But the Government

has had to find ways around laws over

the past 12 months, sometimes in great

haste, to solve problems arising from the

pandemic, and all we are asking is that

they take a common sense approach to

this problem, too. Extending theory test

certificates will relieve a huge amount of

pressure on the system – and relieve a

lot of stress for learner drivers who at the

moment feel that they are trying to learn

to drive against a ticking clock.

At the very least, if this isn’t about

money, as the DVSA repeatedly claims,

why can’t theory test pass holders at

least have another go for free?

If you agree but haven’t signed the

official petition on the Petitions UK

website yet, do so now. It is at https://

At the time of writing it had secured

nearly 60,000 signatures – and needs to

reach 100,000 to be considered for a

debate in Parliament. Get your pupils to

sign it – and get them to get their

families to sign it, too.



For all the latest news, see

Correspondence from Peter Harvey to Baroness Vere (left) and below, left, the

Baroness’s reply, and Peter’s response (below right)

lessons and tests? Why do we not do the

same for those people who pass their

driving test but then don’t drive for,

sometimes, many years afterwards?”

He also asked the Baroness in

correspondence to consider allowing

ADIs to help: “Would it not be possible

for Government to enlist the help of ADIs

to ensure pupils have a good theoretical

knowledge and sign off before allowing a

candidate to take the practical test?”

This idea was harshly rejected,

however, with Baroness Vere saying

“although ADIs are well-qualified and

proficient in driving and instruction, they

are not experienced assessors. This is

evidenced by the current practical test

pass rate of 47%.”

This remark was seen as particularly

insensitive as it seemed to imply that

ADIs were solely responsible for the

prevailing low pass rate. As Peter Harvey

pointed out in his reply, “it appears by

your statement that examiners or,

indeed, candidates, play no part in the

eventual result at the end of a practical


DVSA chief executive Loveday Ryder

also rejected calls to allow an extension,

hiding behind the current legislative

framework – something that the

Government has played fast and loose

with in a host of areas since March

2020, as the pandemic took hold – and

rejecting comparisons with the extension

to MOTs on cars.

Peter Harvey thanked the many MSA

GB members who had taken up this

issue with their own political

representatives. “It was good to see the

debate in the House, led by David

Linden MP, and to know that our case

has been backed by many MPs up and

down the country.

“We’ve had strong support from a

number of MPs in addition to David

Linden, including David Duigan, Gavin

Newlands and Mhairi Black, with the

latter, an SNP member, suggesting in her

reply to me that “if the UK Government

are not prepared to extend the validity of

theory test certificates, then they should

devolve the necessary powers to the

Scottish Parliament so that we can take

this decision for ourselves.”

Dear Baroness Vere

Further to your replies regarding the extension of theory

certificates, many of our joint membership have been very

upset with the tone you seem to adopt regarding DVSA

qualified ADIs. In your quote “Although ADIs are well

qualified and proficient in driving and instruction, they are not

experienced assessors, this is evidenced by the current

practical pass rate of 47%.” Although we agree there are

different skill sets used between an instructor/teacher and an

assessor/examiner, you appear to be suggesting the low pass

rate around the country is purely down to ADIs, which is deeply

offensive to the profession, most of whom spend their life

trying to help novice drivers to learn a like skill. It appears by

your statement, examiners and, indeed, candidates play no

part in the eventual result at the end of a practical test...



DVLA attacked for ‘woeful’ response

as Covid rips through Swansea HQ

The chief executive of the DVLA has

admitted she had barely been in the

office since April, amid anger over a huge

number of confirmed coronavirus cases

among staff based in its Swansea HQ.

Julie Lennard told MPs on the House

of Commons Transport Select Committee

that the building was ‘Covid secure’,

despite claims by staff and the PCS

trades union that employees had been

forced to come into the office rather than

allowed to work from home, and that at

any time as many as 2,000 people were

in the building where social distancing

rules were impossible and ‘hot desking’

was encouraged.

All run contrary to official Government

guidelines, which encourage home

working wherever possible.

The MPs heard that there had been

535 Covid cases since September; from

March to September there were just 11.

The Transport Select Committee Chair,

Huw Merriman, took Ms Lennard to task

over the way she had produced data for

the committee totalling staff Covid cases,

labelling her evidence “rather


When asked about how many times

she had visited staff at the DVLA

workplace since September to check up

on the situation, Ms Lennard replied:

“Six or seven,” while HR and estates

director Louise White admitted she had

last been in the office in October.

The senior pair admitted that at times

there had been over 2,000 staff in the

workplace, a number they thought was


Reports in The Observer newspaper

had described how Covid had “ripped

through the DVLA in September”. “It

actually started in my zone,” one staff

member told the newspaper. “It just

spread like wildfire. Loads have tested

positive. More than I can count.”

The whistleblower said he has had to

self-isolate six times, and that contact

centre staff were not able to wear masks

and were sitting close together. “We sit

back-to-back, just one metre apart,” he

said. “They say ‘the two-metre rule only

applies if you’re face to face’.”

One member of staff had died of the


The PCS union, which represents

many of the staff, said Julie Lennard’s

performance was “woeful”, adding that it

had called for the DVLA to let staff work

from home and only allow a skeleton

workforce to remain, to deal with critical

emergencies, like they did during the first

lockdown in March.

Its chief executive Mark Serwotka

added: “There must be a full

investigation into the circumstances.

“There is no doubt that insisting over

2,000 DVLA staff go into work every day

is a recipe for further Covid cases and

that increases the possibility of further


A DVLA spokesman said: “We are

greatly saddened by the death of a

valued member of the DVLA family. Our

thoughts go out to his family and all

those who were close to him.

“Our focus throughout the pandemic is

on staff safety and we continue to work

closely with Public Health Wales and

follow Welsh Government guidance to

ensure that our sites are COVID secure.”

Big drop in car casualties linked to lockdown

Figures released by the Department for

Transport have revealed that UK traffic

collisions in the 12 months up to June

2020 were down 16 per cent and road

deaths fell by 14 per cent compared to

the equivalent period in 2019.

The research indicated that there were

131,220 casualties of all severities

(compared to 156,034 previously) and

1,580 road deaths (down from 1,827

the previous year), representing

significant reductions.

The decline in UK road deaths and

casualties is directly linked to the

reduction in traffic as a result of national

lockdown restrictions from the Covid-19

pandemic. In April 2020, for example,

during the first lockdown which

commenced on 23rd March, casualties

fell by 67 per cent as road traffic reduced

by 49 per cent.

Neil Greig, Director of Policy &

Research at IAM RoadSmart, said:

“Despite fears that speeding has

increased substantially during the first

lockdown it does now look as if the

number of casualties has gone down in

line with falling traffic numbers. This is

certainly good news as it shows that the

vast majority of car, van and lorry stuck

drivers to the rules.

“However, the only way to confirm

these trends and measure the true

impact of local traffic closures and

temporary cycle lanes is for the

government to publish more details on

what has happened throughout the rest

of 2020.

“IAM RoadSmart thinks that it is

unacceptable that we may have to wait

until June 2021 to get the full picture for

UK road safety during the pandemic.”

The reduction in casualties for cyclists

were less impressive, however, with the

number of cyclists killed or seriously

injured down just four per cent in the

period covered by the DfT’s report,

compared with 26 per cent of car users

and 25 per cent for all other road users

in the same period. This could be linked

to an increase in cycling in this period.




DVSA rejects plan to let ADIs grant licences

A campaign for ADIs to be allowed to

grant driving licences to their pupils when

they felt they are safe to drive has failed.

The idea, which was backed by an

online petition which raised more than

55,000 signatures, was rejected by the

DVSA as “not lawful or appropriate.”

The idea came about as part of a

push-back against the cancellation of

L-tests, with organisers saying a “failure

of Government” had stopped students

from being able to book a test.

However, it’s predictable downfall came

when it crashed against the rock of DVSA

intransigence. A spokesman for the

agency quoted the rulebook when he

said: “The Road Traffic Act 1988 only

allows a full driving licence to be issued if

the person has passed the test of

competence to drive.

“Furthermore, regulations also require

driving test examiners to meet certain

criteria and pass an initial qualification

and examination before being authorised

to conduct practical driving tests.

“Whilst driving instructors are very well

trained to teach learners to drive, it would

not be lawful or appropriate for them to

conduct tests on their pupils.”

Other commentators took to Twitter to

dismiss the idea equally ruthlessly, with

many calling it “stupid” and “terrible”.

IAM Smart’s Neil Grieg, while admitting

sympathy for learners denied the chance

of taking their test, said: “We strongly

believe that the independent test at the

end of the process of learning to drive is

the best way to deliver safe and capable

new drivers onto our roads.

“It is vital that road safety is not

compromised as we emerge from this

health crisis”

“There is currently no quality controlled

way of taking feedback from an ADI and

assessing it to see if a learner is fit to pass

the practical test. We have a great deal of

sympathy for those learners currently in

limbo but until the pandemic is over it

looks like they will just have to wait.

“Once testing does return it is important

that the DVSA works through the backlog

of practical tests as quickly as possible.

MSA GB’s Peter Harvey said the

campaign’s failure was to be expected but

wondered if the instigators had been

reading Newslink recently. “In December

we carried a very well nuanced article

asking whether having ADIs grant

licences, in the wake of the decision to

allow teachers to sign off GCSE and A

Level grades, was plausible; somewhat

ironically, in this issue we have regular

contributor Rod Came saying something


“While this idea had little chance of

success in the midst of the crisis, as

Government departments don’t want to

appear hasty or rash in making major

decisions, once Covid has passed perhaps

the time has come to have a radical

re-think of how we handle driving licence

acquisition in the UK.”

See the



Victoria goes all

out to clear its

L-test backlog

Colin Lilly

Editor, MSA Newslink

Have you wondered how other nations’

driver training and testing was handling

the disruption of the Covid pandemic?

A bit of research uncovered an

Australian approach from the state of

Victoria. Its VicRoads LinkedIn page

offered an update on progress on clearing

the backlog of learner drivers waiting to

get on to the road. This has included the

opening of new test centres to handle

extra appointments for the drivers who

have been delayed by the Covid

shutdown. One of these new centres in

Ringwood, Melbourne, is pictured.

The new licence testing centres offer

dedicated spaces to house multiple

socially distanced computer tests. The

centres offer computer-based and onroad


A priority is given to those whose tests

were postponed by the lockdown, but

they also offer hardship and special

circumstances appointments to

customers who would suffer undue

hardship as a

result of not

sitting a licence


To get the

full story,

click here



AA defends response to lockdown

For all the latest news, see

AA Driving School has defended its

response to the latest lockdowns after

MSA GB received complaints from

members who are on their books.

MSA GB national chairman Peter

Harvey said there had been “a number

of complaints over AA still asking

francishees to pay fees during the current

lockdown, so I challenged them on the


However, in response, AA said it was

doing all it could. A spokesperson said

the organisation was “totally

sympathetic” to the challenges the latest

lockdowns had created for its members,

saying it would continue to support its

instructors through this difficult time.

“In light of the new lockdown, we are

reducing our fees throughout January

and February. This reduction is the

equivalent of waiving the non-vehicle

fees associated with the franchise. We

are also continuing to offer franchisees

the option to take a payment holiday

from their franchise fees which they are

able to pay back, interest free, over the

next two years. Our business continues

to have significant costs during the

pandemic, not least the lease and

associated vehicle costs for our

instructors’ cars.

“We have worked hard to try and find

the most sustainable solution for the next

two months, which supports both

instructors and our business. We will

continue to communicate with our

instructors and talk to them individually,

if they wish, to support them through

this period. We will review this in

February when we expect further

Government guidance on the next steps

for the current lockdown.


“Completely waiving fees,

as we did during the first

lockdown, is not a sustainable

way of getting our business

through this new lockdown.


“During the first lockdown in spring

last year, we waived fees entirely for 14

weeks and then offered instructors the

option to defer payments during

subsequent local lockdowns. Without

any income this cost the business

millions of pounds.

“Like all businesses, we have had to

Lessons needed on ADAS systems

Vehicle manufacturers, dealerships and

ADIs should include a comprehensive

lesson for motorists on how to use

advanced driver assistance systems

(ADAS) so they are a road safety benefit

and not a potential hazard, says IAM


Some of the most widely known ADAS

include adaptive cruise control,

autonomous emergency braking systems,

lane keeping assist and driver monitoring

for drowsiness and distraction

recognition. However, awareness and

understanding of these systems is

generally low among drivers, with most

using a ‘trial-and-error’ method to get to

know the tech.

IAM’s Neil Greig said: “Advanced driver

assistance systems have the potential to

improve road safety, but only if used

correctly. If used incorrectly, they can

have the opposite effect, with potentially

worrying consequences for all road users.

“The time has now come to include a

comprehensive lesson from every car

dealer supplying vehicles and further, for

more about ADAS to be included in the

UK driving test.”

make decisions in an unstable financial

environment, with no knowledge of how

the virus will impact our lives in the

coming months.

“Completely waiving fees, as we did

during the first lockdown, is not a

sustainable way of getting our business

through this new lockdown. We will

continue to do all we can to support

instructors, many of whom are eligible

for the government’s Self-Employment

Income Support Scheme payments.

Clearly there is some hope with the

vaccine on the horizon that our industry

can go back to normal in the coming

months, but the key thing for us right

now is finding a way to support our

instructors, in a way that is sustainable

for both instructors and for our driving




ADI numbers are down,

down, deeper and down

The status quo over recent years has been a shrinkage in

the ADI register, with the number of instructors falling every

year. But is that cycle starting to end and an increase in ADIs

numbers on the cards? MSA Newslink looks at the latest figures

New statistics released by the DVSA

have revealed the scale of the fall in ADI

numbers over the past decade – but

there is just a chance that what was an

accepted trend of fewer instructors may

be bottoming out, and that the size of

the ADI pool could be about to start

growing again in 2021-22.

In April 2011 there were over 47,000

ADIs on the register, pretty much a high

watermark and a figure that would be

more or less maintained until deep into

the following year.

But since the second half of 2012

there has been a steady fall in the

number of instructors, with hundreds

leaving the ADI Register every quarter.

Comparing ins and outs, in March

2013, 246 entered the ranks, but 357

left; in March 2014, it was 234 against

279; in March 2015 it was 242 against


The result is that by September of last

year the Register had just 38,642 ADIs:

a fall since 2011 of just short of a fifth.

The situation is unlikely to change

overnight, either. Looking at the pipeline

of new ADIs coming in and comparing it

to those leaving shows that while there

has been a slight increase in newcomers,

so have ADIs leaving the profession

grown. A small rise in ADI numbers looks

likely but it will be a slow and steady

climb rather than a surge.

It is hard to quantify how large this

increase will be, or how quickly it will

arrive. As all members will be aware, the

number of initial applications to become

ADIs, and trainee licences issued, falls

well short of the number of people who

qualify as instructors. Indeed, the scale

of the drop-out appears on first

inspection to be alarming. But it is

challenging to follow new applications

through the process. The length of time

spent training to pass the Part 3 differs

So what’s love got to do with it?

widely between instructors, making it

hard to look at raw monthly stats of new

trainees and then predict accurately

when they will become new ADIs.

What is clear is that the trainee

licences issued is still far greater than the

number of green badges, suggesting a

large drop-out rate. Again, while

accepting that no monthly figure of initial

applications can be directly linked to any

month’s trainee licences, and then on to

new ADIs, it is interesting to show the

statistics annually, and try to work out

the drop-out rate.

For the years 2011-12 onwards

through to 2019-20, initial applications

to become an ADI grew. 4,985 made an

initial inquiry in 2011-12, and this

number increased every year up until

2018-19, when it rose to 7,634

applications. Even when it did fall in

This equation isn’t one of Einstein’s, but basically:

More love = more babies = more pupils for ADIs in

about 18 years time (climate change activism not


Have a quick look at the chart right. It shows birth rate

in the UK, and you can quickly see how much it rose

for a decade.

The birth rate in 2000-2003 was relatively low,

which translated as poor years for ADIs in 2017-19 as

far as the crop of new drivers was concerned. Fewer

babies in 2000 means fewer 17-year-olds for us to

teach in 2017.

However, after 2003 something interesting happens.

The birth rate shot up, and continued climbing until

plateauing and then starting to dip from 2012.

That means that in 2021 we are about to enter a

period of lots of 17-year-olds... and that bumper crop

will continue until around 2029, at which point the

falling birth rate from 2012 onwards will start to

impact. It should mean that, for ADIs and in the

immortal words of Tina Turner, these coming years

could be _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ / _ _ _ _

Number of live births in the UK, 2000-2018



For all the latest news, see

2019-20 it fell by only 22.

But what happened to trainee licences

over the same period? You would have

assumed they too would rise year on

year, keeping pace with the initial

applications but obviously lagging a few

months behind, but that was not the

case. In 2011-12 3,350 people

obtained a trainee licence but this fell

sharply to 1,674 the next year.

Subsequent years fell again, so that

while at the start of this period the

number of trainee licences was around

75 per cent of the initial applications, by

2015-16 it was just 20 per cent (6,790

initial applications against 1,313 trainee


2019-20 saw 7,634 people make an

initial inquiry to the DVSA; 3,386

received a trainee licence in the same

year – less than half.

What put people off?

But how do those trainee licences

compare with new ADI statistics?

Interestingly, quite well for a time. New

ADI numbers – which don’t include

people re-registering – kept pace. If we

assume it takes at least nine months to

go from trainee to qualified, it helps to

compare the figures on new ADIs to

those of the previous year’s trainee

licences. In 2012-13, 1,674 pinks were

followed by 1,549 greens in 2013-14;

in 2013-14, 1,449 pinks were followed

in 2014-15 by 1,268 green licences.

However, this trend collapses in recent

years. In 2017-18 3,440 trainee

licences were followed in 2018-19 by

just 2,554 new ADIs; the next year it

was 3,870 as opposed to 2,386.

The overall impression is a job with a

huge initial appeal, before people learn

more about the actual practicalities,

costs, hurdles and ultimate rewards, at

which point there is a massive fall in

interest. Even when a trainee licence is

granted there is a steady decline in

numbers completing their training. This

picture is then further complicated by

more people retiring, resigning or failing

to make the standard, thus reducing the

numbers on the register, year on year.

Will this change? Possibly. In the year

2020 up to September, 1,501 ADIs had

officially left the register, with 1,166

joining it – a shortfall of 335. But a

whopping 3,217 people made an initial

application to train, and 1,938 trainee

licences had been handed out.

In September 2020 an astonishing

1,022 people made their first

applications to the DVSA – far higher

than the figure for any single month

since 2011. This suggests a surge in

pent-up demand as people who would

normally have begun training over the

summer finally got their chance as

lockdown restrictions eased. At the same

time 306 trainee licences were issued,

and 327 people either became ADIs or


This compares well with numbers

exiting. 239 ADIs left the profession in

the same month, meaning a net gain for

the Registrar.

You would expect to see some of those

1,022 receive trainee licences in due

course, and then add their names to the

register at a later date in numbers far

higher than those leaving.

As to the future, job losses in other

sectors of the economy could well drive

up recruitment of new instructors, all

swayed by the dream of ‘35k a year and

a car’.

Whether they will make this dream a

reality, only time will tell.


Towards your CPD

Can I just go back and do

that bit again...?

In the second part of his look at the current L-test, Simon Elstow asks

how well it supports client-centred learning

Summary so far, from Part 1 (Newslink Janaury):

• If you have a pedantic test you get a pedantic result.

• Real world driving is complex. A thirty eight minute test cannot address this complexity.

• The L Test can’t mandate for experience. So some candidates get lucky and some are very unlucky.

• The real problem with the DL25 is that it only records failure – not what skills the candidate actually has.

• The L Test doesn’t really assess awareness, it really assesses process.

• You can almost always find something which is “potentially dangerous” – the criteria for failure.

• It’s trying to be a test of perfection when it supposed to be a test of competency.

• Stress is the main barrier to the L Test’s veracity – how truthful it is.

First of all, what’s so good about

client-centred learning? Lots!

My top three: Carl Rodgers

gave us the ‘centre’ of ‘client

centred’, when he wrote that

we should have “unconditional positive

regard” for our client. The Greek

philosopher, Socrates gave us coaching

when he said; “I don’t teach, I just ask

questions”. Eric Berne, the psychologist,

explained that ‘taking responsibility’

means conversations that are ‘adult to


History doesn’t repeat itself, but human

behaviour does.

What I want to show is that the

relationship we have with our clients is

more important than their L-test result.

But I also want to show how the L-test

actually gets in the way of that

relationship and distorts what good

driving should be about.

It’s often said (at least in our

profession) that ADIs are responsible for

their clients ‘learning to take


About the author

responsibility’. In other words the L-test

is just a test, but the real work is in the

teaching – a sort of disingenuous flattery.

I think it’s disingenuous because when

one of my pupils fails their test, the

inference is that I haven’t taught them

well enough. Examiners are not allowed

to say: “It’s not your fault, the test isn’t

good enough”. I often see an exasperated

look on the examiner’s face when they

must say what the single fault is, which

fails the person – especially when they

know the fault could have been as a

result of the conditions of the L-test.

The key thing we need to remember is

the aim of all of this – that our client

learns how to take responsibility.

A way to envisage this is to think of

‘responsibility’ as the ‘ability to respond’.

And that implies both the will and

emotional intelligence to do so.

What does the L Test route protocol

really achieve?

When in the real world do you drive a

person you don’t know around a route

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.

you haven’t prepared for? Even taxi

drivers don’t do that!

The L-test seems to assume that just

because Sat Nav is in use (or the

examiner is directing), that the learner

knows where they are going. I think

anyone can see that’s not the same thing

as setting the route yourself. ‘Good

practice’ means being prepared –

knowing where you are going. And being

prepared is a central tenant of taking


Sat Nav is supposed to be included as

a real world distraction. And that it truly

is. But what relevance to new drivers is

Sat nav compared to distractions like

phones, passengers and time commitments?

The problem is that the L-test creates a

‘parent-child’ relationship that’s at odds

with personal responsibility. Our clients

are focusing on and distracted by an

artificial standard, created by a test that

can’t properly assess responsibility.

Does the L-test reflect how learning


We all ‘learn’ after the event. In a nut

shell, learning is a ‘cycle’ of phases that

involve: theory (thinking), activity

(feeling), pragmatism (doing) and

reflection (watching). We learn when

we’ve thought about and applied the

learning to other situations – experience

– and then adapted our approach.

All this means that experienced drivers

develop an ‘auto pilot’, where much of

driving is automated.

But learners can’t drive on auto pilot;

they must rely on memory. The


For all the latest news, see

candidate is trying to remember a great

deal of information in a dynamic

situation. But the L-test isn’t like other

tests, where you can apply memory

without other distractions.

What other tests are there where you

cannot stop and restart or pause? What

other tests are there where you cannot

‘go back’ and correct something, or later

show you really do have a particular

skill? The L-test is more like It’s a

Knockout! Back to taking that penalty…

What influences young people

to drive safely?

I want to step back at this point and

shine the spotlight on friends, family and


Our young learner client’s primary

influences are from these peers and

mentors and other teachers Of course, I

know you know that, but you wouldn’t

think so when listening to an L-test

de-brief. It assumes it’s all about the


One key problem here is that the L-test

assumes that young people believe in the

criteria.I well remember, many years ago,

one of my pupils saying, “I will go in that


The L-test does not recognise

the ‘journey’ or programme of

learning the ADI is engaged in,

with their client... essentially

we are sponsoring our cliet,

saying ‘I know you can drive’


gap because I want to pass my test; but I

won’t be doing that in my car”.

The main issue here is that the L-test

does not recognise the ‘journey’, or

programme of learning the ADI is

engaged in with their client. Essentially,

as an ADI, we are ‘sponsoring’ our client,

saying, “I know you can drive”.

I ask my clients why, if they fail their

L-test, they think it happened. The

answers are complex and personal, but

aren’t normally about the mistakes

themselves. That’s because stress means

they could have made any mistake.

But the L-test doesn’t support or

recognise any of this.

Is there light at the end of this tunnel?

Yes, and in part, it’s the Standards

Check Guidance Notes. I think there is a

lot of good stuff there. But there is also

some muddled thinking. Importantly,

they recognise the key relationship ADIs

have with their client.

There has been a lot of interesting

discussion about continuous assessment

through these pandemic times. There is

an opportunity here.

The way forward, like the concept of a

Graduated Driver Licence, is a framework

of solutions. A diversity of approach is

needed here.

So where does this leave us?

The L-test is a bar; under the bar you

lose. Over the bar and you can drive any

car, anywhere, anytime. How realistic is


The L-test is still held up as a rite of

passage, but the world has moved on.

Where good teaching and coaching has

happened the L-test simply isn’t good

enough to assess that.

We owe this young generation an

honest appraisal of both the L-test and

other options.



Towards your CPD

First steps on the M-ways

can be daunting – but fun!

As we approach the second

anniversary of learner drivers

being allowed on motorways

with ADIs, Steve Garrod

draws up a lesson plan

As ADIs up and down the

country think of the days

when we could get out and

teach, it may be time to

reflect and plan some

lessons after lockdown.

It will be two years in June since

learner drivers in England, Scotland and

Wales have been be able to take driving

lessons on motorways. The aim was to

help to make sure more drivers know

how to use motorways safely but,

following some recent phone calls and

emails, it appears many ADIs are still not

confident with conducting motorway


It maybe worth re-capping a couple of

key facts:

• Only ADIs in Category B vehicles

fitted with dual controls are allowed to

teach learners on motorways

• It is a voluntary scheme and there

are currently no plans to conduct

[learner] driving tests on motorways

I am regularly asked questions about

the content and how to cover the subject

and about suitable magnetic roof boards

for motorway use, so this month I

thought I’d share some of the things we

have been discussing including lesson

planning, risk management, content and

selecting routes.

Many of us have conducted Pass Plus

lessons on motorways with newly

qualified drivers, but it is clear that the

vast majority have not. This is

understandable, because very few will

have been trained to teach on motorways

or even dual carriageways due to the old

pre-set test format of the now defunct

Part 3 Test of Instructional Ability.

Having said that, many ADI Part 2

routes cover national speed limits on

dual carriageways, and some on

motorways, so if you have a think back

to your training, think about the changes

you may have had to make to your own

driving and how this was covered by your


Your own risk management

Before teaching learners on motorways

it is essential that you make sure that

your instructor’s insurance includes

comprehensive cover on motorways and

that your magnetic roof sign has a strong

enough magnet to cope with high speed.

Most good roof boards are tested in

wind tunnels to above 70mph but you

should also consider the effects of strong

winds and perhaps postpone the

motorway lesson if you feel there may be

a danger of the board being blown off.

If in doubt it may be better to change

your top box because magnets do lose

their power over time, or use adhesive

L-plates front and rear.

As a general rule, it is best to change

your roof box when you change your car.

Lesson planning

When planning, you will need to give

consideration to the content, route and

the structure of your lesson. Although the

lesson content and structure needs to be

agreed with your pupil, you do have to

have a plan and know what needs to be

covered if the lesson is to be effective.

You will also be able to identify what can

be covered practically and what will need

to be covered by questions and answers,

eg, motorway features that may not be

readily accessible in your training area,

such as crawler lanes, smart motorways

and contraflows.

The duration of the lesson will depend

on where your pupils are located,

therefore it may be more suitable to

consider a two-hour lesson. Longer

lessons will also help pupils appreciate

the effects of fatigue when driving for

longer periods, therefore journey

management is an important element of

this training.

Under normal circumstance you could

decide to take two pupils in the same

session to enable them to travel further

and share the driving. Driving with a

passenger prepares them for the real

world (additional risks) and is useful if

you intend to accompany them on their

driving test.

Until the end of this pandemic, and

when we are allowed to get back out on

the road again, it is probably not a

sensible option, but it is a thought for the

future. Element 3.1.4 from the National

Standards for Driving and Riding and The

Highway Code (rules 253-273) will also

help you plan for this lesson. This

national standard has conveniently

planned this subject for us and is an

excellent lesson for a Standards Check, if

you have access to these types of roads.

The lesson content can be broken

down into Show me and Tell me

headings, such as:

Show me (skills that must be shown)

• join and leave a motorway/dual

carriageway safely from the left or the


• drive in the most suitable lane

• allow for others to join or leave the



For all the latest news, see

“In reality this could be the first time pupils

get the chance to overtake something moving

quicker than 15mph, save for the occasional

MAMIL out for his weekly cycle...”


• change lanes safely

• good anticipation

• overtake other vehicles safely

• maintain a safe following distance

Tell me (know and understand)

• safe use of hard shoulders

• how to react to emergency vehicles

and Highway Agency Officers

• how to plan a journey and how to

reduce the effects of fatigue

• the rules relating to dual

carriageways and motorways

• Active Management Systems (eg,

variable speed limits)

• the need to scan well ahead on

approach to junctions

• the correct use of the hazard lights

• dealing safely with a breakdown

• the risks posed by drivers of lefthand

drive vehicles, particularly large

goods vehicles.

Risk management

Part of the planning for this lesson

naturally includes risk management. This

could mean identifying potential

problems and finding suitable solutions

to reduce the risk and making sure the

lesson is built up step by step, for

example, allowing pupils to build up their

speed gradually on route to the


If you live near to an area that has

Active Management Systems, such as

‘hard shoulder running’ (where traffic is

allowed to travel on the hard shoulder to

reduce congestions a certain times of the

day) or variable speed limits where

mandatory speed limits are shown on

overhead gantries at busy times, then it

is worth the effort to build extra time into

the lesson so that your pupil can

experience it (though obviously be careful

not to run over time in a Standards



The recap should link to any home

study which may have been set, and

previous lessons dealing with dual

carriageways or national speed limit

roads. Pupils must be able to recognise

the national speed sign, know the

maximum speeds for their own vehicle

and also of others vehicle types, eg,

LGVs, cars towing trailers. Once they

pass their test they will be entitled to tow

a trailer or may be asked to drive a

mini-bus, so knowing these limits is


Main points

The main points should include the

bullet points under the ‘knowledge and

understanding’ section. For example:

• dealing with an emergency or


• how to recognise Active

Management Scheme (AMS)* (if


• speed limits

• lane discipline

• motorway road signs

• how to join and exit motorways

The above are also good examples of

risk management. The responsibility

should be shared in all driving lessons

and pupils need to know what is

expected of them before they enter the

main carriageway of a motorway.

Continued on page 22


Towards your CPD

First steps on the m-ways

can be daunting – but fun!

Continued from page 21

A key risk when dealing with

motorways is the hard shoulder. This

lane is statistically the most dangerous

place to be on a motorway, and the

dirtiest lane. Pupils should know the

risks involved and how to exit their

vehicles safely should they breakdown,

via the nearside (passenger) doors NOT

the driver’s side), and to stand well away

from the vehicle, preferably behind a

barrier if there is one.

They should understand the

advantages of using the emergency

phones and facing the traffic while

talking to the operator, or if they have to

use a mobile phone, be able to give their

location using the codes on the

telephone marker posts.

Once you leave the hard shoulder to

re-join the man carriageway you need to

be aware that the hard shoulder is the

place where all the debris ends up,

therefore it is important to check the

tyres at the earliest opportunity to make

sure nothing is likely to cause any


There is a good section in Driving – the

Essential Skills on motorway driving; it

is worth spending some time refreshing

your knowledge before teaching this

lesson. All of the main points can be

made up as a work book for pupils to

work through prior to the lesson.

car up with fuel so they can select the

correct pump.

If a service station is not on your route

try to leave at a suitable exit and find

somewhere suitable to stop if you feel it

is necessary. If your pupil is happy to

carry on then do so. The purpose of the

practical session is for pupils put into

practice what has been discussed during

the recap and briefing.

The old Chinese proverb which says: ‘I

hear – I forget, I see – I remember, I do

– I understand’ relies on learners being

able to see things relating to what they

have heard and then doing something

that links what they have seen and

heard. For example, stopping distances

are generally learnt by rote, with no real

understanding. The distance between

two telephone marker posts is 100

metres (yes metric!) and the stopping

distance at 70mph is 96 metres (in good

conditions). Linking what has been heard

to what can be seen helps pupils

remember things in the future.

Lane discipline is an essential part of

risk management, to the extent that the

police can now stop and issue fines to

drivers who ‘hog’ lanes when the one to

their left is clear. Pupils should identify

when it is safe and appropriate to return

to the next lane and understand how to

overtake moving vehicles. As a general

rule, drivers should clearly see the

vehicle they have overtaken in their

interior mirror before checking the

nearside door mirror before changing

lanes unless there is slower moving

traffic in those lanes.

Working out when to return (to a left

hand lane) can be debatable; something

that I have used for many years is

looking for the third telephone marker

post ahead of me (each one is 100

metres apart, remember). If I can see the

third one I know that I should be moving

over, if I can’t see it then the chances are

it is hidden by slower moving traffic. This

is just a guide line and it needs to remain


Practice and route planning

The practical section should be broken

down into small chunks. If you can plan

to stop at a service station on route then

that would be perfect. While in the

service area you could use the bay

parking exercise as an additional activity

before giving and receiving feedback from

the initial drive. Motorway service

stations can be busy places so it is a

good idea to give pupils some practice

while under supervision of how to

navigate such areas. I am normally pretty

good with finding my way around the

country but I still manage to lose my

bearings in large car parks!

It is also worth pointing out the cost of

fuel at service stations while you are

there to encourage pupils to fill up before

they leave home.

A point worth mentioning here is that

it is essential to teach pupils how to fill a

In case you ever wondered!

Telephone marker posts and signs pinpoint your exact position and correct

carriageway. The larger signs are for mobile phone users to save you having to walk

to an emergency phone.

M6 – identifies the motorway, the letter A or B marks the direction of travel, eg Away

from Junction 1 and Back to Junction 1 (There are other letters used to identify slip

roads and link roads) and the figure (306.0) identifies distance (in kilometres) from

junction 1.


For all the latest news, see

“If you can plan to stop at a service station

on route then that would be perfect...”

Two-lane motorways can be tricky and

you may need to move over sooner to

allow following traffic to overtake.

The thing to remember is that the pupil

has to make those decisions, albeit

during a conversation with you. They

need to realise that driving is not black

and white and there is a lot of grey that

can only be dealt with at the time.

Overtaking is also another area of risk

that needs to be managed well. The

phrase is it safe, legal and necessary

really needs to be reversed, because if it

is not necessary why even think about it?

In reality this could be the first time

pupils get the chance to overtake

something moving quicker than 15mph,

save for the occasional MAMIL (middle

aged man in lycra) out for his weekly


If you look at Driving – the Essential

Skills you will see that the procedure for

overtaking is slightly different - PSL


Position – are you near enough to the

vehicle in front without being too close to

enable you to pass it quickly?

Speed – what speed are you doing

now and will you be able to pass the

vehicle without breaking the speed limit?

Look – ahead to see if it safe to

overtake and necessary e.g. which exit

will you be taking and is the car in front

likely to change lanes (either right or left)

while you are overtaking it?

If the above is all looking good, then

use the MSPSL routine and overtake. At

any stage of the overtake pupils should

understand that they can always change

their mind and not overtake. The safe,

legal necessary runs right through the

whole manoeuvre.

The overtaking procedure can be

applied to all lane changes too, even if

there is nothing directly in front of you.

For example, when approaching a

junction where traffic may leave or join

the carriageway. Anticipating other traffic

changing lanes is also risk management.

Other things to look for when on the

motorway are other vehicles driving in

blind spots of others, particularly large

left-hand drive vehicles, watching how

other drivers overtake and road signs

giving information about lane formations.

For example, when joining a motorway

there will be signs telling you that you

may have to emerge into a lane on your

left or right, or that the lane you are in

may become its own lane on the


As you can see there is a lot of

information to include, and this is why it

is important to build in short breaks to

discuss key points. Driving lessons are

not meant to be endurance tests, they

are supposed to supportive and

informative where pupils feel confident to

learn and develop new skills. Regular

breaks means regular reflection which

helps pupils remember what they have

learnt. If pupils drive for too long they

(and you) are more likely to forget what

has been achieved.

At this level the lesson should really be

about a two-way conversation with the

pupil encouraged to do the planning.

Directions should be based on following

road signs, and by using Sat-nav.

Always make time for an end-of-thedrive

summary. Questions such as “What

have you learnt?” allows your pupil to

think about what they have learnt and

what they still need to improve or learn,

which will be starting point for their next


If you can, plan a motorway or

dual-carriageway lesson with someone

once we are allowed: it really does

makes a pleasant change!


Survey seeks

ADI views on

auto driving

The European Driving Schools

Association, EFA, was involved with a

Drive2theFuture Project on the

acceptability of autonomous driving

and the role of driving training.

A new survey has been launched to

collect data on ADIs’ views on

autonomous driving. The collected data

will be shared with EFA and member


Please share the survey with your

colleagues nationwide. It is important

to make our voices heard.

The survey takes about seven

minutes and can be found at


More on Drive2theFuture at

DTC update for


As reported in December’s Newslink,

Bristol (Brislington) driving test centre

update will close this month.

A short presentation on how DVSA is

planning to minimise disruption to

customers and provide similar levels of

test availability was given by staff to

local ADIs on January 7.

Potential locations, routes and

examiner staff levels were discussed.

This was followed by a short question

and answer session between staff and

instructors. You can watch the meeting

using the link and password below.


Passcode to view: RD22#78D

For L-tests already booked at Bristol

(Brislington) from February 1, the

DVSA will contact all candidates and

ask them to contact them to book a

priority test date at a new test centre.

The three test centres they will be

offered priority dates at are:

• Chippenham

• Kingswood

• Jubilee House (Bristol)

You will need to contact the service

centre before 1 March 2021 to have

access to the priority dates.


Towards your CPD

Looking and not seeing:

what do you teach?

Mike Yeomans

MSA GB North East

I am sure all of you who are preparing

students to drive on the roads and

interact with other road users, try to

show the perspective of how other road

users see you and how you should see

other road users.

Whether it for licence acquisition or in

the commercial fleet market, how we

perceive our fellow travellers while we are

on the roads is very important to our


But do we always see those around us?

How much does our environment

register? What draws our eyes to dangers

or distractions?

Bearing in mind that actually seeing

what you are doing is essential, what

techniques do you use to make your

clients aware of saccadic masking? If you

remember the advert ‘Think once, think

twice, think bike’, it is the phenomenon

of looking but not seeing.

The roads in Britain are a busy place.

Road users are increasing, and people

are taking different forms of transport

such as bikes, motorbikes, mopeds and

so on.

What is saccadic masking?

Saccadic masking affects us all. It is to

do with the way that our eyes and brain

see things as we turn our heads. When

you move your head from side to side, as

when you look left and right at a junction,

our eyes send images to our brain in

snapshots. You can think of it like a

camera recording video footage in

frames. Our brains then link all of these

frames (called fixations) together to

create one continuous image. However,

this is an illusion because between the

images there are blind spots (called


How does saccadic masking affect my


When you are approaching a junction,

or looking to turn left or right, your eyes


(The image above was first created in 2009 for inclusion in National Driver

Improvement Scheme NDIS. Author was Lee

do not capture one continuous image.

The saccades created between fixations

are a danger, and another road user

could fall within these blind spots and

not be seen. The faster you move your

head, the shorter the fixations and the

longer the saccades, therefore increasing

the risk of not seeing another road user.

How can I prevent saccadic masking?

Saccadic masking can be decreased

by, instead of doing one continuous head

movement from left to right, pausing for

a fraction of a second at three points.

These points should be once to the left,

once directly ahead, and once to the

right to check your long, middle and

short distance. If you get into the habit of

doing this your eyes will adjust faster,

and you can complete the procedure

quicker. This then stops the eyes from

sending incomplete images to the brain.

It is recommended that this is

completed at least twice each time you

are looking to turn. If every driver carried

this out, it is believe we could reduce the

risk of road crashes by one quarter.

An example of saccadic masking is

shown on the link below from the

Alliance of British Drivers.



The images above are taken from a

driving simulator showing the areas we

scan and areas we most commonly don’t


For all the latest news, see

pay enough attention to.

Developing the psychological

knowledge of how we scan and how that

can be improved, I have noticed that

when training van/minibus drivers or

coach/large goods drivers, they are often

unaware of how others see them and in

turn they lack understanding of how they

should see those around them who are

more vulnerable than themselves.

For example: Take a medium-sized van

and ask the driver to leave the cab area

and walk with you behind the vehicle

about 5 or 6 metres – in other words,

place the driver in a position on the road

as if he were in a vehicle following the


Ask the question: what can you NOT

see? The answer will usually be one of

two: “Anything in front of the van” or “I

can’t see the door mirrors”.

Let’s focus on the door mirrors. Ask

the driver to now walk 25 to 30 metres

behind the van and as before (from a

driver-in-car position on the road) ask

what CAN you now see? At this point,

and rarely before, the driver can now see

at least the driver side mirror clearly.

Asking the next question: You can see

the mirror; would you be able to see the

driver’s head in that mirror? “Yes, I could


Then the driver – ‘YOU’ when in that

van – can see ‘YOU’ now as the car

driver, demonstrating the blind spot for


“I ask the simulated cyclist, our driver,

to draw in the air an image of a cyclist.

It’s always the same; they draw a side-on

image of a cyclist. But when do we really

see this image in the mirror? You don’t

see the cyclist side on; you see them endon,

from the front not the side – very slim



most medium to large vehicles is at least

25 to 30 metres.

Usually this larger-than-expected blind

spot is quite disconcerting for our van

driver and adds another perspective to

using mirrors and improving observation.

I use this process with car drivers as

well, pulling up behind a parked van or

lorry/minibus in quiet streets and walking

as described earlier to view the

limitations the van driver has dealing

with you, the car driver.

On walking back to the van, I would

ask the driver to walk on the verge as if

riding a bike approaching the nearside of

the vehicle. My question would be: Tell

me when you lose sight of the driver’s

head in the passenger side mirror if you

were riding your bike to pass to wait

alongside the van?

In over 98 per cent of the times, I ask

this question (dependent on the

understanding of what I’ve asked), the

simulated cyclist loses sight of the

imagined driver’s head at or just before

the rear wheel of the vehicle.

At this point I would ask the simulated

cyclist, our driver, to draw in the air as if

drawing on a wall an image of a cyclist.

It’s always the same; they draw a

side-on image of a cyclist. But when do

we really see this image in the mirror?

You don’t see the cyclist side on; you see

them end-on, from the front not the side

– in other words, a very slim silhouette.

This may account for the many times

we ‘look but don’t see’ a cyclist, as the

brain is not seeing what it expects to see.

Even our road markings encourage us

to not see what we see in our mirrors.

Every reference to cyclists on road signs

or in literature is the side view.

I appreciate not every cycle lane is

easy to follow but the signage I feel is

more for the cyclist and not considering

the motorised vehicle driver.

I wonder if we should redesign the

cycle signage so it is similar to that used

in Europe, which shows both what they

should see as well as the obvious side

view cycle image.

(See the photographs above for

alternate images in the cycle lane; side

of bike and front of bike.)

Certainly, as we approach a junction,

the side view on an elevated sign to

show what might be passing across in

front of us, but on the approach, an

elevated front view sign/s reminding us of

what we might see in our mirrors or be

passing, may work better.

Of course, the best method to get all

road users to be familiar with each

other’s modes of transport would be to

encourage all drivers to at least sit in

different vehicles – cars, bikes, vans and

LGVs. There are many companies

offering those experiences and if you are

not offering Pass Plus or lessons after

your pupils pass, I would suggest

connecting with one or more of these

companies. Alternatively, take your

students on a Bikeability course to give

them an understanding of the needs of

cyclists, or enhance their perceptions by

putting them behind the wheel, even if

stationary, of bigger or different vehicles.





Time to show us your

Plan B, DVSA

Rod Came

MSA South East


am pleased to tell you that

you have...” Those words

are said by DVSA examiners

to the 46 per cent of car

driving test candidates who

actually pass their test, and must be

music to their ears. They mean so many

things to different people: freedom,

employment, status even.

Unfortunately, those words have been

in very short supply in the last 10

months. The pandemic has reduced the

provision of driving tests to a microscopic

minimum. Many people have suffered,

their dreams of freedom, aspirations of

employment have all but disappeared.

It is understandable that DVSA had to

suspend driving tests while the country is

in lockdown. Their examiners are as

susceptible to catching Covid-19 as the

rest of the population, especially within

the confines of a car.

However, at some time in the future

driving tests will have to resume, the

current situation in relation to tests and

Covid-19 cannot go on for ever. It’s

needless to say that, if there has been

any thought put to this by the DVSA, it is

a closely guarded secret. It need not be.

If there is a Plan B we as driver trainers

need to know what it is. Unfortunately,

because of the lack of information, the

only conclusion that can be drawn is that

there is no Plan B.

The system for the provision of driving

tests cannot continue in the same

manner as it has done in the past. It was

quite simply not suitable for purpose. It

did not work.

I have been in the industry for 40

years. For almost all of that time there

have been totally unacceptable waiting

times for being able to take a car driving

test. At the worst of times candidates

were having to wait for nearly a year, and

similar for a re-test. Occasionally the

availability became more accessible in

some parts of the country, but still

remained stubbornly high for most


You do not have to be Einstein to

foresee that there will be a colossal

demand for both driving lessons and

tests as soon as it is decreed that the

populace can move about freely: the dam

will burst.

When tests became more available last

year it was understandable that

examiners were reluctant to deliver them,

as the risk of contracting the virus had

not gone away. The effect on the waiting

list was minimal, at best. If DVSA thinks

that resuming test appointment dates in

the same manner as before is

acceptable, then it has to be said here

and now that it is not. Change has to

happen. The old system is irreparably


There have been various suggestions

made to avoid the impending implosion

of the test waiting system – bringing



For all the latest news, see

back retired examiners, using driving

examiners associated with various

advanced driving groups, etc – but these

do not overcome the obvious problem,

that being the risk of infection from 35

people a week who are unknown to the


Whether retired examiners would want

to go back to work in the prevailing

circumstances is a moot point. Whether

road safety group examiners are suitable

is another. Whether driving tests per se

are absolutely necessary is yet another.

Galloping over the horizon is another

approach. The Government has decided

to scrap GCSE, A, As Level and SATS

exams this year, as was announced by

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.

Williamson said: “Although exams are

the fairest way we have of assessing

what a student knows, the impact of this

pandemic now means that it is not

possible to have these exams this year.”

Mr Williamson also said that a form of

teacher-assessed grades and tests will be

used, with training to ensure grades are

awarded “fairly and consistently”.

After the debacle last year when

Artificial Intelligence led to a disaster in

exam results it has been decided that

teachers are the best people to judge the

abilities of their pupils, hence the

decision that this year they would be the

sole arbiters. Common sense has come

to the fore.

Carrying that approach forward it does

not require a great stretch of the

imagination to see how that same

approach could be applied to the

acquisition of a driving licence.

It is a given from their previous history

that DVSA will not be able to cope with

the number of applications for driving

tests that will be made, as normality in

whatever form returns. The waiting lists

for test dates will stretch to infinity.

It is likely that more than two million

tests will have not taken place over the

lockdown period. When the previous

lockdown was eased DVSA started

providing test dates for the following two

weeks; very quickly those slots were

filled and there were an unknown

number of people who could not get one,

possibly ten times the number of those

who did. If that were the case it would

mean that the waiting list would have

been 20 weeks. That’s a totally

unacceptable time to have to wait in any


As it has now been accepted by

Government that teachers in schools can

assess the capabilities of their pupils in

what would have been their important

exams, there is no good reason why

teachers of driving cannot be considered

to be capable of performing the same


There are several benefits to be gained

from this approach to the acquisition of a

driving licence.

1. When the waiting time for a test is

long there is pressure to take a test on a

given date in the hope of passing. This

pressure would be removed as the ADI

would be the judge of whether the pupil

was capable of driving safely on their

own, or not.


After the debacle of last year

when AI led to a disaster with

exam results, it has been

decided that teachers are

the best people to judge the

abilities of their pupils...


2. The ADI would also have a moral

responsibility toward the continued safety

of a pupil after he/she had given them

their full licence.

3. Any risk of infection would be no

greater than for a normal driving lesson.

4. There would be a far greater number

of people able to assess the capabilities

of prospective new drivers which would

take the pressure off DVSA and reduce

test waiting times. Maybe 30,000 ADIs

against about 2,000 examiners.

5. As not all ADIs would/could be

certificated to pass their pupils, some

learner driver tests would still be



Another ADI’s

view on the


of the L-test

conducted by DVSA examiners

Problems? Of course there would be


1. People who decide to learn without

an ADI would have to be tested by DVSA

examiners as now.

2. DVSA will almost certainly be

against any suggestion that ADIs can test

as well as teach.

3. The standard for passing would

vary, but DVSA supervision should

ensure a fairly level playing field.

Currently there is a big difference

between the level of expertise needing to

be displayed between a test taken in

London and, say, Brecon in Wales.

4. DVSA would doubt the ability of

ADIs to maintain standards even though

all ADIs have been judged to be ‘fit and

proper persons’.

In order to progress this suggestion a

lot will depend on whether DVSA have a

secret Plan B, or whether the waiting

period for a car driving test exceeds a

reasonable time frame. Using Covid as

an excuse will not be acceptable for a

serious problem that can be foreseen and

should be prepared for.

When it is agreed that DVSA cannot

cope, the above proposal would need to

be introduced quickly. Preparations need

to be made beforehand, not waiting until

the disaster has occurred and then trying

to stage a rescue, people’s necessity to

have a driving licence is too important for


Pressure needs to be put on DVSA to

avoid massive disappointment for many

people. NASP has already started to do

this in relation to extending Theory Test

pass certificates; the next step is to start

working on DVSA for the speedy

provision of practical test dates.


Regional News

Starting the year with a bang whimper

Guy Annan

MSA Western

As I sit and ponder what to write I thank

my lucky stars that I am still able to.

That may sound like a strange

statement but perhaps its something that

we all take for granted. I was made more

aware of the fragility of life recently when

a friend told me he woke up and couldn’t

see out of his left eye. He went to the

optician and then on to hospital where

they found he’s had a bleed near the

optic nerve. Luckily things should get

back to normal soon but if not he can

wear corrective lenses to help.

I wish him well; it could happen to any

of us at any time, and it’s obviously the

most important of all our senses,

especially to us as professional drivers.

On a lighter note (if you get your batter

mix right), as it’s February we have

Shrove Tuesday on the 16th – that’s my

problem, I’m always thinking about food!

Perhaps that’s why I put so much weight

on over Christmas, a problem not helped

by getting food in for people who then

couldn’t turn up because of Covid.

I suppose my New Year resolution

should be to eat smaller portions but

that’s easier said than done to stop

habits developed over 60 years.

While the lockdown bites I’m expecting

some young bird pigeons soon for racing

but they have their own Covid, Bird

Flu,and they are only allowed out once a

day for an hour at a time. Sound

familiar? Aaarghh, is there no escape!

I received a phone call from an

instructor who’s been in the business for

over 20 years and he was complaining

about an examiner who had a go at him

at the end of his test because his car was

a mess. Apparently he didn’t know that

the car had to be super clean to protect

the examiner, his pupil and himself from

the coronavirus!

His retort was that if it was that bad

why did the examiner take it out in the

first place.

He is no longer interested in rejoining

our association as he is winding down to

retire. You see, this is what happens

when you don’t belong to a group.

How did he not know about the new

rules? The local Taunton group TADI

(Taunton Association of Driving

Instructors) has been proactive

throughout the pandemic in keeping our

members informed as much as possible,

backed up by information fed in by Peter

Harvey and the DVSA.

‘Buy local, support your local shops’

the saying goes, and the same goes for

your local driving instructors

associations. They are a source of good


So how’s your 2021 been so far? With

no work to do I compiled a little diary of

what I’ve been doing... or not, in this


January 4th

No sooner have I stopped wishing

people a happy new year and saying it

can’t be as bad as last year then BANG,

we get hit with it again, another

lockdown! Well, it didn’t work the first

two times so perhaps third time lucky.

Just a thought, why are all the people


Young bird pigeons have their

own Covid, Bird Flu.... they are

allowed out for only one hour

day... sound familiar?

Is there no escape!


who protest, those who flock to the

beach and those who don’t wear masks

not dead? Just a thought.

January 5th

On the news now apparently there’s

yet another new strain. This one could be

immune to the vaccines. Is this


Perhaps it’s time for all you atheists to

become religious, although if you’re an

ADI I’m pretty sure you will already have

a deity that you pray to daily after some

of the close shaves we encounter, even if

it’s just OMG.

Well, let’s just hope we make it to

February 16th; wouldn’t want to miss

those pancakes!

January 6th

Well, now I’m ill, and I’ve been stuck

in bed. Usual feeling of being run down,

headaches, etc, the old type of illness

you don’t hear much about these days

which in a way is good as I don’t want

none of that Covid stuff.

January 7th

We’ve now got a third strain – it’s from

Africa apparently. Are they just trying to

scare us or what? I am still feeling


January 8th

Slept most of the day, well they say it’s

supposed to be a good healer. Thought

I’d test the science...

January 9th

Load of rubbish; didn’t work, still feel

awful. Today is my wedding anniversary,

39 years, that’s pretty good going, isn’t

it, just a shame that we can’t get out

and celebrate it even if I did feel up to it.

Oh well, next year is our 40th so we’ll

make up for it then.

January 10th

Get there in the end. Illness done and

dusted, feel much better and ready to

return to work.... oooops, I forgot, we

can’t do that.

January 11th

Being a purveyor of good driving it’s

very frustrating to see others driving

badly. Some are very selfish when they

stop in a queue of traffic and won’t let

others out.

The police have been parked up across

the road on a neighbour’s driveway

leading to much speculation about

what’s going on, especially when they

were doing house to house enquiries

January 12th

Extend the social distancing to three

metres now? That’s the latest news.

On the back of my driving school car

there are words that read “may contain

nuts” (And it quite often does). It’s good

to see in the rear view mirror people

having a giggle at that; well, it helps the

world go around if you can make

someone smile.

Well, that’s it people, let’s be careful

out there.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates, contact Guy at g.annan@



For all the latest news, see

Let’s get together: MSA GB regions

to host online member meetings

It’s not been a great start to the year for

any of us, and many ADIs are worried

about the current situation and what the

future holds. To help make sure you are

kept as informed as possible, MSA GB

has organised a number of regional Zoom

meetings at which members can meet up

online and hear a comprehensive industry

update and the latest news from the


Find out how the pandemic is

impacting on driver training and testing

nationally and regionally, and ask any

questions you may have of MSA GB

officials. It will also be a great chance for

you to talk about the current situation as

far as it is affecting you, and pick up

advice and tips from your peers.

National Chairman Peter Harvey is

going to attend the meetings, and some

have also invited a guest speaker.

Please make time to join us. This is a

tough period for ADIs, particularly those

who work alone, and these Zoom

meetings will helpfully provide you some

much needed contact – and context – of

the pandemic.

Please note that while all these

meetings are free, you will need to book

via the email link below. Once our official

has received your request you will be sent

a link to the meeting.

If your region is not holding a meeting,

you can attend one of these below. Just

contact the appropriate regional contact,

as given below.


Date: Tuesday, February 2

Time: from 7.30pm.

Guest speaker - Graham Hooper from

Tri-coaching, to discuss ‘Why Coach’

followed by Q&A.

To book: Contact Kate Fennelly, Chairman

MSA GB East Midland, on or 07751156408


Date: Thursday, February 18

Time: 6:45 pm – 9:00 pm

Guest speakers to include Rob Cooling,

talking about electric vehicles for ADIs,

MSA GB National Chairman Peter Harvey

and Graham Feest, Institute of Master

Tutors of Driving, to discuss the topic

Safer Roads, safer vehicles.

To book: contact Mike Yeomans, Chair,

MSA GB North East, at


Date: Tuesday, February 23

Time: from 7.30pm.

Guest speaker - Darren Perrin, presenter

of 5th Wheel, on ‘Job and a Hobby’,

followed by Q&A.

To book: Contact Kate Fennelly, Chairman

MSA GB East Midland, on or 07751156408

“This is chance to get those frustrations off your

chest, network with colleagues and make sure

you are clued-up as to the current situation...”


Date: Thursday, February 25

Time: from 7pm

To book: Contact Geoff Little, MSA GB

Deputy National Chairman and Chairman

MSA GB West Midland Region, via or



We are hoping to host a meeting at the

end of February, with a representative

from the DVSA and Peter Harvey. If you

wish to be included, contact MSA GB

North West Chairman Graham Clayton at or 07710541462


Date: Sunday, February 28

Time: 2pm.

Guest speakers: Darren Russell, DVSA

TCM, Devon and Cornwall; Martin

Leather, to talk about ‘In-Car Selling and

Recession Proofing your business’; and

Graham Feest, IMTD.

To book: Contact Arthur Mynott, Regional

Chairman, MSA GB Western, via chair. or 07989852274.


Regional News

ADI hints:



made easy

Alex Brownlee

MSA Greater London

Hi! I hope everyone is well. In this

month’s Newslink I am setting you a quiz

– well, an ADI teaching challenge quiz

– but there are no prizes!

I know that everyone teaches differently

and each of you has his or her own

technique. However, I use a technique

which might be a lot easier and could be

helpful to other ADIs. It’s a technique that

has seen me through my teaching

experience, and I hope it may assist you.

This technique is visual; the picture

above shows the front windscreen of a


The points that are indicated by red

arrows are what I use – these are A, B, C,

D, E; so there are five points, but two of

the points have two extra uses as well.

That makes nine points altogether. All I

want to know is: what are all these points

used for in teaching? The person that gets

every point right will be mentioned in the

next issue of Newslink – so there is a

prize! – when I will be explaining the

points as well.

Have a look at the photograph and see

if you can work out what I mean. Best of

luck to all of you. Please send your

answers by email to me.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates, contact Alex at

Stay safe and let’s

get this virus sorted

Any ideas for my

odd junction? It’s

part of the Glasgow

mway network

Karen MacLeod

MSA GB Scotland

I hope this issue of Newslink finds

everyone well. I’m sure not everyone is

happy, as these are very trying times.

Remember, if you ever just need an ear,

please don’t hesitate to call myself or

any of the Scotland committee for a


MSA GB is doing everything and more

to keep all members up to date with all

the changes in our working environment

and also about available grants and

funds that could be made available to

self-employed ADIs.

Any member can also call MSA GB

head office with any questions and if

they can’t be answered straight away,

be assured someone will get back to


As time is available to us all at the

moment, I have been very fortunate

that several of the committee have been

doing some writing for Newslink, which

is fantastic, and I am so grateful. I

would also like any members to write a

piece and forward it to me, or if you

have a subject that you would like to be

discussed, drop me an email and I will

see what I can do.

You may recall the photograph we

published in the January issue, of the

strange motorway ‘junction to nowhere.’

I was hoping to have an answer for you

this month but sadly, nothing yet. If you

know what it is, again, please let me


A date for your diary: the committee

in MSA GB Scotland is hoping to see

some sort of normality returning later in

the year, so we have decided our annual

Scottish Training Seminar will be on

Sunday, 21st November. If we are not

allowed a face-to-face event, we will

resort to good old Zoom. Further details

will be announced as time goes by.

Stay safe everyone, abide by the rules

and let’s gets this virus out our lives.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates from your area, contact Karen




For all the latest news, see

Doing a Dominic... NOT!

John Lomas

Editor, MSA North West

On December 28 I awoke to find that I

had no vision in my left eye. Fortunately,

my optician was open although it was a

public holiday, and my next-door

neighbour was able to take me into town.

An examination resulted in a referral to

the hospital eye clinic, who contacted

me within 24 hours to attend on New

Year’s Day. Again, my neighbour came to

the rescue as this clinic was at the

Burnley hospital complex.

Apparently, I had had a haemorrhage

at the back of the eye.

A further check on January 7 resulted

in my being told I will be booked in for a

course of three injections which will have

to be done before my consultant can give

me a prognosis; I have not received a

date for that treatment to start as yet.

I am aware that monocular vision is

not, in and of itself, a barrier to driving

but until I get used to a new way of

judging distance/depth of field I will be

leaving the car at home; though I will of

necessity have to go out and run it for a

time every so often just to keep the

battery charged.

I will be relying on taxis where possible

for the hospital visits, fortunately a local

ADI was able to recommend one who is

reliable and happy to do my hospital


If I get a call in for my Covid jab I will

have to ask my GP or my consultant

whether there are any contra-indications

meaning only one or the other should be


If there are then I think the eye

treatment takes priority.

I jokingly told some people that I

considered “driving to Barnard Castle” in

order to check my eyesight, hence the

title of this piece.


In view (no pun intended) of the above

item, I would ask you: -

If there is anything you consider would

be of interest to your fellow ADIs, then

please send it to me for inclusion in the

North West section of Newslink as I will

obviously not be out and about very

much for a while.

Keep safe

I hope you are all keeping safe and are

able to take your exercise regularly.

Where I live our front doors open

straight on to pavements which are less

than two metres wide, so when I open

my door if someone is walking past, they

will be about a metre away if in the

centre of the footpath.

When I do go out, 9 times out of 10

someone approaching from the other

direction keeps on walking so I have to

go into the middle of the road to stay a

reasonable distance from them. If there

is a car coming the most I can do is step

out as far as the offside of the parked


Of course, I am unable at the moment

to use the car to get to a safe more open

space to exercise.

Derbyshire police have been in the

news for fining two women who drove

five miles to such an area, and yet there

has been a Facebook posting by a

Lancashire ADI with photos of a trip out

to a beauty spot 20 miles from their

home just two days after the Derbyshire


Hopefully you will have seen the

article on page 25 inviting you to an

MSA GB North West Zoom meeting.

These are challenging times for all of

us, and particularly for those ADIs

working alone it is hard to both keep up

with events and keep your spirits up, too.

That’s why it will be great to see

(hopefully, in my case!) as many of you

as possible on the meeting.

If you/they would like to attend send

your contact details (Email address,

phone number) to our regional Chairman

Graham Clayton via chair.nw@msagb.

com or phone him on 07710541462.

He will send you a joining link with the

confirmed date and time.

The meeting is also open to all

non-members who may wish to take

part, but they will have to contact

Graham separately.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates, contact John at

Glasgow ADI

group offers

local support

for members

Newslink is always happy to

publish news from the many

local ADI groups that include

MSA GB members. Here Bryan

Phillips offers an update on the

Glasgow and District Driving

Instructors Association (GDDIA).

First and foremost, Happy New Year

to you all, I hope 2021 is better than

2020 ...that said, I do not think it

could get any worse!

It has now been 12 months since I

have taken over as the chairman for

the GDDIA and I have to say it has

been a massive learning experience

and enjoyable at the same time.

Currently we have around 25+

active members within our group, and

we usually, we meet up once every

quarter on a Sunday evening in

Bishopbriggs. Obviously, due to the

current restrictions, we have changed

this to a monthly Sunday meeting on


Everyone who joins us comments

on how nice it is to see one another,

share experiences and receive

first-hand updates on anything up


We are always delighted to

welcome new members to our group.

Membership fee is really good value

at only £15 per year. While it is

mostly ADIs in our group, PDIs are

also most welcome.

Please feel free to contact me at for any

more information on how to join or,

restrictions permitting, you will also

find me in the Glasgow Baillieston Test

Centre and the surrounding area.

Please note our next meeting is on

Sunday February 28, starting at 6pm.

For more information, contact

Bryan on


Regional News

Horses and the scourge of Facebook

Russell Jones

MSA East Midlands

In early January, a young teenager who is

learning to drive received a text from her

boyfriend saying that he had read on

Facebook that she must not drive her car

during this latest pandemic lockdown.

She was very confused and distressed

by this news as she has a horse that

needs feeding every day. The horse is

stabled some miles away from her home,

and normally she would drive to and

from the stables with her mum acting in

a supervisory capacity.

I put her mind at ease by referring her

to the Exceptions listed in the Covid-19

Statutory Instrument, which state that

she was permitted to leave her home if

she had a ‘reasonable excuse’, and one

such exception covers animal welfare.

Furthermore, while the Government

advice was for her not to drive, it was

still legal for her to do so, as a Law has

precedence over Advice and Guidance if

they differ. The family was advised to

consult a solicitor, or a Citizens Advice

Bureau to give them peace of mind.

They now carry a copy of the Covid-19

Statutory Instrument (SI) in the car with

the relevant Exceptions highlighted in

dayglo yellow for easy reference should

they be asked to explain their presence of

being away from home.

I know that another learner is similarly

equipped when she travels to her stables

for the same reasons.

The story made me wonder, what

percentage of ADIs have studied the

Statutory Instrument 1200 – all of it –

and understands the contents? I did so in

the first week of April last year. It is a

fascinating document to read, and is

freely available online, as are the

occasional updates and amendments. It

allows me not to have to rely on

Facebook for the facts concerning what

we can or cannot do in relation to going

about everyday life in the world of


Prepared for a ‘life of driving?’ Or not?

How much do learner drivers study in

preparation for a ‘life of driving legally?’ A

council in South Wales has sent letters to

householders advising them that it

appears they are driving illegally over

footpaths to access their driveways to

CSI and military


and back to work?

The armed forces are much in the

news, and we all know why! I wonder

whether it is time for people to start

wearing protective clothing for

lessons... it could be used by both ADIs

and learner drivers during driving

lessons, and DVSA driving examiners

during tests.

The first option could those white

overalls so beloved of CSI-style crime

scene officers in TV dramas. A friend

of mine has used one in real life during

his long service as a crime scene

manager and confirms they would be

perfect for the job.

The second is a protective uniform

used in the military, and I, plus our

regional chair, have personal experience

of working efficiently when wearing and

driving dressed in such CBRN combat

gear during simulated, ‘deadly nerve

gas’ scenarios, sometimes for a few

days without a break.

I cannot think of any possible reason

why we could not do such a thing so

park their cars. They were advised to

apply for permission to have ‘dropped

kerbs’ installed. Residents are warned

that enforcement action will follow if the

dropped kerbs are not installed.

Various estimates put the cost in the

region of £2,000 for each resident, but

what really upset some was that the

council would then charge each of them

at least £200 to process the applications

for the work to be carried out.

The fact that many of them had been

acting illegally in this matter for several

years did not appear to concern them. In

my view they simply want a free ride

through their motoring lives, with no

concern for the obstruction of the

highway or the damage to footpaths. If

their own grandmothers tripped and fell

because of the damage, sustaining

serious injuries, would the selfish

miscreants be first in the queue to seek

compensation from the council?

Last summer I began teaching ‘Ellie’ to

drive, and a few weeks later she acquired

her own car. With three cars in the family

we can all return to work immediately.

It just takes a little initiative, and I’m

sure ADIs would leap at the challenge.

Sadly, I doubt the DVSA has any

appetite for anything which would get

the show back on the road anytime

soon and any suggestion put forward

would inevitably be placed in the tray

labelled, LTBW or ‘TOO DIFFICULT!’

and no off-road parking facility available,

congestion was a problem. I suggested to

her parents that they convert their front

garden into a ‘car park’, with the

necessity to apply for a dropped kerb.

After due process, work on the project is

scheduled to commence in the next few

weeks. I’m considering submitting an

invoice for my advice.

Should the DVSA feel guilty about this

problem by not having a comprehensive

‘driver education’ programme, covering

all aspects in the use of motor cars? The

current Theory Test syllabus is very

severely limited and hardly touches the

surface regarding the subject of

‘responsible motoring for life’. It also

brings into question whether the training

of ADIs is adequate; it currently seems

limited to delivering ‘test tips’ at a

minimum cost.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates from your area, contact

Russell at



For all the latest news, see

‘I’ll fill that last car park before I retire...’

Terry Pearce

MSA West Midlands

I have always kept a record of how many

of my pupils pass their driving test and

whether it was their first, second or third

attempt, etc, purely for my own curiosity.

Over the years there’s been the odd

error in my records which showed up

when I double checked my totals a

different way, so, as I have a lot of spare

time at present, I went through my records

to ensure I had an accurate figure.

I am sure some of you have had a

greater number pass than I have but how

can you quantify the number? You hear

people make comparisons such as ‘how

many football pitches it covers’ or ‘how

many Olympic-sized swimming pools you

would fill’, so my daughter suggested

‘how many car parks’ would my ex-pupils

fill if they all parked together?

It was strange, therefore, to realise that

if all my ex-pupils visited any of my city’s

car parks at the same time they would fill

it – except for one, the largest, and perhaps

I might get that one filled before I retire!

One point my records highlighted that

pleased me was the low number of

pupils who, when they failed, then left

me for another instructor.

After failing learners will often delay

booking their next test and then may be

too embarrassed to come back to their

original instructor and go elsewhere. I

always offered to book their next test for

them and told them they can pay me

when I next see them, thus keeping them

with me.

I am not even using my own money as

there is always a surplus from those who

pay up front and if they did not come

back, I could simply cancel their test and

the money goes back into my bank

account. I can only think of one pupil

who disappeared, just before I needed to

cancel it. I changed the test with another

pupil who wanted the early date and

then cancelled the disappearing pupil’s



I was told about the petition to ‘Allow

driving instructors to pass learners

unable to book a test’. It states: ‘Allow

learner drivers to be passed if their

driving instructor feels they are safe to

drive due to the failure of the

Government to enable learners to book a

test’. This issue reports on it on pg 14.

I consider that all my pupils are 100

per cent safe to drive and one of my

considerations before letting a pupil take

a test has always been, ‘would I allow

them to drive my children around’?

One problem could come if I was only

95 per cent sure they were safe, and you

had pushy parents demanding you pass


The biggest problem, of course, is

would all driving instructors have the

same moral standards? We all know of

allegations of Pass Plus certificates being

sold and sad as I am to say it, there are

some instructors who I would not trust.

I think this comment from the

Government response sums it up:

“Although ADIs are well qualified and

proficient in driving and instruction, they

are not experienced assessors, and this is

evidenced by the current practical test

pass rate of 47 per cent.”


To comment on this article, or provide

updates from your area, contact

Terry at

So what’s the latest in mask trends? Dinosaurs...

Kate Fennelly

MSA East Midlands

My mission this month was to find a more

supportive face covering to help my

students who have various medical

conditions, including deafness. I

conducted a short poll among pupils to

see what their thoughts where on a clear

panel mask. I was surprised to find they

all wanted to see me wear this type of

face mask on a lesson (style pictured).

Why? They felt they would take in more

information if they could see my lips and

it would eliminate the muddled sound

coming through a normal mask.

This took me by total surprise as I had

not realised all my students

needed this mask support.

So, after some research I

came across an excellent

product from a charity

called Fledglings. I

purchased some and asked

several family friends with children over

the age of 15yrs if they would try them,

including an autistic deaf teenager. The

experiment was to wear the masks while

home schooling purely because most

parents sit by their side and this would be

as close to a driving lessons as I could


The feedback was amazing: they found

them more responsive and engaged in

conversations better. I am not saying they

will work for everyone, but the evidence is

clearly pointing that way.

These findings have made me realise that

all my students need me to wear the clear

panel masks regardless of any medical

conditions. They are comfortable to wear,

breathable and have an integrated metal

nose grip. They are easy to clean and can

be used by both children and adults. I

personally recommend the dinosaur

printed ones; they look fantastic on and

everyone comments on them. I not sure if

I have got the roar off to perfection yet,


So, before you go back to work, have a

serious think about what you could do

to help communicate with your

students better, because I know

investing in these will be worth

every penny.

Finally, remember business

purchases can be claimed back

as a business running cost.

• See the product line at


Motoring matters

Attack of the CL10 NED no. plates

Rod Came

MSA South East

Have you been hit by a problem with a

CLONED number plate?

If you are lucky the first you will know

about this will be when the Fixed Penalty

Notice comes in the post; if you are

unlucky it will be when you are stopped

by the police on the motorway and arrested.

Apparently there are literally thousands

of vehicles on UK roads with false

registration plates and unsurprisingly,

they are being driven by people who

have little regard for the law.

Consequently, when the vehicles come to

the notice of law enforcement in its

various guises, from parking wardens to

traffic police, it will spell trouble for the

legitimate owner of the plates.

It is easy enough to acquire number

plates without having to go through the

legal route to obtain them. The legal

requirements mean that you pop along to

your local provider with your V5 and

identification, then they make the plates

for you on the spot for about £25.

However, should you desire plates that

are not of the standard format or not

even for your vehicle, they can be bought

via various companies on the internet

without having to produce any

paperwork at all, again for about £25.

I well remember a man who came to

the attention of the local police for a

minor offence for which he would have

received words of advice, but I was more

interested in his car. All vehicle parts

have markers on them which indicate

the month and year of manufacture,

some are obscure, others not so much.

In this particular case all the windows

were showing such marks, as was the

ashtray. Of course, the ashtray could

have been from a different car, but it is

extremely unlikely that all the windows

would have been changed – and their

date of manufacturer did not chime with

the age of the car.

The explanation in this case was that

the driver had crashed his own car and

seriously damaged it. He then went to a

Heathrow car park, selected an identical

model, stole it and put his own plates on

as though nothing had happened.

Unfortunately for him he put newer

plates on an older car, an easy mistake to

make if you do not know what you are


He was trying to pass off a stolen car

as his own, which is unusual. The usual

tactic for cloners is to pass off a stolen

car as another that is legally on the road.

The internet helps handsomely in that


Let’s say that you live in London and

would like something fairly ordinary, like

a Ford Focus, but can’t be bothered

buying one. Instead you steal one. Using

any used car website you then select a

Focus of a similar vintage which is being

sold by the owner who lives in the north

of England. Because there are so many

to choose from it is easy to select one

which matches the model and colour of

the stolen one. Obtain your plates using

the internet, put them on the car and

away you go. Savvy criminals even check

that the legitimate car is taxed and

insured and has a current MoT via the

DVLA’s website, so all appears in order.

It is only when the legitimate owner of

the vehicle starts to receive FPNs that it

dawns on them that their car has been

cloned, by which time it could be that

the cloned plates have been changed for

a different set, causing a similar problem

for another owner.

This, of course, can cause problems for

other drivers who literally come into

contact with the cloned car. A collision

occurs, names and addresses are

exchanged along with vehicle details, but

no insurance details are exchanged.

However, a quick check on the internet

by the other, innocent, party shows all is

well and he/she is convinced in the

legitimacy of their ‘co-collisionist’. It is

only later that they find that it is not so

– but by then it is far too late.

In the worst case scenario the activities

of the stolen car are brought to the notice

of police, for instance in relation to

county lines drug distribution. As a result

they keep a keen eye out for the drug

mule’s car. Pity, then, the legit owner

who, while driving to the West Country,

is picked up by an ANPR camera on the

M5 and prompts police action. A stop

operation is activated and the driver

arrested. A very harrowing experience for

an innocent person.

How can you prevent this happening to

you? You can’t, other than to take

immediate steps to notify the police and

DVLA if you believe your vehicle has

been cloned and to re-register it. How

will you know this? Only by chance, I

would suspect.

Whatever happens, I hope it doesn’t

happen to you.

Right, with APNR cameras more

prevalent, so the chances of a cloned

plate rise... though it could be the

innocent party pulled in by the police,

rather than the criminal with the false




For all the latest news, see

Electric vehicles: so green, so good for the

planet... what could possibly go wrong...

Guy Annan

MSA Western

The media is full of stories about electric

vehicles at the moment – with the latest

being that we will all have to be buying

one soon. The Government has got

behind them because they are

environmentally friendly. Or are they.

Let’s explore the eco friendliness of the

electric vehicle....

As many ADIs will know, electric cars

do have their drawbacks. There’s a

shortage of charging stations, the high

cost of electricity and disappointing

battery capacity that limits the distance

the cars can be driven between charges.

But the good news is they are meant

to deliver benefits to the environment.

But how true is this?

In some areas, not very. Take their

power plant, for instance. The bad news

is that the lithium used in the cars’

batteries is not great. For a start, toxic

chemicals are needed to process lithium,

and the release of such chemicals

through leaching, spills or air emissions

can harm communities, ecosystems and

food production.

Moreover, lithium extraction inevitably

harms the soil and also causes air


To manufacture an EV battery you

need as many as 20 minerals, including

cobalt, lithium and nickel as well as

other rare earth metals. According to the

British Geological Survey, there’s enough

‘metal in the crust’ to support the battery

industry globally. But from a UK

standpoint much of the resources are

inconveniently located, and there are

other political and non-geographical

factors that can hamper production and

squeeze supply chains. It doesn’t help

that these supply chains are tightly

controlled by China, which is a metals

superpower. It produces a lot and imports

a lot and is a very powerful force.

The UK has been an automotive

powerhouse for decades, but with the

advent of EVs the sector is now facing a

lot more competition for resources.

Jaguar Land Rover has plans to build EV

batteries in Wolverhampton, but other

companies such as Honda have mothballed

UK plants and decided to build

their EVs on the continent or in Asia.

Part of the problem is the UK has no

foothold on the minerals needed to

produce a battery and there is currently

no indigenous supply of battery raw

materials. There are some, such as

lithium in Cornwall and cobalt in Alderley

Edge, but these are mineral ‘occurrences’

rather than deposits, and it’s not enough

to sustain a whole EV sector and we’ll

have to rely on imports or recycling.

Shady practices

In many ways the situation is even

worse when we look at cobalt. A key

component in an EV battery, it is largely

mined in the Democratic Republic of

Congo (DRC), but news reports have

regularly exposed shady practices

including child labour and criminality.

Carmakers have been accused of ‘turning

a blind eye’ to informal mining in favour

of protecting their profit margins.

Last year, BMW announced it would

only source lithium and cobalt directly

from ethical mines in Morocco and

Australia, and there are encouraging

signs that blockchain technology, which

allows the ability to trace every stage of

the mining process, could expose the

bad practices and lead to them being

stamped out for good.

So what are the alternatives?

There are other options to e-vehicles.

Alternative fuels such as hydrogen,

acetylene, natural gas, ethanol and

biofuels also use internal combustion

engines. Hydrogen in the gas phase is

about 14 times lighter than the air.

Moreover, it is the cleanest fuel in the

world – but it remains difficult to store,

transport and handle.

Unfortunately, to produce the west’s

shiny eco-friendly cars (left), Africa

needs to do this (right) to its landscape


Life as an ADI

Why did you become an ADI? In our popular Q&A feature (see pg 40), the first question we ask

participants is why they joined the ADI ranks. The reasons given so far have been fascinating

and varied. Here, to go into this question in more depth, Montrose-based ADI and Scotland

committee member Brian Thomson explains what brought him to this profession.

How did I get here?

(and what am I getting myself into)

That’s not a biological question but how

did I get to where I am now as a driving


It’s a good question: I worked for 23

years prior to 2003 in a pharmaceutical

factory in Montrose, starting as a process

operator and finishing as a team support

manager with involvement in factory

projects. In 2003, however, things

changed. A buy-out by a Dutch company

fell through at the ‘eleventh hour’ and

due to a loss of work the opportunity of

early severance was offered to employees

of a certain age. I was one and took the

package available.

Once settled that I was going to leave

soon I wondered how I was going to stay

employed for the next 15 years or so.

While an experienced manager I had no

‘trade’ to fall back on, and the thought of

going back to working on a building site

or farm work (which never leaves you)

wasn’t really a lucrative option. My role

in factory projects was to check that any

improvements made would actually work

when the process guys started using it,

and it also involved having to write up

procedures and training packages which

had to be delivered to the operators, so I

had a feel for training and guidance.

When I saw an advertisement for driving

instructors I thought ‘I could give that a


I knew nothing about how the industry

worked but attended an interview that

basically asked if I had a full licence and

was of sound body and mind (tricky

questions there); those hurdles cleared

they signed me up, took my money and

linked me to a trainer in Aberdeen who

would have charged me 2/3 of the cost

coming to him direct (didn’t know that


I contacted Business Gateway to make

a business plan, assessed competitors in

the area and future possible business,

and thought I would get a car, stick some

Ls on and off I would go.

But first came the theory practice. This

was the start of ADIs and people training

to become instructors having to do the

theory and hazard perception, (if you

recall it caused quite a stir in the

industry at the time). I was still working

at the factory at this point and would be

reading my theory book at every break

time possible. One of my colleagues told

me that a good way to take information

in is to highlight anything you find new

or interesting because you read it (once),

think that was interesting, highlight it

(twice) and, of course, once you finish

highlighting, you read it again to ensure

you got it all (third). By the time I had

finished with that book it was about 97

per cent coloured in but it worked; I

booked a theory test in Aberdeen and

passed first time.

Now I had to contact the instructor for


I didn’t know people got their

lefts and rights mixed up... and

I wasn’t prepared for the young

lady, while driving, covering

her face with both hands at the

sight of a dead rabbit in the



‘Part 2’. He was a good lad, half my age

but had knowledge and interest to get

things across and after a few drives

around the city we agreed that the Part 2

test should be booked. Again passed first

time with one fault, speed!, what can I


So then along comes the Part 3. By

this time there are now three learners

and one instructor in the car so the

training days are getting longer (up to

about four hours) and we were supposed

to practice using the trained techniques

and move on to another subject the week

after. The other two guys in the car lived

reasonably close to each other so they

could buddy up and get the practice in

but I was 50 miles away so struggled to

find a pupil. In the end we decided to

offer four students free lessons every

week on the subjects I got from the

trainer. Two of the students were from

my village, one was the granddaughter of

an ex-workmate and the other was an

employee at a company my wife visited

in her work circle.

Now this was different. I thought most

people would always know the basics

(farming background coming out again). I

didn’t realise some people get left and



For all the latest news, see

“We can’t drive like that on these narrow roads,

can we...’ I told the examiner... what are the

dangers here?’ He took it well,

all things considered...”

right mixed up, and I really wasn’t

prepared for the moment the

granddaughter, while driving, covered her

face with both hands at the sight of a

dead rabbit in the road.

Nor did I think that if someone was

getting something for free, they wouldn’t

turn up.

What was I getting myself into (1)?

I took on board the advice of Business

Gateway and went out and talked with

existing driving instructors in the town

regarding the cost of lessons, where they

went, how busy they were ... well, I

talked and they said as little as possible,

but I came away from that conversation

with as much knowledge as I started


I plodded on with the Part 3 and

eventually felt I could do this, so it was

up to Aberdeen for the test. I had the

same examiner as for my Part 2. I had

all the PSTs down to a ‘T’ but what I

wasn’t prepared for was, during the first

part where I was asked to teach

junctions, the examiner flying over

crossroads like he was on Red Bull,

approaching junctions like a daffty and

slamming on the brakes to stop either a

half car over the line or so far back we

couldn’t see on to the main road.

I just didn’t feel that I should be telling

this experienced driver how to do things

properly, and as you can guess, that test

didn’t go well. A few weeks later I’m

back at the same place, same examiner.

Off we set and we’re driving in narrow

streets, within the limit but too fast. I

realised it was ‘no more mister nice guy’

time. “Pull over on the left at a safe

place, please” was my request, before

the admonishment: “We can’t drive like

that in these narrow roads with all these

cars can we. What’s the danger here?”

He took it well, all things considered.

Off we set and the same happened, so

again we had a pit stop, a wee chat and

some guidance on road position. This

time it worked as once back at base out

came a green report officially stating that

in May 2004 I became an ADI.

Now that I was a new guy on the block

I thought I had better use any free time

during the day to good use, such as

introducing myself to the driving

examiner that came to our part-time test

centre. I was eager to meet this

‘workmate’, so I approached him with a

cheery smile, right hand outstretched

and clutching my new business card. It

didn’t go well... his response was as

though I was a leper handing him a

blood-stained sandwich. That came as a

shock ... he didn’t shake my hand or

take my shiny new card, either!.

What was I getting myself into (2)?

The second part of Brian’s story will be

published in the March issue.

PACTS reports


rules ‘no longer

adequate’ in UK

The UK’s system to prevent drink

driving is no longer adequate,

according to a report from the

Parliamentary Advisory Council for

Transport Safety (PACTS).

It found that drink-driving remains

one of the biggest causes of road

deaths (13%), and in the last decade

240 people have been killed each

year where a driver was over the

limit. Nearly one in five (17%)

drink-drive offences is committed by

a reoffender

In addition, the report found that a

significant number of reoffenders

have been caught, while levels of

police enforcement have decreased

by 63% since 2009 amid indications

that drivers believe they are less

likely to be caught.

The PACTS report shows there are

clear weaknesses in the current

system. Current arrangements are not

enough to deter some repeat

offenders from drink-driving again.

It recomments mandatory breath

testing powers for the police,

increased penalties, specialist

rehabilitation courses for those with

mental health and alcohol problems

and a lower breath test limit for

England and Wales.

David Davies, Executive Director of

PACTS, said: “It is time for a new,

more comprehensive approach to

reducing the toll of drink drive deaths

and injuries.

“Drink driving is often cited as a

road safety success story, yet it

remains a major killer and progress

has ground to a halt since 2010.

“The problem requires a more

comprehensive approach. The legal

limit should be reduced in England

and Wales, police should be given

additional powers to test drivers, the

High Risk Offender Scheme should

be reformed, rehabilitation courses

should be designed for those with

mental health and alcohol problems,

and the growing danger of combining

drink and drugs

driving needs to

be addressed.”

See the




Life as an ADI

Going miles beyond

the three-point turn

ADIs often build up strong bonds with their pupils, and these bonds can see them become far

more than simply a teacher of driving, but a valued family friend. This story perfectly reflects

the type of relationship where the ADI becomes much more than just a trusted teacher

In 2018, when Julie Thomson of Duals

Driving School rolled up to a house in

Arbroath for a young woman’s first

lesson, little did she know the impact

this pupil would have on her life over the

next few years.

The learner was Nickie, a mum with

two kids in her early 30s. She was keen

to learn to drive so that her family could

hopefully one day have the independence

to go places without having to fall back

on public transport.

Neither Nickie nor her husband, Tony,

could drive and it would make family life

that little bit easier.

It would also enable the

family to go to Blair

Drummond Safari Park – a

place the children had long

been eager to visit.

After introductions Nickie

said that there was one thing

she needed to tell Julie

about: she was fitted with a

stoma bag. Its presence

caused a little concern about

the seat belt positioning but

Nickie seemed okay with it.

As time and lessons went

on Nickie improved as a

driver but ultimately said that

she would have to think

about stopping her lessons as the

financial pressures of bringing up her

seven-year-old son and four-year-old

daughter were proving intense. Julie

really wanted to help this young mother

continue her lessons, so offered to give

her every second one for free.

In March 2020 Julie received a text

from Nickie to tell her the cancer she

had previously suffered from had

returned, and she would now have to

stop her tuition as she was receiving

treatment. However, Julie felt this young

mum, who lost her own mother to illness

in her 40s, still needed some help, so

she offered to run her to and from the


Julie would drive the 40-mile round

trip to the hospital, even accompanying

her once when she saw a specialist.

Sadly, after a short six months, Nickie

was given the devastating news that the

cancer was now terminal. However, she

was offered a new trial drug that although

it would not beat the disease, it may give

her a few precious extra weeks with her

husband and children.

She was in hospital for a spell during

the first Covid lockdown and was given

permission by the consultant to go home

for the weekend visit. However, with no

public transport operating, it looked like

the chance would be lost. In stepped her

guardian angel ADI who made sure

Nickie was home to spend the weekend

with her family and ran her back to

hospital to continue treatment at the

beginning of the next week.

Nickie and her

family stroll

around the

park.... and

below, her

children happily

show off

momentos of

the day

Julie contacted her colleagues in the

Montrose Driving Instructor Association

and told them about Nickie, and asked

for their help in giving this very deserving

family a day out at Blair Drummond

Safari Park. All members were fully

behind the idea and donated enough to

pay for the family’s visit on Sunday, 18th

October. They were chauffeur driven to

the park by Julie, with a colleague

making pack lunches while another

made small fabric pouches for the

children with some money in to buy an

ice cream and momentum from the park.

This story isn’t just about a person

with an incurable illness, or a young

family whose world will one day change

forever; it’s also about colleagues rallying

round to help, and it’s about how, as

driving instructors working with a person

in a small space and building up trust

and rapport, we will sometimes go well

above and beyond teaching the driving

skills for life, to simply helping in life


Sadly, Nickie died before this article

was completed but she had already given

Julie her permission for it to go ahead as

a testament to how her ADI has helped

her over the years – and in particular

how she mobilised the ADI community

so she could see her two children have

their special ‘Blair Drummond’ day with

their mum.



For all the latest news, see

Plans to roll-out more ‘School Streets’

as public backing for initiative grows

School Streets could be rapidly rolled out

across the UK as “the barriers to do so

are low”, a new study has claimed.

Research for campaign group Mums

for Lungs estimates that the roll-out

of School Streets in London,

Birmingham, Leeds and Bristol would

cut exposure to air pollution and road

danger for 1.25 million primary and

secondary students. The study found that

School Streets – where through traffic

outside schools is banned during drop-off

and pick-up times – would reduce car

mileage by over 71 million km per year

in the four cities.

This, however, is less than one per

cent of the total number of peak hour car

trips per year in the four cities, so wider

measures such as Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

and Clean Air Zones are also

needed, revealed research of schemes in

the four cities, carried out by the

University of Westminster’s Active Travel

Academy and Transport for Quality of


Around half of schools in the four cities

already have School Streets or are likely

to be feasible for schemes, according to

the report. “School Streets are a small

but achievable measure that parents can

lobby for that can help reduce air

pollution and traffic danger on the school

run,” its authors said.

“There is evidence that this brings

benefits to schools and the wider area in

terms of traffic and air quality. The

benefits are further amplified by shifting

school travel to active modes providing

significant health benefits for children.”

School Streets not only displace traffic

but also reduce it overall, Mums for

Lungs says.

The number of Schools Streets in the

UK has rocketed in the last two years

with many cities introducing trials, but

there is great potential for growth. In

London, where there are nearly 400

schemes, many councils have few or no

schemes, the report notes.

In the four cities a School Street is

likely to be feasible for around half of

schools (44-50%) and may be feasible

for up to two-thirds of schools (64-68%),

the report estimates.

The nearest road is a ‘main road’ (A or

B road) at almost 10% of the schools in

the four cities, says the report. “It is not

generally feasible to turn a main

road into a School Street, although we

did judge that one could introduce a

School Street for 17-24 per cent of main

road schools by closing an adjacent side


“These findings from four cities are

likely to be representative of the potential

in other towns and cities. This shows the

massive potential for improvement in the

journey to school, which needs to be

supported by adequate government


However, the impact of School Streets

alone would be limited, the report states.

“We need other measures to reduce air

pollution and traffic across the whole

urban area and not just on individual

streets. Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and

Clean Air Zones can improve air quality

across a wider area. LTNs can also

amplify the benefits of School Streets by

a factor of three.”

Mums for Lungs also calls for a

per-mile “Eco Levy” on driving in towns

and cities to cut traffic and all forms of

traffic pollution, including dangerous

particles from tyres and brakes. The levy

would raise “significant sums to provide

excellent, affordable (or free) public

transport”. This would particularly benefit

people who live, work, study and shop

on main roads, says the report.

TfL brings in new rules for HGV on blind spot mirrors

Heavy goods vehicle (HGV) owners will

not be able to operate in Greater

London from March 1 unless they

comply with the Direct Vision Standard

designed to reduce lethal blind spots.

Transport for London (TfL) said the

permit system will assign vehicles a star

rating based on how much the driver

can see directly through their cab


All HGVs over 12 tonnes must meet a

minimum one-star rating or will need to

fit Safe System measures to improve the

vehicle’s safety. From March 1 HGV

drivers who enter the capital without a

safety permit may receive a penalty

charge notice (PCN) of up to £550.

So far, more than 50,000 safety

permits have been issued. “However,

there remain many thousands of HGVs

on London’s roads whose operators

have not yet applied for a required free






to toxic air

and road


like this



is a

priority for



safety permit,” said TfL. “HGV owners

are advised to check TfL’s online vehicle

registration checker to see the star

rating of their HGV and apply for a

safety permit urgently if they have not

already done so.”

Between 2018 and 2020, HGVs

were involved in 41% of collisions

where people cycling were killed and

19% of collisions where a pedestrian

was killed, TfL said.


Meet the ADI

Please save us all from

the impatient driver!

Continuing our series of

Q&As with MSA GB members,

this month, Tracey Hart

from Coventry in the West

Midlands suggests other

road users need to have their

attitudes assessed ...

Tracey with her tuition

car, Learn by Hart

When did you become an ADI, and

what made you enter the profession?

After spending several years living and

working abroad I returned home but

didn’t want an office job. I wanted to be

my own boss and be able to meet new

people so becoming an ADI seemed a

good way to get those requirements ticked

off. I passed my ADI Part 3 in 2005.

What’s the best bit about the job?

Seeing people progress and

successfully develop a life skill, through

to the elation of passing their test.

And the worst...?

Sitting down all day is not easy for an

active person with a bad back. Impatient

drivers also tend to irritate me!

What’s the best piece of training advice

you were ever given?

When other drivers are waiting for your

learner to complete a manoeuvre, never

look them in the eye, it will only stress

you out!

What one piece of kit, other than your

car and phone, could you not do


Living in an area that is still relatively

new to me, my SatNav stops me from

going into too many dead ends.

What needs fixing most urgently in

driving generally?

Drivers should be assessed more

frequently and it should include an

attitude test.

What should the DVSA focus on?

Consideration of qualified drivers.


I work to pay for holidays in

the sun – and snow – with

family and friends... and I’m

at my happiest watching

Coventry City FC




For all the latest news, see

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

transform driver training/testing?

Driver-less cars could put me out of

business. Let’s hope I’ve retired by then!

Electric cars – yes or no? And why?

Yes. Greener and quieter but need to

be cheaper.

How can we improve driver testing/

training in one move?

Add an attitude assessment as part of

the driving test process.

Who/what inspires you, drives you on?

I work to pay for holidays in the sun –

and snow – with family and friends.

What keeps you awake at night?

Everything. I am a very light sleeper!

Help on hand as ADIs

feel financial pressure

Many ADIs are feeling the financial

squeeze caused by the Covid-19

pandemic – but two ADIs have set up

a new hardship fund in a bid to help

them out.

Bobbie Hicks and Susan McDonald

are two well established ADIs who

want to help ADIs and PDIs who are

struggling financially.

While many ADIs have been able to

claim income support from the

Government’s Self-employed Income

Support Scheme or, if they are

employed, through furlough, some have

not. 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


Drawing by Amy Beswick

No one is the finished article. What do

you do to keep on top of the game?

My son keeps me young and I enjoy

exercising. On the work front I network

with colleagues regularly, read, undertake

CPD and look for new roles and

development opportunities such as

mentoring, fleet work, taxi assessments

and assessing.

What’s the daftest /most dangerous

thing that’s ever happened to you while


I was involved in a RTC on a

roundabout when my pupil and I were

side-swiped by someone who pulled out.

My daftest incident recently (I have had

several) is suggesting to a pupil that they

could smile at other drivers, at a busy

junction with slow moving traffic, as this

may make them more inclined to let us

out into the traffic – the only problem

was he was wearing a face mask at the


When or where are you happiest?

Watching Coventry City football club.

If you had to pick one book/film/album

that inspires, entertains or moves you,

what would it be?

Anything by Erasure gets me on the

dance floor every time (I even managed it

with a broken foot).

The ADI Fund: How it will work

Bobbie and Susan say: “As ADIs, we

want to help others who are struggling

financially, even if it is only with small

amounts. At the moment everybody

needs a little help and if the Government

can’t 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

national associations. The panel will be

“At the moment

everybody needs a

little help...”

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, audit our income,

expenditure and bank account.

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, and it is hoped the first

trance of support funding will be paiud


For more details or to support the

fund, see:


The link to the rules is at:


By going to the link you can see the

amount that has been raised so far,

including an update from Bobbi on

when monies will be distributed.



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

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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.


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MSA OFFER: 20% off all Tri-Coaching



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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


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



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 43

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