Newslink March 2021


Motor Schools Association of Great Britain membership magazine; driver training and testing; road safety; general motoring matters


The Voice of MSA GB

Issue 338 • March 2021

At last – is the

end in sight?

MSA Conference 2021

See pg 5 for details

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

For all the latest news, see

Release from lockdown may

bring a new set of problems

Colin Lilly

Editor, Newslink

So, the roadmap out of lockdown has

been published but it’s unlikely to end

there. A big unanswered question

remains ‘what about holidays?’

It would appear that many people

believe, or hope, that after June 21st

everything will be normal. However, the

prospect of holidays outside UK remains

unclear. It is not a unilateral decision for

the UK to make either, but dependent on

the situation in the country being visited:

we are, after all, much further ahead in

the vaccination programme than other

European countries.

I expect the end result will be an

unprecedented ‘Staycation’. That

prospect fills me with dread.

I live in Weston-super-Mare, a

recognised holiday resort, albeit one

that’s perhaps a touch faded, but still a

popular tourist area. I anticipate the

south-west of England, along with other

tourist areas throughout Britain, will not

be a pleasant place to be on the roads

during the coming summer.

In the early days of my time as a driver

trainer, the 1980s, the holiday season

certainly affected a driver trainer’s

routine. One rule I used was no driving

tests in August, because there were too

many drivers in holiday mode and their

actions would stretch the most

experienced drivers, let alone those of a

novice under pressure. Lesson spacing

had to be increased while training routes

were altered, unless the theme of the

lesson was ‘what to do in traffic jams’.

Fortunately, now the driving test routes

have moved away from town centres, the

issue of urban traffic is less important

during peak times.

Book your place at the

MSA GB Conference...

Latest updates from the DVSA, news

on easing of Covid restrictions, industry

presentations and much more

See pg 5 for more details

Over the years the allure of Westonsuper-Mare

has dimmed, so the holiday

season is less disruptive apart from

major events. However, the M5

motorway is a different issue as it carries

very large volumes of traffic towards the

south-west. Instead of the traditional

Saturday summer disruption it now

starts at noon on a Friday and lasts until

Saturday afternoon.

With the prospect of more holiday

makers heading to the region there will

not only be more traffic but more

frustration, more bad driving and more

incidents. Hopefully, plans are in place

to support the infrastructure.

During the winter numerous TV

programmes have highlighted the beauty

and benefits of parts of the UK. Quite

rightly this makes a staycation a very

attractive option. Unfortunately, these

are not filmed at peak season

I wish every business in tourist regions

success, but it will come at a price.

How long we will remain in a regime

of social distancing is even less clear.

Even when rules are relaxed, I suspect

some aspects, such as mask wearing

and sanitising, will still remain for many

on a voluntary basis. For those involved

in driver training this may not be a bad

thing. Given what we have lived through

in the past 12 months, a little more

hygiene in the future should not cause


Whatever the future holds, we wish

you every success in bringing your

business back on an even keel, including

booking driving tests and assisting your

pupils back to normal life.


To comment on this article or any other

issue surrounding driver training and

testing, contact Colin via

Speakers to incude Registrar Jacqui

Turland and DVSA Driver Training and

Policy Manager John Sheridan

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Light at the end of a very

dark tunnel for ADIs as

L-tests could make a

welcome return in April

See pg 6



‘Over the






L-tests and driving lessons

Latest as the training and testing sector

continues to wrestle with the challenges

of lockdowns – pg 6

No extension to test certificates

DVSA stays firm in refusing to extend

expiry date of theory test passes – pg 8

Who are you calling ‘smart’?

Government looks to change narrative

on smart motorways – pg 10


The Voice of MSA GB

Dashcams to the rescue as

traffic officer numbers fall

Members of public act to bring traffic

law-breakers to book –– pg 14


Brexit by-passes road safety

ETSC warns UK could see fall in road

safety standard – pg 20

Coping with Blues and Twos

Steve Garrod offers a lesson plan on

handling emergency vehicles – pg 24

DVSA must face facts over

L-test waiting times

We need to look again at the structure of

driving tests, says Rod Came–– pg 26

Regional news –– from 28

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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

Sunday, 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 gettogether,

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; and John

Sheridan, Driver Training & Policy Manager. Dan

Campsall from Road Safety GB will give us an

update on older driver research.

After each presentation there will be time for

questions from delegates.

To book, go to


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.

This is formal notice that the 86th Annual

General Meeting of MSA GB will be held via

the digital platform on 21st March 2021 at

4.15pm; please email to

request attendance.

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:

Fenella Wheeler

n South Wales:

All enquiries to

n Newslink:

All enquiries to or





Light at end of tunnel as DVSA edges

closer to outlining roadmap for testing

ADIs eager to get back on the road and

teaching have been told to hang in there

a little bit longer after L-tests and driver

training were placed in the second phase

of lockdown easing in England.

Boris Johnson announced on February

22 that L-tests could start from April 12

as long as things continue to progress

smoothly in the fight against Covid-19,

with confirmation of this date likely

towards the end of March.

But ADIs could receive clearer

guidance within days after MSA GB

National Chairman Peter Harvey joined

with NASP representatives in an online

meeting with DVSA chief executive

Loveday Ryder, who revealed that the

agency was finalising its own ‘roadmap’

to recovery.

“Our meeting with Ms Ryder on

Monday (March 1) was constructive,”

said Peter. “The DVSA hopes to make a

full announcement very soon on the way

forward for driver testing and training.

“We are hopeful driver training may be

allowed to start back ahead of testing, to

ensure those candidates taking the first

driving tests have a chance of

professional supervision of their final

practice, but there are no guarantees.”

That could mean ADIs back at work

around Easter in England, though Peter

stressed that this was purely speculation

at this stage and any decisions taken

now could be changed if new Covid-19

cases increased or new variants proved

more contagious or deadly.

On the issue of the testing backlog,

Peter said that DVSA is determined

to make an immediate impact

on it as soon as it was given

the green light by Government.

Peter commented: “The

DVSA plans to bring in every

available member of staff

trained to deliver tests,

and is hopeful that ways

can be found to increase

the number of test slots,

while bearing in mind

Covid requirements.

“At MSA GB we have

voiced our concerns that

the test waiting times will

be substantial once we’re

back in work, and it

threatens to create a

bottleneck that will

strangle the sector as soon

as it gets going again.

“The good news is that the DVSA is

equally determined to see waiting times

reduced to manageable levels quickly,

hopefully within 12 months.”

What are the current rules?

(These will not change before April).

At present in England:

All driving tests are suspended

because of the national lockdown. A

limited emergency driving test service is

available for some people who need to

drive as part of their job and respond to

‘threats to life’ as part of their job. Only

eligible employers can apply for these.

The only driving lessons allowed are

for people who can prove they have an

emergency driving test booked.

Learners can conduct private practice

as long as it is supervised by a family

member and is part of an essential

journey, ie, to work or college if

remote working/education is not


It is hoped that driving

lessons will recommence on or

before April 12. Details of

when ADI Parts 2 & 3 will

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)

Loveday Ryder

L- tests

(click button right)

Instructor guidance

(click button right)

When will we see you

again...? Could ADIs be

looking forward to taking

pupils on tests within seven


recommence will be released

soon – hopefully this month.


All driving tests are

suspended in Scotland because

of the temporary lockdown.

The Scottish Government has

set out its own roadmap, and

this says that lessons will not return until

April 26 at the earliest. There has been

no news so far on when driving tests can


Please note that before lockdown, it

was mandatory to wear a face mask

when conducting driving lessons in

Scotland for both the instructor and


This applies to practice sessions too.

This is likely to be the same once driver

training returns.


All types of driving tests are suspended

in Wales. A limited emergency driving

test service is available for some people

who need to drive as part of their job

and respond to ‘threats to life’ as part of

their job. Only eligible employers can

apply for these. Driving lessons for such

candidates are allowed.

The Welsh Government has not set out

a date for driving tests to return.

Whichever country you are in, you

cannot travel to another one for driving

lessons, training or testing.

Check out the

latest rules here

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 by clicking

the panel right

Check the





Disappointment as Government refuses

to budge over theory test extensions

The Government has rejected pleas from

the driver training sector to extend the

validity dates of theory test passes as a

way of taking into account the disruption

to learning created by the coronavirus


In a statement the DVSA said: ‘After

careful consideration and in response to

a recent petition, the Government has

decided not to extend theory test

certificates for road safety reasons.

‘We understand this will be

disappointing but it’s essential learners

have the most up-to-date road safety

knowledge and hazard perception skills

at the critical point that they drive on

their own for the first time.’

It added that if your pupil’s practical

driving test has been postponed, the

DVSA will reschedule it for the next

available test appointment at their

chosen test centre once testing resumes.

But if no test appointments are

available before their theory test

certificate expires, their practical test

booking will be put on hold.

If your pupil’s driving test is postponed

due to restrictions and their theory test

certificate has expired or expires, the

DVSA will cancel the test and refund the

cost of their practical test.

The pupil will then need to rebook and

pass their theory test again before they

can sit a practical test.

Learners can request a refund for the

cost of their practical test through the

online cancellation service at https://

Pupils can book a new theory test up

to six months before their current

theory test certificate expires,

or at any time

after it has


To get the

full story,

click here

What the petition

to extend theory

test certificates said


Due to the Covid 19 lockdowns, four months of driving tests have been

cancelled through no fault of learner drivers. Many learners’ theory certificates

will expire due to the difficulties in booking driving tests this year and, inevitably,

the next year. As a result, the Government should extend the theory test

certificate’s validity so these learners are punished no further. If this is not

possible, any subsequent theory tests required due to Covid 19 lockdowns

should be costed to the government.



Highway Code to look at updating

information on high-speed roads

Give your views on changes to the Highway Code

Highways England has launched a review of the Highway

Code to improve road safety on motorways and high-speed

roads. The consultation will run for four weeks on March


Highways England is asking in particular for your views

on updated safety information for high-speed dual

carriageways and motorways. Proposed changes include

updating information on the use of variable speed limits to

manage congestion, the use of red X signs to close

lanes, and what to do in the event of a breakdown. Have your

say here

Reminder on driving licence

and motorcycle tests

Time is running out if you want to give your views

on the DfT’s proposed changes to the laws on

driving licence acquisition and the motorcycle

riding test, as the consultation ends on March 23.

The consultation covers issues such as allowing

candidates who pass their test in an automatic

vehicle to drive a manual vehicle if they

already hold a manual entitlement in another

licence category, and reducing the engine

size of bikes that can be

brought to an A2

motorcycle test.

Have your

say here



For all the latest news, see

The Uber case could affect us all

Colin Lilly

Editor, MSA Newslink

As you will have read in the newspapers

last month, England’s Supreme Court has

ruled that Uber drivers are employees.

While the media attention was focused

on how this would affect the ride-hailing

service, it left me wondering whether the

decision would impact on our sector, and

whether the case had parallels with the

situations facing franchised driving


The Uber case was brought by a small

number of drivers, but as an international

company it has been facing similar

claims around the world.

A court found in favour of the drivers in

2017 but the company decided to take it

through the various levels of appeal court

until this final stage.

The final judgement was based on a

number of points, the judges said, that

made it clear drivers are employees:

• Uber sets the fares which directly

affected the driver’s earnings

• Uber sets the contract terms and the

drivers were not consulted

• Requests for rides are controlled by

Uber, which can penalise drivers if they

rejected too many rides

• The company monitored a driver’s

service and had the ability to terminate

the contract if there was no improvement.

After considering the various factors

the judges determined that the drivers

were subordinate to Uber so that the only

way they could increase their earnings

was to work longer hours.

The outcome could mean that

thousands of Uber drivers are entitled to

a minimum wage and holiday pay. This

could also have consequences throughout

the so-called gig economy of

freelance workers.

In addition, Uber would be responsible

for collecting and paying VAT.

Uber states that it has made significant

changes to its business model, including

consulting with drivers about changes to

be made.

Many companies, including driver

training franchisors, may now be looking

at their agreements and contracts and

possibly making some changes.


To comment on this article or any other

issue surrounding driver training and

testing, contact Colin via



Examiner recruitment drive and flexibility

enforced as DVSA targets waiting times

The DVSA has made its first move in a

bid to cut the number of people waiting

for an L-test by announcing a new

recruitment programme for driving


In a statement released at the start of

February the agency said the suspension

of L-testing as a result of the Covid-19

pandemic had led to “exceptionally high

demand for driving tests.”

Furthermore, “the measures put in

place to protect candidates and staff from

Covid-19 have limited the number of

available tests outside of lockdowns,

including reducing the number of tests our

examiners carry out per day.”

To help increase the number of

available tests, the DVSA said it was:

• offering more tests outside of normal

working hours, including weekend and

bank holidays.

• ensuring DVSA staff who are qualified

to perform driving tests are doing so, such

as senior managers and policy staff.

But these alone will not reduce the

backlog as quickly as is required.

Therefore, on February 10 the DVSA

launched a national recruitment campaign

for new driving examiners, with posts in

England, Scotland and Wales.

No numbers were released as to how

many examiners were to be recruited.

A spokesman for the DVSA added: “The

recruitment of new examiners is one of

the actions we are taking to reduce the

backlog caused by the pandemic.

“We will also work with the driver and

rider training associations on our plan to

reduce waiting times. We will then share

our plan as soon as we can, as we’d like

your feedback on our proposals. This will

also be an opportunity for you to share

any of your ideas with us.”

The agency asked instructors to play

their part in reducing driving test waiting

times. It acknowledged that demand

would remain high and “it will take time

to get our services back to normal.” But in

the meantime, “it is vital that your pupils

are test-ready when rearranging their

tests, as tests could be at short notice.

“On average, fewer than 50 per cent of

learners pass their driving test and there

could be long waiting times for a retest –

your pupils should take their test only

when they are confident they can pass.”

Tests for all candidates who have been

affected by the current restrictions have

now been rearranged. If the new time and

date is not suitable, you can change the

test time and date at:


MSA GB national chairman Peter

Harvey said the recruitment drive was

welcomed but the number of new

examiners rumoured to be added to the

roster would not see waiting times

reduced quickly. “It also seems difficult to

see how ADIs can ensure candidates are

‘test-ready’ when they haven’t had chance

to practise or fine-tune their skills.

“That’s why it is imperative that ADIs

are allowed back to work some time

before testing resumes, as has been

suggested will happen.”

Who are you calling smart?

Colin Lilly

Editor, MSA Newslink

There has been a resurgence recently in

calls to scrap so-called smart motorways.

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps,

described the name as a misnomer.

However, it was not a term generated by

Government but by the public and media.

Mr Shapps said that reversing work on

smart motorways was not an option as it

would mean acquiring land the equal of

700 Wembley football pitches, destroying

areas of Green Belt and people’s homes.

He did, however, announce that the

deadline for installation of Stopped

Vehicle Technology (SVD) throughout the

network would be brought forward to the

end of 2022. The SVD systems are

designed to detect a stopped vehicle in a

live lane within 20 seconds, employing

radar units monitoring motorway traffic in

both directions.

He also gave instructions for the work

to establish emergency areas to be no

more than three-quarters of a mile apart

to be speeded up, and tasked Highways

England to achieve this.

During the last five years 44 people

have died on smart motorways. This is at

a lower rate than the remainder of the

network, but incidents tend to attract

more attention and relatives calling for

changes or reversal of the projects. A

Coroner has called for the prosecution of

Highways England.

It would appear the Secretary of State

is determined to carry on with the project

but with a tighter rein on safety.

In the meantime, MPs have launched

their own inquiry, with the Transport

Committee looking at public confidence

into their use and the impact on


A Department for Transport evidence

review concluded that “in most ways,

smart motorways are as safe as, or safer

than, conventional motorways”, but made

pledges to improve their safety.



For all the latest news, see

DVSA test strategy leaves questions galore

Rod Came

It must have been last month’s

Newslink cover that did it...

but we have some good news,

in that DVSA has announced

a ‘Plan B’ to get us out of the

unprecedented L-test waiting

lists. The bad news is that

the plan comes with a few


1. Driving tests will be available

outside of normal working hours

including weekends and Bank Holidays.

Does this mean that examiners will be

working six or seven days a week? If they

will be taking days off during the week

as they should if working weekends, it

will make no difference.

Are ADIs going to be working Saturdays

and Sundays? Some do anyway; will they

have enough pupils up to test standard

to fill the quotas for the DEs, after so

many lessons have been lost? What does

‘outside of normal hours’ actually mean?

Perhaps 7am to 9pm during the summer?

Will ADIs want to work 16-hour days?

There is no mention of a DE’s day

being extended or that they will be

providing seven or more tests a day.

2. All qualified staff are

going to be conducting tests.

This is a laudable idea, but if

all qualified staff are going to be

seconded to driver testing, what

other services are going to suffer

from a lack of personnel?

3. A campaign has been

launched to recruit new


From the latest figures I could find

DVSA manages to train about 20 new

DEs a month. I would expect about 10 a

month to leave so the net increase would

be only ten, 120 a year across the whole

of the UK. Is that going to be enough?

It takes a minimum of five weeks to

train a new DE; are the new entrants

going to be trained by the same people

who are being seconded to help out with

driver testing? If so, a glut of new

entrants needing training will reduce the

number of DEs for driver testing.

I would be reasonably confident that

the DVSA does not have a large number

of vocational driving test examiners

waiting in the wings. There is likely to be

an increased demand for category C1, C,

C1E and CE tests and an insufficient

number of DEs. This would hold people

back from being able to get a job –


If the majority of new DEs are in the

Midlands and the overwhelming demand

for tests is in the South East, how will

that work?

4. DVSA will consult on these proposals

with the driver/rider associations.

What if the associations’ views are that

the above changes will make little

difference in reducing the backlog of

tests; then what?

Part of the training programme for new

DEs is that they should observe an

experienced DE at work, also that they

should be supervised on tests they

conduct. Does that mean that it will now

be satisfactory for there to be three

people in a car on test, when previously

ADIs were banned because of the

increased risk of covid infection?

What is the position of the examiner’s

union in relation to these proposals?

As always, more questions than


Pass rate conundrum: See pg 26


Chancellor offers more protection

to the economy until September

Chancellor Rishi Sunak used his 2021

Budget to offer one final tranche of

support for businesses and those

members of the self-employed struggling

to cope with Covid restrictions, by

extending furlough and self-employment

support packages until September.

Throughout his Budget statement

Sunak offered support to many people

who have been forced to stop work by

Covid restrictions, but the sub-text made

it clear that the unprecedented

Government support of the economy

would have to end, and with the vaccine

programme driving down Covid cases

and deaths, it was clear that he saw his

latest measures as one last push to get

the economy through summer.

By autumn, come hell or high water,

we’re on our own by October, seemed to

be the over-riding message.

ADIs will benefit from the extension of

the Self-Employment Income Support

measures; and there was good news,

too, for those ADIs and, in particular,

PDIs who have missed out on previous

support packages: by widening the

remits of the SEISS programme it was

reported that an extra 600,000 more

self-employed people will be eligible for

help. Hopefully, if you missed out

previously, you can apply this time.

Under furlough, 80 per cent of

employees’ wages will be paid until the

end of September, with employers asked

to contribute 10 per cent in July and 20

per cent in August and September.

Other key points:

• Universal Credit top-up of £20-perweek

will continue for a further six


• Alcohol and fuel duties to be frozen

• 5% reduced rate of VAT for tourism

and hospitality will be extended for six

months to the end of September

• On income tax, the threshold for

paying the basic rate will rise to

£12,570 next year. For higher-rate

payers, the threshold will be £50,270.

Both rates will stay the same until


• The VAT registration threshold will

remain at £85,000 until 2024.

• The 100% business rates holiday in

England will continue from April until


• Stamp duty cut will continue until

the end of June, with the nil rate band

set at £250,000.

Self-Employment Income


See if you can apply –

click here for details

Support for



The Chancellor’s support for the

self-employed comes in the form of

grants through the Coronavirus Self-

Employed Income Support Scheme


From next month, claims can be made

for a fourth grant worth 80 per cent of

three months’ average trading profits, up

to £7,500 in total.

This will then be followed by a fifth

grant later in the year, from May.

However, the amount paid will depend

on the amount of turnover lost. People

whose turnover has fallen by less than

30 per cent will receive a grant that is

equivalent to 30 per cent of average

trading profits.

While many self-employed people

were ineligible for the first three waves of

support – the source of considerable

despair for those affected – many ADIs/

PDIs who can show they were trading in

2019-20 from their tax returns will now

be eligible for the first time. They can

receive the fourth and fifth grants.




Good driving

video calms

the risk takers

A new study has shown that films

demonstrating responsible behaviour

could lead to young drivers taking

fewer risks on the road than if they

only watch videos aimed at

provoking a fear of accidents.

Dr Yaniv Hanoch, Associate

Professor of Risk Management at

the University of Southampton, said:

“Governments often use fear-based

content, such as graphic depictions

of sudden car crashes, to persude

young drivers to take fewer risks, but

such messages can be counterproductive,

possibly because the

emotive content can trigger

defensive reactions and rejection.”

However, new research from the

University of Antwerp in partnership

with the Universities of Warwick and

Southampton, saw young drivers

watch either a six-minute video

aimed at instilling fear while peers

watched one showing a positive

scene with a careful driver asking

the passengers not to distract him.

Post-film analysis revealed that

the positive ilm significantly

decreased the attraction of risky

driving; the ‘fear’ film actually

increased young drivers’ risk taking.

Drink-driving deaths

on the rise again

Provisional estimates suggest the

number of drink-drive related deaths

in Great Britain rose to a 10-year

high in 2019.

The figures show between 240

and 320 people were killed in

collisions where at least one driver

was over the drink-drive limit –

leading the DfT to produce a central

estimate of 280 deaths.

The same figure for 2018 was

240. It is also the highest figure

since 2009.

The DfT has also released figures

for seriously injured casualties in

drink-driving incidents. The central

estimate was 2,110 – an increase of

11 per cent from 2018. However,

the total number of people killed or

injured in drink-drive collisions fell

to a record low – from 8,680 in

2018 to 7,860 in 2019.


As many as 89 dashcam video recordings

of alleged motoring offences were

submitted to police forces every day in

2019, the RAC has discovered.

A total of 32,370 pieces of footage were

received by the 24 police forces that

accept video evidence of driving offences

from members of the public, double the

number in 2018 (15,159).

The RAC’s freedom of information

request also shows that a quarter of these

(8,148) went on to result in prosecutions.

The greatest number of potentially

prosecutable offences were submitted to

the Met Police (8,082). Surrey had the

second highest tally with 3,542, followed

by West Midlands (3,242).

The footage submitted related to a

variety of offences, including dangerous

driving, careless driving/driving without due

care and attention, illegal use of a

handheld mobile phone, driving too close

to cyclists and contravening red traffic lights.

All of Britain’s 44 forces now accept

Photo taken from dashcam

footage uploaded to YouTube

by Northamptonshire Police.

Dashcam to the rescue

as police numbers fall

Children across Europe who missed out on

road safety lessons and tests for cycling

proficiency amid Covid-19 lockdowns and

school closures have been left at greater

risk of injury on the roads, a new report by

the European Transport Safety Council

(ETSC) has claimed.

As schools switched to distance learning,

fewer children received traffic safety and

mobility education in 2020 compared with

previous years.

Some authorities tried to plug the gap


this film


dashcam video – with the vast majority

doing so online via their websites.

The RAC says dashcams are a ‘game

changer’ in enforcement and is calling on

drivers to “always drive as if you are being

watched by the police”. Its road safety

spokesman, Simon Williams, said: “Even

before the decline in traffic police enforcing

offences, law-abiding drivers were often

frustrated that there was never an officer

there to deal with infringements they


“The advent of dashcams, phones with

cameras and helmet cameras have been a

game changer as drivers can now easily

submit footage to almost every police


“With more and more people getting

dashcams the message for 2021 has to

be: always drive as if you’re being watched

by the police. If more drivers who are

inclined to break the laws of the road were

to think this way, the safer the roads would

be for all of us.”

Children at risk after missing road safety lessons

with digitalised lessons, but road safety

bodies have said these are unlikely to be

as successful as live presentations and

practical sessions.

A lack of cycle training was a particular

concern as no amount of online tuition can

compensate for practical lessons

The gap in knowledge comes as transport

experts predict an increase post-pandemic

in young people walking and cycling to

school, making having good road safety

habits even more vital, ETSC said.


For all the latest news, see

New licences, plates reflect exit from EU

To mark the first anniversary of Brexit,

the Government has unveiled new

designs for driving licences and number

plates without the EU flag, with the first

batches issued from 1 January 2021.

While existing licences and number

plates will still be valid, the new versions

will be issued to everyone renewing a

licence or getting one for the first time.

The new designs coincide with the

beginning of a number of agreements

recently made between the UK and

member states for British drivers, making

it easier for Britons to drive in the EU

when existing restrictions end.

Thanks to these agreements, UK

drivers who hold photocard licences will

not need an international driving permit

to drive in any of the 27 EU member

states, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland or

Liechtenstein. UK drivers won’t need to

display a GB sticker in most EU countries

if their number plate has GB or GB with

a Union Flag on it.

Although national restrictions are still

in place, and people should not be

travelling internationally unless for work

or other legally permitted reasons, these

new arrangements mean that Britons can

easily drive in the EU for years to come

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

said:“ Changing the designs of our

driving licences and number plates is a

The new licences

have dropped the EU

flag for the Union

flag, though driving

rights within the EU


historic moment for British motorists,

and a reassertion of our independence

from the EU one year on from our


“Looking to the future, whether it’s for

work or for holidays abroad, these

changes mean that those who want to

drive in the EU can continue to do so

with ease.”

Driving licences and number plates

can be renewed online.




Rebuilding the UK economy,

one brick at a time

Rod Came

MSA South East

Each ADI is a Very Important Person.

Why? We are the people who hugely

contribute to holding the fabric of society

together. We help to build a very

important pyramid.

ADIs produce about 850,000 building

blocks a year. These blocks, known as

bricks, sorry, new drivers, are our

economy’s foundations and the first few

levels of the pyramid.

As time passes these new drivers rise

up the pyramid to become experienced

drivers, using their cars for commuting

and social interaction. Some drive vans

and deliver letters and parcels to our

homes. Because of the increase of such

deliveries they often find they need a

larger van, which to be able to drive they

require a category C1 driving licence.

As the pyramid gets taller the drivers

need to obtain licences for large goods

vehicles, until at the top there are

category C licence holders driving 44

tonne artics, delivering goods UK-wide.

Unfortunately, the pyramid is beginning

to crumble. Like all buildings it needs

constant maintenance and for the last

year that process has been stopped. The

new bricks for the base are not being

supplied and the whole edifice is starting

to topple.

The mortar between the various layers

is failing; the bricks from many courses

are falling off due to age, each layer is

contracting. The whole construction is

becoming unstable.

ADIs would do their bit if they could,

but their pupils cannot become new

drivers if the examiners are not available.

Examiners are the mortar between the

various categories of drivers, and that

part of the pyramid has been missing for

a very long time. Hence there is a serious


A vast amount of imports to the UK

are transported by unaccompanied

containers which are unloaded off ships

and collected from ports by trucks. The

containers are not being collected in the

usual timeframe, meaning that ports are

becoming clogged up by them. One of

the reasons this is happening is because

there are not enough truck drivers

available to remove them.

A 2020 report by Logistics UK

(formerly the Freight Transport

Association FTA) provides some facts and

figures about this problem: 2.5 million

people are involved in the movement of

goods in the UK, 33 per cent are set to

retire and the country is short of 59,000

drivers, a figure that is increasing daily.

It doesn’t take Einstein to see that this

problem is only going to get worse. Van

delivery companies are struggling to

recruit staff, the heavy haulage industry

is woefully short of drivers and no new

drivers are coming through the pipeline.

Something has got to give. Either the

industry and the country goes into

serious decline, or a supply system of

new drivers has to be kicked into action.

The current situation cannot continue as

it is. The pyramid is in danger of


ADIs and DVSA examiners need to get

back to work as soon as possible to

shore up the pyramid.





As electric vehicles become more commonplace, so ADIs will have to learn more about them

and the different rules that cover their use. One area that is already causing confusion focuses

on the licences needed to drive electric vans, particularly when heavier batteries increase the

vehicles’ GVW. Mike Yeomans explains more

Plugging in the

humble Transit

could push

drivers over

the limit

I have had a significant number of

enquires for training involving electric

vans. Very few of the enquiries were

aware of the Government guidance

issued in 2019 regarding driver licence

changes for ‘alt fuel’ vans.

An ‘alternatively fuelled vehicle’ (AFV)

means a motor vehicle powered by

a. electricity, natural gas, biogas or

hydrogen; or

b. hydrogen and electricity.

The companies I deal with mainly have

low weight vans powered by alternative

fuel but within the 3500kg gross weight,

which means they can be driven legally

on a Category B licence. However, many

of these vans are for short-haul use, and

the owners are happy with shorter ranges

and have small batteries as a result.

But once companies start using

vehicles with longer ranges, so battery

sizes increase, as does the weight, and

this is where problems arise. Their

weight goes above the 3,500kg limit for

a Cat B licence – a weight that would

normally require a driving licence with a

‘C1’ category.

However, to accommodate this, in

2018 UK law was changed so that the

weight limit for Category B driving

licence holders driving AFVs only could

be increased from 3.5 tonnes to 4.25

tonnes, provided the vehicle was not

driven outside of Great Britain, was used

for the transportation of goods, was not

towing a trailer and the driver had

completed a minimum of five hours


The 2018 Regulations rely on a

temporary derogation from the European

Union third Driving Licence Directive

(2006/126/EC). This derogation was

issued by the European Commission in

May 2018 for a period of five years.

To be able to take advantage of the

new legislation, drivers must carry out a

minimum of five hours’ training on

driving alternatively fuelled vehicles.

Training may only be provided by

members of the only two Government

recognised LGV training registers, which

hold details of qualified LGV and HGV

instructors and training centres.

These UK training registers are on:

• National Register of LGV instructors

• National Vocational Driving

Instructors Register.

As a starting point, drivers on this

course must already hold a current full

category B (car) driving licence.

The training structure:

Drivers must do a minimum of five

hours specific training on how to drive an

AFV over 3.5 tonnes. DVSA recommends

that drivers practice on the road

following the five hours’ training.

The training is a mixture of theory and

practical (such as demonstrations with

equipment), with a maximum driver and

instructor ratio of 20:1. This syllabus

should ideally complement the induction

training that an employee receives from

their employer.

The full details some listed here can be

found on the Gov link HERE.

The syllabus is divided into three units,

which are based on the DVSA National

Driving Standards for cars and light vans

and for driving lorries.

• Unit 1 – Preparing the alternatively

fuelled vehicle and its contents for daily


• Unit 2 – Drive the alternatively

fuelled vehicle in accordance with the

Highway Code and legislation

• Unit 3 – Drive safely and efficiently.

To drive safely and responsibly, it is

important for drivers and instructors to

see these three units as inter-connected

and all equally important. A driver can

only become competent by understanding

how the content from all the

units fits together.

The route taken through the material

by each driver may differ, and DVSA

believes that the training should be

client-centred. Client-centred learning

means two things.

• It takes into account a learner’s

preferred style of learning

• People are more likely to keep

learning if they are encouraged to take

responsibility for their learning at an early


Drivers and employers should use this

training to:

• develop a greater awareness of the

risks associated with driving

• learn to reflect on their own driving

performance and take steps to improve

in areas that need further development.

To amplify the importance of the

syllabus being followed, the following



For all the latest news, see

statement is quoted from the

Government web site. ‘Anyone found

driving an alternatively fuelled vehicle

between 3.5 tonnes and 4.25 tonnes on

a Category B licence without having

done the 5 hours training would be

guilty of an offence under the Road

Traffic Act (1988) – driving other- wise

than in accordance with a licence.’

Drivers who hold a Category C licence

including sub-categories are permitted to

drive alternatively fuelled vehicles

weighing more than 3.5 tonnes without

the need for additional training. However,

the driver would, in this case, then come

into the scope of Driver CPC. Whereas a

driver who holds a Category C licence

including sub-categories (and therefore,

also a category B licence) who

undertakes the additional training is

permitted to drive alternatively fuelled

vehicles weighing up to 4.25 tonnes

without coming into scope for Driver


Third parties who are likely to want to

evidence that a driver has completed

training include

• Insurance companies

• Employers

• The police

The scope of the licence change does

not include trailers as mentioned earlier,

and for a while yet trailers and alternative

What’s the problem?

The Ford Transit is atypical of the

problem created by the increase in

weight in electric vehicles. Many

members of the public will drive

Transits on short-term hire on a Cat

B licence, as the standard 2.0-litre

Transit sits below the weight limit,

at 2,900kg, rising to 3,500kg. But

the new E-Transit which will arrive

next year, with a 67kW battery

pack, weights in at 4,250kg.

Until the Government amended the

Cat B licence weight rule for alt

fuelled vehicles this would have

been too heavy for a standard

licence holder but now it is fine... as

long as users take five hours’

training with an approved instructor...

fuel vehicles, especially all electric

vehicles, will struggle to pull trailers.

Electric vehicles are currently most

limited when it comes to towing,

particularly if you’re after a supermini or

hatchback. When every car is designed

and engineered, the manufacturer works

out exactly how much it can tow and

establishes a legal towing limit in a

process known as homologation. If you

want to tow, the two figures that matter

most are the maximum weight limits for

towing an unbraked trailer and a braked

trailer. If a car doesn’t have these figures

published, it usually means the

manufacturer deems it unsuited to

towing – as with most electric cars.

For a while the Tesla Model X was the

only electric car homologated for towing,

but now it’s been joined by a handful of

others – the Audi e-tron and Mercedes

EQC can tow up to 1,800kg, and the

Jaguar I-Pace manages 750kg.

The Model X’s maximum towing limit

is a substantial 2,270kg – easily high

enough to haul a large caravan or trailer.

Just be aware you’ll need to have passed

your driving test before 1997 or have

taken an extra car-and-trailer driving test

if the combined weight of the car and

trailer comes in at more than 3,500kg.

As vehicles become heavier due to

changes with alternative fuel and a

greater use of heavy-duty batteries for the

traction, a more permanent change to

the licence may need to be agreed, rather

than the five-year derogation currently

issued, unless a way can be found to

reduce the weight of the batteries.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates from your area, contact

Mike at


Road safety overlooked

in race to seal Brexit deal

The Brexit deal is done ...

but with plenty of gaps still

existing between the UK and

its former EU partners over

how they will co-operate in

motoring and driving matters

in the future, could road

safety be one of the sectors

to suffer, asks Rob Beswick

Two months on from the end

of frenetic negotiations over

Brexit, a number of road

safety groups have voiced

concern that the deal seems

to have overlooked road safety issues.

Among them was the European

Transport Safety Council (ETSC), which

has warned that the UK risks seeing its

world lead in road safety lost as it leaves

behind a host of regulations and

commissions that drive standards.

This concern is in part driven by an

apparent reluctance of the UK Government

to set its own targets for traffic collision

and fatality reductions. Since Conservative

-led administrations came to power in

2010, baseline targets for road safety

improvements in the UK have been

shelved, and often the only benchmarks

against which road safety improvements

in the UK could be judged have come

from Brussels.

But while these standards have

consistently highlighted how well the UK

does overall in terms of road safety,

driver standards and adherence to traffic

rules, if there is little appetitite for the

Department for Transport to put in place

new goals for reducing KSI statistics, the

fear is the issue will be allowed to drift

into the sidelines and the UK’s historic

pre-eminence in this sector will be lost

amid rising road traffic casulaties.

Brexit will mean a host of changes to

the way motoring and driving standards

are governed, with the biggest changes

in areas where no Brexit agreement was

reached and/or EU rules no longer apply

to the UK. For instance, the ETSC has

expressed fears that traffic offences on

both sides of the Channel by visitors will

increase as cross-border enforcement of

traffic offences no longer applies. This

means that, in practice, the UK will find

it very hard to prosecute EU drivers,

including LGV drivers, for offences

committed on our roads. Camera-led

enforcement such as speeding and traffic

light offences will be particularly

challenging, and even drink-driving

offences could become logistically

impossible to prosecute.

The same is true for EU Member

States vis-à-vis UK drivers but – and

here is a crucial difference – EU police

forces appear ready to implement ‘fine as

you go’ policies towards road offenders.

A recent report on French

highlighted that French police are

increasingly giving UK motorists on-thespot

fines for minor motoring offences



For all the latest news, see

such as speeding. If the driver has no

money on them, they are being escorted

to the nearest bank or ATM to withdraw

the cash. More worryingly for UK drivers,

there have also been calls in France for

rule-breakers to have their vehicles

temporarily impounded if they are caught

speeding, by way of punishment.

With the Covid pandemic making

holidays abroad less likely at the

moment, it could be that this problem

will not manifest itself until the summer

of 2022, but observers have warned that

it is likely to become more widespread if

police on the continent believe there is

little chances of offenders being punished

via other means.

Bilateral agreements between the UK

and EU Member States could change

this in the future, however, as could a

future UK-EU transport agreement at

some point, but it still stands that at

present, the UK has no mechanism to

punish driving offences by EU citizens,

while EU nations appear to be creating

the means to do so to UK drivers.

Another significant and immediate loss

of data exchange is in the field of vehicle

defects and recalls. It is hoped that this

will become a temporary glitch, but no

discussions are timetabled at present to

close this worrying divide.

Throughout the UK’s membership of

the EU, it has been a member of the EU

/ EEA Rapex rapid alert system for

product defects. This has enabled the UK

to alert EU Member States to information

about serious vehicle defects as they

come to light, and vice-versa. But as the

UK is no longer a part of this body it is

feared issues arising from EU-built

vehicles will not be brought to the

Department for Transport’s attention, and

that UK law will have to change to allow

for swift action in cases where defects

are detected.

There is a commitment in the text of

the main Brexit deal to set up a method

of exchanging data between the EU

system and the future UK one, but this

has not yet been worked out.

In addition, the UK is no longer subject

to newly-updated EU rules on road

infrastructure safety management. While

it is possible the UK will create its own

standards, the DfT has not made any

mention thus far of doing so, and road

safety campaigners fear a ‘light touch’

regulation party such as the

Conservatives will not wish to see more

rules added to the current system.

Could this leave UK road infrastructure

lagging behind the EU as new safety

measures are trialled and tested?

The UK is also no longer party to the

EU target to reduce road deaths and


The UK is no longer subject

to newly-updated EU rules

on road safety infrastructure

management... while it is

possible the UK will create its

own standards, the DfT has

not made any mention thus

far of doing so


injuries by 50 per cent by 2030. For

many working in the road safety field this

is a particular concern: there is currently

no national target for reducing fatalities

in the UK. The UK will also no-longer

provide detailed data on road deaths and

serious injuries to the EU CARE

database, an important source for

benchmarking road safety performance

in Europe.

However, the UK will still be working

with other international organisations

such as the International Transport

Forum and ETSC’s own Road Safety

Performance Index programme, and has

committed to a similar global goal set out

in the recent Stockholm Declaration over

road deaths reductions.

In the field of vehicle regulation, the

UK is setting up its own vehicle typeapproval

system. Vehicles will now have

to meet both the UK and EU standards if

they are to be sold in both markets. The

exception is Northern Ireland where it

will still be possible to sell a vehicle with

only EU-type approval.

For the time being EU-type approvals

are being converted to UK ones in a

relatively straightforward process – but

that may change when the UK moves on

from the temporary system currently in

place. UK-based manufacturers will need

to get EU approval from an EU-based

type approval authority for all new types

of vehicle in the future, as well as UK

approval to sell at home. Likewise

EU-based manufacturers will need a UK

type approval from the British authorities

in order to sell vehicles in England,

Scotland and Wales.

The fact that UK-based manufacturers

still need to apply rigidly to EU rules if

they want to sell cars on the continent

has not been lost on many within the

automative sector. As one motoring

commentator pointed out, “Nissan –

before the pandemic – was looking at

producing 600,000 cars in Sunderland,

with 75 per cent exported, the vast

majority to the EU. That means that

whatever rules the EU comes up with,

Nissan will have to comply, or risk losing

those sales.”

Continued on page 22





There is a lack of clarity from the UK Government on

new EU directives.... it had previously said it would

apply rules that mandate new technologies such as

automated emergency braking and intelligent speed

assistance, but the position is now unclear...


Continued from page 21

“The difference now is that, when the

UK was part of the EU, Nissan could

lobby its local MEPs and the UK

Government to make sure it was not

placed at a disadvantage when

competing with the French, German and

Italian manufacturers; today that is no

longer the case and it has to handle

whatever rules and regulations the EU

throws at it.”

The situation is not helped either by a

lack of clarity from the UK Government

on a number of new EU directives. For

instance, it had previously stated that it

would apply new EU vehicle safety rules

coming into force from 2022 that

mandate new technologies such as

automated emergency braking and

intelligent speed assistance. But its

position on this is now unclear – much to

the frustration of major manufacturers

looking to sell product to Europe, who

will probably end up adding the tech to

their models anyway, whether or not the

UK decrees it is necessary.

The ETSC has also expressed other

concerns which could fall under the

heading ‘hypothetical’. For instance,

average new car prices have risen by

around 2-5 per cent in the UK since

Brexit, with manufacturers blaming

greater bureaucracy, red tape and

logistical hold-ups. Will this extra cost,

which will be passed straight on to the

consumer, lead to companies slowing

down fleet renewal of modern, safer

vehicles? Will private motorists put off

buying a new car as prices rise?

There are positives, however. Thanks

to the deal, some transport regulations

that affect safety will remain largely

unchanged for the time being. UK lorries

operating in the EU, and vice-versa, will

now have to follow the rules set out in

the deal – which mirror existing EU

legislation on things like driving hours,

rest times, certificates of professional

competence, use of tachographs and

weights and dimensions of vehicles. If

either side wants updated or different

rules in the future, that will be subject to


For bus traffic, both sides have agreed

to base future operations largely on the

existing Interbus agreement governing

passenger road transport between EU

and non-EU countries.

It has also been agreed that the UK

will continue to participate in the EU’s

flagship E80bn Horizon Europe research

funding programme as a paying associate

member for seven years. However, the

UK will not get a say over the

programme’s overall strategy; we will be

left to do others’ bidding.

Another benefit is that for a long time

there has been a feeling within the road

safety community that the ‘one size fits

all’ approach of the EU leaves little room

for local initiatives that make more

sense. Dr Richard Wellings of the

Institute of Economic Affairs told a

conference organised by PACTS, the

Parliamentary Advisory Committee on

Transport Safety, that under Brexit there

could be scope for road planning and

safety rules better tailored to local

conditions, with more freedom from

bureaucracy and special interest groups.

Certainly, while PACTS itself was long

a campaigner for the UK to remain in the

EU as it feared the consequences for

road safety, its membership did not

endorse that view. Surveys of members

found that while 24 per cent thought

that Brexit would have a negative impact

on standards, 19 per cent thought it

would have a positive impact; not that

big a gap in opinion, in reality.

The biggest group surveyed thought

that Brexit would make ‘no difference’

(43 per cent), with the balance saying it

was too early to say.

Overall, however, it is true that Brexit

has left an unhappy and messy picture

that some fear could see road safety

standards in the UK fall. The biggest

issue appears to be – and here’s the

irony – a lack of desire on behalf of the

Westminster Government to ‘take back

control’ of the road safety agenda. As

many within the sector have pointed out,

for decades, different Governments set

targets for reducing road traffic

casualties, but they are absent now and

have been since 2010. Why? Without

goals and targets to aim for, are we not

risking a drift in road safety policy

towards irrelevance?

Returning more directly to the absence

of a direct EU influence over road safety,

Ellen Townsend, policy director of ETSC,

fears that standards will slip on both

sides of the Channel. “The UK and EU

will not have safer roads as a result of

the Brexit agreement. There are several

gaps such as cross-border enforcement

and unknowns, including when data

sharing on vehicle recalls will restart.”

The UK won’t be the only party to lose

out, Ellen says: “The UK’s expertise and

leadership on transport safety will be

missed in all manner of EU debates.”

“Looking forward, we hope that the EU

and the UK build good co-operation and

that the various new working groups are

open and transparent, with NGOs given a

seat at the table.

“The world now has another vehicle

safety regulatory regime. We hope the

UK uses that opportunity to put in place

safety standards that go further and

faster than the EU’s new 2022/4

standards, and avoids a race to the


Her biggest fears were left until last,

and echo those made by commentators

in a number of sectors miles away from

motoring. She said: “The possibility of

lowered road and vehicle safety

standards in order to reach a trade deal

with the United States remains a real




Another road map - but

to safer roads this time

Road safety

The Scottish Road Safety Framework,

with input from IAM RoadSmart, the

UK’s largest independent road safety

charity, has set the goal of having the

best road safety performance in the

world by 2030.

Central to the road safety vision for

Scotland, fully endorsed by IAM

RoadSmart, is the ‘Safe System’

approach with its five core pillars

which include: Safe Road Use, Safe

Vehicles, Safe Speeds, Safe Roads

and Roadsides and Post-Crash


IAM RoadSmart, a strong advocate

of road safety targets, is also using

the Scottish announcement to urge

the Department for Transport to

reinstate targets in England.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart

Director of Policy & Research, said:

“For every nation, the setting of road

safety targets has been a catalyst for

improvement in road deaths and

injury numbers.

“Road safety organisations across

the UK agree that targets work but

the Department for Transport in

London no longer use them. So today

we have to ask the question, if

Scotland can set road safety targets,

why can’t England?”

Indeed, the unveiled Scottish Road

Safety Framework sets a clear

strategy for improvements while

working alongside other government

policies in environment, health and


Meanwhile, IAM RoadSmart is also

welcoming the inclusion of targeting

the improvement in the number of

motorists involved in accidents while

driving for work, an area in which it

is well placed to help Scottish

companies adopt best practice in

fleet safety.

The adoption of specific measures

to promote safer motorcycling is also

strongly welcomed by IAM RoadSmart.

However, while welcoming the

announcement, IAM RoadSmart has

urged a word of caution.

Neil added: “It is vital that

investment in road safety does not

become a victim of any post

pandemic spending cuts.

“Given the broad nature of the

impact road safety has this should

include protected funding for Police

Scotland to deliver enforcement, Road

Safety Scotland to deliver education

campaigns, and for Transport Scotland

and local councils to deliver

engineering solutions and maintain our

existing roads properly.”

To download Scotland’s Road Safety

Framework to 2030, click HERE.


Towards your CPD

Dealing with the

‘blues and twos’

Steve Garrod suggests a

lesson plan to prepare your

pupil for a meeting with

emergency vehicles while

out on the road


subject that often comes up

when attending at ADI

events (remember those

days?) is how to deal with

emergency vehicles.

Whether you are a trainer working in the

qualified driver market or an instructor

teaching learners, knowing how to deal

with blue lights and sirens should be part

of your toolbox.

The Highway Code offers general

advice on what to look for and what to

do upon hearing and seeing sirens and

blue lights, but it can’t be specific, as we

never know where we are going to be at

the time of such an incident.

It does give information about how a

police officer will signal a driver to stop;

this is also covered in the theory test.

The National Standards for Driving also

includes a heading, in Unit 4 (Drive

safely and efficiently), ‘Know how to

respond correctly to emergency vehicles’

when they are on call and how to assist

their safe progress, whether they are

approaching from behind, ahead or from

side roads.

Some years ago I was fortunate

enough to work as a police driving

instructor. I was responsible for training

probationary officers in the use on blue

lights and sirens while driving. The

course was based on how to make safe

progress while using ‘blues ‘n twos’.

Response drivers were taught how to

manage the potential risk posed by other

drivers, and how to make themselves as

visible as possible at all times.

One of the biggest surprises I found,

while in a fully livered police car with

flashing lights and various noises, was

how unaware so many drivers were of

emergency vehicles and, when they did

see them, the questionable places they

chose to stop.

Although there are no recognised

courses (at least, I haven’t found one) for

teaching the public how to deal with

emergency vehicles, there is material

available from some various websites.

Under normal circumstances, local police

forces occasionally invite groups of ADIs

to specific events to show them how they

would like learner drivers to be taught

what to do when an emergency vehicle is

approaching. Likewise, MSA GB events

often include these seminars to help

prepare instructors – and I recall at least

one experienced emergency vehicle

trainer speaking at an MSA GB Annual


Many ADIs are former response

drivers, so why not ask them to give a

talk? Most emergency services will be

pleased to spread the word, but their

time may be restricted, so you will need

to ensure your association can provide a

good turn out to make the visit




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Response drivers are taught

not to encourage drivers

to mount pavements to let

them pass. I am sure it is not

something an ADI would

teach learners, but it is worth

explaining the dangers

involved in doing so...


Part of the learning to drive syllabus

should include dealing with emergencies.

Learners should know where to stop,

how to give way and how to signal their

intentions to help these vehicles to make

safe progress.

In the absence of such courses I’d

thought I’d explain a bit about how

response drivers are trained to deal with

drivers while responding to a call. It will

hopefully help you to pass on some

helpful information to your trainees.

Response drivers are taught that the

blue lights and sirens are there to aid

progress, and not to give them right of

way. This is the first important point to

make. If the response driver causes a

crash they will have to stay at the scene

until another emergency vehicle arrives,

therefore, it’s not in anyone’s interest to

cause panic.

You should be able to explain to your

pupils where to stop to let the vehicle

past and what you can do to help the

driver. For example; if you are in a solid

white line system you should look for a

passing space to pull over and stop.

Once you have identified it you should

signal your intention to pull over. Do not

assume the driver behind you has seen

this space. If the driver of the emergency

vehicle sees you have nowhere to stop

they should turn off their sirens to avoid

causing panic. They are trained not to

put themselves or the public at risk, so

you can help by explaining this to your


The same can be said when dealing

with traffic lights. You may have noticed

that the sirens will be switched off if the

traffic lights they are approaching are

showing red. You should not teach

learners to jump red lights, or enter bus

lanes, in attempt to be helpful; both are

unlawful and will lead to tickets.

Response drivers are trained to do this,

so let them manage the situation.

Likewise, if you become aware of an


emergency vehicle while driving across a

junction with traffic lights you should not

brake sharply. Learners should be taught

that if they cannot brake gradually they

should keep travelling across the


It is easy to assume that we only have

to deal with one vehicle at a time, but

response drivers are always warned of

the extra danger associated with being

the second vehicle; in fact, there is a

specific training exercise for this. When

you hear a siren, always check to see if it

is just one vehicle approaching or if there

is a second one, too. You will often hear

a different tone being used by the second

vehicle; this is to help warn drivers of the

additional danger. Sometimes the second

vehicle could be a motorcycle or a larger

vehicle. For example, the police are often

called to the same incidents as fire and

ambulance. The second vehicle could

also be approaching the junction from a

different direction.

Response drivers are taught not to

encourage drivers to mount pavements to

let them pass. I am sure it is not


It’s easy to assume we only

have to deal with one vehicle

at a time... response drivers

are always warned of the extra

danger associated with being

the second vehicle...


something an ADI would teach learners,

but it is worth explaining the dangers

involved with such a manoeuvre once

they have passed their test.

Using MSM is essential at all times.

Regardless of if we are changing lanes on

a dual carriageway or pulling up, we

must signal our intentions. All drivers

should keep up to date with their mirrors

at all times and be able to judge the

speed of approaching vehicles to be able

to change lanes or stop in a convenient

place. Often emergency vehicles could be

approaching at speeds far higher than

expected so this will need to be taken

into consideration before changing speed

or direction. If you are on a dual carriageway

you should move to the nearside

lane wherever possible, giving a left

signal first. We need to take into account

the size of the vehicle passing, eg, if it is

a fire engine it will need more room to

manoeuvre, so, stay clear of keep left

bollards. If it is an ambulance, learners

need to be taught that a patient might be

on board, so the driver will be doing her/

his best to maintain a smooth ride,

which in some cases means they may be

travelling slower than expected.

When driving in heavy traffic, learners

should be warned that emergency

vehicles could be driving along the

middle of the road, again this will

emphasise the need for good mirror use.

It is worth including this subject in

your training and use examples you may

see while out on the road to emphasise

what you have been saying, because it is

up to us as trainers to ensure the drivers

and riders we teach are able to deal with

emergency vehicles safely.

So, perhaps this is something you

could give some thought to while we

wait to get out on the road once again!


L-test issues

DVSA needs to face facts if it

get to the bottom of the pass

Rod Came

MSA South East


have written before that, to avoid

waiting times for driving tests

becoming stratospheric, ADIs should

be able to certify that their pupils

have reached an acceptable standard of

driving to be allowed to drive on their

own, and be given a driving test pass.

NASP has been pushing for an

extension of the Theory Test pass

certificate, or that ADIs should be able to

certify that their pupils have retained the

knowledge needed to pass such a test.

Part of the Department for Transport’s

reply is as follows - ‘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


This is likely to be the core of the argument

to avoid making any meaningful

progress to help the tens of thousands of

learner drivers to obtain a full licence.

It cannot be denied that the practical

test pass rate is abysmally low but it

must be questioned as to why this is. I

quote from above: ‘ADIs are wellqualified

and proficient in driving and

instruction’... DfT words, not mine.

Without doubt, the standard of driver

training has improved considerably in the

time I have been an ADI – that’s 40

years, seeing as you ask – to the point

where ADIs are well-qualified and

proficient in what they do.

Given that, the pass rate should be 75

per cent or above, so what holds it back?

There are only four variables involved

in a practical driving test: the candidate,

the instructor, the examiner and the

traffic conditions. It was a bit odd that

during the first lockdown, when ‘key

workers’ were being tested by DVSA

examiners for their driving ability, the

pass rate crept up to over 50 per cent.

What changed?

Were the candidates especially

selected because they were more

proficient? Probably not, as they would

have come from a cross-section of

society. Were they more keen to pass?

Unlikely, surely all candidates want

success. Did they have better training?

Again, they were a cross-section of pupils

and instructors, so no different to usual.

Were the instructors more capable?

Why should they have been? The pupils

were having training from ADIs who were

prepared to work regardless of Covid.

Were the examiners more lenient

because they thought that key workers

would be of more benefit to society than

regular candidates? According to the

DVSA, examiners do not work with either

fear or favour and do not judge

candidates for who they are, just on their

ability to drive.

The traffic conditions were lighter than

is the norm, especially in urban

environments, but normally the amount

of traffic varies considerably from test

centre location to location, time of day

and month of the year.

Having rule out the candidate, the

instructor, the examiner and traffic

conditions, as Sherlock Holmes said,

‘How often have I said to you that when

you have eliminated the impossible,

whatever remains, however improbable,

must be the truth?‘

So where does the truth lie? A quick

search on Google showed that in the

state of Ontario, Canada, driving test

pass percentages were in three bands.

The lowest test centre pass rate was 47

per cent (sound familiar?) and this

centre, along with the other ones with

low pass rates, were all in the Toronto

area. Most of the state was about 10 per

cent higher, with the best being between

65-70 per cent.

For comparison, in the UK, London

was the lowest at 40.8 per cent, Wales

the highest at 52.4 per cent, the South

East and Scotland were nearly equal at

48.7 per cent and 48.4 per cent


From these bare figures it follows that



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wants to

rate issue

areas with a greater traffic volume have

lower pass rates, but the reverse is not

necessarily true. Wales is probably as

unpopulated as Scotland, so why the


The South East is heavily populated in

comparison with Scotland but has a

similar pass rate at 48.7 per cent. Does

that mean that traffic density is not a


Excluding Toronto, Ontario has a pass

rate of between 57-62 per cent, whereas

the equivalent figure in the UK,

excluding London, is 49 per cent. A full

10 per cent lower.

Sydney, Australia has in recent years

had a pass rate around 75 per cent. The

traffic in Sydney can be horrendous,

which seems to knock a hole in the

argument that traffic causes test failures.

DVSA has always suggested that pass

rates reflect the social/financial

circumstances of the candidates, which

while having some bearing cannot be

entirely blamed. There are rich and poor

in the UK, Ontario and Sydney, probably

in similar ratios. Are the financial and

social standings of Scotland and the

South East very similar? I imagine not.

We come back to the Sherlock quote

‘when you have eliminated the

impossible, whatever remains, however

improbable, must be the truth‘. The only

aspect I have not mentioned is historic

driving test centre pass rates. I know

that DVSA will say that these do not


It is strange that over the years there

has been little variation of pass rates at

almost all test centres. This alone

suggests that there is some expectation

at a test centre that examiners have to

comply with a norm. Either that, or new

examiners have such strict training they

will always test to the exact same level

as their colleagues, both at their test

centre and throughout the UK.

I think that, however much ADIs

improve their qualifications, proficiency

and training methods, there is unlikely to

be any noticeable improvement in pass

rates until there is a change of mind-set

at DVSA.

DVSA’s only


appears to

knock ADIs

Rod Came

An oxymoron, often referred to as a

contradiction in terms, is a figure of

speech using words that seem to

contradict each other. Often these can

be quite amusing, but DVSA has taken

to regularly trotting one out that is far

from amusing, in fact it is insulting to


I became more than irritated when I

read an article in the Daily Telegraph

(Saturday, 6th February) headlined

‘Testing times for learner drivers eager to

hit the road.’ Oh good, I thought, a

broadsheet newspaper highlighting the

impossible hoops that prospective new

drivers are having to jump through to

acquire a driving licence during these

troubled times.

The article started off well,

highlighting the petition signed by

50,000 people which called on the

Government to allow ADIs to pass

learners they consider safe enough to

drive on their own.

But it was followed by the irritating

bit: a DVSA spokesman is quoted as

saying ‘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 per cent.’

On the facing page I give some

thoughts on why the pass rate is 47 per

cent, and I don’t intend to go over that

again, but I must take issue with the

DVSA continually repeating the above

quote, which denigrates ADIs.

The contradiction in terms being that

the DVSA, in order to maintain the

integrity of its three in-depth tests to

become an ADI, their constant

supervision of those on the ADI Register

and their high quality Standards Check

for ADIs to remain on the Register, these

being inviolate, they ensure that ADIs

are ‘well qualified and proficient’, BUT

even so the best they can do is to

achieve ‘the current practical pass rate

of (only) 47 per cent’.

The position DVSA is adopting is that

although we have done our best to raise

the standard of instruction provided by

ADIs, they can still only manage to get

fewer than half their clients through our

learner driver test, because ‘they are not

experienced assessors’.

ADIs are assessors; they assess their

clients’ future readiness for a driving test

and advise when they should apply for

one. The waiting list at any test centre

can vary between one month and one

year, and can change like the seasons

and is not predictable. This is out of the

hands of any ADI.

DVSA cannot have it both ways:

either ADIs are ‘well qualified and

proficient’ or they are not. The 47 per

cent quote indicates DVSA believes they

are not. This is insulting because the

quality of ADIs and the pass rate for

driving tests are both within the remit of

DVSA. DVSA is the common factor, if

either are seen to be underperforming, it

is their responsibility to ensure that both

are fit for purpose.

Is the DVSA proposing to raise the

standard of instruction by ADIs to a

point where more than 75 per cent of

their clients will pass the learner driver

test? Of course it isn’t, because ADIs are

‘well qualified and proficient’, evidenced

by their having passed the three

qualifying tests, Standards Checks and

constant supervision by DVSA.

Almost certainly what will happen is

that, in a year or two’s time, when the

driving test waiting list stretches into the

distant future, DVSA will be saying ‘if

more people took the test when they are

up to test standard, then there would

not be so many failures and we would

have realistic waiting times to offer to

candidates’. Thereby blaming the ‘well

qualified and proficient’ ADIs.

So an oxymoron will be redefined as

‘passing the buck’.

Should this not happen, I will publicly

and unreservedly apologise to DVSA,

provided that time-wise, the booking

system for driving tests is fully open to

anybody who wishes to book a test for

any date, not for it to be restricted to

two months, six months, as happened

last year, or any other limitation.



Regional News

Eye, eye, all looks like trouble to me

John Lomas

Editor, MSA North West

This month, not so much as a look at

driving and motoring as Dr Findlay’s


As I mentioned last time, a little spot

of eye trouble left me struggling with my

sight in my left eye. It’s been diagnosed

as a RVO (Retinal Vein Occlusion) and I

have had the first in a course of

treatments. Someone asked me what the

treatment was like. My reply, stoic as

ever, was “it was like someone had stuck

a needle in my eye.”

It was actually a relatively pain-free

process though there was some


(Some squeamish readers may prefer

to skip the next para!)

Basically, following application of four

anaesthetic drops delivered over a 30-

minute period, the area around the eye is

sterilised, then a small retractor is used

to hold the eyelids apart and a plastic

cup placed over the iris. This cup has a

tube to the side of it which acts as a

guide for the needle, which then injects

the treatment into the blocked veins at

the back of the eye. They used

Lucentis® in my case.

I was then able to leave the clinic, call

my trusted taxi driver to take me home.

No significant side effects to report,

save a slight bloodshot look to the eye

which went in a couple of days. I have

noticed a few more ‘floaters’ with the

other eye, but that is probably because

when both eyes are functioning normally

the brain filters out a lot of them when it

combines the signals from two eyes.

I feel that the amount of vision in the

far-left peripheral area of my left eye has

improved over the fortnight since.

I mentioned in Newslink last time that

I had the possibility of a Covid jab. I got

a ‘same day’ invitation for one at my

doctor’s surgery about a week before the

eye clinic appointment and took that as I

had been told there were no adverse

conditions to affect the eye treatment.

Again, I had no after-effects, so I am now

just waiting for a second ‘Fizzer’ jab and

then my second eye jab.

While I know some are squeamish I

offer no apologies for the details I have

used above because I feel that your

eyesight is so important you shouldn’t

put off treatment because of any fears.

A Lighter Moment (see left)

Shortly after I penned last month’s

piece, I saw the following on an on-line

newspaper from my hometown in Surrey.

This is reproduced here by Kind

Permission of The Guildford Dragon and

Planet Frog (the cartoonist)


A word of warning to anyone with a

licence due for renewal. It would appear

that DVLA is no longer sending out

reminders and D1s.

Mine expired last week and I have

always relied on that reminder. I

managed to do an on-line renewal today

and I also had an on-line chat with an

employee to ask them to send a D1 for a

friend, who does not do on-line

transactions but whose licence also

expires shortly.

Rainbow Zebra Crossings

With the rainbow being so ubiquitous

you get used to seeing them everywhere

now – but not in place of an oldfashioned


Has anybody else seen these cropping

up? (below left)

This one has replaced, in a slightly

different position, a pelican crossing

which has been out of use for about

eight months.

Has there been any publicity about

them, which I have missed during



To comment on this article, or provide

updates, contact John at



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Keeping the highways clear

I recently had the opportunity to listen to

an interview with Philip Price, a

Highways England Traffic Officer. Their

role in road safety seems to me to be

much maligned and misunderstood, so

hearing the interview gave me an

opportunity to jot down some notes as to

how they help drivers.

Their primary function, Philip said,

was to assist drivers who get into

difficulties and to keep traffic flowing.

There are 246,000 miles of paved

road in Great Britain, 32,000 miles of

which are high speed and carry onethird

of all traffic by mileage. There are

around 1,850 incidents each day, to be

covered by 200 traffic officers, and they

are usually the first to arrive at an

incident on a motorway or A-road.

Surprisingly, in these days of car

technology, warning lights, bleeps and

buzzes, 30 per cent of the incidents they

are called to check out are people

running out of petrol.

Conversely, many people who have

stopped do not need any help at all,

having called their own motoring

organisations for assistance.

Traffic officers carry a lot of equipment.

They can clean up a maximum of 50

litres of spillage – oil or fuel – which is

sufficient for most situations apart from

some HGVs. They use ground up moss

(sphagnum) as sponges and wipes and

carry six bags of it. Also in their armoury

are twenty cones, nine lights, six 6 x 10

arrows (the white ones on the blue


Alex Brownlee writes: The following was supplied

by Janet Stewart, a member of the MSA GB Greater

London committee and our Member of the Year

background) a “No entry” sign, incident

slow sign, two straps, First Aid kit and a


Whenever possible, they will

encourage the driver of a broken-down

vehicle to get it to a place of safety.

Apparently, many people panic with the

noise and feel of driving on a flat tyre

and don’t want to move the vehicle.

They are told to go slowly, and the

rubber will stay on. If power has been

lost the vehicle will be towed. However,

traffic officers are equipped with straps,

not a bar, so if the driver is not going to

be able to steer and brake (risking

ramming the towing vehicle) one of the

two-man crew will sit in the vehicle.

Many of the vehicles that break down

needing assistance have been poorly

maintained and the driver is not a

member of a vehicle recovery association.

There are other, more human, reasons

why they need to attend incidents.

Suicides from motorway bridges are not

uncommon and in many areas, barriers

on bridges are being raised to try to

prevent this.

It was also surprising to hear that a

number of people are ‘booted’ out of a

car on a motorway... one hopes the

vehicle had stopped! People also wait for

taxis on motorways if the place they

want to be picked up from is close to the

motorway but difficult to find or get to.

There are, of course, many incidents

caused by lack of understanding and/or

knowledge and what Mr Price called ‘last’, ie, leaving it too late for the

exit and doing the ‘four-lane sweep’

across the lanes to get to the desired slip

road. One in eight casualties is the result

of tailgating, he said.

The reasons people give for stopping

on the hard shoulder are many and

varied – and often not legal. The traffic

officers will often find HGV drivers

parked up on the hard shoulder when

they cannot reach somewhere more

suitable for a TACO break. There are

people who stop to programme the

sat-nav, people stopping for a pee, to

take photos of a nice view and even

those who just decide to stop for the

night. The Traffic Officer can strongly

advise these people to move on but has

no legal power.

Smart motorways seem to be the

burning issue of the day in road

transport. Mr Price stressed that there

are not too many problems with all-lane

running but there are problems with

dynamic hard shoulders. It has only

recently become possible to take learners

on motorways and, it seems, many

people do not know how to use smart

motorways safely.

All-lane running is most probably here

to stay with increased technology,

up-grading from MIDAS (motorway

incident detection automatic signalling).

The point was strongly made that we

have been coping very well for years with

high-speed A roads with no hard

shoulder, few lay-bys and potentially

pedestrians and cyclists.

He also stressed how keen his team

was to get its messages across. There

are seven Regional Operations Centres

across the country and group visits can

be arranged from interested parties.



Just junk? This brown envelope

could help you save a life

Karen MacLeod

MSA GB Scotland

Hi there, I hope this issue of Newslink

finds you all well. At the time of writing I

am on tenterhooks for the briefing from

the First Minister over whether we can

return to work or not.

Whatever the outcome it’s great to

know that Newslink is being published

with all the latest details on the rules and

regulations, and because it’s now online,

we can even update the information

within. Don’t panic if you read one thing

one day then the next day it’s different.

Newslink is moving with the times. As

well as being digital, you can download it

as a PDF if you prefer to read offline and

it gives us something new to read every


Organ donation

Okay – quick question. How many of

you received a brown envelope from the

NHS with no name on it and thought

‘junk mail’. Well, I need to inform you it’s

not! A few years ago I wrote an article

about organ donation and advising

everyone how it was done.

When I check my pupils’ or fleet

drivers’ licences, I matter of factly ask if

they know what the codes are on the

back. Most of the time they say “no”! I

also get the same response when I ask if

they are wearing contact lenses, or do

you have your glasses with you? I then

get the response “I don’t wear glasses/

contact lenses”!

I then have to explain about the 01

code on their licence, which they then

tell me they didn’t know they had

pressed that button.

This could effectively get them into all

kinds of trouble if the police stop them

for any reason and they have their

licence, ask the same question (if they

know what the codes mean), because

this could be relevant in an accident case

if someone couldn’t see properly.

So back to the thrust of the story. As of

26th March 2021 instead of opting in to

become an organ donor – in other words,

to tell people you want your organs to be

used in the event of your death – you

now need to OPT OUT in Scotland, ie,

expressly stating that you don’t want

them using.

I’m sure the current pandemic means

lots of things relating to every subject

under the sun will now come under

scrutiny. The percentage of organ

donation opportunities is around one per

cent. So you can understand that it’s

very important for the NHS to utilise

what possibilities are presented to them.

Doctors and nurses will do everything

possible to save lives but if nothing more

can be done, after discussing and

agreeing with your families’ wishes, the

new rule will now mean that if your

organs and tissues are healthy, then

there is a possibility for donation.

At the most difficult time for families

who have just heard that nothing more

can be done for their loved one, making


The percentage of organ

donation opportunities is

around one per cent... so you

can understand that it’s very

important for the NHS to

utilise what possibilities are

presented to them


this decision is not going to be easy, even

if they know their loved one’s wishes.

My favourite TV programmes to watch

when I get the chance are to do with the

emergency services. I have seen enough

now to see what families go through.

There are certain groups this rule won’t

apply to: children under 16, adults who

lack the capacity to understand the new

law and adults who have lived in

Scotland for less than 12 months before

their death.

Your religion, faith or beliefs will also

be taken into consideration before

donation goes ahead. If a person in one

of these groups dies in a way that means

they could donate, and they haven’t

already recited a donation decision, then

their closest family member will be asked

if they wish to authorise the donation.

Remember, this decision is up to you

and you need to act now and let family

members know what you would like to

happen. We all think ‘that won’t happen

to me’! Please, don’t let others have to

make a decision for you that you can

make yourself.

If you have thrown away the leaflet

that was in the envelope, go to

resources. If you wish to opt out then

you must visit www.

All information above has been taken

from the leaflet.



For all the latest news, see

Let’s pick a line and stick to it on new rules

Rod Came

MSA South East

Confused or what?

You can, no you can’t, yes you can.

Which is it today? Do you know, officer?

We have a grandaughter living with us

who turned 17 in September last year. I

started to teach her to drive, lockdown

came along, all lessons stopped. Then

the information was that I could teach

her if she were on an essential journey,

her hopes were raised, but not for long.

Then it changed again; I could take her

out on an essential journey, which

included attending education.

Are driving lessons education? Before

you start thinking that I am trying to find

a way around the rules, let me assure

you that I am not. What I am trying to do

is to make some sense of the various

pieces of advice that are being issued by

DVSA/Government and being

disseminated by our trade associations.

Logic says that I can take my

grandaughter for a lesson incorporating

an essential reason, just as I could drive

her somewhere for the same purpose.

Can we just stick to that line of

reasoning, please.

Spot the Pot

It turns out that Friday, January 15

was National Pothole Day. Quite why we

should celebrate potholes I do not


Once, when I was in Canada about

March/April time, almost everywhere was

covered in dandelions; as they seemed to

have a ‘day’ for almost everything, I

wondered if they had a National

Dandelion Day.

Perhaps that’s why, with good reason,

we now have a day for potholes.

Road imperfections ranging from rough

surfaces to craters are the bane of an

ADI’s life. The incessant banging and

crashing destroys tyres and suspension

components of cars, as well as discs in

the ADI’s fragile backbone.

A hole in the road is described with the

prefix ‘pot’ when it is more than 40 mm

deep, about 1.5 inches in real money,

and about a foot wide. Round here a

hole that size would be classed as a

mere imperfection; we have them twice

that big.

I am not advocating going looking for

potholes, but when they appear in the

line that a pupil is taking they can be

used as a learning tool to improve

observation. Ask them to play ‘Spot the

Pot’. Should they brake, swerve, pray or

will they learn how to change a wheel?

Mirror (awareness of other traffic),

manoeuvre, it’s good for experience.

Maybe one day there will be no

potholes, like maybe time will stand still

– some hope!

The ghost ramps of Glasgow

Many thanks to Leigh Brookes, an ADI in the

West Midlands, who came up with the

answer to my question about the picture in

January’s issue, writes KAREN MACLEOD.

The picture featured was of a pair of ‘ghost

ramps’ rising out towards the East at J20 on

M8 Glasgow. Leigh sent me a link to a

brilliant website

Glasgow-J20 Kingston ( There

are some more great photos about the

works, which were started way back in the

early 2000s (it was long before that when

originally built) and to date haven’t been

continued. Please visit this site. There is also

a story written by the Scotsman newspaper

on their role as part of Glasgow’s unbuilt

Inner Ring Road. Thank you, Leigh, for

solving the puzzle for me.



Regional News

It’s a tragedy, but some people

just won’t listen

Russell Jones

MSA East Midlands

Driving - The Essential Skills contains

many photographs showing how good

drivers should hold the steering wheel for

‘best practice’. It is obviously a safe

standard for driving a moving vehicle.

I was astounded late last summer

when one of my learners started to drive

their newly acquired car while being

supervised by family members, and was

obviously being allowed to develop an

inferior steering technique to one I had

taught them. I noticed immediately that

their previously steady steering had

become erratic, with the tuition car

weaving a path from side to side in the

lane and occasionally veering too close to

the crown of the road for comfort.

They were often using a ‘4 and 8’ or

‘hooked thumbs’ grip on the steering

wheel. A quick discussion revealed that

their supervising family members were

proving to be very ineffective in the task

and hadn’t pointed out the error, which

had become their set position. I was

annoyed by the change but persevered

with my normal style of correcting them,

emphasising how the ‘10 and 2’ or ‘3

and 9’ positions would best serve them

during their motoring lives.

Shortly afterwards I was informed that

they had booked a driving test at a test

centre some way from me, as it was the

only vacancy they could find on the

DVSA booking site. That was not the

only problem as far as I was concerned,

as I needed to be in another part of the

country for an essential Covid-19

‘exception’ reason on that same day.

Furthermore, I could not see how their

driving would improve enough to pass

the test by the date booked.

The family was very reluctant to

postpone it, however, so the private

practice increased to several sessions a

week, while I could not possibly fit them

in for additional lessons.

Guess what happened? They passed

their test, by a whisker, with far too

many driver errors for my liking, but hey,

the DVSA experts know best. After all

that is what the Road Safety Minister,

Baroness Vere, believes.

Time passed and the former learner,

having been deemed a safe driver by the

DVSA, had an early, but unexpected and

most certainly unwanted, Christmas

surprise. They crashed into a ditch one

night, totally wrecking their car, and

putting themselves in hospital for a short

time. Fortunately they have recovered,

though are no longer driving and I’m

expecting to conduct some remedial

work in the spring.

I don’t know what makes me most

angry about this case: the family who

would not listen, or the people who run

the show at the DfT and DVSA for

‘‘ A quick


revealed that

their supervising

family members

had allowed ‘8 to

4’ become their

set position. I

was annoyed,


how the ‘10 and

2’ or ‘3 and 9’

positions would

best serve them

during their

motoring lives.


passing them in the first place. The

driver has admitted to me that they lost

control and had been holding the

steering wheel not as a taught them –

the good position – but in the ‘bad and

ugly’ versions they picked up after the

family’s ineffective supervision allowed it

to become the dominant steering technique.

The photos left show one of my young

drivers demonstrating the ‘good, bad and

ugly’ of steering.

Surprising what you find in research

During recent weeks I have spent a

considerable amount of time on ‘case

analysis’ (CANA) research, using skills I



For all the latest news, see

utilised in a previous career, and which

have proved very useful.

It turns out there are hundreds of

YouTube clips produced by ADIs which

demonstrate various driving skills. They are

of varying usefulness though most are

pretty dubious. It was interesting to note

that some foreign productions are superior

to many home-grown variants.

One is particularly horrendous, and any

new driver learning the technique of

steering shown is, in my opinion, a car

crash waiting to happen. Loss of control is

the very last element of driving before a

crash. Best practice steering could save

many a life, giving drivers a chance to steer

out of a developing problem.

A lot of work has gone into producing

Driving - The Essential Skills manual. Why

would any ADI want to deviate from the

syllabus contained within its 300 pages?

Can anybody offer a plausible explanation?

There are far more important matters to

promote safe driving than just

‘psychobabble’, which I hear so often being

pontificated by not a few ‘ology’ experts.

Who owes you a living?

Another subject I’ve noticed among the

whingers on Facebook is that some ADIs

appear to think the world owes them a


A long time ago, indeed, at this time of

year in fact, I was at a London military club

among a large gathering of Armed Forces

personnel for an all-day briefing about

leaving of finding a new career among the


The first presenter’s opening remarks

were quite brutal. He said: “If all of you

here today start being self-employed

tomorrow morning, only 10 per cent of you

will be successful in the next 12 months.

The rest you will have be failures queuing

at Job Centres begging for a job. The world

does not owe you a living.’’

That woke up a good dozen or so.

Looking at the present situation, it begs

the question, will all ADI trainers do the

honorable thing and offer an exhausting

assessment about their suitability to

become an ADI to all those people who

come to them as a route out of Covidinduced

unemployment, or will they simply

grab the money?

I know what I think will happen, and I’ve

noticed already that the vultures are



Government urged to act

now on charging options

Local authorities are being urged to

take advantage of a £20 million fund

for the creation of on-street electric

vehicle charge points in towns and


Transport secretary Grant Shapps

announced that funding for the

On-Street Residential Chargepoint

Scheme (ORCS) will continue into

2021/22. The purpose of the

scheme is to increase the availability

of on-street charging points in

residential streets where off-street

parking is not available.

Since its inception in 2017, more

than 140 projects have benefitted,

supporting the introduction of nearly

4,000 charge points. The DfT hopes

the new funding could double that

figure, helping to ‘tackle poor air

quality and supporting economic


It adds that local councils play an

essential role in providing electric

vehicle infrastructure – and that it is

welcoming applications from

councils which are yet to apply for

funding, as well as those that have

already benefited.

Grant Shapps said: “From Cumbria

to Cornwall, drivers across the

country should benefit from the

electric vehicle revolution we’re

seeing right now.

“With a world-leading charging

network, we’re making it easier for

more people to switch to electric

vehicles, creating healthier

neighbourhoods and cleaning up our

air as we build back greener.”

Meanwhile, a UK think-tank has

called on the Government to deliver

a rapid expansion in the number of

electric vehicle charge points, if it

wants to successfully phase-out

petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030.

The report, published by Policy

Exchange, says drivers must have

affordable and convenient options to

charge their EV – regardless of where

they are in the UK or their


This includes drivers with no

access to off-street parking.

Reacting to the Policy Exchange

report, the RAC says that without a

big increase in the number of charge

points across the UK, certain parts of

the country risk getting left behind as

2030 approaches.

Rod Dennis, RAC spokesman,

said: “In time, many drivers will

benefit from a full charge before they

even leave the house thanks to home


“But this is only part of the

solution as those without off-street

parking may struggle to charge from

home for some considerable time so

it is vital we have a network of

ubiquitous, reliable and easy-to-use

public charge points.

“Having a sufficient number of

charge points will also become

especially important in those rural

areas of the UK that see large annual

influxes of visitors by car in the

summer months.

“Without a big increase in the

number of charge points right across

the UK, certain parts of the country

risk getting left behind as 2030


The Government has also been

asked to look at regulating how

much private companies charge for

electric charging, after a wave of

adverts encouraging companies to

put charging points in their car parks

‘and charge three times the standard

tarif for electricity’ in some cases.


Regional News

The future’s here... and it’s keeping

a close eye on your driving

Guy Annan

MSA Western

Autonomous vehicles: we are led to

believe that this technology is some way

off but trust me, they’re here!

A driving instructor friend of mine

recently visited Prague in the Czech

Republic and was picked up at the

airport by a representative in a Tesla

Autopilot car with self-driving capability.

He said it was an amazing experience as

the driver, well, person behind the

steering wheel, turned around and was

chatting to him the whole journey

without attempting to operate the car at


But do we really want them? There’s a

reason why governments want them and

are so keen on driverless cars – and it’s

not just because of the potential

economic benefits. They offer the chance

for even greater tracking and control of

citizens’ every move. Far from setting us

free, driverless cars threaten to help

enable new forms of surveillance and


A driverless car is a computer on

wheels, the ultimate internet-connected

mobile device. Bristling with sensors, it

provides a constant two-way flow of

information. The car sends information

about its performance to the

manufacturer and receives software

updates back, control signals about

adjustments to its behaviour. The

manufacturer knows where the car is,

what the road conditions and

temperature are and how the vehicle is

performing at a particular speed.

The insurance company could well

receive minute-by-minute information

about the car’s state, location, speed and

the condition of the road it’s on, and

could vary the insurance accordingly.

Drive it badly and it could even give ten

minutes’ warning of loss of cover and

halt the car.

Meanwhile, Government databases will

also be likely to know where the car is,

whether it is meant to be there and

where it’s going. Smart motorways will

manage flows of traffic, slowing down

driverless cars as part of a stream of

communication between the car and the

road. In city centres traffic lights will

reroute cars into detours according to

calculations and predictions about traffic

jams or road works.

And by the time our children grow up

they might not need to even take a

driving test so that would suggest ADIs

are on a downward spiral, a dying trade.

Or is it?

While the technology to enable a car to

complete a journey by AI (Artificial

Intelligence) input might be advancing

Local groups help ADIs get the right information

Guy Annan

Our local driving instructors

association, the Taunton Association

of Driving Instructors (TADI), held its

AGM via a virtual meeting.

Many grateful thanks to our

speakers, Graham Hooper from TRI

Coaching and Martin Leather from

Driving School Developments, and our

very own Arthur Mynott as the MSA

GB Western Regional MSA Chairman.

All delivered very interesting

presentations that gave us plenty of

food for thought.

All the committee stayed in the

same positions except that yours truly

took up the position of secretary and

some new interest was shown from

two new members who joined our

committee! What lovely people.

We have already held our first

committee meeting (strike while the

iron is hot) and we’re looking to push

the association forward and to build it

back up again as being at the

forefront of all knowledge in the area,

rather than having to listen to Chinese


Support and use your local

association, that’s what it’s there for.

The DVSA prefers to speak through a

recognised association rather than

individuals when it comes to getting

its message across and in these

uncertain times, you can’t rely on

those Chinese whispers so get it from

straight from the horses mouth.

If you interested, contact me at



For all the latest news, see

rapidly, producing a vehicle that can do

so safely and legally is another matter.

Lousy weather, heavy traffic, roads

signs with graffiti on them can all

negatively impact the accuracy of sensing

capability. Radar, which Tesla uses, is

less susceptible to adverse weather

conditions, but challenges remain in

ensuring that the chosen sensors used in

a fully autonomous car can detect all

objects with the required level of

certainty for them to be safe.

To enable truly autonomous cars, these

sensors have to work in all weather

conditions anywhere on the planet, from

Alaska to Zanzibar, and in congested

cities such as Cairo and Hanoi.

The driverless car world is a great

moonshot; cars are a huge market but

also the hardest to transform, long after

autonomous mining or rail or shuttle

services are in place.

Compare the progress with mobiles

phones. Is a future of driverless cars

coming? Assuredly, as mobile phones

replaced the landline. This is the normal

cycle that technology goes through.

We’re still moving along that graph;

we’ve gone through the flashy stage,

when we’ve said it’s six months away …

now we’ve got engineers saying this is

properly happening.

Machine learning

Most autonomous vehicles will use

artificial intelligence and machine

learning to process the data that comes

from its sensors and to help make the

decisions about its next actions. These


While the technology to

enable a car to complete a

journey by AI input might

be advancing rapidly,

producing a vehicle that can

do so safely and legally is

another matter.


algorithms will help identify the objects

detected by the sensors and classify

them, according to the system’s training,

as a pedestrian, a street light, and so on.

The car will then use this information to

help decide whether the car needs to

take action, such as braking or swerving,

to avoid a detected object.

In the future, machines will be able to

do this detection and classification more

efficiently than a human driver can. But

at the moment there is no widely

accepted and agreed basis for ensuring

that the machine-learning algorithms

used in the cars are safe. We do not have

agreement across the industry, or across

standardisation bodies, on how machine

learning should be trained, tested or


End of individuality

For more than 130 years, cars have

represented the ultimate in individuality

and democratic freedom. Our car trips

are private and anonymous. We can go

where we like and when we like. We

don’t have to tell anybody. And we retain

responsibility for whether we obey the

law. Driverless cars will bring that to an


Driverless cars will herald a new age of

citizen control. In the rhetoric of making

us safer and reducing risk, power will be

taken away and delivered to central

authorities – whether they are cities,

governments or commissions. To render

us safe, governments will leave us


Once we are driving autonmous

vehicles the controllers can simply

change our route for their own purposes,

whether to prevent traffic jams or to clear

a route for a dignitary. Now they can

send us to particular shops, or directly to

a police station; the controllers can

manage populations of cars to meet the

purposes of the council or government.

That’s my opinion of the pros and cons

because they’re with us and they are

here to stay, albeit it’s probably a while

off before they are commonplace as we

still have our old and new jalopies to


Whichever way you think about

autonomous cars, let’s be careful out



To comment on this article, or provide

updates, contact Guy at g.annan@

ADI Go Fund Me Appeal still open for donations

The Go Fund Me Appeal for ADIs left

struggling financially by the pandemic is

still open and taking donations.

You can donate to the fund by

clicking HERE:

The fund was set up by long-standing

ADIs Bobbie Hicks and Susan

McDonald with the support of, among

others, MSA GB, ADI NJC, DIA and

sector insurer Marmalade.

The scheme hopes to provide

monetary assistance to ADIs/PDIs for

any just reason including, but not

limited to, lockdown measures from

Covid-19, hardship, bereavement, or

illness. It was launched with a focus on

instructors who are unable to qualify for

government assistance (eg, SEISS) or

local council grants during the pandemic.

Payments made to qualifying ADIs/

PDIs will depend on the number of

applications received and the amount

available in the fund at the time. They

will be small grants, usually of around

£100 but in some circumstances they

could be as much as £500.

Funding amounts available will be at

the discretion of the funding panel.

An initial application for funding can

be at

Full details of how the fund works,

can be found at the link above or via

The final word to fund organisers

Bobbie and Susan: “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





New survey looking for views on growth

of online road safety training

Highways England and Road Safety GB

have teamed up with Agilysis to conduct

a review of online road safety education

provision – and are calling for the help of

road safety practitioners.

With face-to-face interaction with

schools and pupils severely restricted,

the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated

the development and delivery of online

road safety educational resources.

With this in mind, the purpose of this

review is to ascertain the changes that

have occurred to online road safety

education in the past 12 months.

The results will be used to showcase

best practice, share resources across the

sector and support road safety

practitioners moving forward.

As part of the project, road safety

practitioners are being asked to complete

a short survey about all road safety

educational resources that they have

developed and/or delivered in recent

years across the UK. See panel at the

end of the article for the link.

The review is not limited purely to

schools – responses are welcome about

road safety education for all ages and

road user groups.

Lorraine Willis, Highways England’s

regional road safety co-ordinator for

eastern England, said: “Road safety

education in the UK has previously been

predominantly through face-to-face

interaction, be that in schools, through

interactive workshop sessions such as

Bikesafe, or police referrals through

NDORS courses.

“While some education was already

delivered online, the pandemic and

associated lockdown in March 2020

accelerated the development and delivery

of a suite of online resources that may

remain the preferred choice of delivery of

road safety education once restrictions

are eased.

“For some, these resources are the

transfer of existing materials to an online

platform, for others it may be a totally

new resource.”

Matt Staton, Road Safety GB director

of research, said: “For Road Safety GB it

is important to understand how road

safety education practice is developing in

this area, what support professionals

might need, or where there is expertise

that could be shared with others.

“I’m really pleased to be working with

Highways England and Agilysis in

undertaking this work and would

encourage all road safety practitioners of

every kind to complete the survey

regardless of how

much, or little,

online training

they deliver.”

To take

part click




For all the latest news, see

Drug driving research reveals

inconsistent approach

A new report published by the

Parliamentary Advisory Council for

Transport Safety (PACTS) into

drug driving has revealed worrying

variations in enforcement levels

between police forces, as well as

inconsistency in sentencing


Road safety and breakdown

organisation GEM Motoring Assist

says there needs to be a more

standardised approach to both

enforcement and punishment, as

well as more rehabilitation

courses along the lines of the

drink-drive courses, in order to

reduce reoffending.

GEM chief excecutive Neil

Worth said: “The new roadside

drug testing kits introduced in

2015 make it simple for police

officers to detect drugs in a

driver’s system. Furthermore, drug

driving limits are set at very low

levels, and there are also limits for

some prescription medicines.

“However, each police force

chooses how much of its budget

Just in case you

ever wondered...


My Alpha Male within, burst forth, it was bizarre,

And he dragged me to a dealership, in luxury German cars.

Then sitting in the showroom, swaddled in leather and electric toys,

My Alpha male within, had my sanity destroyed.

‘We’ll take it!’ said my Alpha male, ‘Insanity’ cried my sanity,

‘Sign here’ said the salesman, having ego-charged my vanity.

So with a deposit, five years’ instalments and a contract to give it

back, I stretched the family fortune, over a financial torture rack.

I signed upon the dotted line and made ready to hit the road,

Then, the salesman smiled his sharky smile and said, ‘One thing,

before you go’

He handed me a small leather book, its title embossed in gold,

That read ‘The Luxury German Car Drivers’ Exemptions to the

Highway Code’.

This is the truth, I swear it, for every driver on the roads, they

know... the luxury German car driver, has exemptions from the

Highway Code

You can see the poem being read at

to spend on drug screening kits,

and it is for local police to decide

how to best use the kits they

have. We are concerned that

levels of enforcement vary so

much from force to force.

“Let’s be clear: driving under

the influence of drugs is

dangerous. This is why we fully

support PACTS’ call for greater

consistency in sentencing.

“It is vital to send a strong

safety message to those who

consider it acceptable to drive

after taking drugs.”

New drug-drive regulations

were introduced in 2015, giving

specific limits to 16 drugs while

driving. Convictions for drug

driving now stay on the licence for

11 years. Motorists found guilty

face a minimum one year

disqualification, a fine of up to

£5,000 and a criminal record.

Read the



Thinking caps on...

If you’re not going out teaching, a small quiz to

while away the time. It’s connected to your role as

an ADI: each answer is a phrase you’ll use every day

Can you get them all? Answers on pg 37


TTNL T . . . T . . N . . . L . . .

(Answer: Take The Next Left)

ATRTTSE A . T . . R . . . . . . . . . T . . . T . .

S . . . . . E . . .

MOWR M . . . O . . W . . . R . . . .

LSLS L . . . S . . . . L . . . S . . . .

FTRA F . . . . . T . . R . . . A . . . .

WMBRTC W . . . M . . B . R . . . . T . . C . . . . .?

WYS W . . . . Y . . . S . . . .

WHTP W . . H . . T . . P . . . . . . . ?

PUOTL P . . . U . O . T . . L . . .

WTSLH W . . .’. T . . S . . . . L . . . . H . . . ?

WATVRUT . . A . . T . . V . . . . . . . . .

R . . . U . . . . T . . . .?

KTCU K . . . T . . C . . . . . U .

WDTSM W . . . D . . . T . . . S . . . M . . . ?

TTNROTR T . . . T . . N . . . R . . . O . T . . R . . . .

WIOAL W . . . . I . O . . A . . . . . . . L . . .?

WSYBL W . . . . S . . . . . Y . . B . L . . . . . .?

DWNAS D . W . N . . . A S . . . . .?

CYSP C . . Y . . S . . P . . . . . . .?

WDTSO W . . . D . . . T . . . S . . . . . O . . . . . . ?

WCBF W . . . C . . . . . B . . . . F . . .?

WWYURF W . . . W . . . . Y . . U . . R . . .

F . . . . . . . .?

DYFC D . Y . . F . . . C . . . . . . . . . .?

WAMCI W . . A . . M . . . . . C . . . . . I . . . . . . . .?

HMFDWH H . . M . . . F . . . D . W . H . . .?

WATHH W . . . A . . T . . H . . . . . . H . . .?

WGSWBI W . . . G . . . S . . . . . W . B . I .?

RBTL R . . . . . . B . . . . . . T . . L . . . .

WYNST W . . . Y . . N . . . S . . . . . . . . . T . . . .?

WITTSR W . . . I . T . . T . . S . . . . . R . . .?

WAYB W . . . . A . . Y . . . B . . . . . . . . .?

PUAASP P . . . U . A . A S . . . P . . . .

HAYT H . . A . . Y . . T . . . .?

Got them all?

Answers on pg 41 if you’re stuck!



About our members

Photo 1: Attacked by a starfish Photo 2: Into the hood.... Photo 3: Respite... of sorts

So this Covid thing...

As reported in Newslink, MSA

Scotland committee member Brian

Thomson contracted Covid-19 in

the autumn. What followed was a

harrowing month-long fight for life

at Dundee’s Ninewell’s Hospital.

Here he takes us through his

illness, treatment and recovery as

a salutary warning to all ADIs: you

take this virus lightly at your peril!

So, this Covid thing has been about

for a while now and, just like

everyone else, I am wishing things

could get back to normal as soon as


When we got back to teaching students

after the first lockdown in August it was

great. Yes, we had all the new things to do

but we were expertly guided by the MSA

GB so we could follow the agreed

guidelines from the DVSA. So what if we

had to wear masks all day and wipe down

touchpoints between every lesson and

every journey, which in my case meant

doing a cleaning routine 12 times per day;

I didn’t mind because it allowed me to

work and the students to progress with the


Now, being of a certain age (!), I received

my invitation to attend our local GP

practice for my annual flu jab and on

Saturday, 17th October I duly turned up. I

was impressed with the slickness of the

set-up due to this thing called Covid; there

we were in a socially distanced line that

moved at a steady pace, keeping the five or

six doctors/nurses supplied with patients

with already rolled-up sleeves. We shuffled

along the corridors like some sort of sect; I

didn’t even sit down for the jab... it was a

case of in the door, confirm you’re you and

the deed was already done. Things were

going well...

Now, normally I do not have any reaction

to the flu jab but this one did give me a

slight pain in the shoulder, and by the

following Wednesday (21st) I was not

feeling the best. On Thursday evening I

was sitting in my armchair shivering like

there is no tomorrow (how close was that

thought) and my grandson, who was

staying with me at the time, suggested I

call up for a Covid test. I did as requested

and got a test on the Friday (22nd) and

received a positive result on Saturday

(23rd) with an accompanying letter

advising me to stay at home, in bed. Again,

I did exactly as recommended.

The problem with the last instruction

when you’re on your own, as I was, is that

sometimes you don’t notice yourself getting

any worse but by Wednesday (October

28th) I did have the feeling that things

were not ‘right’. I called the NHS 24-hour

hotline and at some point after that I was

aware of someone sitting on the edge of

the bed telling me that “my body was

shutting down” and she had arranged for

an ambulance to take me to Ninewells

hospital in Dundee as soon as possible.

I don’t/cannot recall everything that

happened after that; when I closed my

eyes my mind showed me things that I did

not want to see (apparently, I was

hallucinating). But I do know that on the

evening of October 28th I landed in a side

ward in Ninewells where staff fitted me

with a mask that felt like a massive starfish

had clamped itself onto my face (photo 1)

This blasted air into my lungs to

hopefully clear out the Covid. This didn’t

work, however, and within 11 hours things

had deteriorated to the point of having to

be transferred to Intensive Care Unit 3

(ICU3) and put in a ‘hood’ (photo 2). That

is fitted with a special exhaust valve that

when I exhaled it vibrated to try and

dislodge the ‘sticky’ Covid cells from my

lungs. I spent a lot of time in that hood, it

would be removed for meals or for short

periods to give me a break (photo 3), but

to be truthful I preferred the hood to the

breathing tube that delivered warm oxygen

directly to the nose, (notice also that I’m

now sporting a ‘clause’). Even with all this

medical gadgetry, however, it didn’t stop

this thing called Covid collapsing one of my

lungs and letting air escape out under my

skin, causing tenderness and swelling in

the chest and arms. Again the medical

profession stepped up to the plate and

stuck a chest drain in through my left ribs

and give me tablets to combat the swelling.

So, after watching the ICU staff come

and go for over two weeks wearing three



For all the latest news, see

Photo 4: On regulated oxygen Photo 5: Never overdo it... Photo 6: Happy to be home...

layers of protective clothing, a hair cap,

double rubber gloves, a tight-fitting mask

and a visor and receiving, most of the time,

one-to-one attention 24/7, all the time

listening to how the nurses spend their free

time – no parties, no pubs, avoiding

crowded areas – it was clear that this Covid

thing was very real for them, and by this

time it was very real for me, too.

That did not stop some of the nurses

coming in on overtime, yes, the extra

money is good, but they were covering due

to other staff being hit by illness.

For two weeks I was in and out of the

hood in a ward with no windows (ICU3

was an operating theatre converted to an

intensive care unit for Covid treatment), so

there were no dayshifts and nightshifts for

me, only different nurses for 12 hours. This

promotes sleeplessness as your body loses

the natural pattern of day and night.

Week 3 in ICU saw slight improvements

in the breathing, so I was taken out of the

hood and warm oxygen and on to a

regulated oxygen flow that is adjusted on

my breathing capabilities. (photo 4)

But with that extra freedom comes the

physio part; it turns out that three weeks of

immobility takes an unbelievable toll on

your body. Day 1, with assistance, I was to

get out of the bed, walk using a zimmer

frame round the bottom of the bed and

back in. That was failure number 1; I

managed only three steps before I had to

be assisted back into bed with everyone

saying that I did great; that was a bad day.

However, no physio gives up and next

morning I was woken with a smiling face

about 4” from my nose asking in a

ridiculously cheery voice “what I wanted to

do today?” and so it begins again, small

steps, short distances, always someone

there. By the time I left ICU I was able to

walk round the bottom of the bed to one

side and back again; result!

So 23 days after I was admitted to

Ninewells I was transferred to a ward

where, still unable to breath properly and

still on the adjustable oxygen, I was able to

have my first shower. This required a long

oxygen tube so I could be plugged into the

oxygen system or a cylinder while I

washed. It took time to just do something

that simple: it was a case of doing little bits

at a time. Put in too much effort and you

feel as though you’re never going to catch

up with the breathing. To make the point,

‘too much effort’ could be simply laying out

your towels and clean clothes before having


Even with all this medical

gadgetry it didn’t stop this

Covid thing collapsing one

of my lungs... the medical

profession stepped up again

by sticking a chest drain in...


to sit for long enough to get the breathing

back to reasonably normal. (photo 5)

But the physios worked their magic

again, this time in the hospital gym, walking

using parallel bars, balancing on a half ball,

throwing a ball and catching. It made me

wonder why any of these skills were

affected when I only had this Covid thing...

It even hit my writing: it was terrible. I

couldn’t get the letters to stop and start

where it made sense. My remedy was a

crossword book. I’m not saying the answers

were correct but my writing improved, but

it made me wonder about other skills. How

would my perception be when driving?

Could I teach again, could I speak for an

hour without sounding like a fat kitten; all

these things taken so much for granted in

my past were now up in the air.

Now, this virus did not just affect me; I

had students with test dates, students

waiting excitedly for the first lesson and it

all just stopped. In steps my daughter and

granddaughter who contacted our local

association and Peter Harvey MBE for any

assistance on what they had to do and

should not do. Everyone stepped up to the

plate; Montrose Driving Instructors’

Association members took as many of my

students as they could, gave Fiona the help

she needed to take some students up for

test, others that needed that last polish

were taken on by other ADIs while Peter

kept her up to speed on financial assistance


So after 37 days of hospitalisation I was

finally allowed home. I was happy but

there were plenty of doubts: what if I can’t

manage without that oxygen back up, will I

be able to stand and prepare food or have a

shower, will I be able to get a sleep pattern

back to something like normal?

I came home on December 3 and as yet

I’m nowhere near back to my health

pre-Covid; I’m walking better but breathing

has taken a beating, driving is fine although

I did do two really short journeys first just

to make sure.

I am not expecting people to enjoy

reading this because some of it sounds

quite harrowing , but there’s a reason for


It’s more to give you an insight into what

this virus can do to people who are going

about their life as normal; please take care

and stay safe. (photo 6)



Meet the ADI

A wanted man, a pursuit driver

and calling in the chopper – when

the cops need me, I’m there!

Continuing our series of

Q&As with MSA GB members,

this month, Roy Gerondaes

from Greater London

considers the dangers he

faces while conducting

lessons – and they usually

involve the police!

When did you become an ADI and what

made you enter the profession?

I became a driving instructor back in

1981. My father was a driving instructor

and owned a driving school from 1971

which was originally established back in

1958; he had around five instructors

working for him.

What’s the best bit about the job?

I love the outcome and seeing the

happiness in my pupils’ faces –

‘watching one go from unable to walk to

get up and run alone’

And the worst?

In the last few years, drivers seem to

have become more impatient and

inconsiderate. Thankfully, pupils remain

respectful to us and our teaching.

What’s the best piece of training advice

you were ever given?

The list is never ending! I was more

self-taught by reading and watching my

father’s instructors in the 1970s, by

sitting in as a passenger or going for a

test as an interpreter. Best advice I was

given was to always be punctual, have a

smart, clean car, and always watch,

listen and assess the pupil.

What one piece of kit other than car and

phone could you not do without?

My whiteboard, pen and e-cloth. They

are great for demonstrating things again

and again without doing any harm to our


What needs fixing most urgently in

driving generally

General observation and patience.

People should allow more time for their

journeys and think more about other

road users, too – whether cyclists,

pedestrians, delivery drivers, etc. We all

need to respect other road users.

What should the DVSA focus on?

Even though I’m an A-grade instructor

I am not happy with the Standards

Check procedures and the overall system

of ADI assessment, so maybe the DVSA

should re-think this.

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

transform driver training/testing?

With all the new technology on new

cars becoming mainstream, I assume

our industry – both the training side and

the testing – will have to adapt with it.

Electric cars – yes or no? And why?

I am actually teaching in a Toyota Yaris

Hybrid so it’s part-electric with a 1.5

petrol engine. It’s very economical

especially in town with stopping and

when stopping/starting.

However, I do have some concerns

about what impact the disposal of its

batteries will have on the environment in

the long term.



For all the latest news, see

How can we improve driver testing/

training in one move?

I’m quite happy with the way the tests

are conducted these days, even though

the examiners are having to do more and

more tasks, and I think ADIs are doing

their best to keep up with any changes.

But the main question is how can we

improve our industry in ‘one move’? My

suggestion is to bring the DVSA and ADIs

closer together, perhaps by the agency

conducting regular seminars through the

year across the country, where all ADIs

have to attend as part of their continuous

professional development.

I feel that at present, too many ADIs

meet the DVSA only at their Standards

Check tests, and that is not enough.

Who/what inspires you, drives you on?

The recommendations that keep

coming asking for my help.

What keeps you awake at night?

When my holiday to go abroad is

getting closer and closer.

No one is a finished article. What do

you do to keep on top of your game?

By keeping up with industry updates

and evaluating my everyday experience.

Every day is another experience!

What’s the daftest/most dangerous thing

that’s happened to you while teaching?

Over 40 years of teaching, I could have

written a best-seller about my work, but

unfortunately I haven’t kept any notes!

A lot of funny things have happened

especially when we used to do hand

signals for every test but the daftest

incidents seem to always involve the

police. Many years ago I was stopped by

officers while I was teaching as I fitted

the description of someone who had just

robbed a building society nearby.

Another time I was on a lesson when I

was stopped by the police but this time

they thought my pupil was a convict who

just escaped from a prisoner carrier

vehicle. It struck me at the time, who

absconds from police custody and thinks,

‘must get a driving lesson...’

Another time I was stopped by a

policeman who asked me to move to the

passenger side so he could use my car to

chase a man wielding a knife.

Finally, I once had a police helicopter

following us while giving them

instructions over the phone through the

emergency 999 number after I witnessed

a man mugging an old lady.

Dangerous moments are happening

more often these days – you name it, I’ve

seen it all, apart from a flying car!

When or where are you happiest?

I’m very happy when I see a pupil

leaning forward to sign their pass

certificate at the end of their test, and

even more happy when I step into an

airport on my way to a hot destination,

because let’s face it, we work for rewards

and these are two of mine.

If you had to pick one book/film that

inspires, entertains or moves you, what

would it be?

I don’t read books, I watch many films

but none of them inspire me for work but

listening to good music keeps me going

– the Bee Gees’ Greatest Hits in



I am actually teaching in

a Toyota Yaris Hybrid so

it’s part-electric with a

1.5 petrol engine. It’s very

economical ...


ANSWERS ... to the quiz on

pg 37. Did you get them all?

• T T N L Take The Next Left

• A T R T T S E At The Roundabout

Take The Second Exit

• M O W R Move Off When Ready

• L S L S Less Space Less Speed

• F T R A Follow The Road Ahead

• W M B R T C What May Be Round

The Corner?

• W Y S Watch Your Speed

• W H T P Who Has The Priority?

• P U O T L Pull Up On The Left

• W T S L H What’s The Speed Limit


• W A T V R U T Who Are The

Vulnerable Road Users Today?

• K T C U Keep The Clutch Up

• W D T S M What Does That Sign


• T T N R O T R Take The Next Road

On The Right

• W I O A L Which Is Our Approach


• W S Y B L Where Should You Be


• D W N A S Do We Need A Signal?

• C Y S P Can You See Properly?

• W D T S O What Does That Switch


• W C B F What Causes Brake Fade?

• W W Y U R F When Would You

Use Rear Foglights?

• D Y F C Do You Feel Comfortable?

• W A M C I Why Are Mirror Checks


• H M F D W H How Much Fuel Do

We Have?

• W A T H H What Are The Hazards


• W G S W B I What Gear Should

We Be In?

• R B T L Reverse Between The


• W Y N S T Will You Need

Sunglasses Today?

• W I T T S R What Is The Two

Second Rule?

• W A Y B Where Are Your


• P U A A S P Pull Up At A Safe


• H A Y T How Are You Today?




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

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Some exciting news for members: Ford has partnered with

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Take a look at the Ford website for vehicle

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For further information, to view frequently asked questions,

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Please note these discounts are only available to MSA GB

members and their immediate family if they are members

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MSA OFFER: Special Driving Instructor

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For all the latest news, see


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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



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