Newslink April


Motor Schools Association membership magazine, driving instructors, road safety.


The Voice of MSA GB

Issue 339 • April 2021

Now, about that

waiting list...

MSA GB Conference 2021

DVSA vows to pull out all the stops

We work for all Driver Trainers. Want to join? See pg 47 for a special introductory offer

For all the latest news, see

We’re still in this for the

long haul, so let’s show

the public that we care

Colin Lilly

Editor, Newslink

As we look forward to returning to

training on your Government’s chosen

date, I suspect everyone will be hoping

that this will be the last lockdown.

Whether it will be, or not, will depend on

the behaviour of individuals or groups in

public areas.

There is no doubt that the Covid virus

will be around for a long time and

despite all the efforts of the vaccine to

reduce its impact, there will be future

infections. News that the Government is

lining up booster vaccines for the autumn

tends to reflect this.

Within driver training it seems very

likely that the protocol of wearing masks

and sanitation procedures will be with us

for the next few years. A lot of unknowns

remain, as much of the science around

this is comparatively new. For example,

little is known about the ability of those

who have been vaccinated to spread the

virus. It is essential that everyone who is

medically able to be vaccinated gets the

jab for their own protection – and for

everyone to act as though everyone else

has the virus.

We cannot afford another break in

training or testing. An estimated backlog

of 420,000 tests, not including those

who are yet to book their first test, will

take time to clear. Average waiting lists

of 17 weeks are only the starting point.

That’s why we must continue to be

responsible in our actions.

Would the issue of Covid passports

help our business? Would the minds of

those taking part in in-car training or

classroom sessions be eased by a

requirement for a Covid certificate to be

held by all parties? Would this be of

particular benefit in instructor training

and testing? Should DVSA consider this?

How ever you look at it, the future will

be different. We will still feel under the

threat of coronavirus until the all clear is

given. This will not be on June 21 –

indeed, that all-clear date may still be

some years away.

The driver training industry is a close

customer contact situation and therefore

needs to minimise the risk of infection.

Show the customers you care by taking

all the steps you can.


To comment on this article or any other

issue surrounding driver training and

testing, contact Colin via

Welcome to your

digital, interactive


See a pale blue box in any article

or on an advert? It it contains a

web address or email, it’s

interactive. Just click and it will

take you to the appropriate web

page or email so you can find

more details easier.

You’ll also find these panels across

the magazine: just click for more

information on any given subject.

To get the

full story,

click here

How to access this


You can read Newslink in three


Go online and read the interactive

magazine on the Yumpu website;

or, if you would like to read it

when you don’t have a mobile

signal or WiFi, you can download

the magazine to your tablet, PC or

phone to read at your leisure.

Alternatively, a pdf can be found

on the MSA GB website,


Thanks, all for making our

Conference 2021 such a success

Many thanks to all members who joined us for the online

MSA Conference on March 21. We were delighted to

welcome DVSA Chief Executive Loveday Ryder in her first

official appearance at an ADI event, and it was interesting

to hear her outline some of the initiatives the agency

plans post-pandemic, particularly around reducing test

waiting times. We also heard a number of excellent

presentations, and took the time to say ‘thank you’ to

those MSA GB members who had gone the extra mile for

the association over the past 12 months at our annual

awards ceremony. Thanks, too, to our sponsors – Ford,

Marmalade and Collingwood – for their support.

Find out more about the event from pg 28.

DVSA speakers

at conference

Here’s hoping

we’ll be back

as normal by

Conference 2022!

Follow the

link MSA

GB sends

you to



and then

just click


to save a

copy on

your device


ADIs raise concerns over

L-test waiting times,

while the DVSA offers

some solutions.

Inside >


The Voice of MSA GB

Issue 339 • April 2021

Now, about that

waiting list...

MSA GB Conference 2021

DVSA vows to pu l out a l the stops

We work for a l Driver Trainers. Want to join? See pg 47 for a special introductory o fer





Latest on restrictions: waiting

game on training, testing...

But April looks set fair for driving lessons

across Great Britain – pg 08

Help here if you need it

Fourth and fifth tranches of help for the

self-employed: how to claim – pg 10

Highways England moves to

ease public’s concerns

Two flies and the Pet Shop Boys lead

M-way safety campaign – pg 12

Drug-driving still overlooked

New report highlights silent growth in

drugs’ role in fatal crashes – pg 14


Watch out, ADIs, Rishi has his

eye on you

Rumours abound that the Chancellor is

going to tighten up the rules around

self-employment in a bid to shore up

the nation’s finances, and close taxation

and NI loopholes– pg 16

Worrying new trend as drink

driving cases rise again

The UK needs to look overseas for new

ideas to combat drink driving as cases

hit a 10-year high – pg 18



The Voice of MSA GB

The Motor Schools Association

of Great Britain Ltd

Head Office:

Chester House,

68 Chestergate,


Cheshire SK11 6DY

T: 01625 664501


Newslink is published monthly on behalf of the MSA

GB and distributed to members and selected

recently qualified ADIs throughout Great Britain by:

Chamber Media Services,

4 Hilton Road, Bramhall, Stockport,

Cheshire SK7 3AG

Editorial/Production: Rob Beswick


t: 0161 426 7957

Advertising sales: Colin Regan


t: 01942 537959 / 07871 444922

Views expressed in Newslink are not necessarily

those of the MSA GB or the publishers.

Although every effort is

made to ensure the

accuracy of material

contained within this

publication, neither MSA

GB nor the publishers can

accept any responsibility

for the veracity of claims

made by contributors in

either advertising or

editorial content.

©2021 The Motor Schools

Association of Great

Britain Ltd. Reprinting in

whole or part is forbidden

without express

permission of the editor.


For all the latest news, see



Keep in

touch 1

Keep in touch:

Just click on the icon

to go through to the

relevant site


Step by step

Trying to cram too much content into every

lesson can stop your learner absorbing the

crucial safe driving messages you are trying

to impart, says Steve Garrod – pg 20

Dear Loveday...

Kind words won’t stop me pointing out the

problem with waiting lists, says Newslink’s

latest contributor, one Roderick Arthur

Came... – pg 22

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.


Conference 2021

Loveday Ryder leads a strong DVSA line-up

at the MSA Conference 2021

Mock tests | Latest on waiting lists | DVSA plans

for post-pandemic | Older drivers | MSA GB AGM |

Association awards and thanks

from pg 28


from pg 36

Life as an ADI

Two members with very different stories to tell about their

life as an ADI, in the past and during lockdown

page 40

No, not that one

North West member Geoff Capes is this month’s

ADI under the spotlight – page 44

Follow MSA GB on social media


Mirror, mirror on the car

The humble mirror may be facing a fast

decline into obsolesence as in-car cameras

become a common feature on new cars.

Mike Yeomans looks at its history - and

future – pg 26

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







High Wycombe DTC

The DVSA has offered High Wycombe

ADIs an update on progress as it tries

to secure a new site for the town’s

driving test centre on the Cressex

Business Park.

A planning application has now

been submitted and is undergoing

consultation, with a decision expected

by the middle of May.

If you have any further questions

about the closure of High Wycombe

DTC, please contact the LDTM, Julian

Lovegrove, at Julian.Lovegrove@dvsa.

Update from the

Registrar of ADIs

From April 1, the contractor providing

DBS checks for the DVSA will change

to First Advantage.

The service will remain exactly as

now and ADIs will still need to apply

for their DBS via


The only noticeable difference will

be that the page the application

directs to will be re-badged as First


Tech steps in to keep

drivers’ speed down

SEAT has decided that drivers need a

little help keeping to the speed limit

– so has added some tech to make

sure they do.

The all-new SEAT Leon features

Dynamic Road Sign Display, which

uses a front-mounted camera to detect

speed limit signs and then automatically

adjusts the speed according to the limit.

Statistics compiled by the DfT show

over 50% of cars exceeded the speed

limit on 30mph roads; while 47% of

cars broke the limit on motorways in

2020. A study of 2,000 UK motorists

found that nearly 10% had been

caught speed within the past 12

month. It also found that three-quarters

(76%) of drivers don’t always know

what speed they are travelling at.

Richard Harrison, Managing Director

of SEAT UK, commented: “It’s

certainly eye-opening to learn that

significant numbers of motorists aren’t

necessarily always aware of their own

speeds, but thankfully Dynamic Road

Sign Display can make drivers safer on

the road.”

Let’s take it easy when

we get back to the car

Peter Harvey mbe

National Chairman


Hello everyone. I hope you are all faring

well in these still extraordinary times.

I thought I would give you a little update

on association issues, as well as talk about

the changes we hope to see rolled-out

across the country this month.

As some of you will know we held our

second online annual Conference last

week. You can read much more about how

that went further on in the magazine, but

for my part I was really pleased with how

the day went. It was really good to see so

many of you logging in and being involved.

It was also good to have Loveday Ryder,

the DVSA’s new Chief Executive, to open

the conference, and she offered some

useful updates on how the DVSA expects

to get things back to normal – including

working its way out of the backlog in our

testing system.

It does feel as though we are starting to

see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Hopefully you are all looking forward to

some decent weather over the Easter

weekend and we will be allowed to move

around a little more freely than we have in

recent months.

You all know we have indicative dates for

us getting back to work – but they are just

that, indicative dates. All are subject to

change and require government clearance,

but, with luck, England & Wales will be

allowed to restart driver training on April

12, with Scotland moving into a new level

scheme a little later, on April 26.

We are hoping all of Scotland will move

to Level 3 in the new system, and lessons

will be able to continue. If your area is in

Level 4, you will not be able to restart

lessons and will have to wait a little longer.

Testing in England and Wales will restart

10 days after training restarts. In Scotland,

we also have confirmation that practical

testing will start on May 6, with theory

tests starting on April 26.

So there is light at the end of the tunnel,

and a little bit of hope. We need it, don’t

we. I realise how difficult it has been for

you all over this past year. Hopefully, this

will be the last time we have to face a

lockdown. But as you start getting ready to

return to work, with all the rules to follow

on face coverings and car cleaning duties,

it is important to consider your own health,

too. With us being away from the job for so

long, it is tempting to make up for lost time

and work very long hours to catch up on

what you have missed. Try to resist the

temptation and pace your days when you

do return. There is no use in overdoing it

and you could end up feeling unwell

yourself. Please take care and enjoy

working yourself back into the swing of


If we all do our bit and observe the

guidelines, we should be able to have a

much better summer than last year.

Stay safe, and remember, any problems,

MSA GB is here to help. Contact details for

head office support and regional/national

chairs can be found on pg 4-5.

Highway Code changes rules on tyres

The rules around tyres have been updated

in the Highway Code.

The change made affects Annex 6.

Vehicle maintenance, safety and security.

Updated the vehicle maintenance section

to add information about the ages of tyres

allowed to be used on goods vehicles with

a maximum gross weight of more than 3.5

tonnes and passenger vehicles with more

than eight passenger seats.

It now reads:

Tyre age. Tyres over 10 years old MUST

NOT be used on the front axles of:

n goods vehicles with a maximum gross

weight of more than 3.5 tonnes

n passenger vehicles with more than

eight passenger seats

Additionally, they MUST NOT be used on

the rear axles of passenger vehicles with

nine to 16 passenger seats, unless

equipped with twin wheels.

To prove the age of a tyre it is further

required that the date of tyre manufacture

marking MUST always be legible.

Vehicles currently excluded from tyre

roadworthiness regulations and vehicles of

historical interest which are not used for

commercial purpose, are exempt from

these requirements.



Ready, steady, teach!

As members will know only too well, the governments of

the four nations of the UK have indicated that there will be

a gradual restart to driver training and testing over the

coming weeks. The key dates remain indicative dates only

at this stage, and are open to change. However, if all goes

to plan, most ADIs should be back at work in April.

Certainly, with figures of deaths, new cases and vaccines

all going in the right directions, government sources are

confident that these dates will be kept to and we will not

go into future lockdowns. If any changes take place, MSA

GB will let you know first. The quickest way we can reach

you is via our email service; if you’re not sure we have your

current email address, please call head office on

01625 664501 to update your details.


Private practice:


ADI-supervised lessons



L-Tests re-start



Theory tests




ADI-supervised lessons

April *


L-Tests re-start

May *


Theory tests:

April *



Private practice:


ADI-supervised lessons



L-Tests re-start



Theory tests:



For the latest news, click

in the panel below

* The First Minister has confirmed that Scotland will, on

coming out of lockdown on April 26, revert to a new system of

Levels. Each Level will be more severe than those previously

used. Whether lessons and testing starts in your area will

depend on which level you are placed in.

Level 3 may be allowed to restart teaching and testing;

however, Level 4 areas will not. Driving lessons will only restart

once that area has been downgraded to Level 3.

Testing in such areas will restart 10 days after lessons.


Restrictions on training and

testing will be reviewed by the

NI Executive on April 15.

Key information

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

NASP updated

guidance here

(click button right)

On theory tests

(click button right)

L- tests

(click button right)

Instructor guidance

(click button right)

The latest Standard Operating Procedures

can be found on the NASP website for:

Driving Test; Vocational Test; Motorcycle

Test; ADI Part 2 Test; ADI Part 3 Test and

Standards Checks

They are changing all the time.

Make sure you know the

latest rules by clicking

the panel right

Check the




For all the latest news, see


When driving test centres re-open for testing, then all

222 waiting rooms that were open before the latest

lockdown will reopen, plus another 27 around the

country. See link below for open waiting rooms.

Click here for

the full story


n All examiners will be masked throughout the test.

n Waiting rooms are for ADIs only. Please do not arrive

more than five minutes before the test time.

n You must clean the inside of your car before your test. This

means tidying any unnecessary items away from the

dashboard, footwells, door pockets, cup holders and seats

wiping down the dashboard and car controls. The examiner

will do an additional clean of some surfaces.

n The car you use for your test must have at least one window

open on each side throughout the test. Candidates must wear

appropriate clothing for the test, including a face covering.

n ADIs will not be able to accompany the L-test. However, they

are encouraged to attend the post-test debrief, which will take

place outside the car. Please remember to social distance if

attending this.


Motorcycle training restarted on March 29,

with the first bike tests to be held on April 12.

Motorcycle tests in Scotland will restart on

May 6 at the earliest.

Driving instructor qualifications

These will be in line with the dates for L-tests

and training, with testing starting on April 22

at the earliest in England and Wales; in

Scotland they will restart on May 6 at the




News: Covid support

More support for self-employed – but

be careful over eligibility

The UK Government’s package of

support for the self-employed (the

Self-Employment Income Support

Scheme, SEISS) has been extended until

September for a fourth and fifth grant

– and there is good news for some more

recent ADIs.

HMRC will contact customers who

may be eligible for the fourth SEISS grant

from mid-April to tell them how they can

claim. In addition, because it will be

taking into account the most recent tax

return (2019-2020), more self-employed

people will be able to claim assistance.

However, ADIs are encouraged to

exercise caution when claiming, as

HMRC is likely to want to see evidence

your business has been hit by the

pandemic. Because so many instructors

have lost lessons during this period, it

seems likely such proof will be easy to

obtain, but be aware the taxman may

ask for evidence.

Fourth SEISS grant

The UK Government will pay a taxable

grant which is calculated based on 80

per cent of three months’ average trading

profits, paid out in a single payment and

capped at £7,500 in total.

The value of the grant is based on an

average of your trading profits for up to

four tax years between 2016 to 2020,

where available.

The grant will be available to claim by

late April. As with previous grants,

trading profits must be no more than

£50,000 and at least equal to nontrading

income in order to claim the

fourth SEISS grant.

Eligibility for the fourth SEISS grant

will depend on whether you experienced

a significant financial impact from

coronavirus between February 2021 and

April 2021.

HMRC will take into account your

2019-20 return when assessing your

eligibility for the scheme. This may also

affect the amount of the fourth grant,

which could be higher or lower than

previous grants you have received.

For this period, you will need to make

an honest assessment that there has

been a significant reduction in trading

profits due to reduced demand or your

inability to trade. If you make a claim,

you will need to keep appropriate records

as evidence.

For further details of the changes to

eligibility and calculation of the grant,

please visit GOV‌.UK and search ‘Self-

Employment Income Support Scheme’.

What happens next

HMRC will contact you from mid-April

if it believes you may be eligible for the

fourth SEISS grant to tell you how you

can claim. You will be provided with your

personal claim date, which will be the

earliest date you can submit a claim for

the fourth SEISS grant.

Claims for the fourth SEISS grant must

be made by May 31, 2021, at the latest.

Fifth grant

A fifth grant will cover the period May-

September, which you will be able to

claim from late July if you are eligible.

The amount of the fifth grant will be

determined by how much your turnover

has been reduced. The grant will be

worth 80% of three months’ average

trading profits, capped at £7,500, for

those with a higher reduction in turnover

(30 per cent or more). For those with a

lower reduction in turnover, of less than

30 per cent, the grant will be worth 30

per cent of three months’ average trading


Further details will be provided on the

fifth grant in due course.

HMRC issues scam warning

In his recent Budget, the Chancellor announced a Taxpayer Protection Taskforce

to tackle the minority who deliberately claim money they’re not entitled to.

If you suspect fraud, please report it to GOV‌.UK and search ‘Report fraud to

HMRC’ for more information.

HMRC has also issued a warning over online scams which mimic Government

messages as a way of appearing authentic. Search ‘scams’ on for

information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can forward

suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to and texts

to 60599. For more information, search Cyber Aware on

ADI Help fund still open for donations and requests

Bobbie Hicks and Susan McDonald, the

organisers of the Helping ADIs and PDIs

fundraiser inspired by the pandemic

restrictions, have posted a new message

on the Go Fund Me page.

It reads: “Just a short message to

remind everybody that we are still open

for both applications and donations to the

fund and will be for well into the

foreseeable future!

“We would like to remind people that

the fund is not just for the Covid

pandemic but also for other necessary

funding as and when it arises to help

people with their everyday or unexpected

living costs when times are hard.

“We have so far received many

applications, (but not quite as many as

we were anticipating) and many

applicants have received funds. Could we

please just remind people to read the

rules when applying as we have received

many applications from people who have

not exhausted Government help or are

applying for business costs which,

regrettably, we cannot fund.

“Please make sure you read all

documentation before you start and that

you have all the correct paperwork to

make the process as smooth as possible.”

Click here to find

out more



For all the latest news, see

You Tuber backs ‘Dead Slow’

campaign around horses

The British Horse Society has teamed up

with a motoring YouTuber to promote its

Dead Slow campaign messages to a

wider audience.

The video – which explains the safest

way to pass a horse on the roads – has

been produced by the BHS, Dorset Police

and Devon and Cornwall Police in collaboration

with GCM (George’s Car Media).

GCM describes himself as a ‘petrol

head’ and has more than 26k followers

on YouTube.

Dead Slow was launched to help better

educate drivers on how to safely pass

horses on the road and Alan Hiscox,

director of safety for the BHS, has

spoken at MSA GB Conferences in the

past over the importance of this road

safety message.

The campaign consists of four key

behavioural changes when driving in and

around horses:

• Slow down to a maximum of 15mph

• Be patient – I won’t sound my horn

or rev my engine

• Pass the horse wide and slow, (if

safe to do so) at least 2 metres or a car’s

width if possible

• Drive slowly away.

Alan Hiscox said: “GCM Cars have a

large YouTube following and our Dead

Slow messages will reach another

audience that we would normally find it

difficult to communicate with. This video

covers all the salient points to ensure

equestrians are safer on the roads.”

Click here to see

the video

E-scooters in

the spotlight

Travel Safe Bucks (TSB) has launched a

social media campaign to raise awareness

of the law on privately owned electric

scooters – which are illegal to use on

public roads, cycle lanes and pavements.

E-scooters are deemed ‘powered

transporters’ – which covers a variety of

personal transport devices powered by a

motor. While rental e-scooter schemes

were made legal by the Government in

July 2020, the laws on private e-scooters

have remained unchanged. This means

anyone who uses a privately owned

e-scooter on a public road or other

prohibited space is committing a

criminal offence, with penalties ranging

from a fine and penalty points to

disqualification from driving. People

using e-scooters dangerously or while

under the influence of drink or drugs can

also be convicted. It is only legal to use

a privately owned e-scooter on private

land. The new campaign is running on

Twitter and Facebook.



Road safety news

‘Go left’ sings Highways England as it tries

to make public feel safer on motorways

Highways England has launched a new

road campaign aimed at helping

motorists understand what to do if they

breakdown on the motorway – and it’s

using a classic ’90s pop song by The Pet

Shop Boys and a couple of dancing

windscreen-splatted flies to do it.

‘Go West’ – one of the pop duo’s most

famous hits, and a song that has proved

the basis for dozens of advertising

campaigns and football chants since it

was released in 1993 – is the tune

behind the new slogan ‘Go Left!’ which

tells drivers want to do if they encounter

mechanical trouble on the motorway.

The new campaign forms part of the

DfT’s 18-point action plan to improve

safety on, and public confidence of,

smart motorways.

Motorways and major A-roads are

Britain’s safest roads by miles travelled,

but there were over 200,000 reported

breakdowns on motorways every year.

The campaign advises drivers who are

unable to exit the motorway at the next

junction or service area to:

• Put your left indicators on

• Move into the left lane

• Enter the next emergency area, or

hard shoulder

• Put your hazard lights on

• Get behind a safety barrier where

there is one

• Call Highways England on 0300

123 5000, then a breakdown provider

for help

Set to the tune of ‘Go West’, the

campaign advert delivers a ‘clear,

single-minded message’ – go left.

Highways England says testing with

focus groups found the ‘distinctive

characters, music and humour made the

important message very memorable’ and

hopes it will help people remember what

to do in the event of an emergency.

Nick Harris, acting chief executive of

Highways England, said: “No one plans

to break down on a motorway, but if the

unexpected happens I want all motorists

to know what to do so that they can

keep themselves and others safe.

“Everyone wants a safe journey and

raising awareness is a vital part of

helping to make sure that happens.

“This new campaign and its ‘Go left’

message is designed to deliver crucial

information in an accessible way and to

help make motorways safer for the

people who use them.

“This campaign is just one of the many

steps we are taking to invest in our

network with safety as our number one

priority, doing everything we can to help

drivers feel confident on our motorways.”

You can watch the video by clicking

the panel here.

Click here to see

the video

Two singing

flies splattered

on the

windscreen are

the stars of the

new campaign,

urging a


driver in a

failing car to

‘Go Left’

Smart motorways – DfT vows to tackle the negatives

The Department for Transport has vowed

to restore public confidence in the smart

motorway system – with the ‘Go Left’

campaign (above) the first shot.

Until 2020, the UK had two types of

‘smart motorways’: dynamic, where the

hard shoulder is opened to traffic during

busy periods, with access marked on

overhead gantries; and ones with

permanent running on the hard shoulder.

However, after concerns were voiced

over the safety of the schemes, Transport

Secretary Grant Shapps acknowledged

that ministers had ‘concerns’ and opened

a five-month evidence stocktake, resulting

in an 18-point action plan – including this

new awareness campaign. However, the

most significant change was the scrapping

of ‘confusing’ dynamic smart motorways.

The action plan addressed other

controversial issues, such as the time

taken to reach broken down vehicles in

live lanes and the distance between

emergency refuge areas.

Mr Shapps said the action plan will

allow drivers to retain the benefits of

smart motorways – while addressing the

concerns that have been identified.

Highways England says Mr Shapps has

requested a report updating progress on

the works carried out to date.

In February, the Transport Committee

launched an inquiry into the benefits and

safety of smart motorways, as well as

their impact on reducing congestion.

Speaking to the committee, Mr Shapps

said he did not want to carry on with the

system of smart motorways which he had

inherited on coming into office.




Fears drug-driving being missed

as police enforcement varies

A major report by the Parliamentary

Advisory Council for Transport Safety

(PACTS) has revealed that the science

and resources focused on combating

drug driving are a long way behind those

devoted to drink driving – amid fears the

problem of drugs could be far worse than

previously thought.

PACTS called for greater resources to

be committed to raise public awareness

of the problems caused by drug taking

and driving, particularly among the key

at-risk group of the 18-24s – the young

driver group ADIs are most familiar with.

The research showed that while drug

drivers are a varied group, drawn from

across age and race demographic and

using different drugs, it is a problem

particularly linked to younger men using

cocaine or cannabis. In older drivers the

issue tends to be around prescription

drugs. Interestingly, nearly half (44%) of

all drug-drive offences are committed by

a reoffender.

In 2019, drug driving was a factor in

crashes that left 92 people dead and

672 seriously injured. However, as

recording drug driving varies widely

across police forces, this number could

be far lower than the actual figure.

12,391 people were convicted of a drug

driving offence in 2019 – up significantly

since 2015.

PACTS has called for more consistent

levels of police enforcement of the

existing drug driving laws, backed by

better communications to raise the public

perception of enforcement, penalties and

risks associated with drug driving.

Currently, the level of enforcement

varies dramatically from police force to

force, with some having better procedures,

contracts and training. Those with better

systems should be used as benchmark

for others to follow, PACTS said.

The report found strong evidence that

drivers are less aware of the dangers

created by drug driving or the likelihood

of being caught for it, than they are for

drink driving. Road safety campaigns

have largely focused on drink-driving –

possibly rightly so, the report says – and

the chance to get similar messages across

over drug driving offences has been missed.

To highlight the growth of the problem,

it pointed out that in 1997, a study by

the Transport Research Laboratory of

drivers involved in fatal road collision

Number of people convicted of drug-driving offences

casualties from 1985-1987 found drugs

present in just three per cent of cases,

compared to alcohol which was present

in 35 per cent of cases. However, similar

studies in 2001 and 2012 showed that

drugs were present in more than 20 per

cent of similar traffic incidents. Education

and awareness campaigns are required

urgently to address this.

It was also important that a remedial

measure be brought in for offenders. A

drug-drive rehabilitation course and high

risk offender scheme should be

introduced, modelled broadly on the

existing drink-drive programmes, but

with better screening for drug and mental

health problems and with clear pathways

to treatment.

Medical professionals can also play a

role in identifying drug and mental health

issues; the DVLA and relevant

professional bodies should continue to

raise awareness of these and the

guidelines for medical professionals.

Above all, the report demonstrates the

need for a broad strategy to tackle drug

driving, which uses the knowledge of

experts on drugs and drug testing. This

Number of people per thousand convicted by age group

strategy must include research to fill vital

knowledge gaps and include

conventional road safety interventions as

well as those from the public health field.

A strategy to tackle drug driving should

seek to address the underlying causes of

decisions by some to drug drive, increase

drivers’ perception of their chance of

being caught if they do so, and ensure

that those who are caught receive the

support they need to stop drug driving.

Professor Kim Wolff mbe, Professor of

Analytical, Forensic & Addiction Science

and Director of Forensics at King’s

College London, and the Chair of the

Expert Panel on Drug Driving in 2013,

welcomed the latest research. She hoped

it would fuel a debate around drugdriving

and reinforce the message that a

multi-disciplinary approach was needed

to tackle the issue – which would include

ADIs as ‘first educators’ of safe driving

and road safety messages.

Society faced “a significant challenge”

from drug driving, Professor Wolff said.

While acknowledging that the science

behind drug driving was improving,

“there is a need to continue our journey

of legal and technical progression. The

evolution of the drugs themselves and

our means of detecting them must be

prefaced against changes in the patterns

of consumption, particularly by between

18-25 and who are recognised as

susceptible to other risky behaviours for

safe driving, such as speeding, seatbelt

and mobile phone misuse.

“Our knowledge has grown

exponentially since the introduction of

the strict liability offence, but it is not

complete. Robust, standardised data

collection and reporting would

significantly help, as would support for

evidence collection and sentencing.

“Drug driving is a multi-faceted

phenomenon and requires a multidisciplinary




For all the latest news, see

IAM RoadSmart survey finds public is still

nervous about autonomous vehicles

A study by IAM RoadSmart has revealed

that 60 per cent of motorists believe the

growing ability of vehicles to drive

themselves is a serious threat to road


Female drivers (66 per cent) and

drivers over the age of 70 (64 per cent)

showed the greatest concern. This is

despite evidence that road incidents are

usually caused by human error, suggesting

that giving greater control to the vehicles

themselves in the future might actually

reduce the number of collisions.

However, while automated vehicle

technology could improve road safety, this

will only happen if the new systems are

used correctly, including through driver

training to understand their capabilities

and limitations, the road safety charity


Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of

Policy & Research, said: “Autonomous

and automated vehicle technology is

becoming an integral part of everyday

motoring and while it does have the

capacity to improve road safety, its

capabilities must be fully understood to

ensure we don’t over rely on them.

“Over-reliance on these systems, and a

lack of training on how to use them,

could have a negative effect, with

potentially worrying results.

“As vehicle systems take on the tasks

that drivers used to perform, IAM Road

Smart wants to see an understanding of

automated features included in the UK

driving test.”

Projections suggest that 40 per cent of

UK new car sales could have self-driving

capabilities in fewer than 15 years.

Meanwhile, advocates for a push

towards autonomous vehicle technology

also highlight the financial benefits to the

UK economy, possibly almost worth £42

billion by 2035 together with the creation

of nearly 40,000 British jobs.

Concerns still remain, however, around

the high cost of research and development,

making autonomous vehicles too

expensive for some, together with

possible malfunctions, data security

issues and moral dilemmas as to what

the vehicle should be programmed to


Neil added: “Our research shows that

many motorists remain to be convinced

about the safety of self-driving vehicles.

While we wait for completely autonomous

cars to take over from human drivers,

training will be paramount in ensuring

that increasingly automated vehicles are

an asset rather than a drawback.”



Comment: Self employment rule change

Watch out, ADIs, rumour has

it Rishi’s got his eye on you...

The benefits of the self-employed career are few and far between at times... and now it looks

like the Chancellor may be closing a few of the good parts down, as he seeks a way to restore

the nation’s finances. Rod Came looks at the issues

The pleasures and benefits of selfemployment

are manifest and

appreciated by those who enjoy success

from their chosen field. But there are

disadvantages and while many can be

overcome by the individual, some are

beyond their scope.

People who work for an employer have

a wage structure, holidays, sickness pay,

set hours of work and overtime rates,

among other benefits. Their income tax,

pension and National Insurance are

taken from their salary before they

receive their take home pay. Everything

is organised by the employer.

Conversely, self-employed people do

not benefit from those advantages. They

do not have a wage structure, their

take-home pay is entirely dependent on

the amount they have collected from

their labours after numerous deductions.

There is no holiday entitlement, in fact

most self-employed people often do not

take holidays because time off work

means a loss of income. it’s the same

A mocked-up



of a future

plea from the


with sickness; self-employment is the

best cure for the common cold.

Unsocial hours and overtime do not

exist in the self-employed world; often

they are the norm; 9 to 5, Monday to

Friday is a fantasy. Most people who

work for themselves take on far more

work than they should, because of the

irrational fear that when they wake up

tomorrow all their clients will have gone.

An ADI’s take-home pay is what is left

from the fees collected after all expenses

have been deducted. These soon mount

up, too: car purchase/lease, fuel, phone,

insurance, maintenance, broadband,

accountancy, advertising, MSA GB fee

and other one-off expenses.

So why am I telling you what you

already know?

Because change is coming. The

Chancellor, one Rishi Sunak, the chap

who has been so generous to workers by

way of furlough payments throughout the

Covid pandemic, including to the

self-employed, has now signalled that he

wants the money back because the UK

bank account is in a parlous state. He

doesn’t have too many options to claw

money in from, but one that has been

causing concern for sometime is the

status of being ‘self-employed’.

Unfortunately, a system that has

trundled along to most people’s benefit

for many years has been misappropriated

by a few who saw a loophole to use to

their advantage. They include people

who decide to ‘retire’ and then next day

return to the same employer, doing the

same job, but now as a self-employed

‘consultant’, thereby gaining the few

benefits that self-employment bestows.

They’ve been drawing attention to

themselves. From Rishi’s point of view

he feels that he is losing out on the

reduced National Insurance paid by

those under retirement age. He’s also

upset that they put legitimate business

expenses against income, reducing their

tax liability.

Hence, the rules are changing. Firms

are no longer hiring consultants who they

can hire and fire at will. This used to

benefit both the consultant and the

employer in that it is very flexible.

Employers who need occasional labour

do not want to go though the rigmarole

of hiring permanent staff who they know

they will only want for a specific purpose,

or a relatively short time. As a

consequence many people who were

quite happy to work on that basis are

now losing out.


Change is coming....

Chancellor Sunak has

signalled he wants the

money back because the UK

bank is in a parlous state




For all the latest news, see

Other changes are heading our way.

You will have read that Über has now

been judged to be an employer of the

drivers who operate under its flag and

must pay them the minimum wage and

other employee benefits.

That is only one company, the tip of

the iceberg, as there are many other

employers in different fields that could be

affected by this judgement.

So it’s time to look at what it really

means to be ‘self-employed.’ The

Government says you’re probably

self-employed if you:

• run your business for yourself and take

responsibility for its success or failure

• have several customers at the same


• can decide how, where and when you

do your work

• can hire other people at your own

expense to help you or work for you

• provide the main items of equipment to

do your work

• are responsible for finishing any

unsatisfactory work in your own time

• charge an agreed price for your work

• sell goods or services to make a profit.

Continued on page 18




Time to get tough on drink-driving as

number of deaths hits a 10-year high

Road safety and breakdown organisation

GEM Motoring Assist has joined other

groups in calling for a review of drinkdrive

laws, as motoring deaths involving

drink reach a 10-year high.

Provisional government statistics for

2019 show that there were 280 deaths

from drink-driving in 2019, up 40 on the

previous year and the highest annual total

since 2009.

GEM chief executive Neil Worth said:

“Theere has been virtually no progress in

reducing drink-driving deaths in the UK

over the past decade.

“Levels of police enforcement have

decreased by 63 per cent since 2009,

while the much-heralded road side

evidential breath-testing equipment shows

no signs of making it into the police

toolkit any time soon.

“As things stand, England and Wales

have Europe’s highest drink drive limits,

with absurdly complex procedures

required to secure a prosecution.

“We invite the UK government to look

at good practice from other countries and

to take urgent steps to reform our whole

approach to tackling drink driving.”

In particular, GEM points to a number

of initiatives in Europe:

In Estonia, drink driving deaths fell

from 61 in 2006 to 7 in 2017 as a result

of a reduction in the drink drive limit to

0.2g/l BAC (compared with the England

and Wales limit of 0.8g/l BAC) and a

concerted and sustained improvement in

enforcement techniques.

In Denmark, any driver found with a

BAC above 0.5g/l must pay for and follow

a 12-hour mandatory course on alcohol

and road safety in order to regain their

driving licence. Drivers found with a BAC

over 1.2g/l receive an unconditional threeyear

ban, with prison sentences for repeat

offenders. These tough new rules pushed

drink-drive deaths down from 112 in

2007 to 30 in 2016.

In Australia, the state of Queensland

has stipulated that learners and recentlyqualified

drivers must have a zero BAC,

while for all others – including

motorcyclists – the limit is 0.05g/l BAC. A

zero limit applies for all professional


In Israel, almost one million random

alcohol breath tests take place every year,

in a nation of eight million inhabitants.

This was supported by an increase in

night-time bus transport to deter car use

among younger drivers.

In Belgium, police use screening

devices on random testing. These give a

‘safe’ reading of below 0.22g/l, an ‘alarm’

reading of between 0.22 and 0.35, or a

‘positive’ reading of above 0.35.

Rishi’s got his

eye on you

Continued from page 17

All clear? Be careful because it ain’t

necessarily so! You can also be employed

and self-employed at the same time...

see for further confusion/


It does appear that the points above

mean that ADIs who work for themselves

do fall within the scope of the

requirements for self-employment at the

moment, but I have also read that the

Chancellor would like to have selfemployed

people paying the same

National Insurance rates as those who

are employed, but not necessarily

obtaining the same benefits.

For instance, to be eligible for ‘new

style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) you’ll

need to have both:

• worked as an employee

• paid Class 1 NI contributions,

usually in the last 2 to 3 years (NI

credits can also count)

• You will not be eligible if you were

self-employed and only paid Class 2 NI

contributions, unless you were working

as a share fisherman or a volunteer

development worker. (

So if an ADI is short of clients through

no fault of their own, let’s say because

the waiting list for an L-test in their area

has gone stratospheric, it is no good

thinking that the Government is going to

financially assist you; it won’t happen.

Another obvious target is undeclared

income. This scourge affects everyone; it

means anyone who pays tax has to pay

more to cover that lost to evasion. It is

surprising how many trade vehicles

appear in residential areas at weekends

accompanied by small plant and the

banging of hammers.

The temptation for ADIs who often are

paid in cash for each lesson, to ‘forget’

some is quite tempting, especially when

times are hard. Don’t! The tax man has a

good idea of what sort of money an ADI

should be earning in normal times; if

your tax return falls outside of those

parameters, it can be flagged up. I knew

an ADI who did “one lesson for the tax

man, two for me”. When they caught up

with him he had to sell his house to pay

the back tax and the penalties.

It’s simply not worth it. I have always

worked on the basis that the tax man is

better at catching defaulters than they

are at getting away with it.

Catching out an ADI is so easy. The

taxman knows how many miles an ADI

does on an average lesson, and so can

work out how many you should be

covering over the year. If you are on the

fiddle your accounts may show that your

car is only doing 20mpg when it ought to

be 40mpg (by comparing receipts for

petrol with claimed time spent on the

road), or when you trade the car in it

shows 150,000 miles on the invoice

when the number of lessons could

account for no more than 75,000.

It is all well and good being your own

boss, the freedom of being able to do

your own thing has its benefits, but with

that also comes responsibilities, to your

clients, your family and society in

general. I have enjoyed it, but feel that

times are changing and not necessarily

for the better.

Maybe in ten years time the cottage

industry that now is driver training will

become dominated by large driving

schools where ADIs are employed on a

salary. Who knows?



Towards your CPD

Content isn’t

always king

Pupils need to develop the

basic skills which will allow

them to handle more

complex processes later, such

as Yellow Boxes

Too many ADIs try to stuff

their lessons with big

topics and themes, but this

can result in the precious

knowledge the learners need

throughout their driving

career being poorly absorbed

says Steve Garrod

It is easy to fall into the trap of

trying to pack too much content

into a driving lesson. For example, I

often hear instructors say they are

going to ‘do roundabouts’ in their

next lesson, which suggests that they

have an almost exclusively contentfocused

approach to teaching. In other

words, they determine what content

needs to be taught and cram their time

with teaching content.

I think of this as the Content Trap.

I have noticed that it is less confident

instructors who spend the majority of

their time teaching content; meaning

thinking skills are relatively ignored. This

could be down to inexperience or

something that has become a habit.

I know many instructors feel

pressurised by their learners comparing

their lessons to those of their friends.

We’ve all had the comment: “My mate’s

been doing roundabouts and she’s only

had six lessons.”

When faced with such comments,

inexperienced ADIs teach the easy stuff,

such as subjects, and ignore the harder

stuff, such as skills to back up those

subjects like car control and decision

making. Not surprisingly, teaching

content and skills gets much better


By the term ‘skills’ I include analysing,

evaluating and problem solving. Covering

complex subjects like roundabouts

requires quite a few lessons of

preparation before learners can deal with

them competently, therefore it is

unrealistic, and I would suggest

impossible, to expect to cover everything

relating to roundabouts effectively in one


In reality, we make very small steps in

each lesson and rarely cover an entire

subject in the allotted time; so why then

do so many instructors try to do this in

their Standards Check? Teaching

someone to drive is about teaching

practical and thinking skills, which

enable learners to build their confidence

and knowledge of complex tasks in small

steps to develop their confidence of

making decisions in stressful situations.

I have heard many a tale following a

failed driving test where the instructor

says, “He does it perfectly when we are

on a lesson but messes it up on test”.

The chances are that the learner doesn’t

really understand what to do if ‘it’ doesn’t

go to plan or if it is presented with a

different set of circumstances, for

example dealing with a broken set of

traffic lights. If we focus on teaching

subjects we are in danger of overlooking

the required skills that enable learners to

deal with these subjects effectively.

For example, dealing with roundabouts

means being able to control a vehicle

often under considerable pressure due to

the nature and layout of such junctions,

therefore learners also need to be able to

read the road and traffic conditions, look

for the body language of other vehicles

navigating the same roundabout and be

comfortable with basic car control, such

as gear selection, moving off uphill in

heavier traffic and recognising safe gaps



For all the latest news, see


I have been driving since the

days of having to pull out

the choke on a cold day and

I still see things that present

me with a challenge.


before proceeding. Learners also need to

be stretched to cover a variety of

roundabouts which present a variety of

problems before the content can be fully


I have been driving since the days of

having to pull out the choke on a cold

day and I still see things that present me

with a challenge.

When planning lessons it is worthwhile

taking yourself back to when you learnt a

new skill. If it was learning a language,

think about how much you learnt during

each lesson. If it was the first lesson,

you probably learnt how to introduce

yourself and say where you lived. If you

grasped that, then perhaps you learnt

how to ask someone what their name

was and where they lived. The chances

are that if you remembered the words

you had difficulty pronouncing them;

therefore time would have been spent

working on pronunciation as part of the

overall lesson of ‘introducing yourself’.

All very small steps, but at the time

they probably felt like big steps. Think of

the subject of introducing yourself as the

content, and the speaking and

pronunciation as the skills.

The key to being a successful instructor

is to create an atmosphere where


learners are encouraged to think for

themselves, ask questions, and to work

out how to apply existing skills to new


Do you may remember the Part One

ADI question about teaching from the

known to the unknown? (of course you

do!). If lessons are planned with skills in

mind, the content will take care of itself.

For example, once you have moved off

and stopped in a side road you can link it

to emerging (stopping before moving off).

This means that learners need to

understand how to stop at a given point.

This could be practised beforehand by

stating that you would like the car to be

stopped by the second lamppost. This

would introduce an element of pressure

to the activity with any faults being used

for problem solving; eg.

• “How do you think that went?

• “How could you stop a little bit

nearer to the lamppost (if the learner has

applied too much braking and stopped

short of the intended target)?”

Pupils are more likely to take

ownership of their learning if they are

allowed to take ownership.If they are part

of the problem solving their input

becomes valued.

Imagine how a pupil might feel in the

following example if they stopped too

short of a Give Way sign:

Instructor: “You stopped too early, you

need to brake later and more gently next

time if not you will never get out of the


The chances are they are likely to

become despondent and become reliant

on their instructor as the lessons

progress. It is true that they may have

covered the subject and its content but

not with any real success.

If you spend some time looking at the


The key to being a successful instructor is to create an

atmosphere where learners are encouraged to think for

themselves, ask questions, and to work out how to apply

existing skills to new scenarios


Match suitable content to

enable your learners to

develop their skills. For

example, anticipating when to

select a lower gear. I often use

a route with plenty of bends or

hills to provide a variety of

opportunities for gear


skills required for driving, you will be

able to match suitable content to enable

your learners to develop their skills. For

example, anticipating when to select a

lower gear. I often use a route with plenty

of bends or hills to provide a variety of

opportunities for gear changing. If you

think about the skills required for urban

driving, such as meeting traffic and

turning at slow speed, why not practice

the turn in the road? When you ask a

pupil ‘Why do we do the turn in the

road?’ The answer will normally be ‘in

case we get lost’ or ‘It’s on the test’

(which of course, it isn’t!) To quote the

words of a former host of the quiz show

‘Catchphrase’, “they are good answers

but they’re not right.”

The real answer should be because of

the skills you will learn, such as clutch

control, brisk steering and judging the

length of the vehicle.

Focusing on skills makes it easier to

set targets with your pupils; they will

know if they need more practice on

changing gear or deciding on when to put

the handbrake on at a junction.

Understanding these skills may be a

small step for an ADI, but it is a big step

for a learner.



Dear Roderic Arthur Came,

I’m Loveday Ryder, and I became the

Chief Executive of the Driver and

Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in

January 2021.....

Dear Loveday...

MSA Member Roderic Arthur

Came received a nice letter

from the new boss at the

DVSA a few weeks ago, and

he was so touched by its

contents he thought he’d

write back.

Thanks for your kind introduction and

telling me about yourself, and welcome

to running what can be a bit of a

poisoned chalice, that is the Driving

Standards part of the DVSA.

I have been an ADI for 40 years (ADI

no. 68677) after spending 12 years of

my police service as a member of the

Traffic Division.

I appreciate only too well the problems

facing DVSA with the restart of driving

tests, both theory and practical, but as

you will be aware, the lack of action by

DVSA to prepare for this eventuality is

far from satisfactory.

You say in your introductory letter to

me that ‘we’ve already run a successful

recruitment campaign for driving

examiners. We received over 5,000

applications and are now in the process

of reviewing these applications and

setting up interviews.’

This action should have been taken

months ago, as soon as it was clear that

the pandemic restrictions were going to

create a huge backlog of L-tests. It

should not have been left until the

imminent recommencement of practical



For all the latest “Under news, normal see circumstances

DVSA would have provided

circa 1.6 million tests during the

time the lockdown has been in

force. If this figure is taken as a

baseline, the figure of 420,000

you quote is hardly indicative

of the expected demand. It is

barely a quarter of the usual

throughout. Indeed, the quoted

average waiting time of 17 weeks

only means that at some DTCs,

the waiting time will be double

or triple the usual...”

driving tests before new blood was

sought. The new examiners should be in

a position to provide testing from day one

of the restart – hopefully April 22. This,

obviously, will not be the case.

I have to ask how many of the 5,000

who applied will eventually make the

grade and when will they start testing?

How many staff who would otherwise be

testing, are to be involved in the training

and supervision of the new recruits?

I believe that the DVSA is to take other

steps to try to reduce the waiting time for

tests by extending the working day, having

examiners work weekends and bank

holidays, re-employing recently retired

examiners and asking outside DVSA

qualified examiners to help out. This is

akin to the little Dutch boy putting his

finger in the dyke, too little, too

late. Although you have quoted a figure of

420,000 tests and a 17-week waiting

list, this is not representative of the

pent-up demand that is about to burst the

dam. This also assumes that ADIs are

prepared to work extended hours.

I query the maths, too. Under normal

circumstances DVSA would have provided

circa 1.6 million tests during the time the

lockdowns have been in force. If this

figure is taken as a baseline, the figure of

420,000 you quote is hardly indicative of

the expected demand. It is barely a

quarter of the usual tests undertaken.

Indeed, the quoted average waiting time

of 17 weeks only means that at some

DTCs the waiting time will be double or

triple the usual.

You mention in your letter that you are

a Civil Engineer by background and have

spent time designing and building roads

in the past. I am sure that during that

time you had statistics and projections to

rely on to be certain that the expected

traffic flow could be coped with.

Unfortunately, good as ADIs are at their

job, they cannot predict how a client will

be driving in four, five, sixth months’

time. We all want them to pass first time,

but there is no way in the world that an

ADI can ensure that their client will be at

their optimum on a test date so far

ahead. If they get close to the test date

and they are not up to scratch, to ask

them to cancel the test in the full

knowledge they will not receive another

date for four, five, six months is not


I anticipate that ADIs will be run ragged

by people wanting driving lessons as soon

as they are able. Although I retired from

learner car driver tuition some years ago, I

now specialise in minibus driver

assessments and training for independent

schools, it may be that I will return to

learners to do my bit to release the

pressure, but that will be of little use if

they cannot obtain a driving test in the

foreseeable future.

Also, it is not possible for ADIs to fit in

extra lessons for a pupil with an imminent

test date if the ADI is working a full week.

School teachers work to a time frame and

their pupils get graded because they learn

at different rates; ADIs have an elastic

time frame for the same reason. Their

pupils learn at different rates and need to

be able to book a test date when they are

ready for it, not when DVSA can fit them

in. It is a pass/fail test and the penalty for

failing is that they cannot then book

another test for several months.

This lack of test provision is also

holding back the driving careers of many

other people. It is not just 17/18-yearolds

who are suffering but those people

who need a licence to drive a van, truck,

bus or coach following their acquisition of

a category B licence as a stepping stone

to further their career. The heavy haulage

industry is short of 59,000 drivers, with a

third of the current workforce coming up

to retirement. This in itself is holding back

the progression of the UK – not being able

to acquire a vocational licence is

exacerbating the problem, to the

detriment of all.

I am an Honorary Member of MSA GB,

and I was delighted to see you at the

Zoom Conference. As an industry we

need to have co-operative contact with

DVSA to iron out any problems which

either side may have. From your

correspondence with ADIs it is apparent

that you, like many of your predecessors,

have that same aspiration.

Unfortunately, until such time as

practical driving tests can be had within a

few weeks, ideally no more than six, ADIs

are working with one hand tied behind

their back and will never be able to prove

their worth to their clients and the public

at large. As a consequence, the pass rate

is poor, and we get the blame, not DVSA

where the fault lies.

I really do realise the difficulties you are

facing, but until there is a root and branch

overhaul of the current system for the

provision of driving test dates, it will

reflect the same situation as has existed

for the 40 years I have been an ADI.

Improved customer service is long


Yours sincerely

Roderic Arthur Came




The electric wave cannot be

stopped – even by me

Rod Came

MSA South East

In October last year I commanded that

time should stand still, and it did – for

one hour.

Buoyed with that success I went to the

beach and commanded that the waters

should recede and they did – for several

hours, before edging their way back in

again. Good, aren’t I; my powers are

improving immeasurably.

I stretched my new powers. I decided,

for the benefit of all drivers that the idea

that cars, vans, trucks would one day be

powered by electricity was a stupid

notion – and it was here that my new

abilities failed me.

I’ve had to perform a volte-face after

coming to the inescapable conclusion

that electrically propelled vehicles are

here to stay, even to the point where,

when our family car comes up for

changing in November, a hybrid electric

car is under consideration. I cannot

commit myself to full electric – yet.

Confusingly, electrification is

progressing so rapidly that the models I

am looking at today might be old hat

when an order is placed in August.

Today’s front runner may well be usurped

in those few months, progress is that


The original Nissan Leaf from 10 years

ago was an eye-opener at the time but

its range of 100+ miles is deemed

prehistoric now compared with newer

models where 300 miles is considered

the norm.

Currently (whoops! see what I did

there) electric vehicles (EVs) are

expensive, about £10,000 more than

their petrol/diesel (ICE) equivalents, but

received wisdom is that that is not true

over the lifetime of the vehicle.

Nevertheless, stumping up an extra 10

grand would be painful for a regular ADI

I’m sure, but projections show that that

there will be a parity of purchase price at

some point in the future as EVs become

more popular and cheaper, and internal

combustion engined vehicles become

more expensive and a niche purchase.

Where does that leave the ADI? Will

there still be a demand for manual

driving lessons, or will that become a

niche market too? How will independent

ADIs acquire their cars? Will cars keep

running for 10 hours a day without


Almost all EVs are automatic; the days

of pushing a clutch pedal and stirring a

gear stick are fast drawing to a close. For

some years now heavy goods and buses/

coaches have been moving toward auto

boxes, which means that drivers with a

manual licence will soon become a rarity.

Given time this will also be the case for

car drivers.

Today’s supposedly environmentally

concerned teenagers may gravitate to

EVs faster than we may think, likely

increased costs of fossil fuels will move

all drivers in that direction, and new

drivers will be affected as much as any

The latest Nissan Leaf has a range

that dwarfs that of its predecessors



For all the latest news, see


Today a 10-year-old

Nissan Leaf can be had for

£5,000, which is about the

same as a decent ICE car,

so the options are there


others. New drivers usually buy older

cars; today a 10-year-old Nissan Leaf

is yours for £5,000 which is about

the same as a decent ICE car, so the

option is there already. There will still

be a call for manual driving lessons

but increasingly less so as the years

pass, possibly 50/50 by 2030. ADIs

will have to adapt fairly quickly to

keep pace.

How will independent ADIs acquire

their electric cars? I have always cash

purchased mine because I considered

that to be the most economical way

to do it, but now that a new Leaf is

around the £25-40,000 mark that

becomes increasingly difficult. I

imagine that many ADIs lease theirs,

which is more affordable, provided

the work keeps coming in. Low

mileage/nearly new cars are also a

possibility, which if kept for two or

three years can keep the tuition car

fresh in the eyes of the public.

Will the tuition car’s battery provide

enough charge to keep the vehicle

moving all day, or will it die before

evening? While with an ICE car it is

part of the learning process for the

client to fill the car with petrol, I don’t

think they would take kindly to

parking up at a charge point for 30

minutes, even if it is disguised as a

theory tuition opportunity.

However, with the progress of

battery development it is probable

that 200+ miles a day, with the

heater and headlights on, will be

achievable before the end of the

decade. Progress is so rapid in the EV

world that even that statement may

look archaic in a few short years


Change happens, time will not

stand still, the tides will still come in

and go out, so let’s hope change is for

the benefit of all concerned, be they

ADIs, their clients and all other road


Price of pot hole damage rising

New research reveals that the impact of

the pandemic has resulted in the average

driver reducing their mileage by 42 per

cent over the last year.

But despite that fall, the cost of

damage to cars caused by pot holes has

gone up, such is the poor state of

Britain’s roads.

The PIT Report (Pothole Impact

Tracker) for Kwik Fit reveals that the total

cost to British drivers from pothole

damage over the past 12 months rose

slightly compared to the year before,

reaching £1,267 billion compared to

£1,249bn for the year to March 2020.

Kwik Fit’s PIT Report tracks the impact

of potholes on an annual basis and its

research shows that this year, despite

reduced mileage, drivers have hit an

average of 11 potholes per month, and

some 10.2 million have suffered damage

to their car as a result.

As tyres are a car’s first line of defence

against potholes, they are the most

commonly damaged component, suffered

by 4.2 million drivers. This is followed by

suspension damage (3.0 million), wheels

(2.8mn) and steering (2.0mn).



Towards Your CPD

In-car camera

tech, courtesy

of BMW. To see

the video the

shot comes

from, click here

Is it time to make

the humble car

mirror a camera?

Mike Yeomans

MSA GB North East

Do we take elements of our modern

vehicles for granted? Components that

seem essential today – seat belts, air con

and automatic transmissions – were not

included in vehicles until very recently.

One such addition is the passenger side

mirror, which you might be surprised to

learn only became an accepted piece of

equipment a couple decades ago. Before

the 1990s passenger side-view mirrors

were an optional feature that buyers could

equip on their new car, but they weren’t

standard. As a result, many cars did not

have them.

Vehicle build requirements varied wildly,

so the design and safety requirements of a

particular model depended heavily on the

regs where it was manufactured and what

lawmakers there deemed necessary. For a

long time, passenger side mirrors – or even

any mirrors, for that matter – were simply

not regarded as essential. Strange to think!

But the reason regulators didn’t prioritise

passenger side-view mirrors has to do with

their function and the country’s

transportation infrastructure. For the first

half of the 20th century nearly all roads

consisted of two lanes, each lane headed in

the opposite direction. The four-lane roads

prevalent today (in which two lanes are

headed in the same direction) didn’t exist

for the first half of the 20th century. So why

would you need to see over your left

shoulder if there wasn’t a lane of traffic on

that side of your car?

To this day the law requires only a rearview

mirror and driver’s-side one (though

some rules specify that a car must possess

all the safety equipment that was originally

installed at the factory to pass inspection).

But while it’s only been a couple of

decades since passenger-side mirrors

became standard equipment, the irony is

new tech on vehicles – cameras, sensors,

and other kit that allows automated driving

– might soon make them obsolete as the

driver relies on technology to see the world

around his car.

It is not illegal to drive without the

nearside rear-view mirror, provided the

other two mirrors are intact. It is important

to be aware that, although not illegal, you

can still be stopped by the police if they

notice that either one of your side mirrors is

damaged or missing.

Not all mirrors on all vehicles are subject

to test, depending on the age of the vehicle.

Mirrors must be secure, visible from the

driver’s seat and not damaged so as to

seriously impair the driver’s view to the rear.

In a lot of cases, the MOT requirement for

items like this comes down to whether they

were originally fitted when the vehicle was

made, as with seatbelts and the style of

number plate.

In some cases, though, it just depends on

whether they are fitted or not, so if an item

is not fitted it is not tested, but if it is fitted

it must be in good working condition.

I believe this is also the case for spare

tyres, headlights and indicators; none are a

requirement for roadworthiness, but if fitted,

must comply with the standards.

Are mirrors still needed?

We use mirrors to see behind us while

driving. Almost all vehicles have one on

either side, and those that have a rear

window also have one in the centre of the


But it wasn’t always like this. While they

were first introduced in 1914, prior to the

1960s many vehicles didn’t have them,

despite them being essential for

manoeuvring and lane changing.

It’s not just as simple as not installing

mirrors on a car, though, despite a

multitude of concept cars being shown in

the last few decades with video cameras

replacing mirrors.

For example, in the USA, legislation

mandating mirrors is being fought by Tesla.

In the UK two mirrors must be fitted.



For all the latest news, see

Advantages of removing mirrors?

If we get rid of mirrors and replace them

with in-car cameras to relay pictures to the

driver, there are numerous advantages.

First, cameras can remove blind spots

completely. In addition, many mirrors are

poorly positioned. People either don’t know

how to set them or, when they get in a car

that’s been driven by someone else, they

don’t want to spend time adjusting them.

With a camera system, the image will

always offer the perfect view.

Many years ago, mirrors were situated on

the bonnet, far in front of the driver. At least

with them in that position the driver could

see behind while looking forward!

Their removal from the bonnet was a

result of increased accidents with

pedestrians and the damage the mirrors

caused. Many drivers were grateful: if the

fitter adding the mirrors in the factory did

his job poorly they often came loose and

the holes drilled in the bonnet were

notorious as rust spots.

Another advantage of removing door

mirrors is it will improve aerodynamics – by

as much as 2-7%, and that translates into

a big fuel saving. Without mirrors it’s also

easier for pedestrians to walk between

parked cars, and it’s one less thing to be

damaged by clumsy passers-by, other road

users or while manoeuvring.

Today, mirrors are quite heavy as they

have electric motors. Replacing them with

cameras and a screen would help lighten

the car, again improving economy.

Camera-based systems used with other

safety technology such as blind spot

monitoring should almost eliminate

accidents where a vehicle changes lane and

hits another vehicle. It will be especially

useful for large vehicles where there are

more and larger blind spots.

To look at the side mirror a driver has to

take their eyes off the road. To change to a

more centrally located screen means drivers

are looking in a direction that is angled

more forwards, meaning they can see more

of the road ahead in their peripheral vision.

What are the disadvantages of removing


Adding more electrical technology to a

vehicle means there’s more to go wrong.

Standard mirrors are reliable in all types of

weather and only become useless if they

are smashed, but if a screen fails then the

driver would not be able to see at all.

Camera technology can’t provide the

resolution that mirrors can provide in the

widely variable light levels that we drive in

(blinding sunlight down to almost pitch

black). The cameras also have a very small

amount of lag (delay) from recording the

image through to rendering it on the screen.

The screens will have to be placed inside

the vehicle, but where? Vehicle dashboards

are already cluttered with media options,

air conditioning and other functions.

Perhaps a really wide screen where the

rear-view mirror currently sits would be the

best option, and this view is (kind of)

already available by using extremely convex

rear-view mirrors.

We are used to seeing and using mirrors.

It’s possible that people won’t initially like

the look of a vehicle without mirrors or a

screen-based system.

When will the change occur?

Some vehicles already come with a video

camera for the rear-view mirror – the odd

supercar that has seriously compromised

rear vision, for example. The technology

already exists.

Vehicles that are built for specific markets

that don’t have this legislation (eg, Germany

and Austria) can already have their mirrors

deleted, but most manufacturers make

global vehicles so that the cost of

development is spread over a number of

markets. There’s no reason, though, why a

camera-based system can’t be used in

conjunction with a conventional mirror,

except that it’s an extra cost which would

have to be borne by the consumer. As

there’s no pressing safety need to remove

mirrors, the public is apathetic and it’s just

companies like Tesla, on the look-out for

ways to improve aerodynamics, which are

pushing the cause.

The change may be more difficult to

implement on motorbikes because of the

exposed electronics involved in having a

screen, plus the potentials for glare on the

screen. However, there are HUD (heads-up

display) systems available that project

information on to the inside of the bike

helmet visor and, with a rearward-facing

camera, this could provide more

information about what’s over the shoulder

of a biker, adding extra safety for when the

rider makes those lifesaver glances before

changing lanes or turning.

For lorries, a system which backs up the

mirrors is already extremely useful, at least

for covering blind spots and looking behind

long trailers.

Finally, a footnote which shows how

different nations view this issue. Until

March 1983, the Japanese Ministry of

Transport did not allow you to register cars

without mirrors on front bumpers, so the

mirrors were mounted far forward atop the

front bumpers. More recent Japanesespecification

vehicles have side mirrors

similar to those in other countries.

Editor’s Note: To add to this article can I

suggest that you look at this video from




and another from Honda



A 1970s Satsun S30, with bonnetmounted

rear view mirrors



MSA GB Conference 2021

Online, March 21

MSA GB hosted its first online National Conference on March 21, with

members and guests from across the country in attendance to hear a

series of interesting and informative presentations from our guest speakers,

as well participate in the association’s AGM and its annual awards.

Over the next eight pages, we bring the event to you.

We’re pulling out all the

stops on waiting lists

promises DVSA chief

DVSA presentation

with Loveday Ryder

DVSA Chief Executive Loveday Ryder

had plenty of praise for the nation’s

driving instructors at the MSA National

Online Conference on March 21 as she

made what was her first presentation to

ADIs since taking up her new post.

Ms Ryder, who replaced Gareth

Llewellyn at the start of the year, said

she had an ambitious five-year plan to

reform DVSA services and operational

practices – and with her background as a

former digital project manager, one can

assume IT will play a huge part in her

change timeline.

She opened with a quick run-through

of her career. While her prior

understanding of the driver training

sector was limited to her own learning to

drive experience – she passed first time,

she was quick to point out – her background

was steeped in roads, though

road construction, as a civil engineer.

She lamented that she had taken over

the DVSA at a time when she could not

get round the country and meet more of

her team and the people they served,

promising that as soon as the pandemic

allowed, she was eager to meet as many

ADIs as possible and hear their stories.

She acknowledged how tough the

past 12 months had been for the

profession; ADIs had been hit as hard

as anyone by the pandemic, she said,

but the determination of the driver

training and testing sector to keep the

public safe was clear and deserved

praise. “We now how frustrated you all

are,” she said. “I speak regularly to our

contact centre staff and they tell me that

that frustration comes through clearly.

We know it’s been very tough for you.”

With dates now set out for a restart of

lessons and testing, her focus was on

getting the L-test waiting list down. “We

are working with the Health and Safety

Executive and Public Health England to

see how many tests we can conduct in a

day, and that will tell us how fast we can

get through the waiting list.”

At present, the backlog was an eyewatering

420,000 L-tests – around a

17-week waiting time. She was “determined

to reduce this as quickly as possible.”

She was happy to take questions from

From top, Loveday Ryder,

DVSA Chief Executive; John

Sheridan, DVSA Driver

Training & Policy Manager;

Jacqui Turland, ADI Registrar;

and John Caradine, DVSA Driver

Training & Policy Advisor

MSA GB members, facilitated through

the online forum by national chairman

Peter Harvey.


Could candidates who have had L-tests

cancelled go to the front of the queue

for L-test when they restart?

LR: “The simple answer is no. It’s just

too hard to do, and unfair. Putting

someone in for an earlier test would

force someone who holds that slot back

down the queue, causing a ripple affect

hitting everyone. The best way forward is

to work hard to produce more test slots.

“We’re working with staff to do this,

Ford shows its support

Conference was joined by Nicola Pearson from event

co-sponsor Ford, and she was delighted to announce new

exclusive discounts for MSA GB members on the Ford

range. She highlighted the company’s commitment to

electrify its fleet, and paid special attention via a short

film to highlight the quality of its exciting small SUV, the

all-new Ford Puma. Powered by a frugal but punchy

1.0-litre petrol engine and 48v battery, this hybrid was

capable of over 54mpg.

For more details on the Ford range of exclusive offers for

MSA GB members, see our Discounts page on pg 46.

More on Ford - see page 34-35.


For all the latest news, see

with plans for overtime, weekend testing

and buying back leave from examiners.

“We’re also dragging in as many staff

who are qualified as examiners to

perform tests – area managers, test

centre managers, etc.

“In addition, we ran a really successful

recruitment programme to bring in new

examiners, and we’re working with the

successful candidates now to get them

trained up as quickly as possible.”

She was impressed by the response to

this recruitment campaign: “We had over

5,000 applications for the roles.” She

said that DVSA’s operational managers

were keeping a close eye on the process

to see if more trainees were needed:

“We’re keeping an open mind on this.”

Would ADIs be allowed in the back of

the car again on L-tests?

LR: “It goes without saying first of all

that the safety of everyone concerned is

paramount and will drive decisions such

as this. The question we’re asking

everyone is ‘how safe do you feel?’

“It’s important that, when we restart

testing, we do so from a position where

everyone is confident in the way it is

structured. We will take our time on this,

before we allow ADIs to accompany

pupils on test.”

Will we still need face coverings?

LR: “Certainly for the time being. It is

an important component of the drive to

keep people safe, to increase confidence

in the testing environment. We’re

following the scientific advice on this.”

Can communication with ADIs be sped

up? Too often it seems messages come

out slowly, with leaks and rumours first.

LR: This again is a hard area. Any

changes the DVSA wants to make go

through several layers of Government and

multiple channels before they are

released to the public. I appreciate that it

is difficult but believe me, we are doing

all we can to get messages out to ADIs

as fast as we can.” She also praised the

role of the ADI membership associations

on NASP for their help in this.

Ms Ryder closed by again saying how

much she was looking forward to getting

around the country and meeting ADIs,

and thanking instructors for their

patience while they waited for training

and testing to restart.

Mock tests with John Sheridan and

John Caradine: See overleaf

Dan Campbell,

Chairman, Agilysis

The question of older drivers and their

continued safe use of the roads was

considered by Don Campbell, Chairman

of Agilysis.

Dan has a long involvement in road

safety, built up over a number of years

through working on projects with,

among others, Highways England, the

World Health Organisation and PACTS.

Recent work has seen Agilysis

contribute to PACTS’ Fit to Drive

research, which looked at Supporting

Safe Driving into Old Age.

Agilysis had found a gap around older

people and primary healthcare; while

GPs were deeply involved in their

patients’ overall health, there was no

clear pathway through which they could

assess driving needs and standards.

It was recognised that personal

mobility played a key role in keeping

older people connected to their families,

friends and wider communities, but this

desire to keep driving had to be

balanced by an understanding of the

risks involved, and this latter point was

difficult for health staff to gauge.

As a result Agilysis had been working

on a project with the Department for

Transport that used a mobile simulator

to assess older drivers’ skills. It did not

result in any formal advice to stop

driving once taken, but it did look to

open a conversation with older drivers

over when they might think of retiring

from the road.

Agilysis wanted to help older drivers

stay mobile but not at any price; it was

concerned that no one was gathering

evidence on how safe they were behind

the wheel.

Older drivers were particularly

disadvantaged by improvements in car

technology. It was ironic that this kit was

brought in to improve safety but was

sometimes so complex as to cause

confusion in some older drivers.

Agilysis’ mobile simulator project had

been timed to roll-out from Summer

2020 – obviously a terrible time to do

this, Dan acknowledged, but despite the

barriers caused by the lockdowns and

restrictions they were pleased with how

many 65+ drivers had taken part.

The simulator had looked at older

drivers’ responses to hazards, braking

times and strength, and built a picture of

whether they were a higher risk on the

road than the average driver.

The project had convinced Agilysis

that simulators provided good evidence

from which decisions over fitness to

drive could be made.

The importance was to work with GPs

to help older drivers stay safer and

understand that they might need to

retire but at the right time for both them

and the wider community

Dan also highlighted the Ridefree

project, which was aiming at enhancing

young rider training. It looked at the

risks young riders faced and encouraged

good decision-making around issues

such as wearing appropriate clothing

and undergoing formal training.

Its aim was to build on CBT courses;

an e-learning component had been

particularly popular and participants had

come away with a better understanding

of the importance of bike maintenance.

Questions asked included whether

testing for all +65 drivers should be

brought in. As Dan pointed out, there is

no age cut-off that is 100 per cent

accurate. For instance, age-related

mental deterioration can affect people at

all ages, therefore having an arbitrary

rule at one age or other was pointless.

A 20-minute assessment in a

controlled simulator environment was

more useful.


MSA GB Conference 2021

Online, March 21

ADI mock tests help prepare

your pupils for the real deal

Conference presentation by

John Sheridan, DVSA Driver

Training & Policy Manager

John Caradine, DVSA Driver

Training Policy Advisor

MSA Conference was delighted to be

joined by two of the DVSA most highprofile

officials for a run-through on how

ADIs should conduct mock L-tests with

their pupils.

John Caradine and John Sheridan

echoed Loveday Ryder in saying how

disappointed they were in not being able

to deliver their presentation in person,

saying they were looking forward to

getting round the country once more and

meeting ADIs.

Their presentation centred on the value

gained from running mock testing with

pupils as they get closer to the actual

L-test. 81 per cent of ADIs already

conduct mock tests in some form, they


With the pressure on L-test waiting

times so intense, introducing mock tests

as part of your regular lesson planning

was an ideal way to ensure pupils were

ready for their test.

They stressed that mock testing wasn’t

an attempt to get ADIs to become examiners;

they understood fully that good ADIs

teach “way beyond the driving test.”

But mock tests were useful in helping

educate both you and your pupil to their

standard, particularly how they handle

distractions that may occur on the test

itself. It was also an important indicator

as to their reliance on their ADI. As John

Sheridan pointed out, even when on a

lesson, your pupil is driving independently,

“they look to the ADI to provide verbal

support they need at times; that will be

lacking in the L-test. Mock tests prepare


Mock tests show how

pupils respond to

distractions without the ADI

being able to guide them...

they show how reliant the

learner is on their instructor


them for that.”

Putting pupils through a rigorous and

authentic mock test will show how they

respond when they are on their own with

an examiner, “and will be a huge boost

to their confidence that is vital on the

L-test,” said John Caradine.

Mock testing helps pupils reflect on

Post-test debrief

If accompanying your pupils on test is impossible for the time being, make sure

you listen in to the post-test debrief, the DVSA officials said. The debrief gives a

clearer understanding of what the examiners are looking for. “We can do this

safely and in such a way that you know where the pupil needs to improve.”

their performance and understand better

where they need to improve; “I see them

as like an audit on where the pupil is at

that time,” said John C.

There were some subtle lessons the

pupils could learn from a properly

conducted mock test, the pair said. “You

would be surprised by how many tests

get off to a bad start because the

candidate is unprepared for the questions

they are asked,” John Caradine said.

“They haven’t got their licence to hand,

they aren’t ready for questions on

residency rules or insurance; it gets them

flustered and panicky before they’ve even

got in the car.”

Candidates needed to be ready for the

examiner to be masked up, and for the

car to be well ventilated throughout

– even in inclement weather.

ADIs should start any mock tests “as

close as possible to how the examiner

will, with the same questions, asking for

the same paperwork, etc.”

Make sure your test includes the ‘show

me, tell me’ questions – one ‘tell me’

question at the start, and then a ‘show

me’ while on the move.

While emergency stops are conducted

on one in three tests only, it was a good

idea to use them on all your mock tests.

Sat nav guidance was used in 4/5ths


For all the latest news, see

For all the latest news, see


Don’t be test centre loyal on

mock tests... using a different

test centre challenges your

pupil in a way that will really

build confidence...


of tests but it was important your pupils

were ready for a test involving following

directional signs, too.

John Sheridan said there was virtue in

not being “test centre loyal. Using a

different area for your mock test

challenges your pupil in a way that will

provide even more confidence”

Another good tip was to try to copy

DVSA terminology: “We are very clear as

to how we want our examiners to talk to

candidates,” John Caradine said. “We

don’t want to speak like robots but we

have a very clear way of giving

instruction. Try to copy that.”

However, the two Johns asked ADIs

not to take this copying strategy too far:

“Please don’t think, ‘I’ll start my mock

test from the DTC’; it causes problems

with traffic around test centres.”

The biggest challenge on a mock test

for the ADI was not intervening when

they see a fault developing. “You can’t

step in; you have to let the fault develop

and mark it accordingly,” as that was

what the examiner would do. “The only

exception is where the fault becomes


Test failures

John Sheridan said the top five reasons

for failing remained unchanged.

Observation at junctions was still the

main reason for failure, followed by use

of mirrors when changing direction, poor

control - steering; moving off safely and

turning right at junctions. Basically,

“ineffective observation remained the

biggest reason to fail,” he said.

It was important to be honest with

feedback. “Use a mock test for the pupil

to do some self-evaluation and assessment.”

Marking a mock test

Examiners have five levels of assessment.

1. No fault – therefore, no risk, driving

is as it should be.

2. There is an error but the level of risk

is not worth recording. Do not note it on

your marking sheet but perhaps bring it

in to feedback at the end.

3. A driving fault occurs and there is

risk attached which perhaps creates

potential for a higher level of risk. This

can become the reason for test failure if

it becomes a habitual error

4. Serious fault – with significant risk

attached. This would lead to a failure

5. Dangerous fault – test failure.

The key was to understand the

difference between points 2 and 3. As

John Sheridan pointed out, a repetitive

driving fault – for instance, applying

signals without use of mirrors – could be

marked as a serious fault by repetition.

The point was that something was

allowed to go wrong on a test but as long

as there was no or little risk attached, it

could be overlooked.

Think rather of the defined outcome,

which is the standard you are looking for

in the pupil’s driving. Examiners are

trained to look at the circumstances

behind any fault, and John Sheridan

used as an example a roll-back when

conduct-ing a start on an incline.

If, when moving off from stationary at

traffic lights, the car rolls back a margin,

is this a driving fault or a serious fault? It

would depend on whether there were

other cars around at the time.

Marking a mock test


n 0-15 driving faults = Pass

n 16+ driving faults = Fail

n Serious fault = Fail

n Dangerous fault = Fail

19,000 tests had been conducted in

the past year without any faults.

One final point: ADIs were reminded

that the law around supervising learners

and using handheld electronic devices

meant that ADIs could not use tablets

etc to mark mock tests, as DVSA

examiners do. Use pen and paper sheets.

The ADI Registrar

The ADI Registrar Jacqui Turland

joined the discussion and stressed that

mock testing was a way of ensuring

candidates only took their L-test when

fully prepared. She appreciated that it

was difficult to know when this was if

waiting times were as high as 20 weeks.

Continued overleaf, plus DVSA Q&A.



MSA GB Conference 2021

Online, March 21

‘Candidates must be able to get

over any mistakes they make’

Continued from page 31

Fails happen – the DVSA understood

that, as the test was only ever going to

be a snapshot of a candidate’s

performance under pressure – but if they

are fully prepared examiners tend to see

them make a mistake but be able to get

over it.

Jacqui added: “We want people to be

successful but to pass, they need to

attend their test fully prepared to pass,

not just hoping they have a good drive on

the day and get lucky.”

Questions from delegates

Can the ADI certificate be extended as I

haven’t been able to get any use out of

mine for the past year?

JT: No. The length of an ADI certificate

is governed by primary legislation laid

down by Parliament and ad hoc

extensions for any reason are not

allowed. The same was true for refunds

and PDI licences; they could not be

extended either.

However, trainees who had passed

their Part 2 could book a Part 3 test to

take place at a date after their two years

may expire, however the booking must

be made before the expiry date.

Should CPD for ADIs be compulsory?

JS: Parliament decided that making

CPD compulsory was burdensome. The

system preferred to work on ‘more carrot

than stick’. CPD should be about your

personal aspirations.

What will the rules be around test

centres after this latest lockdown ends?

The rules would be the same as

before. All DTCs that had re-opened

before the January lockdown would

re-open and hopefully, more will be

added to the list.

Could ADIs be provided with a copy of

the examiner’s digital marking sheet? Not

every pupil shared this with their ADI.

JC: The issue here was the candidate’s

data security. We would encourage all

ADIs to have a relationship whereby the

pupil automatically shared the marking

sheet. Providing ADIs with a copy was in

the pipeline and a project team was

looking at it, but it was a little way off


We have been promised more access to

weekend tests. Would they be delivered

at the same price as weekday tests?

JS: Unlikely, as the DVSA has to pay

overtime rates to examiners.

Could more capacity be added into the

testing system by increasing the number

of days some of the smaller outlying

centres operate on?

JS: This is being looked at, taking into

account examiner availability. Anything

to get extra capacity into the system was

being considered.

Could the DVSA do more to educate the

public to trust the ADI when they say a

candidate is not ready for their L-test?

JC: This was one of the reasons why

mock testing was seen by the DVSA as

so important; it allows the ADI to review

the pupil’s progress in an ordered


What Car? picks out Puma as its Small SUV of the Year

Ford’s superb small SUV, the Puma, has

again proved a top pick for What Car?

after claiming two major awards for

2021, following on from last year’s

overall Car of the Year award.

Puma was named Small SUV of the

Year, while the hotly-anticipated Puma ST

takes Sports SUV of the Year. A third

award, Pick Up of the Year, also went to

Ford, with the Ranger.

Since Puma was launched at the end

of 2019, around 27,000 have been

sold – making the Ford Puma the UK’s

ninth best-selling car last year. The

Puma ST-Line X Vignale joined the

range in 2020, adding premium

styling and enhanced specification,

including exclusive 18” alloys and

Windsor leather seats.

The Puma range was broadened

further last year with the introduction of a

new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic

transmission, contributing to finishing

2020 by being crowned the Scottish Car

of the Year, also.

Learner drivers are also being instructed

in the multi-award-winning Ford Puma,

since it became the first mild hybrid car

offered by long-term Ford partner, the AA

Driving School.

“Nothing ticks all the boxes quite like

the Puma” said Steve Huntingford, Editor,

What Car? “Compact yet practical, sporty

yet efficient, stylish yet affordable… it’s

rare that a car can genuinely combine all

these virtues, but the Ford Puma does.”

New for 2021, the Puma ST introduces

Ford Performance driving dynamics to the

compact SUV segment for the first time in

Europe. Its 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine,

shared with the Fiesta ST, pulls it to

62mph from a standstill in 6.7

seconds and features a unique-insegment

limited slip differential.

To learn more about the Puma, see

this video:

Click here for

the Puma story


MSA GB Conference 2021

Online, March 21

With our grateful


MSA GB salutes its members’ hard work through 2020

Hosted by MSA GB Deputy National

Chairman Geoff Little, our annual awards

are a chance to publicly thank those

members who have gone the extra mile

for the association through the past 12


The recruitment trophies opened the

awards, with The Ron Feltham Memorial

Cup for membership retention going to

MSA GB South East. Terry Cummins and

his recent replacement as Chair, Fenella

Wheeler, were thanked for their efforts,

along with their committee, in ensuring

that so many of their members continued

to rejoin the association.

The John W Parker Memorial Cup for

the runner-up region in this category went

to the North West, with thanks for

Graham Clayton and his committee.

The Ian Scoular Memorial Shield for

recruiting the most new members also

went to the South East.

The Jon Gross Memorial Trophy for

Editor of the Year was won by Guy Annan

from MSA Western. Guy, on

receiving his award, said he was

“unusually speechless” to

receive the award, particularly

as he was sure there were

others who contributed

regularly to Newslink “who

deserved it more.”

Geoff Little said the award

was an acknowledgement that

Guy’s columns in Newslink and the News

Bulletin were “thought-provoking and

often provocative, but always interesting.”

The John William Peek Memorial

Trophy for Member of the Year was won

by MSA GB Scotland’s Bryan Phillips.

Bryan had, Geoff said, been at the

forefront of the committee’s attempts to

keep members informed during the past

12 months, and he had excelled at

keeping everyone up to date through

Zoom meetings.

It was richly deserved award, said Peter



Bryan Phillips, MSA Scotland



Fenella Wheeler, MSA South East


Guy Annan, MSA Western


Graham Clayton, MSA North West


For all the latest news, see

MSA GB Annual General

Meeting 2021

MSA GB National Chairman Peter

Harvey mbe officiated over the

association’s 86th AGM at conference.

He was delighted to report that,

despite the year under review being

mostly covered by the pandemic,

finances were in better shape than in

previous years. Cost-cutting measures

and reductions in administrative

expenditure had helped stabilise the

balance sheet, and the association’s

future looked brighter.

Some of these savings had been

created by the huge reduction in

activity since March 2020, with board

meetings, etc now taking place online,

reducing costs. However, the good

news was that those savings put MSA

GB in a position where it could look

forward with confidence for when

society was fully re-opened.

Peter was particularly delighted with

the high levels of membership

retention. The association knew how

much financial pressure members had

come under during the past year, and

he was grateful so many had

prioritised MSA GB membership fees

during this time. A number of

measures had been brought in to help

those ADIs who were struggling with

fees, and all had been grateful for the

support they had received.

Looking forward, Peter said the

association hoped it would be able to

get out and about more over the

summer as



eased/ended. A

new member

recruitment drive

was planned for


Peter was

delighted to

welcome the new board for 2021.

Peter and Geoff Little had been asked

to continue in their roles as Chairman

and Deputy Chairman, and the board’s

make-up was as follows.

National Chairman: Peter Harvey MBE

Deputy National Chairman / Chairman,

West Midlands: Geoff Little

Scotland: Alex Buist

North East: Mike Yeomans

North West: Graham Clayton

East Midlands: Kate Fennelly

West Midlands: Geoff Little

Eastern: Paul Harmes

Western: Arthur Mynott

Greater London: Tom Kwok

South East: Fenella Wheeler.

Thanks were expressed on behalf of

MSA GB to the administrative staff

who work so hard for the association

over the past 12 months, led by

Charlotte Cartledge and her team.

• Full minutes from the AGM can be

found at

Click here for

the full story

The MSA GB Board.

It also includes

Graham Clayton and

Fenella Wheeler

(pictured on facing

page with awards)

With grateful thanks to our sponsors and supporters:


Regional News

There’s a touch of the Dorian Gray

about my official photographs

John Lomas

Editor, MSA North West

As I mentioned last month, I have

recently renewed my driving licence, but

I didn’t have to renew my photo because

it is only nine years since I got my first

photocard licence. The new licence

shows it is okay until 2024, the normal

three-year lifespan for a post-70 licence.

That, to me, raises an interesting point

about the validity of a photocard as a

form of ID.

I bought my first and only passport

around Easter in 2002; when I hit 70 in

February 2012, I used my still valid

passport number to verify my ID and

DVLA used that photo on my licence.

This is the photo which is still on my

licence so when I next renew in Feb

2024 that photo will be 22 years old.

Even for someone younger, doing a

photo renewal after 10 years, it is

possible to get a licence with a passport

photo that is at that point nearly 10

years old - meaning it will be nearly 20

years old when they next renew their

photo. Ironically, if they then use their

passport number/photo again, their

photo still won’t be up to date.

Don’t the Passport Office/DVLA realise

people change a lot in appearance over

that timeframe?

Incidentally, while doing the online

renewal I had cause to ring the call

centre, got through to a person quite

easily and sorted the problem out. While

on the phone I asked if they could send a

D1 c/o me for a friend who needs to do a

form application because they don’t do

on-line transactions and was worried

because a renewal letter had not yet


If we weren’t isolating, I could have

done that on-line for them, but I am

restricting all my face-to-face interactions

at the moment because of my eye

problems, and they are also waiting for a

hospital procedure.

Post March 23 eye checks

Well: having seen the glaucoma clinic

consultant (postponed last year because

of Covid-19), it transpires that my

pressures have started to rise so I am

now starting on the daily eye drops

regime. I will need to see him again in

four months.

During his examination he took a

number of images of each eye. I took the

opportunity to ask about the progress of

my retinal vein occlusion, which left me

struggling to see at all out of one eye

earlier this year. Thankfully it transpires

that it appears to be improving.

Following that consultation, I had my

third Intravitreal injection; this will now

be followed in four weeks with an

appointment with my specialist.

So, I now have two specialists looking

after my eyes and the hospital trust has

been very helpful in managing to

co-ordinate appointments.

What’s the traffic like for you?

Other than running the engine every

day to keep the battery charged, my car

has sat idle. I haven’t been out and

about much to see what is happening,

but my driver on Tuesday commented

that the morning ‘rush hour’ (I wanted to

be at the hospital for 8:15) had started

to get a lot heavier in the last few weeks.

Have you spotted signs of local life

being restored?


To comment on this article, or provide

updates, contact John at

South East planning a Zoom meeting

Fenella Wheeler

MSA South East

Date for your diary

April 7

Time: from 7.15pm

We have gone past the anniversary of

the first lockdown and our year with

Covid-19; and what a dreadful,

peculiar and surreal year we have all


I would like to wish you all well and

hope that you are coping with the

extraordinary circumstances and

challenges we face. My condolences

and sympathy to everyone who has

been affected and lost friends and

family to this virus.

Now we are finally looking like

getting back to work, it is really

important we keep up to date with all

the changes going on around us. With

that in mind, I would like to invite you

to join me for a zoom CPD and

information evening on the 7th of April

at 7.15pm.

Confirmed speakers are Peter

Harvey MBE, National Chairman MSA

GB who will be giving us all the

industry updates, George Kountouros

from the DVSA, who is going to chair

a Q& A session; and Ray Seagrave

who is going to talk to us about lesson

planning and structure.

If you want to attend you need to

email me at I

will then email you a joining link a day

or two before the event.

I look forward to seeing you there


To comment on this article, or provide

updates from your area, you can

contact Fenella on 07464 595913 or



For all the latest news, see

I’m happy to share - but shouldn’t cyclists

play by the same rules we do?

Terry Pearce

MSA West Midlands

I was following a slow-moving lorry

recently, which I had caught up with on

a hill after it had pulled out a little way in

front of me from some HS2 workings.

I had no idea why it was going so slow

but having solid white lines down the

middle of the road I had no choice but to

follow behind it.

Eventually the reason for the slow

journey became clear when a cyclist

belatedly decided to go into the cycle

lane on our left. The cycle lane had not

suddenly appeared, it was clearly

marked, as you can see in the picture


I am not anti-cyclist and have no

problems with cyclists if they obey the

same rules of the road that we must, but

this was frustrating.

Cycle-friendly Coventry

Coventry is becoming a very cycle

friendly city with well-made cycle lanes

exclusively for their use. Would it not be

reasonable that if a cyclist decided to use

the road where there is a cycle lane that

they should be fined?

If it were possible, I am sure my

council would be incredibly happy to do

that – if only for the revenue!

It is reported in Coventry that we could

see an increase of £60 in our council

tax. One reason given is a £1.7m

reduction in expected car parking fees

and bus lane enforcement, which I

assume has partly been caused by the

pandemic. Isn’t it sad that the council

was so confident in being able to fine

motorists for infringing bus lanes that the

revenue became an accepted part of the

council’s income?

The council’s bus lane experiment did

not last long. Most that did not have

money-making cameras on them have

been removed, with signs stating that

they are not now in use. Unfortunately,

while the green-painted lanes had the

white writing burnt out, it still shows up

nicely now as black against the green

lane, which has been left in place to

slowly fade away over the years. The

result is that they are still avoided by

many motorists who, knowing the

council’s love for punishing motorists

who make a mistake, do not trust them

and still avoid them.

The cyclist


oblivious to

the clear

cycle lane


for them to


Back to work

When you read this, we will all be

eager to get back to working for a living

and make some sense out of the waiting

times. I actually have some sympathy for

the DVSA in working out how to get all

the cancelled tests rebooked. No matter

how they try to do it, not everyone will

be happy. They perhaps don’t help

matters with their wording, however.

One of my pupils queried why, in his

cancellation letter, it said: ‘We can’t

conduct your Car test on (date) at

Coventry due to your driving examiner no

longer being available. I am sorry for any

inconvenience this might cause you.’

Wasn’t the reason the driving examiner

was no longer available because of



To comment on this article, or provide

updates from your area, contact

Terry at

Oi, mate, watch it, you’ll have

someone’s eye out with that!

While visiting a garden centre I saw a very tall tree being

loaded into the boot of a car, writes Terry Pearce.

Now, watching people in the car parks of such places,

you’ll often see cars with lengths of wood, etc, sticking a

few inches out of the passenger door window, but on this

ocassion the driver went a bit further, happily exiting the

car park with about three-foot of tree sticking out.

Amazingly they managed to drive without having to get

close to any obstruction that would damage the tree! I

wouldn’t fancy their chances of using the passenger side

door mirror, mind!



Regional News

DVSA has given us a headstart - but

there’s a lot to catch up with

Guy Annan

MSA Western

Well, we’ll be back two weeks before the

examiners, the DVSA having listened to

the campaign for ADIs by MSA GB.

At least learners will have a chance to

prepare for the test as not all of them get

an opportunity to drive unless it is with

an ADI. It’s a bit of a kick for those whose

test was due to take place between April

12 and 22; it would have been better for

ADIs to have started back on the 5th,

but whichever way you look at it you’ll

never satisfy everyone, so we should be

thankful to the DVSA on this occasion.

No need for speed

The theme for Brake’s Road Safety

Week in 2020 was ‘No need for speed’.

The emphasis was clearly on how we

use the roads and what we can do to

reduce risk.

In a collision, just one mile an hour

over the limit can mean the difference

between life and death, and with

someone injured on a UK road every four

minutes and vehicle speeds playing a

part in every

collision, the

message was it’s

time to come

together with a clear

message that “there

is no need to speed”.

We know that our

choice of speed is so

important on a

journey because of the consequences of

driving too fast for the prevailing

conditions or over the posted speed

limits. We are all aware that the faster

we go, the longer the stopping distance.

It follows, therefore, that the higher the

speed and longer the stopping distance,

the harder the impact will be in a

collision and the greater the risk of injury

or death as a result.

It’s important we get this message out

to the general public. We are road safety

professionals and driving educators.

During these challenging times, with

other things on our minds, it’s easy for

motorists to be distracted by their

thoughts and to lose concentration. An

added factor is that some may have been

The Dyson N526....

£150,000 for a car named

after a vacuum cleaner

shielding or in isolation and may not

have driven for some time. It’s very easy

to forget the basics in such situations.

We need to convince the public to think

about the simple things that will help

keep them safe.

Another point to remind drivers is that,

if their vehicles haven’t been used for

some time, a ‘walk-around check’ of the

car is a good way to ensure all is well, as

is checking tyre pressures and fluid levels.

The wonders of dash cam

Last month’s Newslink carried a piece

on how dash cam footage was being

used to prosecute bad driving. We’ve all

seen footage online and on TV. But does

this use of our cameras makes us all

potential police officers, and is this an

excuse for not having more police patrols

on the roads?

There is no doubt that dash cam

footage is invaluable in exposing scam

claims and can be of benefit when it all

goes wrong.

Most importantly, the camera is not a

substitute for good driver behaviour. It

will tell the story of an incident from its

own perspective, whoever is to blame.

But if we are behaving properly and

maintaining our good driving standards

on the road, the extra information

afforded by the camera, should an

incident happen, will be beneficial. But

good training and better driver behaviour

should be the order of the day.

Carrying on from last month....

I heard a rumour that Cadillac is

reimagining the future of transport and

has come up with a VTOL (Vertical Take

Off and Landing) drone capable of carrying

one person at a top speed of 56mph.

On a more down to earth note, it

already has a new sedan, a fully electric

all-wheel drive flagship called the

Celestiq (pronounced Celestic), with

autonomous capabilities, a spacious

interior with loads of tech and a wall-towall

screen. It even has an all-glass roof.

Designing such new cars is an expensive

business, mind, as James Dyson, the

British inventor and entrepreneur, found

out when he created the all-electric Dyson

N 526, a seven-seater SUV. It had two x

200kw batteries, 0-62 mph in 4.8

seconds and a top speed of 125 mph.

Sadly, he decided not to put it into

production after realising each one would

cost £150,000. Let’s face it, who wants

to pay Lamborghini money for something

named after a vacuum cleaner?

It cost him £150m of his own cash to

find this out, which makes him a very

brave man for going it alone in this

sector. Even the big boys like VW and

Ford have joined forces to share the costs

of trying to produce electric vehicles,

while Tesla teamed up with Panasonic.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates, contact Guy at g.annan@



For all the latest news, see

Russell Jones

MSA East Midlands

Oh dear, such a tantrum by the young

driver as the parking infringement ticket

was written out, with lots of very un-lady

like language being directed towards the

parking enforcement official.

From a short distance away I could

clearly hear her displeasure at being

penalised for what she described as “such

a trivial offence... surely a few minutes

overdue returning doesn’t deserve a ticket?’’

When it was pointed out that she had

failed to display a ticket in the windscreen

or registered her parked car with the

telephone booking service, she claimed,

(and I found this really amusing!) “I was

not taught that when I passed my test last


Oh my God, where do these people

come from? Alice in Wonderland country?

I have always had an arrangement with

selected car parks that I can take my

learner drivers into them to practise

manoeuvres. While there the pupils learn

how to study the signs – some carry

lengthy instructions – and ensure they

understand the likely penalties should

they not comply with the rules.

When entry is controlled with barriers

and ticket machines, I ensure they know

the safety aspects when reaching out

through the window to extract a ticket

from the machine. They practise applying

the parking brake and putting the gear

stick into neutral prior to taking the ticket.

That way, should they drop the ticket, as

can happen, and they try to snatch it as it

falls, they’ll be safe if their feet slip off the


They learn to register the car into the

‘Ringo’ booking system using their

mobile, and where the first hour is free

providing that a ticket is displayed, they

know to get one and display it on the

dashboard where it is clearly visible to a

parking enforcement official.

They also set the alarm in their phone

to ring 15 mins before their time to park

expires so they can return in good time.

I anticipate they will never have

problems with their parking procedures

after passing their driving test.

All change

5,000 people applied for the DVSA’s

driving examiner jobs in February. So

many in such a short period of time is

surprising. Where have they come from? I

cannot believe happy, contented, busy


ADIs would be applying. A hundred or

two successful applicants at most will

leave several thousand disappointed

people (ADIs/PDIs?) feeling rejected.

What will their morale be like afterwards

in the world of driver training? Will it be to

the detriment of learner drivers? Interesting

times ahead could be on the horizon.

Market research

My lease car passed the 85,000 miles

mark this month, and I decided to return

it to the leasing company and replace it

with an identical model. I wanted the

replacement to be white; I have always

had white cars, but why?

Before becoming an ADI I established

that market research had shown that

more potential learner drivers would

prefer to be taught in a white car as

opposed to any other colour. Why? They

claimed it would make them more visible

to other motorists, who would afford them

more space, and thus it would keep them

calm during driving lessons.

Selling ‘safety’ as part of my training

syllabus has proven to be a winner for me

and I cannot see any good reason to

change a winning formula.

How many ORDIT trainers delve into

this aspect after taking the money from

the hopefuls crowding into their

classrooms? Very few, I think, given the

large number of dark coloured cars being

used by countless ADIs and PDIs.

Where do they come from?

With the pandemic lockdown about to

end (hopefully!) where will ADIs recruit

new customers from, even though diaries

are full to bursting at the seams?

During early March I analysed the

backgrounds of my learners, many past,

present and those in the pipeline who are

ready to start during the upcoming

months. Learners always give little clues

about their upbringing, without the ADI

asking intrusive questions.

One example is a pupil who lives in a

council house with two children, one soon

to be 17. They are considered a valuable

employee by their employer, and the

managing director is paying for their

driving lessons, influenced no doubt by

the fact that I taught two of his daughters,

with a third coming my way soon.

When my pupil passes their test a

Teach them the ropes -

or they’ll pay the price

promotion awaits them, as does a company

car to take them around the country.

But, importantly for me, the majority of

my clients live in very expensive homes,

where at least one member, often two, of

the family earn a six-figure salary, and has

a prestigious company car.

Currently, 40 per cent of my teenage

learners attend fee-paying schools,

another is already booked to have their

first lesson on their 17th birthday, three

go to boarding schools, and many take

five-star holidays every year during normal

life. A good few have cars and are doing

private practice; it has been this way for

me for many, many years.

I target the kind of customer who I wish

to teach driving skills to, knowing there

will be no quibbling about the cost.

I have always found it quite easy to do

so, using skills and techniques

experienced in my previous career, where

problems were dispensed with by finding

solutions as quickly as possible.

It allows me not to engage in a driving

lessons price war. I leave that little

enterprise to others, and it suits me fine.

Gosh I’m really looking forward to April

12th. Are you?


To comment on this article, or provide

updates from your area, contact

Russell at


Life as an ADI: How did I get here?

It’s a solo role that needs a

little help from your friends

In the February issue, MSA

GB Scotland committee

member Brian Thomson

took us through his route to

becoming an ADI, ending

with him proudly clutching

his green badge and ready to

set off on his new career. So

how did he get on? Read on...

So now I’m an ADI. Cast your

mind back to my training to be

an instructor in the February

issue – well,if you can’t, I’ll

remind you. To help my training

along I offered to give four students free

lessons. Now, the arrangement with the

students was that the lessons would be

free until I qualified, at which point I

would start charging.

By the time I qualified they had

accumulated 78 hours of free driving

lessons between them (roughly £1,800

worth) but it was really good practice for

me. Sadly, when I mentioned charges

two dropped off straight away, but the

other two went on to pass the test, one

on the first attempt and the other on the

second. I already had over 15 names on

my waiting list for starting so losing the

two wasn’t the worst disaster in the

world, but disappointing all the same.

My first experience with an examiner

as a trainee had not gone well – indeed,

when I’d offered him my hand on

greeting him he’d looked at me like I was

a leper (or perhaps he had a very early

premonition of Covid...). But as time

rolled on I came to realise that not all

examiners were like that one; in fact, one

of the others would often give me

pointers after the debrief just to keep an

eye on. A really nice guy.

I started to learn a few new

things about my pupils. I was

out on test with a student I

knew as ‘mirror, mirror,

mirror, blind spot’ because

she always spoke it out as

she was preparing to move

away. But as we moved off

from the test centre with me

Brian’s story, from the February issue of Newslink

sat in the back I heard nothing: silence.

We pulled up to move away again, and

again nothing. This was the case for

every move away and needless to say, it

wasn’t a pass.

It was my first experience of how some

pupils simply forget what they have done

before so well in the pressurised situation

of a driving test.

Another rookie surprise: I sat in the

back on every test until one of the

examiners said that I should just leave

the students to get on with it themselves.

I thought we needed to be there to see

how things fared!

One of the things about working in a

small test centre where only one test is

conducted at a time is that you rarely

meet other ADIs. Yes, we would wave to

each other as we met but with only one

ADI at the DTC at a time there was never

a chance to get to know other ADIs.

We decided to have a Christmas lunch

to break the ice and invited the local

instructors. At the time there were

around 10 of them, and six showed up

(still that core of ‘I don’t get involved’

guys). The big surprise/shock was that

some of these guys had been working in

the same area for years but didn’t know

each other’s names; they were just

waving to a roof sign.

That to me sounded like a call to start

an association. I had attended about four

MSA GB training days by this point, and

a Dundee garage meeting, and it was

interesting to see how some ADIs

interact, albeit those based in larger

areas and using full-time test centres,

which make it easier in some cases, but


We let each other know about local road closures

or hidden pot-holes, the test centre managers are

contactable and set up regular meetings and there

is not so much of the ‘them and us’ mentality...



For all the latest news, see

the seeds were sown.

A few years went past before an

association got going. I contacted the

local instructors and in July 2014 the

Montrose Driving Instructors Association

(MDIA) was started with five members

(still some ‘I don’t get involved’ guys

around here). The size of the group

didn’t stop us from arranging cuppa

breaks, training as a group, sharing ideas

and systems, showing each other our

cars when we made a change and

sometimes just having a chat about how

things are going and how we can help

each other. The association has been

going for over five years now and our

membership has increased to 10 (that

means fewer ‘I don’t get involved’ guys

knocking around). We are part of MSA

GB so we benefit from up-to-date

information regarding industry changes

and policies. We’ve even ventured into

the media world and started a WhatsApp

group where we can share really, really

important stuff like ‘I have a lesson

missing at 10.30 tomorrow if anyone

wants a coffee’ or where we can forward

information that may be helpful to our

working day.

So we’ll leave the instructor side and

venture into the world of the examiners.

Cast your mind back to my first

encounter with the ‘I don’t shake the

hands of lepers’ examiner, then move on

to the one who assisted me with my own

development as an instructor. We now

talk with local examiners like colleagues,

allowing us to assist each other in our

daily work. We let each other know about

local road closures or hidden pot holes,

the test centre managers are contactable

and set up regular meetings and there is

not so much of the ‘them and us’

mentality that there was when I started a

short 16 years ago.

I was going to add a piece on

Standards Checks but thought I’ll finish

the examiners bit on a high!

Now, it may be different coming into

the industry these days (nice to hear

from some newbies on their experiences)

but probably, you only get to know the

easier or better routes once you’re in the

system. All our MDIA members contact

new ADIs in the area and get them on

board so they don’t go home after a day

working on their own thinking “what

have I got myself into...”

Fancy telling us your story? Newslink is

always interested in hearing about the

experiences of ADIs; feel free to drop us

a line if you want to tell your story, to

As we get back to teaching, let’s

not forget the true cost of Covid

Alex Brownlee

MSA Greater London

Hello everyone. I hope you are well

and eager to go back to lessons on

12th April.

It was good to sit in on the Zoom

MSA GB Conference and AGM on

Sunday 21st March, which proved

very informative. What was sad was to

be reminded, at the start of the

meeting, of the human cost of the

pandemic. A minute’s silence helped

us all reflect on those colleagues

among the ADI fraternity and at the

DVSA who have lost their lives through

Where does that

name come from...?

Here’s a couple of useless but interesting nuggets

of information for you.

Know a Blue Ball Inn? We have a few of these

around here and I’ve always wondered where the

name comes from. Well, it dates back to the days

of the stagecoach when inns were situated on the

main routes around the country. Apparently, a

pole would be connected to the outside of the

hostelry and if they had a customer who wanted

to board the stage, they would simply raise the

ball to indicate that fact to the oncoming stagecoach.

Have you ever wondered why the

2017 Bentley Bentayga and the

Genesis GV80 – from Genesis Motors,

the luxury vehicle division of Hyundai

Motor Group – look similar? Well, the

answer is that they were both

designed by the same man, Sang Yup

Lee. In case you’re wondering about

the other

differences, well,

the Genesis costs

about half the price

of the Bentley, but

while it’s a very

nice car, it’s not a


Covid-19. My condolences to the

families of those we have lost.

It was a stark reminder that we all

must continue to work hard to defeat

the virus. If you have had the jab, it

doesn’t make you immune to

everything so please wear a face mask

and gloves when giving a driving

lesson to protect you and your family.

We must also remember the strict

cleaning protocols before and after

each lesson.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates, contact Alex at



the car...

One’s a

Bentley, the

other... isn’t



Life as an ADI: A Year in Lockdown

Spare time, to be filled my way

MSA Western Chairman Arthur Mynott shares

his experience of life in lockdown as he

looks back on a year of work, hobbies and

squeezing in the odd round of golf...

How’s the past year been for

you? As MSA GB Western

Chairman, and my last piece

in Newslink was around a

year ago, I thought it was

time to put pen to paper again (or finger to

keyboard in this case). This is in addition to

the musings of our editor, Guy Annan, who

has been excellent at providing articles

every month from our region: informative,

sometimes amusing, but always interesting.

Guy has been a colleague and good

friend for many years and we regularly see

each other at various meetings and speak

often on the phone. By the way, if you get

the chance to speak to him, ask him about

his potatoes on his allotment!

Well, what a year it’s been! Never before

in our generation have we been told not to

work – and with a new vocabulary to boot.

‘Furlough’, ‘Zoom’, ‘SEISS’, ‘Hands, Face,

Space’, ‘Social Distancing’, ‘The R Rate’.

This last one confuses us in more rural

communities, as it also refers to the rate at

which the bull performs with the cows... (I

always thought I had a good ‘R’ rate as I

have four children!).

I begin early last March. Although Spring

was beginning the dark clouds were

gathering above and a sense of foreboding

was in the air. We’d had several cases of


Without resources

such as a minidigger

it took hard

graft but when

finished it had

178 patio slabs

and two tiers of

bricks... I was

quite chuffed



the coronavirus and a few deaths, but both

were beginning to rise at quite an alarming

rate. I, like other ADIs were still working as

normal but beginning to wonder what the

future held. As we got further in to March

there was more and more talk about

whether we should be working or not. On

Monday, March 23 I said to my wife that I

think I will stop working after today as it

doesn’t feel right. In fact, I did the first

lesson and then called the other pupils to

cancel theirs. They agreed, so that was

that. The first thing I did before I drove

home was to remove my top box, so I was

less conspicuous.

Then, bang. We were in Lockdown 1.0! I

think we all knew it was coming but when

it actually did it was still quite a blow. We

were all ordered to stay at home and not to

work. The only other time in my life that

I’ve not worked, apart from holidays, is

when I left agricultural college, but I found

a job and started a week later.

So, what to do in the next few weeks?

Like most people I was able to start lots of

DIY. I started by painting the hall, taking

down some doors to sand down and

repaint, some tiling in the kitchen and a

couple of other jobs inside.

Then I started outside as the one thing

that stood out in the first lockdown was the

extraordinary, lovely weather. Fortunately, I

live in the corner of a close of 12

bungalows which means our garden is

quite large. I already had one vegetable

plot but dug up another plot for more

potatoes, beans, etc.

After this I took down a hedge that had

become overgrown and killed by ivy, then

the offer of a second-hand greenhouse for

free was too good to miss, so I set about

digging the footings and put that in place.

You learn as you go on projects like these.

For instance, if you get a similar offer, take

the greenhouse down yourself. That way

you’ll know which piece of glass goes

where... it took several tries and a lot of

effort to work it out.

After this, I set about my biggest project,

one that I was hoping to do the following

year with the help of Alec, my son-in-law,

which was to patio an area of lawn just

outside our living room. There was quite a

slope to it and quite a bit of earth had to be

moved and originally Alec was going to use

a mini digger and electric cement mixer. I

didn’t have those resources to hand, so it

was all done with hard graft!

I started in early May and thought it

would take about four weeks, but then the

golf courses opened up so it took a little


When finished it had 178 patio slabs,

with one terrace of five bricks and another

of two. I’m chuffed with it.

Surely we’re coming to the end? By June

there was speculation that ADIs were going

to start work again. Throughout all this

time I thought we were treated abysmally

by the DVSA. They failed to let us know

what was happening with testing, starting

back to work, etc. I learnt more from MSA

GB than I’d did from anywhere else,

including the DVSA. I’m certain we knew

quicker than our local examiners did!

Then BOOM. All of a sudden, on Friday

July 3rd, Boris announced that ADIs could

start work from next Monday! I couldn’t

really believe it. We were still at two metre

social distancing at the time and here we

were, being told we could sit in a car less

than two feet away with someone from

another household.

Nevertheless, on Monday, July 6, I went

back to work. Pupils had already been in

touch and were more than keen to get

going again. The main difference was the

mask wearing and wiping everything for

every pupil. At first, I offered each pupil a

wipe outside the car and asked them to


For all the latest news, see

wipe every bit of the car they were going to

touch, door handles and switches and all

the controls. This sort of worked but I

noticed they kept missing bits such as the

seat adjusters and headlight switches, so I

began wiping everything myself.

Start at the seat belt buckle, work on to

the handbrake, gearstick, etc, until I was

outside and finished with the seatbelt itself.

That way I knew every bit had been done.

The worst bit was when I picked up a

pupil for their first lesson. I usually drive

them to a quiet area first, so I had to wipe

the passenger side down before they got in

and both sides as we swapped places and

the same again when we returned. I think

our cars must be the cleanest in the country!

The worst part was the mask wearing,

though; it’s particularly difficult if you wear

glasses as I do. It took a while to find the

right mask and when I did my wife copied

the design and made a few more, so I’ve

got 10 in reserve. We had to keep the

windows open for ventilation, but I found

that when wearing a mask you needed the

window open as your face felt quite warm.

After the lesson I took my mask off as I

drove off and my face suddenly felt cold

with the window still open.

All went well for the next few months.

with plenty of lessons, tests and more than

enough pupils – and I could still play golf! I

belong to a small society called TOGGS

‘The Old Geezers Golf Society’ (obviously I

am the youngest one there!) at our local

municipal course and there were a few

competitions to catch up on. I don’t know

why but my golf had improved through not

playing and I actually won three cups.

Things are going well... until October,

when things looked bleak again. More

cases, more deaths. Tiers were introduced

but down here in the South West things


Living at the foot of the

Quantocks I found lots of new’s quite a climb but

well worth it when you get up

to the top...


weren’t too bad, so we were allowed until

November and then BANG! back in lockdown.

At least this time we were told it was for

just four weeks which meant we could plan

for restarting again.

Another four weeks at home but this

time the weather was a little different.

Gone were the long, sunny days of the first

lockdown, with shorter, colder days. More

time was spent inside although I did

manage to dig over both plots of garden to

overwinter, ready for next spring. I also

tidied everything including pruning the rose

and fruit bushes, putting the patio furniture

away and shutting it all down for the winter.

True to form, four weeks on and we

restarted lessons on December 2nd but

alas, it wasn’t for long. After we were all

told we could mix on Christmas Day (a

very controversial decision), West Somerset

went into Tier 4 on December 30 and

then, along with the rest of England, back

into lockdown again on January 5.

This third lockdown has been different

again. Wet, windy, cold and dark. Nothing

could be done outside for weeks so what to

do? I’m not one for sitting down on the sofa

all day watching TV – it feels like a day

wasted. The one thing I do every morning

is to take our dog, Rosie, for a walk. If I’m

working or leaving early for a round of golf

(contrary to what the missus says, I am not

obsessed with golf!) I usually do a walk of

just over two miles each morning before

breakfast. As I’m normally going to be sat

down for the rest of the day in a car, I think

this exercise is important.

During lockdowns, however, I’ve been

taking longer walks of six or seven miles

each day. I’ve found lots of different walks

plus I live at the foot of the Quantocks and

have a footpath 100 yards from my house

which takes me up to the top of the hills.

It’s quite a climb but well worth it when

you get up there.

During this lockdown, because I can’t do

any work outside, I’ve been taking Rosie

out again in the afternoon for the normal

two-mile walk. I know this is not strictly in

the Government guidelines but living in the

country I can’t see it being too much of a

problem, so forgive me.

In between the walks I tried to keep

myself busy by either being on the phone,

checking or sending emails, catching up on

book work or, if the weather allows, doing

some work in the garden. It’s a routine that

means the day isn’t wasted.

As I’m writing it looks like things are

improving and we will be back to work on

April 12. Hopefully, this will be our last

lockdown, but it will be a very long time

before things return to how they were

before this awful pandemic.

There are many things I have missed and

are still missing. As I said earlier, I have

four children but only seen my daughter

and her family as she has been in our

‘childcare bubble’. I haven’t seen my three

sons or their families in months and,

although we still talk several times a week

on the phone, it’s not the same as a hug

with the grandchildren. I know there are

many families in the same boat.

I miss shaking people’s hands, going out

for a meal, going to the theatre, going to

meetings and all the other things we took

for granted before.

For me, though, these lockdowns have

also given me an insight into how life will

be for me when I retire. I’m 63 (though you

wouldn’t think it to look at me!) and I used

to wonder what I would find to do to keep

busy when I do eventually give up work.

It has shown me that I can fill my time

quite easily with gardening, golf and

looking after my other half as she has

limited mobility nowadays so, now I know I

can keep busy, I can’t wait!

Rosie: West Somerset’s

most walked dog!



Q&A with Geoff Capes, North West committee member

From juke boxes and pool

tables to life as an ADI

When you’re a former Olympic shotputter and World’s Strongest

Man, you’re going to need a pretty big tuition car to carry you

round... oh, hang on, it turns out the latest participant in our

Q&A session with MSA GB members is not THAT Geoff Capes....

When did you become an ADI, and

what made you enter the profession?

I became an ADI in August 1998. I

was working in the leisure industry at the

time, travelling around to pubs and clubs

fixing gaming equipment such as fruit

machines, pool tables, juke boxes, etc.

I could see back then the pubs were

really struggling so I decided on a career


I had thought about becoming a

driving instructor a few years back but

decided it wasn’t the right time for me

then as I had a young family.

What’s the best bit about the job?

That’s easy; it is when a pupil masters

a new skill that they are learning and

then go on to pass their test. I still get a

buzz to this day.

I think when I lose this feeling it will be

time for me to leave the teaching side of

the business

… And the worst?

There aren’t many but the worst is

probably the pressure that can be

brought to bear from pupils and their

parents when they want you to put them

in for their test when they are certainly

not ready. I don’t think I’m alone in


The best bit of training

advice I have been given

– and I still do it today – is

to treat people exactly as

I expect to be treated. It’s

a philosophy I carry out

with my pupils and my



thinking this is the worst part of the job.

What’s the best piece of training advice

you were ever given?

The best bit of training advice I have

been given – and I still do it today – is to

treat people exactly as I expect to be


It’s a philosophy I carry out with my

pupils and my franchisees.

What one piece of kit, other than your

car and phone, could you not do


That would have to be my iPad. It’s a

very useful teaching aid and I also run

my business through it and all the pupils

love the teaching apps.

What needs fixing most urgently in

driving generally?

I think the public’s attitudes to driving

needs fixing the most. A lot of people

seem to disrespect the laws of the road

with the attitude of ‘me first’ but I

suppose that is people’s attitude in their

everyday life; too many people simply

have no respect for others.

What should the DVSA focus on?

I think they need to focus on their

communication skills and also look at

the ADI assessment.

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

transform driver training/testing?

I would think it is going to be all the

new technology that is being added to

cars. I know it takes me quite awhile to

come to terms with it all.

Electric cars – yes or no? And why?

I would say yes. I run a Toyota CHR

Hybrid which I find to be very

economical especially when we have a

newbie on the nursery routes where

most of the time it is running on electric


How can we improve driver testing/

training in one move?

I think the tests are fine at the

moment. I would like to see more DVSA

area workshops; they could be used to

Stockport ADI Geoff Capes

with one of his cars. He has

eight ADIs under his wing,

and making sure they are

all kept busy is the thing that

gives him sleeplessness nights



For all the latest news, see

build a closer relationship between ADIs

and the DVSA, rather than the ‘us and

them’ attitudes we sometimes get at


Who/what inspires you, drives you on?

My pupils mastering a new skill,

passing their tests, and also my family.

What keeps you awake at night?

I run a school of eight ADIs and

keeping them all busy can lead to

sleepless nights; other than that there is

nothing that keeps me awake

No one is the finished article. What do

you do to keep on top of the game?

By keeping up with my CPD, also

keeping up with all changes that are

introduced and attending all MSA GB


What’s the daftest /most dangerous

thing that’s ever happened to you

while teaching?

The two that spring to mind are

asking a pupil, as he approached a

roundabout, to turn right, 3rd exit off,

and he was going to turn right at the

stop line, literally against the flow off the


Scary but comical were the couple of

occasions when we’ve nearly been hit by

flying debris in high winds: believe it or

not, a low-flying trampoline and a space


When or where are you happiest?

Playing with my grandchildren. As far

as the job goes, at the test centres when

one of my pupils passes.

The other Geoff Capes,

pictured pulling a ferry into

harbour. Like you do.

The former World’s

Strongest Man has remarked

several times how people

always assume he’s a

driving instructor from


If you had to pick one book/film/album

that inspires, entertains or moves you,

what would it be?

I’m not a book reader but the film that

moves me every time is The Green Mile;

every time it gets me.

FINALLY, this is not a question we ask

everyone, for obvious reasons, but…

how often, when people know your

name and meet you for the first time,

do they say… ‘oh, I thought you’d be

bigger’ or ‘oh, you’re not THE Geoff

Capes, then...’

Ha, Ha! I used to be asked that

question quite frequently in my business

and personal life but as the years have

gone on the questions have been asked

less frequently. I suppose he isn’t a

well-known name for many young

people, but back in the day he was

huge. Literally.

Oddly enough I have actually met

him. It must have been about 25 years

ago and he was opening a store in my

home town of Stockport.


I think the public’s attitudes

to driving needs fixing the

most. A lot of people seem

to disrespect the laws of

the road with the attitude

of ‘me first’


Call to overhaul

rules on driver

medical fitness

The current approach to assessing

whether drivers are medically fit to hold

a licence needs substantial revision, the

European Transport Safety Council has


A new report into how countries

assess medical fitness to drive, with

reference to current EU rules, shows

that the starting point for many is still

age-based assessment, despite the fact

that studies have concluded that

specific medical conditions, substance

abuse, mental disorders, epilepsy and

diabetes are more important factors

than age when it comes to medical

fitness to drive.

Mandatory age-based screening of

older drivers has not been shown to be

effective in preventing severe collisions.

It may even have a negative safety

impact, as older drivers with revoked

licences due to poor health become

vulnerable road users.

ETSC is recommending that national

governments should make wider use of

conditional licences to allow those who

may be at slight risk to continue to

drive under certain circumstances.

A lack of good data on the role

played by medical conditions and

disorders in road collisions is also a

significant problem, according to the

report. Pan-European in-depth collision

data could help but currently only a

small number of countries

systematically collect such data.

Many of the countries surveyed

require some form of medical check

when first applying for a licence to drive

a car, beyond the sight test required by

EU rules. But there are vast differences

in how these checks are carried out

among the different countries. The

medical test required when acquiring a

licence for the first time can vary from a

self-assessment form filled out and

signed by the applicant, to a medical

examination carried out by a family

doctor or a medical examination carried

out by a specialist doctor or

centre. ETSC is recommending that the

EU and national governments should

adopt a standardised screening process

based on international best practice.

• You can download the full report





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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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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

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agreement, no support fees, no hidden fees

– just the one-off cost for the reader coupled

with lowest on the market transaction fee.

MSA OFFER:: We are offering MSA GB

members discounted 3G reader.



As part of its new relationship

with MSA GB, Tri-Coaching is

delighted to offer a massive

20% discount across the board on all our

training products and courses, exclusively to

MSA Members.

MSA OFFER: 20% off all Tri-Coaching



Driving shouldn’t just be a

privilege for people without

disabilities; it should be

accessible for all and there’s

never been an easier time to make

this the case! MSA GB members can take

advantage of BAS’s Driving Instructor

Packages which include a range of adaptations

at a discounted price, suitable for teaching

disabled learner drivers.

MSA OFFER: Special Driving Instructor

Packages for MSA members.


The Motor Schools Association of Great Britain

has agreed with HMCA to offer discounted

rates for medical plans, dental plan, hospital

cash plans, personal accident

plan, travel plan, income

protection and vehicle

breakdown products.

MSA OFFER: HMCA only offer

medical plans to membership

groups and can offer up to a 40% discount off

the underwriter’s standard rates.

This is a comprehensive plan which provides

generous cash benefits for surgery and other


To get the full story of

the discounts available,



For all the latest news, see

Membership offer

Welcome new ADIs

We’ve a special introductory offer for you!


Help your pupils private practice

by signing them up to

Collingwood’s instructor

affiliate programme.

MSA OFFER:: £50 for your

first referral and a chance to

win £100 of High Street vouchers!


Confident Drivers has the only

website created especially for

drivers offering eight different

psychological techniques

commonly used to reduce

stress and nerves.

MSA OFFER: One month free on a monthly

subscription plan using coupon code.


Go Roadie provides students

when they need them, with

all the details you need

before you accept. Control

your own pricing, discounts

and set your availability to suit

you. Full diary? No cost!

MSA OFFER: Introductory offer of 50% off

the first three students they accept.


VRedestein’s impressive range

of tyres includes the awardwinning

Quatrac 5 and the

new Quatrac Pro – offering

year-round safety and


MSA OFFER: 10% discount on purchases

across our tyre ranges.

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.

To get the full story of

the discounts available,



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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