Newslink May


Motor Schools Association of Great Britain, driving instructors, ADIs, road safety


The Voice of MSA GB

Issue 340 • May 2021

Back to work: ADIs

happy to be out

on the road again

Smart move,

or a recipe

for disaster?

The debate over emergency

refuge areas on motorways

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

02 NEWSLINK n MAY 2021

For all the latest news, see

Fitness to drive: it doesn’t

just have to be aimed

at our older generation

Colin Lilly

Editor, Newslink

In early April there were some alarming

headlines in the media relating to older

drivers, with suggestions that they could

be subject to restrictions on where, when

and how far they could drive.

The discussions between the DVLA

and Driving Mobility focused on drivers

over 70 with certain medical conditions,

with the suggestion that they could face

restrictions on their driving, including the

times when they are allowed to drive and

how far from home they could travel.

This would be recorded by a tracker

fitted to their vehicle.

Medical conditions that were rumoured

to provoke such interventions included

epilepsy, insulin-controlled diabetes,

dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

Though this may sound draconian

there are benefits to the driver. When

renewing their licences after 70, drivers

currently have to make a health

declaration about their medical fitness to

drive. Many motorists fear that by

declaring medical conditions they may

lose their licences and freedom to drive.

This scheme could have advantages in

that the se drivers could continue to

drive based on limits. I can see this will

provoke some concerns among other


Depending on their condition, drivers

may be restricted to driving during

daylight or a distance of 20 to 30 miles

from home. By having trackers or black

boxes fitted any worrying changes on

their driving could be detected.

This, in effect, would be a system of

graduated licencing.

Why restrict this to the over 70s?

Health can deteriorate at any age before

70. You may well be identifying aspects

of your pupils’ driving that reveal

eyesight issues or any factors that

suggest unidentified autistic traits.

Instead of targeting older drivers there

must be an atmosphere of trust between

drivers and the DVLA so that there is

honest declaration of health conditions.

It has been estimated that 30 per cent

of drivers over 70 with notifiable health

conditions fail to do so. Among these

there are probably some who fail to

notify but are self-limiting to their abilities.

The Department for Transport has said

it has no plans to introduce a graduated

system and instead is relying on the fact

that it is the law that certain medical

conditions have to be declared if

someone’s driving may possibly be


The subject of older drivers is

constantly being raised, as has periodic

assessment of drivers. At some point a

government has to bite the bullet and

introduce a scheme where drivers must

be held accountable for their own fitness

to drive.

Periodic renewal of licences with

evidence of suitability to hold a driving

licence is the way to ensure a fair,

non-discriminatory way of ensuring the

drivers on our roads are fit to be there.


To comment on this article or any other

issue surrounding driver training and

testing, contact Colin via

Good to be back?

We’re interested to know how life has

been for you and your pupils as we all

get back to lessons and testing.

Contact Newslink’s editor, Colin Lilly,

with your stories of how you’re fared,


Let’s hope this lockdown was the last!

Welcome to your

digital, interactive


See a pale blue box in any article

or on an advert? It it contains a

web address or email, it’s

interactive. Just click and it will

take you to the appropriate web

page or email so you can find

more details easier.

You’ll also find these panels across

the magazine: just click for more

information on any given subject.

To get the

full story,

click here

How to access this


You can read Newslink in three


Go online and read the interactive

magazine on the Yumpu website;

or, if you would like to read it

when you don’t have a mobile

signal or WiFi, you can download

the magazine to your tablet, PC or

phone to read at your leisure.

Alternatively, a pdf can be found

on the MSA GB website,


Follow the

link MSA

GB sends

you to



and then

just click


to save a

copy on

your device


Inside: ADI Tom Harrington

offers a comprehensive

look at the debate around

smart motorways and

implications of losing the

hard shoulder: Pg 24







We’re back...

MSA GB members react as they are

finally allowed back on the roads with

their pupils – pg 6

Loveday Ryder writes...

We’re delighted to welcome DVSA Chief

Executive Loveday Ryder to this issue of

Newslink. Read her thoughts on pg 8

Increase your portfolio

Drink-driving rehabilitation schemes are

looking for ADIs to run them – pg 11

April Fool? Believe it or not, no...

Let’s close rural roads to cars. Daft idea?

Not according to North Somerset Council,

as Colin Lilly discovered – pg 14

Covid drives huge fall in

European road fatalities

Whopping 17 per cent drop in deaths

– but is it just down to the virus? – pg 18

Star backs theory certificates

James May calls out the DfT after it

sticks to two-year expiry date – pg 23



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.

04 NEWSLINK n MAY 2021

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


Dear Loveday...

Rod Came offers a solution to the backlog of

L-tests... ADIs! – pg 20

Smart? Really?

Tom Harrington takes a comprehensive look at

the Smart Motorway network and asks, are

they a recipe for disaster?– pg 24

Managing risks – and bringing that

control into lessons

Steve Garrod looks at a key part of the

Standards Check: risk management – pg 28

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.


Regional News/Views

North East

The value of online meetings, and the pace of life doesn’t

let up, despite the lockdowns – pg 32

Western: A surprise announcement

catches regional editor off guard...

Outspoken Editor of the Year Guy Annan on being

left speechless for once! – pg 33

Air quality, climate are the price we’re

paying for our actions - pg 34

Latest News

From the North West, Scotland and East Midlands

South East, West Midlands – page 36-38

Life as an ADI

MSA South East’s Neil Palmer – page 39

Follow MSA GB on social media


Disability driving

DVSA changes guidance on theory tests for

drivers with disabilities. John Rogers looks at

the latest regulations and offers advice for

some would-be drivers – pg 30

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





The great return: ADIs get back to work

ADIs across Great Britain have

expressed their delight at returning to

work after Covid restrictions on driving

lessons and testing were relaxed in line

with the government’s routemap for

exiting lockdown.

England and Wales saw ADIs back on

the road from April 12, with Scotland

following a fortnight later. The first tests

were held on April 26, and the DVSA

said their resumption had gone smoothly.

It has pledged to make the reduction in

test waiting times a priority – but with

examiners continuing to conduct a

reduced number of tests each day as part

of agreed Covid protocols, it was unlikely

waiting times would fall drastically soon.

Getting back on the road felt like a

milestone for many members. MSA GB

National Chairman Peter Harvey admitted

to being “a bit apprehensive” on his

return, despite his vast experience.

After his first full week back he told

Newslink: “Well, that’s my first full week

back done, but I must be honest, weirdly,

I was a bit apprehensive. In the run up to

getting pupil reports sorted I realised that

it had been a full 10 months out of the

last 12 that we had not been able to

teach in Scotland.”

However, his apprehension “was ill

founded; all my pupils were very keen to

get back to learning, and for most of

them the muscle memory

worked just fine. Overall,

it’s great to be back.”

Other MSA GB

members expressed

similar sentiments;

Guy Annan from MSA

GB Western said it

was “great to be back

and earning money

again. Those of us for

whom driving instruction

is how we make our living

know it’s vital we got back.”

One of Russell

Jones’ first passes

on return,

22-year-old Darcy

He said local demand was unprecedented:

“We have always been in demand

but never to this extent. Pupils are trying

to find a driving school that has spaces

– a couple of people I’ve had to say no to

have even gone as far as thanking me

just for picking up the phone!”

Terry Pearce, MSA GB West Midlands,

said that he wished his pupils “Happy

New Year” on seeing them for the first

time since Christmas. He was annoyed,

however, to see some instructors still not

wearing face masks – though their pupils

were. “I find it hypocritical that the rules

do not force ADIs and learners, who are

shoulder to shoulder, to do so.

MSA GB East Midlands’ Russell Jones

said he was delighted to “get back to

normal” – and pleased he did not indulge

in “silly discounts” at any stage of the

times we were able to work.

He also said it was great that

customers “don’t quibble about paying for

lessons. Nice to be fully booked with

work for the forseeable future... from

very pleasant learners who are prepared

to be patient about the inordinate waiting

time for driving tests.”

His only disappointment was the

DVSA’s reluctance to bring in new

examiners “a year ago. What were the

‘head honchos’ thinking about when it

was blatantly obvious to the world

that hundreds of thousands of

people would be queueing

up for driving tests?”

He also said ADIs

should be brave and

raise their prices.

“The reluctance of

ADIs to be the most

expensive in their

region is cowardice.

Purchase some high

quality ADI training and

fortunes could change




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, and 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.


All 222 waiting rooms that were

open before the latest

lockdown should reopen, plus

another 27 around the country.

See link below for list of all DTCs

with open waiting rooms.

Click here for

the full story

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





DVSA CEO update as it’s all systems

go for driving lessons and testing

Loveday Ryder

Chief Executive, DVSA

It has been another tough lockdown,

but some of us are starting to feel

like there’s a light at the end of the

tunnel. Whether it’s because Spring is in

the air, you’ve had your vaccine, or you

feel that things are starting to go back to


At the DVSA we have been busy over

the last couple of weeks preparing for the

safe restart of driving tests and know you

will have been equally busy preparing to

return to your important role of helping to

keep our roads safe by offering essential

professional instruction to your pupils.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to

update you on everything we did to

prepare for the restart of testing.

Driving tests in England and Wales

have now restarted

Driving tests restarted in England and

Wales on Thursday, April 22. This is a

huge milestone for us as it means all

our driver and rider services, including

vocational testing, are now back up and

running in England and Wales.

Lessons restarted in Scotland on April

26 and L-tests will recommence on May


Helping your pupil pass their

driving test first time

As part of the restart, we published

and promoted the top 10 reasons for

failing the driving test, giving tips to you

and candidates on how to avoid these

faults. (click here for details)

We’re asking you to encourage your

pupils to rearrange their test for a later

date if they regularly make these

mistakes during their lessons or private

practice. We’re also reminding learners to

practise driving on a variety of roads and

in different conditions, so they’re better

prepared for their test and driving on

their own for the first time.

Helping learners to be fully prepared

will give them a better chance of

passing, meaning they could potentially

avoid a long delay to get another test and

adding to our backlog.

This has been widely picked up by

national and regional media and well

supported by driving instructor

associations, schools and instructors. As

well as sparking a lively debate, our

social media posts have also had a huge

amount of support and engagement from

the driver training industry and learners

with over 32,000 likes, comments,



1. Not making effective observations

at junctions

2. Not using mirrors correctly when

changing direction

3. Not having proper control of the


4. Incorrect positioning when turning

right at junctions

5. Not moving off safely

6. Not responding appropriately to

traffic lights

7. Poor positioning on the road

during normal driving

8. Not responding correctly to

traffic signs

9. Not having control of the vehicle

when moving off

10. Not keeping control of the

vehicle during reverse parking

Full details can be accessed at the site here

shares and click throughs, including

almost 9,400 click throughs to the gov.

uk guidance page.

I want to take this opportunity to say a

big thank you to the ADI National

Associations Strategic Partnership for

their ongoing support and for promoting

this important information.

We really appreciate it and, hopefully,

by working together we can help learners

and encourage those who are not ready

for their test to reflect and, where

necessary, rearrange their test to a later

date. We can then prioritise those who

are ready to drive safely on their own.

So far, the guidance has been

viewed more than 100,000 times with a

usefulness rating of 97 per cent, which is


Helping your pupils who fail their test

We know failing a driving test is

extremely disappointing, and candidates

feel frustrated if they fail and have

to wait longer for another test. To help

them, we’ve updated the guidance

which explains their driving test result

(Full details can be accessed at the site here).

You and candidates can use this better

to understand the results of their test

and consider what they need to do to be

better prepared for their next test. There

are useful guides on GOV.UK to help you

do this.



For all the latest news, see

The guidance has been viewed over

4,450 times since we published it on

April 21, with more than 86 per

cent saying that it was useful.

Making it clearer that driving test

results cannot be changed

We have also taken the opportunity to

publish new appeals guidance on GOV.

UK to explain the legal grounds to make

an appeal, how to appeal to a

court, and what happens at the court


This guidance also makes it clear that

driving test results cannot be changed

and the reasons an appeal will not be

successful, such as:

• if your pupil disagrees with their test

results or the examiner’s judgement

• if your pupil felt unwell during the test

• if the car broke down during your

pupil’s test.

What’s next

We are busy preparing for the restart of

testing in Scotland on May 6.

But then the hard work begins to

reduce the backlog. There are currently

over 400,000 candidates with a test


I know some of you may be

asking why we didn’t recruit

examiners sooner? The drive

assessment and in-car training

could not have taken place

safely until April 2021.


booked and the national average waiting

time for a driving test is 15 weeks.

We’ll do all we can to reduce the

backlog safely and as quickly as possible

to help the driver training industry recover.

We plan to do this by testing as many

people as we can, as soon as we can.

The safety of you, your pupils and our

examiners continues to be our top

priority. Given the severity of the

pandemic at the start of the year, we

have restarted at six tests per examiner

per day in England, Wales and will soon

be doing the same in Scotland.

This is a positive step towards our

services returning to normal. We will only

increase the number of tests when safe

to do so and will then consider plans to

start allowing you to accompany your

pupils during their test again. We’ll update

you again on this as soon as we are able.

You’ll know that we’ve run a large

national recruitment campaign for driving

examiners. I know some of you may be

asking why didn’t we do this earlier so

that more examiners were available

sooner? As you’ll appreciate, like driving

lessons, the drive assessment or in-car

training could not have taken place safely

until April 2021.

We’ve now completed the interview

stage of the recruitment process, with

over 450 interviews taking place. Drive

assessments have started for successful

applicants in England and Wales and will

start shortly in Scotland. We’ll keep you

updated on their progress as the

successful new recruits will start to join

DVSA from this summer.

This is only one of the actions we are

taking to reduce the backlog. We’ve

already shared our outline plans with

NASP to get their feedback and views.

We’ll share our full recovery plan with

you all as soon as we can.




NASP to have say in Safe Driving for Life

The DVSA has launched a new Safe

Driving for Life, which can be found at

It’s a collaboration between DVSA,

The Stationery Office (TSO) and

Sponge Learning.

NASP would like to make you aware

that, although we have helped to find

some volunteer ADIs and their pupils

The Department for Transport has

launched a new driving instructor cycle

awareness pilot, Cycle Savvy Driving,

which the MSA GB is happy to promote

on its behalf.

The training package has been

developed by the Bikeability Trust working

with the cycling and ADI organisations

represented on the Department for

Transport (DfT) ADI pilot working group,

including MSA GB, and many individual


The driving instructor cycle awareness

pilot addresses the current lack of cycle

awareness learning resources for ADIs

and learner drivers and provides resources

ADIs can use for their own professional

development and while teaching.

This evaluated pilot project seeks to

recruit ADIs from between May and

September 2021, and ADIs who register

for the pilot will be randomly assigned

into treatment or control groups, who will

providing valuable feedback for the pilot


The Bikeability Trust’s Head of

Development Benjamin Smith will

lead a presentation on the project and

answer questions at a Zoom meeting

on Thursday, 13th May at 7.30pm.

Also speaking at the meeting will be

John Rogers from Disability Driving

Instructors with a presentation on booking

theory tests for candidates who need

more assistance at the test centres.

There will be plenty time to ask

questions and we will have a general

industry update on the night.

If you would like an invitation, please

email and we will send

you a joining link nearer the event.

The pilot is initially in England;

however, all instructors are welcome to


More on Bikeability: see below

Government in record £18 million Bikeability investment

The Government has announced £18

million in funding for the Bikeability cycle

training scheme, as it looks to ensure

children and their families ‘have the

confidence to choose active travel’.

Introduced in 2007, Bikeability ‘goes

beyond the playground’, teaching children

to cycle safely on modern roads.

At different levels of the scheme,

children learn how to:

n Develop early cycle handling and

awareness skills (Bikeability Balance)

n Master pedalling (Bikeability Learn to


n Prepare for on-road cycling (Level 1)

n Cycle on single-lane roads and simple

junctions (Level 2)

n Handle busier streets, complex

junctions and roundabouts (Level 3)

And, for families looking to improve

their confidence cycling together, local

authorities can offer bespoke Bikeability

Family training sessions with an

instructor, to help them feel confident in a

range of scenarios ranging from a

to use the site and give feedback as

requested by DVSA, we were not

aware of the content of the site when

it was launched.

NASP was expecting to be shown

the content before it was released to

the public, as agreed with DVSA.

However, DVSA decided not to consult

before publication.

ADIs invited to join Zoom introduction

of new Cycle Savvy Driving pilot

weekend ride to taking the children to


The Government says the record

investment will help ensure children are

road-ready on their bikes as schools and

families prepare for the summer term.

Grant Shapps, transport secretary, said

the programme would keep children and

families safe at a time when cycling was

encouraged more than ever, to reduce

numbers on public transport during the

We can assure you that what you

see on the new website has not been

influenced in any way by NASP.

However, DVSA has, since the

website’s launch, agreed that NASP

can contribute to updating the

content before the full launch of the

website to the general public in the

near future.


The funding will be managed via the

Bikeability Trust charity.

Emily Cherry, executive director of the

Bikeability Trust, said: “The commitment

of the Government to fund Bikeability in

this next year is hugely welcomed as we

seek to ensure that every child can access

cycling as a life skill by 2025.

“This record investment will allow us to

reach more children and, importantly,

their families too, as a result of additional

funding for our Family module.

“Personally, I know the value of

Bikeability cycle training for both children

and their parents, having taken part in

family training with my teacher husband

and our children.

“Now, they cycle to school daily using

the skills they learned from the training

and, as a family, we continue to enjoy

cycling together. Bikeability is the first

step to ensure that adults and children

alike have the confidence and

competence to cycle.”



The DVSA has updated its guidance for

ADIs on running its drink-drive

rehabilitation scheme (DDRS) courses.

The DDRS is overseen by the DVSA

and uses the Joint Approvals Unit for

Periodic Training (JAUPT) to help

approve and monitor courses.

ADIs can apply to the DVSA to provide

courses to drink-drive offenders to help

stop them from reoffending.

Offenders can be offered a

rehabilitation course to reduce their

driving ban if:

n they’re found guilty of a drink-drive


n their ban is for 12 months or more

Their ban will be reduced if they

complete the course within a certain

time. The ban is usually reduced by a


Offenders guilty of drug-drive offences

can’t be offered a drink-drive

rehabilitation scheme (DDRS) course.

Course organisers can charge up to

£250 per person for a course – including

a processing fee. Courses must be at

least 16 hours tuition time spread over

three sessions and 14 days. Each course

session must have between 4 and 20

offenders and at least one trainer for

each 15 participants.

For more information, see the .Gov.Uk

website at the link here:

L-test appeals

ADIs are reminded that L-test candidates

can appeal a driving test failure if they

believe the examiner has conducted it

incorrectly and did not follow the law.

However, in such circumstances the

test result cannot be changed.

Candidates who win an appeal can

either have a free retest or receive a

refund on the test fee.

The DVSA suggests that examples of

an examiner not following the law would

For all the latest news, see

DVSA in call for ADIs to run drink-driving rehab

courses, and updates guidance on L-test appeals

Click here for

more details

include things like:

n the examiner not checking the

candidate’s eyesight at the start of the


n the candidate spent less than 30

minutes on the road and did not make a

serious or dangerous fault (sometimes

called a ‘major’) during that time

n the examiner did not ask the

candidate to perform a reversing exercise

or the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

The DVSA has reminded candidates

that should they appeal they need to go

through a court procedure that can be

expensive if they fail to win their appeal.

Candidates cannot appeal if something

was not done because the examiner

stopped the test early because the

candidate’s driving was dangerous.

For more information on this, see the

following link.

Click here for

more details




Caught on camera: DVSA issues reminder

on the rules for filming driving tests

The DVSA has issued a reminder on the

rules covering the filming driving tests,

confirming that ADIs can use a dashcam

or other camera fitted to their vehicle.

However, it must:

n only film outside the vehicle (it must

not film the inside)

n not record audio from inside the


n the camera must not block the

candidate’s or the driving examiner’s

view of the road and traffic ahead.

Motorcycle tests

It is also acceptable to wear a helmetmounted

camera for insurance purposes

if you’re taking a motorcycle test. It must

not film the examiner.

You’re not allowed to:

n use a rear-facing camera on your


n use external-facing cameras on a

motorcycle an instructor is using to

observe a test.

Taking photographs of driving tests

You’re not allowed to:

n take photos of a driving test that’s in


n take photos of driving examiners

(unless they give you their permission)

Theory test centres

You’re not allowed to film, take photos

or record anywhere inside a theory test


If the driving examiner thinks you’re

not following the rules he will:

n not start the driving test if they think

you’re filming or recording the inside of

the vehicle

n stop the test if they become aware

it’s being filmed or recorded

They’ll give you the chance to turn the

recording equipment off. However, the

examiner will end the test and you’ll

have to pay for another if you cannot turn

the equipment off quickly or easily.

DVSA will refer videos or recordings

about alleged criminal activity to the


Using your footage

You must not upload any video, photos

or audio to social media if you can

identify driving examiners from them.

This includes their image, voice or full


Driving examiners can report content

they appear in to have it removed.

If you upload content that includes

identifiable individuals without their

consent you could be breaking the law or

breaking the site’s privacy policy or terms

and conditions.

We advise you to check the

Information Commissioner’s Office

website for detailed data protection

guidance. You can be fined or made to

pay compensation if your business

misuses personal data.

Using footage to challenge a driving test


You cannot use video or audio

recordings to challenge your driving test

result. The DVSA will not review or

comment on driving test videos or


See page 11 for guidance on

appealing driving test results.

Click here for

more details

Warning over suspending ADI certificate

ADIs have had a tough year, and MSA GB

has spoken to a number who considered

suspending their ADI certificate during the

past 12 months. If you do suspend your

certificate but then wish to reapply to join

the ADI Register, you must do it within

12 months. If not, you will need to

requalify from scratch.

A number of members have

been under the impression

that they don’t need to

reapply until their

suspended certificate

would have expired –

which could be up to

fours years away. This is

incorrect: if you take longer

than 12 months to reapply, you

will have to go through a complete

requalification process.

For members who have been an ADI for

many years, we thought it would be useful

to remind you of the qualifying process.

To become an ADI you need to pass

three qualifying tests.

ADI Part 1: Theory – Unlimited attempts

ADI Part 2: Driving ability – three


ADI Part 3: Instructional ability –

three attempts

You must book the Part 3 test

within two years of passing the

ADI Part 1 test. You have to

restart the process if you do

not qualify by then. You also

have to restart the process if you

use up all your attempts at passing

either Part 2 or 3, and wait until two

years after you passed the ADI Part 1 test

before you can start the process again.

You can apply for a trainee driving

instructor licence after you pass the ADI

Part 2 test. This allows you to get six

months’ experience of providing on-road

instruction before your ADI Part 3 test.

You can apply for another trainee

licence when it expires but to do so you

will have to provide evidence that you

have not been able to use it fully. It’s

unlikely the DVSA will grant you another

trainee licence just to give you more time

to pass the ADI Part 3 test.

The MSA GB advice is, if you decide to

suspend your ADI Certificate, apply to be

reinstated on the Register before 12

months have lapsed: it is a challenging

process to requalify.

Click here for

more details




North Somerset road closure plan

was never going to fool anyone

Colin Lilly

Editor, MSA Newslink

I was scanning through some headlines

on April 1 and came across this one:

‘Council plans to ban traffic from rural

roads in North Somerset’.

I have to confess I initially thought this

was an April Fool stunt but a little more

reading revealed it was absolutely


The plan was to create walking,

cycling and equestrian routes around the

moorland between Clevedon, Nailsea,

Yatton and Backwell by closing all roads

in that area that are not classified to

traffic. Exceptions would be made for

access to properties in this area.

My interest was sparked by the fact

that these are the lanes of my childhood

and where I had my first driving lesson.

The area is basically a wetland drained

into the sea near Clevedon by a number

of rhynes and rivers. It is designated as a

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

due to a number of rare plant and

wildlife in the area.

The council’s plan was to create quiet

lanes as part of its active travel strategy.

The local town councils had supported

the idea of safe zones but not complete

road closures.

The Campaign to Protect Rural

England (CPRE) supports the idea of

creating safe routes for the more

vulnerable road users but not at the

expense of access to motorists; they

would rather encourage an atmosphere

of mutual respect.

This can be achieved, it says, by

reducing speed limits, introducing traffic

management schemes and restricting the

access of heavy vehicles.

The council felt drivers would be upset

by reduced speed limits, missing the

point that a slow road is better than no

road. Interestingly, the Department of

Transport’s Rural Active Travel

Enforcement Scheme reflects the CPRE

policy. Its Active Travel Strategy calls for

making the road more accessible to

walkers, cyclists and equestrians.

However, the council plan took little

account of the needs of less able people

who may wish to visit the area. While

these rural areas may rightly encourage

younger generations to be active for

health reasons and environmental

protection, others may not fall into these

categories. Little thought seems to have

been given to the provision of parking for

those wishing to start their walk a little

closer to the area.

The council have branded roads in the

area as ‘rat runs’, which is a little

disparaging to legitimate users travelling

across North Somerset using less congested

roads. These roads were created

centuries ago as routes between the

area’s towns and villages. When the

inevitable closure of the M5 occurs

during the summer, traffic is forced to

use main roads, creating more

congestion and resulting pollution in

towns such as Yatton.

Further research revealed that two

days before the closure order was

announced, North Somerset Council

launched a consultation to improve the

safety of children, pedestrians and

cyclists in Yatton: and yet two days later

they announce a plan to push more

traffic in that direction.

The comments were due to be made

by April 30, however such was the

response from local communities that

one week after its launch the scheme

was withdrawn in favour of a full


Perhaps democracy works after all.


To comment on this article or any other

issue surrounding driver training and

testing, contact Colin via



For all the latest news, see

Off to a flyer? Not in Bristol, sadly

Colin Lilly

Learners in the Bristol area returning to

lessons and hoping for a test have faced

additional problems.

The Brislington Driving Test Centre has

closed. The closure was announced in

good time by the DVSA, and was forced

after the landlord decided they wanted to

develop land the DTC stood on.

This was not a surprise; in addition,

during the 30 years the Brislington DTC

had been in operation, traffic on the

nearby A4 has increased, making access

to the DTC more problematic.

Brislington DTC was used by candidates

not just from Bristol but Bath and towns

in the Bath and North East Somerset

(BANES) areas following the closure of a

number of other DTCs over the years.

Sadly, the DVSA has no plans to seek

out another site. Existing tests will be

transferred to Kingswood MPTC five miles

away or Avonmouth on the other side of

the city. The latter is much less accessible

to BANES candidates.

Extra test slots will be created within

the Chippenham / Trowbridge group.

As a temporary measure, some testing

has been carried out at the DVSA

Headquarters in Croydon Street, Bristol.

However, this will cease at the end of May

as the traffic is expected to increase as

the roadmap out of lockdown progresses.

The site is shared with the city’s main

ambulance station. Dealing with blue

lights at the start of the test is not the

most settling experience.

The Kingswood centre is being refurbished

to accommodate extra examiners and

candidate’s vehicles. However, this is

limited as all categories of test are carried

out here, including ADI test. Oh, and

there is no waiting room.

Of the six examiners at Brislington, one

is being transferred to the Chippenham /

Trowbridge group, two to Kingswood and

three to Croydon Street before moving on

to Avonmouth.

What effect this will have on local

waiting lists is unclear, as is the impact

on other DTCs radiating from Bristol.

But before learners can even join the

practical waiting list, they must pass the

theory test.

The Theory Test Centre in Bristol has

moved from its city centre location to

Stoke Gifford in South Gloucestershire.

The new centre was not ready to open its

doors on April 12 so no theory tests will

be available in Bristol until mid-May.

Extra slots have been created from 7am

at Swindon. Gloucester, Cheltenham and


No provision has been made for those

to the south of the city so this may have

an effect on the waiting lists at Taunton


When the dust has settled and the aftereffects

of Covid are behind us, a truer

picture of the needs of learners in the

Bristol area will emerge.


Have you been affected by changes to

DTC provision? Contact Colin via




DVSA in new push for only ‘test-ready’

pupils – and driver’s records

DVSA has updated its guidance on

helping pupils pass their L-test first time.

Included in the information is a list of

the top 10 reasons to fail the test (see pg

8), the amount of training the agency

would usually expect a successful test

candidate to have had and the variety of

practise learners need.

It also has tips for ADIs, including

introducing focused refresher lessons.

The biggest bone of contention for

ADIs, however, will be this paragraph in

the guidance:

“If [pupils] don’t feel ready, they can

reschedule to a later date for free and

get more time to practise so they pass

on their first attempt.”

The difficulty ADIs will have with that

simple statement is that ‘rescheduling’ a

test if a pupil is not quite at the required

standard is virtually impossible within a

four-month window; this means that a

pupil expecting to take their test in May

is likely to have to wait until at least

September to get another test slot.

The DVSA also says: ‘We add extra

tests to our booking service regularly and

recommend pupils check availability at

all local test centres if their nearest

centre is fully booked.’

Despite log books not being accepted

in any part of the test assessment, the

DVSA is again encouraging ADIs to ‘Keep

a record of your pupil’s driving lessons’,

using ‘our free form (sometimes called

the ‘driver’s record) to track your pupils’

progress as they learn to drive.’

Pupils can also record any extra

practice they do using the free form at

The DVSA has also updated its

guidance for

pupils who


Read it

in full here:

DVSA test


Driving test centre updates


The driving test centre in Huddersfield is

temporarily moving while refurbishment

work by the landlord takes place.

The temporary site is at the Clarion

Cedar Court Hotel, Ainley Top,

Huddersfield HD3 3RH.

The DVSA does not have a date as yet

when work will be completed.

Candidates should arrive no more

than five minutes before their test and

should park in the allocated spaces

marked out by cones. They should wait

inside the car for their examiner.

The temporary site carpark should not

be used for practising.

Walton LGV / DTC

A new temporary car driving test centre

is to open at Walton LGV driving test

centre to help deal with the current high

demand for tests.

Car driving tests will start at the site

on May 5 and bookings at the site are

now live on the system.

The temporary site can be found at

Wighill Lane, Walton LS23 7DU. Please

note the car park should not be used for



The temporary DTC site in Bedford, set

up after the Cardington DVSA site

closed, has had to be changed after the

Barns Hotel suffered a flood.

Instead, the Scott Hall community

centre will be used until Friday, May 14

Candidates should arrive no more

than 10 minutes before their test and

park on the road outside the community

hall. They should wait for the examiner

to meet them in the car. There are no

waiting room or toilet facilities but there

is supermarket close by.

DVSA is working to find a suitable

permanent site and will let ADIs know

more when it can.

The community centre can be found

at Rear Gate, Faldo Road, Bedford

MK42 0EH


The driving test centre in Brecon will be

temporarily moving to Brecon Rugby

Club (The Pavilion) after an unexpected

problem occured with the current site.

DVSA hopes to have this resolved

within the next three months and will let

ADIs know when the normal site can

reopen for testing.

Brecon Rugby Club can be found at

Parc de Pugh, Canal Bank, The Watton,

Brecon LD3 7HH. Remember to arrive no

more than five minutes before the test,

and wait inside the car for the examiner.

High Wycombe

The DVSA is opening its new DTC in

High Wycombe at the Cressex Business

Park on May 5.

All candidates whose test was put on

hold when the previous site closed will

be offered a new time and a date at the

new one. The new DTC is at Unit 1,

Cliveden Office Village, Lancaster Road,

High Wycombe HP12 3YZ.



NEWSLINK n MAY 2021 17


EU records big fall in road fatalities as

Covid drives down traffic numbers

European Commission preliminary

figures on road fatalities for 2020 have

shown a large fall, down 17 per cent on


An estimated 18,800 people were

killed in a road crash last year, almost

4,000 fewer than in 2019. Lower traffic

volumes, as the result of the COVID-19

pandemic, had a clear, though

unmeasurable, impact on the number of

road fatalities.

The EU’s Commissioner for Transport

Adina Valean said: “With almost 4,000

fewer deaths on EU roads in 2020,

compared to 2019, our roads remain the

safest in the world. Still, we are behind

our target for the last decade and joint

action is needed to prevent a return to

pre-Covid levels.

“In our Sustainable and Smart Mobility

Strategy, we have reiterated our

commitment to implementing the EU

road safety strategy and bringing down

the death toll for all modes of transport

close to zero.”

Over the previous decade between

2010 and 2020, the number of road

deaths dropped by 36 per cent. This was

short of the target of 50 per cent fewer

deaths that had been set for that decade.

However, with 42 road deaths per one

million inhabitants, the EU remains the

continent with the safest roads in the

world. As a comparison, the world

average lies at more than 180.

Based on preliminary figures, 18

Member States registered their lowest

ever number of road fatalities in 2020.

EU-wide, deaths fell by an average of 17

per cent compared to 2019 though the

reduction was far from uniform, with the

largest decreases (of 20 per cent or

more) occurring in Belgium, Bulgaria,

Denmark, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy,

Hungary, Malta and Slovenia.

In contrast, five Member States

(Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg

and Finland) recorded an increase in

fatalities although the number in small

countries tends to fluctuate from year to


Over a longer timeline, the number of

deaths on Europe’s roads fell by 36 per

cent between 2010 and 2020, below

the EU target of 50 per cent. Only

Greece (54 per cent) exceeded the target

followed by Croatia (44 per cent), Spain

(44 per cent), Portugal (43 per cent),

Italy (42 per cent) and Slovenia (42 per

cent). In total, nine Member States

recorded falls of 40 per cent or more.

While the unprecedented

developments in 2020 led to some

changes in the ranking of countries’

fatality rates, the safest roads remain in

Sweden (18/million) while Romania (85/

million) reported the highest rate in

2020. The EU average was 42/million.

Lower traffic volumes, as the result of

the Covid-19 pandemic, had a clear,

though unmeasurable, impact on the

number of road fatalities. However,

preliminary data in the US, for example,

show that fatalities spiked in 2020 in

spite of lower traffic volumes. Indeed,

evidence in some EU countries also

points to an increase in risk-taking

behaviour, in particular speeding, during

lockdown periods.

Commenting on the data, Antonio

Avenoso, Executive Director of the

European Transport Safety Council

(ETSC) welcomed the fall in fatalities but

pointed out that: “The EU has a new

target for 2030 to reduce deaths and

serious injuries by half. If we are to

succeed this time, we need to avoid the

mistakes of the past decade.

“EU Member States need to step up.

Road safety is an EU, national and local

issue – which requires action at every

level. The EU can set a framework, but

Member States and cities can and must

take bold and rapid action.

“The Covid pandemic has shown that

this can happen, let’s not lose that


By way of comparison, the UK’s figures

for 2019 – the latest date for which we

have official road fatality data – showed

approximately 26 deaths per million


Road deaths per million inhabitants – preliminary data for 2020

2010 2019 2020 % change % change

2019-2020 2010-2020

EU-27 67 51 42 -17% -36%

Belgium 78 56 44 -22% -40%

Bulgaria 105 90 67 -26% -40%

Czechia 77 58 48 -16% -35%

Denmark 46 34 27 -22% -39%

Germany 45 37 33 -11% -25%

Estonia 59 39 45 15% -24%

Ireland 47 29 30 6% -30%

Greece 113 64 54 -16% -54%

Spain 53 37 29 -21% -44%

France 64 50 39 -21% -36%

Croatia 99 73 58 -20% -44%

Italy 70 53 40 -25% -42%

Cyprus 73 59 54 -8% -20%

Latvia 103 69 74 7% -35%

Lithuania 95 67 63 -6% -41%

2010 2019 2020 % change % change

2019-2020 2010-2020

Luxemb’g 64 36 42 18% -19%

Hungary 74 62 46 -25% -39%

Malta 31 32 21 -31% -15%

Netherl’ds 32 34 31 -8% 1%

Austria 66 47 38 -19% -39%

Poland 103 77 65 -15% -37%

Portugal 80 63 52 -18% -43%

Romania 117 96 85 -12% -31%

Slovenia 67 49 38 -22% -42%

Slovakia 69 50 45 -9% -33%

Finland 51 38 40 4% -19%

Sweden 28 22 18 -14% -29%

Switzerl’d 42 22 26 21% -31%

Norway 43 20 18 -11% -54%

Iceland 25 17 22 33% -10%



For all the latest news, see

Help out in fight against Covid

by taking lateral flow tests

Back to the tuition car? Did you know that

free rapid lateral flow tests are available

for you and your pupils?

We’d encourage both you and your

pupils to regularly take coronavirus rapid

lateral flow tests. This includes while

you’re teaching pupils to drive and within

four days before they take a driving test.

Around one in three people with

Covid-19 do not have symptoms. Rapid

lateral flow tests help to find cases in

people who may have no symptoms but

are still infectious and can give the virus

to others.

You can get a rapid lateral flow test if

you do not have symptoms. They’re free

and you get a result 30 minutes after

taking the test.

Getting tested regularly is the only way

to know if you have the virus.

Your pupils will not need to take a

rapid lateral flow test to be able to take

their driving test, but by doing so they’ll

help to stop the spread of COVID-19.

However, if a pupil does take a PCR

test and the result is positive, they must

not go for their driving test. They should

not attend either if someone they live

with has a positive PCR test result.

If this happens they should email with the

email subject ‘Lateral flow rebooking’,

including two of either their driving

licence number; their theory test pass

certificate number; and/or their driving

test reference number.

You can order later flow tests here:

Warning over UK/

EU licences

Do you have UK family or friends

living in the EU, or are you thinking of

living abroad in the near future?

If so, the DVLA has warned UK

licence holders that a consequence of

Brexit could make it harder to drive on

your UK licence.

You will no longer be able to renew

your driving licence in the UK if you

are no longer a resident here, and the

official advice is to exchange your UK

licence for an EU one as soon as

possible in line with specific advice for

your new country of residence.

If your UK licence is lost, stolen or

expired, you may not be able to

exchange it for an EU licence. You

may have to apply for an EU licence

and retake your driving test in your

country of residence.

Advice differs from country to country,

but can be found here:

Click here for

the full story



The big debate: L-test waiting times

Regular Newslink contributor Rod Came received a letter from DVSA Chief Executive Loveday

Ryder – as did all ADIs – in which she outlined her initial response to the Covid crisis... and it

prompted Rod to reply in person, setting out his concerns over a perceived lack of action on

waiting times. Here we publish the DVSA’s response.... and Rod’s reaction

Test waiting

times: How can

driver training

and testing

hope to get

back on track?

“We have put measures

in place to increase

testing availability

across all categories...”

Dear Mr Came

Thank you for your email of 25 March to

our Chief Executive, Loveday Ryder. I am

replying on her behalf.

I have received the comments needed

and can now respond fully, thank you for

your patience.

I am sorry for any inconvenience or

disappointment caused. The Covid-19

pandemic has been an unprecedented

challenge for us all and we know the

past 12 months have been, and remain,

incredibly tough for instructors and

learner drivers.

I appreciate your comments

about recruiting new

examiners. We needed

time to assess the

amount of recruitment

required and where, and

the type of contract/

hours we could offer. We

must follow the latest

government guidelines and

under social distancing

measures, training has not been


permitted. Therefore, as you can

appreciate, the new examiners will not

be ready to conduct tests as soon as the

restrictions lift.

As a result of candidates not being

able to learn during the period of

restrictions there should not be such

pent-up demand for tests beyond the

figures quoted. We provide the figures

from a live booking system and these are

subject to change. As a result, it is not

realistic to provide waiting times on a

test centre basis, which is why we give

the average.

We have put measures in place to

increase testing availability across all

categories, including vocational. We are

offering overtime to examiners and

buying back annual leave, asking all

those qualified to carry out tests to do so

(such as driving test managers). We are

also conducting out-of-hours

testing (such as public


I understand your

concerns about ADI

workloads, but instructors will need to

measure their workloads and explain any

difficulties to their pupils. This is not

something we can offer further advice on.

We will continue to keep the demand

for testing under review. Candidates can

use our online service to check for

available dates.

I am unable to comment about the

number of staff involved to train or

supervise the new recruits. You will need

to make a Freedom of Information (FOI)

request. Please contact the FOI team at who will reply within 20

days of receipt. Please provide a detailed

request explaining the exact information

you need.

You can stay up to date with how

coronavirus is affecting driving tests on


Please feel free to send this response

to MSA GB as requested.

Yours sincerely

Sandy Farrer

Corporate Reputation

“As a result of candidates not being able to

learn during the period of restrictions there

should not be such pent-up-demand for tests

beyond the figures quoted...”


For all the latest news, see

Thanks, but it’s action we need

Dear Ms Farrer

I thank you for your comprehensive reply to my email passed

to you on behalf of the Chief Executive (published left).

Please find below a copy of an article I wrote before

receiving your reply to my email to Loveday Ryder. I am

forwarding this to you first to keep you up to date with what

might be published in MSA GB Newslink, and second, to try to

establish what the number of candidates currently waiting for

a practical driving test actually is.

It appears that the Transport Secretary and the DVSA are

quoting markedly different figures for both the numbers waiting

and the current waiting time.

I appreciate the difficulties that DVSA have to overcome, but

they are moreso for ADIs and driving test candidates who are

totally unable to any action to affect the outcome of the

problem. That is entirely in the province of the DVSA.

It is necessary for each to fight their own corner which I am

attempting to do on behalf of ADIs and their customers.

Yours sincerely

Rod Came

Need a hand, DVSA? ADIs stand

ready to help you out

Rod Came

MSA South East

DVSA has recently told the driver training

industry that the average waiting time for

a driving test is 17 weeks, with 420,000

candidates waiting for one of its elusive


It should know, after all, the DVSA is

the only provider with the figures.

Admittedly, the agency did not

stipulate whether the waiting lists were

limited to 17 weeks, or how they came

to the conclusion that 420,000 people

were in line. The bald fact was stated

and we have to take it as gospel.

At a Zoom meeting arranged by MSA

SE on 7th April, the DVSA representative

conceded that it would take a year to

reduce the waiting time for a test. He

stated that the agency was doing

everything it could to reduce the waiting

time as soon as possible.

He put my question back to me by

asking what I would do to solve the

problem. A fair response, except that it is

not part of my job description to

reorganise the DVSA so that it provides

an efficient service to its customers.

The following day I read in The

Telegraph that Grant Shapps, the

Transport Secretary, said that learners

may face an eight-month wait made

worse by there being fewer instructors

than pre-pandemic. (Possibly that should

read examiners rather than instructors).

He also said that it is estimated that

there is a backlog of over 1,100,000

tests, which is nearly three times the

DVSA figure.

Over the course of 24 hours that is a

tremendous increase, and I suspect

nowhere near the actual figure which will

emerge in six months time, when those

who have yet to start lessons then expect

a practical driving test.

The obvious dilemma the DVSA has is

that it has nowhere near enough

examiners to provide the number of tests

its customers require.

As I pointed out at the meeting, for the

DVSA to launch a recruitment drive just

as practical tests are to start again is far,

far, too late – it should have been done

months ago when the problem was

obviously developing. By not doing so,

the issue was exacerbated, now it has

gone past being solved within an

acceptable time frame.

In normal times DVSA provides circa

1.6-1.8 million tests a year. Adding on

Shapps’ 1.1 million back log, that brings

the total to nearly 3 million, a figure that

DVSA has never ever got near to

providing in the past. DVSA is only now

starting on reducing the deficit, with an


Making the correct decision

not to proceed requires

as much confidence as

knowing when to proceed.


apparently reduced workforce each

providing fewer tests per day than

normal. That is the scale of the problem

the DVSA is faced with.

So how to get out of the mess? You

will have read it before and I will keep

repeating it – let ADIs certify their own

pupils as being up to the standard

necessary to pass a practical driving test.

DVSA says: “Although ADIs are well

qualified and proficient in driving and

instruction, they are not experienced


But an ADI is classed by DVSA as ‘a fit

and proper person’ to qualify to be on the

ADI Register, so trust us.

I take issue that ADIs are not

experienced assessors. Of course we are;

we assess our pupils on every lesson, we

assess their progress, we assess their

likelihood of passing a driving test, we

assess whether they will be safe on the

road after passing – we are assessors.

Granted, some will be better than others,

but assessors we are.

I appreciate that legislation precludes

ADIs from being examiners – so make a

temporary change to the legislation, not

hide behind that restriction and let the

test waiting time problem escalate to

unimaginable lengths.

Our industry is prepared to help the

DVSA out of its predicament because

that is the right thing to do. Without our

help, ADIs will be training people for a

driving test that will not be available,

causing much resentment from the

public, ADIs and their pupils.

DVSA, it is time to make your choice.

Lies, damned lies... and statistics: pg 22



The big debate: L-test waiting times

Statistics can make even the worst

situation sound like a positive

Rod Came

Lies, damned lies, and statistics which

are not lies. As you will have read

elsewhere in this issue, and in previous

ones, the DVSA has repeatedly said that

there is a 17-week average waiting time

for practical tests. I will accept that is

correct, but what does it mean?

A city test centre has a waiting time of

14 months; that adds up to 60 weeks.

Elsewhere, two remote test centres have

two-week waiting times, and a third has

four weeks. That totals eight weeks for

the three. Add the total weeks of waiting

times up and you get 68 weeks. Divide

that between four test centres and Voila!

a 17-week average between the four.

DVSA says it will provide an extra

2,500 tests a month. There are about

380 test centres. 2,500 / 380 equals

about seven extra tests per centre – or an

average of just one extra test for every

four working days per test centre.

DVSA says that 300 new examiners are

being recruited. Let’s assume that all

reach the necessary standard, some may

have to take the training more than once,

and that 80 test centres will not receive a

Rod Came has taken his thoughts on

the issue of the lengthy L-test waiting

times to a wider audience by writing to

The Daily Telegraph Letters page.

Here is the letter submitted:


Driving instructors need their pupils to

pass their driving test, the instructor’s

reputation tests on their pupil’s success.

Most instructors can forecast whether

new examiner, it means that 300 test

centres will have an average of one more


But that figure does not take into

account the number who retire, die or are

long-term sick during the enrolment

their pupil will be ready to pass a test in

4 – 6 weeks time; if the pupil is not

ready they will accept delaying their test

by that amount of time.

With a waiting time of between 17

weeks and eight months there is no way

that an instructor can (a) forecast the

progress of their pupil and (b) persuade a

pupil to postpone their test for that

period of time, ready or not.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards

period, so there may not be a nett

increase at all.

It’s not what you say, it is the way that

you say it.

Sometimes statistics can reveal the

inconvenient truth.

Predicting the future is not a required skill for ADIs

Self driving in the UK - coming soon?

Agency (DVSA) are asking the impossible

of both their customers and driving

instructors. When DVSA state they will

provide an additional 2,500 tests a

month with a waiting list which

reportedly varies between 450,000 and

1.1 million, it is obvious that it will take

years to get to a situation where driving

tests are readily available.

Rod Came,

Brede, Rye

The Department for Transport has given

its clearest indication yet that it is

prepared to relax the rules around ‘self

driving’ technology.

The government confitmed that

vehicles fitted with automated lane

keeping system (ALKS) technology could

legally be defined as self-driving, as long

as they receive GB-type approval and

that there is no evidence to challenge

the vehicle’s ability to self-drive.

Designed for use on a motorway in

slow traffic, ALKS enables a vehicle to

drive itself in a single lane, while

maintaining the ability to easily and

safely return control to the driver when


The technology is limited up to

37mph. The vehicle constantly monitors

speed and keeps a safe distance from

other cars. The government thinks ALKS

technology could improve road safety by

reducing human error, which contributes

to over 85 per cent of accidents.

A consultation on The Highway Code

rules for self-driving technology is

currently underway, ending on May 28.



For all the latest news, see

Give learners a break says May as

he enters row over theory tests

BBC Top Gear and Amazon The

Grand Tour star, James May has

joined the chorus of disapproval over

the DVSA/Government decision to not

extend the validity of theory test

certificates for learner drivers.

As ADIs will be only too aware,

access to driving theory test centres

across the UK has been severely

restricted in the past year, and there

is now a backlog of over 380,000

learners waiting to sit their theory

tests. However, an estimated 70,000

learners who have already

successfully passed their theory test

have seen the certificate lapse due to

not being able to take and pass their

L-test since last March, and they are

also being made to re-take their

theory – and pay £23 again to do so.

This is despite a petition that has

gathered over 77,000 signatures so

far calling for the government to

extend the two-year validity of theory

test certificates. It is believed the

number of theory test certificates

expiring across the country is adding

an average of 3,321 learners every

day to the backlog.

James May is calling for the rules

to be changed. James launched his

own Driving Theory Test app, My

Theory Test by James May, to help

learners last year and it’s already the

highest rated by users on the Apple

app store.

James said: “Having recently

developed the My Theory Test app, I

know that the test is both very dull

and quite difficult to pass. There’s a

large group of – predominantly young

– people out there who have passed

it and now, through no fault of their

own, are going to have to take it all

over again – and pay for it again. And

that’s if they even manage to book a

slot. It comes at a time when they

need the most help to get out and get

jobs as we emerge from lockdown. I

think this is unfair and unreasonable.”

He added: “The government seems

to be arguing that they can’t change

the law to extend the validity of

theory tests – but that’s exactly what

they’ve done in Northern Ireland, and

they were quick to extend MOT

validity for cars.

“So I’m not sure why they’ve

decided to penalise young drivers in this

way. Perhaps they just want the money?”

James concluded: “As a gesture, to help

those affected, we reduced the price of the

app in April from £4.99 to £3.99. We got a

bit less money, even though the

government’s taking a lot more.”

My Theory Test by James May takes a

new approach to the theory test by using

smart learning techniques and personalised

training plans, so that information is retained

longer, making better and safer drivers.

Over 30,000

learners have already

used My Theory Test

by James May.

• My Theory Test

by James May

is available to

buy from

Apple App

Store and

Google Play




Special Feature: Smart motorways

Smart motorways –

A recipe for disaster?

Tom Harrington looks at the current debate around Smart Motorways,

including why they are so controversial – and why they are likely to stay

with us, despite criticism over their impact on road safety

Smart Motorways are a

contentious topic but it

appears they’re here to stay

– for the present at least. In

October 2019, Highways

England announced plans for

an additional 300 miles of smart

motorway without hard shoulders across

England by 2025, though the Transport

Secretary, Grant Shapps, put a stop to

this further roll-out last month for now by

demanding additional safety measures

are in place before it goes ahead.

Despite this pause in the extension of

the network, however, there seems little

chance for the current smart motorways

to be scrapped as some are demanding,

which means drivers and riders must get

to grips with how to use them.

Understandably, drivers have a lot of

questions about these newer types of

motorway, namely, what are they? How

do I use them? What do I do if I break

down on them? Are they more

dangerous? and What fines can I get

while driving on them?

Any motorist who has driven on a

conventional motorway with a hard

shoulder has had the confidence of

somewhere to stop should their vehicle

breakdown or other emergency arising.

But even then they had to be particularly

careful because of other traffic that may

be illegally travelling on the hard

shoulder at motorway speeds. There

have been many instances where drivers

have been killed or seriously injured

while stopped on the hard shoulder.

But what of motorways with no hard

shoulder; surely there must be an

increased risk of crashes causing death

and serious injuries?

There has been much debate

surrounding these motorways as to

whether they are as safe or safer than

the motorway with a conventional hard

shoulder. Traditionally, motorways have

three (sometimes two/four) lanes of

traffic and a hard shoulder for emergency

use. With a predicted 60 per cent increase

in traffic by 2040, ways of increasing

capacity without widening motorways or

building new ones were developed,

leading to the introduction of what are

now called Smart Motorways (previously

known as Managed Motorways).

The first Smart Motorway was

originally called an Active Traffic

Management System (ATMS), and sat

between junctions 3A to 7 of the M42. It

had gantries with electronic variable

speed limit signs, enforced by speed

cameras, and the hard shoulder was

opened as a running lane at times of

peak congestion. The raison d’etre is this

creates an extra lane to provide

additional capacity, without the expense

of widening the road.

Data gathered since the M42 Smart

Motorway scheme began in 2006

suggests that journey reliability has

improved by 22 per cent. Signs on the

gantries tell motorists when the hard

shoulder may or may not be used.

Emergency Refuge Areas are placed at

intervals of about 1.5 miles to make up

for the loss of the hard shoulder.

There are three types of smart motorway:

Dynamic hard shoulder: where the

hard shoulder is temporarily opened up

to traffic

All lane running (ALR): where the full

width of the road is usable with

emergency refuge areas alongside

Controlled: three or more lanes, a hard

shoulder and variable speed limits

Smart motorways now cover more



For all the latest news, see

than 400 miles (640km) of England, but

drivers still question how to use them

and whether they’re a safe choice.

How do Smart Motorways work?

Technology, controlled from regional

centres, monitors and manages the flow

of traffic on smart motorways. When

signs of congestion show, the hard

shoulder is opened as an extra lane and

variable speed limits can be introduced

to help keep traffic flowing smoothly.

Cameras monitor ‘smart’ sections and

issue fines to motorists who use them

when told not to; disobedient drivers will

be slapped with £100 fines and three

penalty points under the controversial

new system being laid out by road chiefs.

Indeed, so many more motorists are

expected to be caught out by the

cameras that police are recruiting more

staff to deal with the predicted workload.

One of Britain’s biggest police forces,

Thames Valley, is taking on an extra 15

civilians to process all the fines expected

when Highways England switches on the

smart sections of the M4 and M40.

The move has prompted complaints

that drivers are being milked for cash

under the new system.

What is an Emergency Refuge Area (ERA)?

Emergency refuge areas (ERAs), or

SOS areas, are located on Smart

Motorways and designed to offer a place

of relative safety for stranded vehicles on

roads without hard shoulders. Currently,

these refuges are at a maximum 1.5

miles apart – and on average 1.25 miles

across the all lanes running network,

says Highways England, which means at

60 miles an hour, a driver would pass

one every 75 seconds.)

But the AA has called for their spacing

to be three-quarters of a mile apart and

says the current distance was decided by

Highways England in 2012 with no

public consultation.

This spacing is also much wider than

on the original M42 trial, where refuges

were 500 to 800m apart, with a risk

rate of 32 per cent, whereas 1.5 miles

has an estimated risk of 85 per cent

(against a benchmark 100 per cent risk

of a conventional motorway). In 2018,

Highways England said they would

reduce this to a mile on new stretches.

Increasingly painted orange for

improved visibility, they appear up to

every 1.5 miles on ‘all lanes running’

smart motorways. Highways England has

said future designs from 2020 will have

more ERAs, though the RAC believes

existing schemes should also be

retrofitted and with a gap of no more

than one mile between each.

Its own research shows that one in

four drivers with experience of driving on

smart motorways is unaware of ERAs.

One in five drivers who broke down on a

smart motorway were unaware they

should contact Highways England when

using an ERA.

If you have broken down or been

involved in a crash while on a smart

motorway, you should attempt to use an

emergency refuge area. These are

marked with large blue signs featuring an

orange SOS telephone symbol. Arrows

will direct you into an indicated area

marked on the tarmac and painted

orange, where you should stop and

switch on your hazard warning lights.

Occupants should then exit the vehicle

from the passenger side and stand

behind the crash barrier. The SOS phone

should be used to speak to Highways

England who will provide further

instructions. You should only use an

emergency refuge area in the event of a

breakdown or an accident.

They are not be used for a rest stop, to

make a phone call or to use the toilet.

This year, The Times reported that

Highways England even considered

having no roadside refuges on stretches

of smart motorways, but decided against

it partly due to concerns about its own

reputation. And the AA has discovered

that breakdowns over approximately two

years (August 2017 to October 2019) on

a 13-mile smart section of the M3

between Junction 2 – 4a has caused

some 945 hours of traffic jams – and

more than 2,200 breakdowns in that

time forced lane closure after drivers

couldn’t reach a refuge area. Despite

this, Highways England says this stretch

has increased capacity by a third and

made overall journeys more reliable.

Inquiry into Smart Motorways

The Transport Select Committee has

launched an inquiry to look at the safety

of Smart Motorways. It will also look into

public confidence into their use and their

impact on congestion. This comes after a

coroner said smart motorways created an

“ongoing risk” of death after two men

were killed after their car broke down on

a motorway where the hard shoulder was

in use as a traffic lane.

In 2019, 14 people reportedly died on

smart motorways. However, an

investigation by the BBC’s Panorama has

revealed that at least 38 people have

been killed on them since 2015. The

figure – recorded over five years – is

significant because it only makes up a

small proportion of the total miles of the

country’s roads.

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion MP,

who represents the constituency of a

man killed in a collision on a stretch of

the M1 where all lanes running were in

place, has called for smart motorways to

be scrapped entirely.

Her calls were among those which led

the Government to conduct an extensive

stocktake of evidence, in order to tackle

the aforementioned main safety issues.

It created an action plan of 18

measures to be put in place in order to

increase public confidence in Smart

Motorways as well as making them safer.

Continued on page 26



Special Feature: Smart motorways

Continued from page 25

These include ‘dynamic hard shoulder’

motorways abolished to end confusion;

and ‘Stopped vehicle detection’ to be

rolled out at pace and places to stop in

an emergency spaced closer together

The risks

The same Panorama programme that

found 38 people had been killed on

smart motorways also revealed a 20-fold

increase in near-miss incidents on one

stretch of the M25. It certainly is enough

of an issue to prompt this call by the AA:

“We feel deaths could have been avoided

if there had been more emergency refuge

areas, though Highways England doesn’t

agree,” says Jack Cousens, head of roads

policy at the AA, which is calling for

numbers of safety areas to be doubled.

Manslaughter charges against

Highways England?

South Yorkshire’s police chief has said

smart motorways should be scrapped

before there are “further unnecessary

deaths”. The region’s Police and Crime

Commissioner Dr Alan Billings said

“something is seriously wrong” with

Smart Motorways after two major

coroner’s court cases dealing with deaths

on the M1 in his area.

One case involved Nargis Begum, who

broke down on the M1 in a live runnng

lane in September 2018 and was

stranded for 16 minutes before she was

struck and killed by a car. It took a

further six minutes before warning signs

were activated.

Dr Billings said the tragedy “is the

second time a coroner has raised doubts

about safety of Smart Motorways. The

evidence is mounting that something is

seriously wrong about these types of

motorways with all running lanes.

“Highways England and the

Department for Transport argue that

these motorways are as safe, if not safer,

than conventional motorways. I believe

the way this case is made is deeply

flawed and should be scrapped”.

Transport Committee – Looking for

evidence on six issues?

Speaking to the Transport Committee

earlier this month, Mr Shapps said he

did not want to carry on with the system

of smart motorways which he had

inherited on coming into office. The

Transport Committee inquiry will

investigate the benefits and safety of

Smart Motorways, as well as their

impact on reducing congestion.

In particular, the committee is looking

for evidence on:

• The benefits of Smart Motorways, for

instance to reduce congestion.

• The safety of Smart Motorways, the

adequacy of safety measures in place

and how safety could be improved.

• Whether ALR is the most suitable

type of Smart Motorway to roll out or if

there are better alternatives.

• Public confidence in Smart Motorways

and how this could be improved.

• The impact of Smart Motorways on

the usage and safety of other roads in the

strategic road network.

• The effectiveness of Highways England’s

delivery of the Smart Motorways

programme, the impact of construction

works, and the costs of implementation.

The Transport Committee is inviting

written evidence. Huw Merriman MP,

chair of the Transport Committee, said:

“The DfT says Smart Motorways help us

cope with a 23% rise in traffic since

2000, helping congestion. Its own

stocktake report points to lower fatal

casualty rates for Smart Motorways

without a permanent hard shoulder than

on motorways with a hard shoulder. The

serious casualty rate is slightly higher.

But this message isn’t reaching the public,

whose confidence in Smart Motorways

has been dented by increasing fatalities

on these roads. Road safety charities are

also expressing concerns. Will enhanced

safety measures help? Will the public

accept them following an awareness

campaign? Or should there be a rethink

of government policy?

“There are genuine worries about this

element of the motorway network and

we want to investigate how we got to

this point.

RAC: Overcome People’s Fears

The RAC has questioned whether the

Government will be able to overcome

people’s fears about Smart Motorways.

Responding to the Transport Select

Committee the RAC says there is “an

increasing level of concern” around

Smart Motorways. While progress has

been made to improve safety, “there is

still a great deal of work to do”, said

Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy.

“But even when all issues are addressed,

we wonder whether they will go far

enough to overcome people’s fears about

the permanent removal of the hard

shoulder on these schemes.”

He added: “If the Government is going

to persist with all lane running, it must

make sure all schemes – both new and

existing – are built and operate to the

highest possible safety standards.

Crucially, SOS areas need to be more

frequent so drivers have a better chance

of reaching one in an emergency.

“Whatever happens, it will remain the

case that the safety of any driver who

comes to a stop in a live smart motorway

lane depends both on the lane being

closed quickly by Highways England and

other drivers then abiding by red X closed

lane signs.”

37 minutes sitting in a live lane

If there’s no radar, it takes too long to

spot an incident and send help, says the

AA. Traditionally it takes 17 minutes for

a control room to identify a breakdown

using CCTV alone, three minutes to close

the lane and reduce the speed limit, and

further 17 minutes for breakdown cover

to arrive. Roadside assistance bodies

won’t attend an incident unless police or



For all the latest news, see

The Infamous Red X

On a Smart Motorway, a Red X on the

overhead gantry sign indicates that a lane

is closed to traffic. You must stay out of

that lane; it is illegal to drive in a lane

closed by a Red X sign. If you’re caught,

you could receive a fixed penalty of up to

£100 and three points, and in some cases

more severe penalties or a court

appearance. The police enforce Red X


If these displays are blank, the national

speed limit applies.

You’ll find it either on an overhead gantry,

or increasingly on cantilever signs at the

side of the road.

Regardless of where you see the sign,

either on a normal traffic lane or on a hard

shoulder on a motorway hard shoulder, it

simply means do not drive in that lane – it

has been closed to traffic.

traffic officers have successfully closed a

lane. “And that’s 37 minutes sitting in a

live traffic lane,” says AA spokesperson

Jack Cousens.

“Highways England’s own research

showed in one case it took an hour to

spot a stopped car in a live lane using

just CCTV.” Cameras can pan, tilt and

zoom and cover the whole of the smart

motorway network, but they can see only

what the eye can see and have a limited

range, says Peter Eccleson – so CCTV

will struggle in thick fog, heavy rain and

at night. And the AA says it could have

blind spots, depending on positioning.

Says Cousens: “We need to ensure

there’s 100 per cent of coverage, 100

per cent of the time and that those

cameras are constantly monitored in the

control centres”.

Several cameras feeds at a time are

monitored in seven Highways England

regional control centres around the

country. If one control centre becomes

overloaded in case of multiple incidents,

other control centres can watch the feeds

instead but it’s not possible to monitor

every camera around the clock.

MIDAS System

A network of road sensors – electromagnetic

induction loops – has been in

use for years in UK’s motorways. This

MIDAS system (motorway incident

detection and automated signalling)

detects the speed and length of a vehicle

and feeds information into outstation

units and automatically sets variable

speed limits on motorways and major

roads. Highways England traffic officers

can also set speed limits.

In theory, MIDAS detects breakdowns

but doesn’t work as well when traffic is

light, as a stopped vehicle might not

affect the speed of others. But it’s then

that cars will be driving faster, potentially

towards a stopped vehicle, says Jack

Cousens. “But the technology is 35 years

old and ultimately will be replaced,” says

Eccleson, whose company represents

Smart micro radars used on the

continent in tolls and for traffic

enforcement. Radars could replace these

carriageway loops more cheaply, he

argues, and potentially with more

functionality. “It could feed straight back

into an office, so if there’s a breakdown it

could prompt human intervention

sooner.” Radar technology used on the

two stretches of the M25 (J5-7 and

J23-27) and being retrofitted on the

stretch of the M3 is made by Navtech

whose award-winning scanning radar

ClearWay monitors a 500m stretch in

each direction. This detects stopped

vehicles and triggers an alert within 10

seconds, giving the exact stoppage

location – and it works in all weather and

lighting. “Radar overcomes a lot of

weather issues, especially in this

country,” says Eccleson.


With so much controversy

surrounding Smart Motorways,

it is hard to comprehend the

DfT’s claim that they are as

safe or safer than conventional



Comment and conclusion

With so much controversy surrounding

Smart Motorways, it’s difficult to

comprehend the DfT’s claim that Smart

Motorways are as safe as or safer than

conventional motorways. Smart Motorways

appear anything but smart. Without a

hard shoulder, how does one cope with a

breakdown unless it happens at one of

the emergency refuge areas which

currently can be 1.5 miles apart? How

can the police pull over an errant driver

safely unless there is a hard shoulder or

they can get to an Emergency Refuge


If there is no hard shoulder and if the

motorway is heavily trafficked, how can

the emergency services get to an incident

quickly without a hard shoulder? In a

lane in which a breakdown has occurred

and even where the lane is closed off,

will other drivers understand the

messages on the overhead gantries? To

date, it appears not.

Obviously, Smart Motorways offer

increased traffic flow and smooth

running, but in view of the recent deaths,

the Government needs to think seriously

about their future use.

But if all-lane running motorways were

implemented with adequate technology

and crucially more safety areas, would

they be as safe as conventional

motorways? Opponents say the concept

is flawed.

But motorist groups agree the

conventional hard shoulder isn’t a safe

place either. One in 12 fatalities occur on

a hard shoulder, and 90 per cent of stops

are unnecessary. Highways England says

a permanent hard shoulder increases

danger – people stop illegally for toilet

breaks, drive into them when their

concentration lapses. They also argue

that removing the hard shoulder removes

these risks. “Motorways are the safest

type of roads,” says transport specialist

Christian Wolmar, who points to the lack

of a hard shoulder on A-roads and dual

-carriageways. “So, anything that

increases capacity – and stops drivers

taking rat runs through cities or even A

roads means, in theory, they are safer.

But unless you have like-for-like

statistics, you can’t compare safety.”

At present Smart Motorways appear to

be a fait accompli and only time will tell

whether the Government will continue to

support them. What is true is that all

motorists need to understand how to use

them safely while they are with us.

But with so much debate and

controversy surrounding Smart

Motorways one has to ask: Are Smart

Motorways a recipe for disaster?



Towards Your CPD

In his latest training article,

Steve Garrod considers the

best way of introducing risk

assessments into lessons

Handling the risks – and

controlling it in lessons

Risk management is an essential

part of the Standards Check, but

following a number of

conversations with ADIs who,

sadly, seek training only after a failed

Standards Check, it seems that risk

management is still widely misunderstood.

Subsequent conversations with a

former colleague of mine in the DVSA

have confirmed that many ADIs arrive for

their Standards Check poorly prepared

and with no real understanding of risk

management or client-centred learning.

When asked about CPD, those who are

unsuccessful admit to not actively

undertaking any; instead they rely on

doing what they were doing for the old

‘Check Test’.

Managing risk is not simply explaining

that you have dual controls and you will

use them if necessary to prevent a crash,

or continually asking the question,

“What’s the risk here?” When I sit in and

observe lessons I find many trainers miss

naturally occurring opportunities to cover

risk management, for example, when

introducing the DVSA official at the

beginning of the lesson. Many talk about

the additional weight in the back, but

given so many of our learners are still

teenagers, there could be a natural link

to the risks involved with carrying

passengers and the potential distractions

such as additional noise, not wearing

seatbelts, etc.

Risk management should happen

naturally and form part of each lesson.

During the lesson you could ask your

pupil which part of the MSM routine they

feel confident to take responsibility of,

and on which part they would like

support. This is sharing the responsibility

for risk and client-centred learning. You

could ask them how best you could

support them (talk-through, prompting or

allowing more independence). This

means you are more likely to match your

teaching style to their preferred learning

style. You do need to be careful, however,

that their preferred learning style is

suitable for their ability.

If you are waiting at a set of red traffic

lights at a crossroads, you could make

use of the time by discussing the

potential hazards you could reasonably

expect to see at the junction. These

could include pedestrians crossing the

road or the activity in the new road, such

as large vehicles causing an obstruction;

you could also ask how to prioritise those

hazards. While stationary you could

discuss how to make a plan to help

reduce the risk of making a situation

worse, in other words, adapting their

driving to manage the potential risks.

If pupils are bombarded with questions

on the move they will have little time to

concentrate, but by discussing situations

at the appropriate time pupils are often

encouraged to ask questions for


In assessment terms this method is

often known as a ‘Professional

Discussion’. It leads to questions being

asked by both parties (the learner and



For all the latest news, see

the instructor/assessor). It helps identify

any misunderstandings and allows you,

as the instructor, to help fill any gaps in

your pupil’s knowledge and enables you

both to make the most of the training

session. It could mean that you change a

route to include a more suitable learning


As pupils gain more confidence these

conversations can be replaced by

questions, but questions should only be

used when a pupil has time to think of

an appropriate response and at the

correct time. Just asking questions

requiring a quick response only tests the

power of recall, and not understanding.

Questions requiring greater depth of

thinking may need to be asked while

stationary or when pupils are confident

with driving in heavier traffic.

Another example could be while

waiting to emerge from a side road. If

you can see parked vehicles in the new

road to your left, you could use this as a

risk management opportunity, for

example, ‘Where will the traffic on the

main road be positioned? And “Where

will you have to be positioned once you

emerge [on to main road]?” Chances are

that you and oncoming traffic will be

sharing the same space on the road.

Using such examples can also help

linking the theory to the practical to

reinforce the risks associated with

parking so close to junctions.

A challenging question here could be

to ask who has priority. Learners will

often give the standard reply, “Traffic on

the main road’. This is true but from

experience I have found that they

generally assume it is traffic approaching

from the right. Traffic approaching from

the left which may be on your side of the

road also has priority, because it is on

the main road, therefore to reduce the

risk of causing an obstruction or

something worse, it may be safer to wait

in the side road, even if that means the

occasional ‘beep’ from behind. This is

similar to waiting to turn right at a

controlled crossroads when you can see

there is not enough room to wait in the

middle of the junction, so instead of

proceeding you wait behind the stop line

to avoid blocking the pedestrian areas,

and wait for the traffic to clear and risk

the wrath of the following drivers who,

given the chance, would do exactly what

you are trying to avoid, eg, block the

junction. Making the correct decision not

to proceed requires as much confidence

as knowing when to proceed.

Learners also need to understand how

they can reduce the risk that they may


Making the correct decision

not to proceed requires

as much confidence as

knowing when to proceed.


pose to other road users while driving,

manoeuvring or parking.

These are examples of risk

management. How you phrase the term

depends on your pupil; after all, using

the same phrase can become tiresome

and if a pupil becomes bored they are in

danger of switching off and losing

concentration – and that’s also a risk!

How you phrase questions will determine

the level of your pupil’s understanding of

a subject, for example, asking a pupil to

identify a hazard (or risk) means asking

them what they have (or haven’t) seen,

but asking them how they are going to

deal with it means a higher level of


Other questions relating to risk

management could include:

• What could be the danger/

consequences of….?”

• What could be the disadvantage


• Where is the safest place to wait?

• Why do you think it’s a 20mph

speed limit?

If you see other drivers causing an

unnecessary obstruction you could ask

“How could that driver have made that

situation easier?” Or “What would you

have done?” You could then explain what

they have witnessed is poor risk


Teaching pupils to plan 10 or even 15

seconds ahead encourages them to read

the road well ahead and allows time to

adapt to the road and traffic conditions.

It allows time for options, adjustments to

the driving plan and increases the

chances of arriving at hazards in the

correct position, at the correct speed and

in the correct gear, and essentially with

enough time to look. (Position Speed and


As my old driving instructor told me

many years ago as he puffed away on his

pipe, “Nobody’s ever crashed into fresh


A useful format for asking thought

provoking questions comes from the

Police publication Roadcraft. On

approach to a hazard is asks the


• What can be seen?

• What can’t be seen?

• What may reasonably be expected to


Imagine you are approaching a side

road; what can be seen could be a car

waiting to emerge. What can’t be seen

could be a second car waiting to emerge

behind the first one, but not in view.

Often the danger comes from what can’t

be seen, rather than what can be seen,

such as a car closely following a van

coming towards you in a ‘meeting’


If you have a few minutes to spare

have a think about how you could apply

this scenario to another hazardous

stretch of road, such as a sharp bend or

a where there are parked cars narrowing

the road.

The same questions could be applied

to road signs, for example, road narrows,

school children or slippery surface. If you

can find some signs which you know you

are likely to see during the lesson then

you are preparing your pupil for what will

be seen while driving.

You could repeat these questions while

driving to assess if your pupil is able to

put the theory into practice. Knowing

what a road sign means is one thing, but

knowing how act upon seeing it is


It is important to remember that risk

management should not be made too

technical. It is just the process we take

once we have identified a hazard to

reduce that risk.

Try and include it in each lesson and

you’ll have nothing to fear once your

Standards Check arrives.



Disability Driving Instructors

Covid forces changes to theory

test’s special needs provision

The DVSA has updated its guidance notes for special needs accommodations on the theory

test. John Rogers, Disability Driving Instructors, outlines the changes

If candidates require special needs

assistance when taking the theory test,

some changes to the provision previously

available have become necessary due to

the Covid-19 restrictions. This may affect

the provision that was previously

requested and has already been agreed

by Pearson VUE, the company that

currently administers the theory test).

1. Computer voice over (available for

any candidate) – no changes necessary.

2. Extra time – no changes necessary.

If a face-to-face reader/recorder

(where the reader/recorder sits next

to the candidate, reads the questions

and answers and then marks the

answer given by the candidate) has

been requested, the following

alternative may be offered when

booking the test:

3. ‘Translator kit’ (reader only)

a. Candidates will be provided with

headphones and a standard computer

terminal with an attached computer


b. The reader will be in a separate

room with a twinned computer and will

communicate with the candidate via the


c. The reader can talk to the candidate

to read the questions and answers but

the candidate has no microphone so

cannot ask anything of the reader.

d. The candidate should ‘hover’ the

computer mouse pointer over the

selected question and the reader will

then read it. If the candidate needs the

question repeating they should move the

pointer away and then reposition it over

the same question; the reader will then

repeat the selected question.

e. If the candidate needs the answers

reading they should repeat the process

above, by ‘hovering’ the mouse pointer

above each of the answers in turn and

the reader will read the indicated answer,

requests for repeats as above.

f. The candidate should then mark

their chosen answer themselves by

clicking the mouse on the selected

answer in the normal way.

g. The candidate will need to flag any

questions themselves if this is required

and will then need to operate the

standard review controls in the normal


h. Candidate will need to operate the

video play/pause/repeat controls for the

case study question themselves in the

normal way.

This option will probably not be

suitable for candidates with no

reading ability or for those that

cannot make sense of written words.

It requires the candidate to select a

question/answer by moving the

mouse pointer on the screen so that

it ‘hovers’ over the selected question

or answer, this will be very difficult if

the candidate cannot recognise

which question or answer they need

to “hover” the mouse over.

4. DVSA has confirmed that the

previously available option of a face-toface

reader recorder is still available but

may be more difficult to arrange and may

result in a longer wait for test availability.

The reader, provided by Pearson VUE,

sits next to the candidate (but now

behind a transparent screen); they are

able to talk to the candidate who is

permitted to reply to ask for a question/

answer to be repeated or asked more


They will read the questions/answers

as they appear on the screen and will

then mark the answer chosen by the

candidate. The reader can flag questions

and operate the review controls if the

candidate requests; they can also operate

the video play/pause/repeat controls for

the case study question if requested. For

candidates using the services of a face to

face reader/recorder, it may be necessary

to change work stations before starting

the hazard perception test, which must

be completed by the candidate alone.

Pearson will ensure that all workstation

equipment is completely sanitised.

For all the reader/recorder options (3

& 4) the questions and answers are

read as they appear on the computer

screen – the readers are not

permitted to explain the meaning of

the English language used or to

rephrase it.

30 NEWSLINK n MAY 2021

For all the latest news, see

5. For OLM (Oral Language

Modification) tests the reader/recorder

can explain the meaning of the language

used and is permitted to rephrase the

questions/answers to make them easier

to understand, however they are not

allowed to explain the meaning of

technical terms.

OLM tests are only available for

candidates with severe difficulties in

language comprehension.

DVSA has confirmed that the

‘translator kit’ will not be used for OLM

tests; only face to face reader/recorders

will be used.

6. Separate room (quiet environment).

This may be available on request if the

candidate is able to demonstrate that

they would be seriously distracted by

other people in the same room; proof of

the special needs will be required.

A separate room may also be

necessary if other candidates would be

distracted by the special needs

accommodations being provided.

Unfortunately, due to the difficulty

maintaining social distancing in the small

side rooms and the difficulty providing

adequate ventilation, most separate

rooms are currently unavailable. If a

separate room is essential, a total centre

shutdown may be required to allow the

candidate to take the test on their own in

the main room.

For Deaf candidates:

7. On-screen BSL interpreter – no

changes necessary

Candidates have reported that the

sign language is difficult to follow

when using the on-screen BSL: the

size of the window used for the

on-screen signer is very small, you

don’t get the same person signing for

all the questions, regional variations

in BSL make it difficult to follow, you

can’t ask the signer to explain what

the sign language means and you

can’t ask the signer to slow down. Our

recommendation is to ask for a

face-to-face BSL interpreter.

8. Face to face BSL interpreter: The

candidate and interpreter will be

separated by a transparent screen and

both are permitted to remove their face

coverings to allow for the reading of

facial expressions and lip movements.

This service could be a “reading” service

with the candidate marking their own

answers on the computer in the normal

way, or it could be a “reader/recorder”

service where the candidate signs which


Candidates have reported

that the sign language is

difficult to follow when

using the on-screen BSL....

our recommendation is that

candidates ask for a face-toface

BSL interpreter....


answer they want to be marked.

A total centre shutdown would be

required if the candidate needs a

separate room or for reader/recorder

tests, for OLM tests and for tests for Deaf

candidates using face to face BSL


DVSA have confirmed that from April

12 all test centres will open on Saturdays

and a dedicated time slot will be

available at 3.30 every Saturday

afternoon for tests that require a total

centre shutdown.

Proof of special needs and booking the

theory test

• If a computer voice over (option 1) or

an on-screen BSL interpreter (option 7) is

required, this needs to be requested

when booking the test but if it has not

been requested in advance they should

still be available if asked for on the day.

No proof of special needs is required

for these accommodations.

• If extra time is needed or if the

services of a reader or recorder are

required, candidates will need to provide

proof of special needs.

This could be a letter from school or

college confirming the special needs

provision used for exams or tests, a letter

from their doctor confirming the reading

difficulty, a report from the British

Dyslexia Association screening service, a

Driving Mobility Assessment Report or

could be some other form of proof eg, a

PIP assessment report confirming the

candidate’s difficulty understanding

written information.

This proof needs to be sent to the

Customer Care Team at Pearson VUE

well in advance of booking the test; they

will consider the proof and if they agree

will confirm this in writing, providing a

reference number which needs to be

quoted when booking the test, which is

best done by phone or send an email

with a contact phone number. Deaf

candidates can book via the minicom


• For OLM tests (option 5) proof of a

significant difficulty with language

comprehension (usually a Statement of

Educational Needs) will have to be sent

to Pearson VUE and when accepted can

be booked as above.

• For Deaf candidates needing a face

to face BSL interpreter (option 8), no

proof is required but this must be

requested well in advance of booking the

test to give Pearson time to arrange the


• If you need further information

please contact the Pearson VUE

Customer Care Team if sending an email

put “special needs accommodations” in

the subject box:

Tel: 0300 200 1122


Minicom: 0300 200 1166

• If the test is being booked by the

candidate’s ADI or by family/friends and

they need to talk to Pearson or DVSA on

behalf of the candidate, a DVSA Data

Protection Form will have to be

completed and signed by the candidate

and their nominee; this should be sent to

Pearson in advance and will give

permission for Pearson to discuss the

booking with the candidate’s nominee.

DVSA has stated that it will confirm

the changes to the special needs

accommodations as soon as possible.

Changes will be notified to ADIs so

they can help their pupils to prepare and

they will also be notified direct to

candidates so they are kept fully


Information on GOV.UK will be

updated and DVSA will produce a short

information video which will be shared

on social media and with candidates

booking special needs tests.

For more information on Disability

Driving Instructors, call 0844 800

7355 or click on the panel. Or to see

John’s presentation and ask him

questions directly, come along to our

online event on Thursday, 13th May at

7.30pm. Click here

for an invitation.

Click here for

the full story



Regional News

Public desperate for a guide to lead them

through changes in vehicle technology

Mike Yeomans

MSA GB North East

During this extraordinary year, the North

East Area has been busy, answering

members’ questions and giving out

plenty of encouragement. By now most

of you will be back doing the job you do

best, out on the road, making them safer

with good tuition and excellent advice.

In February I was appointed honorary

President to Hull and East Riding

Advanced Motorists IAM RoadSmart.

This has given me a greater opportunity

to understand more about advanced

driving and what it offers.

In addition, I have completed through

Road Safety GB a New View Consultants

Older Road User course for ADIs. Now

trained, I am linked to local road safety

officers to assist with any initiatives they

offer to older drivers. The course has

highlighted a number of medical issues

from diabetics to driving with dementia,

as well as covered other topics including

physical or medical restraints, coping

strategies and self-awareness.

Although work has been slow the diary

has been busy with many online

meetings and opportunities.

As chairman of MSA GB North East, I

would like to take this opportunity to

thank some of the presenters who have

joined our online zoom meetings. A huge

thank you to Peter Harvey MBE, MSA

GB National Chairman, for his support

and constant availability during the

difficult months we have seen last year

and into this year.

I struggle to know where he finds the

time and commitment to the MSA;

Peter’s phone and emails must be

constantly active. I can only assume his

family are the most tolerant people on

the planet!

Peter attended two of our meetings

and each time we learnt something new

as well as receiving encouragement for

the future. In February, this year we had

a presentation by road safety consultant

Graham Feest. The topics were truly

relevant to working driving instructors.

The session included plenty of time for


How will the public learn about

changes and get the upskill to

cope with new vehicle tech?


question on the issues covered by

Graham, and they raised so much

interest that Graham has opened the

door to other local groups with enquiries

in the road safety arena.

We also welcomed Rob Cooling from

Apple School of Motoring. Rob’s

enthusiasm for electric vehicle is second

to none and he gave an excellent talk on

the subject. To quote Rob he offered “an

honest, upbeat and realistic guide to

being an EV driving instructor, exploring

the rise of automatics, the ups and

downs of life in an electric car, whether

it’s the right choice for you and an

appraisal of the current situation as we

race towards a rather exciting future”.

This was well received, and I am

aware he is booked to talk at other MSA

area events this year.

In March, we heard from Richard

Gladman from IAM RoadSmart on smart

motorways and the IAM RoadSmart

paper produced about the impact and

safety concerns on motorways.

In April we were lucky to hear from Dr

Darren Handley from the Department of

Transport where his brief is infrastructure

grants at the Office for Zero Emission

Vehicles. He currently runs the

infrastructure grants team which provides

grants for homes and workplaces to get

electric vehicle charge points.

We were able to ask questions about

the future of power supply, the grants

system and the UK Governments

aspiration for electric transportation.

Also in April we had a presentation

from Dr Russell Fowler, senior project

manager for the National Grid, learning

how the changes in the demand will be

tackled as we move more into the

electric vehicle arena and how the

vehicles used currently by the National

Grid workforce are managed by their fleet

manager especially when they are

installing power in remote areas, how

they manage mobile power sources and

match vehicle and transport usage to

meet the demands of the project.

Although my work diary has been

almost empty with licence acquisition



For all the latest news, see


Who are the best influences,

who can you trust for unbiased

information? In the ADI world,

that’s easy: MSA GB. But for the

general public?


drivers, I have been lucky to engage with

some fleet work, advising companies to

be ready for coming out of the lockdown,

offering guidance for putting drivers back

on the roads when congestion will be

inevitable as more return to the

workplace. Many of the online talks we

have had helped immensely in my

preparation to able to give sound advice

to my fleet clients.

I have myself delivered several talks to

local groups on changes to the Highway

Code, the recent consultations regarding

pedestrians and cyclists as well as the

Highways England proposals for higher

speed roads and the changes to the

highway code.

Through RoundTable and IAM

RoadSmart groups, as well as MSA GB

and local ADI groups, it has been

interesting to notice the great concern

ADIs and motorists have over future of

technology in vehicles and how the new

driver will cope.

One question that was asked of me on

my most recent presentation regarding

technology in car changes and changes

to the Highway Code was “how will the

general public learn about the changes;

how will the general public get the

upskill to cope with new vehicle


It’s a difficult question to answer. Who

are the best influencers in social media

who could champion the information roll

out? Who can we trust to give us the

best unbiased information?

In the ADI world that is an easy

answer: MSA GB will always get you the

correct answer and offer the best place

to get the training or upskilling. But the

general public will only get it from us,

ADIs and fleet trainers. It’s up to ADIs to

make themselves more aware of the

issues, to understand them and to pass

on the findings.

If you get the opportunity to catch up

on any online meetings, I recommend it;

it’s worth the 45 minutes or less getting

the best information you can, to cope

with our changing future.


Editor of the Year accolade is an

appreciated pat on the back

Guy Annan

MSA GB Western

Let’s not start this article with the

Covid -19 pandemic, so much time

and attention has already been spent

on it.

This happened yesterday. A friend of

mine had his second dose of the

vaccine, after which he started to have

blurred vision on the way home. When

he arrived home he called the

vaccination centre for advice and to

ask if he should see a doctor. He was

told not to seek medical advice but to

return to the vaccination centre

immediately to pick up his glasses.

I attended the virtual MSA GB

National Conference as many of you

did. I almost didn’t make it as I lost

the link, I’m so glad I found it.

I was sat on the sofa watching the

conference on my iPad while Geoff

Little was announcing the annual

awards. When it came to the Editor of

the Year I thought “I’m an editor but oh

well, there’s better ones than me” so

assumed it would pass me by.

However, when Geoff described the

winning editor as a “little controversial”

I started panicking slightly, but even

so, when my name was read out I was

genuinely surprised. Indeed, I was so

shocked that when I was asked to

unmute myself I actually turned off my

video by accident.

I was speechless but grateful that all

my hard work had been appreciated.

Often to sit down to research and write

an article takes me a good eight

hours-plus, but it’s good to know the

hard graft is worth it.

Anyway, after the conference I went

back to finishing a piece of flatpack

furniture I’d started earlier, only this

time with a bit more enthusiasm and a

big smile on my face.

A trip down memory lane

As a child we knew exactly where to

play football in the street. Our street

was about 400 yards long and only

three people had a car so there was

enough space to play football or other

games on the street everyday –

remember when the girls used to skip

and play hopscotch?

Now there are so many cars there is

no room on any street to play outside...

and people complain that the children

no longer play out. It is simply

impossible and that is why they are

now sitting behind their computers,

gaming and more gaming.

Young people respond to what is

around them and what they are used

to. For instance, many are not

interested in animals because they

have not grown up with them. If you

had a friend with a dog or a rabbit you

wanted something similar, owning a

pet was a part of life – in my case,


I’ve now gone back to the ancient art

of keeping racing pigeons. It’s

something I’ve done before and I’ll

keep you updated if we get the chance

to race this year with how we get on. I

knopw what, I’ll take them with me on

lessons and get the students to pull

over and release them!

Hey, let’s be careful out there.

Western Regional Conference and AGM:

Death to Zoom!

For too long we have had to hide behind a screen – I don’t know about you but

Zoom meetings have definitely lost their appeal.

But good news: MSA GB Western is hosting this year’s training event and

AGM as a proper meeting, in person... Yes, we are actually going to meet up.

Monday, 8th November is the date; the venue is Oake Manor Golf Club near

Taunton. Speakers are already booked and include representatives from the

British Horse Society, the Speed for Sight chairty and hopefully a

representative from the DVSA, as well as speakers from MSA GB.

This will be an all-day meeting with a buffet lunch included.

More details nearer the date but put a note in your diary now. Any questions,

contact our Regional Chairman at


Regional News

Guy Annan

MSA GB Western

My daughter works for Bristol Waste and

she sent me a video recently that was

very thought-provoking. Unfortunately

you can’t watch it, but I thought I’d share

the words with you.

The voice over was done by a child

and it was called ‘The invisible made


I’m driven to school everyday and

with every second comes every

breath, I should be breathing in the

clean air but all I breath in is the


Breathing in Bristol air pollution is

the equivalent of smoking 1.5

cigarettes a day, every 20 days that

is a packet of cigarettes and it’s a

habit I can’t break.

But I bet you didn’t know sitting in

the car with the engine running

exposes occupants to 9-12 times

higher levels of pollution than those


Adults may be keeping themselves

and their children warm and cool

while waiting for the school, but you

are exposing us to life long health


Pollution has never been a secret

but idling has, idling is when you

are parked up with the engine

running, idling is actually illegal but

I don’t think people are aware of


We all know that air pollution is bad

but now you know about idling, did

you know that air pollution is linked

to cancer, asthma, premature birth

and low birth weights and causes

reduced lung capacity up to 10 per

cent in children that they will never

regain and recover? Idling anywhere

is unhealthy, idling on a main road

is really unhealthy but idling on a

main road thats next to a school is

extremely unhealthy with children

in buggies at the worst height of

breathing in exhaust fumes.

So next time you are driving your

child to school don’t idle in front of

the school or better yet don’t idle

anywhere or better yet, just walk.

It’s not what we see that scares us

its what we dont.

The invisible made visible.

Does that commentary offer us all a

good reason to drive electric?


Doing our bit to

tackle the green

issues of our day

The electric revolution

It is predicted that by the year 2050,

CO 2

emissions of Europe’s electric cars

will fall by 73 per cent, but is this the

greenest way to travel?

Well, walking, jogging, running are

better – obviously!

Then we have cycling (electric free, of

course) and then comes all manner of

electric transport with trams one of the

greenest forms of public transport,

alongside electric buses. In Shenzhen,

China, all 1,600 buses are electric as are

taxis and although the initial outlay was

enormous the running costs are

dramatically lower, as is the pollution.

After that you’re moving away from

physical transport and public transport

and entering the world of private

transport. Scooters are reasonably green,

as are certain cities’ taxis, and there’s

always car sharing, which does its bit.

But then there’s our private cars, and

that’s where our electric story comes in.

Green issues have never been more

important, whether we are thinking

about climate change or air quality and

its impact on our bodies. The effects of

pollution on respiratory health are well

documented, with children and elderly

especially vulnerable, though increasingly

studies are finding that air pollution also

impacts on cognitive health and plays a

role in our susceptibility to Covid-19.

Drastically cutting down our urban

pollution is key to our long-term health

and a critical step in fighting climate



For all the latest news, see

Paris in the spring...

traffic fumes cast a

murky haze over

the French capital

For land-based vehicles, electrification

or hydrogen is key to reducing emissions


Electric motors are so much more

efficient than internal combustion

engines and they cut greenhouse gases,

so let’s improve public transport by

making it free on the buses and trains,

easily done by using tax, and encourage

more walking and cycling.

Transport accounted for more than a

quarter of UK emissions in 1990 but

that has risen to a third: 16 per cent by

cars, nine per cent by heavy lorries and

buses and trains coming in at only one

per cent.

Emissions from cars have gone up

alarmingly despite the increase in sales

of battery and plug-in hybrids; the reason

for this is blamed on the rise in sales of

SUVs, which tend to be energy inefficient

and buck the trend for smaller vehicles,

globally. SUVs are the second highest

producer of emissions after power


So how bad are cars at producing bad

emissions? A typical new British petrol

car that does, say, 8,000 miles per year

when new will create approx one and a

half tons of CO 2

; older cars would

produce more.

That car’s average petrol or diesel cost

would be about £1,000 per year – while

the cost of fuelling an electric equivalent

would be about £300 per year, so over

15 years you would save £10,000. If

you do more than 8,000 miles you’ll

make even bigger savings – and ADIs all

do far more than that.

The cost of electric vehicles is coming

down but the price premium may

actually be well worth paying even now

as it will also be cheaper to maintain and

no more expensive to insure.

Many people are worried about the

availability of charging points, and rightly

so, but this is rapidly changing as

commercial businesses such as BP and

Shell and electric companies are

installing rapid charging points as fast as

they can.

And as soon as the cost of a new

electric vehicle becomes equivalent with

that of the internal combustion engine

then that will be the tipping point and

that’s when we’ll see a surge in electric

or hydrogen vehicles; the latter may have

been considered a late starter but it is

becoming increasing popular and

catching up fast, with suggestions that

LGVs could be hudrogen fuelled.

But whether you drive electric, petrol

or diesel they all have a carbon footprint

and in fact, electric vehicles have a much

higher carbon footprint in their

manufacturing process compared to a

petrol car.

So what can you do about your

carbon footprint? Other than what I have

already mentioned here, I’ll consider that

in the June issue.

How about the naysayers that say that

the National Grid couldn’t handle it?

Well, 95 per cent of personal vehicles

stand idle during the day during which

time they could be being charged up.

With a 2030 ban on new petrol and

diesel engine sales all manufacturers are

moving towards the new driving modes

but what of our beloved classics? What’s

the future for the enthusiasts?

There’s no need to worry just yet.

We’re talking about new car sales here;

there are 33 million cars registered with

the DVLA. That’s a huge amount and

there is no way that within nine years

they could sell enough electric vehicles to

replace all of them, even if they were to

sell two million cars a year that’s only 18

million cars to replace 33 million.

It also means there’ll have to be plenty

of petrol stations post-electric takeover

too, though possibly with electric and

hydrogen charging ports as well.

But at the end of the day, all this talk

of going electric and being ecologically

friendly is only worth doing if you are

using green energy; if your energy is

coming from fossil fuels, then there’s not

a lot of point, is there!

Is your energy provider green? I

thought mine was, indeed, they claimed

they were but after a bit of digging I was

surprised to find out that they were not

as green as they said they are.

We are still using coal power stations

and other companies use fracking to

access oil and gas, which is hardly

eco-friendly, so unless your energy comes

from a wind farm or other greener source

then, well... at least it makes you feel



To comment on this article, or provide

updates, contact Guy at g.annan@



Regional News

There’s a bit more mirror

needed on the new

‘Go Left’ TV advert

John Lomas

Editor, MSA GB North West

I started to write a piece about Highways

England’s new information film last

month, between sending off my April

copy and receiving the April Newslink,

which it transpired carried an article

about the Go Left film.

Have you seen the film? It instructs

drivers how to respond if a problem

occurs while you are driving on a


If you have seen it, how well have you

observed its contents?

(If you don’t know which film I am

referring to, it can be found here:

The full version shown on the

Highways England YouTube channel

shows multiple mirror checks before

signals and lane changes, BUT the

versions I have seen on TV during ad

breaks have been cropped so badly that

the driver is shown signalling then

checking his mirrors, thus giving quite

the wrong impression.

I wonder if Highways England had

editorial control or are they unaware of

the editing that is being carried out on

their film.

Rainbow Zebra

You may recall that a couple of months

ago I reported on a new Zebra crossing

near my home, with rainbow colours

painted on it.

I didn’t at that time mention the units

placed high up on the poles (see photos

above right).

I believe the higher ones may be solar

power units, though I haven’t noticed the

purplish/blue colour that I have seen on

the lower faces of these, when I have

seen other solar units on rural traffic


The beacons have the, now quite

common, ring of flashing LEDs around


The upper light, which can be seen on

the other side of the road, is a white,

night-time floodlight to illuminate the

crossing and anyone using it, but the

lower ones still show that purplish/blue

colour after dark.

I suppose it is possible that these are

grid connected and feed power to the

grid during daylight as well as storing

power for night-time use.

If you have any ideas about the

purpose of those lower units, please let’s

us know.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates, contact John at

It’s great to be back – but watch, it could all change!

Karen MacLeod

MSA GB Scotland

Hi, I hope this Newslink finds everyone

well. It’s good to see people are back at

work at last. I’m sure there have been

some teething problems but I hope

everything has gone okay.

In Scotland we went back a little later

than England and Wales. I booked my

car into the dealership for a health check

before I started back as the last thing I

need is to interrupt lessons to get it fixed.

With the lack of income in recent

months this was obviously a cost I could

have done without, so it was good to

learn that my local dealership was

offering a zero per cent interest rate on

repairs to be paid over several months.

It came back with a few advisory

notes which got me thinking it’s time for

a change. I have been on a course to

teach in electric vehicles and would

really like to try one for myself. The only

thing is – they are all automatic! So from

an instructor point of view unless I want

to only teach automatic this is a no-go

area for me. Have any other instructors

thought the same? The electric vehicle

range is evolving very quickly and advice

I received from a certain National

Chairman was that if it wasn’t for Brexit

and Covid we could be a lot further

forward with this subject.

One thing at the moment is if you pass

your test in an automatic you can’t drive

a manual car. In some other EU

countries (which we are no longer

members of) if you pass in an automatic

you could then go to a driver trainer to

have some training and then they can

sign off that you can drive a manual car.

In a discussion I was having today



For all the latest news, see

Happy days as Alan gets ready to ‘tee off’

his new career as an amateur golfer

Russell Jones

MSA GB East Midlands

Alan at his golf course, proudly

holding his gift from the

East Midlands committee

April saw the retirement of long-serving

MSA GB East Midlands regional

committee member Alan Hatfield, who

lives in Nottingham.

He is hanging up his ADI badge and

picking up his golf clubs more frequently

with the intention of spending more time

on his local golf course at nearby


The committee decided that as a token

of appreciation for all his endeavours on

behalf of the region it was fitting to

present Alan with a couple of large

drinking mugs emblazoned with golfing

inscriptions as suitable mementos to ‘tee

off’ his new ‘career.’

Alan has been a true stalwart of the

committee for many years, even when

enduring some health issues in recent

times. Now he has made a good recovery

we all hope he will be able to enjoy long

golfing excursions up and down his

notoriously hilly local course.

Bus lane incompetence, again

The local newspaper recently ran a

story about a woman who has been sent

a penalty charge by the civil enforcement

officials for ignoring a sign prohibiting

motor cars travelling through a ‘bus gate’.

Oh my goodness, how she whinged about

being penalised. She had clearly worked

on her ‘feel sorry for myself’ expression,

and claimed she always used the

particular road and had never noticed the

signs previously. She was a ‘nervous

wreck’ wondering if there were further

penalty charges in the system and on the

way to her. “It’s a money-making scam”,

was her pathetic last comment. There

was not a mention of her own poor

driving standard and lack of good


And more of the same

At around the same time the media

reported that 2,000 drivers had

disobeyed bus lane signs over a threeweek

period in a part of Nottingham

where major works are transforming the

city. Again, according to the dim-witted

motorists caught committing the offences,

‘it’s a money-making scam’, and nothing

will cause them to accept that they need

urgent remedial driver training and

education in how to be safe responsible


As many of the offenders are young

people, it does make one wonder what

their ADIs taught them during their time

as learner drivers. Oh ‘ells bells’, we’ve

been here before, and the DVSA, DfT,

Ministers, ADIs, and others have their

heads in the sand. ‘Now’t to do with me

gov’. On they go, into the valley of chaos,

with balaclavas covering their heads. Why

do we bother? It begs the other (ever

present) question, ‘’Is ORDIT fit for

purpose?’’ Has it EVER been? I doubt it

very much.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates from your area, contact

Russell at

most HGVs and buses are automatic

now. The big difference is there is an 80

per cent pass rate in C+E vehicles

compared with 49 per cent in B class

vehicles. So you can see where the

difference is.

This is an area where not all but some

trainers need to consider CPD to help

bring the pass rate percentage higher.

I’m sure that statement will certainly

open a can of worms for me but, hey, I’m

thick skinned and can take it. I myself

am included in trying to make myself a

better driver trainer and do more CPD

because if I am taking money to train

others, surely it makes sense to be the

best I can possibly be.

There is a much wider range of

training, some free and some with a

small expense, and I’ve participated in

several courses. It’s always been worth


On the subject of training, last

November MSA GB Scotland held its

annual training seminar by Zoom, which

was very well attended. This year, if

things go to plan and everyone abides by

the rules, then hopefully we can all meet

up face-to-face for our training seminar. I

myself would welcome a chance to meet

up with like-minded trainers.

Watch this space. I wish everyone who

returned to work and to those returning a

safe journey. Take care.

• If you have articles that you would

like included in Newslink please get in

touch; details below.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates from your area, contact Karen




Regional News / Member Q&A

Back on the road - and taxi drivers

have turned over a new leaf

Fenella Wheeler

MSA GB South East

So, we have been back at work for a

couple of weeks now – and I’ve enjoyed

every minute! I have loved seeing my

students again and sitting in a

comfortable chair; even better, it would

appear that all the taxi drivers in

Hastings have been replaced by aliens!

They are courteous, kind and nice to my

students! Maybe they are just easing us

back in gently. It will be interesting to see

how everyone else is doing.

We had a very successful CPD evening

just before our return to work, with lots

of useful information and excellent

speakers. Peter Harvey gave a thorough

industry updates, George Kountouros,

DVSA ADI Enforcement Manager, did a

Q&A and was able to answer most of our

questions, and Ray Seagrave gave us a

great presentation on lesson planning

and structure, to ease us back into work.

It was my first zoom meeting as the

Chairman for the South East. It’s great

Terry Cummins with his

gift from a grateful region

that the former Chairman, Terry

Cummins, has agreed to stay on as Vice

Chairman. He has held us all together for

many years and has done some outstanding

work for the MSA GB, not least

of which was learning how to use all the

modern tech required over the last year!

The DVLA’s losing stuff in the post again

Terry Pearce

MSA GB West Midlands

The theory test includes questions on the

documents motorists should have but,

unfortunately, they may already have a

problem before they even obtain a licence.

A new pupil of mine is waiting for her

driving licence to be issued. She called

me and said that she has chased DVLA

to see what the delay is and was informed

that there was an error on her application,

so her documents had been returned for

correction. The problem was her birth

certificate has not arrived back!

The DVLA says to wait a few more days

and if it does not arrive to contact the

Post Office. She is being calmer about it

than I would be and has already resigned

herself to the fact it will not return and

has ordered a new birth certificate.

My hobby is genealogy and collecting

original documents such as birth or

marriage certificates gives you a sense of

contact with your ancestors, so there is no

way I will send any originals off by post.

My first concern was that she had gone

online and ordered a new certificate at a

rip off price but when she said it was

£15, I knew she’d got it from the correct

source, as she had ordered it by phone. It

is only £11 when ordered online. I use

genealogy site Findmypast and they

correctly direct you to the General

Register Office site for certificates, but one

online service I found wanted to charge

£65 instead of £11!

I have written articles in the past about

learners being scammed when they book

theory and driving tests, so I had a quick

look to see if any were still trying it on.

One site had lots of links that correctly

gave the address. The one link that

had an extra charge was for changing

address. Now we all know it is free, but

they add a massive £69.99 admin fee on


Getting back to letters being lost in the

As a very small token of our thanks

and appreciation, the committee

presented him with a gift voucher for a

spa day. There was a fair bit of sneaking

around involved in getting this sorted,

but it was worth it to see the look of total

surprise on his face when Dawn (his

lovely wife) entered the room during our

Zoom meeting, to present him with the

voucher on camera.

Terry is still very much involved with

MSA GB and helping me, and I would

like to add my personal thanks for

everything he has done for me over the

years. I wouldn’t be where I am now

without him!

We are hoping to have another

meeting towards the end of May (pencil

in Wednesday, 26 th but it is tbc) so

watch out for your email invite to register

your interest. It will be another free to

attend event, members and nonmembers

are welcome.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates from your area, you can

contact Fenella on 07464 595913 or

post, I cannot think of any letters from my

bank, council and water rates, etc, or the

many family history certificates I have

ordered over 20 years, ever getting lost. I

did have a couple of letters from the old

DSA get lost; they were answers to

complaints I had raised. Obviously just a

coincidence two replies getting lost!

Thankfully, they have not got the ‘lost

letter’ excuse now we have email!

According to my notes this is the 231st

article I have written for Newslink since

January 2001. You know, I am running

short of items to write about! Can I

PLEASE request that if you have anything

you would like me to include, let me

know? Thank you. I can be contacted on

024 7633 5270, 20 Brownshill Green

Road, Coventry, CV6 2DT - or click below.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates from your area, contact

Terry at



For all the latest news, see

I love the challenge of finding out

what works best for my pupils

A Q&A with South

East ADI Neil

Palmer looks at


pupils – and the

genius of

Brian Clough

When did you become an ADI, and

what made you enter the profession?

I qualified as an ADI in October 2016.

Previously, I was a lecturer at the local

Further Education college for over 20

years, but was looking for a way out. My

daughter was 17 at the time, and I took

her out for extra practice while she was

learning to drive.

I soon realised that I enjoyed it and it

was my chance to change career. I love it

and haven’t looked back since.

What’s the best bit about the job?

Meeting and working with a wide

range of people and the challenge of

working out what works best for each

pupil in terms of their motivations,

learning styles and personality so that

they can achieve their goal.

And the worst?

When your car lets you down, or a taxi

driver crashes into your pupil while they

are on their test, as happened a couple

of years ago!

What’s the best piece of training advice

you were ever given?

To use whatever teaching and learning

methods you can to help a pupil get

something that they may initially be

struggling with.

What one piece of kit, other than your

car and phone, could you not do without?

In the last year or so, my glasses.

Sadly, I’ve got to that age where I now

need them!

What needs fixing most urgently in

driving generally?

The quality of road surfaces to reduce

the number of potholes. Repairing the

roads properly so that the same potholes

do not appear again every winter.

What should the DVSA focus on?

Easy... reduce waiting time for


What’s the next big thing to

transform driver training/testing?

Electric vehicles. I think we will all

have to be teaching in electric vehicles

within the next 10-15 years.

Electric cars – yes or no? And why?

Yes, just because it’s inevitable and

will have to be embraced by all of us, if

we haven’t already done so.

How can we improve driver testing/

training in one move?

Better communication between the

DVSA and driving instructors at both

national and local levels.

Who/what inspires you, drives you on?

The enjoyment and satisfaction of helping

people to achieve their goal of gaining

their driving licence, which can then

contribute to increasing their opportunities

for an improved quality of life.

What keeps you awake at night?

Nothing really; I sleep soundly!

No one is the finished article. What do

you do to keep on top of the game?

Reflect on things within lessons that

have gone well, or have not gone well, so

that I can do it better or achieve a better

outcome next time.

Also, attend local MSA GB events –

and read Newslink, of course!

What’s the daftest /most dangerous

thing that’s ever happened to you while


Daft: When ‘Show me how to use the

horn’ was the question at the start of the

test, and it didn’t work, so the test was

abandoned before it even got started!

Dangerous: Pupils trying to go the

wrong way around a roundabout.

When or where are you happiest?

With family, on a cruise or at the races.

If you had to pick one book/film/album

that inspires, entertains or moves you,

what would it be?

Not much of a reader, but I support

Nottingham Forest and read Brian

Clough’s autobiography a few years back.

He was brilliant at managing people

and getting the best out of them.



Life as an ADI

Make an escape to the country -

but it’s their pace of life, not yours

Rod Came

MSA South East

I recently read yet another another article

in a newspaper written by a ‘townie’ who

had moved to the countryside but gone

back to town after becoming disillusioned.

How often does that happen? People

have a dream of where they would like to

live but do not take into account the

practicalities of that illusion.

A friend of mine moved with wife and

kids to New Zealand. He was a police

officer in the UK and accepted by NZ

Police even before they left the UK, thus

ensuring a job and a good standard of

living when they got there.

NZ is an idyllic place, I love it, but as

Mike’s wife discovered it is 12,000 miles

from the UK and she could not cope with

being so far away from her mum.

When I was working my socks off as

an ADI I saw adverts for houses in Wales

for £5,000. We went to have a look and

bought one for five times as much, just

to use as a weekend bolt hole.

It was lovely, set in the Brecon

Beacons National Park, the village had

one church, two chapels, a pub and 21


This was during the time when

English-owned homes were mysteriously

catching fire, but ours was safe being the

middle one of three, the other two being

occupied by the local Reverend and a

staunch Welsh Nationalist.

The pub was the centre of village life

and there was a lot going on. We were

made very welcome and joined in when

we could. Loved it.

At home we moved from a modern

estate to a rather select area on the edge

of town, where currently there are no

houses for sale under £1m. No

community adhesion at all, the only guy

who was friendly lived opposite. He was

the retired President of the European

office of an American bank and a very

pleasant man. Before we moved in our

family solicitor suggested that I remove

my roof box before going home each day

– no chance. It took six weeks before I

had a visit from the district council

enquiring if I was running a business

from home; he went away fully informed.

Miserable place.

We now live in a country village, about

800 homes, a shop, a bakery, two pubs,

a chapel and a church. On a Sunday

morning it is lovely to be in the garden

and hear the church bells calling the

faithful. The birds sing, the wild life visit,

and only in the winter can we see our

neighbour’s houses, but we are not cut

off from village life.

There are two houses at the end of our



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drive. Tim owns one. Very friendly, was

born in the one he lives in and will

probably die there. The other has had

three occupants in the 16 years we have

been here, the latest a couple from south


When we arrived I made an effort to get

involved with village life and after 12

months was elected onto the Parish

Council. I studiously watched the training

videos, otherwise known as the Vicar of

Dibley, and learned a lot of what went on

beneath the surface in the village.

After about a decade the post of

Chairman of the Village Hall Management

Committee became vacant. It was a job I

had coveted because the hall, though only

25 years old, needed a kick up the

backside to get it going and used to its full

potential. It became the most used village

hall in the area.

Before Covid there were numerous

activities in the village which took place

on a regular basis, about 25 altogether

covering a wide range of interests, many

using the village hall. Extra income was

raised from letting it out for private

functions, elections, parties and the like.

A healthy bank balance was built up,

The joys of the tractor-induced

rural traffic jam

ongoing expenses were covered and all

was well until the dreaded Covid-19. The

hall is currently closed.

If you are thinking of moving out of

town to the countryside, don’t go into it

with your eyes wide shut. If you mix in

with the other residents, become involved,

join clubs or other activities and get into

the country mindset, you will enjoy it. If

you think that it is a bed of roses where

you will live a ‘townie’ life, you will not.

There are downsides – the nearest

supermarket is several miles away, as is

the nearest McDonalds. The local

supermarket chain does not open on

Sundays, there are no street lights.

Tractors are big, noisy, mud-flinging

machines that travel slowly while towing

something the size of a small house, and

rumble along for miles.

The sun does not always shine, yes it

does rain, and sometimes you have to go

the long way round because the main

road has flooded. There is a bus, it goes

to either Hastings or Tenterden. Those are

your choices, which you can exercise once

every two hours between 9am and 6pm.

The village shop is about a mile away, it

can take upwards of an hour and a half to

walk there and back, as most people you

meet want to stop and chat. I love it.

You will be very welcome in a country

village provided you do not want to

change things; come to our village and

demand street lights and you will be

quickly ostracised.

The French, of all people, have enacted

a new law which protects ‘sensory

heritage’ of rural places, so the smell of

manure, church bells, mud and such like

are part of the countryside and shall

remain so.

We need the same protection in this


Boost for battery electric

sales in lacklustre market

New figures released by the Society of

Motor Manufacturers and Traders

(SMMT) have confirmed another

impressive uplift in battery electric car

sales. The new data shows registrations

of battery electric cars have increased

by 88.2 per cent to 22,003 units in

March 2021, compared to 11,694

units in March 2020.

These figures come as the automotive

sector starts to recover from the impact

of Covid-19, with car showrooms

opening again following the easing of

lockdown restrictions.

The Vauxhall Corsa remains the UK’s

top seller.

Photo: Eleanor Beswick

Cycle lanes: Creating a

danger to pedestrians?

A new cycle lane has been added to the

roads infrastructure on Welford Road in

Leicester, between the university and

Wyggeston College – but local user

Eleanor Beswick wondered if it had

been designed badly.

She pointed out: “The cycle lane is

on the inside, with pedestrians walking

on their outside in a path next to the

road. It effectively creates a ‘peoplefiller

sandwich’ with cars doing 30mph

on one side, and cyclists doing around

20mph on the other, with pedestrians

trapped in between.

“Wouldn’t it have been safer to place

pedestrians on the inside?”

It’s seems like a good point: have you

seen a similar cycle lane near you

– and is this how they are meant to





Members’ discounts and benefits

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

discount logo, then click the link at the bottom of the page to allow you to obtain your special discounts.

Please note, non-members will be required to join the association first. Terms and conditions apply

Ford launches special offer

for MSA GB members

Some exciting news for members: Ford has partnered with

MSA GB to offer exclusive discounts on all car and

commercial Ford vehicles.

Take a look at the Ford website for vehicle

and specification information.

For further information, to view frequently asked questions,

to request a quote and to access the member discount

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

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Please note these discounts are only available to MSA GB

members and their immediate family if they are members

who pay annually.


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MSA OFFER:: Enjoy a 20% saving on our

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MSA OFFER:: Special discount

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MSA OFFER: 20% off all Tri-Coaching



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MSA OFFER: Special Driving Instructor

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MSA OFFER: HMCA only offer

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42 NEWSLINK n MAY 2021

For all the latest news, see

Membership offer

Welcome new ADIs

We’ve a special introductory offer for you!


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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

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In addition our network of

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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

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So join us today and save £25

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To get the full story of

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Join MSA GB today!

and save yourself £25

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for 12 months


NEWSLINK n MAY 2021 43

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