Newslink October 2021

ChambermediaservicesIoD

Membership magazine of the Motor Schools Association; road safety, driver training and testing news.

msagb.com

Newslink

The Voice of MSA GB

Issue 345 • October 2021

‘In 1997, 46 people were killed in

crashes that involved towing, with

238 other ‘serious’ incidents... by 2019

these figures had fallen to 96 serious

incidents and just two fatalities...’

What next

for B+E?

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


02 NEWSLINK n MAY 2021


For all the latest news, see www.msagb.com

Do our views matter or is the

government paying lip service?

Colin Lilly

Editor, Newslink

Stakeholder is a buzz word I have never

been totally happy with and I have

always viewed with some suspicion. I

tend to think of it as a feelgood word to

make everyone think they’ve been

included, but a certain bias remains.

I referred to the Oxford Dictionary for a

definition: Stakeholders- “All those with

interests in an organization [sic]; for

example, as shareholders, employees,

suppliers, customers, or members of the

wider community. ‘Stakeholder theory’ is

an approach to business that attempts

to incorporate the interests of all

stakeholders in a business, as opposed

to the view that a firm is responsible

only to its owners. It thus attempts to

adopt an inclusive rather than a narrow

approach to business responsibility.”

What better way to make people feel

included than hold a consultation?

If the outcome of that consultation falls

in line with the desired outcome for the

definition it can be held up as a victory

for democracy. However, if the stakeholders’

views do not coincide with the desired

outcome, they can always be ignored.

Does this have an air of familiarity?

Consultation is defined as the action or

process of formally consulting or discussing.

Consulting is the business of giving

expert advice to other professionals.

The driver training profession has a

keen interest in road safety and casualty

reduction, with the knowledge and

experience to provide expert advice.

A referendum is a general vote by the

electorate on a single political question

which has been referred to them for a

‘‘

I am reminded of the ADIs

who invested in theory training

centres only to have the DfT

publish the question bank

and answers. It shows that

governments have little regard

for driver training...

‘‘

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021

direct decision. A simple majority is all

that is required to approve a decision.

Therefore, can we say that the recent

B+E issue was the subject of a

consultation or a referendum?

If a ‘consultation’ was held on complete

removal of the driving test, can you

predict the result? I would suggest the

proposal would receive overwhelming

support from the public. Once again, that

would be a referendum.

Could these changes have been

possible if we had remained a member of

the EU?

We must spare a thought for those

trainers who have invested in a business

specialising in B+E training, some

acquiring manoeuvring areas; their

financial future has been put at risk. I am

reminded of the ADIs who invested in

theory training centres only to have the

DfT publish the question bank and

answers. It shows that governments of

any political hue have little regard for

driver training.

Glib suggestions have been made that

B+E trainers can easily swap to learner

training, but this shows a lack of

understanding. A vehicle that is suitable

for B+E training is not necessarily

appropriate for learner training.

Organisations offering LGV training will

find some of their vehicles under used.

They may not be able to invest in more

CE vehicles. It is all very well for the

DVSA to claim to be able to provide an

extra 50,000 driving tests. Will this

figure be based on the last financial year,

when Covid-19 reduced the number of

tests conducted, or an average taken

from non-Covid years?

There may be a need for 50,000 extra

drivers but will that number be recruited

and come forward to be tested?

If the level of demand means that there

are unused slots exceeding the number

created by removing the B+E category,

then some explanations of the decision

will be required.

Continued on page 8, with more reaction

from MSA GB on this story

CONTACT

To comment on this article or any other

issue surrounding driver training and

testing, contact Colin via editor@msagb.com

Welcome to your

digital, interactive

Newslink

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

magazine

You can read Newslink in three

ways:

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,

at www.msagb.com

Follow the

link MSA

GB sends

you to

access

Newslink,

and then

just click

Download

to save a

copy on

your device

COVER STORY

The fate of the unskilled or

the unlucky... a caravan lies

wrecked by the side of the

motorway.

SPECIAL REPORT

B+E testing falls by the

wayside - see pgs 8-12

03


B+E:

what’s next?

08

News

Autumn of discontent

at your local DTC

More bad news for ADIs looking for

L-test slots as examiners flex their

muscles over eight tests a day – Pg 6

The end of B+E tests: where

do we go next?

MSA GB’s Peter Harvey comments as

the axe falls on car and trailer testing, a

trainer offers his own views – and the

Minister responds to NASP criticism

– Pg 8-12

18

Flaws in the

theory as

DVSA looks

to use test data on

standards checks

Plans to prioritise standards checks

based on L-test data challenged by

NASP – Pg 14

More trouble at DVLA

MPs still not happy as response to

petition leaves a lot to be desired amid

call for more changes – Pg 16

Highway Code changes

Motorway safety in the spotlight as new

guidance announced on refuges and

emergency zones – Pg 29

Anxiety up after pandemic

More drivers report concerns as they

return to the road – Pg 35

Newslink

The Voice of MSA GB

The Motor Schools Association

of Great Britain Ltd

Head Office:

Chester House,

68 Chestergate,

Macclesfield

Cheshire SK11 6DY

T: 01625 664501

E: info@msagb.com

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

e: rob@chambermediaservices.co.uk

t: 0161 426 7957

Advertising sales: Colin Regan

e: colinregan001@yahoo.co.uk

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 OCTOBER 2021


For all the latest news, see www.msagb.com

16

Features

Keep in

touch 1

Keep in touch:

Just click on the icon

to go through to the

relevant site

2

31

Stay calm and be a COW

That’s the advice from TV presenter James

May as he launches new in-app video, How

Not to Fail Your Practical Driving Test – Pg 18

DRLs and conspicuity on the road

Tom Harrington asks whether daytime running

lights are a help or a hazard – Pg 22

Unscientific surveys and the

voting habits of turkeys

Guess what: when you ask the public if DVSA

should to scrap a test, they say yes – Pg 25

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

info@msagb.com.

If you can’t find your

membership number, give us a

ring on 01625 664501.

Regional News/Views

MSA GB Training days and AGMs

More details of your local event – pg 28

IMTD award for Geoff Little

MSA GB deputy national chairman honoured for

‘Exemplary contribution to the IMTD’ – pg 33

Lifting the lid on driver training

Long-time member Kathy

Higgins has published her

first book on life as an ADI

– pg 35

Q&A with...

Janet Stewart

From city slicker to

teaching learners, via

Ancient Greece – pg 36

26

33

L-test changes – nothing’s new!

Yet more amends to the driving test – but you

know, it was ever thus, says Mike Yeomans

– Pg 26

Follow MSA GB on social media

Keep in

contact with

the MSA

MSA GB area contacts are

here to answer your

queries and offer any

assistance you need.

Get in touch if you have

any opinions on how MSA

GB is run, or wish to

comment on any issue

affecting the driver

training and testing

regime.

n National Chairman:

Peter Harvey MBE

natchair@msagb.com

n Deputy National

Chairman: Geoff Little

deptnatchair@msagb.com

n Scotland:

Alex Buist

chair.os@msagb.com

n North East:

Mike Yeomans

chair.ne@msagb.com

n North West:

Graham Clayton

chair.nw@msagb.com

n East Midlands:

Kate Fennelly

chair.em@msagb.com

n West Midlands:

Geoff Little

info@msagb.com

n Western:

Arthur Mynott

chair.ow@msagb.com

n Eastern:

Paul Harmes

chair.oe@msagb.com

n Greater London:

Tom Kwok

chair.gl@msagb.com

n South East:

Fenella Wheeler

chair.se@msagb.com

n South Wales:

All enquiries to

info@msagb.com

n Newslink:

All enquiries to

editor@msagb.com or

rob@chambermedia

services.co.uk

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021

05


News

Examiners to strike over 8-test schedule

ADIs already struggling to find L-test

slots for their pupils will have another

obstacle in their path this autumn after

it was announced that examiners will be

going on strike for two days in October.

A bad situation then became worse

when some examiners decided to ‘work

to rule’ from the end of September. This

has the potential to disrupt testing even

when they are on duty.

As revealed in the September issue of

Newslink, DVSA plans for each examiner

to conduct eight L-tests a day in an

attempt to reduce the current waiting list

have been met with fierce opposition by

examiners and their union. After talks

broke down between the two sides over

the issue, the PCS union held a ballot on

industrial action at the end of September.

This saw 92 per cent of members voting

for strike action, in a move the union said

was in defence of examiners’ working

terms and conditions.

In a statement, the PCS said: “DVSA

management have notified staff that they

intend to implement the new eight-test

schedule from October 11 despite our

opposition. We have concerns around

both the wellbeing of members and the

health and safety implications to the

public of introducing an additional test

into an already time-pressured schedule.”

PCS members working as driving

examiners and their line managers will

be asked to take two days’ strike action

on October 11 and 12 – though the

union stressed that it remained open to

talks over the matter with the DVSA.

DVSA Chief Executive Loveday Ryder

said she was disappointed to learn that

testing could face further disruption.

She said: “The country has endured so

06

DVSA announces SOP changes

The DVSA has announced an update

to Standard Operating Procedures

(SOPs) for both car and motorcycle

testing.

The review has been published to

take account of recent national

updates on a number of issues,

including important Covid-19

protocols.

You read the new SOPs by clicking

on the following links.

much as a result of Covid-19 and we

have been in regular discussion with the

PCS on how we can support the recovery

of our services, so it is disappointing that

the PCS has chosen to take this course

of action.

“Safely reducing driving test waiting

times will contribute to the national

recovery effort and we are taking steps to

provide thousands of learner drivers with

the vital driving tests they need to access

employment, education, health and

social activities.

“As part of our plans to increase the

number of tests available, we have

trialled examiners carrying out an

additional test per day, during their

normal working hours.

“The safety and wellbeing of our

customers and colleagues is paramount.

We continue to work with colleagues and

PCS on these proposed changes.”

MSA GB national chairman Peter Harvey

said the news – while not surprising

Click here for the DVSA

Standard Operating

Procedure: Conducting

driving tests (car)

Click here for the DVSA

Standard Operating

Procedure: Conducting driving

test (Motorcycle Mod 1 & Mod 2)

– was a hammer blow to pupils and their

ADIs. “If examiners do go on strike for

two days we could see around 5-10,000

L-tests lost. That’s 5-10,000 learners

who may struggle to get an alternative

test date before February of next year.

“It is completely unacceptable as far as

ADIs are concerned, and we have to

wonder about the negotiating skills of

both the PCS and the DVSA that this

issue has led to industrial action.”

DVSA believes the extra test can be

accommodated by using time examiners

previously spent on post-test admin, but

which is now unused as much of this

work is completed during the L-test as

part of the digital marking scheme.

Clearly, however, examiners do not

share that view.

What is making the situation worse is

that examiners are apparently ‘working to

rule’, and this is already having an

impact on testing. Members have already

contacted MSA GB complaining about

L-test cancellations for ‘unclean’ car

interiors, leading to Peter saying: “A

quick reminder: Covid rules demand that

cars on L-tests are very clean. Don’t

allow dust to gather on surfaces, keep

footwells tidy and make sure the dash

and steering wheel are wiped clean,” he

said.

It appears that some examiners are

‘walking back’ to the test centre if a test

is abandoned. Peter added: “Examiners

will often allow the candidate to drive the

car back to the DTC in the event of a test

being abandoned on safety grounds, but

we’ve had reports of a number saying

they will walk back instead.

“While this is their right if they believe

the candidate’s driving puts them in a

dangerous position, it is notable that

incidences of this have risen in recent

days. If this trend continues it has the

potential to disrupt subsequent tests if

the examiner does not make it back on

time to take their next test – “an

appalling situation for candidates, who

could find their much-anticipated test

cancelled at a moment’s notice.”

MSA GB has petitioned the DVSA and

the Department for Transport over

whether out-of-pocket expenses could be

paid to ADIs and candidates impacted by

the strikes. At the time of publishing this

issue of Newslink, neither party had

responded but we will keep you posted

on this.

See www.msagb.com for updates in

the coming days.

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021


News

TRAILER

TRAINERS

TRASHED

The past month has seen a furious and very public row break out after the government decided to

formally abandon B+E testing as part of its plan to alleviate the national shortage of LGV drivers.

From September 20, all B+E testing has stopped, with examiners who used to work on those tests

now focusing solely on LGVs. The decision has understandably created a huge response, particularly

from those instructors who used to work in this sector. Over the next four pages we will look at the

decision in-depth, with MSA GB National Chairman Peter Harvey explaining the next steps forward.

Peter Harvey mbe

National Chairman

MSA GB

Every year, on average, around 30,000

people in the UK take a DVSA car and

trailer test – otherwise known as B+E

testing. From September 20 onwards,

however, the figure will be nil.

This has come as a devastating blow

to a lot of people. To those ADIs who

have specialised in this sector, it has

potentially destroyed their businesses.

And to anyone interested in road safety, it

is very upsetting and feels like a

retrograde step that undoes decades of

work to make car-and-trailer motoring

safer on our roads.

So how did it come to this? Put simply,

a combination of Brexit and Covid has

conspired to create a huge shortage in

LGV drivers in the UK, and the government

has decided that one way to stop this

shortage crippling the UK economy is to

direct all its examining resources at the

LGV sector to boost numbers. As a

result, B+E testing has stopped – and

any road safety implications as far as

cars and trailers are concerned is simply

collateral damage that cannot be seen to

take precedence over the bigger picture,

of getting more LGV drivers in the cab.

As someone who has spent decades

working to improve road safety, I think

this is a mistake. I also know many,

many people at the DVSA feel the same

as I do. It cannot be true that a driving

situation which demanded extra training

and testing to keep the public safe is no

longer required. If it was thought right at

the start of 2021 to train and test people

if they wish to tow a trailer or caravan,

then nothing has changed to alter this.

However, this is a done deal. The

government is highly unlikely to perform

a U-turn. So where does that leave us?

First, the legal bit. On September 21 it

was not correct to say that someone

who had passed their L-test after 1997

can now drive and tow a trailer or

caravan. It would still be against the law.

Why? Because the law has not changed

– yet. If you obtained your driving licence

after 1997, when B+E testing was

introduced, you still must obtain a

car-and-trailer pass to tow. However, you

can’t do this as there are no longer any

B+E tests being conducted, leaving you

effectively in no man’s land. At some

point in the next few months the law will

be changed but it has not happened yet.

Only then will you be legally allowed to

tow a trailer.

Two, should B+E trainers give up? My

advice is no. Consider this: most people

are sensible. Most people, when asked

the question, do you feel confident

driving your car down the road, will

answer ‘yes’. However, when you add the

phrase ‘while towing a 2.5-tonne

Do our views matter or is the government paying lip service?

Continued from page 3

Once the decision has been made there will be no going

back.

I suspect that there are some B+E serial failures, as in the

other categories, they will now drive among us.

We should spare some sympathy for the DVSA. As an

Executive Agency its work is at the behest of the government

of the day and ot has no influence on policy. I am sure there

are many driving examiners and vehicle inspectors within the

organisation that would question this decision but, like ADIs,

their experience and expertise does not count.

When we think of B+E safety, our minds immediately go to

caravans strewn across motorways. Is there a risk of more

farm/industrial incidents through lack of training? I am sure

the Health & Safety Executive would have had a viewpoint.

Much of the lorry driver shortages could be resolved through

better working conditions and terms of employment. The

average age of an LGV driver is 55 which shows younger

people are not being encouraged into the industry. No problem

will be resolved at the expense of road safety.

08

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021


For all the latest news, see www.msagb.com

The view from the government

Government promises 50,000

extra LGV tests after changes

caravan costing £40,000’ the answer is

likely to be, from many, ‘not quite as

confident...’, or even ‘no, not confident at

all.’ So take advantage of this. If I was

active in B+E training I would be saying to

prospective clients, you still need training,

even if the government won’t test you

afterwards. You’ll still be driving along the

road with your family in the car and a 2.5

tonne monster 12 inches from your boot.

You’ll still need help understanding the

different dynamic that creates, whether

handing, steering or braking. Training will

help to keep you safe and protect your

expensive new asset – which is likely to be

the second-most expensive thing you will

ever buy. Surely a day’s training is good

insurance to keep you all safe?

In addition, if you do a lot of work with

trailers, perhaps corporate work where you

are the trainer for a council or company’s

employees, the button to press here is on

health and safety and corporate

responsibility. If an organisation sends a

member of staff out to a job which involves

towing a trailer, such as a member of a

council’s grounds maintenance team, have

they been properly trained to do so?

When such staff go out to maintain trees,

they are first trained how to use a chain

saw. No-one from the government tests

them on that new-found skill afterwards.

The training is done for two reasons. First,

to keep the member of staff safe while

using potentially dangerous mechanical

equipment.

Continued on page 10

Minister

responds to

concerns

- see pg 12

Changes to the driver testing structure

will add 50,000 lorry tests, the

Deprtment for Transport promised as

it announced major reforms it said

were required to solve the chronic

shortage of lorry drivers in the UK.

The move, the DfT said, followed “a

public consultation which saw

thousands of respondents, including

industry leaders, support the move as

a positive step to help the sector

tackle the lorry driver shortage

currently affecting countries around

the world.”

It promised that the changes “will

not change the standard of driving

required to drive an HGV, with road

safety continuing to be of paramount

importance,” but there was little to

say about the standard of driving

required by people towing trailers,

apart from a plea for drivers “to

undertake training to tow trailers and

caravans.”

LGV drivers

Under the new proposals, learner

lorry drivers will be able to take an

articulated lorry test without the need

to pass a rigid lorry test first, while

learner bus and coach drivers will be

able to take a bus and coach test with

a trailer, rather than having to pass a

test without a trailer first.

Vocational driving tests

The off-road manoeuvres part of

vocational tests will be assessed by

DVSA-approved vocational trainers.

These manoeuvres will be assessed

at the vocational trainer’s off-road

Official response

from Minister:

see page 12

area before the on-road test with

DVSA.

Cars towing a trailer

Drivers who passed their car test

before 1 January 1997 can already

tow a car and trailer without taking a

car and trailer test.

As a result of these changes, all car

drivers will be able to tow a trailer

weighing up to3,500kg without the

need for an additional test when the

law is changed.

Until then, car drivers who gained

their licence after 1 January 1997will

only be able to tow a trailer weighing

up to 3,500kgif they display L plates

and are supervised by a driver aged

over 21 who has had a car and trailer

licence for 3 years or more or passed

their car test before 1 January 1997.

Trainers with tests booked for

October have been advised to explain

to your pupils that they cannot take a

test because the law is changing.

The above information was released

to the public on September 10. In the

same message it was also announced

– in an example of the civil service

not understanding irony – that if

trainers “cancelled the booking giving

less than three full working days’

notice, you’ll lose your fee.”

Encouraging drivers to tow safely

The DfT will “continue to encourage

car drivers wanting to tow to seek

professional training before towing a

trailer with their car.”

You can also signpost your pupils to

our towing guidance.

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021

09


News

‘‘

In 1997 46 people were killed

in crashes that involved

towing, with 238 other ‘serious’

incidents... by 2019 these

figures had fallen to 96 serious

incidents and just two fatalities

Continued from page 10

The second reason is that, if an

accident were to occur, the council or

employer could be liable for damages.

Ensuring staff are trained in their use can

mitigate against any future legal claims.

It is the same principle with towing a

trailer. If you are trained, you are safer.

And if you are trained but do have a

crash, at least the employer can point

out it has done all it can to keep you safe

– thus possibly avoiding a health and

safety or corporate manslaughter charge.

It is, in many ways, the sentiment that

has driven fleet driving programmes in

the past; keeping drivers safe while

driving for work is good for them and

good for the business.

I appreciate that the above might not

be enough to help bring B+E trainers out

of their current malaise, so I have some

potentially good news. At the start of this

row MSA GB was contacted by the

National Trailer and Towing Association

(NATA) to seek our views.

As you can well imagine, NATA was

seething about the government’s plan

and was reaching out to driver training

bodies for support.

This was something I and my

colleagues at NASP were more than

happy to offer and between us we have

floated the idea of a ‘Certificate of

Competence’ to the DVSA. It would be a

midway point between what we have

now and the old system, a way of

proving that a driver has taken some kind

of formal training on towing trailers/

caravans. It would give members of the

public something to aim for and, in the

case of an employee, would prove that

an organisation has their wellbeing at

heart – as well as provide that bit of legal

cover in the event of a damages claim.

We are a long way from such a

certificate at the moment, the nuts and

bolts have still to be thrashed out,

however, we are pushing DVSA to at

least consider the idea.

See page 12 for more on this.

One thing to stress: as far as MSA GB

10

‘‘

and NASP are concerned, such a

certificate of competence would only be

signed off by a fully qualified ADI.

The benefit of this to our members in

the B+E sector is obvious: at present,

some of those operating in this area are

not ADIs. This often comes as a surprise

to members, however, the current law as

it stands still allows training in the sector

without any qualification, in much the

same way that anyone can lead fleet

driver programmes as long as they have

a full driving licence.

The Certificate I’ve mentioned here

would at least go some way to close part

of that loophole in the law.

The DVSA’s view at present is that it

may like to get involved, perhaps

overseeing registered B+E trainers’ work

in a similar way to how MoT stations are

approved by DVSA (ex-VOSA) officials.

Watch this space for more details.

This may be the answer in the

long-term. In the short-term, we have to

hope there are no major road safety

consequences from this decision.

Let’s face it, it is unlikely to have a

great impact for some time. I don’t think

many of today’s learners will rush out to

1997

buy a trailer or caravan and start driving

around, do you? It is more likely that

over time – say, the next five-10 years –

we will see a gradual increase in

trailer-related incidents.

This will be a shame. The bar chart

below highlights just how well we’ve

done on reducing traffic incidents

involving trailers. The chart shows that,

in 1997, after steady rises of incidents in

the previous five years, 46 people were

killed in crashes that involved towing,

while in total 238 incidents were classed

as ‘serious’, meaning victims received

hospital treatment in varying degrees.

By 2019 these figures had fallen to 96

serious incidents and just two fatalities.

In other words, the B+E training and

testing community has helped keep many,

many people alive – indeed, hundreds

over the period, while potentially

thousands were stopped from receiving

life-changing injuries.

That’s a stat to be proud of, and it is

shattering that its significance has been

swept away in the desperate search for

more LGV drivers, no matter how

important those ‘knights of the road’ are

to the wider economic picture.

More reaction: see

pgs 25 and 27

plus Minister’s

response on

page 12

The chart above shows all incidents involving cars towing trailers/caravans since 1992

to 2019. Each bar for a year represents fatalities, serious incidents and minor ones,

with a final bar totalising the numbers. The chart peaks on the sixth set of bars (1997)

and immediately starts to fall away as the impact of training and testing is felt

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021


For all the latest news, see www.msagb.com

The view from the sector:

Consultation

was a sham

We have received the following letter

from a member affected by the end of

the B+E test. The sentiments are typical

of the many calls we have received at

Head Office.

Dear Editor,

Stunned. Shocked. Dismay. Disbelief.

All of these words sum up my feelings

after Friday’s email from Government

announcing the end of B+E Testing. But

mostly, numb. Numb sums up my state of

mind and feelings most accurately.

I qualified in 2000 as an ADI and since

2002, B+E training has been my

specialty, a niche if you like, and my main

source of income. Building a successful

business takes time, as we all know;

maintaining an excellent reputation

requires consistency, dedication and hard

work. I would like to think I had achieved

all of that over the years and then, with

one email, shattered. Really? Yes, like a

magic trick, it’s all gone in the blink of an

eye.

We all knew change was afoot. Would

instructors be signing off reversing and

uncoupling manoeuvres? Would there be

a CBT-style system introduced if, God

forbid, the Department for Transport did

scrap the test? I can answer that

question. No. None of the above.

The biggest shock however, over and

above losing my income overnight, was

the speed of the decision. When have any

of you known a government decision

made so quickly? Within days of the

consultation finishing. Never??

Which begs the question, was the

consultation a complete waste of our

time, a sham, a smokescreen, a total

joke, because the decision to scrap B+E

had already been made way before we

knew anything about a consultation. The

only bit of genius in this decision was to

release the news at 4pm on a Friday just

before a weekend, where it easily gets lost.

So what next? Pray for a Government

U-turn? It’s been known! I believe that is

called your wildest dream though. To go

from three to four tests per week to none

overnight is like driving into a brick wall;

you stop instantly and hope there are no

injuries. There will be many casualties in

our industry after this decision.

I doubt there will be enough people

clambering for training now there is no

legal obligation to do so. There will be

some, sure, but probably not enough to

justify keeping 25k-worth of car and

trailer sitting on the yard, ready and

waiting.

I think what’s next will need a little

more time to work out. I just need the

numbness to wear off a bit first.

Steve Thomas ADI,

Raglan Driver Training

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021

11


News: B+E testing

Minister responds to NASP B+ E concerns

The Minister for Road Safety, Baroness Vere, has responded to correspondence sent by

NASP outlining concerns over the decision to terminate statutory B+E testing. You can read

her full response below.

While the letter confirms the government is progressing with the process of removing the

need for a statutory test, as mentioned by Peter Harvey on pg 10 there is some hope for

B+E trainers. NASP has been in discussion with DVSA, Department for Transport and wider

stakeholders about the development of a new accredited training and assessment scheme

delivered by the industry.

NASP, working in partnership with the National Towing and Trailer Association, has been

asked to submit a plan for such a scheme, which government will consider. More news on

that development soon.

Baroness Vere writes...

Thank you for your letter of 17 September

about the recent announcement to

remove the requirement for car drivers to

take a car and trailer test (B+E), the risk

to road safety and the impact this will

have on businesses.

I appreciate the concerns you have

raised. As you are aware, the proposal to

remove the requirement for car drivers to

take a B+E test if they want to tow a

trailer, was subject to a public

consultation exercise. The consultation

received over 9,500 responses and most

respondents supported the proposals.

Due to the online platform being used

to collate the responses, officials were

able to analyse the responses as they

were being submitted. The DVSA has

analysed the responses and published a

summary of the public feedback on these

proposals on GOV.UK The DVSA will

publish a full consultation report in due

course.

Following the outcome of the

consultation, on 10 September the

Government announced that it will be

implementing a number of measures to

significantly boost heavy goods vehicle

(HGV) testing availability; this includes

eliminating tests to tow a trailer.

Legal processes must be followed, and

the DVSA is looking to amend the

regulations as soon as possible. When the

law is changed, all car drivers will be able

to tow a trailer weighing up to 3,500kg

without the need for an additional test. As

a result, the DVSA will not be carrying out

any B+E tests from 20 September.

The DVSA takes its commitment to

road safety extremely seriously and will

work with the industry and stakeholders

to encourage drivers to undertake training

to help ensure they are safe and

competent to tow larger trailers. The

DVSA will continue to work with the

training industry and other interested

parties to provide guidance on training.

The HGV driver shortage has been well

documented and is an issue that is

affecting millions of people and

businesses throughout the UK. The

Government has acted decisively to help

address the HGV driver shortage and has

announced these range of measures to

help the industry recover from the

pandemic.

‘‘

The DVSA takes its commitment

to road safety extremely seriously

and will work with the industry

and stakeholders to encourage

drivers to undertake training to

help ensure they are safe and

competent to tow larger trailers.

‘‘

I understand changes to legislation will

inevitably affect some people more than

others. I also appreciate the impact the

pandemic and the national HGV driver

shortage has had, and continues to have,

on individuals and businesses. The

Department and the DVSA will continue

to encourage people who want to drive a

car and trailer to get professional training

with providers to promote road safety and

help support those businesses.

The DVSA is also exploring options for

an industry-led accreditation that could

offer a standardised non-statutory testing

approach. It plans to meet with key

stakeholders, including trainers and

insurers, to discuss this issue.

As the Chair of NASP, you have been

invited to the first meeting due to take

place on 27 September. NASP’s

suggestions on competency-based

training, assessment and certification with

an approved B+E trainer will no doubt

form part of the discussions at the

inaugural meeting, and the DVSA is

hopeful of a consensus on the way

forward.

Driver theory testing and the

termination of B+E testing represent very

different issues in terms of underlying

legislation and road safety risk; they

cannot be directly compared. The

concerns over the extension of theory test

certificates was one that affected a

significant number of new, less

experienced drivers. The B+E changes

affects more experienced, full licence

holders. The DVSA will encourage these

drivers to undergo additional training that

it hopes NASP will play an important part

in developing.

Legislative changes are usually subject

to a post-implementation review which

gives the opportunity to review and

potentially update the changes made. The

Department will keep these changes

under review to ensure they are effective

and help increase HGV testing capacity to

meet demand whilst ensuring road safety

is not compromised in the process.

Thank you for taking the time to write

in with your concerns.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton

12

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021


News

Linking ADIs’ post-test data hasty and

flawed, NASP warns the DVSA

As reported in the past two issues of Newslink, the DVSA has proposed targeting standards

check on those ADIs who consistently present failing pupils for L-tests. By looking at the

data on test failures and linking them to the ADI number given on the test, it hopes to locate

ADIs who it believes are offering poorer quality tuition, and will then prioritise those ADIs

for assessment. However, during discussions with NASP – which is made up of MSA GB, the

ADINJC and the DIA – a number of concerns have been raised by the ADI profession, and

these were outlined in a statement to the DVSA last month.

NASP’s response to the DVSA proposal is published here.

NASP statement to the industry

concerning prioritisation of standards

checks

As part of the continuing dialogue

between NASP and DVSA concerning

issues arising from the agency’s recent

change in approach to prioritising

Standards Checks, NASP met again with

the regulator. At this meeting we

discussed continuing concerns, raised

further questions and pushed for answers

and further clarification on points

previously raised.

While NASP recognises the merit of

using performance data derived from

pupil’s tests as a part of measuring

trainer performance, we continue to have

grave concerns about how this data will

be derived and used, the overall impact

of the new approach and the manner in

which it has been brought into being - ie,

with little or no proper consultation.

Overall, NASP still does not feel our

(and the industry’s) concerns have been

satisfactorily addressed on this important

issue.

NASP’s key concerns are:

• The way data is generated.

Performance data is derived from a

certificate in a window,. Is this too

unreliable a way of deriving such

important data? Should data be drawn

from a wider set of data points, and

submitted in a more consistently reliable

way, ensuring a more reliable picture of

an individual’s performance?

Could more time and thought be given

to better ways of generating more reliable

data?

• DVSA has indicated the data to be

utilised is a snapshot of the trainer’s

performance in the last 12 months. This

will be problematic for ADIs currently, or

14

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021


For all the latest news, see www.msagb.com

shortly, facing review given the highly

exceptional circumstances of the last 12

months (ie, during a pandemic and

multiple lockdowns, when few tests took

place).

In this respect, NASP has asked if this

a fair period of time across which to

judge trainer performance.

As many pupils have undoubtedly

been less prepared for tests within the

last 12 months (through no fault of ADIs

or pupils), and some ADIs have been

under pressure to take pupils to test

when they may not have ordinarily done

so, NASP would argue that evaluating

ADIs across the past 12 months’ data in

isolation would be unfair.

• With such a focus on test performance

as an indicator of ADI performance, is

DVSA in danger of encouraging the very

behaviour of training pupils to pass a test

(rather than training pupils to be able to

enjoy a lifetime of safe, independent

driving) that they maintain they are

focused on discouraging?

• How are trainers who rarely take

pupils to be monitored and managed

adequately if they generate little or no

test data?

•What happens to newly qualified

ADIs?

•We have serious concerns over the

levels of triggers that have been

produced and whether they are realistic.

DVSA has said that the average fault

trigger is an average of faults of all ADIs.

If this includes those that do not bring

learners to test, then it is unrealistically

low as an average.

DVSA has said the pass mark trigger is

55 per cent. NASP is concerned whether

this is achievable by ADIs working out of

test centres where the average pass rate

is 35 per cent.

• NASP has asked DVSA to explain in

detail to the industry how the above

parameters were arrived at.

• Is DVSA in danger of making it

difficult for some people to find an ADI,

particularly those from the SEN, slower

learners, older learner communities, for

example? If ADIs are focused on their

performance indicators, there is a risk

they will only take those to test who will

have the best impact on those

performance indicators?

• NASP does not support the nondisplay

of badges as a reason for DVSA

to call for an early Standards Check.

NASP is also concerned that recent

feedback from the industry on this issue

indicates trainers overwhelmingly feel

that DVSA is now blaming low pass rates

‘‘

Is the DVSA in danger of

encouraging ADIs to teach

pupils purely to pass their

L-test, rather than focusing on

training them to have a lifetime

of safe, independent driving

on ADIs. DVSA maintains that the new

focus on test performance (and using test

data as a metric to evaluate trainer

performance) will encourage trainers to

‘up their game’ and, in turn, improve

pupil performance.

However, NASP is concerned at both

the inference (deliberate or otherwise,

poor communications by the agency on

this matter have certainly left trainers

with this impression) that ADIs alone are

responsible for poor pass rates and the

renewed focus of the agency on pass

rates as a key performance indicator, as

this in particular seems at odds with the

principles promoted (by both the agency

and the industry) of preparing pupils for

a lifetime of safe driving – and not just

training them to pass a test.

Due to the remaining concerns the

industry has (and the many questions

still unanswered) on this change, NASP

continues to recommend that DVSA

delays the wholescale introduction of this

approach - and holds back establishing it

as the ‘norm’. This would at least signal

the agency recognises the issues already

identified, would allow more time for all

stakeholders to evaluate the potential for

further issues, and more importantly

allow the regulator, the industry and

Is the

DVSA

plan just

another

way of

keeping

an eye on

ADIs?

‘‘

individual trainers to properly prepare the

ground for such a crucial change – and

to make sure this change is for the better,

for all concerned.

NASP also contends that a ‘fix’ to

resolve current test resourcing issues

should not become a mainstay of

instructor regulation without proper

review and consultation.

Indeed, NASP would urge DVSA to

instead view this current ‘new’ approach

to prioritising Standards Checks as a

pilot for at least six months (rather than

establish it now as a done deal, and

standard operating process). This would

give some comfort that DVSA were

listening and taking the many issues and

concerns highlighted onboard.

It would also allow both the agency

and the industry to continue a productive

dialogue about what works (or doesn’t

work) about the approach and enable for

more consultative and considered

decision making on what could work

better in terms of developing trainer

performance, pupil performance and

improving road safety overall.

At the end of such a pilot, we would

then recommend DVSA shares the

results of such and allow the industry to

properly consult on its wholesale

introduction.

Only after such review and consultation

establish it as the norm for all trainer

performance management, including also

vocational and motorcycle trainers (who

do not fall into the scope of the current

changes).

ADIs: What’s your view?

Do you think MSA GB should back

linking post-test data to standards

checks, or does this feel like an intrusive

and unfair decision by DVSA? Let us

know, via editor@msagb.com

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021

15


DVLA in the spotlight – again

More trouble at ’mill as MPs

question DVLA again

Colin Lilly

Editor, MSA GB Newslink

The saga of bad service at

the DVLA continues despite

the Government offering a

comprehensive rebuttal of

complaints.

In the August issue of Newslink I wrote

about the DVLA’s role in delays resulting

from the Covid-19 pandemic. The

agency has been hit by a string of

complaints this year, with criticism from

the public over a drop in service

standards amid a huge backlogs in

licence applications and enquiries, while

staff took industrial action over the way

the agency’s management had handled

their concerns during the Covid

pandemic.

As a result of the complaints, the

Transport Select Committee summoned

representatives from the PCS union and

Baroness Vere, Minister for Roads,

Buses and Places, Department for

Transport, and Julie Lennard, Chief

Executive DVLA, to appear before MPs

to answer a number of questions. During

this session the PCS representative

commented that “I have never

encountered, in 21 years, the level of

incompetence and mismanagement that

is on display at DVLA in Swansea.”

That wasn’t the only criticism either.

A petition to the Government was raised

about the DVLA’s performance, entitled

‘Inquiry into the DVLA’s performance

during the Covid-19 pandemic’.

The petition creator added “in my view

the DVLA are not-fit-for-purpose. An

inquiry needs to be held into their

performance during the pandemic. This

should lead to a more efficient

customer service, treatment of those

with medical issues and more.

“Delays such as a 6-month wait for a

medical restricted licence to be

reissued are completely unacceptable.”

The petition has attracted 11,099

signatures to date. The government

responds when 10,000 signatures have

been achieved. When 100,000

signatures have been achieved the

petition will be considered for debate in

Parliament.

The Government has now responded

as it is legally obliged to do, and its

response is as follows. As one might

guess, it does not accept any guilt or

blame, despite the MPs criticisms.

It states: The DVLA provides regular

updates on performance and progress to

Department for Transport ministers and

it has been fully scrutinised in two

Transport Select Committee evidence

sessions in 2021.

The DVLA has an incredibly strong

track record of outstanding public

service and has quickly adapted to

continue to provide essential public

services during the pandemic. Last year,

the DVLA issued 8.8m driving licences,

16.3m vehicle registration certificates

and made more than 500,000 medical

licensing decisions. The DVLA’s contact

centre answered more than seven

million queries including 4.8 million

calls, 1.5 million webchats and more

than 950,000 emails.

More than 90% of customer

interactions with the DVLA are carried

out online and these online services

have continued to work as normal

throughout the pandemic. Motorists who

transact online usually receive their

documents within a few days. Motorists

are strongly encouraged to use the

DVLA’s online services whenever

possible as this remains the easiest and

quickest way to access most of the

DVLA’s services.

However, not everyone wants or is

able to use online services and the

DVLA receives around 60,000 items of

mail every day which must be opened

manually by DVLA staff working on site.

Unfortunately, delays have been

caused in processing paper applications

due to the DVLA having had fewer staff

on site to ensure social distancing in line

with Welsh Government requirements,

industrial action by the Public and

Commercial Services (PCS) union and a

significantly increased demand for its

services.

The DVLA has helped to keep drivers

on the road throughout the pandemic by

issuing one-year licences to lorry and

bus drivers aged 45 and over without

them having to submit the usual medical

report if the driver has been unable to

get an appointment with their doctor to

conduct a medical examination.

Also, all driving licences expiring

between 1 February and 31 December

16

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021


For all the latest news, see www.msagb.com

were automatically renewed for 11

months. The DVLA has also launched

ten new online services to make things

easier for customers, including online

tachograph applications and change of

address and duplicate V5C (logbook)

services.

From 6 April to 31 August the PCS

union held a series of strikes at the

DVLA. The cumulative impact of

industrial action and having had fewer

staff on site to ensure social distancing in

line with Welsh Government

requirements has meant that the time

taken to process paper applications has

increased. PCS specifically targeted the

drivers’ medical section for a month-long

strike in August.

The driver’s medical area has also

been affected by the massive pressure

the pandemic has placed on the NHS. It

is a legal requirement for drivers to notify

the DVLA of the onset or worsening of

any health condition that may affect their

fitness to drive. Following a notification,

the DVLA must assess a driver’s fitness

to drive which can often involve seeking

further information from a GP or other

health professional involved in the

driver’s care. However, guidance from

‘‘

The response from government

is nothing if not predictable...

the Petitions Committee felt

that the response did not

directly address the request of

the petition and have asked for

a revised response

‘‘

the British Medical Association at the

start of the pandemic advised GP

practices to deprioritise non-essential

work. This has only very recently been

updated to say previously deprioritised

work may need to be reviewed, including

DVLA medical checks which help

maintain people’s wellbeing and

livelihoods.

The DVLA has put in place a range of

mitigating measures to reduce the

backlog of paper transactions, including

the introduction of additional online

services at pace in response to the

pandemic, which has helped to reduce

the number of postal applications

received and processed manually by

DVLA staff. DVLA staff are working

evenings and at weekends and additional

staff have been recruited to tackle the

backlogs. The DVLA is also securing

additional office space to provide surge

capacity for medical applications, as well

as to provide resilience and business

continuity going forward. [ends]

This response is nothing if not predictable,

writes Colin Lilly. All petitions and

responses are reviewed by the Petitions

Committee, a committee made up of 11

MPs from government and opposition

parties. They are independent of the

government and can press the government

for action and to gather evidence.

The Petitions Committee have

considered the government’s response to

this petition and felt that the response

did not directly address the request of

petition and have therefore written back

to the Government to ask them to

provide a revised response.

So, the saga continues. We will update

you when the modified response is

published.

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021

17


Product review

James’ new films are breath of fresh air

to blow away stuffy L-test training aids

TV presenter James May has added a

new option to his popular learner driver

training app, My Theory Test by James

May, with a no-nonsense fun video

called ‘How Not to Fail Your Practical

Driving Test’. It’s an extra item that can

be purchased from within the My Theory

Test app for just £2.99.

Rated 4.9 stars out of five of over

6,500 ratings, My Theory Test by James

May is currently the highest-rated driver

training app in the UK.

The new video, based on based around

the official DVSA ‘Top 10 reasons for

failing the driving test’ that was released

earlier this year, has James stood in front

of a wonderfully retro diorama board

showing a street layout, with model cars

used to highlight different driving

scenarios as he runs though the major

pitfalls that result in L-test failure.

Sounds old-fashioned? It’s meant to

be. As James told Newslink, it’s a perfect

antidote to the hi-tech imagery and

visuals DVSA uses on the theory test.

“The DVSA’s HPT clips are impressive

to look at, but they suggest that driving is

a hugely dangerous pastime in which

you can have your life taken away at any

second,” he said. “While you can never

over-state that there are dangers when

you’re driving, and you have to be paying

attention all the time, it’s all too

intimidating and scary. What’s wrong

with suggesting that driving can be fun?”

he asked. “It’s a great thing to do.”

“The hi-tech approach is slightly

flawed because it builds up the fear

factor too much among learners. What

we do on the video is show how not to

fail your L-test in short, practical sessions

using the cars, the diorama board and a

bit of chat. The points I make are really

clear and based around life skills that we

all already know.”

Overall, to James, success in the L-test

is about “being patient and staying calm.”

“Candidates have got the skills; it’s just

about transferring them to the test day.”

How Not to Fail Your Practical Driving

Test breaks the tests itself down into 12

easily digestible films, each around 4-6

minutes long. Each one covers a particular

part of driving – steering, road positioning,

observation, handling, etc – and highlights

the most common mistakes that

candidates make, resulting in a test fail.

18

James is at pains to stress that he is

not teaching people how to drive. “That’s

the ADIs’ job. What I’m trying to do is

highlight where things tend to go wrong

on the test itself in a practical, common

sense way.”

The narrative is interspersed with May’s

trademark sardonic wit. “Trying not to kill

orphans” is pointed out as a goal to not

failing the test – examiners “tend to frown

upon that” – and his advice that “it’s only

driving… billions do it every day. Just keep

calm and relax” might sound blindingly

obvious but carries a lot of weight.

In many ways May is carrying forward

the personality we all know from Top

Gear and The Grand Tour, that of the

nation’s avuncular driving uncle, steeped

in wisdom but determined not to talk

down to young people. He’s stripped

away the pomposity that often comes

along with driving training aids and

pulled together an hour of straight-talking

common sense that makes taking the

L-test feel less daunting.

It’s as far from hi-tech as you will get,

but there’s something timeless and

charming about watching James push

model cars around the diorama as he

James

May

pictured in

stills from

the videos,

with his

model cars

and

diorama

street

scene

demonstrates the right way to pull off

from the side of the road or handle a

junction. The advice he gives and the

way it comes across is relatable and

makes light of the fears many candidates

have about the test.

I guinea-pigged it on my 20-year-old

daughter, currently going through her

own learning to drive journey. She sat

through each film, giggling often, but

– crucially - picking up several key

snippets of advice along the way. In

particular, she says she now drives like a

COW: keeping Calm, Observing all the

time and being prepared to Wait.

There are good reminders about technical

points, particularly on moving off, road

positioning, reading the road and handling

junctions, but the main thrust is on

staying calm, remaining patient and not

bowing to the pressure of the situation.

This is the kind of training aid every

candidate should watch a few times in

the run-up to their L-test itself: some

sage-like advice from a chap who’s not

taking himself too seriously.

For those learners on their way to the

theory test with James’ app, it’s a really

worthwhile addition at just £2.99. If it

does nothing else, it will remind

candidates that their examiner is human

and just wants to see that you can drive

in a way that keeps you safe – and is

probably called Gary.

• My Theory Test by James May and the

in-app video How Not to Fail Your

Practical Driving Test can be purchased

from all your usual online app stores.

ADIs: to find out more about the app

(and receive a free copy), go to

https://www.jamesmaytheorytest.com/

driving-instructors/

• James May talks to Newslink: see pg 20

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021


Click here for more details


In conversation with... James May

Calm and happy candidates will ace

the practical driving test

TV presenter James May talks

to Newslink’s Rob Beswick

about his driver training app My

Theory Test by James May and

its latest addition, How Not to

Fail Your Practical Driving Test

How has the theory test app been

received?

Really well. The great news is that

overall, about 98 per cent of users

describe it as being clear and easy to

use, which is brilliant news. When you

are designing something like this it’s

really hard to be dispassionate about it.

Because we know the topic we think

automatically that what we are saying is

clear and easy to follow, but you’re never

sure, so having confirmation from

learners has been really positive. It’s also

great that we’ve had an overall rating of

4.9/5 off nearly 6,500 reviews

You’ve said previously that you think the

government should grant an extension

to theory test pass certificates, as many

learners are struggling to find an

instructor or book a test and their theory

test passes may expire. Do you still

think that should be the case?

Absolutely. The current situation just

isn’t fair. It’s not the learners’ fault that

there are very few tests available, or that

they can’t find an ADI as they are all so

busy. They have been able to extend the

certificates in Northern Ireland, which

runs a system on very similar lines to the

rest of the UK, so why not here too?

Come on, give these young people a

break!

Your guide to Not Failing Your Practical

Driving Test is low tech. Was that a

deliberate ploy to get away from the

hi-tech visuals the DVSA uses on the

theory test?

Yes. Teaching aids for driving tend

to be a bit formal and stuffy. I think

the problem we have is that

we’ve made learning to drive

seem very intimidating when it

shouldn’t be seen like that at

all, it should be fun. It’s a happy

thing to do and will give you

great pleasure. I thought learning to drive

20

was one of the best things I’d done when

I was young. Too often we make the

teaching of it a bit dull and I was trying

to break away from that.

Driving, to me, is 95 per cent about

common sense and common courtesy.

The way the DVSA theory test clips are

used, it just seems so intense, frightening

really. If we can get candidates to just go

out there and enjoy themselves, staying

calm and patient, they’ll do far better.

Are you surprised the L-test pass rate is

so low, at around 45 per cent?

Yes, I am. You can never pass

everyone on a test as it would become

meaningless, but having fewer than half

pass suggests there is either something

wrong with the L-test itself or it is just so

intimidating for people taking it that they

panic and lose concentration. People get

traumatised by the whole experience.

Perhaps it seems too important that

they pass and they can’t cope with the

pressure, or that they think they are

taking on too much responsibility.

A lot of the reasons the DVSA gives for

test failures are based around

observation-related issues, rather than

the technical side of

driving. Do you think

that suggests young

people lose

concentration and

are too easily

distracted, or

that they

don’t have a

good enough

attention

span?

No, I don’t like that narrative. People

have always criticised young people’s

ability to focus and concentrate. When I

was young I was told I didn’t have the

attention span of my parents, and I’m

sure they were told the same when

compared to theirs. Yet when I meet

young people I tend to find that most are

alert, focused and really savvy.

I think the problem with the L-test is

no one likes being tested or having too

much personal scrutiny put upon them,

and you probably never do anything that

puts you under the spotlight as much as

the L-test does. We build it up into this

frightening experience… it’s no wonder

people fail when they get into a lather.

We’ve got to get candidates to relax more

and stay calm.

What more can ADIs do to help improve

their pupils’ performance?

Wear brightly-coloured jumpers!

Seriously, lighten up a bit. ADIs tend to

come across as being a little square.

The ones I’ve met producing the theory

test app were a really nice bunch of

people who are clearly focused on the

job of driver training and are sympathetic

to their pupils, but perhaps they could

do more to help their pupils relax a little.

It’s a serious subject but just lighten

up!

Finally, how well do you think Messsers

Clarkson and Hammond would do on

the L-test, and do you think they

would stay COW (Calm, Observe,

Wait)?

No. Let’s face it, Hammond doesn’t

stay calm over anything, Clarkson is

never patient and neither of them wait

for anyone!

You know, we’ve said loads of

times over the years we should

all take our driving test on

the show again and see

how we’d get on, but

we’ve never dared.

We’re too scared

we’ll fail!

Find out more at

https://www.jamesmay

theorytest.com

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021


Special feature: Vehicle lights

Daytime Running Lights have been a feature of cars for over a decade, but a general poor

understanding of their role has left some drivers in the dark. Tom Harrington explains why their

role in illuminating drivers is critical – and the factors that lead to trouble when wrongly used

DRLs and the importance

of visibility and conspicuity

The golden rules of lighting up your car

are to see and be seen. In accordance

with EC Directive 2008/89/EC,

dedicated Daytime Running Lights (DRL)

were required on all new passenger cars

and small vans from February 2011

onwards, and on all other new types of

road vehicles (including trucks and buses

but excluding motorcycles and

agricultural tractors) from August 2012.

Daytime Running Lights automatically

activate when the engine is switched on.

They are a fantastic asset to road safety

and reduce the likelihood of a side or

head-on collisions during the day.

However, just as the darkness creeps

in unnoticed so too has an over-reliance

on modern technology and the fear is

that too many rely solely on DRLs when

darkness falls during the winter months.

For a time, several US states banned

the use of these lights entirely. In the

1990s, General Motors pushed to

include DRLs on all vehicles in the US.

This was met with resistance, but

eventually government regulations

allowed their use, and their popularity

has increased ever since.

But judging from recent press

announcements, a growing number of

motorists are mistaking their DRLs for

dipped headlights. Now, no one is doing

this intentionally. It’s an honest mistake

as drivers start out in the daytime and

fail to recognise the fading light. But

unfortunately it poses a severe road

safety risk. DRLs don’t produce enough

light to illuminate the road in darkness.

Some manufacturers choose to pair front

daytime running lights with rear ones

too, but it is not compulsory. This means

there may be some motorists driving

around at night in the mistaken belief

that just because they have lights which

switch on automatically at the front; they

are also on at the rear. So, driving with

DRLs at night not only seriously

diminishes your view of the road, your

visibility to others is minimal and you

could run the risk of being rear ended.

Therefore, if you have dedicated DRLs on

your vehicle, make sure to switch to your

headlights during ‘lighting up’ hours –

legally defined as ‘the period

commencing one half-hour after sunset

on any day and expiring one half-hour

before sunrise on the next day’.

Visibility, Detection and DRL

Why is the issue of DRLs so

important? It all comes down to our

ability to see clearly, levels of visibility

and perception.

‘Visual perception’ is a concept which

refers to all perceptual processes and

results imaginable. As a result of its

generalised nature, the literature often

distinguishes between the various

aspects of perception. Concepts such as

detection, conspicuity and visibility are

often mentioned in the perception

literature. For the purposes of

clarification, therefore, some of these

concepts will now briefly be discussed.

The concepts of visibility and

detectability are often interchanged.

Visibility can be defined as a 50%

probability of detection (threshold

of visibility). If an object becomes more

visible it is generally implied that its

detection improves in one way or

another, so that the probability

of detection becomes increasingly

greater; this implies that, in general, an

object can be detected at a greater

distance, or that observers need less

time to decide whether or not an object

is present (reaction time).

Visibility is subject to a human

assessment component, as there is no

equipment that can directly measure

visibility: human intervention is always

necessary to determine this parameter.

Often, such factors are studied with the

22

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021


For all the latest news, see www.msagb.com

aid of detection experiments.

One important factor that determines

whether an object is detected is the

contrast between object and background.

Although contrast is related to visibility, it

is not the same thing. Di Laura offers a

simple example of this phenomenon.

Take an object that contrasts 50% with

the background on a large stage in a

theatre and illuminate it with a pocket

flashlight: it will hardly be visible. That

same object, lit by a large floodlight

measuring 10,000 times the luminous

intensity of the flashlight - the contrast

remains the same, but the visibility

differs markedly. Both luminance and

contrast are important for visibility.

Another factor is the size of objects;

large objects are more visible than small

ones. The degree to which the visual

system is sensitive to contrast is

therefore not the same under all

circumstances.

Blackwell (1946; 1968) has probably

conducted the most extensive research

into the sensitivity of the visual system.

The lower the luminance level, the

greater the contrast between an object

and its background should be in order to

ensure the same probability of detection.

But given a particular luminance, the

detectability of an object will improve if

the contrast with the background is

enhanced or if the object is larger, for

example.

Visibility and Conspicuity

Sometimes, visibility means more than

simply detecting something. One can

detect something among other elements;

in that case, one can speak of

conspicuity. Conspicuity implies that a

particular object must compete with

other objects in order to attract attention

while visibility implies the detection of

the presence of a particular object

against an empty background.

Visibility does not necessarily imply

conspicuity; a particular object may also

be visible between similar objects (i.e. be

detectable), but may not necessarily be

conspicuous. There are many definitions

that describe the term conspicuity.

Wertheim (1986) and Theeuwes (1989)

have offered an overview. The measurement

and definition of conspicuity is performed

in so many different ways that it is in fact

impossible to speak of the conspicuity of

an object. However, all definitions of

conspicuity do share a reference to

attention: a conspicuous object draws

attention to itself. All definitions also

state that external, physical factors

determine the conspicuity of an object.

According to Engel, visual conspicuity is

defined as the object factor, or more

precisely, as the set of object factors

(physical properties) determining the

probability that a visible object will be

noticed against its background.

Eccentricity, ie, the angle between the

object and the direction of view, is an

important factor in conspicuity. The

contrast between object and background

and the complexity of that background is

also important. Nevertheless, factors

other than external ones can influence

conspicuity. Engel makes a specific

distinction between visual conspicuity

(bottom-up) and cognitive conspicuity

(top-down). In more or less the same

manner, Hughes & Cole have pointed out

that conspicuity cannot only be regarded

as characteristic of an object, precisely

because it has to do with attracting

attention. Whether an object will attract

the attention of an observer is largely

determined by that observer. Hughes &

Cole (1984) therefore distinguish

between two types of conspicuity:

attention conspicuity and search

conspicuity. The first type refers to the

possibility that an object will attract the

attention of an observer who is not

specifically looking for such an object.

The second type, search conspicuity, is

defined as the characteristics of an object

that allow it to be easily and quickly

localised if the observer is looking for it.

Hughes & Cole summarise a number of

factors that also determine whether an

object will be conspicuous or not. These

include physical properties of the object

and its background; the information that

is supplied, including information

concerning the unusual or unexpected

nature of the object; the observer’s need

for information (is the observer looking

for particular object? etc); the perceptual

strategy of the observer (road user),

which is also determined by the

information in his environment and his

need for information.

Continued on page 24

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021

23


Special feature: Vehicle lights

Continued from page 23

Detection, Conspicuity and DRL

Generally, the greater the contrast

between the vehicle and its background

the greater the probability it will be

detected. For light coloured cars, the

contrast is generally greater than for dark

coloured cars. But the contrast of a light

coloured car against the background

does not alter if the ambient illumination

changes. Because the visual systems’

sensitivity to contrast diminishes with

decreasing illuminance, the probability of

detection will grow smaller as the

ambient illumination drops. Even on

sunny days, the ambient illumination can

vary considerably. The driver is not only

confronted by a diversity of background

luminances caused by the background

itself, but also by more marked changes

as the background alternates between

shade and full sun. As a result, a vehicle

that should be clearly visible in direct

sunlight becomes relatively difficult to

see in dark shade.

The luminance of a light source, on the

other hand, is constant - if the source is

bright enough, its luminance will be

greater than that of unlit objects in the

surroundings.

As the ambient illumination decreases,

the contrast between the light source and

its background will actually increase.

Therefore, if a vehicle cannot be properly

detected for one reason or another, it is

always advantageous for that vehicle to

use lighting. This is particularly true

during twilight, poor weather conditions

and when the sun is very low on the

horizon, eg, sunrise and sunset. Even on

very sunny days, a car without lighting

can easily disappear into the

background, for instance, in the shade of

buildings or trees. The use of lighting can

ensure that – thanks to the heightened

contrast – a vehicle can still be easily

detected under such conditions.

Recognition, identification and

the role of expectations

The most elementary form of

perception is detecting whether

something is there. It becomes more

complicated when someone must also

indicate the category of object that

something belongs to: the recognition or

identification of objects. The terms

‘recognition’ and ‘identification’ are often

interchanged, and imply that an object is

given the right label by an observer (this

is a car). Some authors have noted that

with recognition, one is only stating that

the object concerned has been seen

before, while identification implies more

than that: the recognised object is

identified as belonging to a particular

category, eg, a car. In recognition and

identification, experience and memory

play a role. It is essential that road users

see relevant objects (in this case

implying detection). But the detection of

something is generally insufficient to

allow adequate decisions with regard to

behaviour in traffic.

This is why it is important that the

correct interpretation is given to that

which has been detected; the correct

meaning or identification must be

associated with the visual impression.

An event or action can be generated by

the surroundings, or by the observer who

is looking for a particular part of the

surroundings, or else by an interaction

between these two processes. The

distinction between the processing and

perception of physical characteristics and

the observer’s influence on this process of

perception is also indicated by the terms

for bottom-up versus top-down processes.

Various researchers have shown that

the observer himself exerts significant

influence on whether a particular object

is noticed. An observer, who expects to

encounter objects with certain physical

characteristics, will more readily see

them than when he does not expect

them. Hills emphasises the role of

expectations in traffic: Another important

factor affecting a driver’s detection and

perception of a potential hazard is his

perceptual set or his expectancies. These

are formed both from long-term experience

and by the short-term experience of the

previous few minutes driving. These can

profoundly affect the driver’s

interpretation of various visual features

and signals in a scene and also the

various visual judgments he has to make.

Conclusion

Daytime Running Lights are a relatively

new feature on most cars. Unlike

headlights, DRLs are fairly dim and don’t

illuminate the road ahead. Their purpose

is to increase the visibility of your car, so

that other drivers can see you on the

road. At night, your headlights and tail

lights are illuminated, which means that

it’s easy for other drivers to spot you.

However, during the day, most drivers

turn their lights off and it’s not as easy to

spot other vehicles quickly.

However, DRLs’ popularity and

usefulness has been debated for decades.

They are most popular in countries

further north, where there is less light

(especially in winter). It makes sense,

then, that countries such as Sweden,

Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Canada

were among the first to require DRLs on

all vehicles. In these countries, multiple

studies showed that the addition of DRLs

does reduce accidents. In other

countries, however, DRLs are not as

popular, particularly the USA. There were

similar mixed reactions in the UK.

From 2011, all new vehicles have

been required to have daytime running

lights. Although daytime running

lights are intended to make the road

safer for all drivers and pedestrians, there

are many critics who argue that they do

the opposite. The biggest concern for

many drivers is the brightness of DRLs.

Even though brightness regulations are

put in place by each country, some

groups have argued that these standards

are too high, and that some DRLs are

allowed to be as bright as headlights,

which can potentially blind other drivers.

In theory, DRLs should be dim in

comparison to your headlights, but this

isn’t always the case.

Additionally, DRLs on larger vehicles

are more likely to be placed higher up,

meaning that they could shine directly

into the eyes of other drivers. Another

argument commonly made is to do with

geographical location. A lot of DRL critics

live in the US or the UK, and they think

that they’re less necessary in countries

further north. In the US/UK, there’s more

sunlight in the day, which obviously

makes DRLs less useful.

Considering the potential safety

hazards caused by daytime running

lights, certain groups have lobbied to ban

them. In reality, there is some truth in

the idea that DRLs aren’t needed in

certain locations. Some studies have

shown that daytime running lights are

three times more effective at reducing

accidents in Nordic countries than in the

US, for example.

Still, there is no evidence to suggest

that daytime running lights are harmful

in any way.

24

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021


For all the latest news, see www.msagb.com

The turkeys didn’t vote for Christmas in

DVSA’s unscientific poll on B+E testing

Rod Came

MSA GB South East

The DVSA put out a public consultation

document during the summer relating to

the changes it was proposing to enable

prospective HGV drivers to acquire a

driving licence.

Included was the suggestion that

category B (car) licence holders should,

without any formal training or a driving

test, be able to tow a 3,500kg trailer. I

want to concentrate on that aspect in

this article.

DVSA states that over 9,500

responses to the consultation were

received and that of those, 4,618 were

from professionals involved in the

industry and 4,472 were from members

of the public.

On the vexatious question relating to

trailer towing, 6,148 agreed that the

proposed changes were a good idea,

while 3,139 disagreed.

I have to make some assumptions at

this point, these being that each

response carries the same weight and

that people involved in the industry have

some idea regarding the ramifications of

the suggestion, while those responders

listed as ‘Public’ have less, but possibly

have a personal interest.

Had the following question been asked

I wonder if the balance of responses

would have shifted to the point where

disagreement would have been

overwhelming.

A Land Rover Discovery has a

Maximum Authorised Mass of about

3,200kgs. Under the proposed new

rules a driver with a car licence will be

able to tow a 3,500kg trailer giving a

train weight of 6.7 tonnes as opposed to

4,250 tonnes at present. There will be

no requirement for the driver to

undertake any training or a test before

doing so. Do you think this is safe?

When electric vans are introduced,

they will be able to be driven by category

B drivers up to an MAM of 4,250kgs. If

the vehicles are able to tow trailers up to

an MAM of 3,500kgs the train weight

then becomes 7.75 tonnes. How can

that be safe when the 17-year-old driver

passed their car driving test in a Ford

‘‘

In the run up to the B+E test

cut-off date some candidates

failed because they were

deemed as being unsafe to

drive solo with a heavy trailer...

did they suddenly become safe

overnight because of a change

in the rules?

‘‘

Fiesta only last week?

Who from DVSA is going to explain the

logic to a coroner after a fatal crash?

I am sure that if the consultation

included a question as to whether learner

drivers, having had X number of lessons

with an ADI, should qualify for a driving

licence without taking a test there would

be many respondents who would have

agreed, the number being swelled by

those currently taking driving lessons.

That situation would be just about as

farcical as this one.

It is also likely that the figure of 6,148

was increased by those who thought ‘Oh

goody, I won’t have to take a test after

all’. As I have said before, DVSA makes

decisions from statistics built on sand.

Another aspect is that, in the run-up to

the B+E test cut-off date of September

20, perhaps on September 19, some

candidates will have failed their test by

committing several minor errors or one

serious error, consequently proving they

were not able to drive solo with a heavier

trailer because they were officially

considered to be a danger to the public.

What happened overnight to

miraculously make them safe drivers

while towing? Did they suddenly become

safe because of a change of the rules?

Allowing B+E trainers to certify their

clients as being of test standard would

be far preferable to this ridiculous

decision, but that would have meant that

trainers were then recognised as being

equivalent to examiners and we can’t

have that can we?

Safe Driving for Life (or lives) only

matters sometimes.

CONTACT

To comment on this article, or provide

updates from your area, contact

Rod at camedt@onetel.com

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021

25


Feature: Changes to the L-test

The L-test has always been

subject to change

Mike Yeomans

MSA GB North East

A driving test crica 1935. It’s difficult to ascertain whether the

lady in view is an interested by-stander, an examiner or perhaps

the candidate waiting for the driver to let her behind the wheel.

One hopes, however, that the driver’s observation skills meant

he spotted her before he moved much further forward!

In 1997 a new test category was created

for a car with large trailer, (B+E)

For many years now we ADIs have

been critical of the fact you can teach

trailer and car (B+E) without being an

ADI, getting paid and running a business.

Of course, this is still true, but the

desire to take a test to be able to pull a

trailer has only ever been a necessity

because there was a test to take.

As you will have read elsewhere in this

issue, the DVSA’s plan is that there will

no longer be a B+E test to take.

So you could argue that ADIs have

won a small battle and that non-ADIs

have lost a business, but then, so have

those many ADIs who took the time and

money to get qualified, were professional

and created a B+E training business to

meet the test demands.

The only positive for them is that, as

an ADI, they are still qualified to teach

and currently there is plenty of work

around to satisfy our needs, so hopefully

they can pick up ‘standard’ learner pupils

to teach.

Despite this positive, however, I

thought it was very cruel when I read on

social media people saying “all these

B+E trainers and business have only lost

the cost of a trailer, they can still teach,

what’s their beef?”

The biggest issue for any business or

redundancy is to be notified only a week

or so before the collapse of a business,

and this was the case with the DVSA for

so many of the trailer trainers.

I hope by the time this article is read

some compensation has been fought for

and won, to assist those whose work has

been lost so quickly.

While I was checking up on when the

B+E test first arrived I became interested

in the history of the test and the myriad

changes that we’ve seen to it over the

years. An article some time ago on the

history of the Highway Code, published

on the www.gov.uk website intrigued me

and highlighted just how many changes

there have been. Were there any

similarities or lessons to be learned from

history to guide us through these current

tumultuous times?

I have removed some of the changes

that were road safety but not part of the

driving test changes.

The reason for publishing this history,

which I’m sure has been produced in

Newslink before, is I was struck by the

similarity with current events. Where you

read ‘suspended for the duration of World

War 2’ you can now read ‘suspended due

to Covid-19’... you will also read that

‘examiners were redeployed to traffic

duties and supervision of fuel rationing’

– perhaps this can be compared with the

modern day equivalent, ‘furloughed /

redeployed or shielding’.

What the history does tell you is that

some stories never change: there were

always people waiting for L-tests, the

pass rates were never great and new

tests were introduced or removed in an

almost ad hoc nature.

1930: Regulations introduced covering

endorsements and fitness declaration.

The Road Traffic Act 1930 introduces

licensing system for public service

vehicles (PSV). In the early days of

motoring, one licence covered both cars

and motorcycles use. Age restrictions

and a form of driving tests brought in for

disabled drivers. Full licences for

disabled drivers valid for 1 year.

1931: PSV drivers could be required to

take a test, at discretion of Traffic

Commissioners. The first edition of the

Highway Code was published including

advice for motorcycle riders.

1934: Licences for lorry drivers were

introduced on 16 February 1934 under

the Road Traffic Act, 1934 - the licensing

authority could require the applicant to

submit to a practical test of their ability.

1935: Voluntary testing was introduced

on 16 March 1935 by the Road Traffic

Act 1934. This was done to avoid a rush

of candidates when the test becomes

compulsory.

Mr R Beere was the first person to

pass the driving test, at a cost of 7s 6d

26

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021


For all the latest news, see www.msagb.com

(37.5p). Compulsory testing was brought

in on 1 June 1935 for all drivers and

riders who started driving on or after 1

April 1934: around 246,000 candidates

applied for a test, and the pass rate was

63%. Between 9 and 16 half-hour tests

were conducted each day by 250

examiners.

Those passing the motorcycling test

did not need to take another test to drive

a car. The test was conducted by the

examiner positioning themselves at a

point where they could observe the

motorcyclist’s riding, such as beside a

common or in a city square.

In the case of sidecar outfits or

three-wheelers, the examiner might have

accompanied the rider.

Examiners were responsible for

handling the booking of driving tests.

They met candidates at pre-arranged

locations such as car parks or railway

stations because there were no test

centres. Anyone buying a driving licence

must put ‘L’ plates on the car and

eventually take a driving test to get their

full licence

1937: Provisional licences were brought

in for heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers.

1939-45: Driving tests were suspended

on 2 September 1939 for the duration of

World War 2. During the war, examiners

were redeployed to traffic duties and

supervision of fuel rationing.

HGV licences and tests were

suspended on 1 January 1940 because

of World War 2.

1946: Testing resumed on 1 November

1946 following the end of World War 2

the previous year.

1947: The Motor Vehicles (Driving

Licences) Regulations placed

motorcyclists in their own licence group,

but testing remained virtually unchanged

until the 1960s.

On 18 February 1947, a period of 1

year was granted for wartime provisional

licences to be converted into full licence

without passing the test.

1950: The pass rate for the driving test

was 50%.

1956: The test fee doubled from 10

shillings (50p) to £1 on 19 October

1956.

Testing was suspended from 24

November 1956 during the Suez Crisis.

Learners were allowed to drive

unaccompanied, and examiners helped

to administer petrol rations. Testing did

not resume until on 15 April 1957 after

the crisis had passed.

Provisional licences were no longer

stamped with ‘passed test’ from 15 July

1957.

The 3-year driving licence was

introduced on 1 September 1957 under

the Road Traffic Act 1956. The fee for a

replacement licence, if lost or defaced,

rises by 150% from 1 shilling (5p) to 2s

6d (12.5p).

1958: From 1 March 1958, provisional

licences are valid for 6 months.

1959: A new examiner training facility

was acquired at Stanmore training

school, near Heathrow. Until then,

examiners were trained ‘on the job’.

1961: From 1 July 1961, learner riders

were restricted to machines of no more

than 250cc capacity in order to deal with

the high number of motorcycling

fatalities.

1962: From 1 April 1962, people who

had held more than seven provisional

licences were required to take a driving

test. If they failed to do so, the licensing

authority could refuse a further

application for a licence.

1963: The Road Traffic Act 1962

permitted riders to ride motorcycles of

more than 250cc after passing their test.

New grouping systems were introduced

for driving tests and driving licences and

a distinction was made between the test

of competence and the test of fitness.

Mopeds were placed in their own vehicle

group for driving test purposes.

1964: A voluntary register of approved

driving instructors (ADIs) was set up

under the Road Traffic Act 1962. To

become an ADI, you had to pass

stringent written and practical tests.

1965: Centralised licensing system was

set up at the new Swansea Driver and

Vehicle Licensing Centre (DVLC), taking

over licence issue from County/Borough

councils.

The application form for a driving or

motorcycle licence was revised from 1

May 1965. The medical standard for

eyesight was changed. The distance from

which a driving test candidate must be

able read a number plate was changed to

67 feet for 3 1/8-inch-high characters.

• See years from 1965-present in

November’s Newslink

Top 10 driving

test facts

The car driving test was first taken

in 1935, meaning it is now 86...

not long before it gets a

congratulatory telegram from

Buckingham Palace! Here are some

of the top 10 driving test facts:

• Mr Beere was the first person to

pass the driving test in 1935: he

paid the grand total of 7s 6d

(37.5p) to take the test.

• There were no test centres in

1935 so you had to arrange to

meet the examiner somewhere like

a post office, train station or town

hall.

• The test was suspended for the

duration of World War 2 and didn’t

resume until 1 November 1946.

• In 1975, candidates no longer

had to demonstrate hand signals.

• The theory test was introduced

in 1996, replacing questions about

The Highway Code during the

practical test.

• Driving was much more

hazardous when the test was

introduced. In 1935 7,343 people

were killed on Great Britain’s roads

despite the fact that there were

only 2.4 million vehicles in use.

Nowadays there are over 30 million

vehicles on the road; our roads

death toll is around 1,800 a year

• Candidates could book their

theory test online for the first time

in December 2001.

• The driving test pass rate in

1935 was 63 per cent – compared

to arounf 46% now.

• 1969 saw the first driving test

set for an automatic vehicle.

• Since 1935 more than 50 million

tests have been taken.

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021

27


Regional News

MSA GB Training events and AGMs 2021

Details for MSA GB’s annual series of autumn

training events, seminars and AGMs are rapidly

being finalised, with key information set out

here. Some will be face-to-face events while

others will be held via Zoom. Each event will

involve a mixture of CPD training advice to

improve you as an instructor and business

professional, detailed information on the latest

developments within the training and testing

sector, as well as suggestions for what to look

out for in the future. More speakers and details

will be announced in the coming weeks.

In addition each event will feature the area’s

Annual General Meeting, to elect

representatives to run the committee for the

next 12 months. Anyone who is a full member

of MSA GB can put their name forward for

election; simply advise your local chair of your

wish to be considered for a role.

We hope you can find time to join us at one of

these events; we’re sure you will come away

thinking your time has been well spent.

AGM details

Western

Date: Monday, November 8

Time: 9.30-4pm

Venue: Oake Manor Golf Club,

nr.Taunton, Somerset, TA4 1BA

The MSA GB Western Area Conference

will be held at Oake Manor Golf Club,

nr. Taunton, Somerset, TA4 1BA on

Monday, November 8.

Arrive from 9.30am, with tea/coffee

available, for a 10am start. Our first

speaker will be Darren Russel, ADI

Enforcement Manager - West Midlands,

South West & South Wales, who will

be giving a presentation on his work

with the DVSA, followed by questions

from the floor.

After a tea/coffee break we will hear

from Mike Newman from Speed of

Sight along with a colleague. This

should be a great presentation; I had

the pleasure of seeing Mike at an MSA

GB National Conference a few years

Scotland

Date: Sunday, November 21

Time: 9-4pm

Venue: Castlecary House Hotel, Glasgow

MSA Scotland’s Training Seminar/AGM will be held on

Sunday, November 21 at Castlecary House Hotel,

Castlecary Road, Castlecary, Glasgow G68 0HD. For

people travelling to Glasgow, it is very close to the M80.

The doors open at 9am, with the STS commencing at

ago and was enthralled.

The Western Area AGM will be held

at 12.30, to be conducted by MSA GB

National Chairman Peter Harvey MBE.

If Peter is unable to attend in person,

he will be appearing via Zoom.

After this we will break for a twocourse

buffet lunch. There is a meat

and vegetarian option; please let the

staff know on arrival your preference,

along with any allergies.

Following lunch Alan Hiscox of The

British Horse Society will deliver a

presentation entitled ‘Dead Slow.’

After a further refreshment break we

will hear an industry update by Peter

Harvey who will give us some clues as

to the future changes we can expect as

The Western event will hear a

presentation on horse/rider safety from

the British Horse Society

well as answer any questions you may

have. A packed day, and we’ll look to

wrap up around 4pm.

This will be an opportunity to meet,

mix and converse with other ADIs,

something we haven’t been able to do

for 20 months, see some excellent

speakers, and learn more about the

future of our industry. You will also be

issued with a CPD Certificate ... and all

for just £30!

Put the date in your diary now so you

don’t book any lessons or

tests for that day, and I

look forward to seeing

you there. Any queries,

please don’t hesitate to

get in touch.

Arthur Mynott, Chairman,

MSA GB Western Area,

chair.ow@msagb.com

9.30am. Speakers to include the DVSA’s CEO, Loveday

Ryder, and John Sheridan, Driver Training Policy

Manager, as well as Chief Inspector Mark Patterson,

Police Scotland. Peter Harvey MBE, National Chairman

will offer his thoughts on the latest news and

development from within our society, and will conduct

the AGM.

Cost is £40; to include lunch, refreshments and CPD

certificate. Book through the MSA GB head office.

Alex Buist, Chair Scotland, chair.os@msagb.com

28

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021


For all the latest news, see www.msagb.com

CPD Training events and AGMs

NORTH EAST

Date: October 28 Time: 6.45pm to 9pm.

How: Online

Key speaker: John Sheridan, DVSA, and Peter Harvey

All members are welcome.

Contact Mike Yeomans to book your link via chair.ne@msagb.com

EAST MIDLANDS

Date: November 3 Time: from 7pm

How: Online

Key speakers: Russell Jones and Peter Harvey

Contact: Kate Fennelly to book your link via chair.em@msagb.com

GREATER LONDON

Date: November 7 Time: from 4pm

How: Online

Key speakers: Janet Stewart, Tom Kwok and Peter Harvey

Contact: Tom Kwok to book your link via chair.gl@msagb.com

WESTERN

November 8 Time: 9.30-4pm

How: All day in person event at Oake Manor Golf Club, nr Taunton,

Somerset TA4 1BA

Contact: Arthur Mynott to book your place via chair.ow@msagb.com

(see left for further details)

WEST MIDLANDS

November 10 Time: from 7pm

How: Online

Key speakers: John Sheridan (DVSA) and Peter Harvey

Contact: info@msagb.com to book your link

EASTERN

Date: November 14 Time: from 6.30pm

How: Online

Key speakers: Paul Harmes and Peter Harvey

Contact: Paul Harmes at chair.oe@msagb.com for a joining link

SOUTH EAST

Date: November 15 Time: from 7pm

How: Live in-person event at Bannatynes Hotel, Hastings, Sussex

Key Speakers: British Horse Society and Peter Harvey

Contact: Fenella Wheeler via chair.se@msagb.com for more details and to book

SCOTLAND

Date: November 21 Time: 9am-4pm

How: All-day in-person event, at Castlecary House Hotel, Castlecary

Cost: Members £35, non-members £40

Key speakers: Loveday Ryder, John Sheridan, Chief Inspector Mark Patterson

Call 01625 664501 or email chair.os@msagb.com to book your place

(see facing page for details)

Highway Code

changes focus on

M-way safety

A number of changes were introduced

to the Highway Code in September,

with the main focus being the safe use

of smart motorways.

A total of 33 existing rules were

amended and two new rules

introduced.

These include:

• clearer advice on where to stop in

an emergency

• the importance of not driving in a

lane closed by a Red X

• the use of variable speed limits to

manage congestion

• updated guidance on key factors

that contribute to safety-related

incidents, including unroadworthy

vehicles, tailgating and driving in

roadworks

Among the changes, the new advice

states that emergency areas and hard

shoulders on motorways are not to be

used for rest breaks in the event of

driver sleepiness. There is also

guidance on towing, including speed

limits and safety procedures.

Possibly the key details cover smart

motorways and Red X signs.

The new guidance states:

• the display of red flashing light

signals and a red ‘X’ on a sign identify

a closed lane in which people, stopped

vehicles and other hazards may be

present. Drivers should follow the

instructions on signs in advance of a

closed lane to move safely to an open

lane.

It also stresses that:

• there can be several hazards in a

closed lane

• blocking closed lanes may prevent

people from getting the help they need

and delay reopening of the lanes

• where a closed left lane crosses an

exit slip road, the exit cannot be used

• the road is closed when red

flashing light signals.

NORTH WEST

Date: November 22 Time: from 7pm

How: Online

Key Speakers: Graham Clayton and Peter Harvey

Contact: Graham Clayton via chair.nw@msagb.com to book your link

• Regional AGMs will take place in all areas during the event

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021

29


Regional News

DVSA: Can they do more to help us?

Alex Brownlee

MSA GB Greater London

After a couple of months of silence in

Newslink from Greater London, I was

suddenly struck by a moment of

inspiration – hence this article.

I remember when examiners put pen

to paper on L-tests and I used to know

exactly where my pupil had gone wrong.

Like many ADIs I kept a record of this. If

different pupils had the same faults, then

I knew I had to work on what they were

doing wrong. It was a good way of

gauging how effective my teaching was.

Now, however, the test is marked on

an iPad and the results go straight to the

pupil’s email address, but the DVSA

doesn’t send the results to me. While

some pupils will forward this information

on not all do; some pupils don’t like their

ADI knowing their email address.

This has always been an annoyance

but now it takes on a different tone. In

future the DVSA will use test results as a

way of targeting standards checks and

will send you an alert if there is an area

of concern. The problem is I don’t know

why there is an issue, because I don’t get

the results from them or some of my

pupils. Why can’t the DVSA copy me into

the results as well?

Should we push for this to happen so

we know if we are teaching correctly?

I give my ADI number to my pupils

when they book their tests, to make sure

they don’t double book with one of my

other pupils. Remember that pupils don’t

know exactly how the system test

booking system works. So when they use

my ADI number and book a driving test

many think that I know exactly where

their test is and at what time. As we

know, that’s not correct; despite using

my ADI number, the DVSA doesn’t tell

me it has been used.

I have to tell pupils they are only using

my ADI number for the DVSA calendar

so I’m not double booked for a test.

Why doesn’t DVSA use my ADI

number to inform me when the pupil has

booked a test by showing when and

where the pupils booked it and at what

time – and then after the test, let me

know how they performed?

I hope they read this article so they

can implement what I’ve just said – it

would help us and the DVSA work better

together.

Working together on test slots

Everyone hates the words ‘Covid

delays’ but the DVSA hasn’t got an

option and the L-tests are not coming

through until March 2022.

To try to help out, I am setting up a

group of instructors so that if any of them

have got a driving test and their pupil is

not ready, but my pupil is, we will do a

swap.

This is helping the pupil out as well

because if we have got a pupil up to

standard who is waiting and still paying

for driving lessons, they’re saving money.

Some, because of the wait, stop

driving lessons until nearer the test date

they were originally given.

Anyone who agrees or disagrees with

me, please let me know.

CONTACT

To comment on this article, or provide

updates, contact Alex at

msaeditorgreaterlondon@gmail.com

Heads should roll at DVSA over B+E farce

Guy Annan

MSA GB Western

On September 10 it was announced that

all trailer testing would cease on

September 20. Trainers had little over a

week’s notice to tell you that you were

going to be out of work if trailer training

was your game, as it is for a lot of

people.

How can this be allowed to happen?

‘We need more examiners testing to to

get lorry drivers passed’ was the DVSA

battle cry, because there is a nationwide

shortage. Did they not have the foresight

to see this was going to happen when

Brexit happened?

Okay, so after all the bellyaching, how

do we come up with a solution? Why

should we; after all, it’s not our mess, it’s

theirs. However, unless we don’t give

them the answers they’ll bury their

heads in the sand and pretend that

there’s not a problem.

Why not encourage people to become

driving examiners, starting by paying

them a decent wage. £24K is hardly

going to attract many people. Pay more?

I hear you cry, how are we going to pay

for that? Now here’s the clever bit…

double the cost of the L-test so that you

get fewer time wasters – you know, the

ones trying to pass without proper tuition

but who have bagged themselves an

L-test using their clever little app but

who now realise they can’t find an

instructor to teach them.

It will also help convince those more

concientious pupils who would listen to

you more before committing themselves

to an L-test because of the higher cost.

The result would be fewer candidates

for test but more examienrs – leaving

capacity to do more testing in things like

lorries and trailers!

So we’ve just solved the waiting list

problem and the lorry driver problem in

one fell swoop.

Best of all, we’ve done it without

compromising road safety. “Drive safely

for life” is the DVSA slogan. Really? So

how does that fit in now that they are

going backwards and lowering the

standard when it comes to towing ?

An L-test pupil can pass their test in

something small, let’s say a Fiat 500, in

the morning and then quite legally in the

afternoon get into a Jaguar, hitch it up to

a huge caravan and have no idea about

the towing limits (because they’ve not

been taught) and drive off down the

motorway, or equally as bad down the

country lanes.

We’re going back to the old days but at

least then there weren’t so many cars on

the road then.

This is a disaster waiting to happen.

Extra reason to be be careful out there.

CONTACT

To comment on this article, or provide

updates, contact Guy at g.annan@

alphadrivingtaunton.com

30

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021


For all the latest news, see www.msagb.com

New cycle lane network hits snags already

Terry Pearce

MSA GB West Midlands

They are building a cycle lane near me in

Coventry, as part of a package of

measures to improve the air quality in

the city by helping to remove traffic from

sections where Nitrogen Dioxide (NO 2

)

levels are at their greatest.

This is being funded from a government

grant specifically to deal with NO 2

. It will

be the first route in Coventry that will

eventually lead to a strategic cycle

network across the city.

I may sound sceptical, but the council

have had these so-called brilliant ideas

before, the last one being ‘bus lanes’

which were plastered all over the city.

Odd bus lanes still remain but the

location of the ones that failed can be

seen by the green coloured tarmac that

was left behind to slowly fade in time,

after the white lines had been burnt off!

The cycle lane is being built alongside

an existing wide road and problems have

occurred during construction. New kerb

stones which were designed to highlight

parking bays suddenly appeared in the

roadway without markings or warning

signs; these were being hit by

unsuspecting motorists, and one major

crash has already happened. The council

were forced to place road cones out to

highlight the kerb edge until they

eventually erected warning posts. The

The new cycle lanes,

with hastily erected

warning posts!

Artist’s

impression

of the new

cycle lane

pictures show how different the layout

certainly looks when compared with the

initial consultation information leaflets

that the neighbourhood were given (the

large photo above is the actual, the

smaller one insert is what residents

were told they could expect).

The cycle lane will have priority over

side roads that it crosses and its own

traffic signals at junctions and crossings.

I must state that I am all in favour of

them, as long as the users obey the rules

of the road. Considering the anti-cycle

lane comments made on social media

during its building, to justify their

thoughts that it is a waste of money,

every other pedestrian, public transport

user and motorist will be watching

cyclists’ behaviour very closely.

DATE FOR YOUR DIARY. Our AGM will

be held by Zoom on Wednesday, 10th

November. More details on page 29.

CONTACT

To comment on this article, or provide

updates from your area, contact

Terry at terry@terrypearce.co.uk

The world’s shortest stretch of road before a Give Way?

Photo courtesy of Eleanor Beswick

Talking of cycle lanes...

is this the shortest stretch of road

you have ever seen between an

entry point to a road and a Give

Way sign?

It is a car length – though larger

vehicles turning into the side road

from the main will have their

backside sticking out into the traffic

if they stop at the Give Way lines.

It’s a result of a new cycle path

built in Bramhall, Stockport which

has already caused the ire of many

local motorists, with one former ADI

saying it was likely to create

dangers for both traffic turning off

the main road and suddenly being

forced to stop, and cyclists using

the path. What’s your view?

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021

31


News

DVLA survey finds drivers

blind to eyesight regulations

Fewer than half of motorists surveyed by

DVLA know they must be able to read a

number plate from 20 metres away in

order to drive safely.

The agency has found that just 48.5%

of drivers it surveyed were aware of this

essential eyesight requirement, and now

it is calling on drivers to ensure they

take the 20-metre number plate test and

meet the minimum eyesight standards

before getting behind the wheel.

The call to action is part of the

agency’s Number Plate Test campaign,

which aims to remind drivers that the

test is an easy way to regularly selfcheck

their eyesight. It also reminds

them they should have their eyes tested

at least every two years or as soon as

they notice any changes to their vision.

The number plate test is quick and

easy to take, and DVLA is offering

examples of how to measure the

20-metre distance, which it says is the

same as five car lengths, or the width of

eight parking bays.

The agency is urging anyone with

concerns about their eyesight to visit

their optician for an eye test.

Glaucoma UK said it supported the

DVLA’s vital call to drivers to check their

eyesight. Its head of support services,

Joanna Bradley, said: “Everyone should

have regular eye tests, at least every two

years, so that your optician can check

the health of your eyes. Many people

may have seen changes to their vision

over the past year and may have missed

a test due to the pandemic. We’d urge

anyone with concerns not to delay

getting tested as their vision could get

worse.

“We support the DVLA’s Number

Plate Test campaign and its crucial

safety message, and we hope this will

raise awareness of the importance of

regular testing among the public.”

More at https://www.gov.uk/drivingeyesight-rules

Delays hit opening of

theory test centres

Two of Scotland’s new theory test

centres have been hit by delays to their

opening.

The centres in Edinburgh and Stirling

were meant to open last month but will

now not be welcoming their first

candidates until later this month

(October). Reed in Partnership, which

is carrying out tests on behalf of DVSA

in Scotland, said the new venues were

not ready.

Candidates with tests booked for last

month in these sites should have

received a replacement slot at an

alternative centre. If your pupil cannot

make the new appointment offered to

them, they can choose a new date,

time and location by visiting:

www.gov.uk/change-theory-test.

They will need their booking

confirmation reference and driving

licence number to do this.

Trainer bookers will need to cancel

and re-book their candidates through

the trainer booker service and will be

emailed directly about this requirement.

End of road coming

for physical licences

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed

plans to move provisional cards online, saying to

do so would be ‘fairer, greener & more efficient’

thanks to ‘exciting new post-EU freedoms’.

The DVLA is aiming to launch an app that will

also spell the end for paper test certificates and

bring MOTS into the modern age with digital

certificates and booking systems. In future,

drivers will carry their licence on their mobile

phone. If successful, full driving licences could

be digitalised too, although plastic licences will

still be available to those who require them.

The DVLA currently issues more than 10

million licences a year and holds records for

more than 49 million driving licence holders. It

confirmed in its Annual Report that 2024 was

the target date for digital provisional licences,

stating: ‘We will introduce a digital driving

licence for provisional drivers and also start to

build a customer account facility. This will

ultimately give our customers personalised, easy

and secure access to a range of services.’

However, it promised to ‘build services that are

digital by desire – with digital services that are

so good that people will choose to use them,

making their transactions faster, simpler and

with a lower carbon footprint.’

32

A reminder that motorists driving on the continent can no longer travel

under the old GB sticker. All UK-registered vehicles must now display a UK

sticker to be legal.

HMRC change to Making Tax Digital

HMRC has made an important change to

its guidance about Making Tax Digital

(MTD) for income tax. The new rules now

state:

‘Self-employed businesses and landlords

with annual business or property income

above £10,000 will need to follow the

rules for Making Tax Digital for Income Tax

from 6 April 2024.’

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021


Geoff Little honoured at

IMTD annual awards

For all the latest news, see www.msagb.com

The Institite of Master Tutors of Driving

(IMTD) held its Annual General Meeting

last month, at which it presented a

number of awards to members.

The annual ceremony spotlights the

achievements of some of the country’s

leading driving instructors, but this year

there was also special recognition for

those whose efforts during the pandemic

had helped keep the profession informed

and on the road during some very

difficult times.

One particularly moving award saw

MSA GB’s own national deputy

chairman, Geoff Little, presented with

an award for his Exemplary Contribution

to the IMTD over many years.

The joint winners of the IMTD

Coronavirus Pandemic Award were the

National Associations Steering

Partnership (NASP), of which MSA GB

is a member, and Sue Duncan.

Other awards were as follows:

New Driver Initiative Award

Driving for Better Business

IMTD Leading Organisation Award

The TTC Group

Driver Trainer of the Year

Neil Wightman

Highly Commended: Rob Cooling

IMTD Training Industry Award

Tri Coaching Partnership

Highly Commended:

Airport Driving School (Kieran Hynes)

IMTD Coronavirus 19 Pandemic Award

Sue Duncan &

NASP

Highly Commended

Red Driving School

Chris Bensted

Richard Rawden

Chairman’s Recognition Award

Andrew Love

Lifetime Achievement Award

Barbara Trafford

Geoff Little receives his

award from the IMTD’s

Graham Feest

Neil Wightman

Sue Duncan

Andrew Love

Lynne Barrie with RED Driving

School’s CEO, Ian McIntosh,

accepting the pandemic response

award on behalf of NASP

The line-up of Highly Commended members,

flanked by Karl Satloka and Graham Feest

TTC Group

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021

33


News

Former CDE

dies, aged 72

Robin Cummins OBE

Many members will be saddened to

hear of the death of former chief driving

examiner Robin Cummins. He was 72

and passed away after a long illness.

Robin had over 10 years at the top of

the DSA, as it was then known, and

throughout that time went out of his

way to engage with ADIs up and down

the country. He was a regular attendee

of the MSA GB national conference and

would often visit smaller area meetings

to ensure he could meet with

instructors to discuss key issues both

local and national.

Always polite and respectful, Robin

knew his job inside and out and was a

constant source of common sense. He

will be best remembered for introducing

parallel parking to the L-test – though

he often joked he would also be long

remembered because, on the DL25, it

states the parking manoeuvre was ‘R +

C’. It wasn’t a reference to Rob

Cummins, rather that it could be done

‘on the road or in a car park’.

While not every decision he made or

fronted met with the approval of the

MSA GB, he always took time out to

explain the DSA’s decision and listened

to alternative views.

Even more important, he was happy

to concede when reforms were judged

to be ill-thought out and would look to

improve them.

He was awarded an OBE for services

to driver training, testing and road

safety, and in 2005 he was one of five

non-members to receive an MSA GB

Platinum Anniversary Awards to mark

his outstanding contribution to the

driver training industry.

Following his retirement from the

DSA Robin worked for BSM as a road

safety consultant, and continued to

have an involvement with the

profession via his membership of the

MSA GB East Midlands committee.

Peter Harvey said he was saddened

by news of his passing: “Robin was

quite simply one of the finest CDEs we

have ever had and a real pleasure to

work with.

“He was big supporter of the MSA

GB, as can be evidenced by him joining

when he left the DSA.

“Our thoughts and most sincere

condolences go out to his family at this

sad time.”

MSA GB to exhibit at ADI conference

Members planning to attend the ADINJC

& Intelligent Instructor National

Conference & Expo ’21 on Sunday, 10th

October 2021 should make a point of

coming over to say hello to the team

from MSA GB who will be exhibiting.

The event is being held at the Heart of

England Conference & Events Centre,

Fillongley, nr. Coventry, and as with

similar events held before the pandemic,

will feature seminars, advice on

everything from tuition plans, business

growth and the standards check,

activities and various stalls selling

training and teaching aids.

You can still book a ticket via https://

events.intelligentinstructor.co.uk

New ways for learners to

stay savvy about cyclists

Peter Harvey mbe

National Chairman

MSA GB

Bikeability Trust’s new Cycle Savvy

Driving Scheme has been extended into

2022, and will still accept applications

from ADIs to take part well into next

year.

Members may recall that MSA GB

began to get involved with the scheme

back in May when we took part in a

joint Zoom meeting with its head of

development, Benjamin Smith.

The Cycle Savvy Driving study aims to

ensure the safety of cyclists is at the

forefront of the driving curriculum by

addressing the current paucity of cycle

awareness learning resources for ADIs

and learner drivers. Free online training

is available to allow ADIs to focus their

lessons around the needs and

experiences of cyclists, with the overall

aim of educating the enxt generation of

drivers to fully appreciate that they are

sharing the road with cyclists.

So far around 1,500 ADIs have

registered to take part, which is great

news. However, organisers are hoping to

have 4, 000 involved, and with many

ADIs currently swamped by new pupils

as they endeavour to catch up with

backlogs created by pandemic

lockdowns, it was decided to extend the

pilot scheme until the end of March

2022.

If you would like more information on

the Cycle Savvy Driving, the areas in

England it covers and how to register,

see https://www.cyclesavvydriving.

co.uk/

34

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021


For all the latest news, see www.msagb.com

BOOK REVIEW

Insight to Drive – to create

better driving for life

One of our most long-serving and loyal

members has put pen to paper and

produced a fascinating guide to her life

as an ADI in her first book.

Kathy Higgins’ An Insight to Drive has

been written to address the old saying of

‘once you’ve passed your test, that’s

when you start to learn to drive’, as well

as challenge some of the other out-ofdate

beliefs and myths about passing the

practical driving test.

Higgins, an ADI who will be wellknown

to many MSA GB members,

wrote the book to not just help people to

pass their driving test and drive alone

with confidence, but to ignite a passion

for people to drive well for life. The pages

are full of advice and suggestions to

make the roads safer for all road users,

and to cut down needless deaths on UK

roads.

An Insight to Drive is a funny and

informative read, full of top tips when

looking for an instructor, how to find a

good instructor and how to spot if a pupil

is getting scammed by their driving

school.

The advice is delivered in Higgins’

typical warm but straight-forward style,

and true to her character she’s littered

the pages with lots of funny anecdotes

from her many years of being a driving

instructor and owner of her own driving

school.

An Insight to Drive isn’t just for people

passing their driving test. It is for pupils

and parents who are trying to find

the right driving instructor and for

driving instructors themselves.

There is also lots of advice and

information on how to remain confident

and take pride in being a good driver for

life after gaining a full driving licence.

On why she wrote An Insight to Drive,

Kathy said: “I wrote the book because

too many think all driving instructors are

the same, and those looking for lessons

would constantly try to find the cheapest

possible driving instructor, thinking all

that instructor would need to do is teach

them to pass their test.

“To me this is totally wrong. Mums and

dads will, for example, go to great

lengths to keep their children from harm,

yet many will scrimp on paying for driver

training for something that takes away so

many lives, including young ones, in a

very violent and sudden way. So that’s

the main reason why I wrote the book; I

want to put the record straight, to tell

readers, parents and future drivers not to

just go with a driving instructor because

they are cheap or friendly.

“But most of all I am here to help and

educate people on making an informed

choice, so they don’t just pass their

practical test, but they are better more

confident drivers for life.”

Higgins decided to write An Insight to

Drive when, while delivering a speed

awareness course in Knowsley,

somebody remarked to her that all

driving instructors are the same, and the

class agreed.

Knowing this simply isn’t the case

Higgins wanted to put the record

straight, not only to tell people that there

are some fantastic driving instructors, but

how to find them, what to ask them,

who to complain to if as a learner you

are not happy, and to switch instructors if

it’s necessary too.

Packed with stories and real-life

experiences from her decades as an

instructor, Higgins delivers lots of sound

advice for students and instructors alike.

As well as hilarious anecdotes and myth

busting she exposes scams made by

some driving instructors and how to spot

them if they are happening to you.

It’s a great read and will provide even

the most experienced ADI with

something to think about – and plenty to

laugh along with, too.

For more information, please visit:

https://insight2drive.co.uk/home/

an-insight-to-drive-buy-the-book/

An Insight to Drive by Kathy Higgins

Publisher: Book Bubble Press

ISBN: 9781912494064

Available from: Amazon

Pandemic sees big rise in anxious motorists

Research by the AA has found that

three-quarters of drivers suffered from

nerves behind the wheel during the

pandemic – and over 300,000 gave up

driving all together as a result.

Three in five of those who felt

increased anxiety levels said they did

nothing to address their anxious feelings

(67%). Seven per cent cut down on

driving and one per cent stopped driving

altogether.

Older drivers (65+) were the least

likely to have sought help (69%) and

nearly half of younger drivers said they

had done nothing about it (18-24s

48%).

Men were more likely than women to

not address their anxiety; 72% of men

compared to 59% of women said they

did nothing about it.

Drivers can lose their confidence for a

number of reasons. Crashes, nearmisses,

or just being out of practice can

develop into driving phobias if left

untreated.

Mental health charity Mind advises

people with phobias such as a fear of

driving should seek help from their GP

in the first instance, as they can advise

on treatment options which may include

talking therapies or medication.

Promisingly, some drivers had taken

steps to manage their nervousness. One

in ten (13%) had tried relaxation

techniques, 3% took a passenger with

them on their next drive, 6% had talked

to someone about their worries (such as

a friend) and 2% had sought

professional help.

One in five younger drivers said they

had tried relaxation techniques to help

them calm down (18-24s 23%).

A handful had also tried refresher

driving lessons, which aim to boost

confidence in experienced drivers by

addressing specific concerns or areas to

work on, such as handling motorway

driving.

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021

35


Q & A with Janet Stewart

Former MSA GB Member

of the Year just loves the

ancient ways

Greater London member

Janet Stewart on the joys of

hill walking, ancient history

and how dog training can

give you a new perspective

on your pupils’ errors

When did you become an ADI, and

what made you enter the profession?

I became an ADI in 2004. I had been

working in the City for many years and it

was no longer fun. The corporate

hospitality and jollies were drying up and

I no longer enjoyed it.

I thought “I like driving. I’m sure I

could teach. How hard can it be?”

I now know, of course, that it is not

easy at all and there is far more to it than

getting a learner through the driving test!

What’s the best bit about the job?

The best bit about the job is that I see

a result and believe that, in my small

way, I can make a difference to

someone’s life. I particularly enjoy

presenting Drink/Drive courses, currently

on Zoom. In my previous work I just

moved money around.

And the worst?

The worst thing is trying to convince

parents that 10 hours is not enough

tuition to get little Johnny through his

driving test. These are usually the

parents who do not engage with the

process other than telling me what I

need to teach their son/daughter and, on

occasion, how I should do it.

I would put money on this not

happening nearly as often to male

instructors.

What’s the best piece of training advice

you were ever given?

Before I became an ADI I did some

dog training. The trainer told us that the

dog wanted to please us and if the dog

made a mistake it was the trainer’s fault

for not anticipating what the dog was

going to do wrong.

I have been given much good and

valuable advice over the years, but I have

thought of that dog trainer many times,

and trying to understand my part in my

pupils’ errors has stood me in good

stead.

What one piece of kit, other than your

car and phone, could you not do without?

I could not do without my three pairs

of walking boots and trek poles.

What needs fixing most urgently in

driving generally?

I don’t know what needs to be fixed

most urgently in driving. I suppose I

could say it’s the potholes but what I

would really like to see is a change in

attitudes. I had hoped that Covid might

provide an opportunity for fresh thinking,

along with more cycling and walking. I

attended several Webinars discussing

how we might take the initiative in

considering shared space and

environmentally better transport options.

Alas, it seems that people have reverted

to type very quickly after the lifting of

restrictions.

What should the DVSA focus on?

I think the DVSA missed a trick some

years ago by not making CPD

compulsory. Maybe it is not too late for

them to change their mind.

“I study ancient Greek and

Latin and am really interested

in ancient history. I visit as

many very old historical sites

as I can and clamber all over

them (Health and Safety is

unheard of in some places!)”

It has also struck me that with Covid

creating such long waiting lists for tests,

this might be the time to raise the age for

acquiring a provisional licence to 18. I

can’t see that ADIs would be concerned

about lack of learners because it seems

we nearly all have waiting lists.

Either that or Graduated Driving

Licences. I don’t see why a version of

Pass Plus should not be compulsory – to

be completed within six months of

passing the L test.

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

transform driver training/testing?

The next big thing for training and

testing has got to be electric vehicles

and, yes, I am hugely in favour. I

attended a ‘Train the Trainer’ day in

preparation for teaching in electric

vehicles and any remaining doubts I

might have had were removed.

How can we improve driver testing/

training in one move?

Better minds than mine have looked at

the question of testing and training.

ADI’s signing off on manoeuvres would

be a start.

Who/what inspires you, drives you on?

I am inspired and kept going by seeing

other people overcoming the odds and

doing extraordinary things.

36

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021


For all the latest news, see www.msagb.com

‘‘

I started long distance walking

when my father bought me my

first pair of fell boots aged 12...

I am happiest on a mountain,

in a desert or by a river...

and I could not do without my

three pairs of walking boots

and trek poles...

‘‘

What keeps you awake at night?

Very little keeps me awake at night. I

am not a worrier.

No one is the finished article. What do

you do to keep on top of the game?

I try to keep up to date with what is

going on in the industry. I read all (or

nearly all) the stuff that comes through

online and do a lot of courses, seminars

and training days.

What’s the daftest /most dangerous

thing that’s ever happened to you while

teaching?

I have learnt that some learners will

do EXACTLY what I say. In my early

days I gave a controls lesson to a new

pupil who was dyslexic and dyspraxic.

She listened attentively to every word I

said and we got the car started. I told

her to push the clutch all the way down

to the floor. She looked surprised and

then she bent double, under the steering

wheel, stretched forward and tried to

push the clutch down with her right

hand.

I am saving up most of these stories

for the book I will not get around to

writing.

I also realised that a learner who has

driven really well, week after week, can

still doing something surprising. I take

learners up the A41 dual carriageway

near us. It is straight but hilly and good

for letting them see how easily the car

will speed up downhill and slow down

uphill. I don’t know what happened on

this particular day but at 70mph we

shot up a steep embankment and then

careered back onto the carriageway. As I

pulled myself up out of the foot well,

wondering if I was dead or alive, the

pupil just smiled and continued on up

the road.

Neither of us ever mentioned it...

When or where are you happiest?

I am happiest on a mountain, in a

desert or by a river. I started longdistance

walking when my father bought

me my first pair of fell boots aged 12. I

have walked and trekked ever since and

never lost my love for remote places and

open spaces.

If you had to pick one book/film/album

that inspires, entertains or moves you,

what would it be?

It has taken me years to get my work/

life balance where I want it but at the

moment I have got it right. I study

ancient Greek and Latin and am really

interested in ancient history. I visit as

many very old historical sites as I can

and clamber all over them (Health and

Safety is unheard of in some parts of the

world).

I still train dogs and grow vegetables

and I sing in the Chorleywood Choral

Society – we are good enough to go on

tour at home and abroad and this year

we were singing at the Edinburgh

Fringe.

If I were on Desert Island Discs the

music I would save from the waves

would be Richard Strauss’s Four Last

Songs and my book would be

Steinbeck’s East of Eden.

IN BRIEF

EVs bright spot in

car sales slump

Sales of new cars continue to be very

poor across Europe, with the only

bright spot for manufacturers the

continuing increase in the appeal of

electric vehicles (EVs).

New car registrations slowed once

again in August, with a decline of 18%

to 713,714 units. This marks the

lowest recorded volume in August since

2014.

However, there was a sharp uptick in

demand last month which saw EVs

post their second highest ever monthly

market share at 21%. The 151,737

units registered last month marks a

year-on-year increase of 61% and

takes total volume since January to

1.32 million units. A spokesman for

JATO Dynamics commented: “Although

deals and incentives have played a

significant part in boosting demand, we

have seen a fundamental shift in

buying habits as more appealing

models have entered the market and

consumers have become aware of the

benefits attached to EVs.”

In August, EVs and plug-in hybrids

outsold their diesel counterparts for the

first time ever. This time last year, the

volume of EVs was 158,300 units less

than diesel car registrations, however

last month we saw these EVs outsell

diesel vehicles by 10,100 units.

Demand was particularly strong for

the electric versions of the Fiat 500,

Peugeot 208, Hyundai Kona, Opel

Corsa and Kia Niro, in addition to the

outstanding results of the Volkswagen

ID.3 – Europe’s top-selling EV during

the month.

Best seller: the VW ID.3

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021

37


Membership

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

www.msagb.com 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 www.ford.co.uk for vehicle

and specification information.

For further information, to view frequently asked questions,

to request a quote and to access the member discount

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

GB website and follow the Ford link.

Please note these discounts are only available to MSA GB

members and their immediate family if they are members

who pay annually.

ACCOUNTANCY

MSA GB’s Recommended

Accountancy Service, FBTC

offers a specialist service for

driving instructors. It has been

established over 20 years ago and

covers the whole of the UK. The team takes

pride in providing unlimited advice and

support to ensure the completion of your tax

return is hassle free, giving you peace of mind.

MSA GB OFFER:: FBTC will prepare you for

Making Tax Digital and will be providing

HMRC compliant software to all clients very

soon. Join now to receive three months free.

ADVANCE DRIVING

AND RIDING

IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s

largest road safety charity, is

proud to partner with the

Motor Schools Association GB in

order to work together to make our roads

safer through driver skills and knowledge

development.

MSA GB OFFER:: Enjoy a 20% saving on our

Advanced Driver Course for members.

BOOKKEEPING

Easy-to-use bookkeeping & tax spreadsheets

designed specifically for driving instructors. It

will reduce the time you need to spend on

record-keeping. Simply enter details of your fee

income and expenses throughout the year and

your trading profit, tax & national insurance

liability are automatically calculated.

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

GB members 25% discount.

CAR AIR FRESHENERS / CANDLES

Mandles’ handmade scented collections use

quality ingredients to ensure

superior scent throw from all

its candles and diffusers.

Check our our website for

further details.

MSA GB OFFER:: Special discount

of 20% on all car air fresheners and refills.

CARD PAYMENTS

MSA GB and SumUp believe in

supporting motor vehicle

trainers of all shapes and sizes.

Together we are on a mission to

ease the operational workload of our members

by providing them with the ability to take card

payments on-the-go or in their respective

training centres. SumUp readers are durable

and user-friendly. Their paperless onboarding is

quick and efficient. Moreover, their offer comes

with no monthly subscription, no contractual

agreement, no support fees, no hidden fees

– just the one-off cost for the reader coupled

with lowest on the market transaction fee.

MSA GB OFFER:: We are offering MSA GB

members discounted 3G reader.

CPD & TRAINING

COURSES

As part of its new relationship

with MSA GB, Tri-Coaching is

delighted to offer a massive

20% discount across the board on all our

training products and courses, exclusively to

MSA GB Members.

MSA GB OFFER: 20% off all Tri-Coaching

courses.

DISABILITY AIDS

Driving shouldn’t just be a

privilege for people without

disabilities; it should be

accessible for all and there’s

never been an easier time to make

this the case! MSA GB members can take

advantage of BAS’s Driving Instructor

Packages which include a range of adaptations

at a discounted price, suitable for teaching

disabled learner drivers.

MSA GB OFFER: Special Driving Instructor

Packages for MSA members.

HEALTH / FINANCE COVER

The Motor Schools Association of Great Britain

has agreed with HMCA to offer discounted

rates for medical plans, dental plan, hospital

cash plans, personal accident

plan, travel plan, income

protection and vehicle

breakdown products.

MSA GB OFFER: HMCA only

offer medical plans to

membership groups and can offer up to a

40% discount off the underwriter’s standard

rates. This is a comprehensive plan which

provides generous cash benefits for surgery

and other charges.

To get the full story of

the discounts available,

see www.msagb.com

40 NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021


For all the latest news, see www.msagb.com

Membership offer

Welcome new ADIs

PUPIL INSURANCE

Help your pupils private practice

by signing them up to

Collingwood’s instructor

affiliate programme.

MSA GB OFFER:: £50 for your

first referral and a chance to

win £100 of High Street vouchers!

PSYCHOLOGY TRAINING

Confident Drivers has the only

website created especially for

drivers offering eight different

psychological techniques

commonly used to reduce

stress and nerves.

MSA GB OFFER: One month free on a

monthly subscription plan using coupon code.

PUPIL SOURCING

Go Roadie provides students

when they need them, with

all the details you need

before you accept. Control

your own pricing, discounts

and set your availability to suit

you. Full diary? No cost!

MSA GB OFFER: Introductory offer of 50%

off the first three students they accept.

TYRES

VRedestein’s impressive range

of tyres includes the awardwinning

Quatrac 5 and the

new Quatrac Pro – offering

year-round safety and

performance.

MSA GB OFFER: 10% discount on

purchases across our tyre ranges.

To get the full story of

the discounts available,

see www.msagb.com

We’ve a special introductory offer for you!

Congratulations on passing your

Part 3 and becoming an ADI.

There’s an exciting career

open to you from today.

It’s one that is alive with

possibilities as you build

your skills, your client

base and your income.

But for all the excitement,

it can also be a

challenging profession. Who

can you turn to if you’re

struggling to get over key driver

training issues to a pupil? Where can you

go to soak up advice from more

experienced ADIs? Who will help you if

you are caught up in a dispute with the

DVSA? If the worst happens, who can

you turn to for help, advice and to fight

your corner?

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

heard.

SPECIAL OFFER

We’d like you to join us

We’re there to support you every

step of the way. Our officebased

staff are there, five

days a week, from 9am-

5.30pm, ready to answer

your call and help you in

any way.

In addition our network of

experienced office holders

and regional officers can offer

advice over the phone or by email.

But membership of the MSA GB 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 structure

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

membership magazine Newslink every

month, with all the latest news, views,

comment and advice you’ll need to

become a successful driving instructor.

You’ll also automatically receive

professional indemnity insurance worth

up to £5m and £10m public liability

insurance free of charge.

This is essential legal protection covering

you against legal claims ariving from your

tuition.

So join us today: No joining fee,

saving you £15 – all for just £70!

Join MSA GB today!

No joining fee, saving £15

includes Professional Indemnity and

Professional Liability insurance

Call 0800 0265986 quoting

discount code Newslink, or join

online at www.msagb.com

£70

Just for 12 months membership

NEWSLINK n OCTOBER 2021 41

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines