Newslink December 2021

Magazine for Motor Schools Association of Great Britain, road safety, driving training and testing

Magazine for Motor Schools Association of Great Britain, road safety, driving training and testing


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The Voice of MSA GB

Issue 347 • December 2021

Here we go again:

Masks are back for

ADIs and pupils


Fit for

the road?

A vital contribution

to greening

urban mobility...

or a dangerous


We work for all Driver Trainers. Want to join? See pg 45 for a special introductory offer

02 NEWSLINK n MAY 2021

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

A year of changes: let’s hope

2022 runs more smoothly!

Colin Lilly

Editor, Newslink

Well, here we are at the end of the first

full calendar year of the Covid pandemic.

There have certainly been some changes.

Early in the pandemic during the early

lockdowns I wrote that the grey skies

would turn to blue. As far as the

unprecedented levels of business are

concerned, this is true. Many instructors

are working at full capacity and unable to

satisfy the demand. Finally, lesson prices

are approaching the level they should

have been at for many years.

Unfortunately, there have been some

dark clouds to mask some of the blue.

There is the black cloud with DVLA

written on it. The situation through the

year has led to many new drivers waiting

three months or more for a provisional

licence. Those with health concerns have

been left waiting even longer.

As the industry emerged from

lockdown it was not a smooth run, with

the lack of waiting rooms until

arrangements could be made.

Adjustments have been made to driver

training and the test to take account of

the Covid restrictions. These have been

understandable but none the less not as

comfortable as before Covid.

Brexit and the pandemic have taken

their toll on the transport industry,

leading to changes in LGV training and

testing. Once again, the DVLA has had a

hand in this. As part of the response the

DVSA called an end to the B+E test.

But just to show its officials had not

been idle during lockdown, it also

introduced changes to the Standards

Check process.

Let us hope that during 2022 the

clouds will disperse completely and leave

us with the blue sky.

Over the festive period we can blow

some of these clouds away for a while.

Take a good break, you deserve it.

Everyone involved with the association

and the production of Newslink wishes

you a very happy Christmas and New

Year. Hopefully, next year will see the

clouds thin and give us the opportunity to

meet up at the national training day and

AGM in March.

Continue to take care.


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


See a pale blue box in any article

or on an advert? It it contains a

web address or email, it’s

interactive. Just click and it will

take you to the appropriate web

page or email so you can find

more details easier.

You’ll also find these panels across

the magazine: just click for more

information on any given subject.

To get the

full story,

click here

How to access this


You can read Newslink in three


Go online and read the interactive

magazine on the Yumpu website;

or, if you would like to read it

when you don’t have a mobile

signal or WiFi, you can download

the magazine to your tablet, PC or

phone to read at your leisure.

Alternatively, a pdf can be found

on the MSA GB website,

at www.msagb.com

Season’s greetings, and thank you

Peter Harvey MBE

National Chairman


Here we are, another year almost over

and we are all looking forward to a better

festive period than last year. Let’s hope

that’s so.

I would like to wish all our members,

colleagues and supporters a very happy

Christmas in whatever way you celebrate

the festive season.

I would also like to thank you all for

your continued support over this difficult

year for everyone, and hope we can all

get back to whatever the new normal will

be very soon.

A special word of thanks to all our

team at head office for all their work

throughout the year.

On that note I need to advise you that

the MSA GB office will close for

Christmas on Friday, 24th December at

lunchtime and reopen on Tuesday, 4th

January at 9am.

Again, Merry Christmas, and as our

next issue of Newslink will in the first

days of 2022, a Happy New Year.

Follow the

link MSA

GB sends

you to



and then

just click


to save a

copy on

your device


Scourge or saviour: what’s

your view on e-scooters?

Colin Lilly looks at the rules

of the road... pg 16

If you want to contribute to the January issue of Newslink, send your

article to Colin Lilly at editor@msagb.com by 21st December.

Plus: they’re back!

Guidance on mask-wearing

changes as Covid virus

cases rise – see pg 6






of the


or road



Masks back in England

Concern over Omicron variant of

Covid-19 lead to U-turn on mask

wearing during driving lessons – Pg 6

Delay, but B+E axe will still fall

A parliamentary cock-up gives B+E tests

a technical reprieve, but they will still be

history by Christmas – Pg 8

Charity vehicle theft shock

Sick thieves have targeted a dedicated

charity helping disabled drivers – Pg 12


More chaos at the DVLA

A growing backlog of licence applications

has led to renewed criticism of the

public’s least favourite public sector

body, the DVLA – Pg 14


E-scooters: road rules needed

The soaring popularity of e-scooters has

left the government scrambling around

for a way of controlling their use on the

roads – but there’s little sign of success

so far – Pg 16

AI tech to help ADIs

Are you using outdated tech in your job?

WeDrive Instructor is the next-generation

all-in-one toolkit helping today’s busy

instructor work smarter, not harder...

– Pg 20


The Voice of MSA GB

The Motor Schools Association

of Great Britain Ltd

Head Office:

Chester House,

68 Chestergate,


Cheshire SK11 6DY

T: 01625 664501

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.


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

Area News/Views

Sharing my space

by Janet Stewart, MSA GB Greater London – pg 33

Western report

by Arthur Mynott, MSA GB Western – pg 35

Poor standards of other ADIs

Russell Jones, MSA GB East Midlands – pg 36

Shedding some light on DRLs

by Brian Thomson, MSA GB Scotland – pg 38

Plus news and views from the

South East, North West, North

East and the West Midlands


18 years of hard graft...

... destroyed by a political whim. One ADI’s

devastating story of the impact scrapping B+E

testing has had on his business – Pg 22

The fabled driving licence ...

A look back at that most quaint of historic

artefacts, the driving licence, circa 2021 – Pg 25

The story of safety rails

Concrete or steel? Wire or solid? The barriers that

stop cars leaving the roads are surprising

controversial – Pg 30

Keep in

touch 1

If you have updated your

address, telephone

numbers or changed your email

address recently, please let us

know at head office by emailing

us with your new details and

membership number to


If you can’t find your

membership number, give us a

ring on 01625 664501.

Keep in touch:

Just click on the icon

to go through to the

relevant site


Follow MSA GB on social media


MSA Conference 2022

First details of next year’s event


Q&A with...Steven Porter

MSA GB Scotland’s new

Chairman on his love of Rangers,

rock band Queen – and practice

– pg 42

Keep in

contact with

the MSA

MSA GB area contacts are

here to answer your

queries and offer any

assistance you need.

Get in touch if you have

any opinions on how MSA

GB is run, or wish to

comment on any issue

affecting the driver

training and testing


n National Chairman:

Peter Harvey MBE


n Deputy National

Chairman: Geoff Little

n Scotland:

Alex Buist


n North East:

Mike Yeomans


n North West:

Graham Clayton


n East Midlands:

Kate Fennelly


n West Midlands:

Geoff Little


n Western:

Arthur Mynott


n Eastern:

Paul Harmes


n Greater London:

Tom Kwok


n South East:

Fenella Wheeler


n South Wales:

All enquiries to


n Newslink:

All enquiries to

editor@msagb.com or






The mask... is back!

Face coverings mandatory on driving lessons In England

from 30th November; situation as before in Scotland, Wales

Peter Harvey MBE

National Chairman


As members will be only too aware,

increasing government concern over the

Omicron Covid-19 variant, and rising

virus infection rates in general, has

prompted a change in the official rules on

the wearing of facemasks in England.

Among those areas affected by this are

professional driving lessons of all kinds,

for both pupil and ADI.

The rule change came in at 4am on

Tuesday, November 30; from that point

onwards face coverings must be worn

in “any car, van or HGV, during a

professional driving lesson, a formal

driving test, or during one of the practical

tests for giving driving instruction.”

It should be noted that this guidance

affects England only, as the rule in

Scotland and Wales has been to continue

wearing facemasks during lessons since

general restrictions were eased in the


The legal requirement to wear a face

covering in certain places will be reviewed

in three weeks’ time.

NASP considers personal responsibility

will mean refreshed risk assessments for

ourselves on an individual basis and

similarly for each individual client, bearing

in mind the official rules.

NASP recommends that:

• You wear a face covering to protect

you and others on all lessons unless a

valid exemption is provided.

• You continue to sanitise the car as we

have been doing during Covid and to

continue to use hand sanitiser.

• NASP recommends that you take

regular lateral flow tests and ask your

clients to do the same before coming out

for a driving lesson.

Official government advice states:

It is also important to wear face


• indoors, in any situation which is

crowded, or where people are close


• if asked to by any “competent


• if someone else was uncomfortable,

as a “common courtesy”

Why is continuing to wear a face

covering been made compulsory in our


• Evidence suggests transmission is

mostly happening in indoor spaces where

people are in close proximity.

• Face coverings worn over the nose

and mouth reduce the spread of

coronavirus droplets from coughs, sneezes

and speaking.

• The main purpose is to protect others

from Covid, rather than yourself. If

everyone wears one, the risks drop for all.

• Masks can also help reduce virus

spread from people who may be

contagious but have no symptoms.

• Cutting virus transmission is

important because many people are still

not yet fully vaccinated.

The latest advice and guidance on Covid-19

regulations can be found at


For ADI specific guidance, see the

DVSA website, at






Delay, but B+E test axe still going to fall

The DVSA has confirmed that the

proposed date for formally ending B+E

testing has been delayed slightly.

As reported in last month’s Newslink,

the legislation required to end the tests

was due to go before the House of

Commons on November 15. However, it

was pulled for administrative reasons.

New legislation was re-laid in

Parliament on November 23 to restart

the process for this change. Once these

changes have been approved by both

Houses of Parliament, the DfT will

confirm the date the licensing law will be

introduced. Until the law has been

changed you and your pupils must

continue to follow the current rules.

What this means for car drivers towing

a trailer

DVSA stopped doing car and trailer

tests on September 20.

Until the law changes, car drivers who

gained their licence after January 1

1997 and don’t hold a full car and trailer

licence will only be able to tow a trailer

weighing up to 3,500kg if they:

• display L plates

• are supervised by a driver aged over

21 who has had a car and trailer licence

entitlement for three years or more

Drivers can be fined up to £1,000, be

banned from driving and get up to six

penalty points on their driving licence if

they drive a vehicle that’s not on their

driving licence.

When the law changes come into force

DVLA will update driving licence records

to reflect the changes.

The BE category will be added when a

new photocard driving licence is issued.

Drivers do not need to contact DVLA for

this to happen. It will be done automatically.

Tow safely

The DVSA is encouraging those drivers

looking to tow a trailer or caravan for the

first time to undertake a voluntary

accreditation scheme which is being

developed with help from the trailer

industry and training providers.

It is hoped that this scheme will be

launched early next year and will focus

on a core module for all drivers, with

sector specific modules for different

towing activities.

Find out more about how the scheme

in the DVSA’s latest blog post from Mark

Winn – Chief Driving Examiner (below)

B+E tests: the impact - see pg 22

We’re backing a trailer safety scheme

by Mark Winn

Chief Driving


Over the last few

months, we’ve been

preparing for changes

to car and trailer

testing and we’re

planning to launch a

voluntary trailer safety

accreditation scheme which will

encourage drivers to get training to help

them tow safely and enjoy their towing


We’re working with towing and training

groups to look at how to set the scheme

up and what it should focus on.

In November, alongside colleagues, I

led workshops with representatives the

towing and trailer industry.

I’m pleased to say the conversations

were positive and engaging – including on

what the accreditation scheme could

achieve and how it should be delivered. I

wanted to share with you how this

proposed scheme was developing.

I know the car and trailer test changes

have been the subject of much debate

recently, which is why we feel it’s really

important to engage with towing and

training groups on the accreditation

scheme. We want motorists to see the

accreditation scheme as the right way to

find out how to tow a trailer safely, and

with confidence.

At the workshops we asked for

feedback on three areas:

• Setting the standard of the training

• The government appointed

accrediting body or bodies

• The accredited training providers

For the first topic, on setting the

standards of the training, there was a

consensus for a modular approach. This

would mean providing a basic towing

module with additional modules for specific

sectors, for example livestock or plant.

A number of the groups felt that the

driver testing syllabus would be a good

starting point for the standard. In other

areas, such as the duration of the training,

there was a broader range of views.

Discussions about the accrediting body

or bodies focused on having more than

one organisation and including a standard

for assessors.

Some organisations were also interested

in getting more of an understanding about

the procurement process DVSA would

need to go through to appoint an

accrediting body or bodies.

On training providers, some of the

groups said existing trainers should be

able to join and build up their skills,

rather than having a new structure for all.

They felt that once the scheme had been

established, an assessment of new

providers could be introduced.

There was also a discussion about

having a level playing field and whether

trainers with good standards/skills could

be promoted.

Taking this forward

What happens next? We will run a

follow-up webinar for vocational trainers,

on the latest developments and get their

thoughts on the accreditation scheme too.

We’ll send invitations out for these

webinars once they have been arranged.

We’re also going to:

• Develop the car and trailer towing


• Develop a working version of the


• Carry on the work needed to appoint

an accrediting body or bodies

We’ll continue to work with the trailer

and training industry to share our progress

and get feedback.

If you have any comments on

this, you can post them on

the original blog by clicking here.



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

Two parts to new Driver CPC test

The DVSA has announced a reform of

the Driver CPC regime, with the Part 3

test split into two.

Up to November 28 drivers took a

single Driver CPC part 3 test (driving

ability) test (unless they’ve already

passed the off-road exercises test with

their training school)

However, from November 29, two

separate tests – Driver CPC part 3a

(off-road exercises) and part 3b (on-road

driving) will be conducted.

Prices for the Driver CPC part 3a test:

off-road exercises will be up to £40 for

tests taken with an approved training

organisation (this does not include the

cost of any training or vehicle hire), or

£40 for tests taken with DVSA

The Driver CPC part 3b test (on-road

driving) will cost £115 for tests taken on

weekdays, or £141 for tests at the

weekend or on a bank holiday.

The DVSA has been challenged over

the fees charged. It replied: “We have to

recover the costs of the services we

provide through the fees we charge.

“The current test fee does not cover all

of our costs. So we’re keeping the part

3b test fee the same as the current part

3 test fee. This will help cover the extra

costs of approving and auditing trainers

who provide part 3a tests.

“Because people taking the part 3b

test will have already passed the part 3a

test, they will be in a better position to

pass first time and avoid the potential

cost of a retake.

“Also, people who now take a test

towing a trailer with a large vehicle no

longer need to have passed a test in a

rigid vehicle first. This saves them £115

by not having to take 2 tests.

“However, we will keep the current

fees under review.’

Splitting HGV and bus driving tests

into two parts to create 500 more tests a

week is part of the government’s 32

actions to tackle the current HGV driver


• Find out more about this HERE:

Find Your Nearest

to include CPC

The DVSA has launched an extension of

its learner driver Find Your Nearest ADI

service, to cover Driver CPC trainers.

It allows members of the public to

locate their nearest approved Driver CPC

part 3a test provider for the off-road

exercise part of the vocational driving


The new GOV.UK service lists all

current approved assessors across Great

Britain who can carry out the off-road

exercises and have agreed to be on the

directory. It also includes their premise

address and contact details, and any

accessibility information relating to their


All the public needs to do is provide

their postcode to find their nearest


As reported on above, all Driver CPC 3

tests have been split into two parts from

Monday, November 29 - part 3a tests

(off-road exercises), and part 3b tests

(on-road). Drivers must have passed a

part 3a test before they can take their 3b





More changes to test centres

The DVSA has announced changes to the

following test centres for both theory and

practical testing.


Region C (East Midlands and South East)

King’s Lynn

The new centre will be based at

Ground Floor, 26 High Street, King’s

Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 1BP.


The new centre will be based at Unit

2, Oakley Vale District Centre, Butland

Road, Corby, NN18 8QT


Goodmayes DTC

Goodmayes driving test centre will be

closed for refurbishment from Monday,

January 17, 2022 until Friday, February

11, 2022.

All practical car driving tests, ADI tests

and standards checks will still go ahead

as planned, but instead these will take

place at:

Parkside Community Association, 176

Goodmayes Lane, Ilford, Essex IG3 9PP

Testing will recommence from the

Goodmayes test centre on Monday,

February 14, 2022.

Baillieston DTC

Baillieston driving test centre will be

Germans get tough

on law breakers

Enforcement fines for speeding and

other traffic offences have been

substantially increased in Germany

following legal changes agreed in early


Anyone caught driving 16 to 20

kilometres per hour (km/h) too fast in

an urban area will see the fine doubled

from 35 to 70 euros. For those that

are caught at 91 km/h instead of the

permitted 50 km/h, the fine will be

400 instead of 200 euros.

Drivers who do not form an

emergency corridor or use one to get

ahead of traffic will face a fine of

between 200 and 320 euros and a

month’s driving ban.

Lorry drivers who violate the

recently introduced obligation to drive

at walking pace when turning right in

urban areas will face a 70 euro



closed for refurbishment from Monday,

March 21 until Friday, April 15, 2022.

All practical car driving tests, ADI tests

and standards checks will still go ahead

as planned, but will take place at the

following address:

The Barrbridge, 2 Barrbidge Road,

Bargeddie, Glasgow G69 7TZ

Testing will recommence from the

Baillieston test centre on Monday, April 18,


What you have to do

• Where driving tests centres are

temporarily out of action, all affected

candidates have been informed, and

reminders will be sent out to them a

week before the test.

ADIs who book tests on behalf of their

pupils will need to tell them of the

change of address.

• ADIs up in arms over plans to close

centre: See Area News, pg 39

Waving goodbye ... to your UK licence

The DfT has issued a reminder to all UK

driving licence holders that if you move

to an EU country or Iceland,

Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland,

you will not be able to renew your driving

licence in the UK.

It is advised that you exchange your

UK driving licence for a local licence as

soon as possible in line with specific

advice for your country of residence.

Be aware that if your UK licence is

lost, stolen or expired, you will not be

able to exchange it for a local licence in

the country where you are living.

You will have to apply for a local

licence and may have to retake your

driving test. Check with the licensing

authority in your country of residence if

your licence is lost, stolen or expired.

Click here for the full rules in

each nation if you are

planning to move abroad

Spain ahead of the game on alcohol interlocks

Spain is considering making it

compulsory for all lorries and buses to

have alcohol interlocks fitted from 2022.

The European Union agreed in 2019 that

all new cars, vans, lorries and buses

should have a standardised interface for

connectng an alcohol interlock from next

year – but not the interlock itself, which

would be retro-fitted from 2024.

The Spanish proposal goes substantially

further by requiring lorries and buses to

be fitted with the devices now.

Alcohol interlocks require the driver to

blow into a device that prevents a vehicle

being started if he or she is over a pre-set


France already requires alcohol

interlocks on all coaches and buses.


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

EU looks to mandate zero alcohol

and drug limits for young drivers

The European Transport Safety Council

has called on the EU to improve the

safety of young drivers, as new data

shows those aged 15 to 30 represent a

quarter of all road deaths.

An ETSC report found that, in 2019,

5,182 young people were killed in road

collisions in the 25 EU countries for which

figures are available. That’s a fifth of

deaths from all causes in that age group.

Around 40 per cent of all road deaths

in the EU involve one or more young

drivers or powered two-wheeler riders.

Those overall numbers mask a huge

gender disparity. The report says that

men represent 81 per cent of all road

deaths among young people aged 15-30.

Large differences between male and

female road mortality remain even after

taking into consideration the fact that

men drive more than women.

The authors say that, while young

people are a high-risk group in

themselves, most young people do not

deliberately drive unsafely. The risks

associated with young drivers and riders

stem from inexperience, immaturity and

lifestyle linked to their age and gender.

Data shows that the younger a person

starts unrestricted solo driving, the more

likely it is that he or she will have a fatal

collision, particularly if under 18.

Graduated driving licence systems

have been assessed by a number of

studies that show a reduction in

collisions. Such systems put additional

restrictions on younger drivers during the

first years of driving, allowing them to

gain experience while reducing certain

high risk situations.

Young people, especially men, are also

over-represented when it comes to road

deaths linked to drink-driving and drugs.

Enforcing and tightening legal Blood

Alcohol Concentration limits and

improved help for those living with

identified alcohol and other drug issues

can therefore help prevent these deaths.

ETSC is calling for a drink-driving limit

set effectively at zero and a Europeanwide

zero-tolerance limit for illicit

psychoactive drugs.

See https://www.etsc.eu/PinFlash41




Staff left shattered as fleet of disabled driver

assessment cars stolen by thieves

A charity-funded assessment centre that

helps disabled drivers get back behind

the wheel has been hit by a particularly

cruel car theft.

Staff from Wessex DriveAbility in

Southampton were shocked to arrive at

work last month to find that their entire

fleet of specialist modified vehicles had

been stolen.

Wessex Driveability Centre is part of

the Driving Mobility network of

assessment centres, and the theft left

them unable to help disabled drivers

regain their independence.

The Southampton location in Kent

Road is Wessex DriveAbility’s main

assessment centre. The organisation

has outreach locations in Basingstoke,

Salisbury, Ferndown, and the Isle of

Wright. Its team of ADIs, occupational

therapists and administrators provide

fitness-to-drive driving assessments for

elderly and disabled people who selfrefer

or are signposted from the DVLA,

Motability, NHS and police.

This charity-funded team ensure

drivers are safe to continue driving and

provide clinical recommendations

regarding adapted driving controls and

wheelchair accessible vehicles.

All that was shattered, however, on

Monday, November 8 when thieves

broke into the centre by smashing-in the

fire doors, by-passing alarms and

opening safes to access the keys to five

assessment vehicles. The stolen cars are

the entire fleet of specialist vehicles used

for assessment drives and all feature a

number of conspicuous adaptions such

as rooftop wheelchair boxes.

The organisation already has a long

backlog of assessments because of the

pandemic, and this latest setback will

mean even more drivers will not be able

to regain their motoring independence for

some time.

Members of the

Wessex DriveAbility

team outside their


headquarters before

the theft of their

adapted car fleet

Rachel Odell, Wessex DriveAbility

Centre manager, said: “Discovering

our fleet of cars had been taken was an

awful shock to all of us. We are so

confused with how and why these

modified cars would be stolen as they

are specially designed and modified for

drivers with restricted mobility.

“We are a non-profit charity which is

part of a larger national charity

called Driving Mobility and are really

worried we might not be able to replace

certain custom-made controls we had

fitted in vehicles.

“Now we have no specialist vehicles

for assessing, drivers desperate to regain

their freedom will potentially have to wait

a considerate length of time before we

can see them. This couldn’t have come

at a worse possible time with the huge

demand on our service right now.

“My team and I are absolutely appalled

by the selfish nature of this act which

will impact so many disabled people and

their families”

Laura Holley, driving assessor and ADI,

concludes: “We might be wrong but

it appears that the criminals were

scoping our property for some time as

they knew exactly where to access keys

and at the right time. Plus, they must

have had some knowledge of adapted

driving as our cars were fitted with

modified steering controls, such as

push-pull hand levers for acceleration

and braking – these did not seem to

hinder them when they drove them

away,” she added.

“Our cars were unique and specialist

so not easy to sell on. We hope the

offenders are apprehended

quickly for this awful crime. In the

meantime, we are now 100 per cent

focused on limiting the impact on our

services as much as possible and

replacing our fleet as best we can. When

you are so passionate about helping

disabled people, it is heart-breaking for

something like this to happen. As we are

a charity, funds and time are always

limited so this is a massive blow. If

anybody can help us in anyway, we’d be

so grateful.”

The centre staff have been left

questioning why criminals would take

such specialist, niche vehicles. No staff

were on site or injured during the breakin.

Oddly, the centre’s standard vehicles

were left untouched, which adds further

confusion to the motive of this crime.

Smart phone zombies are menace to motorists

Nearly a third of Brits have confessed to

being glued to their phone when crossing

the road, rising to 80 per cent of 18- to

24-year-olds, a study has revealed.

The survey by Fiat of 2,000 UK drivers

and smartphone users found drivers had

to take evasive action such as sounding

their horn (24 per cent), braking heavily

(23 per cent) and even swerving around

(16 per cent) pedestrians who had

walked blindly across the road while on

their phones.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, distracted

phone user incidents were higher in the

capital than the rest of the nation. More

than a third of Londoners had to beep at

a pedestrian (36 per cent) and brake

heavily (37 per cent) to avoid hitting

someone on their phone.

In addition, 28 per cent had to swerve

a distracted pedestrian and alarmingly

24% of drivers had hit a pedestrian on

their phone, although these pedestrians

avoided any serious injury.




DVLA problems swept under the carpet

as government denies there’s a problem

Colin Lilly

Editor, MSA GB Newslink

In the August and October issues 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 over huge backlogs in licence

applications and enquiries, while the 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,

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.

The Government has now responded to

the petition “Inquiry into the DVLA’s

performance during the Covid-19


This is a revised response. The Petitions

Committee requested a response which

more directly addressed the request of the

petition. The original response was

published in the October issue of


The Government response is as follows:

“There are no plans to hold an inquiry

into DVLA’s performance which has been

fully scrutinised this year in two

Transport Select Committee sessions.

Ministers are also provided with regular


“The DVLA has an incredibly strong

track record of outstanding public

service (our emphasis!) 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


“More than 90 per cent 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


“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

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)


“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

driver’s medical section for a month-long

strike in August.



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

“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. Guidance

from 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


“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


During June there were

1,423,026 unanswered calls

from 224,364 customers. I

imagine these people will not

be happy with the decision

not to hold an enquiry.


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.”

I am not sure that this response will

satisfy those members of the public

waiting for their licences. Many have had

to put aspects of their life on hold;

delaying starts to new jobs and missing

the start of their driving lessons. Delays of

up to six months are being reported.

The delays themselves are generating

further delay. The DVLA advises

applicants to contact them if they have

not received their licence within TEN

weeks of making their application. When

you do call, they frequently go


During July and August, the average

wait for a response to a telephone call

was 9.9 minutes. A message at the start

of the call said there could be a

30-minute wait for a response. Naturally,

many people end their call without a

response and try later. Customers were

making an average of six calls before

receiving a response.

During June there were 1,423,026

unanswered calls from 224,364

customers. I would imagine these people

will not be happy with the decision not to

hold an enquiry.

Much of the blame has been placed on

the PCS strikes. While this has not been a

good PR exercise by the union, during the

first week of the industrial action only

750 out of a staff of over 6,000 actually

walked out. The strike was taken for

better conditions during the Covid

environment. Perhaps attention should be

placed on the reasons for the action.

There would appear to be no solution in

the short-term.



News Feature: E-scooters

The worrying rise and

rise of the e-scooter

Colin Lilly

Editor, MSA GB Newslink

With much of the future transport policy

focused on reducing the effect of vehicles

on the climate, so the role of ‘micromobility’

in transport is coming under

greater scrutiny. Micro-mobility comes in

various forms, and is best summed up as

the use of e-bikes, e-scooters and

e-skateboards etc,

Public opinion seems to be moving

against the use of these vehicles, largely

because of concerns around the lack of

firm regulation on their use. The

Department for Transport has

commissioned studies on their use but it

is unlikely to introduce legislation until

the spring of 2022. So between now and

then, what are the rules covering their


E-scooters are classified as

Mechanically Propelled Vehicles (MPVs)

or Personal Low Emission Vehicles

(PLEVs) and as such, current legislation

says they cannot be used in a public

place. However, a Government Trial

Scheme is being conducted on the use of

rental e-scooters in some local authority

areas, and any vehicles taking part in the

trials have been granted some

exemptions under the law.

E-bikes or Electrically Assisted Bikes

are allowed in public places and are

legal, subject to also having pedals to

propel it. Motor power is within specified

limits, any power assistance cuts out at

15.5 mph and the rider must be at least


Despite being illegal to use on the

roads or in public, there is no legislation

on the purchase of e-scooters and they

are currently available in a range of

shops, from cycle dealers to discount

stores and, of course, on-line. They can

be used on private land, hence their sale,

though how many buyers have access to

the amount of private land you would

need to make a purchase value for

money is a moot point.

What is certain, however, is that their

popularity has increased quite sharply

this year and has led to many e-scooters

being ridden illegally and randomly.


Current position on e-scooters

To be used legally, e-scooter riders

must comply with certain regulations,

including motor vehicle regulations, but

dispensations have been granted to the

scooters used in official trials. As stated,

privately owned scooters cannot be used

on the public highway as it cannot meet

the regulations of a motor vehicle.

Because of the dispensations, trial

e-scooters can be used on the public

roads and cycle lanes but not on the

pavement. Private scooters cannot be

used in any public place such as roads,

cycle lanes, pavements, pedestrianised

areas, parks and bridle ways.

Trial scooters are exempt from vehicle

registration as they cannot gain type

approval; similarly, they do not have to

pay vehicle excise duty. Vehicle

registration is necessary for legal use.

The vehicle must be insured. Currently,

insurers will cover scooters used in the

trial schemes but not others as they are

PACTS’ view

The Parliamentary

Advisory Council for

Transport Safety has

published an

interesting report on

the safety of private

e-scooters, which can

be read by clicking


not registered.

The trial scooters are owned by the

operator and they must check that the

riders meet the necessary requirements.

Scooters involved in the trial are

limited to 15.5mph and are geofenced to

prevent them being used outside the trial

area or in no-go areas or lower speed

limit areas. They must have a dual

braking system, lighting front and rear,

and an audible warning device.

Rider requirements

The rider must hold a driving licence

for Category Q. This comes automatically

with the A, AM and B categories. A

requirement of category Q vehicles is

that they do not exceed 15.5 mph.

Rider training and helmet wearing is

recommended. Currently there is very

little training available.

Responsible riding is encouraged; trial

riders are reminded of meeting the

requirements of the Road Traffic Act.


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

Among the possible offences for private

users is use of the vehicle without

insurance which can carry a fixed

penalty fine of £300, six penalty points

and seizure of the scooter.

Police action

Private scooter riders are not routinely

monitored for compliance. We see many

examples of underage riders, riding that

can be considered dangerous or

inconsiderate, and two persons on the

vehicle designed for single person use.

The police say scooter use is not high

on their priorities but they will act in

cases of dangerous or inconsiderate use.

Crime records published by Avon and

Somerset Police showed that of 237

incidents involving e-scooters in Bristol;

only nine were related to the Government

approved trial in the area. In September,

a rider renting an e-scooter through the

trial scheme in Bristol was banned from

driving for 17 months for drink-riding. He

had been pulled over after overtaking

traffic on approach to a pedestrian

crossing and passing a red light. They

were also carrying a pillion passenger.

Crash statistics

The crash statistics involving

e-scooters has only recently been

collected by DfT. The latest figures

available are for 2020; during that year

one rider was killed, 105 seriously

injured and 278 slightly injured.

Among the others involved in crashes

with e-scooters were pedestrians;13

were seriously injured. In addition seven

cyclists were seriously injured and two

motorcyclists, after incidents involving

e-scooters. However, it should be noted

that the crash statistics were rising

steadily towards the end of the year and

bearing in mind that e-scooter use has

grown this year, the statistics are likely to

grow further.

Trial operators

A number of trials are being conducted

around the country by approved

operators. One of the largest is Voi which

currently operates across 11 countries.

Within the UK it has 17 locations and

has 60 per cent of the market share.

Bristol is one of most popular cities in

Europe for those taking part in the trial.

Voi reports that over two million rides

have been taken in Bristol since the trial

was launched in October 2020, covering

over 3.7 million miles. It’s claimed that

this replaces an estimated 790,000

short car journeys and has reduced

carbon emissions by 400 tonnes.

The charges involved are typically £1

to unlock the scooter and 20p per

minute thereafter.

The future

You can judge the popularity of

e-scooters and the benefits to the

environment through the reduction they

bring in carbon emissions. Along with

this, there is a chance they will reduce

the number of journeys taken by cars,

thus reducing congestion in already

over-crowded cities.

However, road safety is an essential

consideration. Continuing in an almost

unregulated way with this important

development of personal transport will

only lead to a culture of almost feral


With Christmas approaching we can

imagine an e-scooter will be on many

children’s ‘Santa List.’ Whether they will

be on next year’s naughty or nice list

remains to be seen.


What should we do with e-scooters?

Contact Colin via editor@msagb.com

with your views




Sorry, but the taxman cometh...

Most ADIs will have received a friendlysounding

email from HMRC in recent

weeks, reminding them of the need to

fill in their self-assessment and pay any

tax by January 31, 2022.

It’s a familiar task we’ve all done many

times before, but it’s been made more

challenging this year because of the

pandemic and the various income

support schemes and bounceback loans

that have helped keep ADIs’ heads afloat

during what was a very difficult period

when they were forced to stop working.

It can be difficult to remember the

timeline of the past 18 months, such has

been the disruption to our lives, but the

vast majority of tuition ceased in March

2020, recommencing in August only to

stop again in the autumn, and then again

through winter 2020-21.

We returned to the road in April of this

year and since then, touchwood, most

ADIs have been teaching full-time.

The period this self-assessment covers

is from April 2020-March 31 2021 – in

other words, almost a perfect fit for the

pandemic. It opens in the first weeks of

lockdown and runs to almost the date at

which we came out of it. Most ADIs who

are self-employed will have been able to

access the Self-Employed Income

Support Scheme (SEISS) during this

time. It goes without saying that while

this was a grant and is not repayable, it

is income and is therefore taxable. It

must be declared on your self-assessment.

Remember too that HMRC is not a

daft beast. Its inspectors are well aware

that driving instruction did not take place

for much of 2020 and parts of 2021,

therefore don’t claim your ‘usual’ mileage

and assume no one will notice.

Self-assessment can often be a


challenging time for instructors and

particularly at the moment as many of

you are so busy teaching, and settling

down to some admin might not sound

too appealing. That’s why we’d

recommend using an expert in tax affairs,

such as FBTC or Capital Accounting (see

advertisement right).

If you need any help, there is advice

on the GOV.UK website. CLICK HERE to

access it.


If you can’t pay in full

The HMRC says: We know that many

of our customers are facing financial

HMRC has issued a warning over phishing scams.

“We’re aware of an increase over the past year in scam emails, calls and texts. If

someone gets in touch claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you can claim

financial help or asking you to urgently transfer money or give personal information,

be on your guard.

“Take your time and check HMRC’s scams advice on GOV. UK.

“You can also contact HMRC directly but use phone numbers from our contacts

details on GOV. UK.

“You can forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@

hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 605 99 and can report scam phone calls on GOV. UK by

searching for ‘HMRC scams’.”

difficulties due to the coronavirus

(COVID-19) pandemic. If you can’t pay

in full by 31 January 2022, we may be

able to help by arranging an affordable

payment plan. If you owe less than

£30,000, you may be able to do this

online without speaking to us.

Go to GOV.UK and search ‘HMRC

payment plan’.


COVID-19 support schemes

This year, you’ll also have to declare if

you received any grants or payments

from COVID-19 support schemes up to

April 5 2021, as these are taxable. This


• Self-Employment Income Support

Scheme (SEISS)

• Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme


• other COVID-19 grants and support

payments such as self-isolation

payments and local authority grants.

Go to GOV.UK and search ‘reporting

coronavirus grants’ to find out which

COVID-19 grant or support payments to

include on your tax return if you’re

self-employed, in a partnership or a





You must include SEISS grants on your

tax return. SEISS grants are subject to

Income Tax and National Insurance

contributions (NICs), so you need to

include them on your tax return. Report

your SEISS grants in the following way:

• Grants you received on or before 5

April 2021 need to be included in your

2020-21 Self Assessment tax return, due

by 31 January 2022. For most people,

this will be the first, second and third

SEISS grants.

• Grants you received on or after 6

April 2021 need to be included in your

2021-22 Self Assessment tax return, due

to be submitted by 31 October 2022 if a

paper return, or 31 January 2023 if an

online return. For most people, this will

be the fourth and fifth SEISS grants only.

To find out which SEISS grants you

claimed, how much you received, and

when, search ‘return to your claim’ on

GOV.UK and press the green ‘Start now’

button. You will be able to see details of

all your SEISS grants once you have

signed in.

In addition to SEISS, UK Government

coronavirus grants and support payments

are taxable, as are most payments from

local authorities, the Scottish and Welsh

Government and Northern Ireland

Assembly. Taxable payments you

received must be included on your tax

return. To find out which grants or

support payments you need to report,

see gov .uk/report-covid -payments.

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

Did you receive money from the SEISS scheme?

How to report SEISS on your tax return

If you complete your Self Assessment

tax return yourself, there is a specific box

on the self-employment page for SEISS

grants. You must not report your SEISS

grants anywhere else on your tax return,

for example in the ‘any other income’ box

or as part of your turnover figure, as this

may result in you being taxed twice.

Guidance on how to complete your

return can be found in the ‘notes’ pages

for each return type. Please ensure you

read these notes before completing your

return. To find the notes, go to

gov .uk/report-covid-payments.

The deadline for submitting your

2020-21 Self Assessment tax return is 31

January 2022 if you submit online.

The deadline for submitting your

2021-22 Self Assessment tax return is:

• 31 October 2022 on paper

• 31 January 2023 online.

If you do not submit your tax return by

the applicable deadline date, you may be

charged a penalty.

If you have already submitted your

2020-21 tax return

If you have already completed your

2020-21 return and you did not report

your SEISS grants in the way we

expected, we will contact you.

If we amend your return, it’s important

that you check the amendment and the

SA302 tax calculation we send you, to

see what we have changed.

For more information, go to

gov .uk/check-your -return-for-seiss.

If you think you need to repay SEISS

grants which are claimed incorrectly, go

to gov .uk/hmrc/repay-seiss.

• This is a short form of the full

advice. See https://www.gov.uk/




Company News

WeDrive’s AI technology puts the ADI in

control of their workload and schedule

Are you using outdated

tech in your job?

WeDrive Instructor is the

next-generation all-in-one

toolkit helping today’s busy

instructor work smarter, not


Continual changes

within consumer

audiences and

advancements in

hardware and

software present both

a need for evolution within driver training

solutions and an opportunity for

revolutionary technology-driven tools to

emerge in response.

Modern apps and software should

maximise flexibility and efficiency for

instructors at minimal cost, and facilitate

better learning experiences.

This rationale underpins WeDrive’s

suite of innovative ‘smart’ apps, designed

with advanced IT and algorithms to bring

today’s instructors and learners new


WeDrive’s Artificial Intelligence (AI)

-enabled Theory App saw rapid take-up

across a young UK-wide audience and is

certainly a revolution among theory

software. Its smart AI means study takes

less time.

Features including a national mock test

leaderboard and built-in learner and

instructor community help all learners

pass faster.

Meanwhile, it is the new WeDrive

Instructor app which adds the most

value and utility for ADIs. Its mission is

to help them maximise revenues while

achieving significant savings on both

business costs and, even more

importantly, their time.

This is much more than simply a diary

management tool. Independent ADIs can

publicise their services for free by

maintaining an instructor profile on the

app. The ever-growing WeDrive Learner

userbase – including an untapped market

of international students who have

arrived in the UK with no knowledge of

the driver trainer network – can browse

instructors’ operations within their

chosen radius, view live lesson

availability and pricing, make enquiries

and bookings directly, and make secure

payments upfront: all in-app.

“We believe instructors deserve to earn

more – and need not rely on franchising

or ‘traditional’ expensive marketing to

secure sufficient customers,” says

WeDrive CMO Paul Doherty.

“Instead, WeDrive’s tech allows them to

efficiently market their services directly.

Instructors can even choose selected

learners to send notifications about vacant

slots, in order to fill timetable gaps after

last minute cancellations.

“As a complete toolkit, WeDrive

Instructor offers total control independently,

avoiding either fees and commissions or

the costs (and effort) of traditional

marketing methods. It’s unrivalled reach –

with complete flexibility.”

With developments in mobile tech,

consumers are increasingly comfortable

using apps, whenever possible, to

accomplish tasks conveniently: versus,

say, browsing websites; using desktop

software; phoning a stranger; or making

notes manually.

WeDrive Instructor is designed so

instructors can take full advantage of this

rather than battle against it. The smart

timetabling system allows full flexibility

around the slots they make publicly

available, instant bookings and payments

to be received, and push notifications (of

new bookings, enquiries etc). The app

can even automatically send outstanding

payment and lesson reminders, with

confirmation requests, to pupils.

Other USPs incorporated are:

comprehensive pupil records including

theory learning progress, GPS-tracked

lesson history, skill progression, and

shareable upcoming lesson notes; full

exportable financial record-keeping and

planning; and, uniquely, access to a

Quora-style community of learners and

instructors centred around improving

driving ability and confidence.

“All this serves to free instructors to

focus on what they do best: training

drivers,” says Paul.

“User feedback, especially from ADIs

consulted throughout our development

stages, has been heartening,” he adds.

“It’s something we’ll always welcome

and incorporate into our innovations. We

look forward to making valued

contributions to the industry”.

Click the WeDrive Instructor ad

to find it in your app store.

Further information: www.wedrive.fun



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

Warning over scams targeting over 70s

DVLA received notifications

from 803 drivers who

unnecessarily parted with

money to renew their driving

licence at 70 years old through

a bogus third party website.

The DVLA is urging drivers aged 70 and

over to keep their money in their pocket

this Christmas, after the agency revealed

that more than 800 drivers had notified

them about third-party websites charging

hefty premiums for their services.

Many of these sites appear high up in

the results on a Google search, resulting

in scores of drivers inadvertently using a

third-party website, when they believe

they are dealing with DVLA.

The agency is reminding drivers to

always use GOV.UK, the official

government website, to prevent being

charged additional fees.

New figures released at the end of

November show that in the last 12

months, DVLA received notifications

from 803 drivers who unnecessarily

parted with money to renew their driving

licence at 70 years old through a third

party website.

Some of these sites charge up to £81

handling fee, which is £20 more than

the cost of a typical weekly family shop.

Third party websites charge a fee to

pass a driver’s application to DVLA, but

these sites are not affiliated with DVLA,

and applications made through third

party websites will not be processed any

quicker than those made through GOV.


GOV. UK is the only place to access

DVLA’s online services where you can be

guaranteed not to be charged additional

fees on top of any statutory fees that

may apply.

Julie Lennard, DVLA Chief Executive

said: “Drivers looking to renew their

licence at 70 and over should use our

online service which is secure, free of

charge, and also the quickest and easiest

way to transact with DVLA. Customers

usually receive their driving licence in

just five days.

“Always remember to always use GOV.

UK when using any of DVLA’s many

online services.”

When a driver reaches their 70th

birthday, they must renew their

entitlement to drive every three years.

DVLA reminds drivers 90 days before

their licence is due to expire, and the

quickest and easiest way to renew a

licence is to go to GOV.UK where the

service is quick, easy to use, available

24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is

free of charge.

See https://www.gov.uk/renew-drivinglicence-at-70



B+E Testing: the impact on ADIs

The news that B+E testing was to be scrapped this autumn came as huge shock to the entire road

safety and driver training community – but the impact was felt most keenly by those ADIs who had

focused their businesses solely on this form of training. One such ADI was Steve Thomas, an instructor

who runs Raglan Driver Training in Bellbowrie, near Monmouth, South Wales. Steve, who has offered

comments on the government’s controversial decision in previous issues of Newslink, was left

devastated by the announcement, which at a stroke ripped apart a business built up over 18 years. He

talked to Newslink’s Rob Beswick about the decision, how he had been affected and his thoughts three

months on as he rebuilds his career

18 years of hard graft...

scrapped overnight

on a political whim

Three months on from the

announcement that B+E testing

was going to be scrapped, it’s fair

to say that Steve Thomas still

feels pretty raw. “I’ll be honest, I’m still

shell-shocked,” he told me. “I’ve tried,

but I still can’t get my head round it. It

came as such a shock, so out of the

blue, that it still doesn’t feel real, even

three months on.”

He took me back to the point when he

knew that his business, Raglan Driver

Training, was in trouble. “There was

nothing to suggest a change was coming.

Why should it change? The system

worked well.

“I was out on a lesson on September

10 with a client when I was aware my

phone was going mental with messages.

I thought something must be up so when

we got a chance, we pulled over and I

checked my phone. I had dozens of

messages from friends, colleagues,

clients, all asking me what was going on.

They’d heard this announcement that

B+E tests were to be scrapped almost

immediately, with examiners shifted to

LGV testing. I couldn’t believe it.”

He got home and checked his emails

and sure enough, there was the news he

had never expected to read. “B+E

testing is cancelled from September 21

onwards. That’s it. I had a full cohort of

customers booked in for training the next

week, and for weeks after, with tests

booked, everything. The lot was now in


It was the speed and suddenness that

took him most by surprise. “Plenty of

people have had their jobs ripped from

underneath them over the years. Think

about the coal industry, the steel works...

but they always knew it was coming.

There was an announcement,

discussions on redundancy, months of

talks before the gates were closed.

“This wasn’t like that. One day I was

training, the next day, my business

model was destroyed.”

It would be nice to say that his clients

still saw the value of training without a

test at the end of – after all, that’s what

the DVSA has said people should do

– but in the real world of 2021, that isn’t

what happened. “People ran for the hills;

just about every customer who had

training booked cancelled with immediate

effect. I went from a full book of

customers to none overnight. The only

thing I could do was claw the test fees


To Steve, it effectively destroyed 18

years of hard graft building up a

flourishing business. “I’ve been an ADI

for 22 years, and to start with I was

teaching learners, just like the majority of

ADIs do. But where I’m based, it’s a very

rural area, a lot of farms, lots of

farmworkers towing trailers and horse

boxes, that sort of thing, and there has

always been a greater need for a B+E

licence around here than in most


His switch to teaching the B+E

classification came after a chance

conversation with an examiner. “I’d taken

a young farmer on for lessons, and he

had his driving test and passed. After the

test I was chatting to the examiner who

said ‘he’s a good driver - you should have

him back with you next week so he can

get his B+E licence’, as he was

obviously going to be using his new

driving skills for work, which would

inevitably involve towing at some point,

even if it’s only a trailer full of animal

feed around the farm.”

He chatted to the new driver, arranged

to carry on teaching him, but this time

giving him the skills he’d need for the

B+E test – and the switch in emphasis

for Raglan Training was underway.

“It started slowly but increasingly, I

found more and more people who

needed a B+E licence coming to me for

training. I’d do one a week, then 6-7 a

month, and before long it was 2-3 tests

every week.”

His business model was simple. “I’d

give a new customer a two-hour

assessment lesson, and then we’d have a

chat and get a test booked for 6-8 weeks



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

Steve Thomas

time. I’d then take them out for two days

of intensive training. Sometimes, if

people didn’t pick it up straight away I’d

need to do a few more hours on top, but

in the main two days was enough to

make them safe towers of trailers or

caravans and get them up to the

standard to pass the test.”

Most of his work was with

‘experienced’ drivers so “you don’t have

to go through the basics, they can all

drive, you just needed to knock the rough

edges and bad habits off them. ” In

addition Steve taught them how to load

the towed vehicle correctly; that’s

particularly important in farming

communities. If they are towing a trailer

the loads can shift easily as they are

usually loose, so they needed to

understand what that does to the

dynamics and handling. In addition I’d

work with people towing horse boxes:

you get different problems with them,

such as how to carry one horse in a

two-horse box (thus making the box

lop-sided, weight-wise).”

Steve loved this new sector. “It just

took over. I wasn’t stuck in the car all

day, we’d be out in lovely countryside,

we’d spend some time in the open air

looking at the trailer, learning how to

attach it safely. It gave me a really varied

working day and I enjoyed it.

“Most of my customers were decent

drivers who understood the principles

involved – farming lads with good

common sense and practical skills who

just needed someone to point them in

the right direction.”

He kept his hand in with the occasional

learner and brought a couple of ADIs

under this wing to look after L-drivers,

but for Steve, B+E was his future.


I wasn’t stuck in the car all

day, we’d be out in lovely

countryside, we’d spend

some time in the open air

looking at the trailer, learning

how to attach it safely.


“I had developed good relationships

with caravan dealerships in the region,

who would point new customers in my

direction when they bought a caravan. I

also used to attend farmers and

agricultural shows, and got a lot of

business that way – 5-10 new clients

each time. So many people didn’t realise

that their driving licence didn’t let them

tow a trailer or caravan, and were

shocked when they found out.”

Business was booming and somewhat

ironically, in recent months Covid-19 was

a major driver. “Loads of people got into

caravanning this year for the first time.

They were nervous about booking a hotel

abroad because of travel rules or booking

a static caravan because of possible

infection, and so thought, ‘let’s give

caravanning a go, we’ll be safe in our

own little home, it’ll be fun’. I had a glut

of new bookings for lessons.”

In addition, changes to the law around

corporate manslaughter has sharpened

many businesses’ thinking around the

driving their staff do. “I reckon 30 per

cent of my customers are caravans, 50

per cent are farmers and builders who

need to tow trailers, and the rest are

businesses; one-man bands such as

catering companies or people towing

trailers to exhibitions.

“Demand was so high I had a decent

waiting list and I was genuinely thinking,

I’ve got everything cracked now, I can

look forward to a good, steady income

from now to retirement in about a


Indeed, “I checked my books and I’d

had the best quarter ever from April-June

this. I was working seven days a week.”

Another irony; around this time “my wife

said I was doing too much and needed to

slow down and take it a bit easier…”

Then came September. “I’ve looked

back through my diary and I had 94

people on my list when the bombshell

landed. If each one needed two days

training, plus a day for the test, that’s

many months of work. I was certainly

fully committed until next Spring. But it’s

all gone.”

Of the 94 on the list, “six said they’d

go on and have some training.” Here’s a

sobering assessment of one: “One lady

had just bought a caravan. She found out

she didn’t need to take a B+E test and

was going to cancel but I convinced her

to have half-a-day’s training. By the time

she’d finished that she was nowhere near

the old test standard but she was, at

least, safe – which she wouldn’t have

been before.”

Which begs the question, what about

the other 88… because that tale is, in a

nutshell, what we all have to look

forward to on our roads next summer:

thousands of untrained novices towing

caravans and trailer tents for the first


Continued on page 24



B+E Testing: the impact on ADIs

Continued from page 23

“The way a car handles when it’s

towing is very different to when it’s not.

It’s a totally different dynamic, and that’s

before you start taking into account

manoeuvres, roundabouts, tight turns,

etc – and loading. All that knowledge will

now need to be learned on the road by

drivers teaching themselves – because,

trust me, the public won’t come forward

for lessons now there is no need to be


Steve has retained a handful of

commercial clients for towing. For

instance, at the time we spoke he had a

few days work booked in with regular

client National Resources Wales.

“Companies will still consider it

important to have some training as it

protects them from corporate

manslaughter charges and health and

safety investigations, which can result

from at-work incidents involving trailers,”

he says. But apart from that, that’s it.

He remains philosophical about the

loss of the business, and tries to find

some shafts of light, but “I can’t get

away from it, as every time I come

home, there on the drive is my towing

car and the trailer I used on lessons.

Both of them costing thousands and just

sitting there idle.”

Cruel timing hasn’t helped on that

front. “I’d leased my last towing car since

2016 but it came off lease as we came

out of lockdown. I decided to take out

one of the government’s bounceback

loans and invested in a new towing car…

payments start in January.”

There is some good news for Steve,

which comes off the current shortage of

ADIs available to teach learners. “I have

three ADIs who work for me and they

always got the lion’s share of the pupils,

but I’d have 6-10 on my books at any

one time. It was good to keep my hand

in with learners and it was better for the

Standards Check. With the increase in

demand since lockdowns ended I’ve

taken more learners on and I’m pretty

much at full capacity already.

“It’s need a big adjustment on my part

but things are going okay.

“I’d still be happier doing the B+E

work, mind.”

Does he think that training will come

back? “I don’t think so. With no test

required, we’re asking people to train to

do something they reckon they all do

well anyway. How many new

caravanners will take up training? Ask

yourself this: how many companies put

their drivers through fleet training? Some,

but not many. How many drivers take on


The knowledge they need to

keep them safe will have to be

learned on the go – because

trust me, the public won’t

come for lessons now they

won’t be tested...


advanced courses or do any further

training once they pass their L-test? Once

they pass their L-test, most think they

can do it all.”

Steve thinks the future of B+E training

will become clearer in March. “Over the

past 18 years I’ve learned that there is a

cycle to caravan sales. Lots of people

have one last summer holiday and then

say, ‘that’s it, we’ll pack it in’ once the

autumn comes. They are looking to sell

– but no-one will buy at that point as

they know they’ll have to store it

somewhere over the winter, and you

can’t use your new purchase straight

away. As a side point, if you’re ever

thinking of buying a caravan, now’s the


“The change comes in March. That’s

when people start thinking about their

summer holidays and they go looking for

a caravan. I think, with all the virus

stories still flying around, loads will be

looking at getting one next year for the

first time.

“Normally my phone is ringing

non-stop in early spring with people

who’ve just bought themselves a

caravan, whether new or second hand,

and they suddenly realise they need to

take a test. The demographics tell us that

most people buy caravans when they’ve

got young families – so around 28-40

years of age – and this group were born

in 1981 to the mid-90s, so in the past

they won’t have had the B+E exemption.

I’d be flat out training that group.”

Not now, of course, as there is no B+E

test required. That will suppress demand

but Steve hopes that some people will

“get behind the wheel for the first time

while towing and realise it isn’t as easy

as they thought.”

“They’ll get to a roundabout, the

caravan will be swaying from side to side

and they’ll think ‘woah, what’s going on’,

or they’ll try to park it and it’ll be a

nightmare. Hopefully, they’ll see sense

and come for lessons.”

It would help, he says, if the DVSA /

DfT would launch an advertising

campaign, informing the public of the

dangers and telling them to take training.

If not… “we’ll see standards fall – and

that will mean crashes. I’d be interested

to see the stats on trailer-related crashes

in the future. I liked the cover of

Newslink, with the crashed caravan and

the stat: What was it… ‘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...’

“That’s a pretty stark difference and

shows the benefits the testing had. It’s

not a coincidence. It shows what the

roads were like before 1997… and what

they’re like now.

“It will take some time but every year,

new people will buy a caravan or start

towing a trailer, and each one is a

liability, in their own way.

“This will hit standards hard; I’m just

hoping people don’t pay for this

government’s decision with their lives.”



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

The ‘history’ of

the driving

licence – Part III

Rod Came goes all

HG Wells as he looks back

at 2021 from the near

future and tries to make

sense of the demise of

the driving licence...

Don’t worry if you haven’t read The

History of the Driving Licence Parts 1 &

2... they haven’t been written yet. The

reason is I wanted to reduce the use of

paper and printing ink, this will help

combat global warming.

Cast your mind back to the 1960s.

The railways were losing money, lots of

it, so it was decided to do away with

many, many loss-making rural lines. A lot

of folk were not happy with this but it

went ahead anyway. The lines were

closed and the tracks ripped up resulting

in very few goods being transported by


Several decades passed and it became

more apparent that perhaps this was not

a good idea after all. People still needed

to travel and goods needed to be

transported to customers, either directly

or via retailers.

The population grew, the range of

goods expanded, more people moved out

of towns and cities to the countryside,

distribution and travel became a


Following the demise of the railways

an increasing number of heavy goods

vehicles appeared on the roads. The

drivers were skilled and known as ‘The

Knights of the Road’. As time passed it

became apparent that there was not

enough of them, in fact there was a

national panic, more in Government than

among the populace, and urgent

unplanned rapid steps were introduced

to give the impression of appearing to

deal with the problem.

Media reports in September/October

2021 of a shortage of petrol and diesel

sent people into a flat spin which

resulted in many fuel suppliers running

out of stock, this being caused by queues

of vehicles filling their tanks to the brim.

It was very similar to the mediagenerated

frenzy about the likely lack of

toilet rolls roughly 18 months before.

However, this highlighted the fact that

the dwindling number of truck drivers

who delivered such vital supplies was

unable to cope with the demand. The

loss of drivers had been going on for

years, not only in the UK but also in

Europe and America, but it had been


The time had arrived for the UK

Government to take action.

It was decided to allow an increase of

the number of working hours an HGV

driver could undertake, as though that

would make much difference, especially

when the drivers pointed out that they

work long enough as it is, thank you.

It was also decided that it was no

longer necessary for a driver who had

passed their car driving test in a small

car to have to take another test to drive a


There were always some

people who didn’t want to take

a driving test of any kind, and

the official declaration that

some tests were not necessary

only reinforced that view...


towing vehicle and trailer weighing up to

seven tonnes, contrary to the advice from

all the road safety experts. Figures that

had indicated a consistent drop in

trailer-related crashes began to take an

upward climb.

Another change introduced was that

HGV drivers would no longer have to

progress test-wise from cars to rigid

vehicles and then on to articulated

trucks. They could go straight from their

car test to driving an artic with just one

more driving test, in an artic, which also

allowed them to drive smaller rigid trucks.

The number of new truck drivers barely

exceeded the number leaving the

industry, consequently little improvement

in the distribution of goods was achieved.

Another downside was that these

moves started the demise of the driving


There had always been a minority of

people driving cars and vans who did not

think it necessary to take any sort of test

or obtain a driving licence through the

official avenues, and the government’s

declaration that some driving tests were

no longer necessary only reinforced their


Back in 2030, in the UK, it was no

longer possible to buy new fossil-fuelled

vehicles, electric power was introduced

in a big way. As time passed cars, vans,

buses and trucks all became propelled

either by plug-in electric power or

hydrogen-generated electric power from

fuel cells.

Electronics had been used more and

more in vehicles and when full electric

power became the norm most of the

activities which previously were the

province of the driver were taken over.

Ultimately, this moved to the point where

vehicles of all types were able to travel

from one location to another with no

driver input.

This resulted in the manufacturers

being able to build vehicles with no

controls for the driver to use and interfere

with the progress of the vehicle in any

circumstances. Vehicles became

autonomous in their own right by not

needing a driver.

As vehicles now no longer need a

driver, permissions such as a driving

licence are no longer required, in fact,

some antique licences are becoming

collectors’ items, changing hands for

considerable sums of money.

In a little under 150 years a driving

licence, once considered to be a right of

passage, has now disappeared.

Few will mourn its passing.



Company Profile

AA Driving School gives me

everything I need to succeed

Jenna Williams, an ADI based in

Cardiff who operates with an

AA Driving School Full Franchise,

talks to Newslink about her

experiences as a driving instructor

with the company

When did you become an ADI?

I have been an ADI for exactly four

years this month, having started my

training around a year earlier. I’m so

pleased I completed the training as I

thoroughly enjoy my life as a driving


What first attracted you to train to

become a driving instructor?

When I left school I didn’t really know

what I wanted to do or which career path

to choose. My partner encouraged me to

become a driving instructor as he had

worked in the industry and felt I had the

right qualities to be successful.

I’m so pleased I went for it, as I feel

like I’ve found a role that I’m good at it

and it’s the right job for me.

I love meeting lots of different people,

teaching them a life skill and seeing

them succeed.

Do you feel being a driving instructor

offers you a good work-life balance?

I really appreciate the flexibility my role

as a driving instructor offers me. I have a

young family and can juggle my childcare

and nursery needs with having a

rewarding job. Having control over the

hours I work is key and being able to dial

up or down the hours I work, provides

the perfect balance.

What type of franchise do you have?

I joined the AA on a Full Franchise and

it offers everything I need. When I first

qualified, I was a little nervous about

being self-employed but knowing I have

the full backing and support of the AA is

really reassuring.

What made you choose the AA Full


I chose to join the AA Full Franchise as

it provides me with everything I need to

run my business successfully – from a

high spec car and pupil allocation to the

customer service team who are always

on hand.

At quieter periods, having the

knowledge that you can turn to the AA

for support in gaining new pupils is

hugely comforting. Also having a high

spec car might not have been an option

if I had gone out on my own, but with

the Full Franchise I get a new car every

two years and know that if I am involved

in an accident the AA is on hand to

provide me with a courtesy car, with no

damage to my business.

There is also the extra support from

the customer service team who offer that

extra reassurance and are on hand if

anything does go wrong, or if you have

any queries.

Does the AA Full Franchise give you the

freedom to run your business your way?

Yes, it absolutely does. I am fully in

control of my business and making it a

success. I get to choose my working

hours, the locations I cover and set my

own rates. However, I still have the

support of the AA – I definitely feel that

the Full Franchise offers me an easy life!

What is it you enjoy most about being a

driving instructor?

I enjoy the flexibility that my job

provides me and my family, but I feel

most fortunate to be in a job that I really

enjoy. It can be stressful at times, but it’s

typically quite a relaxed and fun


When you’re teaching and coaching

someone to drive, you know that they are

there because they want to learn, so they

are engaged and ready to listen. Seeing

the excitement and joy when people

succeed is amazing.

Building a strong rapport throughout

their lessons has meant that I have made

many new friends in the process.

What would you say to anyone

considering taking an AA Full Franchise?

I would simply say go for it!

Left, one of the AA’s new Ford Pumas



‘It’s amazing where that little

green badge can take you’

Look to diversify your

driver training workload

with Green Penny

After many ADIs found themselves in

the extremely difficult position of not

being able to work at all during the

recent lockdowns caused by COVID-19,

many forward-thinking ADIs are now

looking at diversifying the services they

can offer.

While the current demand for driving

lessons is fantastic for the industry, past

experience tells us this won’t last forever.

Having a number of income streams into

your business helps to keep you prepared

for whatever the future may throw at us

all. Being able to offer your services as a

trainer within the fleet market, or to other

types of clients in a classroom

environment, not only provides the

security of varying income streams, but

also helps to provide a great deal of

variety to the working week.

Green Penny’s Business & Training

Manager, Andy Clement, made the

decision seven years ago to take up the

relevant training to be able to do exactly

that: “Since qualifying as an ADI back in

2012, it was always my intention to

diversify as much as I could and having

spent 20 years in the corporate world,

going back to business-to-business

training was a natural progression.

“I qualified as a fleet trainer in 2014

and initially broke up my working week

with learners with one or two days of

fleet training.

“This progressed on to driver

assessment work, followed by classroom

training, both of which I thoroughly


“I joined Green Penny full-time in

2019 and now have the training

manager role, heading up the on-road

and classroom training sides of the

business, training ADIs to become fleet

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



‘There are so

many work


out there for


qualified, as well as course development

and implementation.

“Its amazing where that little green

badge can take you in life and there are

so many work and development

opportunities, whether you choose to just

carry out learner driver training or progress

on like I did with other avenues.”

Green Penny offers a range of courses

to help ADIs diversify into many other

areas of the industry.

To take a look at what’s on offer, visit

greenpenny.co.uk or to take the next

step and discuss enrolling onto a course

via info@greenpenny.co.uk or call us on

0330 111 7230.



MSA GB Events


MSA GB Annual

Conference 2022

WE’RE BACK with an in-person Conference for 2022

Join us at our Annual

Conference 2022 at the

Double Tree by Hilton

Hotel, Coventry

Weekend of

Friday & Saturday,

18th & 19th March *

• DVSA officials

• Trade stands

• Networking events

• Road safety speakers

• Business advice


* see facing page for more details

We are delighted to announce that our Annual

Conference is returning for 2022 after two years in


In March 2020 we were all set to convene in

Coventry at the DoubleTree by Hilton when the

Covid-19 pandemic started to get its grip on the UK,

and we were sadly forced to cancel.

Earlier this year, in light of continuing restrictions, we

ran the Annual Conference and AGM as a digital event,

where we saw many members join us online to hear

presentations from, among others, Loveday Ryder,

Chief Executive of the DVSA.

However, as things stand we are returning to an

in-person event for 2022 – so make a date in your

diary now for the weekend of March 18th & 19th.

Why the weekend? Because we want you to help us

plan this event. On the facing page you will see some

information as to what we are considering; we want to

hear your views before we decide the format for the


As with our previous conferences, the event will


• Keynote presentations from industry experts,

including officials from the DVSA

• Time for Q&A with leaders of our profession

• Presentations from road safety and business

professionals on topic of interest to ADIs

• Industry update

• Trade stands

• Networking opportunities with your fellow ADIs.


BOOKING and PRICING will be revealed in our

JANUARY issue – but make a note now in your diary.



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

The DoubleTree by Hilton is a superb hotel with

top-quality leisure facilities, premium rooms

and great levels of service. It’s the ideal venue

for our event.

Weekend itinerary:

What do you want?

We have a number of options available for the weekend

– but we want you to tell us which format works best

for you.



Full day’s conference from 9am-4.30pm, including MSA GB

AGM. Day to include morning coffee, sit-down lunch and

afternoon tea. MSA GB Awards presentation and AGM to be

held during the day. Cost to include all paperwork.




Meet at hotel from 4pm. Friday night buffet with fellow

delegates, a great chance to relax, network and catch up with

old friends. Full day’s conference next day from 9am-4.30pm,

including MSA GB AGM and awards. Cost to include morning

coffee, sit-down lunch and afternoon tea, and all paperwork.

Note: If we host the Conference from Friday night, a special

B&B room rate has been organised with the hotel for

delegates and guests.


Bringing a non-delegate guest? Our host hotel

has superb leisure facilities for them to use, and

Coventry is a fascinating city with some great

attractions, including the world-famous

cathedral and peace museum



Full day’s conference from 9am-4.30pm, including

MSA GB AGM. Day to include morning coffee,

sit-down lunch and afternoon tea. MSA GB Awards

presentation and AGM to be held during the day.

Cost to include all paperwork. Followed by Saturday

night dinner, a great chance to relax with fellow

delegates/catch up with old friends.

Note: If Conference includes the Saturday night

social event, a special B&B room rate has been

organised with the hotel for delegates and guests.


Which option works best for you? Let us know: Email Peter Harvey at info@msagb.com

with your preferred choice. You can just say Option 1, Option 2 or Option 3 – or if you have other

ideas, let us know them!



Technical briefing

Moving up

the gears

Steel or


Better initial


v more


and control of

the crashed


for road

safety barriers

by Tom Harrington

Traffic barriers are an effective countermeasure

for reducing the severity of

Run-off-Road (ROR) crashes. Their main

task is to redirect the vehicles running

off the road to keep them safe in the

clear zone. The design is critical: it must

be strong enough to control the vehicles

and transfer forces away from the

vehicle’s occupants to avoid serious

injuries. However, traffic barriers were

initially designed to avoid vehicles from

running off the road with less emphasis

on reducing the severity of impact.

Unfortunately, many of the old traffic

barrier segments have not been

upgraded in accordance with recent

design policies due to the substantial

cost needed to replace them. In

addition, the speed limit, as a parameter

related to crash severity, has been

changed considerably over the last four


Here I will look at the various types of

crash barriers and their effectiveness,

and also dispels the motorcyclists’

‘Cheese Cutter’ myth.

There are two types of safety

barriers. They can either redirect

vehicles back onto the

carriageway, or stop a vehicle

immediately so that it cannot pass

through the barrier. Traffic barriers

keep vehicles within their roadway and

prevent them from colliding with

dangerous obstacles such as trees,

bridge abutments and walls. They are

also installed within medians of divided

highways to prevent errant vehicles from

entering the opposing carriageway of

traffic and help to reduce head-on

collisions. Some are designed to be

struck from either side and are called

median barriers. Traffic barriers can also

be used to protect vulnerable areas like

school yards, pedestrian zones, and fuel

tanks from errant vehicles.

While barriers are normally designed to

minimise injury, they do occur in

collisions with traffic barriers and as a

result should only be installed when a

collision with the barrier is likely to be

less severe than a collision with the

hazard behind it. Indeed, such is the

potential for harm that it is better to

remove, relocate or modify a hazard,

rather than shield it with a barrier.

To make sure they are safe and effective,

traffic barriers undergo extensive simulated

and full crash testing before they are

approved for general use. While crash

testing cannot replicate every potential

manner of impact, testing programmes

are designed to determine the

performance limits of traffic barriers and

provide an adequate level of protection to

road users.

There are three main types of safety

barrier (but within these types there are

different systems which have their own

specific performance characteristics).

• Flexible barriers are made from wire

rope supported between frangible posts.

Flexible barriers may be the best option

for minimising injuries to vehicle

occupants; however they may pose a risk

to motorcyclists.

These barriers deflect more than other

barrier types and need to be repaired

following impact to maintain their

re-directive capability.

• Semi-rigid barriers are usually made

from steel beams or rails. These deflect

less than flexible barriers and so they can

be located closer to the hazard when

space is limited. Depending on the

impact these barriers may be able to

redirect secondary impacts.

• Rigid barriers are usually made of

concrete and do not deflect. Rigid

barriers should be used only where there

is no room for deflection of a semi-rigid

or flexible barrier.

Rigid barriers are often utilised at high

volume roadwork sites to protect road

workers or others, particularly where

another barrier type is awaiting repair.

Currently these provide the highest level

of containment of heavy vehicles. In

most cases following impact these

barriers require little or no maintenance.

Much of the benefit from the use of

barriers comes from a reduction in crash

severity. Although a crash may still occur,

it is likely to have a safer consequence

than colliding with the object that the

barrier is protecting.

If properly designed, installed and

maintained, barriers should reduce the

severity of crashes involving ‘out of

control’ vehicles, and greatly reduce the

likelihood of head-on crashes.

Rolling Barrier System

Worldwide, every year, around 1.25



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

million people die and millions more are

injured as a result of road traffic crashes.

The latest emerging technology for road

safety is focusing on finding ways to

avoid or minimise road accidents and

KSIs. Urethane Roller Barriers help to

re-direct vehicles crashing into the

barriers back onto the road. Rolling

Barriers (RB) provide a cushioning effect

during a crash, reducing the high-speed

effect and helping reduce injury to the

vehicle’s occupants.

These are extremely effective and their

implementation has shown significant

results in reducing injuries on flat roads,

curved road sections, ramps, medians,

entrances, exit ramps and in steep

mountainous roads with bends.

The Rolling Barriers absorb impact

energy and convert it into rotational

energy and direct the vehicle forward

rather than breaking through an

immovable steel barrier.

Rolling Barrier - How Does it Work?

Rolling barriers has a rotating barrel

made of EVA with excellent shock

absorption power, three-dimensional

buffering frames and dense props

supporting the frames. Rotating Barrels

comes with attached reflective sheeting

for good visibility.

EVA has better flexibility and elasticity

compared to other polyethylene

resins and has almost similar features to

rubber. In fact, it’s lighter than rubber

and more elastic than urethane. In short,

it’s not easily damaged.

When a car hits the guardrail, the

rotating barrel converts shock from the

vehicle to rotational energy. Upper and

lower frames adjust tires of large and

small vehicles to prevent the steering

system from a functional loss.

Crash Barriers – Wired Up

Wire Rope Barrier Vehicle Restraint

Systems (WRBVRS) are controversial as

they are heavily disliked by the

motorcycling community, who have

nicknamed them ‘cheese cutters’ for the

effect they can have on riders involved in

a crash. In September 2014 the newly

formed A11 Riders Action Group

demonstrated against the fitting of wire

rope systems on the A11 project

between Thetford and Barton Mills in


The ultimate aim of this group is to

ban the use of Wire Rope Barrier Vehicle

Restraint Systems. The protest saw more

than 200 riders take part with the group

petitioning the Government and in

dialogue with the Highways Agency as

Concrete barriers are

sturdy and absorb a lot

of impact, and so are

often used to protect

road workers

well as MP, MEPS and Ministers.

Various reports from riders’

organisations conclude that there is a

possible fatal interaction with riders in

collision with these “killer” wire ropes.

One of the key criticisms is that they

used multiple exposed rigid posts which

cause considerable injury if a falling

motorbike rider hits them.

Some countries have banned them,

including Norway, Denmark and the

Netherlands, but they are still used in

many other places, including the UK, as

they confirm with European standards.


Wire-rope barriers are known

as ‘cheese cutters’ in the

motorbike community... but

it isn’t the wires that are the

threat but the inflexible solid

posts that support them...


Unfortunately, these standards were

produced to handle cars and lorries, with

little nor no thought given to motorcycles

and riders.

Dispelling the ‘Cheese Cutter’ Myth

The term ‘cheese cutter’ originated in

New Zealand after 21-year-old Daniel

Evans was fatally injured in 2007 after

colliding with a roadside wire-rope

barrier. News reports suggested the

wire-rope barrier was the reason for his

death. However, the subsequent

investigation found that speed was the

major factor; Daniel was travelling

between 148 – 190km/h when he left

the road, resulting in an impact speed

the equivalent of jumping off a 13-storey

building, the coroner concluded.

It wasn’t the wires that caused the

problem; it was the inflexible nature of

the steel posts used to support the wire.

The posts are designed to bend for

vehicles, but not people. Generally,

motorcyclists will come off their bike and

slide underneath the wire, or into a post.

Professor Raphael Grzebieta of the New

South Wales Transport and Road Safety

(TARS) Research Unit said there was “no

evidence to date... of motorcycle riders

travelling at or below the posted speed

limit, and who has crashed into a

wire-rope barrier, being cut by the

wire-rope in a manner similar to how

cheese is cut with wire…”

So it wasn’t the wires that were the

problem; it was the supporting post. In

Sweden, a survey of more than 600km

of flexible barriers had no record of

motorcycles being ‘sliced’ by the barriers.

However, when the country introduced

flexible support systems for the wires

they saw a 40-50 per cent reduction in

fatalities involving motorcyclists.

Concrete v Steel barriers?

Concrete barriers were first used in the

US, and arrived in Europe in the 1980s

and ‘90s. The steel industry also looked

at creating high performing devices that

were able to offer the same containment

levels of concrete barriers. Since then,

however, roadside safety systems have

not significantly changed, and the debate

of concrete v steel continues.

Steel’s inherent ductility makes it an

excellent material for impact protection

and its ability to absorb energy ensures

that a vehicle does not come to an

abrupt halt. Rather, the steel barrier

system deforms, significantly lowering

the rate of vehicular deceleration.

Continued on page 32



Technical briefing

Moving up the gears for

road safety barriers

Continued from page 31

In addition, steel barrier systems are

designed to maintain vehicle direction,

greatly reducing the risk of overturning,

loss of control and potential collision with

other vehicles.

Interestingly, steel crash barriers have

also been found to have a positive

psychological effect on drivers as they

provide a sense of openness. Drivers

subconsciously feel ‘walled in’ by solid

concrete barriers and have a tendency to

steer away from them, encroaching on

other lanes.

They have other advantages over

concrete: they are easy to install,

relatively cheap and the cost of

maintenance is low. Once the steel

barrier has come to the end of its useful

operating life, the material can be


Concrete offers greater protection, but

at a price of a lack of deforming. While

concrete generally dissipates the energy

by means of friction effects on the

barriers’ base, steel can rely on internal

deformations that absorb a wider part of

the crash energy.

How drivers respond to barriers is

interesting. A survey by Van der Horst

and de Ridder found that the type of

guardrail had no effect on the speed and

lateral position on motorways, but on

rural roads drivers reduced their speed

and moved away from the guardrail;

however, when they had passed the

guardrail their speed increased to


Surveys suggest that barriers induce a

speed reduction on rural roads but cause

drivers to move away on motorways,

thus creating new problems.

Overall, the protection of road users

still represent important challenges. But

there are big opportunities available for

improving ‘road edges’, both for passive


Concrete generally dissipates

the energy by means of friction

effects on the barriers’ base;

steel can rely on internal

deformations that absorb a

wider part of the crash energy


and active safety issues. We need to

consider a new concept of road edges

and roadside devices and systems. These

parts of road infrastructure, in fact, can

be developed in order to assist vehicles

guidance, to avoid some crashes and to

mitigate their consequences.

In particular, it is important to control

the dynamic interaction of restraint

systems with low mass vehicle, in order

to obtain lower injury risk for passengers,

by means of vehicle post-crash


One final point. Studies of road traffic

crashes often talk about the ‘Golden

Hour’, the period immediately after a

crash in which it is imperative those

injured received hospital treatment.

Manufacturers of Smart Road Restraint

Systems (SRRS) have developed a

system that integrates primary and

tertiary sensor systems, alerting

emergency services of accidents as they

happen to minimise response time to the

exact location of the incident.

Ironically, then, in the future, the crash

barriers’ major contribution to reducing

fatalities may not be their role in

lessening impacts, but on calling for an

ambulance as soon as the crash



Extended deadline for examiner roles

The DVSA has extended the job

application deadline for car driving

examiner posts across Great Britain to

give people more time to apply.

This is the third phase of its

recruitment campaign, which aims to

bring in over 300 more car driving test

examiners to reduce test waiting times.

These roles can offer part-time

flexible working hours, including

evening and weekend working


The closing date for applications is

now 11.55pm on Tuesday, December 7.

If you are interested in the roles

available, you can find out more about

the role and how to apply on the Civil

Service jobs website, at


But be quick:

applications close on December 7.


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

Do you want to share my space?

Janet Stewart

MSA GB Greater London

I am sure that many of the people

reading this will remember Hans

Monderman. He was a famed Dutch

road engineer who died in 2008 and he

was regarded as a ‘traffic philosopher’.

To quote Wikipedia (and one should

always acknowledge one’s sources): ‘He

was recognised for radically challenging

the criteria used to evaluate engineering

solutions for street design. His work

compelled transportation planners and

highway engineers to look afresh at the

way people and technology relate to each


I note the word ‘compelled’. I

remember when there was quite a lot

being said about “shared space” road

schemes a few years ago and the general

consensus seemed to be that it would

not work over here because we are not

Dutch. I spoke to a Dutch friend of mine

about this last week and she inferred that

we Brits were “not a sufficiently

communal society” and that rather than

thinking about how to solve a problem

together, we are too focused on our

personal interests. For balance, I should

point out that she also threw in a few

negative comments about the Dutch.

So, how far have we got with the idea

of shared space and is it the right way to

Inset, Hans

Monderman, and

(main photo) a

shared space

road project in

his native


David Engwicht pictured in the

middle of one of Europe’s busiest

roads, the Champs-Élysées.

Engwicht, a contemporary of

Hans Monderman, worked less

on road engineering and more on

smoothing out the “mental speed

bumps” which stop us sharing

road space safely

go? The basic concept is a very simple one:

remove as much street furniture, road signs

and lines as possible and let vehicular,

bicycular (a word that ought to exist) and

pedestrian traffic find its own way.

We have all seen pictures of complex

roundabouts where the only guidance

seems to come in differing colours of

tarmac (see the photo below). So

perhaps the fact that we get confused is

intended to slow us all down to a speed

at which we can concentrate, analyse

what’s around us and make altruistic

decisions about how to negotiate the

particular section of road or junction we

are on. (I dare to suggest that that is

exactly what ADIs do every day.)

Actually, we nearly all do this fairly

regularly. How, often are there trolley

crashes in a supermarket? How often to

loaded baggage trolleys run into one

another at airports? So we are used to

manoeuvring around open spaces

without directional guidance by the

simple method of give and take.

I conclude that the limiting factor is

our attitude. We want to be told where

the edges are, which bit of road is ours

and when we can go in front of everyone

else. More and more of us are cycling but

not in the numbers that there are in

Holland. Also, we are far more crowded

together and I think we need to have

enough space for ourselves before we

will feel comfortable about sharing.

However, I would suggest that the

outstanding point overall is that we don’t

like change, don’t want to have to learn

anything new and feel put-upon rather

than wanting to engage with the issue.

COP26 has just finished as I write this.

We should all be moving towards electric

cars and then to autonomous vehicles.

Should we be giving shared road space a

proper chance?

Or would it never work here because

we are not Dutch?



Area News

Motorcyclists: they don’t make it easy

for themselves, do they...

Rod Came

MSA GB South East

Motorcyclists are risk-taking thrill

seekers. Why else would anybody want

to sit on something that that will propel

them to the motorway speed limit in less

time than it has taken to read my first

sentence, but takes longer to come to a

halt than the time you have spent

reading up to now? A motorcycle is a

vehicle that can’t stand up by itself, but

can defy the laws of gravity when


I have partaken on police courses

which qualified me initially to ride a

Velocette (max. speed 50 mph), then

rising to the heights of death-defying

Norton Commandos (115 mph) and

Moto Guzzis (110 mph). On one

memorable course it rained every day at

some point. Now I am all for communing

with nature but having it splashed all

over my face as though standing on a

beach in a force 10 gale, then being

unable to prevent it gently trickling down

my neck, dropping my body temperature

by 10 degrees, is not my idea of fun.

I have noticed that in order to enhance

the motorcycling experience riders have

introduced a new element of excitement.

In times past some of the more

enlightened highway howlers decided

that to give the only really vulnerable

road users, namely pedestrians, a chance

of survival, they would switch their

headlights on during daylight hours, so

that if they couldn’t be heard they might

be seen before wipe-out.

I recollect that when it was decided

that daytime running lights on four

wheeled vehicles would be a good idea

because on occasion it was difficult to

see them approaching, there was a howl

from some bikers that it would make

them less conspicuous and increase their

already high risk.

It now appears that in some perverse

manner, to increase the excitement of

their otherwise hum-drum lives and to

heighten the motorcycling experience, it

is best to wear black trainers, jeans and

jacket, complimented by a black helmet

and a black bike – and no lights, except

in the dark when it is best to set the

headlight on blinding beam.

When the immediately aforementioned

come to grief having made themselves

invisible and have not been seen among

a plethora of DRLs, who is to blame for

the ensuing collision? The driver, of


DVLA and DVSA: Are we just unlucky to

have both?

Why is that the two government

agencies that ADIs have to deal with in

the course of their business are such a


I refer, of course, to the DVLA and the


Both appear to be conspiring together

in unison or separately to make life as

difficult for their customers as they

possibly can, and much of this

inefficiency is affecting the businesses of

A death-defying Norton

Commando... not for the fainthearted

hard-working ADIs. You.

Not only is the DVLA failing to provide

new learner drivers with their first

provisional licence in a timely manner,

they are also causing problems for people

who need to hire a car, especially

abroad, by not renewing driving licences

so that they run for consecutive dates.

This has a serious effect on the

travelling abilities of vocational drivers

who need to drive in the EU and beyond.

That pre-supposes that provisional

licence holders have managed to obtain

a test date in the first place. I have heard

that for category B drivers dates well into

the second half of next year are being

talked about; that is quite ridiculous.

How on earth do DVSA expect ADIs to

be able train their clients to be in a state

of readiness for a test that far ahead, but

they still plead with ADIs to only bring

people for a driving test when they are

ready. It’s impossible!

I have written at length about the

failings of DSA/DVSA over the years

hoping that one day I would be able to

report a vast improvement. Alas, that

time is not to be soon.

Season’s Greetings

In the spirit of goodwill to all men and

women I thank you for reading my

outpourings over the last 12 months and

would like to wish each and every one of

you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and

Prosperous New Year.

Want one? Even if

your pupils can get

an L-test, there no

guarantee the half

of the motoring

Chuckle Brothers,

the DVLA, will

actually get round

to providing them

with a licence...



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

Des Payne from the

British Horse Society

Mike Newman and

John Galloway from

Speed of Sight

Inspiring talks and great information

at MSA GB’s Western meeting

Arthur Mynott

MSA GB Western

The MSA GB Western conference was

held on Monday, 8th November at Oake

Manor Golf Club, Taunton, Somerset. It

was the first time some delegates had

attended such an event in person for the

past two years and while some were too

busy (as a lot of us are now), and some

are still wary of meeting others in close

proximity, it proved to be a successful

event with 18 members attending.

Our first speaker was Darren Russell,

DVSA enforcement manager, who

explained more about the TIP (Test

Information Programme) and how the

DVSA was using the information

provided by it as a tool for when to call

forward an ADI for a Standards Check.

A video from the DVSA was also

played, explaining it in detail.

This was then followed by a

presentation from Mike Newman and

John Galloway from Speed of Sight. If

you haven’t heard of them before, then

look them up on the internet. Mike

Newman holds the World Record for the

fastest blind man driving a car, at just

under 201 miles per hour! They now run

the charity, Speed of Sight to give a

driving experience to people, young and

old who will never have or never will

have a driving licence. It was a very

moving presentation which bought a

lump in the throat to many in the

audience, me included.

To find out more, check them out at

www.speedofsight.org; it really is

inspiring stuff

After this was a company called Rated

Driving who travelled down from Essex

to explain what they can offer to

instructors looking to expand their

horizons and take on new work.

This was followed by the MSA GB

Western AGM in which the Committee

were again voted in with the exception of

Guy Annan, the area editor, and Mike

Milburn, who is retiring.

Guy was named Editor of the Year at

the National Conference earlier this year

and has been putting articles in

Newslink every month for the last two

years. I would like to thank him

personally for all the work he has done in

this role and completely understand why

he is stepping down.

I would also like to thank all the

Western Committee for their help and

backing over the past year. It makes my

job so much easier to know I can always

rely on them.

After a mouth-watering two course

lunch we reconvened and were treated to

a presentation by Des Payne from the

British Horse Society, entitled Safer

Drivers, Safer Riders, Safer Horses. It

was interesting watching the videos of

the horse riders and the close shaves in

which they are sometimes involved. It’s

surprising how ignorant and foolish some

drivers are.

More at www.bhs.org.uk

To finish off the day we were treated to

more current information from our

National Chairman, Peter Harvey, MBE

who had travelled down from Scotland to

grace us with his presence. He filled us

in how the MSA GB are looking to the

future, answered any questions that

Darren was unable to respond to earlier

in the day and generally filled in the

blanks delegates had.

Overall, the day was a great success

and we hope to repeat it again next year.

You can contact Arthur Mynott,

Chairman, MSA GB Western, at



They now run the charity, Speed of Sight to give a driving

experience to people, young and old who will never have

or never will have a driving licence. It was a very moving

presentation which bought a lump in the throat to many

in the audience, me included.




Area News

Someone is going to pay ...

Russell Jones

MSA GB East Midlands

During the last few days of November I

was with an excellent learner driver,

called Sophie, who was making her way

out of Nottingham, following the A60

towards Trent Bridge, when she started

to slow the car. I felt I knew why she was

doing so but I said nothing because I

wanted her to deal with a developing

hazard to our front.

A lone cyclist was peddling along a

double length bus stop which was

located to the left of the nearside lane,

and there was a distinct possibility that

she could have swerved out into our

pathway without looking to see if it was

safe to do so.

Sophie was alert to all the other traffic

around us and obviously noted there was

no possibility of safely moving out into

another lane to avoid a potential

collision. As the cyclist reached the end

of the bus stop, she stopped moving

forwards and was very close to our lane.

At the same time our car came to a

standstill as Sophie applied the footbrake

firmly. The ‘developing hazard’ required

that course of action by Sophie. My foot

had been very close to my dual brake,

but I had not needed to intervene, as

Sophie had the matter under full control.

What happened next astounded me!

There was an annoying blast of a car

horn emanating from the vehicle behind

us. Sophie asked, ‘’Was she doing that to

me?’’ I replied, ‘’Yes’’. She exclaimed,

‘’But she’s a driving instructor’’. I said,

‘’It does seem so’’. Sophie replied, ‘’Why

has she done that, I did the right thing in

stopping because the cyclist almost

came out into my lane and could have

crashed into me?’’. I replied, ‘’Might as

well ask why the moron was born!’’


Too many drivers become


impatient and don’t see

the developing hazards

ahead of them


At that moment, the cyclist moved out

of the bus stop and immediately turned

left via a Toucan Crossing onto the

footpath to continue her journey.

Sophie began to move forward again,

and the moron behind began overtaking

us and, as Sophie said, ‘’She’s giving me

a filthy look’’. I complimented Sophie on

her excellent course of action, patience,

attention to the risk posed and a very

successful outcome to it, with an

appreciative cyclist that she was free to

continue cycling without being harmed.

What else are we contemplating? With

supporting in-car video I am arranging to

visit the local police and submit a written

statement of complaint, with a ‘demand’

that the idiotic ADI be interviewed by a

uniformed police officer, who could issue

a formal caution, for ‘driving without due

care and consideration for other road

users’. That should serve as an

unpleasant early Christmas present!

Am I surprised by the incident? I

shouldn’t be, as I’ve discovered the ADI

concerned learned their trade with a

well-known ‘el cheapo’ training outfit,

which could easily fool someone from the

DVSA to issuing a Green Badge to

somebody totally unsuited for the role.

Some ADIs never learn

Two teenage learners, having ‘endured’

the stench of tobacco smoke on the

clothes of the recent ADI with whom

they were learning, stopped taking

driving lessons. They are now prepared

to wait some considerable time before

resuming their training and have joined

the end of my waiting list. I sympathise

with them, both for having had to

contend with a very selfish individual

who thinks it is ok to mistreat customers,

because ‘mistreatment’ is what it is/was,

and others who are still being exposed to

the same pollution. But their wait for a

full driving licence is also being delayed.

DVSA/DfT should make it mandatory that

smokers are prohibited by law from the


Boom time

Like all four corners of the country, the

East Midlands driver training business for

initial licence acquisition is booming

beyond most ADIs wildest dreams.

Which begs the question, why are so

many of them incapable of charging

realistic rates for the job?

One reason is as plain as a pikestaff,

which was highlighted in these pages by

Mike Yeomans only last month. First

impressions, guys! First impressions! It

cannot be emphasised enough.

The end is not nigh

‘Elise’, aged 33, started to learn to

drive when she was 17 but gave up

within a few weeks. Now having passed

her test very recently, she has ‘ordered’

me not to retire as her son will need

driving lessons in six years’ time. Having

taught both her parents a long time ago,

I guess I’ll not be going anywhere else

soon, as it would be a dereliction of duty.

So, it has got me thinking. What hourly

rate will I be able to charge in six years’

time? £75? Or more? Well, we must

have ambition, must we not? If we don’t

grab the golden opportunity which the

pandemic has presented, the ADI

profession will have only itself to blame.

Of course, that has been the history for

decades, but I do see a glimmer of hope

that the tide is changing, and good

instructors will prosper, with no room for

deadwood and no-hopers. Life could

even become rather grand for many.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

to you all


To comment on this article, or provide

updates from your area, contact

Russell at rjadi@hotmail.com


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

DVSA looks to soften

its image by dropping

the ‘enforcement’ tag

Thanks for the

good wishes

John Lomas

Editor, MSA GB North West

Terry Pearce

MSA GB West Midlands

MSA GB West Midlands held our

training event and AGM by Zoom on

Wednesday, 10th November.

Our speaker from the DVSA was John

Sheridan. One item John mentioned was

the renaming of the agency’s

‘enforcement’ examiners; thankfully they

want to change it. I must admit I had

never understood why examiners who

conduct Standards Check had that title.

The DVSA has been trying to tell us how

approachable they were, as I found out

on my last Standards Check, but then

they changed the name to enforcement

which makes them sound like the enemy!

John also mentioned cancellation

apps and the fact that the DVSA was

trying its best to stop them from working

using an automated BOTS system. I

agree that the system has a lot of

problems including numerous no-shows

for test, but it is clearly a system that

candidates want so why doesn’t the

DVSA run its own cancellation service?

This would enable candidates to be

fairly issued cancellations and the DVSA

could also make money from this extra


As always John was an excellent

speaker. It may be the last West

Midlands event he addresses as he

announced that he will be retiring next

year, and I wish him well for the future.

The West Midlands AGM was held

after John’s presentation. This was led

by our National Chairman, Peter Harvey

MBE. I have previously mentioned that

our area Chairman Geoff Little had


The DVSA has been telling

us how approachable they

are, then they change the

name to enforcement!



intimated to the committee that, after

holding the position for about 30 years,

he would be standing down this year.

Unfortunately, Geoff has been unwell

recently, but after talking to Peter

Harvey he has agreed to continue as

Chairman for the time being. Ralph

Walton has also agreed to continue.

Carole Hodgkinson and Steve Walker

have stepped down from the committee.

On behalf of the committee, I would like

to thank them for their commitment and


The committee is:

Chairman: Geoff Little

Deputy Chairman and Secretary:

Ralph Walton

Treasurer and Editor: Terry Pearce.

I have recently visited Geoff, and it

was wonderful to see him getting better.

He was very upbeat and was looking

forward to getting back to work.

Peter Harvey then gave us an update

on what is happening in our industry.

Items discussed included the possible

restructuring of the MSA GB, perhaps

into four areas. He also mentioned the

MSA GB website which should be

relaunched soon.

Other items he touched on were

digital pass certificates, digital driving

licence with access to picture, extending

licence expiry from 70 to 75 or 80 years

in the future, and trialling reverse

parking in car parks during L-tests for

those driving test centres which do not

have their own car park.

As always it was riveting listening to


Finally, as this is the last issue of

Newslink before Christmas, I’d like to

wish you all an enjoyable Christmas

break and hope you have some muchneeded



If you have any items of interest, please

let me know. I can be contacted on

07866614573, terry@terrypearce.

co.uk or 20 Brownshill Green Road,

Coventry, CV6 2DT.

First, I would like to thank everyone

for their best wishes, expressed

through various social media

channels, while I was in hospital


Unfortunately, my illness was driven

by what turned out to be a growth/

tumour affecting my lower digestive

tract. As of now there is no news from

any biopsy, but fingers crossed all will

be fine. The situation hasn’t been

helped by the right eye issues,

however! Thankfully I am currently

recuperating with friends of the family.

I was able to attend the North West’s

Seminar and AGM and as expected

the committee and officers remain the

same with the exception of Ian Morris

who has stepped down due to work


We thank Ian for the work he has

done for us in the past.

Future Contributions to Newslink

If you wish to have your say on any

issue affecting road safety or driver

training and testing, then Newslink is

your forum. There is a submission

deadline for time sensitive

announcements, such as meetings/

upcoming events, etc, and it is

normally around 24th/25th of the

preceding month – so November 24

for this December issue, for example.

The publication is usually released on

the 1st/2nd of the month.

All articles may be submitted

through the team of area editors, or

the National Editor Colin Lilly

(editor@msagb.com) at any time.

They will be used in the next issue

unless space is restricted because of,

say, breaking news.

If you want guidance on submitting

articles, I can be reached via the

email address below.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates, contact John at




Area Focus

It’s time to enlighten drivers

Brian Thomson

MSA GB Scotland

Now, I know that the people who read

Newslink will already know all this, and

trust me, I’m not teaching your auntie to

pluck hens (or whatever the saying is),

but through this article and through our

students we can perhaps reach out to

the less well-informed about why

vehicles have lights front and back, and

when to, and when not to, use them.

First, can we talk about ‘day running

lights’. They are the bright LED ones that

come on when you start the car. They

are nice and bright and in most cases are

brighter than normal side lights, but in

lots of cases and car models there are

none to the rear, so when you are driving

around town it’s easy to be seen from the

front but nothing to see approaching

from the rear. I actually met a car in the

evening fog recently with day running

lights only. Because of the thick fog they

would not have been getting a huge

reflection back but when they passed me

they then disappeared into the grey

murky depths, virtually invisible to other

road users.

Speaking of fog, we all know that rear

fog lights are great for letting others know

they are approaching us in poor visibility

but only if it’s required (100m or less

visibility), not because it was foggy in the

morning when you left the house and

you just leave them on even when you’re

now in town or the fog has lifted until

you can see further than a golden eagle

with varifocals.

Now the front lights; we need them so

we can see to drive in the dark and the

function of ‘dip’ and ‘full’ beam gives us

better visibility when no other vehicles

are coming toward us. However, when

‘dip’ is activated the lights are dipped

and turned slightly towards the left (on

right-hand drive cars) which does two

things. First, it lights up the left of the

carriageway or verge and second, it

means the oncoming driver isn’t suffering

from welder’s flash. So why, when

parked on the right side of a road, do

some drivers decide to sit and wait to

move off with dipped lights on, so when

you approach you can’t see if anyone is

either passing the back of their car or a

DRLs are nice and bright and

in most cases are brighter than

side lights, but in most cases

there are none to the rear

passenger is getting into the passenger’s

side? It’s something to be aware of and

inform your students as we teach them

the driving test manoeuvre of right side

stopping during the impending winter

months. Even parking or stopping on the

left, some people seem to be in such a

rush to get into the shop they don’t have

time to switch the main lights off so the

car is reflecting light beams along the

road, giving the impression to oncoming

traffic that something is coming towards

them. If people are in as much of a rush

as that should they have left the house a

little earlier?

Last week a car was parked in a lay-by

(parking place to younger readers) with

dipped lights on, thankfully on their own

side. It can make reading the road ahead

for oncoming drivers that slightly more

confusing than it needs to be (is it a car

overtaking another, some might think?),.

Final point: if this year is the same as

the past few thousand we will no doubt

be getting into our cars when a bit of

overnight frost has had time to obscure

the lights and often the indicators front

and back. A quick skoosh of de-icer or a

scrape makes it easier to let other drivers

know where you are and where you’re

going. Very few cars have a heater fitted

to the lights; always remember, just

because you can see us, we might not

see you.

Stay safe, stay bright and hope some

folks will see the light.



South Shields ADIs up in arms

over DVSA closure plans

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

A row has broken out in the North East

after the DVSA admitted it was

evaluating whether to close the South

Tyneside driving test centre.

The decision would cause huge

upheaval for the area’s ADIs, with some

claiming that closing the DTC would ‘cost

£2million’ and cause ‘huge disruption’

for both instructors and pupils.

The future of the centre, at the Bede

Industrial Estate in Jarrow, is being

“evaluated”, the DVSA says, though any

effect on learner drivers and instructors

will be minimal, it claims.

However, local ADIs say closing it

would mean the nearest test centres

would be either Gateshead or

Sunderland, some miles away. A

pressure group has launched a social

media campaign against closing Jarrow

DTC, and an online petition has already

attracted over 1,600 signatures.

Local politicians have also stepped in

to the row, with Jarrow MP Kate Osborne

and Fellgate and Hedworth councillor

Geraldine Kilgour saying they oppose any

closure plans.

At the heart of campaigners’ concerns

is that South Tyneside learners will be

forced to travel further for lessons if they

are to get experience on the test centre

routes. As a result they will need to hold

longer lessons to allow for the extra time

spent getting to and from the new

centres, which will lead to higher costs

for pupils, longer waiting lists as fewer

pupils will be able to be taken on by

ADIs and there will be impacts on local

congestion and the environment.

Such is the anger at proposals that the

ADIs have even gone as far as costing

the closure: doing so would take

“£2million out of South Tyneside’s

economy”, they claim.

Local MP Ms Kate Osborne told local

newspaper the South Shields Gazette: “I

strongly oppose any moves to remove

any services from the DVSA Test Centre

on the Bede Industrial Estate in Jarrow.

“This would have a devastating impact

on learners, instructors and examiners.

“I have written to the DVSA and the

Transport Minister about this issue as a

matter of urgency.”

Vikki Holt, speaking for the ADI

pressure group, said: “It’s not going to be

ideal to learn to drive in South Tyneside.

Pupils are going to want to drive where

they’ll be having their test.”

She added: “The Bede Industrial

Estate site is a hugely important part of

the local community and has been for

decades. Generations of families have

passed their driving test there and it

would be a devastating loss to the South

Tyneside and our close-knit local

community if this unnecessary and

wholly unacceptable closure was allowed

to happen.

“The price of lessons is going to go

through the roof, while extra commuting

time will need to be added for each

lesson. None of it makes any sense at

all. We’ve just had COP26, but this is

going to add to CO 2


A DVSA spokesperson said: “We can

confirm that the driving test centre is

being evaluated, as part of a review of

DVSA properties.

“However, we will communicate with

local driving instructors when we have

further information. We have carried out

a review to ensure that service provided

locally continues to be of a high

standard, and the impact of any

proposed closure is minimalised.”

In a letter to campaigners DVSA chief

executive, Loveday Ryder rejected claims

that closing the Jarrow DTC would

impact severely on local ADIs and pupils,

pointing out that “a larger DTC site in

Sunderland is approximately 5/6 miles

away and the examiners will be working

at Sunderland to ensure our local service

delivery continues to maintain a high


Stephen Fry and the Queen are our top driving pals

Stephen Fry and The Queen have been

named as the top dream car passengers

in a poll by the AA Driving School, but

half of drivers said they would choose a

friend or family member over a celebrity.

The survey of 14,400 AA members

found 51 per cent dreamt to take a

road-trip with a friend or family rather

than a famous face. The results were

split into two top-ten categories for

famous men or women, as well as

rankings for friends and family car


Drivers were given the option to invite

any two passengers for a road trip,

including celebrities from the past or

present as well as friends or relatives.

One in five voted to have their wives

next to them on a drive, but only seven

per cent wanted their husbands.

National treasures Stephen Fry and

Sir David Attenborough appeared top in

the poll for famous men for the second

year; comedian Billy Connolly and

presenter Jeremy Clarkson placed third

and fourth. A new entrant was Freddie

Mercury, who soared into fifth place on

the 30th anniversary of his death.

Comedian Peter Kay was in fourth

place for the second year, one place

above Elvis Presley.

Other popular companions were Bob

Mortimer, Jimi Hendrix and Einstein.

The Queen topped the rankings for

famous women; actress Marilyn Monroe

took second place and Joanna Lumley

was ranked third, above Victoria Wood

and Diana, Princess of Wales.

Tennis star Emma Raducanu, in tenth

place, is the youngest woman in the

dream passenger rankings this year.

Other top-voted contenders included

Dolly Parton, Florence Nightingale, Jane

Austen, Kylie Minogue and Marie Curie.

Robert Cowell, AA Driving School

Interim Managing Director said: “With

COP26 earlier this month it’s no

surprise that the nation’s favourite

environmentalist Sir David Attenborough

has held a place in the top 10 for the

second year running.”



Area news

MSA GB is here to help you as we face

a time of changes and challenges

Mike Yeomans

MSA GB North East

Thank you to all the MSA North East

area members who contacted the area

about the B+E issues and the TIP

triggers for the Standards Check. I’m glad

we were able to help many of you and

put some good advice out there, and its

great when we get that feedback from


As most of you will be aware at our

area AGM I was re-elected to serve you

for the coming year. I will be joined on

the committee by:

Vice Chairman Karl Satloka

Chairman Mike Yeomans

Deputy Chairman Andrew Burgess

Secretary Yasmin Ajib

We are all ready to help you with any

issues as we move into interesting times

for the DVSA and the redevelopment and

strengthening of the MSA GB.

It may well be the next time we meet

face-to-face will be in March at the MSA

GB Conference in the Coventry area.

There is more information about this

elsewhere in this issue, and I really hope

that you can find the time to attend.

In the meantime, MSA GB North East

is hoping to hold an online meeting after

Christmas; look out for the email about


If you have any issues you would like

us to highlight in future issues of

Newslink, let me know. As an area we

are lucky to have some good test centre

staff who are happy to help and work

with ADIs, and our problems are often

less than in other areas, but do let me

know if you are having any issues with

which we can help.

In particular, members have raised the

issue of the Standards Check. Guidance

is available and we hope to hold at least

a couple of sessions run as morning or

afternoon groups in our area. The MSA

GB team is happy to travel to you to set

up a session (small groups of 6 to 12

seem to work best).

I’m writing this as the first cold spell of

the winter causes problems. It is a

reminder that telling students about

preparation for winter driving should be a


Some tips and guidance suggested for

you students and their families. You can

just give them the information below as a

cue card for easy memorising.

Car checks - get your car ready for the

severe weather

Here are a few checks that you can do,

to make sure your car is ready for severe


• Keep the lights, windows and

mirrors clean and free from ice and snow

• Make sure wipers and lights are in

good working order

• Add anti-freeze to the radiator and

winter additive to the windscreen washer


• Check that tyres have plenty of tread

depth and are maintained at the correct


• Pack a snow/ice scraper, de-icer,

snow shovel, hat, gloves, boots, a torch,

bottle of water and a first aid kit. For

longer journeys, always take blankets, a

snack and a flask of warm drink.

• Wash the car frequently to get rid of

the salt and dirt that builds up over the


• Always keep a full tank of fuel - you

never know when you might get delayed.

• Don’t use water to defrost the


In addition, for severe weather

• Check the local and national weather

forecasts and listen to local and national

radio for travel information

• Tell someone at your destination

what time you expect to arrive

• If the outlook is very poor and you

have to travel, take warm clothes, food,

boots, a torch and a spade if snow is


• Please take extra care and refer to

the Highways Agency for advice on traffic



Take care when travelling behind winter service vehicles. Drivers of

vehicles such as salt spreaders and snowploughs take all reasonable

precautions to protect the safety of other road users.

Salting vehicles travel at speeds of up to 40mph spreading salt

across all lanes of the carriageway. Drivers are advised to maintain a

safe distance behind them. Do not attempt to overtake.

Snow ploughing can throw up irregular amounts of snow that may

be a hazard to vehicles. Drivers are advised to maintain a safe

distance behind vehicles and not to attempt to overtake.



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

Driving tips

Keep yourself and others safe, by:

• Slowing down

• Keeping a greater distance between

yourself and the vehicle in front, (increase

the two second rule to 4 seconds or even


• Setting aside extra time to complete

your journey

• Keep your mobile fully charged.

• On colder days be particularly careful

on tree lined roads – the trees prevent the

sun’s warmth from reaching the road,

which may still be icy when all around

has thawed.

Driving in the snow

• Use the highest gear possible to avoid

wheel spin

• Drive slowly, allowing extra room to

slow down and stop

• Manoeuvre gently, avoiding harsh

braking and acceleration

• To brake on ice or snow without

locking your wheels, get into a low gear

earlier than normal, allow your speed to

fall and use the brake pedal gently

• If you start to skid, ease off the

accelerator but do not brake suddenly

• From the DVSA: ‘Different vehicles

will react differently when there’s a risk of

skidding, depending on whether they’re

front- or rear-wheel drive, and on the

systems fitted to the car, such as anti-lock

brakes (ABS) or electronic stability control/

programme (ESC or ESP). Check the

vehicle handbook to find out how these

will affect the risk of skidding.’

Pupils should also be encouraged to

re-read the Highway Code, which has

some great advice on driving in icy or

otherwise poor weather. From its pages,

Rule 230 and 231 are particularly useful.

Should horse riders take test

before going out on the road?

Rod Came

MSA GB South East

At the recent MSA GB South East CPD

training event I enjoyed, for the third

time, a presentation by Alan Hiscox on

behalf of the British Horse Society.

Needless to say he is there to

promote the views of horse riders

when they venture out on to the roads

we all use, so he shows a series of

situations where drivers of vehicles

large and small have endangered horse

riders, along with some startling


Most of what he portrayed is

available to be seen on the BHS

website, if you want to take a look.

To be fair, he does point out what

riders should do to reduce the risk to

themselves and their mounts without

being critical of them, as does the


Nevertheless, there is nothing to

stop a small child from sitting on top

of a horse weighing three-quarters of a

ton and riding along a busy road. If an

under-16 wants to ride a motorcycle

they have to transport the machine to

the private land where they are to ride,

yet horse riders face no such


As Alan pointed out in a horse/rider/

driver situation there are three brains

working, not necessarily in conjunction

with each other. The horse will do

what it wants to do, the rider is often

not able to control the horse in such

circumstances, and the driver has no

idea what the horse/rider combination

is likely to do next, but the

responsibility for the safety of all three

rests solely on the shoulders of the


If you were to design a road system

from scratch, let’s call it a motorway,

vulnerable road users such as

pedestrians, horses and slow vehicles

would not be able to use it.

It has been long established that

horse riders can use the public

highway in most of its forms and there

is no going back on that.

All other road users, other than

pedestrians, cyclists and the new

hazard, electric scooter riders, have to

undergo some form of assessment and

licensing. Therefore, is it too much to

ask for horse riders, for their own

benefit, to be subject to a similar


The Queen, the Patron of the BHS,

would, of course, be exempt.


To comment on this article, or provide

updates from your area, contact

Rod at camedt@onetel.com

Finally, if you get into trouble

Do not use a mobile phone while

driving. Stop somewhere safe or ask a

passenger to make the call. On a

motorway use a roadside emergency

telephone because the breakdown/

emergency services will be able to locate

you easily.

If you have to use a mobile phone,

make sure you know your location from

the numbers on the marker posts on the

side of the hard shoulder.

Abandoned vehicles can hold up rescue

vehicles and snowploughs.

To ensure that the road is cleared as

quickly as possible, stay with your vehicle

until help arrives.

If you have to leave your vehicle to get

help, make sure other drivers can see you.



Q&A with.... Steven Porter

Practice gets results on your

golf – and for being an ADI

New MSA GB Scotland

Chairman Steven Porter lifts

the lid on his life as an ADI...

and his love for Glasgow

Rangers FC

When did you become an ADI, and

what made you enter the profession?

2008. I entered the ADI ranks as I

wanted to help improve driving

standards. Over the years I’ve been in a

number of crashes, some as a passenger,

including on a bus and in a car, and

some driving. I must have had a target

on me! I was once hit while stationary

with no engine on, then again with

engine on waiting to turn at lights and

also hit from the side when someone ran

a red light when I was coming off the


Among the strangest was on the

Kingston Bridge in Glasgow on a lovely

Sunday afternoon. A woman was driving

alongside my car when she just drifted

towards me. I caught sight of her out of

the corner of my eye so I hit the horn

and she responded by casually drifting

back to her proper position, but within

five seconds she’d done it again, but this

time her door mirror hit my door mirror

with a crunch.

She just casually drifted back to her

land and off she went. I’d had enough;

let’s make a difference.

What’s the best bit about the job?

When you get someone through their

test who has put in the hard graft and

needs the licence for a very good reason,

like their son is disabled or they need it

Steven Porter:

His favourite

things are

Rangers, rock

band Queen,

his low golf

handicap and


for a career. The look on their face the

day they pass is well worth everything

else that comes with the job.

And the worst?

It used to be those who come out, do

their lesson and at the end say “oh, I

forgot to go to the bank”. Thankfully, all

sorted now though with my little iZettle

card reader.



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

What’s the best piece of training advice

you were ever given?

Everybody out there are nutters; you

have to look out for them and stay clear.

What one piece of kit, other than your

car and phone, could you not do


My MacBook or maybe my iZettle

card reader for all those that don’t quite

tell the truth.

What needs fixing most urgently in

driving generally?

The roads, you’ve seen the pot holes

up here? Other than that, I’d say other

drivers’ OAP (Observations, Anticipation

& Planning); it’s something I find myself

constantly going over when out with

fleet clients. That or the extended

version, COAST (Concentration,

observation, anticipation, space and

time) but I’m sure you all know what

they mean.

What should the DVSA focus on?

Getting the L-test waiting list down to

six weeks. It’s up to April in Scotland at

the moment; I’m sure it’s similar where

you are. I’d also like to see more

emphasis on stopping the school of

mum and dad taking pupils up without

any professional training.

What’s the next big thing that’s going

to transform driver training/testing?

Graduated licences with a minimum

of 40hrs tuition ... we can dream, can’t


Electric cars – yes or no? And why?

Yes. It’s the way it’s going to go

whether we like it or not so we need to

diversify our teaching and move with the


How can we improve driver testing/

training in one move?

Make 40-45hrs of lessons

compulsory. The DVSA say it takes that

amount of time to get through your test,

so why not make it compulsory if we all


I grew up scared of the

Bohemian Rhapsody video...

the image of the four band

members’ heads was creepy to

me when I was young...




Make 40-45hrs of lessons

compulsory. The DVSA say it

takes that amount of time to

get through your test, so why

not make it compulsory?


know that’s what’s needed?

Who/what inspires you, drives you on?

My wife and children as they are why

I do what I do. I want my children to

recognise you don’t have to accept what

you’ve got; aspire to be better, no matter

how good you think you are.

What keeps you awake at night?

My kids are now at that age where

they have discovered something called a

pub where you can purchase alcohol

and meet girls :0(

I’m now definitely Taxi dad!

No one is the finished article. What do

you do to keep on top of the game?

My golf is the best it’s been since that

thing called lockdown happened; lowest

handicap ever and all down to practice

and having time to work on your game.

It’s the same with our industry:

practice and work at being better; don’t

settle for what you have.

What’s the daftest /most dangerous

thing that’s ever happened to you while


Two things. I once had a pupil tell me

she couldn’t understand the purpose of the

van in front of us. On the back of the van

was written “This van is used for recording

for the purpose of crime prevention”. I

couldn’t get it either :0)

I had another pupil who, after giving her

what I thought was a very good briefing on

roundabouts, covering everything, or so I

thought, came to her second roundabout

and, when asked to turn right (3rd exit),

she decided it would be right 1st exit.

It was not like she came from a different

country and after being alive for 19 years

and being driven around, you would have

thought that she had seen which way

everyone went on a roundabout. Apparently

not, silly me.

When or where are you happiest?

Ibrox Park watching the famous Glasgow

Rangers FC.

If you had to pick one book/film/album

that inspires, entertains or moves you,

what would it be?

One of the best films I’ve seen recently

was Bohemian Rhapsody, all about the

greatest showman on earth Freddy

Mercury. I grew up as a young kid scared of

Queen because of that song’ video, the

image of the four band members’ heads

was creepy to me when I was young – as

was the song!

As I’ve got older I’ve grown to love Queen

and think Freddy Mercury was an

inspiration and the kind of personality I

think we have seen the last of, sadly.



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

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Take a look at the Ford website www.ford.co.uk for vehicle

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For further information, to view frequently asked questions,

to request a quote and to access the member discount

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Please note these discounts are only available to MSA GB

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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


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

Membership offer

Welcome new ADIs


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!


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.


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.


VRedestein’s impressive range

of tyres includes the awardwinning

Quatrac 5 and the

new Quatrac Pro – offering

year-round safety and


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



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


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


Just for 12 months membership


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