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Driving test pass rates continue to rise in the UK with 2013/14 recording the highest level of test passes for seven years, according to Department for Transport (DfT) figures. In total, 47.1 per cent of learner drivers taking their driving test passed, although the total number of tests actually conducted is falling.

The drop off in driving tests taken might be because learning to drive is an expensive business. Those who are determined to learn to drive are under growing pressure to pass first time and as soon as possible to avoid the cost of extra lessons and another test.

So what are your chances of passing your driving test? We’ve analysed the data to find out who, where and when has the best driving test pass rates, plus how much you should expect to pay to get your full driving licence.

How much will learning to drive and passing the test cost?

Prospective motorists have to shell out £50 just to get their provisional licence these days, but that’s just the start.

Driving lessons cost on average £24 per hour and the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) reckons the average number of lessons you’ll need to pass is 47.

The theory test will set you back £23, while the practical car test costs £62 (£75 weekend & Bank holidays) 

Add all this together and drivers are forking out more than £1,250 for the privilege of getting behind the wheel.

Where is best to take my practical driving test?

It’s all about location and according to the figures the more rural the better for your chances in the practical driving test. Remote locations in Scotland are your best bet with Gairloch – a small village in the Scottish Highlands – returning a driving test pass rate of 93.8 per cent with just one of the 16 people taking a test last year failing.

Clearly, travelling to remote parts of Scotland isn’t practical so where else is best? Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria has the highest pass rate outside of Scotland – 65.5 percent – followed by Whitby, North Yorkshire – 65.4 per cent.

The test centre where you’re least likely to pass is Belvedere, London where almost 70 per cent go home empty handed. Last year that accounted for 1,131 drivers needing to resit the test.

Is the theory part easier than the practical?

The theory test pass rate has fallen dramatically over the past few years as the DVSA has tightened up on revision guides and questioning. Back in 2007, nearly two-thirds of drivers passed the theory test, but now that’s down to 51 per cent.

That’s better than the practical driving test pass rate, but not significantly. The theory test is certainly less unpredictable than the practical exam, but still requires a degree of practice, both in memorising the relevant signage and learning the Highway Code rules. Then there’s the challenge of applying your road safety knowledge in the recently revamped hazard perception test.

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Are men or women better at passing the driving test?

Women are better at passing the theory test while men are better at the practical according to DfT annual figures. For the past six years there’s been a six percentage point difference between men and women passing the theory test, although numbers for both genders are falling. Last year, 54 per cent of women passed while only 48 per cent of men did so.

This is flipped for the practical exam with the gap, surprisingly, the same. 50 per cent of men passed their test in 2013/14 while just 44 per cent of women did. The split of men and women taking the test was around 50-50 for both the practical and theory tests.

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                 Driving Schools Chislehurst   proud_to_support_sticker_a-w_copy

We offer full 1 or 2 hour driving lessons in Chislehurst & surrounding areas in late model dual controlled cars. Driving lessons are with DVSA approved, CRB checked male or female driving instructors.

We also offer Intensive driving courses, You could be on the road within 2 – 6 weeks

Our services include teaching beginner drivers, in car theory and hazard perception, right through to Pass Plus, refresher and motorway lessons for full licence holders.

Driving lesson Gift Vouchers are also available for them special occasions.

As we recognise our customers have often hectic lives, we also offer a theory and practical test booking service.We will also do our best to work around your availability

At the driving skool.com Chislehurst, we believe in keeping our prices competitive without compromising on quality of tuition.

We also do discounts for block booking and of course discounts for students.

Local Driving Instructors who live and work in Chislehurst

Chsilehurst

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Many myths and rumors have built up around the practical driving test which simply aren’t true. It’s easy to believe them and this can affect your confidence when it comes to taking your test.

So here, we dispel the myths and puts the facts right about what REALLY happens when you come to take your test.

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“If you stall during your test, you will fail.”

Not entirely true! By the time you’re ready to take the practical driving test, shaky clutch control should be a distant memory but the test seems to do funny things to candidates! Stalling repeatedly in traffic or stalling when entering major junction, affecting other road users, will fail the test. If you stall, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and start over again. Some candidates have even passed tests after stalling twice! Nerves can ruin a test for even the best of drivers so it’s important to not dwell on mistakes as some aren’t as bad as you may think!

“If you get take a wrong turn, the examiner will fail you.”

The driving test is designed to allow the Examiner to assess your driving ability during the course of a 30-35 minute route, taking in various road and traffic conditions. If you are asked to turn right at a junction but turn left in error, you will not incur a driving fault as long as you correctly turn left.  Even on the recently added ‘independent driving’ element of the test, you are not penalised for getting lost during the drive, so If you are not sure where you should be going, ask for help and you will get it! What the Examiner doesn’t want you to do is drive erratically or dangerously because of poor planning and anticipation e.g. not seeing your intended junction until too late, turning across traffic when not safe to do so and causing the flow of traffic to slow unnecessarily. Whatever you do on the test, do it safely and you’ll have a good chance of being successful.

“Driving Examiners are trying to fail candidates.”

The Examiner has less to do if you pass!  When you pass your test, the Examiner issues your test certificate and heads back to his office for quick cuppa before the next test. However, if you have failed your test they return to their office to write a report, detailing the reasons for the fail. Another urban legend I sometimes hear from students is that Examiners have to fail a certain amount of tests each month. While it is true that Examiners are expected to have pass rates that fall within 10% of the local average, there is nothing to suggest that the test results are compromised because of this; in fact in my experience the only person who really affects final decision is the candidate taking the test!

“My mum/dad say they only took a few lessons and passed a few weeks after turning 17.”

This statement may be true, but at a rough estimate most candidate’s parents will have taken their test 20 to 30 years ago in very different times. The volume of traffic on the roads has greatly increased since then, as have the number of complex junctions and road systems in busy urban areas. The DVSA have changed the test on a regular basis over past 30 years to reflect the more challenging situations that drivers face on modern roads, including the recently introduced independent driving element of the test and a greater skill level in hazard awareness and anticipation, needed to deal with today’s busy roads. The DVSA suggest that an average of 45 hours of tuition along with around 20 hours of private practice is required in order to reach the test standard.

“You should check your mirrors every 7 seconds.”

While checking your mirrors every 7 seconds may suit some traffic conditions, it is more important to check your mirrors when appropriate.  If you’re worrying about checking every 7 seconds, you won’t be focused on what’s happening on the road. The test assesses the candidate’s use of mirrors when signalling, before changing speed and before changing direction, all of which demonstrate good awareness and planning. The examiners can easily see when you are looking in your mirrors so you don’t have to make it too obvious. It only needs to be a glance and should not distract you from the road ahead!

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£100 fine and 3 licence points for driving with snow on car roof

 

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Driving with snow on your car roof could land you with a £100 fine and three points on your licence.

And if you find it hard to believe, check rule 229 of the Highway Code

Rule 229 states before you set off

 You MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows

 You MUST ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible

 Make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are demisted thoroughly

 Remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users

Check your planned route is clear of delays and that no further snowfalls or severe weather are predicted

Police say motorists could be prosecuted for careless or inconsiderate driving if they are involved in an accident and it is deemed that snow on the roof was a factor.

Motorists could face a £100 fine and three points on their license if snow on the roof of their car contributes to an accident. This could apply if snow falls forward onto a driver’s windscreen, obscuring the view, or backwards causing a hazard for motorists traveling behind them.

A Suffolk Police spokesman said: ‘Many people are not aware of the hazard that snow on their cars can cause. Falling snow can be dangerous for all road users.’

Rule 229 of the Highway Code states, in a section entitled ‘driving in adverse weather conditions’, that snow should be removed from your car.

The full rule says: ‘Before you set off you MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows. You MUST ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible, make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are demisted thoroughly.

‘Remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users. Check your planned route is clear of delays and that no further snowfalls or severe weather are predicted.’

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Department for Transport proposals would allow driving instructors to supervise novice drivers on motorways

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Learner drivers could be allowed on motorways for the first time, under government proposals aimed at increasing road safety.

The Department for Transport is considering the move as a way to make sure learners are properly prepared for everyday driving before they pass their tests. Under the plans, they would be allowed to gain experience on motorways under the supervision of an approved driving instructor.

At the moment, learner drivers are not allowed to go on motorways but can do so without having had any practical experience after passing their test.

The possibility of learners on motorways will be explored under a £2m project examining driver education. It will look at whether the current regime gives the best training for learner and novice drivers. Compulsory basic training for learner motorcyclists will also be reviewed.

As part of a package of reforms known as the road safety plan, transport ministers are also planning a £50m grant for better cycling training in schools, and looking at forcing lorries to keep their sideguards to better protect cyclists.

There will also be increased punishments for drivers who use hand-held mobile devices while driving, with an increase from three penalty points to four and the fine rising from £100 to £150. In 2014, mobile phone usage was a contributing factor in 21 fatal road accidents and 84 serious accidents. The penalty for using a mobile while driving larger vehicles such as HGVs will go up from three to six points.

Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, said he was putting forward “common sense proposals that balance tougher penalties for dangerous drivers with practical steps to help youngsters and other more vulnerable groups stay safe on our roads”.

The move to let learner drivers have supervised practice on motorways was welcomed by Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation. “One in five young drivers has an accident within six months of passing their test so putting the learning process under the spotlight has to be a good thing,” he said.

“Mile for mile, motorways are our safest roads but can be intimidating places for novice drivers. Exploring ways of letting learners have controlled access to them is welcome. The important thing is the official seal of approval provided by the approved driving instructor who will accompany them down the slip road. This is definitely not the time to have mum or dad in the passenger seat.”

The government is currently considering a number of reforms to driving tests in order to improve the UK’s road safety record. It is already thinking about giving those who pass their driving test first time a refund of part of the cost. The plan is intended to raise the low first-time pass rate, which stands at just 21%.

At one point, the government was also considering banning newly qualified drivers from carrying non-family members under proposals to cut the number of road accidents involving teenagers.

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Young Drivers are more likely to use their mobile phones while driving than older motorists, a survey suggests.

The poll for driving safety charity Brake found 49% of 17-24 year olds had been in work calls while on the road, compared with 17% for all age groups.

About 35% of young people said they had spoken to family, and 21% with friends – compared with 23% and 15% overall.

Brake asked about hand-held and hands-free calls. They are both a distraction “risking devastating crashes”, it said.

“It is a sobering thought that a significant number of these life-threatening distractions come from drivers’ own friends and family,” said Julie Townsend from the charity.

The survey questioned 1,000 drivers from across the UK on whether they had spoken on the phone while driving, hand-held or hands-free, in the last 12 months. If so, they were asked who they were talking to.

Using a hand-held phone while driving was made illegal in 2003. Using a hands-free kit is allowed but a driver can still be stopped if police believe they are being distracted.

Brake says that making calls hands-free is still a cause of distraction and are campaigning for it be banned.

The charity is advising drivers to put their phones on silent while driving, with their phone away from them. The safest way to make a call is to stop, they say.

According to an observational study by the Department for Transport last October, motorists who use phones are more likely to be texting or using social media than making calls.

Brake has also warned about the dangers of being tired while driving, saying that it is wise to break for at least 15 minutes every two hours.

When asked how often they driven for more than two hours without a break in the last 12 months, 8% said weekly or more, 16% once a month and 29% once a year.

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Benefits of Buying a Car Camera

With more and more UK motorists begining to reap the benifits of installing an in-car camera, sales of these small, purpose built video devices, are increasing daily. Fitting your car camera is easy, they simply attach to your vehicles windscreen via a suction cup or adhesive mount, this enables you to record video footage of the road ahead and gives you your very own ‘eyewitness’. If you’re unfortunate enough to be involved in any kind of collision, they offer complete peace of mind that you’ll have detailed footage of the whole incident. This could help prove your innocence and offers irrefutable video evidence when it comes to settling an insurance claim. The follwing list offers a few more reasons why installing a car camera could be the best thing you ever do…

Protection against Crash for Cash and Insurance fraud

Crash for cash, is without doubt, one of the largest vehicle based crimes an innocent motorist may have to deal with, and the bad news is it’s still on the increase. According to the Insurance Fraud Bureau, organised Crash for Cash scams are costing the UK insurance companies around £392 million every single year, and with 1 in 7 personal injury claims being linked to one, it is netting huge amounts of money for the criminals involved in it. Crash for Cash is a huge problem right now and vehicle insurance fraud is not a victimless crime; it is the honest policy holder that will ultimately pick up the bill with an extra £40-£50 being added to their insurance premiums every single year. Gangs of highly organised criminals will usually stage or induce an ‘accident’ by causing an innocent motorist to crash into the rear of the fraudster’s car. The simplest scenario is where the gang members car may pull directly in front of yours and then by suddenly hitting the brakes they leave  you little or no chance to avoid a rear-end collision. This now gives the criminals the ideal opportunity to make as much money as possible by submitting exaggerated insurance claims for vehicle damage, ‘loss of earnings’ and personal injury, the drivers not only claim this for themselves but sometimes for passengers who weren’t even travelling in the car! By simply installing a car camera in every vehicle that you drive, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you will be protecting yourself with HD video evidence that will fully show the circumstances leading up to, and including the collision itself. This will give the insurance company any proof it needs if they suspect the claim to be a fraudulent one.

Protect your insurance premiums

Often, when making a claim to your insurance company the claimant will always have to pay an increased cost on their next renewal. This is because most of the time, after an accident each party denies responsibility for it; the result is the insurance companies have to assume equal responsibility for both parties. On some occasions the outcome is even worse and the innocent party is wholly blamed for the collision. Installing a car camera will help ensure that the actions and driving behaviour of those who caused the incident are 100% indisputable. The insurers will be able to get a complete understanding of the circumstances leading up to an accident and this will mean that only the guilty parties’ insurance company will have to pay damages. Thus, in-car video evidence goes a long way to protecting your premiums and your no-claims bonus.

Cheaper car insurance

As car cameras or dash cams become increasingly popular on UK roads, some insurance companies are recognising the benefits of having them fitted and discounts are already being offered for drivers who install and use their cameras regularly. Having high-quality video evidence also means that insurers can spend less time and money investigating suspicious or fraudulent claims and therefore can pass this saving on to the motorist. In a nutshell the car camera will actually pay for itself before there has even been an accident! Still can’t decide whether or not to purchase an in-car camera? For most of us, just the fact it could save us a small fortune on our insurance premiums is enough to make it a “no-brainer”.

Deter, record or report dangerous and unsociable drivers

With the car camera market expanding by the day, drivers will eventually start to become more aware that there are quite a number of vehicles on UK roads that already have an on board video camera mounted inside them. This, we are sure, will eventually start to make every motorist drive with a lot more courtesy and patience for others. Unfortunately, at this moment in time, we are still a long way away from this. With speeding motorists wanting to under-take or push in front of us, angry tailgaters who insist on driving a few inches away from our rear bumper or selfish drivers who chat away on their mobile phones, these are all examples of incidents that are happening on a daily basis and are making our roads as dangerous as ever. So how can we combat this? Simple, by using an in-car camera system you’ll have the ability to capture any dangerous or reckless driving on video. This can then be reported to the local authorities and in many cases these drivers will be prosecuted solely on car camera evidence.

Protect against road rage incidents

Road rage attacks are becoming ever more common in the UK. In most cases this involves nothing more than some choice words or possibly some offensive hand gestures.  That said, there are a number of drivers who are reportedly finding themselves as a target of actual physical violence. If you have a car camera fitted, try to make sure you always position yourself in front of it whilst you’re exchanging details; this ensures that any offensive behaviour or threats will be caught on camera. Another way to diffuse a potentially violent situation is to inform the other driver that the event is being monitored and recorded, this can be a useful tool, helping to diffuse a volatile situation. Many attackers will be far more likely to back down once they know their actions being filmed by your ‘eyewitness’.

Protection in car parks 

G-shock technology sensors are tiny motion sensors that are built in to most modern day car cameras. This enables the camera to instantly start recording the moment it detects either, movement around the car, or a sudden bump or jolt to the vehicle itself. This will be an enormous benefit to you if you happen to return to your parked car to find it scratched or damaged in some way. The saved file from your in-car camera can be viewed once you’re back at home, or with some car cameras, the footage can be watched there and then on your smartphone using a Wi-Fi connection. It gives you extra peace of mind that you may have caught the culprits face on camera or in the case of the damage being caused by another vehicle; you’ll not only have video images of the incident taking place but also the vehicles registration plate. This gives you the advantage of bringing any guilty party to justice and once again saves you from having to make a claim on your own insurance.

Record commercial and fleet driver’s activity

With the advances in car camera technology it is now possible to start protecting your entire workforce whilst they’re out on the road. Fleet owners now also have the ability to monitor every one of their vehicles and driver’s activity. Using Google maps they can check whether a driver has adhered to the correct pre-planned route, not broken the speed limit and more importantly not been driving without due care and attention. At the same time many drivers now enjoy the peace of mind that having a camera installed brings. Commercial drivers are often the target of crash for cash scams, this is because the gangs know that a commercial vehicle will undoubtedly have insurance, when a larger van or lorry is blamed for being at fault in an accident, irrefutable video evidence can immediately prove the drivers innocence, therefore not only protecting the fleet owner’s insurance costs but also helping to protect the employees driving licence and ultimately, their job.

Taxi and Private hire protection

If you drive a black cab for a living or you’re always on the road as a private hire driver the chances are, at some point, you’ve ended up either having a near miss with another vehicle or maybe found yourself in a vulnerable situation with one of your passengers. With Taxi and private hire insurance premiums being at an all-time high, there’s never been a better time to install your very own ‘eyewitness’ protection. These days you’ll find CCTV everywhere you go so why should your cab or minibus be any different? There are numerous problems that can arise whilst driving, these include damage to the outside of your cab from other road users, verbal and sometimes physical abuse and of course those customers who have decided not to pay their fair at all! Having the knowledge that you have a reliable camera system in place will go a long way to improving safety for both the driver and passengers alike.

Young and novice driver protection

The cost of insurance premiums for young or novice drivers has increased dramatically over the past few years; some of these premiums can range anywhere from £3,000 to £7,000 a year! This is largely because younger and less experienced drivers are more likely to be involved in an incident or accident in their first few years on the road. To combat some of these issues insurance companies will only offer them a policy if they then agree to have a ‘black box’ fitted in their car. This then tells the insurer their locality, what time of day or night it was and more importantly what speed they were travelling. Now imagine installing a car camera into their vehicle to back this up, it would not only give their insurance company a visual image of how they were driving, but could potentially prove their innocence should they ever be involved in a collision with another motorist. Worth thinking about, isn’t it?

Protect your vehicle against misuse and abuse

When you have to leave your vehicle with a stranger, it can sometimes be a real worry. Without an in-car camera installed you have no idea how others are treating your property. How many times have you left your vehicle at a garage for repair, service or M.O.T or maybe had to leave it with a valet parking company at an airport? Once it’s out of your sight, what really goes on? Having a car camera installed enables you to see (and sometimes hear) exactly what happens once you’ve dropped it off and handed over your keys. Viewing the camera footage back will enable you to know exactly where your vehicle was and how it was treated. If you have a car camera with built-in GPS you’ll also be able to see the route it was driven, how fast it was travelling and where abouts it was left parked up.

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These tips should help make passing your driving test easier.

1. Practice. A lot

The Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency suggests that learners, on average, need about 45 hours of professional training plus 22 hours of private practice. Make sure you learn with an instructor you feel comfortable with, from a reputable driving school – and practise with an experienced friend or relative to hone your skills.

2. Warm up

Book a lesson near the test centre just before your test appointment time, so you don’t drive ‘cold’ when you have to get into the car with the examiner. It can also helps to scope out any obstructions such as potholes, local congestion or new roadworks, so you’re prepared if you encounter them during the test.

3. Relax

It’s perfectly normal to be nervous about taking your driving test, so take the pressure off yourself by not telling many people beforehand.

On the day, take deep breaths, count to 10 and exhale just before entering the test centre. Do this a few times and you should find yourself calming down and ready to drive.

4. Think positively

Before you enter the test centre, believe that you’re going to pass. Try some creative visualisation, which involves closing your eyes and imagining yourself driving well over the route, making flawless manoeuvres and seeing all the potential hazards.

5. Be comfortable in your car

Make sure you sit your test in a car you’ve driven regularly – either your instructor’s or the car you use for practising.

You need to feel completely comfortable with controls and, even more importantly, the biting point of the clutch, which will allow you to move off and change gears smoothly.

6. Know the route

Do your homework and make sure you know the area around the test centre and all the possible routes you’ll be driving. Drive them as often as possible with your instructor and, if possible, when practising privately.

It’s also important to be comfortable driving different on as many different types of road as possible, so you’re ready for the independent driving section of the test and, more importantly, life after passing your test.

7. Avoid the usual mistakes

Common driving test pitfalls include not checking mirrors sufficiently, inadequate observation when reverse parking or moving away, poor positioning at junctions and roundabouts, and inappropriate speed.

Discover these bad habits when you learn to drive to help you avoid them.

8. Be ready for anything

When learning, try to drive at different times of day, in sunny weather and the wet – and, if possible, in slippery or icy conditions so you’re prepared for any eventuality during your test.

9. Don’t be afraid to ask

If, at any time during the test, you don’t understand what the examiner has asked you to do, don’t be afraid to ask him or her to repeat the instruction.

10. Keep your eyes on the road

Whatever you do, don’t look at the examiner during the test or try to look at their notes and work out how well you’re doing.

Keep your eyes on the road, making full use of your mirrors and concentrate on what’s going on around you.

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Apple has patented a system that would lock drivers out of their smartphones while on the move, in a bid to cut down on accidents caused by texting and other distracting features

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Apple has patented a system that would provide a “lock-out mechanism” to stop drivers texting or using other distracting functions of their smartphones while on the move.

The patent describes how a device could determine if it was moving by looking at data from GPS, phone towers or even images from the camera. Visual clues would enable the device to calculate if its owner was driving the car or merely a passenger, imposing limits in the former case but not the latter.

Algorithms would look for a steering wheel in close proximity to the camera, or search for the number of faces – only one visible person would indicate that the user must be the one driving. It could also differentiate between the interior of a car and a train carriage or seat on a bus, where safety features would be unnecessary.

The application even suggests that the accelorometer could be used to detect when an unscrupulous driver was tilting the phone so as to not reveal the steering wheel and evade the safety feature. Sensing the speed of travel would also prevent the limits from kicking-in if the user was just walking.

Apple says in the patent application, filed in 2008 but only published and granted this week, that texting while driving has become a “major concern” of the police, and cites a 2006 study which found that 80pc of crashes were caused by distractions such as applying makeup, eating and text messaging.

The patent also claims that it is “doubtful” that police can stop people texting while driving because it can be done on the lap and is harder to spot.

Other studies have shown that sending text messages while driving was as dangerous as being a quarter over the legal drink-drive limit. The road safety charity Brake says that texting increases the chance of a commercial driver crashing by 23 times, and slows reaction times by 35 per cent.

The first part of Apple’s suggestion would use the phone’s own hardware to determine if it was travelling above a certain speed, and then lock the owner out of certain functions such as text messaging. It further develops the idea by suggesting that the car itself, or perhaps just the key, could be modified to send a signal to the phone to shut down certain features.

The application says that such a feature could be “a significant selling point in the eyes of concerned parents, and it could lead to legislation that would require all handheld computing devices to disable texting while driving.”

There are several Android apps which aim to perform a similar function, but Apple’s tight controls on what apps can and cannot access on the iPhone’s hardware have largely prevented similar software from launching on the iOS platform.

Driving and Drugs

THOUSANDS of drivers who take prescription medication to control pain and seizures or to manage anxiety could fall foul of the new drug-driving law, legal experts have warned.

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It may come as no surprise that under new regulations which came into force last month drivers face prosecution if they have taken illegal drugs such as cannabis and cocaine.

But the new rules also include eight common legally prescribed drugs such as oxazepam and diazepam which are used to relieve anxiety and temazepam which is prescribed for insomnia.

To defend themselves against possible prosecution drivers need to ensure that they have evidence that they are taking prescription drugs legally, advises Just Motor Law specialist Matt Reynolds.

“This law potentially poses a huge issue to those driving while taking properly prescribed medication,” he warns.

“Everybody metabolises and excretes drugs at a different rate, meaning some people may be more likely to have residual levels of drugs in their system than others, despite taking the same dose.

“However the good news is that those who face prosecution because of the levels of prescription drugs in their system may be able to raise a medical defence if they are taking the medicine in accordance with the advice of their doctor and the patient information leaflets provided by the manufacturer.

“I recommend patients visit their doctor in order to obtain a letter confirming their legitimate use of the drug they have been prescribed and to carefully read the advice leaflets that accompany their medication.

“It is in no way a guarantee that they will avoid prosecution but it’s a practical and beneficial first step to a medical defence.”

Although only recently introduced, the new law is already stirring up controversy.

Greater Manchester Police announced it would delay implementing the new rules until it had examined the legal implications of the changes.

But Daily Express GP Dr Rosemary Leonard says: “If you are taking your medication according to your doctor’s advice you are unlikely to run into any trouble.

“However if you are stopped because your driving is giving cause for concern and you are found to have prescription drugs affecting your driving, then you could be prosecuted.”

The penalties for drug-driving are on a par with those for drink-driving.

Those who are found guilty will face a minimum 12-month driving ban, a criminal record and a fine of up to £5,000 or up to six months in prison.