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Fears about “crash for cash” fraudsters have helped to prompt a surge in the proportion of motorists owning a dashcam, a survey of AA members suggests.

A fifth (20%) of drivers own a dashcam – and 51% expressed an interest in having one, a poll of over 21,000 members, found. Five years ago, just 1% of members had a dashcam, the AA said.

The main reason for having a dashcam, given by 60% of those who own one, was to help establish liability in the event of a crash. A quarter (25%) of dashcam owners said their greatest concern is to protect themselves against cash for crash fraudsters, who stage accidents in order to make insurance claims.

Young drivers aged 17 to 24 are most likely to have a dashcam, with over-65s being the next most likely age group, the research found.

Men were more likely than women to say they have a dashcam.

One in 20 (5%) of dashcam owners got one to reduce their insurance premiums, 3% wanted to record possible thefts or collisions while parked, 2% bought one to record bad behaviour by other drivers which they could highlight online, and 1% have a dashcam “because I like gadgets”.

The AA said that as well as helping insurers, dashcams can also be a useful tool for the police. Janet Connor, the AA’s director of insurance said: “Data is king in the event of a collision and dashcam footage provides proper, reliable evidence that can establish fault.”

She said: “While we are all familiar with dashcam footage loaded on to social media, only 2% of AA members said that this was their motivation. Overwhelmingly, drivers say their key reason for using one is to provide evidence in the event of a collision, thus protecting their insurance.

Several insurance fraudsters have been brought to book thanks to camera evidence.

 

 

 

 

New drivers could face restrictions on the number of passengers they can carry, plus a mandatory six-month training period

New drivers could soon face new laws after the Department for Transport said it is to investigate introducing graduated driving licences

The proposals would limit the number of passengers new, young drivers could carry, set a minimum learning period of six months before a driving test could be taken and mandate the displaying of ‘P’ plates for the first two years after the passing of driving tests.

The news comes as a letter written by roads safety minister, Jesse Norman, says a proposed graduated driving licence system in Northern Ireland will be used as a “pilot” scheme to gauge whether graduated driving licences should be introduced across the UK.

In the letter, sent to Scottish SMP David Stewart, Norman writes: “The Department for Transport has decided to use the introduction of  graduated driving licences in Northern Ireland as a pilot to gather evidence on the potential for graduated driving licences in GB”.

Northern Irish authorities are currently in the second stage of a public consultation, which proposes limiting the number of passengers new drivers aged 24 and under can carry for the first six months after passing their driving tests.

Under the plans, young drivers would only be allowed to carry one passenger aged between 14 to 20, between the hours of 11pm and 6am, for the first six months after passing their test – though immediate family members would be exempt from this rule.

The graduated driving licence would also mandate a minimum learning period of six months before a driving test can be taken, while new drivers would also have to display ‘R’ plates (short for ‘restricted’) for two years after passing the test – though any UK graduated driving licence scheme outside of Northern Ireland would most likely use the more familiar ‘P’ plates.

Novice drivers in Northern Ireland already face post-test restrictions, which mandate the carrying of ‘R’ plates for the first year of driving, and set a maximum speed limit of 45mph – though the proposed graduated driving licence system would see an end to that limit.

 

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Learner drivers can take motorway driving lessons with an approved driving instructor from 4 June 2018.

From Monday 4 June 2018, learner drivers will be able to take driving lessons on motorways in England, Scotland and Wales.

This will help to make sure more drivers know how to use motorways safely.

At the moment, you can only have motorway lessons after you’ve passed your driving test. Some newly-qualified drivers take lessons through the voluntary Pass Plus scheme.

How the change will work

Learner drivers will need to be:

Accompanied by an approved driving instructor

Driving a car fitted with dual controls

Any motorways lessons will be voluntary.  It will be up to the driving instructor to decide when the learner driver is competent enough for them

The change only applies to learner drivers of cars. Learner motorcyclists won’t be allowed on motorways.

Trainee driving instructors won’t be allowed to take learner drivers on the motorway.

Motorway driving isn’t being introduced to the driving test as part of this change.

Until the law changes, it’s still illegal for a learner driver to drive on a motorway.

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The driving test will change from Monday 4 December 2017 to include following directions from a sat nav and testing different manoeuvres.

The changes are designed to make sure new drivers have the skills they’ll need to help them through a lifetime of safe driving.

The changes will only apply to car driving tests to begin with.

The 4 driving test changes

1. Independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes

The independent driving part of the test currently lasts around 10 minutes. During this part of the test, you have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner.

This part of the test will be made longer, so it’ll last around 20 minutes – roughly half of the test.

2. Following directions from a sat nav

During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav.

The examiner will provide the sat nav (a TomTom Start 52) and set it up. You won’t need to set the route – the examiner will do this for you. So, it doesn’t matter what make or model of sat nav you practise with.

You can’t follow directions from your own sat nav during the test – you have to use the one supplied by the examiner.

You’ll be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where you’re going if you’re not sure. It won’t matter if you go the wrong way unless you make a fault while doing it.

One in 5 driving tests won’t use a sat nav. You’ll need to follow traffic signs instead.

3. Reversing manoeuvres will be changed

The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will no longer be tested, but you should still be taught them by your instructor.

You’ll be asked to do one of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres:

Parallel park at the side of the road

Park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)

Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic

4. Answering a vehicle safety question while you’re driving

The examiner will ask you 2 vehicle safety questions during your driving test – these are known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

Tell me question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving

Show m’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving – for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers

Pass mark, length of test and cost not changing

The pass mark is staying the same. So, you’ll pass your test if you make no more than 15 driving faults and no serious or dangerous faults.

The examiner will still mark the test in the same way, and the same things will still count as faults.

The overall time of the driving test won’t change. It will still take around 40 minutes. The driving test cost will also stay the same.

Learner drivers will be allowed to take motorway driving lessons with an approved driving instructor in a car with dual controls from 2018.

Allowing learner drivers to have lessons on motorways will help to make sure more drivers know how to use motorways safely.

At the moment, you can only have driving lessons on motorways after you’ve passed your driving test. Some newly-qualified drivers take lessons through the voluntary Pass Plus scheme.

How the change will work

The change will apply to England, Scotland and Wales. Learner drivers will need to be

Accompanied by an approved Driving Instructor

Driving a vehicle fitted with dual controls

Any motorways lessons will be voluntary. It will be up to the driving instructor to decide when the learner driver is competent enough to have a motorway lesson.Trainee driving instructors won’t be allowed to take learner drivers on the motorway.

Motorway driving will not be included in the driving test changes coming into force on 4 December 2017.

The change will only apply to learner drivers of cars – learner motorcyclists won’t be allowed to have motorway lessons.

When the change will happen

The exact date in 2018 will be confirmed nearer the time.

The change will be well-publicised so driving instructors and learner drivers are prepared for the change, and other road users know what to expect. The Highway Code rules on motorways will also be updated.

Driving instructor vehicles and training

Driving instructors will be allowed to decide whether or not to keep their driving school roof-top box on during motorway lessons, based on the manufacturer’s instructions.

However, the car will still need to display L plates on the front and rear if the rooftop box is removed.

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As we move into summer, it’s worth talking about some of the road users that begin to appear when the weather improves. Motorcyclists are one of the most vulnerable groups to injury or fatality when involved in collisions.

When a crash happens involving a motorcycle and other vehicle, who is typically found at fault?

It’s most often the fault of the OTHER DRIVER…. SURPRISED?

In fact when it’s not a single vehicle incident involving the motorcycle, it’s usually the other driver who has made a mistake that resulted in the accident.

What is the most common place and type of collision involving a motorcycle and other vehicle?

There are certainly many places where vehicles can collide; but the most common place for another vehicle and a motorcycle to collide is at an intersection when the other driver is turning left or right and turns in front of the motorcyclist.

Why does this happen? (a driver turning in front of an oncoming motorcycle)

There are 2 primary reasons that this can happen:

  • The driver of the other vehicle simply did not see the motorcycle. Motorcycles are smaller and more difficult to see and many drivers don’t think to actually watch for them.
  • Speed: The driver of the other vehicle DOES see the motorcycle but thinks he has time to turn because he misjudges the approach speed

Tailgating Tips:

Motorbikes are vulnerable road users; they do not have the protection that a car or Lorry has. Almost, always result in injury.

If you expect to see motorbikes, you are more likely to detect them. Often we can filter out the things we don’t expect and just not see them Always look for motorbikes especially at intersections

Motorbikes are much more lighter than other vehicles and can stop in much shorter distances. This means that when you are following a motorbike, you should leave more distance. If the rider has to make an emergency stop, the bike will stop in  a much shorter distance than your vehicle.

When you see a motorcycle approaching, realize that it’s easy to misjudge the speed because the size of the cycle and the fact that its coming towards you makes it difficult to estimate speed.

  • Keep Your Eyes Up – It’s tempting to look down and over the bonnet of the car at the centre line or the tail lights in front of you, but this can cause several problems. When your eyes are looking downward over the bonnet, steering can become choppy and require many more adjustments, and frequently you will either cut corners or run wide. It’s much more effective to keep your eyes up and this practise prepares you for the next technique.
  • Eye Lead Time – Look 12 to 15 seconds ahead of where your vehicle is at any given time. As your speed increases, so will the distance you look ahead if you always look for this time interval.
  • Move Your Eyes – This takes practice and intent. Look right, left, ahead and into the mirrors and as you look, identify potential problems so that you can decide what you will do about them. Moving your eyes is particularly important to see things to the side because your peripheral vision becomes increasingly ineffective as your speed increases.
  • See the Big Picture – By moving your eyes, you get a ‘big picture’ perspective of the traffic environment and your place in it. Pilots call this ‘situational awareness’ and it helps you to make good decisions about speed and movement such as lane changes, well in advance.
  • Eye Contact – The only way to know if another driver sees you is to make eye contact with them. If they are looking at you and you see them making eye contact with you, you can be fairly sure (but not guaranteed) that they see you. If another driver is moving into your space and you want to establish eye contact, a light tap on the horn will attract their attention.

Practical Challenge:

For the next week, make a point of watching for motorcycles and develop a habit of identifying them as soon as you can. Be especially careful at junctions/intersections.

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A provider specialising in pay as you go car insurance has created a new policy for vehicle owners who drive only occasionally.

The new product – a first for the UK market – requires the car owner to take out a monthly subscription of between £10 and £30 that then has to be topped up for each hour the vehicle is used.

Cuvva, which already offers by-the-hour insurance cover for individuals to drive vehicles belonging to friends and family, said car owners will have to pay from £1.20 each time they want to get behind the wheel.

Drivers have to pay £10-£30 for a monthly subscription that covers the car when not in use.You pay from £1.20 per hour each time you want to drive the vehicle

Aimed at younger drivers who live in cities and cover less than 4,000 miles a year in their car

Cuvva says it could save some drivers up to 70% on a standard insurance policy

The cover is aimed at ‘young city dwellers who pay high insurance premiums for cars that are driven for fewer than 4,000 miles a year’, the Edinburgh-based insurer said.

According to Department for Transport and DVLA figures, there are approximately six million cars in the UK that are described as being driven ‘very infrequently’.

Cuvva said these low-mile drivers are forced to pay hefty premiums despite spending little time on the road, effectively subsiding higher-mileage motorists

As a way of cutting their costs, it offers drivers the choice to pay a monthly subscription that ranges from £10 to £30 depending on the car and where the person lives.This fully-comprehensive subscription insures the vehicle when it’s parked up at your home and not in use.However, when the owner decides they need to drive somewhere, they then have to pay from £1.20 for every hour they’re behind the wheel using a top-up service on the Cuvva app.Unlike it’s existing pay-as-you-go insurance service based on a driver being able to get behind the wheel of any car, the subscription cover is for one vehicle only.If two people share a car they would need two subscriptions in order to drive it.As with conventional insurance, users will earn a no claims discount at the end of a 12-month subscription, which is then fully transferable.

The monthly subscription can be cancelled at any time at no cost, though drivers run the risk of a fine from the DVLA if the vehicle isn’t insured by another provider or declared off the road – or SORN – at the end of the 28-day subscription period.

For more information please go to www.cuvva.com

 

Plans for instructors to take ‘competent’ trainees on UK’s fastest roads in dual-controlled cars backed by road safety groups

HA0523 - Motorbike on the network. This set of images illustrates bikers driving on motorways and A roads in a safe manner.

Learner drivers will be allowed to practise on motorways for the first time under government plans to improve road safety.

Under current rules, drivers are permitted on motorways only after they have passed their test, though there is no mandatory training for the 70mph roads.

The transport minister, Andrew Jones, announced the plans on Friday, which would allow approved instructors to take “competent” trainees on motorways in dual-controlled cars.

The RAC director, Steve Gooding, and Neil Greig, policy director at the IAM RoadSmart charity, backed the proposal.

Gooding said: “The casualty statistics tell us that motorways are our safest roads, but they can feel anything but safe to a newly qualified driver heading down the slip road for the first time to join a fast-moving, often heavy, flow of traffic.

“Many are so intimidated by the motorway environment that they choose instead to use statistically more dangerous roads, so we welcome this move, which will help new drivers get the training they need to use motorways safely.”

Greig said it was a “sensible and measured solution”, adding: “It makes no sense that new drivers learn by trial and, often fatal, error how to use our fastest and most important roads.”

Under the proposals, motorcyclists would take a theory test as part of the compulsory basic training (CBT) course, which allows bikes and mopeds to be ridden unaccompanied. CBT certificates would be revoked if the motorist gets six penalty points.

Jones said: “These changes will equip learners with a wider range of experience and greater skillset which will improve safety levels on our roads.”

Reports had said the government was considering making learner drivers complete 120 hours of training before taking their tests, but the Department for Transport said there were no current plans for such a measure.

A spokeswoman said: “We have commissioned a £2m research programme that will look at ways we can reduce the number of accidents involving new and inexperienced drivers, and this will look at a range of measures.”

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Our tips for tackling driving test nerves will make sure you keep your cool on the day.

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Your instructor will often recommend a mock test before the real thing. Make sure you’ve attempted at least one of these – preferably several – and that you can pass them before you even apply for the real thing.The night before your test, make sure you have all the documents you need for your test ready. These include your driving licence, theory test certificate and confirmation email/letter of the appointment.

Familiarise yourself with the test centre

It’s a good idea to visit the driving test centre before the test itself, especially if you haven’t already been there during your lessons. This will help you get used to the location and understand what goes on inside the centre. It’s best to get there early on the day, as rushing will just add to your nerves.

Eat and drink well

Have a banana for breakfast. Bananas are well known among instructors as the driving test superfood, as they’re full of B vitamins and contain tryptophan – a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’ – which will help calm your nerves keep your mood upbeat.Nerves can reduce your appetite but it’s important to at least eat something so you have enough energy for the day and can concentrate. Don’t drink energy drinks or too much coffee before a test, as caffeine can heighten your nerves.

The waiting game

Sitting in the waiting room before your test is often the time when people feel the most anxious so it’s a good idea to bring a distraction such as a book or a game on your phone.Breathing exercises are an effective calming technique so focus as you inhale and exhale – this will have a soothing effect and stop your heart from racing. Laughing is also a great remedy for nerves and helps to boost your mood, so why not watch or read something that really makes you giggle? Remember that this is the worst bit – most people find their nerves ease once they’re on the road.

In the car

The examiner is human and they’re not there to fail you – they want you to pass – so don’t be afraid to talk to them as it may put you at ease. There’s nothing wrong with asking the examiner a question or to repeat an instruction if you didn’t hear it, either.Open the window to let in some fresh air if you’re feeling hot and flustered – this can also help to keep you alert. Watch your speed too – when people sometimes speed up when they’re nervous, so just imagine you’re on a normal lesson, breathe and focus.

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Drivers are risking fines, disqualification or jail because they do not know the rules on supervising learners

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 The motoring group’s survey of 19,000 members suggested nearly a quarter did not know it was illegal to use a mobile phone while out with a learner driver.

Nearly one in 10 respondents was unaware falling asleep was not allowed.

The law states that somebody supervising a learner driver is effectively in control of the car.

In one case a supervisor was jailed after the learner was involved in a crash that killed two people.

It said many learners benefited from time spent with more experienced drivers, but suggested short driving courses for supervisors might be needed.

The AA/Populus survey suggested drivers were also breaking the law by drinking, sending text messages, or failing to wear their glasses while on practice runs with learners.

Some 23% of respondents did not know they would be breaking the law by using a mobile phone while supervising a learner.

And 13% were unaware of the need to wear glasses if they used them when driving themselves, while 9% did not realise that falling asleep in the passenger seat was illegal.

A total of 4% of respondents who had supervised learners admitted breaking at least one of these laws. The figure rose to 22% among supervisors aged 21 to 24.

The president of the AA, Edmund King, said the issue was highlighted by a case in which a person who was supposed to be supervising was over the drink-drive limit.

“This is where the legal point is quite serious because you are actually deemed to be in control of the car, even when you’re supervising. And in fact there has been a case where tragically the learner driver actually had a crash, two people died and the supervisor was actually deemed responsible and actually went to jail.”

Reducing risk

Learners who build on skills they gain in formal lessons by practising with family or friends have a better chance of passing their test and are likely to be safer behind the wheel.

“Yet drivers often lack confidence or don’t know their responsibilities when supervising learners.

“Many are passing on bad driving habits or even risking a run-in with the law.”

Road safety charity Brake said it wanted to see the minimum age for accompanying drivers raised to at least 25.

Katie Shephard from the charity said: “It is vital that learner drivers gain suitable supervised experience behind the wheel, to ensure their safety and the safety of other road users. Accompanying drivers should also be registered as ‘approved accompanying drivers’ by completing a questionnaire to prove their suitability, which could be checked by their insurer.”

Duncan Vernon, road safety manager for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said there was “no doubt” those who supervised learner drivers would benefit from being given more information about how best to teach.

“All-round good practice should involve better co-ordination with approved driving instructors, as well-planned private practice can be invaluable,” he said.

“It gives the novice more experience in all kinds of conditions, thereby reducing the risk of them being involved in a crash once they have passed their test.”

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