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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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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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About the questions

The Driving test is changing on 4 December 2017. The questions you can be asked, and how you’ll be asked them will change.

The examiner will ask you one:

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 me’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving

Show me, questions

  1. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the rear windscreen?
  2. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the front windscreen?
  3. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d switch on your dipped headlights?
  4. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d set the rear demister?
  5. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d operate the horn?
  6. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d demist the front windscreen?
  7. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d open and close the side window?

Tell me, questions

1. Tell me how you’d check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.

Brakes should not feel spongy or slack. Brakes should be tested as you set off. Vehicle should not pull to one side.

Manufacturer’s guide, use a reliable pressure gauge, check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold, don’t forget spare tyre, remember to refit valve caps.

3. Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash.

The head restraint should be adjusted so the rigid part of the head restraint is at least as high as the eye or top of the ears, and as close to the back of the head as is comfortable. Note: Some restraints might not be adjustable.

4. Tell me how you’d check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.

No cuts and bulges, 1.6mm of tread depth across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tyre, and around the entire outer circumference.

5. Tell me how you’d check that the headlights and tail lights are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

Explain you’d operate the switch (turn on ignition if necessary), then walk round vehicle (as this is a ‘tell me’ question, you don’t need to physically check the lights).

6. Tell me how you’d know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.

Warning light should illuminate if there is a fault with the anti-lock braking system.

7. Tell me how you’d check the direction indicators are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

Explain you’d operate the switch (turn on ignition if necessary), and then walk round vehicle (as this is a ‘tell me’ question, you don’t need to physically check the lights).

8. Tell me how you’d check the brake lights are working on this car.

Explain you’d operate the brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows or doors, or ask someone to help.

9. Tell me how you’d check the power-assisted steering is working before starting a journey.

If the steering becomes heavy, the system may not be working properly. Before starting a journey, 2 simple checks can be made.

Gentle pressure on the steering wheel, maintained while the engine is started, should result in a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. Alternatively turning the steering wheel just after moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assistance is functioning.

10. Tell me how you’d switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you’d use it/them. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

Operate switch (turn on dipped headlights and ignition if necessary). Check warning light is on. Explain use.

11. Tell me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you’d know the main beam is on.

Operate switch (with ignition or engine on if necessary), check with main beam warning light.

12. Tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient oil.

Identify dipstick/oil level indicator, describe check of oil level against the minimum and maximum markers.

13. Tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient engine coolant.

Identify high and low level markings on header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap, and describe how to top up to correct level.

14. Tell me how you’d check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.

Identify reservoir, check level against high and low markings.

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For a while, some insurance companies have been encouraging teenagers to get a little black box in their cars. But how do they work, and will everyone soon have one?

For many young people, getting their first wheels is a rite of passage, a path to independence, the precursor to flying the nest.

But with one in five young drivers having an accident within their first 12 months of being on the road, insurance premiums are high. Many look to ways to reduce their costs.

It has led to the rise of what is known as the little black box, which motorists are installing in their cars to prove they are a good driver, in the hope they see insurance costs drop.

The British Insurers Brokers’ Association (Biba) says sales of motor insurance policies which use “black box” technology, called telematics, have increased fivefold over the past two years.

It says it can knock 25% to 30% off policies, saving some young drivers up to £1,000.

Critics say they cost too much and civil liberty campaigners have expressed concern about the potential for invasion of privacy, or data incriminating drivers.

So how does telematics technology work, and what do these black boxes record?

Typically the boxes are placed inside a dashboard and are able to monitor things such as speed, acceleration and braking, and the times of the day that the cars are on the roads.

The safer the driver, the better the score and the lower the insurance premium.

But prices can go up as well as down. If the analysed information shows examples of poor driving, such as fast cornering or doing wheelies, the black box will also pick that up.

Nick Moger, one of the founders of Young Marmalade, which offers a young driver insurance scheme with telematics technology, says his company uses a green-orange-red system to monitor driving, emailing drivers to alert them when they have picked up bad driving.

“The very first time, they get an email to say they are driving erratically, if they ignore that then they get another email to say you are on probation for 30 days and if they continue to drive badly we increase the premium by £250,” he says.

Manufacturers are convinced highlighting poor driving patterns can improve driving behaviour and reduce the number of accidents.

“It has been proved in Italy – where they are probably the leaders in Europe in accident rates – their rate has dropped by 16% by having black boxes,” says Moger.

More than 600,000 cars in Italy are believed to have the devices, many more than in the UK. But Biba expects 500,000 UK cars to have them by July 2014.

Nicole Darbyshire, a 20-year-old nursery nurse from Bolton, has already signed up to the system.

After passing her driving test in April, she says the cost of a car and its associated insurance was “a big worry” before she discovered that telematics could help reduce bills.

“For the first month, I was really aware of the box, and if I accidentally sped, I’d brake really quickly. Now I tend to forget it’s there.

“I can log onto my account online and see how I am driving. It shows when I’ve over-accelerated – it has pictures of the street which is a bit strange. So far I’ve been 97% green, so that’s good. I’ve got more relaxed about checking now as I know it will email me if I do anything wrong,” she says.

But not everyone is so relaxed about signing up to this sort of surveillance.

Taylor Brown, 21, says he thinks his insurance company already has enough information. “Why should I then tell them what I’m getting up to – Big Brother Britain and that, but you know, it is up to me where I go.”

Joe Johns, 18, doesn’t like the idea either. “It would be like being on a driving test 24/7. You’d always have someone monitoring you about how you’re driving, your foothold, your braking. I just wouldn’t fancy it.”

Firms such as Coverbox, iKube, Co-operative Insurance, Swinton and the AA now offer insurance schemes with telematics for young drivers.

The AA, which stores a small electronic box under the bonnet transmitting data via satellite to the company, says savings of up to £850 can be achieved when compared with standard inexperienced driver policies.

And the boxes aren’t the only devices that incorporate artificial intelligence as an aid to monitor and control a young driver’s behaviour.

Insurance firm Aviva has launched a new pay-how-you-drive smartphone app which could offer drivers savings on their car insurance premiums, based on how they drive.

Motoring journalist Paul Horrell says the devices are part of a wider trend that is seeing insurers and manufacturers try to incentivise or coerce young drivers into being more careful.

He cites a Ford product in the US called MyKey, which allows a master key to set various limits – such as maximum speed or audio – on the vehicle.

Volvo’s Alcoguard monitors alcohol levels. It will not start until a driver has blown into a unit, which transmits the results via radio signal to the car’s electronic control system. If a blood-alcohol limit of 0.2g/l is exceeded, the engine will not start.

And DriveCam, which was developed to help organisations with fleets of drivers, like haulage companies, monitor their drivers’ performances, uses a system which relies on two cameras – one pointing at the road, and one monitoring the driver – to record instances of bad driving such as texting or tailgating.

So might everyone soon have a little black box, or something similar, in their car?

Horrell says it is often parents that are particularly attracted to devices such as little black boxes. But he thinks it is unlikely that everyone will subscribe to such surveillance.

We are definitely going to have more behaviour-based motor insurance in the future”

“If people are willing to submit to this kind of observation, they are probably the kind of people who are willing to behave more responsibly.”

Graeme Trudgill, head of corporate affairs at Biba, says although he expects to see a significant increase in the number of little black boxes in the young driver market over the next couple of years, it would not be economical for all insurance companies, and all age groups, to go down this route.

In many ways the future depends on technology, he says, as it depends on what happens with smartphone apps such as Aviva’s, which are cheaper than having a box fitted. And in the next couple of years, vehicle manufacturers are also going to be required to install emergency call buttons, which will transmit GPS signals and have the potential to use telematics.

“What is clear is that we are definitely going to have more behaviour-based motor insurance in the future – and young drivers are going to still be the primary market,” he says.

Adeola Ajayi, from the Association of British Insurers, says riskier or more dangerous drivers are likely to be the ones who are the most resistant.

She thinks there will be a spike in the number of young female drivers opting for a black box after 21 December, when an EU ruling which bans insurers from taking gender into account when setting premiums comes into effect.

“Female drivers, who are statistically safer, have benefited from cheaper insurance in the past, so these might prove popular with them.

“Others are simply keen to do whatever they can to get a premium that reflects their exact risk, and this is a way of getting more insight and rewarding customers,” she says.

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It’s often imagined that young drivers have too much confidence and rush to complete their driver training in their eagerness to get on the roads.

However, a recent survey, taken from a sample of 2,000 drivers between the ages of 18 and 30, paints a different picture, with 62% of young drivers in favour of a minimum learning period.

Statistics show that many young drivers feel unequipped to drive safely and competently after passing their test, and many will go out of their way to avoid driving situations where they lack confidence.

Young Driver Survey Data

The report gives a unique insight into the opinions of Britain’s young drivers and shows that many of them feel totally unprepared for driving after passing their test. Yet young drivers themselves are rarely consulted about their driving experiences.

Although the driving test has been improved to better reflect real-life conditions on the roads, almost half of newly qualified drivers (48%) felt unprepared for motorway driving and around one in three (29%) were nervous about night-time driving and driving alone after passing their test.

Situations that young drivers admitting avoiding included motorway driving, driving in city centres and turning right at busy junctions.

In the survey, published in August 2013, one in four drivers who had had an accident believed that it might have been avoided if they had spent longer learning to drive. Despite this, amongst the young people consulted in the survey, one in five took less than three months to pass their driving test and 50% took less than six months to pass.

Written by: Janet Fisher

Dagenham

 

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Lee Moughton our happy ADI :)

Lee Moughton our happy ADI :)

Lee does driving lessons in the following postcodes: RM1, RM2, RM3, RM4, RM5, RM6, RM7, RM8, RM10, RM11, RM12, RM13 and RM14  

Lee is a part-time Driving Instructor and works as a Fireman full time. So when it comes to teaching people to drive Lee has a huge amount of expertise and knowledge!

He also has a fantastic sense of humour (Don’t tell him that!) and lots of stories to tell! Make sure you have plenty of time!

To contact Lee to book your driving lessons call the Office on 0333 123 0245 or Lees Mobile 07599 408188

Lee Moughton Driving Instructor & Fireman

Lee Moughton Driving Instructor & Fireman