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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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Putting a black box into your car could save you a substantial amount of money on your premiums. We describe the six types of drivers who would benefit from the device

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Black box insurance, where premiums are based on your driving behaviour, is popular among young drivers trying to reduce the cost of cover, but motorists of other ages can also benefit.

This type of insurance is otherwise known as “telematics” cover, and involves a black box being professionally installed in your car. The box monitors how and when you drive and relays this information back to the insurer, which then calculates your premiums based on the data it has received.

Here are six types of driver who could benefit from having black box cover:

Young drivers

Young drivers aged between the ages of 17-24 are statistically the most likely to be involved in a car accident, which means premiums can be sky-high. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) drivers in this age group are three times more likely than drivers of other ages to be responsible for “catastrophic claims”.

Back box insurance enables insurers to tailor premiums to suit each individual based on their driving habits, rather than relying on statistics alone to determine the cost of their cover. So provided young drivers can demonstrate they are responsible motorists, premiums will be lower than they would be if they opted for conventional cover.

New drivers

If you’ve only recently passed your driving test, and therefore have limited experience on the roads, you will also be considered high risk by insurers, regardless of your age. Telematics insurance could help you pay cheaper premiums as premiums will be based on how and when you drive, so the safer you are, the lower your premiums will be.

Low mileage drivers

If you only drive a few miles every so often, it doesn’t make sense to pay the same insurance premiums as someone who drives 10,000 miles or more every year. Many black box policies allow you to choose exactly how many miles you’ll drive, and use this information to help work out your premium. If you don’t exceed this number, then you won’t have to pay any extra.

A spokesman for black box insurer Insurethebox said: “For those drivers who need to travel further, top up miles are available in bundles of 250, 500, 1,000 or 2,000 miles.”

Similarly, Coverbox’s “pay as you drive” scheme, also allows you to buy more miles if you underestimate your annual mileage.

Careful drivers

If you pride yourself on being a particularly safe driver, black box insurance could potentially reward you with lower premiums. For example, with black box cover from Ingenie, every three months your policy is reviews and a discount is applied if you’re driving well. Ingenie claims that 70pc of its customers have received a good driving discount.

The AA’s Drivesafe policy assesses how you anticipate traffic and follow the landscape, so the better you drive, the lower your premiums will be.

Slow drivers

Black box insurance is not for boy racers. You don’t have to crawl along the roads, but you must always stick within speed limits. Remember that speed can be assessed in other ways too. For example, if you take corners too sharply and are braking while doing so, this could work against you if you have a black box installed. Similarly, you’ll need to take care not to accelerate too fast away from traffic lights or to brake hard when you see a traffic jam in front of you.

Daytime drivers

Driving late at night or in the small hours is considered much riskier than driving during the daytime. This means drivers with black box insurance are likely to see premiums rise if they regularly drive at night, while some such as iKube and Co-op, have curfews so that if you drive late at night you could be fined or see premiums rise. If you tend only to drive during the day, then black box cover could be for you as you will be rewarded for driving during “low risk” periods.

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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Julie White Driving Instructor

Covering: Abbeywood, Blackheath, Charlton, Eltham, Greenwich, Woolwich, Thamesmead, Sidcup, Welling, Bexley, Bexleyheath, Belvedere, Dartford and Plumstead.

Julie has a huge amount of passion for what she does. Over the years 100′s of our customers have benefited from her knowledge, expertise and friendship in teaching them how to drive.

Julies teaches manual driving lessons and specialises in teaching:

Nervous/anxious customers

Customers with learning difficulties

Customers with ADHD or Autism

Intensive/crash courses

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