Thursday, 25 March 2010

Driving Tests 75 Years Old This Month

The driving test is 75 years old this month, and over that time motorists have become well aware of
the need for caution around learner drivers.

Provisional Marmalade, the new driver’s champion, has collaborated with Halfords to provide an innovative car insurance product that provides provisional drivers with fully comprehensive insurance on a family or friend’s car for just £3 a day.

More traditional insurance usually involves a hefty premium that can be thousands of pounds, and jeopardise the car owner’s no claims bonus.

The high cost has meant that learner drivers aged 17-21 have declined from 46% to 32% in recent years.

Halfords’ Diane Perry has said that high prices have put off many young drivers from taking advantage of extra practice outside of paid lessons.

High costs are not only an issue for learner drivers.

Recent research by has shown that one in ten families are performing the criminal act of ‘fronting’, which is when a parent takes out insurance on a child’s car in the parent’s name.

Steve Sweeney,’s head of car insurance, has said that the practice is illegal and would be classed as fraud by an insurer.
Source : Richard Kilner - www.insurancedaily.,

Monday, 22 March 2010

'Are You Ready?' Video For Car Tests

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has updated its 'Are you ready?' video for the car driving test.

'Are you ready?' is the official step-by-step explanation of the driving test. It's been updated so you know what the examiner will ask about taking someone with you on you driving test.

DSA encourages you to take someone with you on your driving test. This will usually be the person who has taught you to drive, but it could be a relative or a friend. They must be over 16 years old and cannot take any part in the test.

The person who goes with you will be able to see how you perform during the test. To get the most benefit from this, it would be sensible to ask your instructor to go with you. They can then give you advice on how to improve your driving, whether you pass or fail.

If you run your own website, you can embed the new clip into it. You can also share it using social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Bebo.

See the video by copy'n'pasting this link:

or visiting our facebook page:

Source : DSA

Friday, 19 March 2010

Car Joy For Man Who Lost Two Limbs

A MAN who lost an arm and a leg in a motorcycle accident 26 years ago is celebrating after finally
passing his driving test.

Chris Allen, 44, from Kempsford, has passed his driving test after the fourth attempt in a car which has been specially adapted to meet his needs.

Chris was left devastated at the age of 17 when he lost his right arm and his right leg in a motorcycle accident on a dual carriageway between Chippenham and Lavington in 1983.

His injuries were so serious that he was in a coma for more than two months and even had to learn to speak again.

He also uses a prosthetic leg.

At the time of the accident he was having driving lessons but vowed never to get behind the wheel again due to the severity of his injuries.

However, last month, Chris finally passed his test in Chippenham with four minor faults.

He said: "I am so delighted. I was craving some indepedence and I just wanted to feel normal again. Now I do.

"It is a saviour having a car. There is only one bus a day from the village into Cirencester which was a nuisance.

"Now I can just hop into my car and go anywhere, anytime.

"Having a car is essential if you live in a remote village."

In 2008 Chris asked the government to help him fund his lessons. However, he found he was ineligible for charitable funding because he is not aged between 16 and 24. So he paid for the lessons himself.

His car, which is on a three-year lease through Motability from the Allen Ford dealer in Swindon, has been specially adapted. The car is automatic and the brake and accelerator are both operated by the left leg.

There is a knob fitted to the rim of the steering wheel which Chris can move with one hand. Features such as indicators and windscreen wipers are operated by an infra-red panel just off the steering wheel.

"I was so nervous getting behind the wheel for the first time but I was determined to do it," Chris said.

"When you are 17 you think you are indestructible. I won’t be making that mistake this time.

‘The car took a lot of getting used to but now it has become second nature. I never thought I’d be behind a wheel again, I know I’m very lucky."

Source : Gemma Casey -

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Driving Examiner Strike On Wednesday 24 March

The PCS union is asking its members to take strike action on Wednesday 24 March.

If you have a driving test booked for that day, you are asked to attend as scheduled.

The DSA won’t know the effects of the strikes until the day as not all of their examiners and staff are members of the union. They don’t know at this stage who will attend for work, which is why you are asked that you arrive for your test regardless.

You don’t need to do anything and there is no need to contact DSA.

If you can’t take a test because of the action, you will have the test rebooked automatically, free of charge, and an appointment confirmation will be sent by email or post.

If your new appointment isn’t suitable you can change it online at

Source : DSA

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Virtual Tragedies Get Teens’ Attention Behind The Wheel

Sometimes a single choice can change a life forever. It's especially true with new teen drivers. A
new program called One Simple Decision, available later this month to schools and law enforcement agencies across the country, drives home the risks of being distracted or impaired when you're behind the wheel - without putting anyone in danger.

Students sit at a computer screen and control a small steering wheel on a simulated drive, adjusting speed with a gas petal. The program uses videotaped scenes with real police officers and a judge to help teens experience a mock arrest, booking and sentencing for mistakes they make behind the wheel.

Per mile driven, teenagers have about four times the risk of other people of being in a car accident, according to the Injury Free Coalition for Kids, a community-based education and advocacy group. And the first 18 months when new drivers are gaining experience is the most dangerous time. Experts say about 4,000 teens die each year in car accidents, and being distracted or impaired is often a contributing factor.

"So you take inexperience, add on hand-held electronic devices distracting teenagers and you have a fatal combination," says Dr. Brendan Campbell of Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford. "It's almost like an addiction that teens are not able to recognize the risk that hand held devices pose and they can't resist the urge to use them," says Campbell.

Drivers of all ages are four times more likely to be in an accident when using a cell phone and at least eight times more likely while texting, according to the National Safety Council.

But unlike adults, teens' brains are not fully developed, especially in the areas affecting judgment and decision-making.

"They think that they are invincible and that they're bulletproof and that bad things aren't ever going to happen to them," says Campbell.

On his One Simple Decision drive, Henry Sewell, 17, rear-ended a car while using his cell phone. High school junior Kaley Markham crashed into a fire hydrant while driving under the influence.

Would those lessons apply to their real lives? "I do text sometimes in my car and I occasionally do talk on the phone," says Henry. For Kaley too: "I change the song, I text occasionally and usually my GPS I use when I'm stopped, but sometimes I have to fix it while I'm driving." But watching scenes through the eyes of an arrested driver who is booked in a real police station and then taken before the judge for sentencing was unsettling for Kaley and Henry.

"One minor rear ending while you're texting or calling could end up being jail time," says Henry. Kaley fatally struck a pedestrian during her second driving simulation. "I was actually scared when I saw the video of what you get charged for when you hit people," says Kaley.

But will this virtual driving experience change their driving behaviors? Henry says he'll wait until he's at a stop before calling people and is rethinking his texting habits.

"I'll definitely prohibit myself from texting as often as I do," explains Henry.

Campbell says he's encouraged by the possibilities new virtual driving tools offer but advises teen and parents alike to also remember the low-tech fundamentals.

"The most important thing you can do as a parent is to drive with your teenager," he says.

Source : Leslie Wade - CNN Medical Producer

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Driving Standards Agency Confirms Barry Driving Test Centre Closure

THE Driving Standards Agency (DSA) says there will be no reprieve for the Barry Driving Test Centre and that the office will close as planned - but Vale MP John Smith says the fight isn't over.

The DSA and the Department for Transport (DfT) last week announced that the closure will go ahead, regardless of a meeting between Vale MP John Smith and Transport Minister Paul Clark last month.

Chris Lee, a spokesperson for the DVLA, said: "The closure is still planned for March 26, 2010.

"It was stated in the meeting that if there was a future need for a test centre because of population growth, then it would be considered at a later date, should the need arise."

A DfT spokesperson added: "Paul Clark met with John Smith MP to discuss the test centre closure and understands the concerns Mr Smith forcefully put to him.

"However, to date, the evidence provided by the DSA is conclusive on the issue and Paul Clark has written to Mr Smith explaining that the closure is planned to go ahead."

But Mr Smith denied that any decision had been confirmed, and last week had a second meeting with the transport minister.

A spokesperson for Mr Smith said: "Mr Smith had a further meeting with the Transport Minister last week and what's more, he has recently submitted evidence on future population growth here in Barry and the Vale of Glamorgan which he believes hasn't been properly taken into account and warrants the retention of the Driving Test Centre in Barry.

"In the past when Barry Driving Test Centre faced closure, the case for keeping it open was properly listened to and closure was averted. Let's hope that the same happens this time around."

Barry driving instructor Lyndon Davies, who has led the campaign against the closure said: "Thousands of people signed the petition to keep Barry Driving Test Centre - we must do everything we can to convince the DSA to keep it open."

Barry driving instructors, backed by the town’s learner drivers and politicians, have tried to prove the need for a test centre in the town.

Source : Elinor Cross -

Friday, 12 March 2010

Passing Your Driving Test

We've all heard the horror stories - the friend who took eleven times to pass their driving test, the relative who crashed during the exam and the colleague who was simply never granted the elusive license.

So, how does a learner motorist ensure that they do not become driving test folklore and pass their exam swiftly?

Firstly, it is important to know exactly what the test will entail so there are no surprises on the big day. Being caught out by the unexpected will only make a candidate's nerves worse.

The driving test will always begin with an eyesight check. This will normally involve the examiner asking the candidate to read the number plate of a car parked in the area. If a candidate fails this test, they will not be able to sit the rest of the examination - so those who suspect they might need glasses should get their eyes checked out prior to a driving test.

After this, the examiner will ask the driver to perform some basic safety checks on their vehicle, such as turning on the hazard lights and identifying where the oil gauge is.

The practical test will then begin. On average, this will last for about 40 minutes, during which the examiner will be assessing the candidate's overall standard of driving.

Candidates will be directed around the area by their examiner and those who are keen to pass would be advised to thoroughly familiarise themselves with the test route before the big day.

This will ensure that if there are any quirks in the road layout or confusing junctions etc the candidate will know to expect them and be confident in maneuvering the car through them.

Examiners will be assessing how well candidates change gears, their awareness of road hazards, perception of other cars and how they navigate the vehicle through junctions and roundabouts.

In addition to this, a candidate will be asked to perform a number of manoeuvres, which those hoping to pass their test should have practised and perfected before the big day.

The manoeuvres candidates should prepare include a reverse around a corner, a parallel park, a turn in the road and an emergency stop - although it is very unlikely they will be asked to perform all of these in one test.

Those taking their driving test should also think carefully about which vehicle they take the exam in. If a driving instructor cannot make the test date, choosing to undertake the test in a friend or relative's car, which the candidate is not as familiar with, could prove to be a fatal mistake.

Finally, try to be as calm as possible on the big day.

Source :

Friday, 5 March 2010

Drivers Who Pass Test at The Second Attempt Are Safest

Drivers Who Pass Test at The Second Attempt Are Safest

New Study Reveals Drivers Who Pass Test at The Second Attempt Are Safest On Roads.

Surprising results from a study performed by Continental Tyres reveals those who pass on their second attempt have fewer points on their licence, are less likely to suffer road rage or be stopped by police.

Motorists who pass their driving test second time round are the safest on the roads, a recent study has revealed. Researchers at Continental Tyres have found those who pass on their second attempt have fewer points on their licence, are less likely to suffer road rage or be stopped by police.

Guy Frobisher, director of safety at Continental Tyres which surveyed 6,200 motorists on their driving history and skills said: “It seems that second time around is perfect when it comes to the best drivers.

“Second time passers appear to fare better, especially when it comes to driving safely and considerately. Perhaps this is down to concentrating more and taking into account different road conditions and other drivers.

“First time passers know how to handle a car but some might be over-confident and that can quickly lead to recklessness. Safety should be the priority for all drivers, this includes making sure the car is roadworthy before you set off and being aware of issues such as stopping distances being affected by weather.”

Second time passers are also less prone to being cautioned for using their mobile phone behind the wheel, have had the fewest accidents in the last 5 years and are unlikely to scare passengers with their driving.

However, the research also found the more attempts Brits take to pass their test, the severity and frequency of their bad habits increase.

Rather unsurprisingly, drivers who need a dismal four, five or six efforts before making the grade have the worst record when sat behind the wheel. They run more red lights, admit to driving the wrong way down a one-way street and have been stopped by police for speeding more than any other driver. They have also had their car clamped, hit stationary objects whilst trying to park their car and claimed on their insurance more than anyone else.

The nationwide survey of 17-65 year old motorists quizzed them on 20 aspects of their driving life – including who would feel confident teaching others to drive, who have been issued parking tickets and how often they take their eyes off the road. The sometimes surprising statistics include:

* The average first-timer passer emerged as being able to perform driving manoeuvres – such as parallel parking, hill start and three point turns - the best

* Second time passers are least likely to drive at a snail’s pace

* Those who need six goes or more are cheeky enough to clip a car and not own up

* Motorists who enjoy first-test success are least likely to stall the engine and happy to teach others to drive

* Those who have three or more tries to pass are guilty of letting their eyes wander off the road ahead

* The average driver has broken the law four times in the last month but has escaped being caught

* The typical motorist currently has three points on their licence and takes at least two years to become a confident driver from the moment they pass their test

Also included in the survey was a selection of the worst driving distractions. Items topping the list include re-tuning the radio (51 per cent), talking to a passenger (49 per cent) and listening to loud music (44 per cent).

Source :

Driving Examiner Strike - Candidates To Attend Tests

Driving Examiner Strike - Candidates To Attend Tests

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union is asking its members to take strike action on Monday and Tuesday, 8 and 9 March.

If you have a driving test booked for either day, we ask you to attend as scheduled.

We won’t know the effects of the strikes until the day as not all of our examiners and staff are members of the union.

We don’t know at this stage who will attend for work, which is why we ask that you arrive for your test regardless.

You don’t need to do anything and there is no need to contact DSA.

If you can’t take a test because of the action, you will have the test rebooked automatically, free of charge, and an appointment confirmation will be sent by email or post.

If your new appointment isn’t suitable you can change it online at

Source DSA