Motorists that are caught driving on illegal tyres is also a topical issue this month. Shocking figures released by Tyresafe have revealed that in 2010, there were 10,475 court convictions related to driving on defective tyres. Keep your tyres to a roadworthy standard and make sure you avoid a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points!
From 23rd January 2012, the Driving Standards Agency is making changes to the UK driving Theory Test. From this date onwards, the DSA will add new multiple-choice Theory Test questions to the test. The DSA will not let anyone publish these new Theory Test questions, so they will not appear in any product, nor on any website. However, the DSA will continue to release official DSA Theory Test revision questions.
As we move into the New Year, we also encounter new changes to the UK theory test. The DSA have announced that it will stop publishing the multiple choice questions and answers and start using unpublished questions from 23 January 2012
There is light at the end of the tunnel for ADIs, with help from road safety minister, Mike Penning. It has been well documented that we are seeing the highest unemployment rates in nearly 20 years, thus having an impact on spending, especially when it comes to learning to drive.
Mike Penning has revealed new plans that will help ADIs, with more training hours by allowing motorway driving to learner drivers whilst under supervision of an ADI in a dual controlled car and by ending the current trainee licence scheme, which was introduced in the 1960′s.
ADIs have been pushing for motorway driving for learner drivers and now their wish has been answered. Learner drivers have been allowed on all roads apart from motorways, giving them no experience for when they pass their practical test. Mike Penning said:
“We have been looking at the whole of driver testing and training regime to make sure that all new drivers are properly prepared for life on the roads. “This includes investigating how learners could be given experience of motorway driving while ensuring safety. My aim is for this change to be implemented next year following a full public consultation.”
Learner drivers get a lot of experience on roads, but it has been noticed high speed driving is not possible in all areas of the country with no dual carriageways available. Making motorways accessible to learner drivers give them the ability to practice in the correct environment and experience high speed driving before they pass their practical driving test. MSA Editor, John Lepine said:
“We have been pursuing this policy for many years. In the evidence given by the MSA to the Transport Select Committee a couple of years ago we said:
‘Learner drivers should be allowed on motorways with driving instructors in dual-controlled cars. We think it is very important, not just because they need to be prepared for driving on motorways, but because in a number of areas the road systems have no fast dual carriageways apart from motorways.‘
In such areas, if we prevent learner drivers from going on motorways we are preventing them from driving at high speed. “A motorway is just another road and the difference between that and a major dual carriageway is not that great. Where there are motorways available to an instructor, he or she should be allowed to take their pupils on them when they are ready”.
Underpinning the move is a great concern at the number of young drivers being killed and seriously injured on the country’s motorways. According to figures compiled by the Department for Transport, 82 drivers under 21 years olds were involved in fatal motorway crashes between 2006 and 2010.
The initiative reflects growing ministerial concerns at the current testing regime which, it is felt, does not prepare drivers for life behind the wheel.
Since taking office, Penning has stopped driving test centres publicising the routes which will be used during the examination.
He has also banned the publishing of answers to the theory test to prevent candidates learning by rote.
Penning has implemented the end of the current trainee licence, which has been in place since the 1960’s assisting trainee driving instructors to gain valuable teaching experience and get paid for it.
ADIs have had strong views regarding the trainee licence for decades, as PDIs normally charge the same as ADIs. They believe that PDIs should not be teaching for more than 15 to 20 hours per week, whilst using the rest of the time studying for the ADI Part 3 test. Penning met with a number of ADI groups and realised a solution should have been enforced years ago, especially as the ADITE/ORDIT was introduced. ADITE/ORBIT properly inspects training, taking away the need for unqualified trainers to perform tuition on the public for a fee.
“It is a legal requirement for trainee driving instructors to display the pink licence disc to show learner drivers that they are not fully qualified. However, we are aware that there are concerns about the use of trainee licences and I share those concerns. We are reviewing the training process for instructors as part of our work to modernise the driver-training industry.”
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Learning to drive...