Brake Welcomes Drink Drive Figures

The road safety charity Brake has welcomed the efforts that police forces across the country made to catch drunk and drug drivers over the festive period but says their efforts are hampered by a lack of government action.

The figures out recently from the Association of Chief Police Officers show there were a total of 7,123 drivers over the limit in the month of December throughout England and Wales, about the same number as the year before. There were however more people being breathalysed in December 2012 than 2011, something praised by Brake who say it shows the efforts being made to find those breaking the law.

Police also said that 360 Field Impairment Tests took place to try and catch drug drivers and 21% of these led to an arrest. While the charity was supportive of the police efforts over the Christmas party season, it called on the government to show its backing for their efforts by giving more of a priority to traffic policing and also thinking again about reductions in police numbers, which it says, would have a direct impact on plans afoot for next December. It appealed to drivers everywhere to never drive after drinking alcohol or taking drugs.

Julie Townsend, the charity’s deputy chief executive, said the police do an incredible job but their work was being placed in jeopardy due to the cutbacks in roads policing. She said it sent the wrong message to motorists and she urged the government to have a rethink and continue to make drink and drug driving a priority area.

One in seven road deaths in Britain during 2011 were due to drivers who were over the 80mg limit, this amounted to 280 deaths as well as 1,290 serious injuries, while many more accidents were due to drivers who may have been under the legal limit but nevertheless had some alcohol in their system. These drivers will undoubtedly have had an effect on the statistical number of road accident claims too. Giving rise to websites such as The Claims Connection to deal with whiplash and other road accident related compensation claims. Research suggests that even small amounts of alcohol can slow down reaction times and affect a person’s driving in other areas, so the Brake advice is sound.

Another reason to desist from any alcohol if you know you are going to be driving is down to the fact there is no sure way of estimating the level of alcohol in your blood simply by counting the number of units you have had. Each person absorbs alcohol differently and while you may have drunk less than your friend, you may nevertheless have retained more in your system. So, again, the only guarantee that you are not affected by alcohol is not to have any in the first place.

England and Wales have a current limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood but most of Europe hs the lower limit of 50mg and Scotland is set to follow suit. Brake goes further and calls for a 20mg limit which, it claims, will send a strong and clear message to those getting behind the wheel, which having any alcohol at all before driving is unacceptable. Sweden, Poland and Greece already take this zero-tolerance approach and it would not be a surprise to see more countries take stronger action to limit the problem of drink-driving.

For more information visit

Brake – The Road Safety Charity http://www.brake.org.uk/

Young drivers spending 20 percent of income on insurance

Young drivers are spending almost a fifth of their wages on car insurance cover, according to a new study. Research by a leading insurance comparison website has shown that 18-21-year-old drivers are being forced to pay around £2,499 for annual comprehensive cover. With the average income for the age group at £13,972, insurance cover accounts for 18% of their salary. Young male drivers pay out even larger amounts on insurance, on account of their higher crash risk levels. Their premiums costs an average of £3,635 according to Confused.com, versus annual premiums of £436 for drivers over the age of 70. Gareth Kloet from Confused.com said: “Costs for each age group are calculated according to their statistical risk. This includes the value of the car itself, the experience levels of the driver, past history, and where they live. But younger drivers are hit significantly harder than more experienced motorists.” Transport secretary Justine Greening recently urged insurers to fit “black boxes” to vehicles to help young drivers get cheaper insurance. The electronic boxes assess driving behaviour such as speed, acceleration, braking and cornering, as well as when journeys are made. Insurers can then offer discounts to safer drivers.

TeachmetoDRIVE wants to encourage the use of black box technology. We hope that the adoption of this technology will result in pupils seeking to continue learning after the driving test, through advanced driving courses that help with anticpation and planning. If we can demonstrate to insurers and the public that this can improve driver behaviour through black bo technology then there will also be lower preiums available to better drivers.

Young drivers are currently the most at risk group and this statistic has showed little sign of changing till now.

Income Calculator for Instructors

QRSliders

How much can I earn as a Driving Instructor? This is often a question raised by someone considering training as an Instructor. However many franchise companies have made misleading claims that instructors can earn over £30,000 based upon their Sales Income.

What is of course omitted is the cost of running a vehicle or being supported by a franchise. TeachmetoDRIVE has come up with a solution to help existing and would be instructors calculate their gross income, taking into account the major costs of running a driving school business.

The calculator works out an instructor’s annual and weekly income, using simple sliders, and shows what impact any changes in current working arrangements will have on income.

Increasing an hourly rate by just £1, for instance, can increase annual income by over £1,000.

Distance travelled to collect a pupil can have a significant impact on take-home pay – with every mile travelled affecting a typical instructor’s income by over £400 per year.

ADIs can even use the calculator to work out the annual mileage of a proposed lease vehicle.

Users can see the impact that working through a driving school franchise will have on their income or use it to help them consider alternative options.

And there is further advice on improving take home pay through business planning and attracting the right kind of customers.

The software can be accessed by clicking here or visiting the website. www.teachmetodrive.info/jQuerySliders/#

James Eisen, the website’s owner said “There have been numerous articles written about what driving instructors should charge for a driving lesson, but the reality is that many of us are influenced by promotional offers advertised by our competitors.” Now Instructors have the means to work this out for themselves.

Feedback about the tool can be logged through the teachmeto DRIVE Blog site.

TeachmetoDRIVE also offers referrals to driving instructors for new business. Registration for the start up package is currently free to qualified ADIs.

Fair Fuel Day – 7th March Sign the e-petition today.

Dear ADI

I received the following email this morning. Please take time to read this as the fuel costs are having a dramatic effect on our industry. This is where you can do something to help yourselves and the profitability of your business:

Dear FairFuelUK Supporter

With only 20 days to the budget, we have made it really easy for you to email your MP to help in our ongoing fight for lower petrol & diesel prices. Its vital that you do this as soon as possible in order to show that cutting fuel duty will benefit the economy.

Pump prices are rising sharply – the Government must act. Here’s why we need your help, and what we need you to do!
On your behalf, the FairFuelUK team has commissioned a report from a respected ‘think tank’ that ‘blows away’ the Governments argument that it can’t cut petrol & diesel taxes as it would lose revenue and have to cut back even more on vital public services.
This vital report shows that any revenue ‘lost’ to the Government from the cut would be more than made up by the hundreds of thousands of jobs that would be created and the boost to the general economy.
Please help to get our MPs to give this report serious consideration and to urge the Chancellor to cut fuel duty in the Budget. We need you to email your MP by clicking on this link http://action.fairfueluk.com/MP urging them to seriously consider this report and to urge the Chancellor to make cutting petrol & diesel taxes a real priority.

Kind regards,

The FairFuelUK team

Learners to be allowed on the Motorway

Finally ADIs will be able to take learners on the motoway, with help from road safety minister, Mike Penning.

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.

Penning stated;

“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.”

How to Choose a Great Driving Instructor

If you are just starting the process of Learning to Drive then you’ll want to find a Driving Instructor to help you pass your Driving Test. But who should you choose? And what questions should you ask before committing yourself to a course of lessons?

If you are reading this article then you have probably found it using the Internet. Over the last few years this has become the primary resource for anyone starting a search for a Driving Instructor. Perhaps the biggest issue is being able to tell whether or not any Instructor you find is any good from a list of 100’s.

Of course you could also choose the driving instructor that your friends have already used and traditionally this has been the first choice for many learners. But you may have decided that option is not for you.

 What to ask about your Driving Instructor

We’ve compiled a short list of the most popular questions here:

Is the instructor qualified?

Believe it or not up to 1 in 8 driving instructors are trainees (or PDIs as they are known).

When an instructor qualifies they become an ADI (Approved Driving Instructor). An instructor must by law present their ADI badge in the front windscreen of their car. If it’s a green badge then the instructor is fully qualified. If it’s a pink badge then the instructor is still in training and may not offer a high standard of teaching.

You should never accept a driving lesson from anyone who does not display either a pink or green badge. It is a criminal offence for anyone to charge for a driving lesson if they are not on the Driving Standards Agency Register of Approved Instructors.

If you are offered a lesson by unqualified instructor, you should note down the registration of the vehicle and report it to the police.

How much experience does the instructor have?

Every so often Driving Instructors are graded as to how well they teach. Most instructors will start out as a Grade Four, some will be a Grade Five and a few will have reached a Grade Six; in theory the higher the grade the better the Instructor.

Some instructors have gone on to improve their teaching and driving skills by taking further qualifications. These could include teaching people with disabilities such as dyspraxia, or perhaps involve adaptations to the instructor’s car for a range of physical disabilities.

They may also have taken further advanced driving courses from organisations like ROSPA, or the DIAmond Advanced Driving Certificate.

They may have passed a Fleet Training course which qualifies them to teach drivers after passing a test, often with eco-driving and speed awareness as a focus.

More recently the methods of teaching learners have been reassessed with some instructors using Coaching techniques. Coaching is a different style of teaching that enables the pupil to direct their learning throughout the process.

Newly qualified instructors will still be gaining experience and local knowledge of the area where they teach and this may mean that your instructor takes longer to meet your lesson objective. But your choice of instructor should really be about who you can best build rapport with.

If you have a good relationship with your instructor, you are more likely to learn quickly and enjoy your Driving Lessons more.

Should I pick a Driving School or an independent Instructor?

Increasingly many instructors have become independent or work for smaller driving schools, mainly because of the costs associated with larger franchises. Being part of a driving school may offer a few advantages such as being able to book or cancel lessons through a call centre or online. It will also give you a point of contact should you have a concern or wish to complain.

Driving Schools will often offer instructors further support and training as they develop their skills. Independent instructors may also have chosen to take further training, however it will fall to the instructor to pay for this and so they may chose to avoid any extra costs simply to keep their lesson prices lower instead.

 I’ve seen some cheap prices for lessons. Is this the best deal for me?

Ask yourself, Is it a promotion that the instructor is running or are the prices permanently low?

An instructor who has a very low hourly rate is probably likely to be cutting corners, either with the way they teach or perhaps the tuition vehicle.

A much lower price than any other instructor should raise your suspicions. Most instructors charge very similar rates, but some may offer a deal when you pay for a block of lessons in advance, or include other extras such as a theory test package or practical test fee with a course of lessons.

You may also be attracted by a voucher promotion you’ve purchased on a discount website. if you pick up one of these to get you started it gives you a chance to try out with an instructor before committing you to buying a course of lessons.

Let’s face it we all like a good deal, but what you should be asking is: Am I getting a good deal from a good instructor?

Driving Lessons offer you a skill for life and ultimately taking driving lessons from a better instructor will equip you better once you have passed your test. You will be less likely to be involved in an accident if you have been taught properly and this can save £100’s in excesses, and increased insurance bills.

 How will I be taught?

A course of driving lessons should always be structured and should take you through a range of skills needed for driving. Your instructor should agree the objective at the start of each lesson and you should have a brief discussion of the main points you have learned at the end.

We all have an individual style of learning, some of us are better at the practical side of doing things, where other pupils may need a better explanation before practising a new skill. A good instructor should ask a few open questions to help them determine the best style of learning for you.

Most instructors will also record your progress throughout your lessons, this will help them determine what skills you have covered and what skills you still need further practice on. Some instructors will use a scale from 1 to 5 depending on how well you have demonstrated any particular skill. At the highest level you should be able to drive in a range of traffic and road conditions without any assistance from your instructor.

If your instructor is simply giving you directions and only telling you what you are doing wrong, it is likely that you will end up needing further lessons and have a negative view of your experience.

 When will I be ready for my test?

Pupils often want to take a test as soon as they have mastered the basics of driving and completed their manoeuvres, often feeling that their instructor is simply trying to make more money out of them.

Of course this can happen, but the best way to assess your ability to pass a Driving Test is by completing a Mock Test first. This can save you a considerable amount of money in having to take extra tests and increase your chances of passing first time.

On average pupils take more than two tests in order to pass, and require around 45 hours of tuition from an instructor plus getting around 20 hours of private practice.

Most Instructors won’t charge any extra for sitting a mock practical test, it will also give you a better understanding of what to expect on the day.

Some instructors may even pay for a 2nd test if you pass a mock test first. This could save you quite a bit of money too!

Starting your search

Hopefully this article will have given you a head start in what to look for in a Driving Instructor.

Teachmeto DRIVE offers a great way to find and compare local instructors covering your area. It also offers testimonials from past pupils and may even present you with a voucher to get you started with a particular instructor.

It’s free to search the website and you’ll only be sent details of instructors who are fully qualified to teach learners.

So find your Driving Instructor in your area now

 

Changes to Criminal Record Checks for Potential Driving Instructors

For individuals wishing to become driving instructors, here’s a statement from the DSA

Following a recent tendering exercise the Driving Standards Agency has announced that from 1 February 2012 criminal record checks for both Potential and Approved Driving Instructors will be dealt with by one contractor (TMG CRB).

 

TMG CRB already provide the criminal records disclosure service for Approved Driving Instructors so the process for them remains unchanged; the DSA will continue to send a reminder letter six months before the expiry of their current certificate providing details of how to obtain a disclosure.

 

From 1 February PDIs are required to telephone TMG CRB to answer a number of eligibility questions before being provided with details of how to obtain their disclosure.

Driving Instructors : Sign up for the DSA online services

If you are a driving instructor and you haven’t signed up for the DSA’s online services, then now is the time for it.

With the service you can

  • Keep your registration with the DSA up to date
  • Renew your ADI registration
  • Register as a pass plus driving instructor

So how do you get started?

 

Use the following link after watching the video.

https://dsa.dft.gov.uk/DSAWeb/

Watch this video from the DSA

Welcome to the Teach Me To Drive Blog

We have set up our blog.

Teach me to drive is a website to help students find suitable driving instructors in their local area and to compare prices. The service is free and is suitable for anyone in the UK looking to start their driving lessons.

Our blog will be regularly updated with news from the driving standards agencies, tips on driving lessons and other best practices.

Subscribe to our RSS feed if you want to be regularly updated from your browser.

Thanks for dropping by and see you again -

James