More people are learning to drive

Between April 2013 and March 2014, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has announced that 1,477,585 practical car driving tests were taken which is an increase of 2.9% on the previous year.  Over the previous 6 years there had been a decline of 16%.

 

This could be as a result of an improving economy giving people the confidence to invest money in learning to drive and it could also be due in part to people who have put off learning to drive during the recession but now feel that it is an essential skill for them to learn.

 

So if you are thinking about learning to drive, what sort of things should you be considering when choosing a driving school?

 

A good starting point would be to ask yourself whether you recognise the brand, how long has the driving school been trading and what reputation does that driving school have.

 

A common mistake is that people often phone driving schools and ask what their pass rate is, but how can you check?

 

Very few driving schools have a fully accountable system that can list all driving lessons and driving tests and that is why many do not wish to publish their driving test pass rates.

 

At A2Z of Motoring, we can account for every driving lesson and driving test and we are proud to publish our driving test pass rate on our home page, especially because it is nearly 30% above the national average!

 

The best way to find a good driving instructor is to try a small special offer such as our 4 hours for £49.  That way it gives you a chance to try the car and the driving instructor without investing too much money and after 4 hours you should have a good idea if that is the right driving instructor for you.
If you would like to book a driving lesson with us, call us on 0800 30 60 70 today or click on the book lessons now button on the right hand side of this page.

 

 

No more foreign language driving tests

Currently, people are able to take their car and motorcycle theory tests with a voiceover in one of 19 foreign languages, and use interpreters on both theory and practical tests.

However, following a public consolation, the UK’s Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill made an announcement in October that, as of April 7th 2014, test candidates will need to have a good understanding of the English or Welsh language as there will no longer be voiceovers or interpreters allowed in other languages during driving tests.

Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, said:

“We want to make sure that all drivers have the right skills to use our roads safely and responsibly. One area where we can help ensure this is by requiring all test candidates to take the test in English or Welsh, the national languages.

This will help to ensure that all new drivers will be able to understand traffic updates or emergency information when they pass their test. It will also help us to reduce the risk of fraud by stopping interpreters from indicating the correct answers to theory test questions.”

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) consulted earlier this year on a series of proposals reviewing the level of foreign language support available to candidates. This was because of concerns about potential road safety and the risk of fraud, as well as the ongoing cost of providing translations.

Almost 2,000 people had their say on the proposals with more than 70% of the people who responded supported the withdrawal of foreign language voiceovers and interpreters on tests. Many people agreed that a lack of understanding of the national language meant that some drivers may not be able to understand traffic signs, or speak with traffic enforcement officers as well as finding it difficult to read details of the rules of the road.

In addition, there was also support for encouraging candidates to learn the national language to improve social cohesion.

You can read the full report on the consultation.

Candidates with special needs

Candidates with dyslexia or other reading difficulties will still be able to take their theory test with an English or Welsh language voiceover, whilst candidates who are deaf or have hearing difficulties will still be able to take their theory test in British sign language (BSL), or take a BSL interpreter with them on their practical test

Don’t be “conned” when booking your test

A new issue the DSA is advising new drivers about is copycat websites promising to book your driving test.

Copycat websites claim they will book your theory and practical tests for you, but add a premium charge for their service. Some also add an additional charge for ‘pass protection’, which offers you a free retest if you don’t pass first time, but with so many onerous terms and conditions that make the promise almost meaningless.

Some companies charge up to £30 on top of the test booking fee, effectively doubling the cost of a theory and adding 50% to the cost of a practical test, so it is advised that you save yourself the money and go to the Driving Standards Agency directly, where there is no fee added to the actual cost of the test.

Candidates shouldn’t need to pay any more than £31 for a theory test and £62 for a practical driving test, except where a Saturday test or an extended test is required.

Find out more about DSA’s warning to learner drivers

Revised ADI code of practice

A revised code of practice for approved driving instructors (ADIs) has been published.

The revised code, which is voluntary, has been drafted by some of the associations representing ADIs. It’s a framework within which all instructors should work.

Professional standards

The code has been accepted and welcomed by DSA.

Mark Magee, ADI Registrar, said:

“DSA and the driving instruction industry place great emphasis on professional standards and business ethics.

“I’m particularly pleased that the new code has been drafted by those representing ADIs. I’d encourage all ADIs to sign up to the code as a way of showing their commitment to providing a professional service to their clients.”

How to sign up to the code

You can sign up to the code using online instructor services.

You can also show your commitment to doing at least 7 hours of continuing professional development each year.

DSA has updated the online service so you can now show your commitment to both of these separately. Until now, you had to agree to both together.

These commitments are then shown to learner drivers on the ‘find your nearest driving instructor’ service on GOV.UK.

You’ll need to update your registration to show either of these commitments, even if you’ve done it before. They won’t show on the ‘find your nearest’ service until the day after you’ve updated your registration.

You’ll need to update your registration to show either of these commitments, even if you’ve done it before. They won’t show on the ‘find your nearest’ service until the day after you’ve updated your registration.

You can watch a video about logging in to online services if you need any help.

Review of the ADI qualification and registration process

A consultation on the way that people qualify as ADIs and the arrangements for their registration has been launched.

The consultation, which runs until 8 August 2013, includes a range of proposals to modernise the way in which people qualify to become ADIs.

Options for change

The consultation sets out 3 options for changing the qualification process:

  • replace the 3 qualifying tests with a vocational qualification
  • improve the current tests
  • replace the trainee licence with a requirement for PDIs to be accompanied by ADIs when delivering paid instruction

DSA would like to know what you think about these proposals and whether you think the assumptions that it’s made are correct.

Registration changes

DSA also wants to know what you think about:

  • introducing fines (called ‘civil sanctions’) that the ADI Registrar could charge an ADI if they didn’t follow a condition of their approval
  • changing the registration fees ADIs pay so that they pay for the standards check separately when they book it
  • changing the grading structure for ADIs
  • what information about ADIs it would be useful and fair for DSA to make available to the public.

New standard for developed driving competence

DSA has also published the ‘National standard for developed driving competence’. It applies to anyone who wants to show that they’ve continued to develop their driving competence after passing their driving test.

It’s expected that anyone who wants to start qualifying as an ADI should be able to meet this standard. By the time they’ve qualified, they must also meet the ‘National standard for driver and rider training’.

Find out more

Official publication for new driving instructors

DSA has launched a new DVD-ROM to help people preparing to qualify as an approved driving instructor (ADI).
The official DSA theory test for approved driving instructors’ includes hundreds of official theory test revision questions similar to those used in the ADI part 1 test, including case studies and references to the source material.It also includes:

  • advice on all 3 ADI qualifying tests
  • information about trainee licences and registration
  • tips on how to plan and develop your career
  • information about professional development
  • The Official Highway Code in digital format

Learn the theory behind driving instruction

Mark Magee, ADI Registrar, said:

“I’m pleased to say that this DVD-ROM for trainee ADIs has been developed with the profession very much in mind. We know how challenging the qualification process can be, so we listened to the industry and have tried to make this product as helpful and accessible as possible.

“The DVD’s main purpose is to help trainee ADIs to learn and understand the theory behind driving instruction to help them pass part 1 of the qualification process and also to give them a solid foundation for providing instruction.”

The product has been developed in partnership with DSA’s official publishers, TSO.

Driving instructor criminal record check changes

From 17 June 2013, DSA won’t be sent a copy of your instructor’s criminal record check when they’ve applied for it.

This means that they’ll be the only person who gets a copy of the certificate.

DSA will still see an electronic record of whether their criminal record check has anything recorded on it or not, but won’t be able to see what’s actually listed on it.

Send your certificate to DSA

DSA will write to the instructor to ask them to post their certificate if it has anything listed on it. They must send the original – they can’t send a copy. This will then be returned to them.

Their application to become an approved driving instructor, renew their registration or re-register could be delayed if they don’t send their certificate as soon as DSA asks for it.

But they don’t need to send their certificate unless DSA tells them to.

Old and minor offences

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has announced that it will be removing certain specified old and minor offences from criminal record certificates from 29 May 2013.

The filtering rules and the list of offences that will never be filtered have been published by DBS.

Updated guide to the ADI register

The ‘Guide to the approved driving instructor register’ (sometimes called the ‘ADI14’) has been updated.

The guide is now published as a web page on the GOV.UK website, rather than as a PDF. This new format makes it easier to:

see what’s changed – click on the date at the top-right of the page to see a history of the guide

  • get to the information you need – use the interactive contents list on the left of the page
  • find out what acronyms mean – just hover over them to see what they stand for
  • view the guide on mobile devices – the new format is designed to be mobile-friendly

Main changes

We have added:

  • more information about the role and powers of the ADI Registrar
  • links to read about certain topics in more detail, eg the ADI part 1 test
  • separate guides about things like the ADI voluntary code of practice and the rules for observing driving tests so they’re easier to find in search engines like Google

The guide also confirms that the ADI Registrar is acting on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport when they:

  • ask you to give information to register or stay on the register
  • make decisions about your registration

Driving test candidates warned on vehicle recalls

Some vehicles are being recalled by manufacturers and can’t be used for driving tests until they’ve been checked and fixed if necessary.

A vehicle can be recalled by the manufacturer if it has a known safety fault. 

There has been a worldwide recall of some vehicles because of concerns about potentially faulty passenger airbags.

DSA has published a list of affected vehicles and information about what to do if you’re affected.