ARTICLES WRITTEN BY OUR MEMBERS

NEW DRIVING TEST UPDATE

Following on from a meeting at Colchester tonight (23/5/16) here is a quick resume of the new test changes coming into effect next April (2017)

1/ the independent driving section will increase to 20 mins and will use a Sat nav to give instructions, used in the same way as the recent trial tests. Not sure which make and model as it is out to tender atm for supply.

2/ There will still be 4 manoeuvres, but the left reverse and turn in the road are going to be replaced by;

a/ driving into a parking bay (at a venue other than the DTC) and reversing out, venues to be decided and agreed with venue itself (thus getting over supermarket etc issues, as they will get the supermarkets etc permission) If the car park is very full then they will not do it. Nor is it likely that they will do it in between vehicles.

b/ pulling up on the right hand side, reversing back 2 car lengths and then driving off, the examiner will tell the pupil where to stop and it WON’T be near any parked vehicles.

c/ reverse Bay park and parallel park are the same

3/ Some ‘show me’ questions will be done during the drive, but only on quiet roads, eg not as they’re about to go round the army and navy etc and obviously not the under the bonnet questions! They will still get only a minor if they get it wrong unless there is a further issue, eg veering off to the side whilst looking for the lights switch causing other vehicles to swerve would result in a serious/dangerous, as it would do now.

4/ As there is a longer period of independent driving the aim is that more of the test will be on higher speed limit roads.

contributed by Mike Harrison

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What’s Happening at the DVSA? Recent Updates for ADi’s

With the new CEO, Gareth Llewellyn, now investigating all areas of the DVSA, in order to see what needs to be improved, Mark Magee recently described Gareth’s situation as “in listening mode”.

We are all hoping that this includes some of the present challenges being encountered that are impacting on ADi’s and examiners alike, such as:

  • Test waiting times
  • The series of strikes and work to rule
  • New car tests

The DVSA have recently reported that they intend to increase the amount of examiners conducting car tests by 100% over the 2016/2017 period. The rigorous process that the DVSA presently use is to be expedited. It will be ramped up to help get the right amount of examiners in place as soon as possible.

Having spoken to a senior member of staff at the DVSA, I have been advised that the DVSA have been told to take staff from any other Government office that may be shedding staff. It is only after this that they can offer positions out to the wider public.

Over the last year the use of in-car cameras has become commonplace in many driving school cars. This has caused a few confrontations with examiners over there use. At the moment an in-car camera can be used as long as it facing outwards with no sound on but still many driving instructors are being asked to turn them off by examiners.

One examiner thought a camera was being used and decided to pull out the power lead. Unfortunately the power lead was hard wired and pulling the lead out damaged the camera beyond repair. Ironically the camera was turned off anyway. To help avoid any problems with use of cameras on lesson or test the DVSA is in the process of writing a guide.

During a recent NASP meeting the DVSA pointed out that some ADi’s had published film with the examiner and/or pupil in it on social media. The Registrar is now being proactive in this area and will be writing to any ADi who publishes material without permission of the other people in the car.

Many test centres around the country have been taking part in the new test trials and the DVSA have now completed over 4300 tests. Concerns have been made about the ‘pull up on the right hand side of the road’ exercise, as it was more dangerous. The DVSA have reiterated that trial feedback has shown that it is important that a ;riskier; manoeuvre be examined, as drivers do use this exercise regularly.

**This sceptical ADi wonders who this feedback was from, examiners or pupils?**

Lots of pupils have had the unwanted intrusion of DVSA and consultants performing a timings exercise on lots of aspects of the test. Mark Magee recently advised that if a pupil has valid concerns and doesn’t want additional people in the car, then the DVSA will reconsider monitoring that test.

**It would have been nice to know this prior to the timings exercise going ahead I think. I have no doubt many instructors and/or pupils would have made an issue of this if they had known they could.**

Some of you will be aware that the DVSA are looking at changing the ‘Pre-set Test’ based part 3 that we currently have with a ‘Standards Check’ style part 3 test. The DVSA have sent questionnaires out to all ORDIT registered trainers for their thoughts and 73 of them have responded. 66% said they were aware of the changes. Many of them had already started to make changes to their training ready for the introduction in April 2017. Concerns have already been made that unscrupulous trainers may give the minimum amount of training and suggest using a full licence holder pupil who has been prepared for the test. It has been suggested that a log-book of the training be used as evidence of training.

Contributed by: Tony Mihill – A Pass 4 U

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National Associations Strategic Planning

Some of you may already be aware of ‘NASP’ and the work that they do, but for those of you that don’t, ‘NASP’ is the ‘National Associations Strategic Planning’ group which is made up of the DVSA and:

  • ADI National Joint Council (ADI NJC)
  • Motor Schools Assoc. (MSA)
  • Driving Instructor Assoc. (DIA)
  • Driving Insructors Scottish Council (DISC)

NASP works on behalf of professional driver trainers to develop strategies in a bid to move the profession forward and tackle the key issues facing the driving instructor industry.

At the last meeting the DVSA and NASP members discussed cancelled tests and what can be done about them. The DVSA explained that they presently operate a ‘floater’ examiner system which allows them to call in an examiner to a particular test centre. To enhance this procedure the DVSA are looking into having 1 examiner, free for the 1st test, allowing them time to get a ‘floater’ in for the second test of the day.

Test centre waiting times were also discussed. Some test centres are experiencing waits of as much as 18 weeks. The DVSA did admit that the demand for driving tests has risen from the expected 1.5 million to 1.7 million and that they are at present trying to recruit new examiners. Recently the DVSA has recruited 59 new examiners, these are to be deployed to the worst affected areas. They are also working on productivity by adding 2 tests a week to each examiners work load. The DVSA gave assurances that everything that could be done is being done.

Another of the topics being discussed with the DVSA is how ADi’s are monitored and/or assessed. The DVSA are looking at monitoring ADi’s against points that are not presently considered and using a more data driven approach. The points of compliance and performance presently being considered are:

  • Pass Rates
  • CPD system
  • Standards Check
  • Types of driver faults and frequency on tests
  • ADi badge being displayed

The DVSA are also considering publishing their findings via the “Find Your Nearest Driving Instructor” service and rewarding ADi’s that achieve by giving them a classification of ‘Elite Driving Instructor’.

The problem with this is that not all pass rates, Standards Checks or types of driver faults should reflect on the driving instructor. We all know mistakes can be made by the examiner or the pupil gets really nervous and does something silly on test. I have met many driving instructors who practice the routes, topics and even have pupils make mistakes on purpose to enhance their Standards Check results. CPD topics are varied and giving someone credit for turning up at a meeting is not in my mind development, they may have just turned up for a social chat. All of this adds up to an instructor being given a potential business benefit for working the system, this doesn’t mean that they are an “elite driving instructor”.

I am happy to say that the NASP team are sending out surveys to ADi’s and putting forward real arguments as to why some aspects need work. You can view more on NASP and their work on their new website: www.n-a-s-p.co.uk.

If you have any feedback on any of these issues please pass them back to the DICE Committee, who I have no doubt, will pass them onto the ADI NJC or NASP direct.

Other topics being looked at are:

  • Communications with the DVSA
  • Test waiting times
  • Dash-Cams
  • Pass Plus/post test training
  • Voluntary ORDIT & Fleet Registers

Although as some of you will be aware, a couple of these topics having being doing the rounds for years and will probably continue to do so.

Contributed by: Tony Mihill – A Pass 4 U

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