Welcome to Total Drive Industry Round-Up, the place for any need-to-know industry news. Our updates are aimed directly at you, the driving instructors of Britain, and are full of all the things you should know. Here’s what has been going on recently:
Nearly one in four drivers think most car headlights are too bright/
Blinded by the lights – nearly one-in-four drivers think most car headlights are too bright… and the problem is getting worse.
Nine-in-10 drivers (89%) think some or most car headlights on the UK’s roads are too bright, with an overwhelming majority of these (88%) saying they get dazzled by them while driving, a new RAC study of 2,700 drivers’ views has found.1
The problem of glare from headlights appears to be getting worse with 63% of drivers who get dazzled saying it’s happening more often than a year or two ago, with one-in-four (23%) claiming they’re now dazzled a lot more regularly. And, of all of those who believe headlights are too bright, a huge 64% think they risk causing other drivers to have collisions while two-in-three (67%) say they can’t tell if the headlights of oncoming cars are dipped or on full beam.
Contrary to what might be expected, it’s younger rather than older drivers who are more likely to complain about the apparent brightness of headlights and the effect this has on their driving. Three-in-10 (30%) of those aged 17-34 think most are too bright, compared to just 19% of those aged 65 and over. Meanwhile, of those younger drivers who believe some, if not most, car headlights they see are too bright, 70% think the accident risk is increased – while for drivers aged 65-plus the proportion is 62%.
The brightness of some car headlights even appears to be putting motorists off driving at night. Sixteen per cent of those who complain about the intensity of headlights say they avoid driving at night altogether, with women (22%) and those aged 65 and over (25%) much more likely to say they deliberately don’t drive after dark than men (9%).
The RAC’s research also asked dazzled drivers to estimate how long it typically takes for them to be able to see clearly again. While most (65%) said it took between one and five seconds, one-in-10 (12%) said it took upwards of six seconds. Being unable to see for one second while driving at 60mph means a driver would travel around 13 metres (more than six car lengths), but being blinded for six seconds would see them covering an enormous 160 metres (the equivalent of 40 car lengths), which suggests headlight glare could be compromising safety on the roads.
Read more: RAC
DVLA backlog causes delays in licence processing for a million drivers
A huge DVLA backlog resulted in more than a million motorists waiting for their licences to be processed last month.
The Commons transport committee published figures which showed 1,1million people who applied by post had still not received their documents last month.
Of these, 254,396 applications were older than ten weeks.
The data also revealed that in January 3.1million calls by drivers, perhaps chasing up their documents, went unanswered, possibly due to a high absence list due to the Omicron Covid variant.
By contrast, 336,000 calls were answered. The DVLA came under huge fire over the fiasco.
DVLA’s chief executive, Julie Lennard, received a letter which forced committee chairman Huw Merriman to state: “Far too many drivers are still waiting far too long to have their licences processed. The situation is urgent.”
Staff at the DVLA’s Swansea headquarters who have largely been working at home during the pandemic means that there’s been a huge backlog of mail waiting to be opened, affecting paper applications the most.
The dire situation was made worse due to the fact that there was also nearly two months’ worth of strike action by staff who claimed that the building was not Covid secure.
More than 254,000 people waiting more than ten weeks are largely drivers who have illness or have been ill during the pandemic and need to be cleared as fit to drive again.
They would need to visit a GP or doctor who declares them healthy enough to get back behind the wheel. This certificate is then sent to the DVLA to give the green light.
However what has held up the process is that GPs are seeing less people face-to-face, as well as DVLA staff striking and being out of the office.
Read More: DIA
Motorists call for speed cameras to check tax, insurance and MOT details
Motorists are overwhelmingly in favour of speed cameras also checking if drivers have the correct documentation to be on the road. The latest data from IAM RoadSmart’s annual safety culture report, found that out of 2,000 motorists surveyed, 89 per cent “support the use of safety camera technology to check for insurance, MOT and road tax offences.”
It’s estimated that there are around 1 million uninsured drivers on UK roads and the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) approximates that every 20 minutes someone is injured by an uninsured driver. The MIB offers compensation to motorists who are hit by uninsured drivers and on average deals with 25,000 claims a year. To help protect motorists against uninsured drivers IAM Roadsmart proposes using speed cameras to help take illegal motorists off the road.
UK speed camera tolerances revealed: is your car’s speedo accurate?
Neil Greig, director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart said the survey results support a zero-tolerance approach to uninsured drivers. He went on to add “the inconvenience, as well as pain and financial misery uninsured drivers often inflict on other road users should not be overlooked, meaning we should be doing all we can to deter and punish drivers who think the rules don’t apply to them. It is well known that enforcing ‘paperwork’ offences often leads to the detection of other more serious crimes. This is why we support drivers in their calls for cameras to be used against those who violate the rules of the road.”
Currently, police patrol vehicles are fitted with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), while some static motorway cameras use the same technology. ANPR works by checking passing number plates against the Motor Insurance Database (MID) to see if a car is insured. So far these methods have seen on average 130,000 cars seized every year between 2005 and 2020 according to the MIB. In 2020 the MIB dealt with over 26,000 victims of accidents involving uninsured drivers.
Read More: Auto Express
DVSA releases new pack to help deaf candidates on practical car driving tests
On Thursday 24 February 2022, the DVSA published a brand new Deaf Candidate Pack.
This pack is a tool that will be used by examiners when conducting practical car tests for deaf candidates.
It has been developed using feedback from our candidates, examiners and instructors.
We’re thrilled to say that the pack has also been supported and endorsed by a number of external stakeholders including the Royal Association for Deaf People, the Disability Driving Instructors Association, Driving Mobility, Driving Instructors Association, Motor Schools Association of Great Britain and Approved Driving Instructors National Joint Council.
More about the pack:
The pack features written instructions, cues and visual prompt cards to help examiners communicate with candidates and explain the process of the test. This will help ensure a consistent experience for test candidates, with the pack being freely available ahead of their test date – to help them prepare and put them at ease.
When we’ll be using the pack:
All our Driving Examiners across Great Britain have already been introduced to the pack and trained in its uses. Therefore, from this point onwards, it will be used if they conduct a test for a deaf candidate. Examiners may still use other forms of communication upon the request of the candidate, such as lip reading or British Sign Language, where possible.
How you can use the pack:
Please feel free to read the pack yourself, so you understand what your pupil may experience during their test. You are also very welcome to download a copy of the pack for your own training purposes, though please be aware that we may update the pack over time. You may find it especially useful to familiarise your candidate with the pack ahead of the test, and use it during any mock tests you perform with your pupil.
Read more: DIA