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:
People urged to be prepared for floods with wetter winter on the cards
The UK could be hit by a wetter-than-normal winter, experts said, as households are urged to be prepared for the risk of flooding.
A Met Office outlook shows there is an above-average chance of the winter being wetter than normal over the next three months, with the wetter conditions most likely in January and February next year.
The Environment Agency is urging people to check their flood risk online, sign up for flood warnings and, if they are at risk, know what to do if flooding hits their home.
The call comes at the start of “flood action week”, as the agency disclosed findings from a survey which suggested three-fifths (61%) of households in flood-risk areas did not believe their property was at risk from flooding.
While 70% of households in at-risk areas had taken some steps to prepare for their home flooding, 30% had done nothing – which if replicated across England could mean as many as 1.5 million homes at risk of flooding are unprepared.
The EA estimates 5.2 million properties in England are at risk from floods, with those at risk urged to follow advice to protect themselves by:
If there is a flood alert, prepare by packing medicines and insurance and other important documents and visit the flood warning information service.
If there is a flood warning, act by moving family, pets and belongings to safety, and turn off gas, water and electricity.
If there is a severe flood warning, survive immediate danger by following the advice of emergency services or calling 999 if needed.
The Environment Agency said it has 250 mobile pumps and 6,000 trained staff ready to take action to protect communities from flooding this winter, while construction and repair of flood defences has also continued throughout the year.
UK government tighten rules on handheld phone use while driving
After a long campaign by traffic safety experts, the law on using your phone while driving is changing.
Stricter curbs on using a smartphone while operating a vehicle are expected to be introduced.
Drivers are banned from texting or making a phone call – other than in an emergency – while using a handheld device, under current UK laws.
From 2022, drivers will also not be allowed to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or place games on their phone when driving.
A £200 fixed penalty notice and six points on their licence would be given to anyone caught using their hand-held device while driving.
Drivers can still use devices such as sat navs and mobile phones using satellite navigation, if they are secured in a cradle.
But motorists must take responsibility for their driving and can be prosecuted if the police find them not in proper control of their vehicle.
DVLA issues driving licence warning to elderly drivers who may face ‘hefty premiums’
THE DVLA have warned elderly drivers could be charged “hefty premiums” when applying for driving licence renewals this winter.
More than 800 drivers have notified the agency about third-party websites charging elderly drivers more for simple DVLA services. They warn some sites have even charged up to £81 as a handling fee to renew a driving licence in a blow to motorists in the run-up to Christmas. They warned the third-party sites did comply with regulations because they have a disclaimer admitting they were not affiliated with the DVLA.
Julie Lennard, DVLA Chief Executive urged drivers to always use the official website when renewing a licence.
She added customers will receive their licence in just days if they use an official service.
Ms Lennard said: “Drivers looking to renew their licence at 70 and over should use our online service which is secure, free of charge, and also the quickest, easiest and way to transact with DVLA.
“Customers usually receive their driving licence in just five days.
“Always remember to always use GOV.UK when using any of DVLA’s many online services.”
The DVLA warns applications from external sites will “not be processed any quicker”.
Many third-party sites appear high up in Google search results which often confuses drivers.