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Friday, 28 April 2017

On Friday, April 28, 2017 by Hayley Reeve in    No comments
One of the biggest issues affecting safety on the UK roads is inexperience. Young drivers aged between 17 and 25 make up only 7% of the UK’s full driving licence holders, driving less miles than older drivers, yet they still account for 20% of deaths on the road.

Even though there have been a number of changes made over the years to help reduce this figure, sadly the situation has not really improved.

Now, the DVSA have confirmed that the UK driving test will change from Monday 4 December 2017. The changes are designed to make sure new drivers have the key skills that they will need to help them through a lifetime of safe driving.

What are the Upcoming Changes to the UK Driving Test?

#1  Independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes

In October 2010, the DVSA introduced a section named “Independent Driving” to the UK driving test.

This was designed to help introduce learner drivers to some of the real driving conditions that they will face on the roads once they have passed their driving test. Driving without instruction and making decisions under their own initiative.

The independent driving part of the test currently lasts around 10 minutes. This part of the test will be made longer, lasting around 20 minutes, which is roughly half of the length of the practical driving test!

#2 Following directions from a sat nav

During the independent driving part of the practical driving test, four out of five candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav. The sat nav will be provided and set-up by the examiner, they will also set the route. One in five candidates will be asked to follow road signs instead.

#3 Reversing manoeuvres will be changed

Even though candidates will still be taught the ‘turn in the road’ and the ‘reverse around a corner maneuvers as part of their driving lessons, these maneuvers will no longer be a part of the UK driving test. Instead you will be asked to perform one of three reversing maneuvers.

  • Parallel park at the side of the road.
  • Park in a bay - either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do).
  • Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic.

#4 Answer a vehicle safety question while driving

You will be asked two vehicle safety questions by the examiner during your driving test. A ‘tell me’ question and a ‘show me’ question.

You can view a list of the ‘show me, tell me’ questions here.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

On Thursday, March 16, 2017 by Hayley Reeve in    No comments

Young and inexperienced drivers are being warned that one mistake could cost them their licence as the new rules on mobile phone punishments came into force on Wednesday March 1.

The penalties are doubling so that, as well as getting a £200 fine if caught using your phone behind the wheel, you will also now be handed six points – enough for those who have had their licence less than two years to have it revoked.

If this happens you will have to apply and pay for a new provisional licence, and pass both the theory and practical parts of your test all over again.

Nick Lloyd, road safety manager for RoSPA, said: “Taking your theory and practical driving tests can be an expensive and stressful time, so imagine having to go through it all again for one moment of stupidity.

“We understand how difficult it can be to ignore your mobile phone, but there’s not a single reason that will excuse putting people’s lives at risk, and hopefully these new stricter penalties will mean drivers think twice.”

Use of a handheld mobile phone behind the wheel will be punished whether you are making a call, using it on loudspeaker, texting, filming, taking a picture or using the internet, and the law applies even when you are sitting stationary in traffic.

While the use of hands-free kits is legal, RoSPA advises that not even this should be attempted while driving. Although you won’t be taking your eyes off the road, merely engaging in a conversation will mean that your attention is elsewhere and not fully on the road and the environment around you, and if your driving is affected you could be charged with “not being in proper control of your vehicle”.

Take a look at this terrible reminder of what can happen when a driver uses a phone behind a wheel, and please share with your family and friends to help spread the message:

Friday, 25 November 2016

On Friday, November 25, 2016 by Hayley Reeve in    No comments

Brake, the road safety charity, has produced two free interactive resources for Road Safety Week (21– 27 November 2016), to support this year’s “Make the Brake Pledge” theme. Developed with the support of the Department for Transport, the resources encourage everyone to think about how our streets can be made safer by buckling up and concentrating on the road.

Take the seat belt challenge, based on the ‘Secure’ element of the Pledge, is a game for early years and Key Stage 1 children. It helps them to understand the importance of fastening seat belts and putting loose items out of harm’s way when travelling by car.

Driven to distraction!, based on the ‘Silent’ element of the Pledge, is a fun game for all ages. It challenges players to hunt out different ways in which road users can be distracted, revealing some surprising facts as the game unfolds.

Brake is working towards a world where road transport is safe, sustainable, healthy and fair, and there are zero road deaths. However, deaths and injuries are happening right now, with five people dying on UK roads every day and 61 being seriously injured1. That is why everyone can do their bit throughout Road Safety Week 2016, sponsored by Aviva and Specsavers, to spread awareness of the vital importance of the Pledge rules: Slow, Sober, Secure, Silent, Sharp and Sustainable.

The open-access Take the seat belt challenge and Driven to distraction! interactive games complete a suite of six resources (together with Let’s GO20 quiz; Sober-up story; Sharpen up your driving; Drive less, live more) that cover each element of the Brake Pledge. They can be used to spread road safety awareness and facilitate discussion throughout Road Safety Week and beyond, by teachers; fleet professionals and employers; road safety professionals; community leaders; and individuals who want to help themselves, their families and their communities by making streets safer.

Access the resources online now at

Dave Nichols, community engagement manager, said:

“Our new e-learning resources are freely available to anyone who wants to challenge themselves, their students, family and friends while raising road safety awareness. Teachers can use Take the seat belt challenge to help children understand the importance of buckling up; and everyone can test their powers of observation with the trickier Driven to distraction!, showing how a road user’s attention can be diverted away from the road. We hope people will play them, enjoy them and share them in classrooms and across social media, throughout Road Safety Week and beyond.”

The facts

A few facts on why our Road Safety Week 2016 Make the Brake Pledge theme is so important:

Slow: Breaking the speed limit or travelling too fast for the conditions is recorded by police at crash scenes as a contributory factor in more than one in four (27%) fatal crashes in Great Britain

Having even one drink before getting behind the wheel can affect your ability to drive. In 2013 one in 10 (11%) drivers/motorcycle riders killed in a crash had alcohol present in their body, even though they weren’t over the legal blood-alcohol limit. One in seven road deaths are at the hands of someone who has driven while over the limit .

Secure: Seat belts are still seen as an inconvenience by some drivers, yet using one reduces the chance of dying in a crash by 50%. 21% of car occupants killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt.

Drivers who perform a complex secondary task, like using a mobile, while at the wheel are three times more likely to crash than non-distracted drivers.

Sharp: Booking in for a regular eye test should be at the top of any driver’s to-do list. Road crashes caused by poor driver vision are estimated to cause 2,900 casualties and cost £33 million in the UK per year.

By minimising the amount we drive, and walking, cycling or using public transport instead, we are making our communities safer places, and doing the best we can for the environment and our individual health. Air pollution is a major killer: there are an estimated 29,000 deaths per year from particulate matter pollution in the UK, 5,000 of which are attributable to road transport.

Road Safety Week

Road Safety Week is the UK’s flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country. Road Safety Week 2016 takes place 21-27 November, with support from the Department for Transport and headline sponsors Aviva and Specsavers.

The theme of Road Safety Week 2016 is about making our roads and communities safer, happier places for everyone, by encouraging people to ‘Make the Brake Pledge’. Brake’s main aim this November is to help people understand that every action that we take, as a driver or as a passenger, can change the outcome of a journey and the future of a family.

Register to take part at

Monday, 17 October 2016

On Monday, October 17, 2016 by Hayley Reeve in    No comments

A new survey by Brake, the road safety charity and Direct Line has found a third of drivers questioned sometimes eat food behind the wheel. Just over a quarter of people (27%) have unwrapped and eaten the food and a third (33%) admit to eating food someone else has unwrapped for them.

The worst offenders are drivers aged 25-34. More than half (55%) in this age bracket admitting they have unwrapped and then eaten at the wheel, with just under a third of those admitting to doing it at least once every week.

Additionally, one in ten of the drivers who responded said they had been involved in a near-miss because they were distracted by eating food. A near-miss was classed as having to suddenly break or swerve to avoid a hazard.

Research shows that drivers who eat and drink at the wheel are twice as likely to crash and this risk may be even higher if the food is hot, messy or you have to unwrap yourself. Eating and drinking while driving diverts attention away from the driving task, increasing reaction times by up to 44%, meaning drivers will respond to hazards much more slowly. It also causes physical distraction, as at least one hand is off the wheel holding food or drink.

While is not against to law to eat while driving it can become a crime if a person’s driving becomes distracted because they are unwrapping food or eating it. Driving without due care and attention or careless driving is a criminal offence, whatever the distraction. The maximum penalty for the offence is a driving ban.

Case study

Off-duty firefighter and dad of two, Joseph Wilkins was cycling when he was knocked down and killed on a country road near Abingdon in May 2012. The driver was eating a sandwich at the wheel and convicted of causing death by careless driving.

Joe’s partner Nicci Saunders said: Joe was a kind, caring, loving, father and my best friend.  He was in training to cycle from Lands End to John O’Groats and had completed the same ride twice that week.  He went out on 24th May with a friend to do the ride again.  He kissed his two young children goodnight, kissed me goodbye and went out.  The next time I saw him he was lying dead in a road after being hit by a car at 60 miles an hour, breaking his neck.  To tell a two and a five year old that their daddy will never be coming home again is still the worst thing I have ever had to do in my life.

Joe was cycling down a straight road on a beautiful sunny day when Paul Brown was distracted by eating a sandwich while driving.  He had over 13 seconds to see Joe, but didn't, and ploughed straight into his back wheel, killing him instantly.  The thought that he lost his life was inconceivable but to find out it was due to someone eating made it feel even more of a loss. This just should not have happened. 

I see people all the time eating and drinking in cars and by doing this taking their eyes off the road.  Just a couple of seconds can take another person’s life and put hurt in to a family that never goes away.  It's been four and a half years now, yet he is still missed as much now as he was on that first day.  The girls, as they get older understand more what they are missing without having their dad around and all because someone couldn't wait to get home to eat.”

Alice Bailey, communications and campaigns advisor for Brake, said:

“Imagining a distracted driver you may think of someone on a mobile phone, but many things can dangerously draw our attention away from the roads around us. In the fast-paced world we live in it is sometimes tempting to eat on the go, but drivers who are distracted by something else, even food, significantly increase their risk of causing a devastating crash. If you’re hungry, you probably need to take a short break from driving to eat and recuperate before continuing your journey when you’re not distracted by hunger or eating.” 
Gus Park, commercial director of motor at Direct Line said:
"Whilst we appreciate people's busy lifestyles often dictate that we eat on the go and that a sudden pang of hunger can seem impossible to ignore, we urge drivers not to let their stomachs get in the way of good judgement and safe driving. If you really can't wait until you reach your destination to eat, then stopping off for a comfort break is a much better idea than eating at the wheel. Pit-stops provide a great opportunity to re-energise before the next leg of your journey."

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

On Wednesday, April 27, 2016 by Hayley Reeve in    1 comment
The Young Driver Challenge 2016 is ready to launch, with the aim of finding Britain’s best young drivers – and this year it’s lowered the entry age to just 10.

The Challenge is run by Young Driver, the UK’s largest provider of pre-17 driving lessons, and opens to entries on 30th April 2016. The scheme has recently started offering lessons to 10 year olds, and so this year those who have just hit double figures will, for the first time, be able to take part.

The competition, which is in its third year, aims to find the best young drivers in the country – but they must be aged between 10 and their 17th birthday. Youngsters can enter at one of Young Driver’s 43 sites across England, Scotland and Wales, from now until the end of July.

The Challenge aims to encourage youngsters to consider responsible and safe driving, with top marks given to those who show the best levels of control and awareness. Entrants drive a real, dual-control SKODA car, with an instructor, and are marked on driving skills and manoeuvres, including parallel parking, figures of eight, turn in the road, steering, judgement and positioning.A second, knowledge-based part of the test is taken via the Goodyear Driving Academy, an online driving simulator which tests a youngsters’ ability to cope with everyday driving distractions as well as quizzing them on road safety and the Highway Code.

The top 40 drivers, with 20 from the 10-13 age category and 20 14-16 year olds, will then be invited to a grand final, which will be held for the first time on the special driving training track at the British Motor Museum in Warwickshire on 3rd September.  Prizes include Young Driver lessons, ‘on the road’ post-17 driving lessons courtesy of Goodyear, remote control cars provided by SKODA, and £500 off a car insurance premium courtesy of Young Driver sponsor Admiral. There will also be a special Admiral Award for the young driver who shows the best attitude, with a £200 cash prize.

The winner of the 2015 11-13 age category, Callum McNeilly, now 13, from Swadlincote in Derbyshire, said:
I have loved cars from a very small age and have always wanted to drive. When I took my first Young Driver lesson in September 2014, I was extremely excited to be in control of a car under road like conditions. It may seem odd to some people that I was driving from such a young age, but I personally believe that it will have a huge impact on my safety and skill when I take to the roads at 17. I still can’t believe I won the Young Driver of the Year Competition 2015 – there were so many excellent competitors.  I had to take on various different manoeuvres and demonstrate my driving skills in areas such as parallel parking, tight steering, emergency braking and slaloming as well as independent driving whilst obeying signs. It certainly put me to the test!
Kim Stanton, who heads up Young Driver, added:
People would be amazed at the level of skill these young drivers show. The aim of Young Driver has always been to create a safer next generation of youngsters on the roads. At the moment one in five have an accident within six months of passing their test and 400 people are killed each year in the UK in accidents involving young drivers. The current, traditional way of educating youngsters is clearly not working. We strongly believe that by educating young people from a younger age, and over a longer period of time, you create much safer drivers – and the research figures back us up, proving it halves their risk of having an accident. The Young Driver Challenge gives us the opportunity to celebrate the hard work these youngsters put in and to show the world how responsible and safe youngsters can be behind the wheel given the proper tuition and experience. We look forward to receiving lots of entries – the final is always the highlight of our year!
Motoring expert and presenter Quentin Willson said:
My 11-year-old daughter took part in last year’s challenge and I’m proud to say she’s doing it again this year. The Young Driver Challenge helps kids learn that driving should be a craft not a chore.
For more information about the challenge, or to book a Young Driver lesson, please log on to or call 0844 371 9010.

Young Driver was established in 2009 and has now provided more than 300,000 lessons to young people across Great Britain.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

On Thursday, February 11, 2016 by Hayley Reeve in    1 comment

A website aimed at helping older people adapt to changes in their driving to stay safe on the road, has been launched by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). has been set up by the safety charity, with funding from the Department for Transport, to provide advice and information for older drivers in a bid to help them to drive safely for longer.

The website gives tips on how people can update their driving skills and knowledge to maintain their freedom and independence on the road, as well as advice for families or friends who are concerned about a loved one’s driving. It will help drivers to:
  • recognise whether and how their driving is changing
  • find out what they can do to cope with these changes, such as change when and where they drive, adapt their car or take driver assessment or training
  • find local driving assessment or refresher training
  • understand the law about health conditions and driving and how to renew their driving licence
  • plan for the need to change when and where they drive, and if it becomes necessary, to retire from driving.
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: “The older we are, the more experience we have as drivers. This is one of the reasons why older drivers tend to be safer and more considerate drivers. However, our health and fitness often begins to decline as we grow older. Our eyesight, physical condition and reaction times may not be as good as they once were, and we may develop age-related conditions, or be taking medications that can affect our driving.

“Many older drivers recognise that their driving ability is changing and alter when and where they drive to compensate – but not all drivers do this. There comes a time when each of us needs to reduce our driving, or even stop altogether. Of course, this is different for each person; there isn't an age at which we automatically become unsafe to drive.

“The aim of the website is to help older people to continue to drive for as long as they are safe to do so, and to provide advice on making the decision to retire from driving if they are no longer able to drive safely.”

Monday, 25 January 2016

On Monday, January 25, 2016 by Hayley Reeve in    2 comments

Brake, the road safety charity, with the support of vehicle leasing and fleet management company Arval, announces training courses throughout the UK to help companies improve the safety of their at-work drivers.

Official figures show that at least 10 people are killed each week and 100 seriously injured in crashes involving people driving for work, however, this is likely to be a substantial underestimate as journey purpose is not always recorded by the police at crash scenes.

Brake’s Pledge training aims to tackle this worrying figure by providing employers with the tools to educate at-work drivers on six key areas of road safety. This essential training course offers practical tools and resources on effectively engaging staff and managing road risk. The courses will be delivered by experienced trainer and long-standing Brake supporter Tracey Fuller, from Arval. Tracey is passionate about road safety and will share her experiences of using Brake’s Pledge to successfully engage Arval staff and customers.

Course attendees will also receive access to Brake's toolkit of Pledge resources, which includes advice for managers on delivering and implementing different areas of the Pledge, and also educational tools such as videos and posters on six core principles of safe driving:

Slow – within speed limits
Sober – free from alcohol or drugs
Sharp – not tired, ill or with poor eyesight
Silent – phone off and out of reach
Secure – belted up in a safe vehicle
Sustainable – only when you have to

Forthcoming Pledge courses: 

Tuesday 22 March 2016, London (UK)
Wednesday 8 June 2016, Birmingham (UK)
Wednesday 14 September 2016, Manchester (UK)
Tuesday 6 December 2016 – Swindon (UK)

The course is free to attend for Brake Professional members, and just £90 + VAT for non-members. All non-members who attend will receive one year’s free Brake Professional membership.

Ellie Pearson, professional engagement manager at Brake, says:

“The Pledge provides employers with the training and tools to educate and engage their staff with essential road safety messages. It’s incredibly versatile and can be used by organisations with existing road safety programmes as a supplementary resource, or by organisations just beginning their road risk management journey, as the foundation for their programme. We’re really excited to be working with Arval to offer these interactive training courses, and I’d urge any employer with at-work drivers to attend a course.”
Tracey Fuller, customer engagement manager at Arval, says:

“We have been working closely with Brake for nearly a decade which has allowed us to support their important agenda as well as providing value for hundreds of our employees and customers. These courses are a vital tool to both educate drivers and positively influence their behaviour so we are delighted to be involved.”
For more information and to book online, visit, contact Brake on +44(0)1484 559909 or Brake can also arrange in-house training sessions on request.