Monthly Archives: March 2009

March 31, 2009
Phoney Instructor Ordered to do 200 Hours’ Unpaid Work

Fake Driving Instructor, Martin Bowyer, of Leek, was given a suspended prison sentence at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court after pleading guilty to fraud and having no insurance.

Bowyer charged up to £30 a driving lesson to teach students in his dual-controlled car, the court was told.

The prosecution followed a Driving Standards Agency (DSA) investigation.

Michelle Moston, from the DSA, said: “Our priority is for road safety and these people are a significant danger to the road safety of themselves and of other road users.

“There was no insurance for the vehicles used by Mr Bowyer and if there had been an accident nobody would have been covered.”

Simon Bush of Britannia Driving School said: “It’s always best to choose a large reputable driving school that has public liability insurance, such as Britannia Driving School, who will insure that all instructors are licensed by the DSA and all vehicles are roadworthy and fully insured. The driving school you choose should be large enough to replace the driving instructor if he/she goes on holiday or is off due to illness.”

What are your thoughts on this article? Send your views to Britannia Driving School by using the comments link below:


March 30, 2009
Approved Driving Instructor’s “Fit and Proper” Bench Mark

Amongst the powers that the ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) Register possesses is the ability to remove a person’s name from the Register on the grounds that “they have ceased to be fit and proper person.”

The Registrar in the past has only exercised this power when an instructor has been convicted of an offence (motoring or non motoring). The burden of proof in these cases rest with the Registrar, and it has been considered that complaints from the public concerning an instructor’s personal conduct and business activities would be classed as a contractual dispute; and might not carry sufficient weight to prove that the instructor was not a fit and proper person.

However, on the 23rd October 2003, the Transport Tribunal set an important precedent by dismissing an appeal made against the Registrar’s decision to remove an Approved Driving Instructor from the Register on the grounds that he had ceased to be a fit and proper person.

What made this a landmark case was the absence of a conviction for any offence. The Registrar made the decision to remove based on the number and nature of complaints from members of the public. All these complaints followed a similar pattern, with allegations of unprofessional behaviour, poor service, providing short lessons and failing to attend appointments.

In the decision to dismiss the appeal the President of the Transport Tribunal stated:

“It may be that when taken individually these complaints are essentially contractual in nature. However, when viewed as a whole we have no doubt that they demonstrate a persistence of conduct which supports a finding that the Appellant is not a fit and proper person within the meaning of the Act”

The Transport Tribunal is an independent judicial body that sits in London or Edinburgh. One of its functions is to hear appeals from Approved Driving Instructors who are aggrieved at the Registrar’s decision to refuse an extension of registration or remove their name from the Register.

What are your thoughts on this article? Send your views to Britannia Driving School by using the comments link below:


March 27, 2009
More Strict Clamping Regulations

Drivers, motoring organisations and MPs have welcomed the news clamping firms could soon face strict regulations. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has pledged to crack down on rogue wheel-clampers, as first revealed on the Mail’s website yesterday.

Ms Smith told MPs she would be bringing forward proposals to regulate the industry “in the near future”.

The move comes after the Mail launched its Clamp Down On The Clampers campaign to protect motorists from having to pay excessive fees.

The campaign was sparked by concerns about the practices of controversial clamping firm Sector Security Limited, which triggered widespread fury with its £100 on-the-spot cash charge for parking on private land, rising to £250 when a tow truck is called out.

It is thought new proposals to regulate the industry could be brought forward by the end of May – or soon before. Under the proposals being considered by the Home Office, clampers could face a limit of £135 on what they can charge motorists who park illegally.

Bosses of clamping firms could also be required to gain licences for the first time and would risk six months in jail or a fine of up to £5,000 if they break a strict new compulsory code of conduct.


March 25, 2009
Tata Nano Car Just £1,350

When the Indian industrialist Ratan Tata announced plans to produce the world’s cheapest car last January, he said he hoped to fulfil a dream of bringing motoring to the Indian masses.

But by the time the £1,350 Nano was launched yesterday in Mumbai, his dream had become more ambitious: to go head-to- head with the world’s biggest carmakers and bring low-cost motoring to the cash-strapped masses of Europe and US.

Yesterday, the group announced ambitions to challenge the gas-guzzling car culture of the west with plans to sell the Nano, which is priced in India at 100,000 rupees plus tax, to the US as well as Europe.

Tata, chairman of the group which owns Land Rover and Jaguar, said although the car had been designed for India, there had been “considerable interest” in the west.

The European Nano will be rolled out within two years and the US Nano within three. “Given the present indications of the buying preferences in the US, we felt that we could further develop the European Nano to meet the requirements of the US,” he said.


March 24, 2009
Girl Passes Her Driving Test with Zero Minors

Sophie Pullum – a pupil of Britannia Driving School – passed her driving test on 23rd march 2009 at the Morden Test Centre with Zero minor Faults also known as a clean sheet.

Her driving instructor, Paul Fitzjohn said: “There are very few students that can pass the driving test with no driving faults at all, zero minors, is a perfect drive. The only way any pupil could do it is by practice, practice and practice, until they can do it if woken up in the middle of the night.”

“Whether you agree with the Driving Standards Agency or not, the key to keeping a clean sheet is to give driving examiners what they are looking for-as Sophie did on her driving test. Remember, examiners don’t give you minor mistakes – you give them to yourself.”

Students are allowed up to 15 minor driving faults and still pass the driving test (16 or more results in failure). However, if you commit one serious or dangerous fault you will fail the driving test. If at any time the examiner considers you to be a danger to other road users your test will be stopped.

If you are being taught to drive by someone who is not a driving instructor, or you hold a foreign licence and are serious about passing the driving test at the first attempt with a clean sheet or as few minor faults as possible, get your driving assessed by a current licensed driving instructor to confirm that your driving is at the current DSA standard.

What are your thoughts on this article? Send your views to Britannia Driving School by using the comments link below:


March 23, 2009
Flu Increases Risk of Road Accidents

Driving while suffering from flu increases the risk of a road accident as much as two glasses of whisky, according to a new study.

Road safety experts warned that the effect could be further compounded by many cold remedies, available without prescription which can cause severe drowsiness, and by drinking alcohol.

Department for Transport figures show that there were at least 93 fatal accidents on Britain’s roads in 2007 for which illness or disability was a contributing factor.

Having a headache or suffering from premenstrual tension was also found to impair drivers’ abilities, but not as much as the flu, the study, carried out by the firm PCP in York, on behalf of Lloyds TSB insurance, found.

Experiments by the Australian Academy of Science have shown that drinking two units of alcohol, the equivalent of two glasses of whisky, can impair reaction times by 10%.

The legal drink-drive limit is 80mg per 100 millilitres of blood, although the Department of Health warns that this cannot easily be translated into units of alcohol.

What are your thoughts on this article? Send your views to Britannia Driving School by using the comments link below:


March 20, 2009
UK Car Production In Record Drop

The number of new cars that are produced within the UK declined by 59% in February, this is a record fall in UK car production as the motor industry is continuing to suffer. The SMMT (society of motor manufacturers) said that the number of cars produced totalled just under 60,000 last month.

Firms in the UK have cut jobs and production as the demand for cars fall due to the recession, car makers have been lobbying for the government to help their finance divisions that provide the loans to buy cars. SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: “The large fall in February’s vehicle production is a direct result of weak demand”.

The 59% fall was the largest fall in a single month since the SMMT started keeping records which date back to 1970, it also showed February was the fifth straight month of decline.


March 19, 2009
Learner Driver Wins Driving Test Fail Case

A women learner driver is believed to have become the first person in Northern Ireland to challenge her driving test result in court and win.

Her instructor, Jim Miskimmin, said the women failed over what lane she should have been in at one stage of the test in Downpatrick.

Mr Miskimmin advised her to take the case to court and the DVLA admitting liability and refunded her test fee.

By this stage the women had already resat her test-and passed.

Mr Miskimmin said he knew of other people who had failed their tests for the same reason.“I know of others and I’ve spoken to others since that and the same thing has happened to them, but they have just let it go”

Simon Bush of Britannia Driving School said: “Circumstances in which the result of a driving test can be challenged are relatively narrow and relate solely to the proper conduct of the test and not to the examiners’ discretion in assessing the standard of the candidates driving. No court can reverse a driving examiners decision to fail a candidate; the most a candidate can hope for is a refund of the driving test fee if they are successful in court.”

What are your thoughts on this article? Send your views to Britannia Driving School by using the comments link below:


March 18, 2009
Will changes to road tax force your car off the road?

On May 1st, new changes will come into play regarding road tax affecting all drivers. These new changes are aimed it pollution heavy vehicles receiving a sharp increase in road tax, in order to promote more environmental friendly vehicles.

The environmentally friendly plan has sparked outrage when it emerged some drivers would have to pay £245 a year extra – this led to the changes being diluted in last November’s mini budget. Currently, cars registered after March 2001 are split into seven bangs – A to G – depending on the vehicle’s CO2 emissions.

Band A cars, producing less than 100g of CO2 per km pay nothing. But owners in Band G, with more than 225g/km or C02 and registered after March 23rd 2006, pay a staggering £400 per year.

From May 1st the total number of bands will almost double to 13 and take in all cars registered after March 2001.


March 16, 2009
Speed Camera Numbers Treble

The number of speed cameras has almost trebled in just six years, according to figures released by the Government.

There was a surge in the use of national safety camera programme between 2001 and 2007, with the total number of sites increasing from 1,672 to 4,737. This together with a rise in speeding fines from £40 to £60 led to revenue increasing from just over £10 million in 2001 to £120 million in 2007.

All the money raised during the national safety camera programme was spent on buying more cameras, leading to accusations that they were a stealth tax on motorist.

The Department for Transport scrapped the programme in 2007 in an attempt to defuse the controversy.
The 38 Camera Partnerships now have to hand the revenue to the Treasury and then apply for a grant from a road safety fund

What are your thoughts on this article? Send your views to Britannia Driving School by using the comments link below: