Monthly Archives: September 2009

September 30, 2009
Reactions To Scrappage Extension

The UK motor industry resounded with comments and opinions when the scrappage scheme was first announced earlier this year, and there has been a similar, if smaller, reaction to the news that the Government has extended its commitment by £100 million (see separate story).

Kia, Nissan and Volvo have all issued statements welcoming the extension of the scheme. In each case the reaction can be summed up in the single word “hurrah!”, though Nissan has taken the opportunity to remind us that it already has its own extension, whereby it will provide the full £2000 (without Government support) for cars as little as eight years old, as long as they are traded in for a UK-built Nissan, namely the Micra, Note or Qashqai.

Paul Harrison, Head of Motor Finance at the Finance & Leasing Association, says that “the extension to the scrappage scheme will be widely welcomed in the motor industry. The Government is also in talks in Brussels on additional support for the motor finance sector. We need Lord Mandelson to get a good result there, so that demand for new cars can continue to be met in the future when the economy recovers.”


September 28, 2009
Driving Theory Test Changes

From today (28th September 2009) there is a change to the theory test. The Hazard Perception Test will remain the same. The new test will include 45 multiple choice questions and an additional set of five questions concerned with depicted “case study.”

The candidate will be presented with a set of facts – the case study – which will appear on the left hand side of the screen. The set of facts will be set in text format, and may be accompanied by supporting picture or diagram.

Throughout the case study the fact and the scenario content does not change. This way the scenario may be re-read as often as the candidate chooses.

The questions will appear on the right hand side of the screen, and the candidate will be asked to make a response in the usual manner. 

Simon Bush of Britannia Driving School said: “All the information concerning the new format of the test may be found in the DSA publication The Official DSA Theory Test for Car Drivers and The Official Highway Code, available from Britannia Driving Schools Merchandise Store.”

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


September 24, 2009
One in 20 motorists now driving uninsured

One in 20 British motorists drives an uninsured vehicle, one of the highest rates in Western Europe and which adds 30 pounds a year to premiums for the rest of the motoring population, figures released on Thursday showed.

In London, Manchester and Liverpool the uninsured rate goes up to one in 10 or higher and there are fears the recession will prompt more drivers to forego insurance, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) said.

“The research shows when times are tough, people will look to cut their motoring costs. Some will try and do without insurance,” said Ashton West, chief executive of the MIB.

“Our message is; Don’t risk it, stay insured. The chance of being caught has never been greater,” he told Reuters.

“In the last two or three years, since police got powers to seize uninsured cars, we have made inroads into the problem.”

Police now confiscate about 500 uninsured vehicles a day and took 185,000 cars off the road last year, which has helped bring the number of claims involving uninsured and untraced vehicles in 2008 to 33,000 against 38,000 in 2005.

The MIB, the body which compensates those people involved in accidents with uninsured or untraced vehicles, said it had to collect more than 400 million pounds from insurers for this purpose — costs passed onto honest drivers.

Younger drivers, who pay the biggest premiums, were the worst offenders with one in 10 claiming they were unaware insurance was a legal requirement.


September 23, 2009
Electric cars are driving the transition to sustainable technologies

The key to climate change control lies in improved technology. We need to find new ways to produce and use energy, meet our food needs, transport ourselves, and heat and cool our homes that will allow us to cut back on oil, gas, coal, nitrogen-based fertiliser, and other sources of the climate-changing greenhouse gases.

There are enough good options available to suggest that the world can accomplish the goal of controlling climate change at a reasonable cost (perhaps 1% of global income per year) while enabling the world economy to continue to grow and raise living standards. One of the most exciting developments on the horizon is the new generation of electric cars.

In the earliest days of the automobile in the late 19th century, many kinds of cars competed with each other – steam, battery, and internal combustion engine (ICE). The petrol- and diesel-powered internal combustion engines won the competition with the success of the Model T, which first rolled off of the assembly line in 1908.

Now the age of electric vehicles is upon us. The Toyota Prius, a hybrid-electric vehicle first introduced in Japan in 1997, marked an initial breakthrough. By connecting a small generator and rechargeable battery to the braking system of a standard car, the hybrid augments the normal engine with a battery-powered motor. Petrol mileage is sufficiently enhanced to make the hybrid commercially viable, and petrol-saving vehicles will become even more commercially viable when consumers are taxed for the carbon dioxide they emit from their vehicles.

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


September 21, 2009
Newly Qualified Driving Instructors Information Pack

An information pack for new ADIs (Approved Driving Instructors has been developed by the DSA (Driving Standards Agency).

All new ADIs will receive a plastic wallet containing leaflets and booklets full of information about their new career.

Charles Morton, Registrar of Approved Driving Instructors said: “We have listened to feedback from ADIs, which indicated that when they first qualified, they would have found a pack like this useful, as it contains information about how to make the most of their new career and help their pupils.”

Simon Bush of Britannia Driving School said: “All newly qualified instructors will receive the new pack when they first register with the DSA. ADIs who have registered within the last six months can request a pack by phoning or sending an email to the DSA”

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


September 17, 2009
Taxed but uninsured cars left on a public road could be clamped or seized under the new laws which are being unveiled by the Government.

Taxed but uninsured cars left on a public road could be clamped or seized under the new laws which are being unveiled by the Government.

The draconian new powers are intended to tackle an estimated two million uninsured motorists who, the Government says, are responsible for 160 deaths a year.

But the changes have angered civil liberty campaigners and also alarmed motoring groups who fear that law-abiding motorists could be penalised for innocent mistakes, such as allowing their insurance to lapse while they are on holiday.

At the moment, a motorist is only committing a crime if he or she drives while uninsured.

The new law will make it an offence to be the registered keeper of an uninsured car, whether or not the vehicle is being used and regardless of whether it has a valid tax disc or is kept on private property.

The only way to avoid a fine will be to go through the bureaucratic process of making a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

This can only be done if the owner can find somewhere to store the vehicle. Uninsured vehicles left in the road would be clamped or seized, penalising those without driveways or private garages.

Some have voiced concerns the scheme will do little to stop unscrupulous drivers who never bother to insure vehicles, but could instead hit law-abiding motorists who unwittingly allow their insurance to lapse when they are working abroad or taking a holiday. It will rely on the motor insurance industry database that is currently used by the police.


September 15, 2009
Drug driving can double car insurance premiums

Whilst drink driving is widely acknowledged as unacceptable, when it comes to drugs the line is blurred. The fact of the matter is drug-driving carries the same penalties of drink-driving as well as potentially doubling motor insurance premiums. With 10% of male drivers admitting to driving whilst taking illegal drugs, more people need to be made aware of the repercussions.

Contrary to belief, police can identify whether or not drugs have been taken and have various methods of testing that can be done at the roadside.

Some insurance providers can more than double your premium following drug-driving related convictions, others won’t quote at all.

With belts being tightened more than ever due to the financial climate, drivers need to be aware that being caught driving whilst on drugs results in a definite narrowing of choice when it comes to getting a good price on their insurance.


September 13, 2009
Booking a Theory or Driving Test Online

Around 85 per cent of Britannia Driving Schools students book their theory and driving test through our website with the DSA (Driving Standards Agency). Britannia doesn’t charge any additional fee to the booking fee for this service. Any learner driver in the UK, not just Britannia students are welcome to use our free booking service.

Please be aware that there are a number of alternative service providers who offer to book your theory and driving test and charge a booking fee in addition to the theory and driving test fee.

The DSA have received a number of complaints from pupils-of other driving schools –who have made use of these facilities. They were not aware of the additional booking fee and that this was non – refundable.

Simon Bush of Britannia Driving School said: “If you are an independent driving instructor or driving school, please ensure your pupils are aware of the current theory and driving test fees and remind them that if they do book through any service provider  that they read the terms and conditions fully before going ahead with any payment.”

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



September 10, 2009
3 ways to cut your motoring costs

1. Cut your annual mileage

From time to time, all of us drive distances that, in reality, are short enough for us to walk. In situations like these, travelling on foot instead of by car is not only better for your health and the planet – it should also have a welcome effect on your wallet.

If you drive your car less each tank of fuel you purchase will last longer. In addition, your car insurance company may offer you a discount for committing to an annual mileage cap.

2. Shop around for fuel

While filling up now costs more than it did a few weeks ago, it’s important to remember that fuel can differ significantly in cost depending on where you are when you purchase it.

3. Stay safe and within the law

Driving carefully and within the law is crucial if you’re keen to keep your motoring costs under control.

If you have an accident and need to make an insurance claim, not only will you have to fork out whatever sum has been set as your voluntary excess; your insurer is also likely to hike your future premiums.


September 9, 2009
Low Insurance For Teenagers

Providing affordable car insurance for young drivers is an almost impossible task.
Statistics show one in five new drivers has a crash in the first six months, and while one in eight drivers is under 25, they account for one in three fatalities.

The Department for Transport and insurers are looking at ways to cut the risks associated with new drivers, which would allow premiums to fall.

Following the Driving Standards Agency’s Learn to Drive consultation, from the end of this month, the theory driving test will include case studies and proof of understanding.

A new pre-driver training qualification is being rolled out to 14 to 17-year-olds in schools.
The Driving Standards Agency is also talking to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and individual insurers to look at ways to revamp the Pass Plus scheme. Some elements could be incorporated into a beefed up driving test or new post-driving test course.

While insurers do offer discounts, according to ABI figures, young drivers with Pass Plus are only marginally less likely to have an accident than those without