Monthly Archives: February 2013

February 28, 2013
Driver Fails Test 38 Times

Feeling down about failing your driving test? Don’t worry, it could be much worse.

A hopeless learner driver took his test an astounding 38 times before finally passing- at a total cost of £2,356!

Yet this is not a fluke story- he is one of hundreds of learner drivers that have failed time and time again- yet refused to be beaten! Data obtained by Staffordshire newspaper ‘The Sentinel’ has revealed that over 100 people every year fail their test at least six times before finally getting lucky- at the cost of £62 each time.
The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act from the DSA, reveal statistics from the previous 8 years such as:

– 5 women (all aged 26) took 18 attempts each to pass
– 4 men (aged 31) each took 17 attempts to pass

– 95 women (aged 18-46) failed 6 times.
– Only 59 men (aged 18-46) failed 6 times.

– 24 more men than women re-took their theory tests- two of these took the written exam a whopping 15 times before achieving any success!

– In 2005/6, it took a 67-year-old woman seven attempts to pass her driving test.

– In 2008/9, a 53-year-old man failed nine times before passing.

– In 2009/10, seven men re-sat their practical tests more than 15 times.

Driving instructors today said they were surprised but not shocked to hear the numbers.

Diane Hall has published “L of a way to pass,” which offers advice on how to pass a driving test at the first time of asking.

She said poor observation at junctions, use of mirrors and signals are among the most common reasons for failure.

The 48-year-old, of Swynnerton, said: “It is not about the person’s physical ability or their road awareness; it is more to do with their lack of planning ahead when they are driving.”

“A lot of people mess up on that, especially in busy places such as Hanford roundabout.”

“They misread or ignore the road signs and they have a lack of awareness.”

“People think if you are a young, white, English man, then you are a better driver, but that is not always the case. Some women are very good, natural drivers.”

Pat Bennett, who runs the Solitaire School of Motoring, in Uttoxeter, said: “There are a lot of reasons why people fail their tests, but the main one is that they just don’t check their mirrors enough.”

“I would say women drivers are a lot more aware of danger on the roads than men. Men take more chances.”

“The main piece of advice I would give to people is listen to what you’re are told.”

Barry Proctor, owner of Talke-based haulage firm Barry Proctor Services, believes driving standards have fallen. He said:

“Sometimes people fail their tests because of another driver’s actions. Maybe they don’t indicate where they are going on a roundabout or turn without signalling. But that comes down to the fact that most drivers don’t concentrate as much as they used to. A lot of people drive while they are on their phones or text, so they don’t pay as much attention as they should and it can be very dangerous.”

What do you think? Is there a point in which enough is enough? Should some people not be allowed to drive at all? Have driving standards fallen in recent years? Sound off in the comments section below!


February 27, 2013

A coach driver carrying 34 passengers has been jailed for nine months after passengers experienced a terrifying ordeal and it came to light he was over the drink drive limit.

Passengers described how the coach which was travelling on a return journey from Liverpool to Penley, near Wrexham was swaying on the M56 motorway, the driver was veering across carriageways and he even went the wrong way around a roundabout.

The coach who had been booked by a parent teacher group said they became increasingly worried throughout the journey and other cars have to take evasive action to avoid the coach hitting them and kept beeping their horns.

Eventually one motorist who had followed the coach for a period and who had contacted the police, jumped out of their vehicle, boarded the coach and seized the ignition keys from the driver.

When police arrested Mr McDonald, the coach driver, he said: “That’s me finished”. He told police he hadn’t drunk for weeks but had succumbed to alcohol and had a few whisky and cokes before picking up the passengers.

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


February 26, 2013
Plummeting Pound Pushes Up Price of Petrol

The falling pound and stock market speculators are driving up the cost of petrol, according to the AA. The price of petrol at the pumps has gone up a further 1p in the last five days. The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has said that he has “taken action.” There are a variety of factors resulting in the surging cost of fuel. Paradoxically it might be one of the things the Bank of England is doing to try and stimulate the economy, which is partly to blame.

The pound has lost about a tenth of its value against the US dollar since last spring. Oil is priced in US dollars, so that means it is more expensive for us Brits to buy it. At the same time the actual price of oil has risen sharply in the first six weeks of this year, which is partly to do with Middle East unrest and problems in Iran.

That has been building up into wholesale prices which are yet to feed through to the forecourts, which means more pressure yet to come for the companies that rely upon the usage of fuel, like haulage companies and also hard-pressed motorists.

The AA says the average cost of petrol is now 138.32p a litre. Diesel has risen 4.78p from its mid-January price to stand at an average of 145.10p. The latest figures show that petrol has risen 6.24p a litre since early January, adding £3.12 to the cost of refilling a typical 50-litre tank.

What do you think? Is the price of fuel getting out-of-hand? Sound off in the comments section below!


February 25, 2013

A Driving Standards Agency (DSA) examiner was arrested due to conspiracy to commit fraud. Evidence found that he had accepted £3000 from driving test candidates in return for a guaranteed pass.

At the same time as his arrest, officers were arresting 4 candidates and 2 driving instructors. It is thought that the candidates approach their instructor, who then has a quiet word with particular examiners.

Over 100 people are thought to have bribed this particular examiner and the police are in the process of revoking the licences of those that have gained a full driving licence unlawfully.

The police are also cracking down on identity fraud, with more than 900 cases across the country. People go on test impersonating the learner due to sit their test.

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


February 22, 2013

Patricia Machin lost her husband last year after his was knocked down and killed near their home in Bournemouth.

Mr Williamson, 30, the driver was convicted of causing death by careless driving and given a suspended prison sentence, ordered to pay £1000 in costs and banned from driving for two years.

However, Mrs Machin has no ill feeling towards him and wrote him a letter of support and hugged him outside court.

She said that she hopes her actions will encourage others to show forgiveness. She said: “On the day the accident happened, Brian Williamson and I just were two strangers but joined together in a nightmare.”

She felt that he showed remorse and urged him to “get on with his young life.”

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


February 21, 2013
Driving Test Examiner Arrested in “Cash-for-Pass” Inquiry

Across the country today, police are investigating an alleged “Cash-for-pass” scam, in which driving test examiners are offering candidates a pass in exchange for money.

Officers swooped upon a North London driving test centre and took a man into custody under suspicion of the offence at 8am this morning, as well as seizing boxes of evidence. It is alleged the examiner was bribed with rewards of up to £3,000 per test that he agreed to pass in advance. Over 100 people have been identified by investigators to have fraudulently obtained their licences from the examiner by way of offering a cash reward. Each of these licences has been revoked.

Two driving instructors have been arrested as part of the investigation, as well as four test candidates, in areas across the country including North London, and Walsall, West Midlands.

Andrew Rice, the head of Fraud and Integrity at the Driving Standards Agency has said: “We believe the candidates have approached their driving instructor, they’ve had a conversation saying for ‘x’ amounts of money we can guarantee you a pass… The candidate then agrees to that. The driving instructor then speaks to our member of staff and tells them which candidate to pass.”

Almost 900 cases of alleged identity fraud are also being scrutinised as part of the ongoing investigation, under the suspicion that a high level of candidates are paying other, more experienced drivers to take the driving test in their place, due to the number of cases of identity fraud increasing in recent years.


February 20, 2013

Pc Matthew Stott was involved in a police chase but this time, it was him the police were after.

The police officers that attempted to pull him over had spotted a defective rear light however, Pc Stott had been drinking and took off. He claims that he failed to stop because he thought it was “former colleagues playing a prank.”

After he was stopped, and breathalysed it became apparent he was over the legal alcohol limit and as a result has been banned from driving for a year and fined more than £1000.

Heather Oliver, mitigating, said that the pursuit only lasted five minutes. She also said: “He will be punished over and above what many defendants would face in a similar situation…his 24-year career is now effectively over.”

The Judge however, made a fair point, suggesting that Pc Stott must witness drink driving on a regular basis and the consequences this holds. He said: “It was a very unwise decision to drive that night and you exacerbated that by not stopping for the police.”

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


February 19, 2013
Licence Warning Issued to Drivers

The DVLA has issued a harsh warning to all drivers in the UK to ensure that their driving licences are kept up to date and renewed as and when is needed.

The standard-issue photo-card licence, which has been common practice for over 15 years now, is currently in possession by over 30 million drivers across the UK. However a startling 2 million of these have failed to renew their photo at the same time as renewing their licence, if even renewing their licence at all!

Failing to maintain the information on your licence can prove costly; if you do not notify the DVLA of a change of address, for example, you are liable for fines of up to £1000. The same goes for not updating the image of yourself on your licence. Most licences are valid for 10 years, and as Victoria Ford from the DVLA states:

“Appearances can change and it is important that photo-card licences are updated every 10 years to ensure the police and other enforcement agencies have the best possible photograph to help them correctly identify whether a driving licence is being used fraudulently… This helps prevent driving licence impersonation – stopping disqualified and perhaps dangerous drivers taking to our roads.”

LV Car Insurance has produced research that shows that 1 in 10 drivers admit to going longer than the required decade to renew their licence- despite numerous official reminders- and almost twice this amount are unaware that their licence even expires at all; leaving them vulnerable to hefty fines imposed by the DVLA- despite their licence expiry date being clearly printed on the front of their pink driving licence!

Paul Watters from the AA advises everyone to check their details and ensure everything is up to date; if one detail is incorrect in registering your vehicle, for example your address not being updated since moving house, or having a fully insured car, however one that is not on the Motor Insurance Database, you could become subject to fines of anywhere from £100 to £1,000.

Most drivers aren’t aware that it is free to renew your licence in the case of a change of address, and only £20 to renew a licence that has expired. Save yourself some money; check all of your details!

Safe driving from Britannia!


February 18, 2013

Police officers in Mildura, Victoria have raised concerns about the accuracy of Apple Maps after the force have had to rescue stranded drivers who have followed the incorrect directions the software produced.

The mapping system shows Mildura in the middle of the Murray Sunset National Park, which is in fact 45 miles away from that location.

Sharon Darcy, acting senior sergeant said: “Police are extremely concerned as there is no water supply within the park and the temperatures can reach as high as 46c, making this a potentially life-threatening issue.”

When the software was first released back in September, despite the criticisms, Apple defended the software. As time has gone on, they have since admitted the faults and are looking to improve the software.

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


February 15, 2013

Nissan are experimenting with an adapted Nissan Leaf to see whether the car can park itself and even find the parking space to begin with.

The car has sensors which detect reflective white lines on the floor. It then uses cameras to guide the car into the space. At present the car only works with reflective white paint, so could not be used out on the main roads but could certainly take the stress out of car-park chaos.

Using your Smartphone, you can even order the car to find a parking space and when you are ready order the car to return to you.

The car has built in security cameras to deter any jealous thieves

Nissan don’t know if and when it could bring the vehicle out to the mainstream market, but is enjoying working on this novel idea.

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