Ok, so I’ve been invited to do a guest Blog here so thank you very much for the invite. My name is Dev and I write blogs about the driving instructor industry as well as operating my own driving schools in Hereford. I teach automatics and I’m probably one of the few driving instructors in Hereford to do this.
I attended the ADIJNC conference meeting recently and this is one of the articles, I hope you enjoy it.
If you find yourself complaining about the record amount of traffic on Britain’s roads, experts say it’s all our fault for doing so much shopping online. Apparently there were 325.1 billion miles travelled in the 12 months to June, an increase of 1.4 per cent on the previous year. Van mileage grew 3.6 per cent as demand for shopping deliveries increase. An RAC spokesman said the rural road figures were “concerning” and added: “Looking over 20 years, there is a staggering 70 per cent increase in van traffic which must be proof that the nation’s ever increasing internet shopping habit is changing the type of traffic on our roads.”
There was an amusing story in the Sun last month, concerning road workers in Watford who arrived a day early for a resurfacing job. Residents had been told that the work was due to start on a Tuesday but woke on the Monday morning to find their cars had been lifted onto a lorry and dumped in the next street. Kiely Bros, hired by Hertfordshire County Council, apologised for the gaffe but local councillor Asif Khan said: “It’s staggering incompetence.” A bit of an understatement if ever I heard one.
I’m writing this piece on Monday October 9th, a day before the deadline for this column. I took a couple of days off to attend the ADINJC conference (which I am sure will be covered elsewhere in this newsletter). I thought that it was an excellent day and I scored it nine and a half out of ten on the feedback sheet. One of the many highlights for me was to get up close and personal with the new Insignia parked outside by Vauxhall, one of the conference main sponsors. Coincidentally the car was also reviewed by Clarkson in the weekend’s Sunday Times. He rated it three out of five stars, which is pretty good for our Jezza. Do you remember the time when Vauxhall refused to supply him with any more cars to review after he couldn’t find anything good to say about the old Vectra?
You have probably heard that King Salman has announced that women in the Islamic kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive from June 2018. They have been banned for 60 years, although some have been illegally taking to the roads in anticipation. The woman was sitting behind the wheel for the first time with her husband alongside her ‘teaching’ her to drive. The car suddenly sped forward and crashed into a concrete block. The woman lost her life and it was not known whether she was wearing a seatbelt.
We got in touch today with one of the driving instructors in Leicester called Hexagram Driving School. We wanted to know about driving instructors using dash cams and just why weren’t the sound allowed to be used whilst a driving test candidate is taking their driving test?
At first, we thought that this was just a rumour but Alex from Hexagram Driving School in Leicester confirmed that this was not a rumour but the actual truth! The rules for driving tests are that driving school cars are allowed front and rear facing dash cams but only if they are facing outwards and not facing inwards and the sound has to be turned off.
We find this to be odd but Alex explained to us that he thinks this is because of the data protection act. He couldn’t confirm that this was the real reason or just part of the reason but he said that he’s going to enquire more and speak with the DVSA try to find out more. The DVSA are the governing body and authorise driving tests along with their partner, VOSA.
So we spoke to another driving school, only because we’re so impatient and we couldn’t wait around for Alex to get back to us. Jude from Jude’s Driving School who is one of the local driving instructors in Andover also confirmed that this was the case. She thought that this ruling was obscured because in the unfortunate event where the person taking the driving test becomes verbally abusive to the driving examiner, or even to herself then surely having dash cam footage backed up with voice recordings of the verbal abuse would swing in the favour of the driving instructor or driving examiner. Surely any court in the land would welcome this?
It wasn’t long before Alex got back to us and he couldn’t give us a definite answer as to why the voice recording has to be turned off. He informed us that the DVSA have instructed this option purely for data protection. We asked Alex if this is monitored, does a driving examiner actually check that the voice is off. Alex said not as far as he’s aware but it’s sort of known throughout the industry that we’re not allowed so he and any of his driving instructor colleagues all have the sound muted.
He’s not too sure if this will change, I suppose time will tell?
We’ve recently got news this week that learning to drive in automatic cars is growing in popularity. We met up with Alan from Evolved Automatic Driving School in Bangor, North Wales and he told us all about it. Incidentally, Evolved Automatic Driving School has the reputation of being one of the best driving schools in Bangor. Well, this is what Alan tells us anyway, but then again, he would.
Alan first setup Evolved Driving School 4 years ago and without any hesitation he decided to enter the driving instructor industry as an automatic driving instructor, but not in Bangor but in Llandudno. We’ll get to how Alan set up as one of the driving instructors in Bangor in a moment.
When Alan first established his driving school, he new that there was a demand for people to learn in automatics in his home town of Llandudno. But what Alan was prepared for was just how big this demand was. It seemed that he would get a new enquiry every other day for his services. This was great for business and obviously great for Alan. He told us that at first he thought he was taking a risk by setting up as a driving instructor as he remembers his dad mentioning to him in the early eighties that there was no money in teaching people to drive and best not to choose being a driving instructor in North Wales as a career choice.
Anyway, fast forwarding a fair few years, Alan is glad that he didn’t take his dad’s advice and almost 30 years on, he’s now the very proud owner of Evolved Automatic Driving School and is doing exceptionally well. Alan told us that he doesn’t quite know why his school is doing so well and why there is such a demand for automatic driving lessons. One theory is that there has been an influx of migration to this country from various European countries and other countries outside of the EU. He did go on to tell us that approximately 50% of his clients are from Europe. He said that this doesn’t bother him at all as the majority of Europeans can speak very good English anyway.
So, due to the demand constantly growing for driving lessons in an automatic car, he’s now expanded out to Bangor. This is a great thing for Alan to do as now that he’s personally got a taste of what the demand is like in a different town he can now think about employing an extra driving instructor.
We’ve promised to check back with Alan in about 6 months time to see if he’s right about the demand for automatics slowly increasing year on year so watch this space and we’ll bring you an update to this story.