Category: Trends

Twelve Months – Three Notable Changes.

Within the last twelve months, there have been three notable changes for learner drivers and motorway users. The driving test has been updated to include additional practical requirements. Motorways can now be accessed by learner drivers and additional motorway misuse penalties have been introduced.

The changes to the driving test have been introduced in order to increase the experience and help prepare novice drivers for the everyday driving conditions of the modern day roads. In particular, and as stated by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), the changes will help to reduce the number of casualties and injuries of young novice drivers where they are seven times more at risk than those aged over 25.

Allowing learner drivers onto the motorways, when they are close to their test is also seen as necessary. Especially since the introduction of Smart motorway traffic management methods using variable speed limits and enabling the use of the hard shoulder as a running lane. It is vital that all drivers understand how to use a Smart motorway and follow the rules. Unfortunately, the new rules are either not understood or ignored by some drivers.

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Transparent Detail – Driving Licence, DQC and Driver Cards

In 2017, the DVLA made Driver Qualification Card and Tachograph Driver Card information available to Licence Link’s online Driving Licence Checking service. Passing this on as a new additional free of charge service has been keenly adopted by Licence Link clients.

The comments below from existing clients just shows how valuable this service has been for driving compliancy and reduced administration:

 The introduction of Driver CPC & Digital Tachograph Card Details to Licence link, the on line checking service has allowed me to have a safe and efficient means of ensuring that we are operating fully compliant at all times. This service has removed a number of administrative duties which has allowed more time for other tasks to be carried out.

We want Licence Link to continue with our licence checking as this system is perfect for our peace of mind on compliance. Licence Link provides real time checking of compliance which includes driver CPC and Digital Tachograph cards.

CPC checking helps us to see the expiry of the card and monitor that going forward. No more asking everyone to have their card copied and admin needing to update a spread sheet and keep it updated.

These experiences are reflective of many of the businesses and organisations using Licence Link and involved with ensuring that their vocation drivers are fully entitled to drive for work related activities.

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The Impact of Increased Speeding Fines.

From April 2017 speeding fines increased. The new rules established three Sentencing range bands A, B and C for speeds above specific speed limits. With Band C being the severest, with a disqualification from 7 to 56 days or 6 Points and a fine range of between 125% to 175% of the offender’s weekly income. Looking at endorsement data from 2016 and 2017 was there a significant detectable change?

The Sentencing Council’s published Speeding (Revised 2017) guidelines set out the steps for determining the offence seriousness. It includes a Fine Calculator allowing for input of Income, Band Fine Range, a stated Stating point income percentage and allowing for a Guilty plea allowance. The amount of fine is adjustable by the court attended or the enforcing police officer also allowing for mitigating circumstances, including previous convictions, the location of the offence and weather conditions, adding to or subtracting from the penalty.

DVLA Freedom of information requests made by Licence Link obtained offence data for 2016 and 2017. Comparing and analysing the data graphically shows the impact of the revised guidelines.

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The UK Professional LGV Driver Shortage.

The average age of LGV drivers is currently 53. The shortfall in LGV drivers by 2020 has been estimated to be 150,000. It is not good news then that over the last 20 years there has been a 40% decline in teenagers learning to drive. What are the reasons for this and how can this trend be reversed?

Exacerbating the problem is the fact that in 2019 many CPC holders, where their DQC cards expire, may choose to retire rather than renew their cards. So this is very much a candle being burned at both ends, where the young are not considering driving at all, never mind as a vocation and the existing senior and experienced vocational drivers are considering the option of retirement or taking on a less demanding occupation.

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Reviewing Licence Checking Costs and Risks for the New Financial Year.

For those involved with driving licence checking, the next few weeks before the new financial year is a good time to take a retrospective review of the current financial year’s licence checking activities. This will help to identify the budget and the risk reduction actions required for 2018/19.

Taking a look at historic data is the first part of a systematic approach towards preparing for eventualities that will occur in the approaching financial year. The data will identify the trends that occurred and the costs involved in the previous year. But also looking at the current status of the data, will facilitate the pre-planning for upcoming driving licence alerts, such as convictions, licence expiries, consent renewals and drivers approaching disqualification.

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Winter Driving Conditions – Risk Awareness.

Winter days, being shorter, with colder, darker morning and evening commutes are heralds of increased road journey risk for all road users. This is a season of the year where a driver must increase awareness, focus and vehicle control in order to avoid being involved in an incident.

Statistics show an increase of drink driving offences in the winter months, but it is not just alcohol that affects focus and control when driving a vehicle. There are other considerations such as the impact of driving when tired, driving directly after a large meal or driving at times when others may be about to depart from a celebratory occasion. It is a wise precaution to be aware that risk increases during this time where a combination of seasonal traditional activities added to darker mornings and nights, colder, maybe icy conditions can lead to situations that require fast and immediate reactions.

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Licence holder age group driving offences – Analysing the data.

Analysis of Age Group related driving offence data is a useful way of managing driving for work duty of care risk. Knowing what age groups are most prone to speeding, careless driving and dangerous driving, can provide an insight into the tendencies of age related driver behaviour.

The four data sets discussed in this article start with the driving licence holder age totals where the age group with the most number of licence holders is seen to be the 45 to 54 grouping. One would assume automatically that this group would be the most at risk due to sheer numbers. This indeed is the case where speeding offences are considered.

Interestingly though, if a percentage of the total drivers caught speeding and the number of licenced drivers within an age group is taken, those in the 35 to 45 age group have a higher percentage of offenders to licence holders; ≈ 1.94% compared with ≈ 1.87% for the age group 45 to 54.

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Summertime Driving Trends – Do Endorsements Cool Down?

Comparing the number of endorsements, for every type of offence, in December, July and August, demonstrates the necessity of ensuring that drivers remain entitled to drive. The July and August statistics show that endorsement numbers are similar and higher during the summer holiday period to those recorded in December. Is there a need to increase driver licence checking during this holiday season?

The summertime is often the time to take a holiday, relax and regenerate. Warmer weather, lighter and longer days with schools closed and some factories still closing down for the July and August two week break, one would conclude that the roads would be less busy and therefore the knock on effect would be fewer road accidents and fewer driving offences. With no national celebrations like Christmas or Easter during this period, the temptation to over indulge should also be less.

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New Penalties for Mobile Phone Usage When Driving or Riding.

The penalties for using a hand-held phone whilst driving or riding can be 6 penalty points and a £200 fine, a possible ban, a £1000 or £2500 (LGV/PCV) fine if taken to court, or a loss of licence if caught during 2 years after passing the driving Test. Will this significantly reduce the number of perpetrators?

The phenomenon of mobile devices, in particular, Smart phones, enables the user to participate in all kinds of communication and personal organisation. Connectivity with colleagues, friends and social media can send users into a frenzy of electronic activity of responding to emails, texts, missed calls and social media. A compulsive desire to know and engage in the activity even when there is a risk associated is a similar symptom to other types of dependencies exhibited by individuals with behavioural addictions.

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Drink Driving Trends – Checking Levels.

With the second in the series of offence trends, this time looking at drink driving, it can be graphically shown that December is not the only month in the year that this kind of endorsement spikes. Does this mean annual licence checking may not be sufficient?

Analysing the endorsement data for drink driving offences reveals some unexpected findings. December is typically targeted as a month where expectations for the seasonal holiday celebrations, result in a rise in drivers taking risks when driving whilst over the drink driving limit. The media and police authorities, rightly so, try to increase awareness of the risks associated and the dangers to road users and pedestrians.

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