Friday, 26 January 2007

Driving me mad!

Well, the guys in charge of driving instructors (the DSA) are thinking about publishing everything about us, in the same way that league tables are created for schools.

Which seems great until you work out that we can cheat the system!

The Pass Rate, which they're thinkin of publishing is one of the bluntest instruments around - it says that out of 100 tests taken by my lot, 58 of them were passes. Fair enough, a bit above the average (43 ish). Only problem is that as soon as they publish these, everyone is going to be looking for the guy who's rate is 96%.

'But don't people have 96% pass rates already - I've seen them advertised?' - NO! These are bullsh*t made up rates, which can be fixed by silly word play in the adverts, or in the way they work out 'their' pass rate.

The DSA one is the only one which will count if they do this.

'What's wrong with that then - surely the good guys will get work, the bad guys out of business - as it should be?' - But they're easy to cheat - all you do is refuse to take anyone to test until you've made them take an extra 20 lessons on top of what they need. Or dump them if they're a bit of a challenge. Or take your badge out of the window so the result doesn't go on your stats if you think that nerves are getting the better of them. Or refuse to take on people with disabilities because they're harder to teach. In fact, take the money off everyone, but only ever take the lads with mechanical skills to test - keep the others learning for ever - whoopee - probably a 85% pass rate straight off.

But a lot of conned girls, disabled people, people with language difficulties, nervous drivers, older drivers......

'Why can't you get a better pass rate with these people?' Well that's the point - you can, but it takes a hell of a lot more time - do you want to pay an extra grand for your driving lessons? I'll take it off you if you are offering it!

'How would you fix the problem of dodgy young drivers then? Come on, stop complaining and give us some solutions!' Ok then - psychometric testing for learners; a test based on assessing attitude and not skill (this might actually be happening soon!); publishing a driving instructors grade (a local official comes and watches a lesson and says how good it is - according to the DSA Freedom of Information section people can already request ADI grades); make driving instructors leave their badge in the window if they're taking them to test (come on instructors - take a bit of responsibility); start charging people involved in accidents for police time - similar to how ambulances are billed for; black boxes - if you break the speed limit - your insurance goes up! Hell - there's loads of ways of doing it, most of which don't penalise the good guys.

Please lovely people at the Driving Standards Agency - don't be bl**dy stupid, coz I'm sorry - I've got a living to make, and as much as I love my job I will need to cheat my pass rate up if you do this, and so will a lot of other guys - the phone won't ring if we don't.

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