Sunday, 21 October 2007

Illegal number plates and driving tests

The DSA are tightening up their stance on illegal number plates according to their latest press release:

DSA Illegal Number Plates Statement

The fact that they are going to start reporting them is good, but on some of the forums I've noticed a distinct "who cares" attitude to this problem - even from DSA examiners themselves.

There's a few problems with illegal number plates:

  1. Speed cameras sometimes have trouble picking them out, which means that the 4x4 that just blasted past you in the wrong lane on the roundabout will not get his cummuppance.
  2. When reported to the police, these plates are often mis-quoted and regularly come back as being not registered to a car. Hit and run accidents with illegal number plates are often not traceable for this reason.
  3. They're just plain tacky.
  4. They show that the person is happy breaking one law - why not a few more? Is the car actually insured for the test?

So please guys - don't just report them - refuse to take tests in them.

Also - if they're illegal - could the people who make these plates up not be prosecuted? I genuinely don't know the answer to this one, but I'm reasonably sure that someone will email me the answer! Thanks.

Friday, 19 October 2007

The Right to Drive?

The new driver act has kicked in - and we've all had the phone call from the distraught 18 year old who feels hard done by when they have their licence removed from them.

"But I only got 2 - I was doing 32 in a 30, and the second one was for being on me fone - I thought you had to get six points before you were banned?!"

Hmmm - just in case anyone has not understood the stupidity of the above - let me explain:

Many driving offences carry a different penalty point weighting. It just so happens that a speeding camera fine is usually 3 points, as is talking on your mobile phone. So with those two stupid actions - 6 points and if you passed your test less than 2 years ago - you're back to square 1 - take your test again.

Also - "32 in a 30" - do you think we're thick? You wouldn't trigger a camera until you were going 33, or more likely 35 or above.


I love these phone calls - I'm always polite, and I will always accept someone if they have learnt with me, or if they understand what they have done, and why they shouldn't have, but the ones who are just angry that "everyone's gettin at me - shutup, shutup, oh whateva" can go hang.

Unfortunately, though I personally think this is a great idea - I understand that it has had a very limited effect on road safety.

In fact - it may even have made things worse. People who have been banned start driving illegally. They have got used to driving and had begun to take it for granted, so when it is taken away they decide to continue, not understanding the dangers and life wrecking stupidity of what they are doing.

And this leads me to the main problem with all of this - what can the police do? What do the police do? Surely impounding every car that is driven on the road without insurance, tax, or MOT would go some way toward solving the problem. Then link any release fee directly to the cost of the policing, the impound and the paperwork of the operation (2 coppers - 2 hours, 1 administrator - 1 hour, 1 recovery truck - 3 hours, 1 compound - 3 days, maybe around £500, with an extra £100 per day until someone who is insured for the car itself turns up to collect it!).

Criminals would no longer have cars. This may help the fight against normal crime too just a little!

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Cost of Training Courses

CPD hasn't arrived yet, but most of us with a couple of braincells are already involved with training ourselves almost as much as we do training our customers.

There's one thing that seems to run through all of these courses - it doesn't matter which course it is - there's a company set up to administer the course, and of course they have to cover their costs, but some of these costs are pretty high.

Cost of course - £420 for 2 days - no problem. Excellent 1 to 1 training with loads of useful information.

Cost of registration - £100 - just to put my details on a computer and a phone call to confirm things? Profit to administering organisation - probably £80

Cost to be a trainer for the courses - £250 - this covers a few booklets, cost value of which I would put at no more than £25 for printing, and probably could've been designed over 2 days with an expert, 1 day with a graphic designer - total design cost - no more than £1000. Considering that there's probably between 500 and 2000 of these courses taken per year that means at most an extra £2. Profit to organisation - £220

Maybe I should stop being a trainer, design a course - sell the idea to government for their backing, then make it compulsory and rake in £300 profit from every trainer who signs up to promote my course for me!