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Friday, 19 December 2014

Young Scots offered free advanced driving tuition opportunity

Scottish Borders Council is encouraging families to consider giving an alternative Christmas present in the form of an advanced driver course from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).

Any driver under 26 years of age living in the Scottish Borders can take part in the four session scheme sponsored by Scottish Borders Council (SBC), and once the driver has passed, the course fee of £149 is refunded in full.

A further 14 young drivers; hailing from communities such as Duns, Galashiels, Newcastleton and Selkirk, passed the IAM scheme this month and received their certificates at Eildon Mill in Tweedbank.

Pat Doughty, IAM operations director said: "Congratulations to the latest young motorists to have passed our advanced driver course. The course not only helps improve their skills and anticipation, but also confidence, which means driving can be a more enjoyable experience. Over 400,000 have taken the advanced driver course across the UK, and it would be a great idea to pay for a family member or friend to sit the course as a Christmas present."

The scheme, which began earlier this year and is supported by former British Touring Car champion John Cleland, aims to cut the number of serious injuries and deaths involving young drivers on the region's roads. It has attracted interest from other councils in Scotland which are keen to start a similar scheme.

The IAM is fully committed to initiatives that reduce the number of injuries and deaths of young people on the roads.

In 2013, 876 young men and 414 young women were killed or seriously injured (KSI) as drivers between the ages of 17 and 24 in Britain. While these are the lowest ever KSI figures recorded in Britain in this category, the IAM feels these figures are still completely unacceptable with new drivers far more likely to cause their passengers' death than any other age group.  New drivers and their passengers also have far more life changing catastrophic crashes with lifelong injuries than any other age group.

Paul Richardson, SBC's Community Safety Officer, added: "These young people now have skills which ensure they will be safer drivers, which will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

"Signing someone up for an advanced driver scheme would be a valuable Christmas gift. Along with additional skills, there is also the potential for cheaper car insurance and when the young driver passes, you will be refunded."

The next scheduled start dates for the course are Tuesday 10 and Sunday 15 March 2015, with other dates available throughout the year.

Anyone wishing to sign up on the advanced driver course should phone on 0300 303 1137. Further information is also available at www.iam.org.uk/skillforlife or www.scotborders.gov.uk/skillforlife

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

KGAM quiz night

Last night's Christmas Social Evening held at Grove Green was another great evening enjoyed by all that attended.  The quiz run by Terry Nunn and Gary Smith was excellent.  The buffet prepared by Christine gets better every year and was really scrumptious. - the smell of mince pies baking in the oven during the evening was amazing.  Max gleefully extorted dosh from members for the right to take part in the raffle.  Well done and thanks to all those who made it happen.

The Winners


The Lemons


Christine's Little Helper


Christine receives a well deserved token of appreciation

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Well done Brigitte Harris

     Congratulations to Brigitte Harris seen here receiving her certificate                                       from Observer Alan Billington


                                   Well done Brigitte!!

Poll reveals over half of Britons pledge support for zero tolerance driving

Auto Express, Britain's biggest selling motoring magazine, has teamed up with the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) to launch the 'No drink, No doubt' campaign, urging Britons not to drink a drop of alcohol if they're thinking of driving.

With the Christmas party season upon us, the temptation to have a tipple and get behind the wheel is even bigger than at other times of the year.  Auto Express polled over 3,000 of its readers to find out how they felt about the current drink-driving laws – the results revealed that 46% of them would welcome the introduction of a zero tolerance policy on drink-driving in England.

Auto Express took a snapshot of drivers attending this year's Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) rehab course, and found 13 per cent recorded no higher than 55mg per 100ml on a roadside breath test – just over the legal limit of 35mg.

And the confusion only increases with the introduction of new limits in Scotland, which sets the limit as 22mg per 100ml of breath. This matches the limit in the Republic of Ireland. However, much of mainland Europe has even stricter limits to the UK and Ireland's.

Chris Ebbs, Consumer Editor of Auto Express, said: "There is real uncertainly about how much you can legally drink before taking the wheel, with more than 10 per cent of those caught drink-driving being just a fraction over the limit. Historically drink-driving is more common among men, but recent statistics released by Direct Line show that the number of women being caught is increasing, too."

Kath Pavitt, Driver Education Director at IAM Driver Retaining Academy, said: "What drivers need to understand is that there are many factors that can take a person over the limit, and it isn't the same for everyone. One glass of wine can affect a person very differently depending on their build, height, weight, their sex, and how much they've eaten.

"It's very simple. The only sure way of making sure you are safe, is don't drink any alcohol if you plan to drive. You might not only lose your licence, but your job too."

"Our research and experts agree there's no way to ensure that you're not over the limit at any time of the year," Ebbs continues.  "Even one glass of alcohol can have an effect on driving – with potentially devastating consequences for everyone involved – so for safety's sake it's best not to drink at all, and we're urging Britons to not touch a drop if they know they will be getting behind the wheel."

Auto Express' 'No drink, No doubt' campaign launches this week. For more information, pick up a copy of the magazine which hits the shelves on Wednesday 10 December or logon to www.autoexpress.co.uk 

Monday, 1 December 2014

Three-point turn could be axed from driving test

Learner Driver stock
It has been a staple part of the driving test since its introduction in 1935, but soon learner drivers may not have to perform a three-point turn to earn their licence, under new proposals by the DVSA.

In the biggest shake-up of the driving test for nearly 20 years, the standards and licencing authority is also considering dropping the requirement for learners to demonstrate their ability to reverse around a corner.

Around 1,000 learner drivers will be taking part in a trial of a new practical examination as part of the reforms to the test. The DVSA has said that any proposed changes would be subject to a full public consultation.

"We are carrying out initial research to explore how the driving test could better reflect real-life driving," a DVSA spokesman said.

The proposals make up the biggest changes to the driving licencing procedure since the introduction of the theory test in 1996. A further section, aimed at assessing 'independent driving' through a candidate's use of road signs, was implemented in 2010.

Now, instead of following road signs, drivers could be tested on their ability to follow sat navinstructions, to better replicate modern-day driving scenarios.

In place of a three-point turn, drivers would be expected to demonstrate an ability to perform manoeuvres they are more likely to encounter during everyday driving, such as reversing out of a parking bay or re-joining traffic from a side road.

The DVSA has stated that the reverse parking manoeuvre – either parallel or into a bay – would not be scrapped.

The plans have been welcomed by The Driving Instructors Association, though other motoring organisations have urged caution. RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister told the BBC: "We all rely on our sat navs but they are not infallible and it is when they have led us down a dead end that we need to know how to do a three-point turn.

"It's fine to add some aspects to the test but we should be cautious about removing the basics."

Do you think simple manoeuvres should be dropped from the practical driving test? How would you change the test to improve driving standards?