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Freeman's Driving Academy Blog

Welcome to the FDA blog! Here you will find news, reviews, testimonials and success stories. As well as various article relevant to learning to drive. You may leave comments or Share your success at Freeman's Driving Academy with your friends, using the like and share button on each article.

well done Dan on passing his Driving Test with only 1 driver fault

john freeman - Monday, June 09, 2014

Congratulations Casey on passing your test at the first attempt!

john freeman - Friday, May 02, 2014

well done Keagan

john freeman - Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review of theory test fees

john freeman - Thursday, April 10, 2014

A consultation on changes to theory test fees has been launched today.

The cost of the driving theory test could be cut by 25%, saving learner drivers £14.5m a year.

The proposals, which could save learner drivers in excess of £100m over the next 9 years, are contained in a public consultation on changes to theory test fees. The plans would see the cost of a car driving theory test fall by £6 in October this year, taking the cost of a test from £31 to £25, with a further drop of £2 planned in October 2015.

The consultation follows the government’s commitment to reduce the cost of motoring. It also sets out proposed reductions for motorcycle, bus and lorry theory tests.

End to driving tests in foreign languages

john freeman - Monday, April 07, 2014

Transport Minister, Stephen Hammond has announced that from today (Monday 7 April), both theory and practical driving tests will only be available in English and Welsh.

These changes have been introduced to:

  • improve road safety
  • reduce driving test fraud
  • improve social cohesion

This move follows last year’s public consultation into foreign language support for driving tests; more than 70% of responses supported removing foreign language voiceovers and interpreters from tests.

Previously candidates could:

  • take their car and motorcycle theory tests with a voiceover in 1 of 19 foreign languages
  • use interpreters on theory tests and practical tests

Hazard warning lights

john freeman - Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rule 116

Hazard warning lights. These may be used when your vehicle is stationary, to warn that it is temporarily obstructing traffic. Never use them as an excuse for dangerous or illegal parking. You MUST NOT use hazard warning lights while driving or being towed unless you are on a motorway or unrestricted dual carriageway and you need to warn drivers behind you of a hazard or obstruction ahead. Only use them for long enough to ensure that your warning has been observed.

Law RVLR reg 27

Change to motorcycle test vehicle rules: update

john freeman - Friday, March 21, 2014

Change to motorcycle test vehicle rules: update

The change to rules for motorcycles that can be used for tests will be introduced on 10 April 2014.

We’re sorry you’ve had to wait for these changes and appreciate your patience.

From 10 April, we will introduce the following changes to allow more flexibility:

  • reduce the minimum engine power requirement for medium motorcycles (category A2) from 25kW to 20kW
  • let drivers of cars to also drive large trikes above 15KW power if aged 21 or over

There will be more changes from 31 December 2018, where we will:

  • raise the minimum engine power requirement for large motorcycles (category A) from 40kW to 50kW
  • introduce a minimum mass weight requirement for large motorcycles (category A) of 180kg

More information

Read more about the changes

Changes for lorry and bus drivers: update

john freeman - Friday, March 21, 2014

Changes for lorry and bus drivers: update

Changes introduced to driving test and licence requirements affecting lorry, bus and coach drivers will come into effect on 10 April 2014.

We’re sorry you’ve had to wait for these changes and appreciate your patience.

From 10 April, the changes will:

  • remove the need for 8-forward gear ratios for large test vehicles (category C, C+E)
  • let people who take a lorry or bus test (category C, C+E and D, D+E) in an automatic vehicle to get a manual entitlement for those vehicles, if they already have a manual entitlement for cars, lorries or buses, with or without trailers (category B, B+E, C, C+E, C1, C1+E, D, D+E, D1+E)

More information

Read more about the changes

Standards check: new grading structure

john freeman - Thursday, March 13, 2014

DSA logo

Standards check: new grading structure to be simpler and clearer

From 7 April 2014, DVSA will replace the current ‘check test’ with a new ‘standards check’.

To support this, there will be a new simpler and clearer grading structure.

You’ll be given one of the following grades after your standards check:

  • A grade (85% or over) - an overall high standard of instruction
  • B grade (60% or over) - a sufficient level of competence
  • Fail (less than 60%) - an unsatisfactory performance

This structure also makes it easier for learners and their parents to understand. They’ll then be able to make a more informed decision when choosing an instructor.

DVSA wants to keep working with the industry to help the top grade instructors promote the higher level of competence that they’ve worked hard to achieve.


Warning over 'flash-for-cash' car accident insurance scam

john freeman - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

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Motorists are being warned about a new insurance scam where criminals flash their lights to let other drivers out of a junction, then crash into them on purpose.

Anti-fraud experts are calling it "flash-for-cash".

The gangs tend to target new, smarter vehicles or vulnerable road users, including older people and women with children in the car.

The scam is costing insurers hundreds of millions of pounds every year.

It is a new tactic for an already well established crime, called "crash for cash", where criminals slam on the brakes for no reason so that the victim drives into the back of their car.

Police investigators said the criminals will often remove the bulbs in their brake lights so other road users don't know they're stopping.

However, "flash-for-cash" is more crafty, because it is harder to prove in court, often coming down to the innocent driver's word against the criminal's that they flashed their lights to let them out.

Fake claims

Each "accident" can net the gangs tens of thousands of pounds in a variety of ways.

Firstly, they put in false personal injury claims for whiplash, sometimes including claims for people who were not even in the car. Added to that, they might charge the insurance company for loss of earnings, then they put in fake bills for vehicle storage, recovery, repairs, and replacement car hire.

Detective Inspector Dave Hindmarsh from the Metropolitan Police is an expert at catching them out. He says this kind of crime costs the industry a fortune and, as ever, it's the honest, insurance-paying motorist who is footing the bill,

"The problem is a growing problem. Financially it costs insurers £392m a year - that impacts on motorists as it's an extra £50 to £100 on every person's premium so that's a financial cost.

"[There are] emotional costs [as] if you're involved in a crash you could well lose your confidence, and if your passengers are children they may well become wary of being passengers in cars, and of course you may get injured or killed."

This latest "flash-for-cash" warning has come from Asset Protection Unit (APU), a company which helps the police and the insurance industry investigate fraud. Neil Thomas at APU says the criminals pick on people who are not going to put up a fight,

"Perhaps single females in the car with children in the back, perhaps doing the school run. Where they know there's going to be no resistance, no real argument at the scene. The children are going to be upset".

Good intentions

Generally speaking, drivers are not meant to flash their lights to let people out onto busy roads. It is meant to be used as a warning.

The Highway Code says: "Flashing headlights. Only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there. Do not flash your headlights to convey any other message or intimidate other road users. Never assume that flashing headlights is a signal inviting you to proceed. Use your own judgement and proceed carefully."

However, the reality is that most people do use it as a friendly gesture, and law-abiding motorists feel it's a shame that something that is meant to be so positive, a rare show of good manners on the road, is now being abused by criminals.

The police and fraud experts believe that by raising awareness, and making people more wary, there is a good chance many drivers won't take the bait when the criminals lay a trap


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