“Well done to the 2 ADIs who put across the frustrations we are all feeling at the moment clearly and calmly on the BBC Breakfast programme this morning. We await clear messages for the industry from the DVSA regarding driving lessons. Messages that are desperately needed at this time.” Lynne Barrie ADINJC Chair

An article from Graham Feest, our Road Safety Advisor –

A word of caution:

There are a great number of driver trainers working on the expectation that on 4th July they will be able to start providing driving lessons which is based on the fact that if everything goes as we wish this will be the date when a number of other industries will be able to start up in a controlled manner.  However those people in industries where close proximity working is essential are not actually mentioned specifically in the road map and so I would treat this date at this stage with an added word of caution until we know a lot more and I would anticipate that Government are having considerable difficulties in providing a safe answer to our working practice safety and that of any pupils. This does mean that we need to be patient. There has been a great deal of communication with various Government bodies about our circumstances and we will not be alone.

I am however concerned about the idea which is going around about trainers putting up a “make shift screen” between the front seats.  I had this matter discussed at the National Road Safety Committee this last week, a committee which I chair, and the idea was not supported. Furthermore our representative from the MIB was clear that it was something which they would not support although I have to admit there does seem to be a difference of opinion currently around the insurance industry. You also have to remember that any such a modification would need to be reported to the insurance company and whilst they may give the go ahead from their point of view ensuring it is fixed properly and its safety would become your responsibility. We must also remember that such an attachment could well contravene the Construction and Use Regulations.

There are concerns however about how such a barrier can be fixed securely so that it does not move or collapse at any time falling across the driver and/or the instructor and in the event of the car braking harshly or a rear end shunt which is not untypical for driver trainers to experience it does not contribute to injury. In addition such a screen could affect and distort the view of the pupil when looking to the left of what they are actually seeing. It will also add yet another item within the car which will need sanitising between pupils.

We then have the added issue as to whether such a screen would enable you to perform your role effectively as in the early stages of a pupil learning to drive having to grab the steering wheel to steer someone back on course is not an infrequent act which you have to perform and it would seem to me that a screen would severely delay your ability to respond if required.
I would hate to think that if there was a very serious crash in which your pupil was killed and it was determined that you had placed an obstacle in the way that prevented an action which could have avoided such an outcome whether you could be prosecuted for Manslaughter?

Finally, I get why people think that it is a bit of added protection but the potential dangers are in my opinion far greater and everything about it from a Risk Assessment and Management point of view says NO.

Graham Feest
ADINJC Road Safety Advisor

If you need more advice please contact the ADINJC