Fatal crash lorry driver was browsing dating sites

A lorry driver was browsing sex websites on his mobile phone when he ploughed into a stationary car, killing a young teaching assistant .

Ian Glover was flicking through profiles of women on an explicit dating website when he hit a Vauxhall on the A5 between Telford and Shrewsbury. The car flew over the safety barrier and killed Laura Jane Thomas, aged 20. Her fiancé Lewis Anthony Pagett was also seriously injured.

Glover, 44, was sentenced to five years in prison at Shrewsbury Crown Court. He admitted causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

The court heard that Glover, of Sunbeam Way, Birmingham, had worked as a driver for Sainsbury’s for 10 years. He was driving a 44-tonne Mercedes lorry to Shrewsbury on the A5 at 8.20am on July 21 last year when the accident happened.

Laura, of Hunters Close, Great Haywood, was travelling to Aberystwyth for a day by the sea with Lewis. But the couple’s car had broken down and they had been forced to pull up on a grass verge with the hazard lights on. They got out of the car and stood the other side of the barrier on the A5. Lewis was on the phone to his father when the crashed happened.

Glover told police that he could not remember what had happened before the crash. But tests on three mobile phones found in his lorry revealed that he was looking at the dating sites.

Mr Hugh O’Brien Quinn, prosecuting, said: “Mr Glover said that the only distraction in his car was the radio. “But two of the three phones found showed one site had been used while moving more than 10 times, including while on the M54 and the A5.

“It was a clear day and the Vauxhall would’ve been visible for a quarter of a mile but the defendant did not see it at all and drove straight into it.”

Glover was travelling at between 50mph and 56 mph.

Mr Paul Rogers, defending, said Mr Glover was “deeply ashamed” that he had viewed the websites while driving.

Judge Robin Onions, sentencing him yesterday, said: “You were on these sites at the point of impact.”

“For many miles you were not paying proper attention.

“This was utterly avoidable.”

More:

Fatal crash lorry driver was watching porn – Shropshire Star

A few tips to help with stopping distances

This is one subject that some people have trouble with when it comes to the DVSA driving theory test. It’s one of those questions you can’t guess, you either know it or you don’t…

With this in mind I though I would write this short post to hopefully give a few suggestions on ways to make stopping distance theory questions much easier to answer.

First of all, take a quick look at the image below

stopping-distances

Trying to remember all that information is pretty tough for most people (even Driving Instructors!) so one option is to remember certain parts of it.

I like to focus on 30, 50 and 70. If you know those 3, and one of the others comes up you can work it out knowing the stopping distance on either side. So you can look at it as at worst, a very informed guess. However you still need to memorise 2 bits of information for 3 different speeds.

Stopping Distance Formula

If you can remember a few basic things, there is a more exact way of working out the stopping and braking distances for the theory test. Yes, there’s a bit of maths involved, but don’t be too concerned, take a look at this:

stopping distance formula

The distances that this formula come up with are the overall stopping distances (including your reaction time) and the only one that doesn’t quite match up with the highway code figures is the one for 40 mph which is listed at 118 feet, compared to the 120 feet provided by the formula. However, in the theory test, as it’s multiple choice and the answers are spread out with a gap of around 10 feet between answer so you should be able to pick the answer closest to your 120 feet.

It’s worthwhile mentioning that although most people prefer to do things in metres, the answers in the theory test give you the distances in metres and feet. However if you want to know the answer in metres for some reason, the divide your answer by 3 and that will give you the rough figure in metres. If you want to be exact, there are 3.2 feet in one metre.

For this to work, all you need to remember is you start with 20 x 2 and add 0.5 to the second number every time you add 10 mph to the speed.

Working Out The Braking Distance

Occasionally the question asks for the braking distance, which is the overall distance minus the thinking distance. Again, keeping the measurement to feet, it’s fairly easy to work this out. Below I’ve laid out the steps for working out the braking distance from 50 mph

1. 50 mph needs to be multiplied by 3.5 (3 lots of 0.5 more than 2). This gives you 175 feet

2. To get the braking distance in feet, simply subtract the speed from the overall stopping distance. 175 – 50 = 125 feet. This is enough to be able to answer the question.

3. If you need a rough figure in metres, 125 feet divided by 3 results in 41 metres (although the exact figure is 38.1 metres, and 38 metres is the distance listed in the highway code).

I hope this has helped, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me at www.rpldriving.com

Rob Laird

Driving Licence Categories

When I first started as a Driving Instructor, I never realised there were so many different categories of vehicles. I’ve decided to list them all here for easy reference not only for myself, but for anyone else who would like to find out what the letters and number mean. You can also view the list on the gov.uk website.

If you’re looking to find out what the information codes mean, then take a look here.

Mopeds

Category AM

You can drive 2-wheeled vehicles with a maximum design speed of over 25km/h (15.5mph) but not more than 45km/h (28mph).

This category also includes light quad bikes with:

  • unladen mass of not more than 350kg (not including batteries if it’s an electric vehicle)
  • maximum design speed of over 25km/h (15.5mph) but not more than 45km/h (28mph)

Category P

You can drive 2-wheeled vehicles with a maximum design speed of over 45km/h (28mph) but not more than 50km/h (31mph).

Its engine size must not be more than 50cc if powered by an internal combustion engine.

Category Q

You can drive 2-wheeled vehicles with:

  • an engine size not more than 50cc if powered by an internal combustion engine
  • a maximum design speed of no more than 25km/h (15.5mph)

Motorcycles

Category A1

You can drive light motorbikes with:

  • an engine size up to 125cc
  • a power output of up to 11kW
  • a power to weight ratio not more than 0.1kW/kg

This category also includes motor tricycles with power output up to 15kW.

Category A2

You can drive motorbikes with a:

  • power output up to 35kW
  • power to weight ratio not more than 0.2kW/kg

The motorbike must also not be derived from a vehicle of more than double its power.

Category A

You can drive:

  • motorbikes with a power output more than 35kW or a power to weight ratio more than 0.2kW/kg
  • motor tricycles with a power output more than 15kW

Light vehicles and quad bikes

Category B1

You can drive motor vehicles with 4 wheels up to 400kg unladen or 550kg if they’re designed for carrying goods.

Cars

Category B

You can drive vehicles up to 3,500kg Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) with up to 8 passenger seats (with a trailer up to 750kg).

You can also tow heavier trailers if the total weight of vehicle and trailer isn’t more than 3,500kg.

You can drive motor tricycles with a power output higher than 15kW if you are over 21 years old.

Physically disabled drivers with provisional category B entitlement will also have provisional entitlement to ride category A1 or A motor tricycles.

Able-bodied drivers can no longer ride motor tricycles with a provisional category B licence.

Category B auto

You can drive a category B vehicle – but only an automatic one.

Category B+E

You can drive a category B vehicle with a trailer when they have a combined weight over 3,500kg.

Medium-sized vehicles

Category C1

You can drive vehicles weighing between 3,500 and 7,500kg (with a trailer up to 750kg).

Category C1+E

You can drive C1 category vehicles with a trailer over 750kg, but the trailer – when fully loaded – can’t weigh more than the vehicle.

The combined weight of both can’t exceed 12,000kg.

Large vehicles

Category C

You can drive vehicles over 3,500kg (with a trailer up to 750kg).

Category C+E

You can drive category C vehicles with a trailer over 750kg.

Minibuses

Category D1

You can drive vehicles with:

  • no more than 16 passenger seats
  • a maximum length of 8 metres
  • a trailer up to 750kg

Category D1+E

You can drive D1 category vehicles with a trailer over 750kg, but the trailer – when fully loaded – can’t weigh more than the vehicle.

The combined weight of both can’t exceed 12,000kg.

Buses

Category D

You can drive any bus with more than 8 passenger seats (with a trailer up to 750kg).

Category D+E

You can drive D category vehicles with a trailer over 750kg.

Other categories

Category Vehicle you can drive
F Agricultural tractor
G Road roller
H Tracked vehicles
K Mowing machine or pedestrian-controlled vehicle
L Electrically-propelled vehicle
M Trolley vehicles
N Exempt from duty

You don’t need a driving licence for electric bikes, mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs.

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The secret to epic car journeys!

 The traditional summer holiday is an institution here in the UK. June through to August is a time when many of us will pack up our bags, put the family in the car and drive miles out of the city. Passed your driving test this year? Perhaps you will be making a trip to Somerset or maybe the Lake District? Here we will not only find fresh air but some of the most stunning views imaginable. But with this great get away will naturally come long car journeys. Hours spent in the car is not everyone’s idea of a good time.

There are ways to make those long summer journeys in the car better! Vauxhall commissioned a survey with the title ‘Are we nearly there yet?’

The idea behind it was to find out more about how we spend our time as passengers on long haul trips. Unsurprisingly, the study revealed that 93% of 5-18 year old passengers were occupying themselves with a phone or tablet during long car journeys. Social networking would naturally be top of the list for most of us! A chance to share our long boring trips with buddies.

But for those of us who are a little on the ‘Mature’ side, what about in-car games such as i-spy, car snooker and waving at other drivers? Surely these old favourites are not completely unpopular with the advent of tablets and smart phones? Well luckily for us, the traditional car games are just as popular as ever, with passengers of all ages finding them ‘quirky’ and ‘fun’ above all else. Over 87% of parents are actively encouraging the younger members of the family to play games that do not involve handheld gadgets.

We are so close to the summer holiday exodus, the survey from Vauxhall Motors also uncovered some of the most off-putting niggles that plague those who undertake those longer car journeys. The study found that 52%, that’s just over half the people taking the survey found that siblings fighting in the back of the car was highly annoying. Just under half of drivers at 45% found the constant questioning from passengers of  ‘are we nearly yet?’ infuriating! Next there was the constant demanding of ‘toilet breaks’ at 39%.

About a third worried about dealing with car sickness and over a fifth of people taking part on the survey found other’s constant need for bad music a nightmare. In short surviving a longer car journey with children and elderly relatives can be demanding. But a few simple tools and techniques could make one’s life easier. 

Simple ideas like keeping a stock of CD’s that are to everyone’s taste. If this is not possible, making sure that passengers have their own mp3 players charged up with favourite tracks. Toilet breaks will be inevitable on the longer journey’s, driving experts will always recommend taking regular breaks on the long trips anyway- something beneficial for drivers as well as passengers. The survey also found that snacks were a great way to keep everyone happy in the car.

Continue reading:

The secret to epic car journeys!

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5 Tips For Passing Your Driving Test in London

Those living in London will tell you how much of a beautiful, entertaining and exuberant atmosphere the city provides. From magnificent landmarks like the London Eye and Buckingham Palace, to other attractions like the British Museum, London is indeed the nation’s pride. However, despite all of its greatness London has a downside that many residents experience during one pivotal period in their life: Driving!

Due to its busy nature, London has never been the most favourable of locations to learn and go on to pass your driving test. As of 2013, many of the test centres in London had an average pass rate of an estimated 40%. The multi lane roads, complex junctions and busy traffic conditions are simply a short list of the complexities that aspiring drivers will have to endure. Despite all these negative aspects, many people have still managed to defeat the odds and pass with flying colours. But what are the secrets? Here are some tips that can help you conquer the roads on your big day.

Get a reputable Instructor

It is obvious that the first thing you do when planning to learn how to drive is book a driving instructor. In areas like London where passing is difficult, it is inevitable you will require more lessons than average, thereby raising costs. Do your homework before choosing among the best teachers to save you costs. Maybe choose a local instructor to reduce the complexity of things. If you needed extra lessons, you or your instructor would not need to go out of your way for a meeting.

Practice makes perfect

As mentioned earlier, there is a greater chance that you will need more lessons than the average person will if you are to complete your test in London. It is wise to get free extra practice in your spare time. Many people tend to ask their friends and family to take them out on small drives for extra practice. Practice makes perfect, even if it is just learning how to balance the clutch in a quiet car park. If you are fortunate enough to have someone willing to give you extra practice, 2pass.co.uk have compiled a list of hints and tips for friends and family helping someone learn to drive.

Do your homework

While driving instructors and other experienced drivers surrounding you might be readily available to help you make the driving test a less daunting experience, it is important that you also contribute towards achieving this goal. Study the Highway Code not just to pass your theory test, but also to get a better understanding of what is actually taking place on the roads. Remember if in doubt about anything, ask! You will notice that as you grasp the Highway Code concepts, everything will start falling into place and driving will seem easier.

Study The Routes

There are over 20 driving test routes across London and your instructor will surely be familiar with the local routes that you will potentially use on your driving test. Some of these routes are renowned for their intricacy. Over the past few years, driving test statistics have been released and they have shown that the Wanstead route is the toughest route in the whole of Britain. Do not let statistics instil fear into you. Familiarise yourself with the routes to avoid a heartbreaking experience on your big day.

Keep Calm!

It is inevitable that nerves and tension will build up as the day of the driving test looms. The first step towards overcoming nerves is understanding that this is not just you, almost everyone is nervous before their driving test. Also, once you have booked your driving test, keep it to yourself. Telling everyone is a major cause of pressure among learners. Make sure you have a long sleep the night before your test and relax, treating the day like any other day. There are other alternatives like driving test hypnosis that can help you control your nerves before your test.

Your driving test is surely an uncomfortable ordeal to endure especially if you have to do it in a difficult place like London. Set aside many practice hours for experience and follow the other suggested tips and it will not be long before you throw away those L-plates after breezing through your test as if you have been driving for years!

Continued here:

5 Tips For Passing Your Driving Test in London | drugdrive.co.uk

Search is on for Britain’s most talented young driver

Now I like the sound of this. I know some people think it’s a young age to drive a car, but I have taught several people who attended similar young driver courses from the age of 15 and in my opinion they generally made better drivers. Isn’t it about time more was done to get some form of driver education in schools?

The 2014 Young Driver Challenge is open to those aged between 11 and 16 years and is being run by Young Driver, the UK’s largest provider of under-17 driving tuition.

The first official entrant for the challenge was Reece Buttery, the 12-year old TV star of the Christmas hit Gangsta Granny and CBBC’s The Dumping Ground, who set the standard high for the 11-13 age group.

The challenge, which is open for entries until the end of July, judges the ability of entrants based on a series of driving skills and manoeuvres, including parallel parking, figures of eight, a turn in the road, steering, judgement and positioning. Entrants will also have to complete the Goodyear Driving Academy, an interactive online driving simulator which puts youngsters’ knowledge of the Highway Code to the test.

Forty top-scoring finalists from across the country, spanning two age categories (11-13 years and 14-16 years) will then compete at a final to be held at the Prodrive circuit in the Midlands in September. The winners will receive a selection of prizes including 40 pre- and post-17 driving lessons provided by Goodyear, a Young Driver at School session for them and their classmates, and £500 off a car insurance premium courtesy of Young Driver sponsor Admiral.

Kim Stanton from Young Driver said: “Young Driver was set up with the intention of reducing the shockingly high number of accidents which occur shortly after youngsters pass their driving test. We believe it is important that youngsters learn to drive over a longer period of time and at a younger age, when they’re more receptive to safety messages.

“We have given 125,000 lessons to under-17s since our launch in 2009, and we have seen so many outstanding young drivers in that time. Most of the youngsters who take part in our lessons give 100 per cent to perfecting the skills they are shown and treat the cars with the utmost respect. We wanted to recognise the hard work our young drivers put in, and show the world how responsible young people can be when given the appropriate training.

“For the 2014 Young Driver Challenge, we have teamed up with our sponsors to create a programme which incorporates both practical experience through Young Driver and education on the Highway Code through the Goodyear Driving Academy. The prize package reflects this with a fantastic package of pre and post-17 lessons, as well as offering youngsters and their family a sizeable discount on their Admiral car insurance.”

Reece Buttery said: “I have had a few Young Driver lessons now, and they’re great fun, but I’m also very aware that I’m learning some hugely important skills. I’d urge anyone aged 11 to 16 to give it a go, it’s a brilliant experience.

“You get to do everything you would in a driving lesson at 17, in a dual-controlled car, but you’re on a specially constructed road course on private property rather than the real roads. I’m definitely keeping my fingers crossed that my challenge entry might make it into the top 20 for my age category!”

Original article -

Search is on for Britain’s most talented young driver

Driving instructor fined over cereal offence (From Oxford Mail)

Now I’m sure most people have had something to eat while driving, but I can safely say I’ve never eaten anything that involves cutlery…

Driving instructor fined over cereal offence

A driving instructor was caught by the police eating a bowl of muesli behind the wheel.

Officers from the Thames Valley Roads Policing team stopped the man between 8.30am and 9am in Garsington Road, Cowley, yesterday.

Police spokeswoman Hannah Williams said the driver was issued with a £100 fixed penalty notice and given three points on his licence.

Source:

Driving instructor fined over cereal offence (From Oxford Mail)

The UK’s new "zero tolerance" drug driving laws – what do they mean?

The UK has put in place some of the strictest drug driving laws on the planet in an effort to get drug-impaired drivers off the roads. Breath screening and blood tests will be used to detect eight illicit drugs at “zero tolerance” levels, and eight further prescription drugs at levels that would begin to impair driving. Naturally, since the British government can’t be seen to encourage recreational drug use, these limits haven’t been put into a practical context. So we contacted several drug testing experts and a forensic pharmacologist to try to work out what they mean. And as it turns out, some drugs will make you illegal to drive long after their physical effects have worn off.

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Driving limits for 16 different drugs have been approved in the UK and a testing process is now under development. The new limits tighten up and work in tandem with the existing system, in which police need to prove a driver is impaired through a roadside co-ordination test, and then prove that impairment was due to drug use.

How drivers will be tested

Drug screening will be done initially using Drugalyser oral swab tests, which test for chemical compounds in the saliva – and it appears that a positive saliva sample could lead to a blood sample test, taken at a hospital: “The police will use the new offence to prosecute drivers whose evidential blood samples contain more than the specified limits of those drugs provided for in regulations.”

 

UK drug driving penalties

Penalties will be stiff – up to six months in prison, up to £5,000 in fines and a license disqualification for at least 12 months. They’re designed to be in line with drink driving penalties, and not to punish people for having illegal drugs in their system, which is not illegal in itself.

So, what do these limits mean for the average British drug user? The main takeaway as far as illegal drugs go is that the limits are extremely low – well below the point at which your driving would be impaired – and it’s possible to swab positive for several days after a high has worn off.

The UK government makes no apologies for this, calling it a “zero tolerance” approach rather than a “road safety” approach. The illicit drug limits have been set at the lowest possible level that rules out accidental exposure. For example, passive inhalation of marijuana smoke at a party.

How long before you’re safe to drive?

So if you take drugs, how long before you’re safe to take a Drugalyser test? There’s no official advice on this. In fact, one forensic toxicologist told us “it would be irresponsible” to try to estimate when it would be safe to drive and that his best advice was “if you intend to drive, don’t do any drugs.”

The fact is, people take drugs, legal and illegal ones, in every part of the world. As somebody who recently lost a very close friend to a driver who tested positive for methamphetamine, I support any means to deter drug impaired driving. But as a realist, I think it’s important to give recreational drug users the information they need to act responsibly.

So let’s look at each illicit drug individually. But before we start, it’s important to understand that each of these figures can be affected by the size of the dose, the body mass and physical composition of the user, the user’s past usage habits, the effects of mixing drugs including alcohol, and a range of other factors that may increase or decrease detection times.

 

Illicit drugs

“Zero tolerance” limits

Benzoylecgonine, 50 µg/L, Cocaine, 10 µg/L

These are grouped together because benzoylecgonine is a cocaine metabolite that stays in the system slightly longer than the cocaine itself. Cocaine and its metabolite can be detected in saliva for between 2-5 days after use.

Delta–9–Tetrahydrocannabinol (Cannabis and Cannabinol), 2 µg/L

A 2-microgram limit for THC is extremely low. Marijuana use can be detected in the saliva for up to 24 hours after exposure. But it’s worth noting that it lasts much, much longer in the urine and blood. Habitual heavy users can test positive after as much as a month without the drug, as it is stored in body fat and re-released into the bloodstream when the fat is burned.

The roadside Drugalyser test will most likely only detect THC use within the last 24 hours, but any subsequent blood or urine testing may show results from 2 days to 28 days later in chronic heavy users.

Ketamine, 20 µg/L

It’s difficult to find information on how long Ketamine lasts in the system. It’s detectable in urine for up to 2 weeks, but seems to last only around 3 days in the saliva.

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), 1 µg/L

LSD can be detected in saliva for 1-2 days after use.

Methylamphetamine – 10 µg/L

Methamphetamine can be detected in the saliva for 1-3 days after use. It’s noted in public consultation that certain types of amphetamines are used in the medical treatment of ADHD and other conditions. It’s unclear at this stage what provisions will be made for legal amphetamine users.

Methylenedioxymethaphetamine (MDMA – Ecstasy), 10 µg/L

MDMA may be detectable in the saliva for as much as 1-5 days after use.

6-Monoacetylmorphine (6-MAM – Heroin and Morphine), 5 µg/L

Heroin and morphine can be detected in the saliva for as much as 1-2 days after use.

Generally prescription drugs

“Road safety” limits

Clonazepam, 50 µg/L
Diazepam, 550 µg/L
Flunitrazepam, 300 µg/L
Lorazepam, 100 µg/L
Methadone, 500 µg/L
Morphine, 80 µg/L
Oxazepam, 300 µg/L
Temazepam, 1000 µg/L

With the illicit drugs, it’s easier to provide estimates on safe windows of usage, because the tests are looking for concentrations barely above trace levels. Unfortunately it’s much harder to provide an estimate of how much Valium or Temazepam will put you over the limit, because body physiology varies so greatly. We can only recommend users of these drugs consult with their doctors about what might constitute safe usage. And if you’re feeling any kind of effect from one of these drugs, stay off the road.

“These are very, very low limits,” said Geoff Munro, National Policy Manager for the Australian Drug Foundation. “Take cocaine for example – 10 micrograms is absolutely tiny. Clearly some sort of educational campaign is essential. And there’s a wider social consequence to talk about when you consider the limits for prescription drugs. Some people are probably going to have to give up driving, or stop taking their medication to stay on the road.”

Perhaps the biggest trouble with any educational campaign will be that physiology differs so much person-to-person that simple rules of thumb will be almost impossible to make. The one drug most people know the most about – alcohol – is still extremely poorly understood by the general public, as our experiments with a personal breathalyser showed several years ago.

The only real way to make sure you’re not running foul of the rules will be to self-test, an approach now endorsed by France, where every car now has to carry a personal breathalyser. But since Drugalyser machines cost over UK£2000, plus around UK£10 per test, and they take around 10-12 minutes, that’s not going to be possible in this case.

The new testing procedures are expected to roll out later this year in England and Wales. Scotland is expected to bring forward its own drug driving legislation.

Thanks to drug testing experts Dr. Peter Lewis and Ashley Gurney. Also Darren Brien, Managing Director of the Drug Testing Institute and Geoff Monro, National Policy Manager of the Australian Drug Foundation.

Read the article:

The UK’s new “zero tolerance” drug driving laws – what do they mean?