Eco Driving

In this day and age any way of saving money is always a sought after and valued commodity. Often, small changes can combine to make a large difference over time. Imagine how much could be saved if you are able to make small savings over many items. Your fleet of vehicles can offer you a range of money saving options.
Eco Driving is a relatively new concept dealing with improved road safety and fuel efficiency. There are several quite simple driving techniques that can all help to make significant savings.


  • Safer Driving
  • Advanced driving skills
  • Lower vehicle maintenance
  • Increased fuel efficiency
  • Fewer accidents

5 Top Tips

1. Smooth driving.

Smooth, gentle acceleration and braking uses less fuel. By reading the road ahead and anticipating the traffic flow you can keep the car moving and improve fuel economy. Acceleration uses more fuel and braking wastes the fuel used in acceleration, a constant speed will therefore use less fuel.
Change gear early when you can, ideally around 2000 revs – High or even medium RPM consumes more fuel.

2. Switch it off!

Anything electrical uses fuel to power it, by turning it off you save. Do you really need the Aircon, heated rear windscreen, headlights, electric seats or blowers on? This includes your car ignition, you don’t need to let it “warm up” and if you are sat stationary in traffic for at least 30 seconds you can save fuel by turning it off.

3. Reduce your speed

The faster you travel the more fuel is used. Travelling at 70mph used 9% more fuel than at 60mph. At 80mph you can be using 25% more fuel than 70mph!
Close your windows at high speed – open windows increase aerodynamic drag.

4. Tyres

See our earlier blog for tips. Click Here

5. Reduce weight

Fuel is used to move your car – the more your car weighs the more fuel is needed to move it. Removing your golf clubs or buggy from the boot as well as roof racks and roof boxes will help. You might even consider only half filling your tank and saving weight there too.
How can Bill Plant help?
Through Road Risk Assessment, driving assessment and further training Bill Plant CDM can show you how to save up to 20% of your company fuel bills, whilst reducing accident costs and making your drivers safer.

ADI Standards check 2014

ADI Standards check 2014

From the 7th of April 2014 the Adi check test has been replaced with the Approved Driving Instructor Standards check.

The new check requires instructors to undergo testing every 4 years, regardless of whether they are teaching at that time, in order to keep their ADI licence.
The old grading of 1 – 6 has now been replaced with:

Grade Score Description
A 43 – 51 Marks You have shown a high standard of instruction and you can say on the register
B 31 – 43 Marks You can stay on the register
Fail 0 – 30 Marks Performance is unsatisfactory


As above, if you score between 0 – 30 marks then you will fail. You then have 2 more attempts to pass. If after 3 attempts you still do not pass then you will be removed from the register and will have to take the ADI tests again.
You will also fail if the examiner has to stop the test due to you putting yourself or anyone else in danger and if you score 7 or less in the ‘risk management’ category.

When to take the test:

The DVLA will send you a letter asking you to take the check. You will have to take at least 1 check test every 4 years.
You can only take the standards check in English or Welsh.

Above information has been taken from the Gov website, you can view more information on the standards check test by follow this link.

Foreign language tests end

Foreign language tests end.

From the 7th April 2014 driving test candidates will no longer be able to have the aid of a foreign language voiceover or interpreter on their driving test.

The transport minister – Stephen Hammond said:

“It is essential that all road users have the right skills to use our roads safely and responsibly. By stopping driving tests in foreign languages we will cut out the risk of fraud, and help to ensure that all drivers can read road signs and fully understand the rules of the road.”

One of the main reasons for the end in foreign language tests is to help reduce driving test fraud. Since 2008 over 1300 theory test passes have been revoked due to fraudulent interpreters. After an investigation it was found that learners were being fed correct answers without the examiners being aware.

The DVSA stated that between 2008 and 2009 more than 20 percent of the tests taken with a foreign language interpreter were fraudulent.

Another reason for the change has been concerns over the lack of understanding of road safety, for example an individual not being able to read road signs or details of the rules of the roads. Likewise, not being able to communicate with road enforcement officers.

The review from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) consulted almost 2000 people and more than 70% agreed with ending the tests.

In the past 19 different languages were available to take your test in. This has now been reduced to English and Welsh.

Candidates with special needs such as dyslexia or hearing difficulties will still be able to receive help.

Drug Driving Limits announced.

Drug Driving Limits announced

New regulations for Drug driving will come into effect this autumn. Regulations have been set for 16 drugs – 8 illicit and 8 prescription drugs – in order to deter people from taking drugs and driving.

Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill said:
“The results of the consultation is sending the strongest possible message that you cannot take illegal drugs and drive. This new offence will make our roads safer for everyone by making it easier for the police to tackle those who drive after taking illegal drugs. It will also clarify the limits for those who take medication…
…The next step is to take these limits to Parliament to see the offence come into force later this year.”

The guidelines are listed below in µg/L (Microgram / litre)

Illicit drugs

1. Benzoylecgonine, 50 µg/L
2. Cocaine, 10 µg/L
3. Delta–9–Tetrahydrocannabinol (Cannabis and Cannabinol), 2 µg/L
4. Ketamine, 20 µg/L
5. Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), 1 µg/L
6. Methylamphetamine – 10 µg/L
7. Methylenedioxymethaphetamine (MDMA – Ecstasy), 10 µg/L
8. 6-Monoacetylmorphine (6-MAM – Heroin and Morphine), 5 µg/L

Generally prescription drugs

1. Clonazepam, 50 µg/L
2. Diazepam, 550 µg/L
3. Flunitrazepam, 300 µg/L
4. Lorazepam, 100 µg/L
5. Methadone, 500 µg/L
6. Morphine, 80 µg/L
7. Oxazepam, 300 µg/L
8. Temazepam, 1000 µg/L

The limit for amphetamine has yet to be decided as the proposed limit needs to be reconsidered, due to patients who take the drug for deficit hyperactivity disorder. These limits will be added to the legislation at a later date.

Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

The introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 has put the focus firmly on business transport. Every company is affected and will have to prove that its policies and procedures protect it from prosecution in the event of a fatal accident.

Under the new Act, an organisation will be guilty of corporate manslaughter if the way in which its activities are managed or organised:

  • causes a person’s death; and
  • amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased

On conviction a corporation may receive a range of punishments:
These include

  • An unlimited fine, most likely based on profitability and turnover;
  • A ‘publicity order’ which requires the organisation to publicise the conviction;
  • A ‘remedial order’ which will require the organisation to take specified steps to remedy the breach, and ensure adequate health and safety policies and practices are put in place.

All Companies need to be able to demonstrate working health and safety procedures in line with all existing Health and Safety legislation. Police officers investigating fatal crashes are told to assume the death is an unlawful killing until proved otherwise. Investigations include

  • Driver competency – Is the driver capable and licensed?
  • Fitness and health – Has the company ensured the driver is capable
  • Vehicle suitability – Insured? Taxed? Maintained?

What can you do? How can we help?

  • Driver Risk Assessment (Free from Bill Plant)
  • Driving Assessments
  • Driver Training
  • Check Driving License
  • Record Crash data
  • Issue a driver handbook

Research has found that the accident liability of fleet trained drivers reduces considerably compared to drivers who have not received any driver training. Additional benefits include reduced fuel consumption, and vehicle wear and tear.

 Time to act now

 Driving at work is a high risk activity. When things go wrong the costs can be substantial in both time and money. Ignoring Occupational Road Risk (ORR) is not a sound business decision.

 Our team of Advisors can help your company select and tailor an Occupational Road Risk programme which suits your company needs.

 With a nationwide network of fully trained and qualified tutors, trainers and advisors, Bill Plant CDM Ltd can provide tailored Driver Assessments, Training, Occupational Road Risk Management and Consultancy services anywhere UK.

Click here to find out more.

Driving speed limit increase to 80mph.

Driving speed limit increase to 80mph.

Last year the Government put on hold its decision to increase the speed limit on UK motorways from 70mph to 80mph.

Arguments for:

In my personal opinion, I do think that increasing the speed limit is a good idea. This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, how many times have you been on the motorway and someone is driving over 70 mph? I would argue 100% of the time. Realistically the only thing that would change would be less people would get caught speeding.
One of the main arguments against raising the limit is that ‘speed kills’ and increasing the limit would mean faster drivers drive quicker. However a 2-year study from Denmark found that increasing the speeds on the roads – they increased the limit on rural roads from 50mph to 56 mph – actually decreases accidents. One of the main reasons for this was that people were less likely to overtake and therefore were less at risk of an Road traffic colision. It also stated that only the fastest 15 percent of drivers studied increased their speed by only 1 km/h.
When they changed their motorway limits a decade ago from 68mph to 80mph, fatalities decreased.

Driving speed limit increase to 80mph

Another factor to think about is that the current limit of 70mph was introduced in the UK in 1965. Standards of vehicle safety have greatly improved since then as well as electronic message boards above motorways giving information on the road ahead.
Stopping distances in modern cars are much better than when they were recorded for the highway code. For example, the Highway Code states that the stopping distance at 60mph is 55 metres. However, if you take an Audi a6 as an example of a modern day car, the stopping distance is 38 metres.
I think that it should come down to common sense. Many people forget that a set speed limit is a maximum limit, not a target. It’s like anything else when it comes to driving; you drive for the conditions that you are in. Drive with appropriate speed.

Arguments against:

One factor that I know will be an issue is the 10 percent plus 2 mile an hour rule. The Association of Police Officers implemented this rule to allow for a margin of error (eg from faulty speedos or inaccurate speed cameras). However, with this rule in effect, a limit of 80mph means you could drive at 90mph and probably get away with it.Driving speed limit increase to 80mph
Many campaign groups have argued against an increase. They claim that the cost to society would be an extra 1 Billion pounds a year and lead to 25 extra deaths and 100 serious injuries per year, as well as 2.2 million tonnes more of carbon emissions per annum. With electric cars unlikely to fully take off for a few years, carbon emissions are still a massive issue.
It’s also a known fact that driving faster increases fuel consumption, which means you are ultimately going to pay more for fuel. The only people who would benefit in this sense would be the government from fuel duty.

So what are your thoughts?

BMW I3 Review


 One of the things I like most about working here at Bill Plant is the range of different cars we are given to demonstrate. This weekend I had the new BMW i3. This was my first experience driving an electric car and my views on it are still pretty mixed. My first impression was when I saw it being delivered.

Most of the cars we get here are driven to our office, the i3 however came inside a truck because it can’t be driven far enough to make the trip up to Ripon in North Yorkshire.

BMW i3

When coming to drive the car the main difference I noticed it has over a standard petrol or diesel is the fact that it is completely silent. The ignition is a stop start button that only works if the key is in the car. Rather than like how a normal car turns over a couple of times and bursts into life, the i3 just lights up and plays a little jingle. Because there isn’t any noise from the engine I think it needs the jingle to reassure you that the car has started, as even after a few times of driving I was still waiting for it to start when it was already running.

I was very optimistic when coming to drive the I3; I really didn’t know what to expect. The i3 is one of the fastest acceleration cars I’ve ever driven. It does 0-30 in 3.5 seconds and 0-60 in 7 seconds. That’s 1 second faster than a 2013 2.0 TDI Volkswagen Golf. It only has a top speed of 93mph but that’s still 23mph above what we are legally allowed to drive at in this country and if you are looking for a car to do track days you wouldn’t be considering an electric car anyway.

The other big difference with this car is as soon as you remove your foot from the accelerator pedal is slows down rather quick. This is because it uses its residual motion to add extra charge to the battery, which isn’t very noticeable. It might add a few extra miles here and there but it’s not going to really extend the vehicles range. It does encourage you to drive differently though. For example, when approaching a junction if you prepare in advance you can slow almost to a complete stop without having to use the break and give yourself a little bit of extra battery life. I was also worried about the brake light, as you are not actually touching the break when it’s slowing down, but it does apply the light so people behind think you’re breaking.

In my opinion the i3 isn’t a good-looking car in anyway. My first thought when seeing it was that it was a stretched out smart car. Outside you’ll find body panels made from thermo plastics and special paint that is resistant to dings – a true city car perhaps. Same when you get inside, you’ll find the same level of luxury as a 5-series, and the interior space of a 3-series. It had all the features and more that you’d expect from any modern car:; DAB radio, Sat Nav, climate control, and heated seats. However the heated seats and climate control quite drastically dropped the range of the car as soon as you switch them on.

The control system was really nice to use, it also looked very modern on it’s LED screen using 3D blueprints of the car to show you how much battery life is left.

Bill Plant i3 review

It also gave graph reports to show you how economically you are driving. If you’re only getting a 40 mile range it’ll show you where you’re going wrong. It had an Audi style centre console control, which I have always found the best design, nice to reach when driving and simple to use. The overall drive is very comfortable, the fact that’s it’s so quiet probably makes a big difference.

The i3 has a battery range of 100-120 miles according to BMW, I was mainly driving on country roads around 50-60mph and I found the range to be more like 80. The model we were given has a range extender, basically a petrol tank that takes 9 liters of fuel and uses a generator to charge the battery and give you another 80 miles. I managed to use the car as I usually would on a weekend and not use any fuel from the range extender. I did have to charge it a lot though, it charged all night Friday to Saturday, 13 hours. This was from almost empty and charged it up to about three quarters, giving me around 60 miles. I again charged it for 18 hours overnight, which gave me a full battery to make the journey back to Ripon on Monday morning. At approximately £1 to charge up it works out a lot cheaper than the £30 I’d spend in fuel on a normal weekend. Supermarkets and petrol stations are now starting to have charge points where you can charge it up in 30 minutes. Outside of London these charging points are a bit few and far between so it doesn’t really make much difference at the moment.

Before driving this car I thought electric cars were very far from becoming popular, now from having this one I can see how they are going to play a huge part in the future and one day more than likely take over the fueled car. At the moment owning one myself wouldn’t be practical at all, if I wanted to do a journey over 80 miles I’d need to stop and charge it for 30 minutes too often. If I lived in London however, where there are a lot more charging points and free entrance into the congestion area, I might consider it. But starting at a little over £30,000 you’d have to drive it a lot to make it save you money compared to buying a £15,000 diesel. Another worry people will have is how much will it hold it’s value, this is why BMW offer a buy back scheme on the i3 so you know how much you can sell it for 2 or 3 years later. I do now think in a few years time when the range on an electric car is a bit bigger and there are more charging points about, I would definitely consider.

New Style Photocard licence

New Style Photocard licence

Starting from February 2014, the DVLA introduced a new style photo card driving licence. Don’t worry, you will not need to update your licence until yours is due for renewal or you need to change your details.
Many of the details are still the same including; the card holders full name, address, and date of birth, as well as the types of vehicles they can drive.
The main changes are due to security and fraud reduction.
The new licence features include:

Optical Variable Ink (OVI)

Not heard of this? It’s used on many banknotes. The ink changes from one colour to another depending on the angle / light. In the case of the driving licence, this ink is used on the wheel on the front right hand side of the card. The colours change from green to gold.

Raised Surface:

Both lettering and images contain raised elements on the new card. Lettering includes surnames, category and the date. Images include the EU flag. These can be felt when brushing your finger across the card.

Holographic images:

Two difference images can be seen when the card is tilted. This image is of the card holder and changes to the month and year of the card.

Main Image:

The main image on the licence is now engraved through many layers and is black and white.

The licence will remain the same size, so you will still be able to keep it in your wallet!

The DVLA has advised that anyone who needs to check ID cards ensure they familiarize themselves with the new design.

How to save money when driving.

How to save Money driving.

Having recently watched an episode of the BBC’s ‘Top Gear’ it got me thinking about fuel efficiency. In the episode they had to travel from point A to point B, the catch being that they had to run out of fuel before arriving at their destination. Their destination was Chernobyl. So obviously it was in their best interest to make their cars very fuel inefficient. This was achieved in some very humorous ways, from Richard Hammond’s rapid acceleration and harsh braking to Jeremy Clarkson’s attempts to increase drag resistance by driving with his car door open.
Although the presenters went to driving extremes to lower their miles to the gallon, it did shine a light on the behavior of some drivers. I’m pretty sure everyone has accelerated a bit too fast at some point in their driving history, left the roof rack on when it wasn’t needed or didn’t keep their tyres at optimal pressures, and for some they have no concept of fuel efficient driving whatsoever.
So I have pulled together a few tips to help you out. Not only could you save money but you could be helping the environment as well!

Tyre pressures:

It is advisable to check your tyre pressures often; I would suggest every 2 weeks. Under-inflated tyres can increase fuel consumption. This is because they have more contact with the road, therefore increasing friction and the amount of energy required by the engine. They can also be dangerous.

Checking your tyre tread depth at this time is advisable as well.

Air Filter:

Getting your air filter checked regularly is important. In order for the engine to burn the fuel efficiently it needs to be able to adequately breathe. If not burnt properly it will just exit through the exhaust, thus wasting fuel.

Engine Oil:

It is important to keep the engine lubricated for optimal performance. This means using the correct grade oil for your vehicle. Your car manufacturer’s handbook will inform you which the best to use is.

Driving smoothly and reading the road ahead:

There have been many occasions when I have been the passenger in a car and I’ve heard the driver complaining about how much fuel costs (yes maybe they want some money off me for some petrol!). Arguably harsh accelerating and heavy braking are the biggest wasters of fuel. Just by reading the road ahead you can save your fuel. If you can see a red light in front of you start to slow down, don’t maintain your speed and slam your brakes on when you arrive at the lights. Many times it will have turned to green before you get there so there is no need to brake to a stop.

Revving the engine:

You know the typical scene; loads of youngsters in a car park revving the car engine. In my opinion they look stupid and apart from that, they’re wasting fuel. There’s no need to rev the engine whilst the car is stationary, so cut it out and save fuel – as well as your dignity!

Air Con:

Unfortunately the Air Conditioning helps to save your fuel – if turned off! This tip is ultimately only really going to help in milder weather when you don’t feel the need to have it turned on but, let’s face it, we live in Britain; it’s mild most of the time.


So, open a window? Unfortunately, like the above point, trying to keep cool in your vehicle by opening windows increases the drag, especially so at high speeds and therefore lowers fuel efficiency. I’m not saying you should suffer in your car but if you don’t need the windows open, try to keep them shut.
In higher speed situations the air con is a better option than an open window – we may have a rare hot day.
Likewise having an un-used roof rack will increase drag.


Next time you’re stuck behind a slow moving vehicle, try to look on the bright side. You’re probably saving fuel. Driving at 75mph will increase fuel usage by around 10% over driving at 60mph. My advice would be, if possible, to set off earlier and drive a little slower.

Leave your car at home:

This sounds like a no brainer but I have observed many instances where a friend of mine has driven to the local shop. The shop literally being 300 metres away. If you can reach it on foot, walk!

Excess weight:

I am definitely not going to advocate leaving one of your kids at home if you’re going on a family trip, but if you remove unneeded weight from your vehicle you can save a lot of fuel. Do you really need all of the extra junk in the boot?

Plan your journey:

Not only can you pick a quicker and more optimum route, you can also avoid getting lost and wasting fuel by driving around aimlessly. Planning journeys during quieter times will also reducing the amount of time sitting in stationary traffic.

So, try some of these out and let us know how you get on. Hopefully you can save yourself some money and help the environment. If you have any more suggestions, leave them in the comments and please remember when doing any of these tips to drive safely.

Below is a graph of fuel prices for the first week of January, for the last 10 years. Information obtained from the Department of Energy & Climate Change

Date Petrol Per Litre Diesel Per Litre Duty Per Litre Vat %
05/01/2004 75.88 77.54 47.10 17.50
03/01/2005 81.17 85.12 47.10 17.50
02/01/2006 88.03 92.27 47.10 17.50
01/01/2007 87.85 93.40 48.35 17.50
07/01/2008 103.37 108.29 50.35 17.50
05/01/2009 85.42 97.57 52.35 15.00
04/01/2010 109.34 111.08 56.19 17.50
03/01/2011 124.85 129.11 58.95 17.50
02/01/2012 132.40 140.84 57.95 20.00
07/01/2013 131.86 139.75 57.95 20.00
06/01/2014 130.26 138.11 57.95 20.00

Increasing the Licence Renewal to 80

Alex Pallister

Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

Increasing the Licence Renewal to 80

In the news this week it has been reported that the government maybe planning on increasing the licence renewing age from 70 to 80. By the looks of it, this is due mainly to cost cutting more than anything else. The DVLA seems to be under pressure to reduce it’s cost by £420 million and with 4 million drivers (as reported by the wanting to keep their licence who are over the age of 70, this looks to be one of their cost cutting measures.
One of the main factors that pops up time after time when I have been researching this topic, is not so much an older drivers ability but their decreasing health and reaction times. Many elderly people develop health conditions, which greatly impact on their driving ability. These include vision and hearing changes, joint pains and side effects of medications. So I hear you say, well – they need to inform the DVLA of any health changes affecting their driving. Whilst yes, this is true, what happens if someone develops alzheimers and genuinely doesn’t realize that they have an issue? Not everyone has a loved one around to notice a change. This would not only endanger themselves, but it could potentially harm other road users.

This reigns true when you read this quote from Rospa:

Reported statistics indicate that the risk of being involved in an accident increases after the age of 70, and up to that age drivers are no more likely to cause a crash than to be the victim of another road user’s mistake. However, drivers over 70 and especially over 80 years, drivers are more likely to be at fault when they crash.

At present when you reach the age of 70 you have to renew your car licence every 3 years, however in lorries, minibuses or buses when you reach 45 you have to renew it every 5 years and upon reaching the age of 65 you have to renew it every year. So, it begs the question what’s the difference?

Having looked into this topic, many opinions seem to be repeated over and over. The main one being, re-test. My question would be, is this fair? What says you’re going to be a worse driver on your 70th birthday than you were the week before? Many people of this age will have passed decades ago, trust me the driving test is very different now. So would they have to do a full retest? Or a refresher?

Many elderly people see their driving licence as a lifeline and if they gave it up then it’s the beginning of the end.

At the end of the day we can pull statistics for both sides of the argument, ie younger drivers cause more crashes than older ones. I do believe that something needs to be done, however for once in my life I don’t have a strong view point. If I was forced to make an opinion then I would say everyone (not just the elderly) should be forced into an assessment every few years, both for driving and medical fitness. I feel that passing your test at 17, having driven around supervised for 40 minutes isn’t going to guarantee you’re a safe driver for the decades to come. But how would this be implemented, who’s going to pay for this? Would it work?

So the real question is – to self regulate or not to self regulate?
Answers on a postcard!

Nick Freeman – Mr Loophole

Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

Alex Pallister

Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

Nick Freeman aka ‘Mr Loophole’

For those of you who haven’t heard of Nick Freeman aka ‘Mr Loophole’ he’s a top criminal defence lawyer with an amazing talent to get people off convictions through technicalities or incredible explanations. Here are a few of his success stories

Sir Alex Ferguson

Back in 1999 Alex Ferguson was caught driving on the hard shoulder. The case ultimately ended up in court and Freeman successfully argued that Ferguson had a bad case of Diarrhea and had to get to a toilet quickly therefore needing to get to the Manchester United training ground. He also stated that Ferguson, as an elderly gentleman feared for his safety because he was being pursued by a car covered in Manchester City Flags. Finally He argued that he was trying to catch up with the Manchester United’s team coach who had left without him on the way to a premier league fixture.

Jimmy Carr

In 2009 Comedian Jimmy Carr was caught using him Mobile phone whilst driving. At the time the penalty was 3 points and a £60 fine. However after intervention from Freeman Jimmy Carr got off the charge. Freeman argued that as Carr was not using the mobile phone as a 2 way device he was not breaking any laws. He was using the phone as a Dictaphone and this was only a one way device.

Jeremy Clarkson

In 2006 a car on loan to Clarkson from Alfa Romeo was clocked doing 82mph in a 50mph limit. When it came to court in 2007 the Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Michael Atkinson asked to leave the court to make a phone call, upon returning to court he told the judge that “No evidence is to be offered in relation to the case.” And the judge through the case out.
Outside the court, Freeman explained that there were fatal errors in the summons and they had no information on who was driving the car, only that they knew who the car was loaned to. Prosecutors then pursued Alfa Romeo.

David Beckham

In 1999 David Beckham had his licence taken from him due to a 6-month ban for speeding. He was caught doing 76mph in a 50 mph limit.
Upon appeal Freeman argued that Beckham was suffering emotional trauma (do you remember this one?) having been hit with a boot kicked by Alex Ferguson. So therefore could not possibly be aware of his speed. He also argued that Beckham has been pursued by paparazzi on top of trying to get home to look after his newborn son. Freeman and Beckham won the appeal.

This all highlights that Freeman is a great defence lawyer. However is this a worrying trend? Should they be punished for their actions or should they be allowed to ‘go free’ because someone didn’t fill out some paperwork?
The counter argument would be that this shows failings in the system and without high profile cases like this, then failing would still keep happening.

Learning to drive around the world.

Alex Pallister

Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

Learning to drive around the world.

Through our call centre we get a lot of phone calls from worried students and even students from other countries who have native licences enquiring about how difficult the UK Driving test is or if they can drive on their current licence.
In comparison to other countries our test is very different. Some will argue it’s too easy, some too hard. I will let you decide on that, but I thought I would enlighten you with how other countries regulate their driving licences.


This is arguably one of the harder tests from around the world. You must go through numerous tests and it will take a minimum of 2 years to obtain a full licence. Lessons range from skid pan sessions to night time driving. You must then take a 2 part exam before being eligible for your licence.


Egypt however is much, much simpler. In the past it was driving the car forward a few meters and then reversing back, however it has now been made more complicated by the addition of ten questions and having to maneuverer around a few cones or lines.

Saudia Arabia

Whilst some discretion is often used for people from western countries, women in Saudi Arabia are banned from driving. In fact, they may only be allowed to travel in a car if they are accompanied by their father, husband or male relative.


In Japan you learn on fake, purpose-made roads in full-scale replica cities!


Before you can take your exam you must have clocked up at least 3000 km or driving experience with a qualified driver. You are also restricted to a lower speed limit on motorways of 110km per hour.


Until recently you could buy a licence without taking any tests at all.


In Russia all driving tests are taken in Russian, so any foreign nationals need to be fluent in the language to take the test.
You must hold a certificate of mental fitness and you must not have a history of substance abuse.


When you have passed a test in Greece, new drivers must show a red ‘N’ visible in the back window for 6 months.


Like the U.K. they have a points system and if you reach 20 your licence will be suspended. You must also carry your licence on you at all times when driving. In Brazil you are taught to drive defensively because the risk of being car-jacked is so high!

So as you can see, there are many rules for every country and nearly all are different. This is in no way a full representation of rules for each of these countries, but please leave your own experiences in the comments.

If you have a licence from another country and you are not sure if you can use it in the U.K. then please contact the DVLA for full information.

iPad Christmas winner!

Alex Pallister

Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

Christmas iPad Winner
At Bill Plant we always like to give back to our loyal followers and this holiday season was no exception. We ran an iPad competition throughout December on our Bill Plant Driving School Facebook Page for our ‘likers’ as a way of saying thankyou for their support. Due to the amazing response from this competition we have decided to make it a regular occurrence! Not only will we give away an iPad one month but we will also give away a £200 driving lesson voucher the month after.

Here is the lucky winner from our December 2013 iPad competition, courtesy of Bill Plant Ltd. Many congratulations Rose! We hope you’re enjoying :)

Bill Plant Driving School iPad Winner

45 Points on Licence.

Alex Pallister

Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

45 Points on Licence.

Over 7000 people still remain on the roads after accruing more than 12 points on their licence.
The IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) released figures from the DVLA following a freedom of information request. The results were alarming.
The worst offender, a man from Liverpool, accumulated his 45th point in November. All of these points were totted up for exceeding the speed limit on a public road and for failing to disclose the identity of a driver.

So here’s the top ten.

  1. 45 points – Male – Liverpool – 8 Offences – Not declaring the driver of a vehicle and speeding
  2. 36 points – Male – Warrington – 6 offences – Driving without insurance.
  3. 34 Points – Female – Lincoln – 7 Offences – Not declaring the driver of a vehicle and speeding
  4. 31 Points – Female – Hull – 6 Offences – Not declaring the driver of a vehicle and speeding
  5. 30 Points – Male – Westcliff on sea – 10 offences – Speeding
  6. 30 Points – Male – Colchester – 4 offences – Not declaring the driver or a vhechile
  7. 30 points – Male – Brighouse – 5 offences – not delcarind the driver of a vehicle
  8. 30 points – Male – Doncaster – 8 Offences – Not declaring the driver of a vehicle and speeding
  9. 30 Points – Male – Dagenham – 6 Offences – Driving otherwise than in accordance with the licence, Not declaring the driver of a vehicle and speeding
  10. 28 points – Male – London – 4 Offences – Driving without insurance.

Deputy chief executive Julie Townsend of the Road safety Charity Brake said:

‘These irresponsible individuals have shown disregard for the law and the lives of other road users, time after time. Allowing these drivers to stay on our roads puts innocent members of the public in danger and makes a mockery of the system. Drivers who clock up 12 points have had ample warning to stop breaking the law and avoid disqualification.’

So what do you think?

Dryathlon January 2014!

Alex Pallister

Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

Dryathlon January 2014!

As one of the Uk’s Largest driving schools, Bill Plant Ltd and it’s staff members have donated thousands of pounds to Charity over the years.

This January has seen the ever popular return of the Dryathlon, which raises money in aid of Cancer Research. For the first month of the year Dryathletes go sober not only to raise money for the charity but to also raise awareness about cancer, in the hope that one day soon we can put a stop to this devastating disease.


Last year the organization raised 4 million pounds and this year Bill Plant Ltd wants to join in.

General manager Jake Plant has signed up and has so far not touched a drop! Please spare anything you can and help us raise money for Cancer Research Uk. If you wish to donate, please visit Jake’s Just giving page below:

Just Giving

Rodolph ‘Rudy’ Austin!

Alex Pallister

Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

Rodolph ‘Rudy’ Austin!

For those of you who don’t follow football this is Rudy Austin – the Captain of the first team for Leeds United. He passed his driving test first time with Bill Plant instructor Sean Kitching at Knaresborough test centre. Many congratulations to Rudy and Sean!

Audi Q3 handover

Part Worn Tyres Sold Illegally.

Alex Pallister

Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

Part Worn Tyres Sold Illegally.

All of the part-worn tyres bought in an investigation by Bristol trading standards officers failed to meet relevant regulations and were therefore sold illegally.
During the investigation the officers purchased 10 part worn tyres from retailers across the city and all of them failed to meet the required regulations relating to tyre condition. Some of the tyres were found to contain serious safety breaches.
The trading standards investigator for Bristol city council – Dean gray said: ‘People can buy second-hand tyres without any problems but we have seen some horrific cases, including a tyre sold as new, but which was in fact 16 years old and blew up on the motorway the day after. For the safety of consumers, it is essential that the vendor follows legislation and checks for damage and illegal repairs and properly marks the tyre as part-worn. A few simple checks could save someone’s life.’
Amongst the requirements needed for compliance with the regulations are that the tyres must have undergone a thorough inspection, have been pressure tested, have at least 2mm of tread depth and be permanently marked as part-worn tyres.

Hard Shoulder Use.

Alex Pallister

Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

Hard Shoulder Use
A recent survey from the breakdown group ‘SURVIVE has shown that more than one in four drivers has stopped on the hard shoulder in a non-emergency situation.
The survey of more than 20,000 people found that the most common non-emergency excuse for stopping were illness and toilet breaks.
Since the year 2000 an average of 836 people a year have been killed on hard shoulders or lay-bys.
The chairman of SURVIVE Allan Mowatt, said “The hard shoulder can be a highly dangerous place with vehicles thundering past just feet away, but some people don’t fully appreciate the risks involved in stopping on the hard shoulder. By law, the hard shoulder is for genuine emergencies only”.

Information taken from Rospa’s care on the road magazine.

Adi Training

Alex Pallister

Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

Adi Training

The consultation from the DSA (Driving Standards Agency) on “Modernising Driver Training” closed on the 8th August 2013. The three main aims of the proposal were:

1. Replace the 3 tests in which instructors undertake with vocational training.
2. Improve the current tests
3. Replace the trainee licence with a requirement for PDIs (Potential Driving instructors) to be accompanied by ADIs (Approved Driving Instructors) when delivering paid instruction.

This however will not affect Bill Plant Ltd as our Driving School only uses ADI’s unlike some of the Uk’s Driving Schools who use PDI’s.

Information taken from Rospa’s Care on the road magazine August 2013

Passing Pupils!

Alex Pallister

Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

Passing Pupils!

Everyday we post photos to our Facebook page of pupils who have passed their tests with a Bill Plant Driving Instructor. We are receiving such a high volume of photographs that we cant fit them all onto Facebook anymore! Here are just a fraction of the passes we’ve had!
If you are one of these pupils then please leave us a comment and let us know your story or if your the instructor who helped one of these lovely people to pass then please leave a comment as well.

The Q3′s have arrived at Bill Plant!

Alex Pallister

Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

The Q3′s have arrived at Bill Plant!

We are very excited here at Bill Plant HQ, we can now announce that the Audi Q3′s have finally arrived! We are very proud to be enrolling this vehicle onto our fleet alongside the ever popular Audi A3! If you want to learn in either of these cars then give us a call on 0330 555 2254 and our call centre staff can arrange this with you!

Below you can see our very own Jake Plant handing over a brand new Q3 to one of our longest serving Driving Instructors, Peter Brabin from Leeds.

Audi Q3 handover

Bill Plant Give Away an Hyundai i30 – Again!

Bill Plant Give Away an Hyundai i30 – Again!

The Annual Giveaway
The Bill Plant Driving School asked a simple road safety question last year to the tune of ‘what is the speed limit in a street lit area?’
The answer quite clearly is 30mph, and all of the correct answers received through a simple form completion on the Bill Plant Driving School website entered people into the prize draw.

The competition was open for a full year, and was carried on following the success it had in the previous year 2010-2011 with a brand new Hyundai i30 being snapped up by a young girl in Milton Keynes in the May of 2011. The competition for 2011-2012 saw hundreds of thousands of answers submitted, and don’t worry about people speeding through your street-lit town or village as all entries received an email some weeks ago informing them of the correct answer just in case a huge misunderstanding had taken place and people were not correctly informed – but we don’t think anyone didn’t know the answer to this, especially with the amount of free theory information we publish on a frequent basis relating directly to how to drive on the UK roads.
The lucky winner this time around was chosen at random from the complete list of correct answers submitted just like the last time and the time before that.
Our congratulations go out to Winfred Purcell of Birmingham, who sadly couldn’t make the journey up to our head office in Ripon to collect her prize, so instead sent her loving daughter as pictured.

Hyundai i30 May 2012 Winner

The competition is now live again, and your answers have been submitted for the last month, with 11 more months of submissions to go before we draw the lucky correct answer in May 2013, but this time for a brand new Audi!

You can submit your answer by visiting our Driving School website and answering our new question: What does a solid amber traffic light mean?
We’re looking forward to receiving the rest of your answers and cannot wait to draw the next winner this time next year!

To all who have entered and to all those that will, we wish you all the very best of luck!
If you need some theory practice in the meantime, visit our Highway Code page for some helpful hints and tips.


Zero Faults with Bill Plant Driving Instructors

Well we just get excited, the air has a buzz to it and the general atmosphere has life and tingles to it. Smiles appear across all faces and that flicker of pure happiness is clear in every persons eyes as they too hear the news of yet another triumphant achievement felt by so very few…

We are of course talking about that little bit of news that flies back to the Bill Plant Driving School head office every time a pupil who has been taking lessons with a Bill Plant Driving School driving instructor has managed to float seemingly effortlessly through their driving test, and has received that statement, “Congratulations, you have passed”, and what is more, with not even a single minor fault at all!

Congratulations to you!

Passing your driving test in the UK without a single minor fault is something to be awed at. Managing this feat of driving skill whilst all-the-while being scrutinised and judged at each and every turn is a serious achievement worthy of applaud from all.
The UK Driving Standards Agency sets these minor driving faults with a cap of 15 minor driving faults resulting in the failed driving test attempt. Minor driving faults can occur from various driving errors that do not constitute a dangerous or plausibly dangerous driving fault. Accidentally missing a gear or failure to check a mirror during a maneouvre may constitute a minor driving fault depending on the specific circumstances at the time. However failure to check over your shoulder and look toward your blind spot when changing lane for example, may result in an instant fail as this will no doubt be classed as a serious fault as it could potentially cause danger to yourself and/or other road users.
More dangerous mistakes during taking your driving test will be classed as a dangerous fault as they may involves actual danger to you, the examiner, the public, or property.
These will always result in an instant test fail.

So, regardless of which driving school you have chosen to take your driving lessons with, managing to maneouvre your way through your test and making no dangerous faults is certainly something to applaud. Going a step further and making no serious faults either, that albeit do not pose an immediate threat of danger to yourself nor the other road users, is again something to applaud. Getting through this somewhat nerve racking scrutinising experience without accumulating any more than 15 minor driving faults that do not pose a threat of danger whatsoever, is a pass, and is to most people the single most important achievement of their early lives.
Getting through the entire UK driving test without making so much as a single mistake, well, this is altogether something else, and is definitely an achievement worth noting and making public!
Today our congratulations go out to this pupil having pulled off this magnificent feat in Hull, Yorkshire, following instruction from Mick Knowles, a Bill Plant Driving Instructor based in Brough, Yorkshire.

Mick Knowles Zero Faults

Another happy chappy after getting through the driving test without a single minor driver error, with Nigel Smart in Harpenden! Congrtulations!

Nigel Smart Zero Faults

This young gent has flown through his driving test just the other day in York, North Yorkshire with non other than Mark Deighton, and has done so without getting a single minor fault and also on his first ever test! Congrtulations to you!

Mark Deighton Zero Faults

We’re going to be putting fresh pictures here every time we get this great news of pupils passing their driving tests with the Bill Plant Driving School, having done so with no minor faults, why, well we just want to shout it out!


New Instructors Join the Bill Plant Driving School!

Another day and another Bill Plant Driving School car leaves the yard, with another fully qualified Approved Driving Instructor firmly and confidently at the wheel, taking the nationally known & trusted Bill Plant Driving School offers to their area within the United Kingdom.
We simply could not be more optimistic looking onward knowing that a whole new batch of learner drivers will be taking driving instruction from yet another of Bill Plant’s finest.
…there goes another, and there goes another.
With double figures joining the Bill Plant Driving School flanks each week, the likelihood of a Bill Plant driving instructor being close by is constantly increasing with each passing day, and this means that the chances of not being able to get your hands on our wheels, and sink your teeth into our national deals offered everywhere gets less and less with each passing day too.
As a company, the Bill Plant Driving School covers the vast majority of the UK and this leaves hardly any spots that are not covered by our flanks of driving instructors.
Our national deals are warranted to be those of the best value throughout the UK, and offering the highest level of driving instruction from the very highest level of qualified Approved Driving Instructors in the UK today, it really comes as no surprise that more and more driving instructors join us on a weekly basis.
The instructors joining us today have come from far and wide, from areas including but by no means limited to;

16th March 2012
Milton Keynes
Dulwich [London]
Benfleet [Essex]

New Bill Plant Driving Instructors

2nd March 2012
Milton Keynes
Thames Ditton Surrey

New Bill Plant Driving Instructors

24th February 2012

New Bill Plant Driving Instructors

3rd February 2012

27th January 2012

Waltham Abbey
West Drayton
Hemel Hempstead

20th January 2012

Ashton Under Lyne
High Wycombe

13th January 2012

High Wycombe

6th January 2012


Don’t worry if your area isn’t listed above, we cover the vast majority of the UK!
Check your postcode for driving lessons in your area on our website at or call our freephone callcentre on 0330 555 2254.
When you contact us we will give your number to your driving instructor, and they will contact you to arrange a time that best suits you.