Ripon-based driving school Bill Plant appoints York’s Garbutt & Elliott

Ripon-based driving school Bill Plant appoints York’s Garbutt & Elliott

Bill Plant School of Motoring, one of the UK’s largest driving school franchises, has appointed Yorkshire accountants and business advisers, Garbutt & Elliott, to help support its drive for growth.

Bill Plant School of Motoring, based in Ripon, operates a driving school franchise and has more than 700 driving instruction franchisees across the UK.

Jeremy Oliver, partner with Garbutt & Elliott, which has offices in York and Leeds, commented: “This is a prestigious and exciting appointment for us. Bill Plant School of Motoring has undergone significant expansion across the UK during the past five years and has ambitious plans for future growth.

“The company now needs strong financial management and professional advice to facilitate its growth plans, particularly around the area of corporate finance, to enable it to access the funds it needs to continue to expand.

“We were delighted to be appointed to act as their accountants and business advisors. We will be providing a full range of services including preparation of management accounts, information reports and year-end accounts as well as forward projections, taxation services and corporate finance advice.”

Bill Plant, managing director and Founder of Bill Plant School of Motoring, commented: “We recognised that we needed professional support and advice in order to achieve our growth plans. We wanted to work with a team that had experience of helping organisations to grow and expand.

“It was also important that they could demonstrate a high degree of professional integrity and a real commitment to customer service. That’s exactly what we found in Garbutt & Elliott.

“We’re delighted to be working with such a highly-regarded accountancy firm as Garbutt & Elliott and with their help are looking forward realising further success in the future.”

“We are continuing our drive for growth across the UK by offering new franchisees the chance the drive away a new Audi A3 as well as waiving an initial franchise fee.”

Original article from

Apple iPhone’s Driver Lockout

Apple iPhone’s Driver Lockout

Despite a ban 10 years ago on mobile phone use while driving, studies have shown that half of motorists on todays roads still use a phone whilst in control of a vehicle, to make or receive calls.
The road charity Brake and Direct Line have also published the results of a survey they conducted, and found that 3 in 10 drivers also send or read texts and 1 in 8 use apps while driving.
So, if so many people are still using their phones while driving does it mean there is a problem with the law? In my opinion, definitely not. If I witness mobile phone use when someone is behind the wheel of a car, I seem to get an incredible – bring back hangings –kind of rage towards the individuals. I always thought this could be down to the industry I work in and that I was a little more opinionated on the topic than most, but a recent study from KwikFit has found that using a mobile phone is the most hated driving habit. So it looks like I’m not alone.


The US Patent office published information they received back in 2008 from Apple. This patent was for a ‘Driver handheld computing device lock-out’ – You can read the Apple patent here

Apple’s idea was to effectively ‘lock out’ their device when someone was driving, therefore disabling their ability to text, call etc.
The tech would work by the phone detecting whether the user was going past a certain speed and by analysing the surroundings through the camera. It could also detect signals from an ignition key.
All of this sounds very promising but there are a few flaws; for example if a passenger was using your phone while you were driving, then this is entirely legal and safe, but it would be cut off. The only way I could see this being overcome would be to have a manual override, but that would defeat the point. There are already apps out there doing a similar thing.
Also, if you had an older car with no gizmos inside then this would clearly not work.
Overall I feel this is a good step forward but there is no evidence any real work has been put into this at present, the patent was made many years ago, and has yet to be implemented into a device.

Theory test fees.

Theory test fees.

The DVSA has announced that they have launched a consultation on changing the theory test fees.
Under the new plans learner drivers could see a fall in prices for the car driving theory test of £6 from October 2014 and a further reduction of £2 planned from October 2015.

Transport Minister, Stephen Hammond, said:

“We are determined to keep motoring costs down, so we want to make sure theory tests offer the best value for money while continuing to meet rigorous standards”…

..”The theory test plays a vital role in making sure that new drivers know the Highway Code and the rules of the road. Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to providing value for money services that help to keep our roads among the safest in the world.”

Theory Test Type Current Price Price – 2014 Price – 2015
Car £31 £25 £23
Motorcycle £31 £25 £23

The proposals which could save learner drivers £100 million pounds follows the governments commitment to reducing the cost of motoring.

DVSA Chief Executive, Alastair Peoples, said:

“By agreeing new contract arrangements for the delivery of theory tests we have secured significant cost savings, and it is right that we pass these savings on to our customers. We want to make sure that we continue to keep pace with customers’ needs and deliver services in a way which is both convenient and cost effective.”

Another effort to reduce the cost of motoring includes clamping down on the compensation culture. Whiplash claimants will now be targeted by medical panels to ensure only accredited professionals can give evidence, in an aim to prevent fraudulent claims.
The price of MOT testing has also been frozen at a maximum £54.85 until 2015.

Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said:

“The costs of owning and running a car are felt by millions of households and businesses across the nation. The government is determined to help keep those costs down. That is why we are freezing the price for an MOT test and looking again at the costs associated with getting a driving licence.”

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.

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?

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.

Car Winner Announced

A TEXT which cost a teenage waitress Gemma Bellfield a few pence has netted her a brand new car worth over £11,000 courtesy of the UK’s third largest driving school.\r\n\r\nGemma With Car\r\n\r\nThe 17-year-old sixth form student learned to drive with the Bill Plant School of Motoring, passing first time after safely negotiating the streets of her home town, Milton Keynes.\r\n\r\nBut, as well as teaching the rules of the road, the company has been offering drivers the chance to win a brand new Hyundai i3o Blue hatchback – if they could answer a simple road safety question.\r\n\r\nGemma entered after hearing about the competition from her Bill Plant instructor – but, when the call came to let her know of her success, she didn’t believe her luck.\r\n\r\n“I was at work at the time so I thought it was someone winding me up,” she said. “I rang my mum and asked her to ring them back so I didn’t find out it was all true until I finished my shift. \r\n\r\n“It was fantastic news and I think there may have been a bit of screaming – but a brand new car is going to make such a difference. I was going to have my mum’s old one but she’ll be able to sell that and make a bit of money.\r\n\r\n“The new car also means I can work longer shifts as I don’t have to worry about walking home in the dark anymore – so I’ll be better off as well. My friends are really jealous and keep telling me they wish they had won but they’ll have to settle for a few lifts.”\r\n\r\n Jake Plant joined Hyundai’s UK sales and operations director, Guy Pigounakis, to hand Gemma the keys to her new pride and joy at the Milton Keynes Hyundai dealership on Watling Street.\r\n\r\nGemma With Car\r\n\r\n“We like to offer our students that little bit more – and we’re delighted the car has ended up going to someone like Gemma who will really benefit from it,” said Mr Plant.\r\n\r\n“It’s great to really make a difference in someone’s life – so there’s every chance we’ll be running another competition with Hyundai in future.”\r\n\r\nMr Pigounakis was also delighted the car was going to a new driver who otherwise may have found the cost of a new vehicle prohibitive.\r\n\r\n“The competion helps to highlight the fantastic relationship we enjoy with the Bill Plant Driving School but I’m really pleased for Gemma and delighted the car is going to a good home.\r\n\r\n

There is a now a new competition which you can enter for free online CLICK HERE