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.

Smart Highway

Smart Highway

Labeled as the route 66 of the future, a smart highway has been unveiled on a 500 metre stretch of highway in Oss, Netherlands.

Designer Daan Roosegarrade and Dutch civil engineering firm Heijmans have worked alongside each other to develop this idea aimed at saving energy and cutting costs.
The glow in the dark motorway has been made with paint containing photo-luminescing compounds. These compounds absorb daylight and can glow for up to 8 hours at night.

Speaking with the BBS, Roosegaarde said:

“The government is shutting down streetlights at night to save money, energy is becoming much more important than we could have imagined 50 years ago. This road is about safety and envisaging a more self-sustainable and more interactive world.”

As well as glow in the dark paint, they have also designed temperature activated paint so that certain symbols will show up during specific temperatures, ie snow flakes when it’s cold. However this has not yet been implemented.

In my opinion this is a good starting block but there are factors that worry me. 8 hours may not be enough, the UK has temperamental weather. Sometimes it can be technically day-time but the light levels outside would suggest otherwise and, without street lighting visibility, would be diminished. Another issue could be the potential wear and tear. Hopefully this will be assessed through testing, and the durability of the paint can be proven one way or another.
And my final concern would be – Humans. It’s not often you see a glow in the dark road. I’m sure if it’s implemented it will one day become the norm, however if you came across it now I’m sure many people would be tempted to switch off their headlights to enjoy the view, creating its own safety concerns.

However, knit picking aside, I believe one day the smart highway could well take off. Let’s hope Roosegaarde will be successful.

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.”

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.

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.

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!

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?