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.

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.

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.