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All 39 DVLA local offices are scheduled for closure by the end of 2013
In July 2012, findings of a public consultation in to the transformation of DVLA were announced. The outcomes of this review determined that transactions and services should be gradually migrated from the existing 39 DVLA Local Offices to a mix of alternative channels. DVLA has started the changes necessary to facilitate the closures of the local offices as a step change towards a digital business.
All local offices are scheduled to close in three tranches, these are highlighted below:
Date for closure Offices
25 October 2013
Aberdeen Bournemouth Brighton Carlisle Chelmsford Edinburgh Ipswich Lincoln Sheffield Norwich Oxford Shrewsbury Stockton Swansea
22 November 2013
Bangor Beverley Chester Dundee Exeter Inverness Maidstone Peterborough Sidcup Theale Truro Worcester
13 December 2013
Birmingham Borehamwood Bristol Cardiff Glasgow Leeds Manchester Newcastle Northampton Nottingham Portsmouth Preston WimbledonChanges that will be introduced before the local offices close include:
Extending the existing service for taxing vehicles at Post Office® branches to include taxing Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and requesting duplicate tax discs.
Enhancing the existing Automated First Registration and Licensing scheme to enable tax discs to be distributed from DVLA Swansea direct to customers, dealers and fleet operators.
Changes to law that allow newly registered vehicles to be used/driven on the road for up to 14 calendar days from the date of registration without the need to display the tax disc. This mitigates concerns raised by customers around delays in receiving documentation through the post.
Centralised the work of 10 area enforcement centres and processes around applying for trade licences at DVLA Swansea.
Introduction of centralised postal applications directed to DVLA Swansea including personalised registrations (from 1 July) and first registration applications using V55 forms (from 22 July).
Redirecting customer mail to DVLA Swansea for processing, communicating these changes via local office and motor industry representatives.
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Driver's caught middle-lane hogging and tailgating face £100 on-the-spot fines and three penalty points under plans due to be unveiled today. £100 fines for tailgating and hogging the middle lane
Careless drivers who put other road users at risk face on-the-spot penalties under new measures announced today (5 June 2013) by Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond.
The changes will give the police powers to issue fixed penalty notices for careless driving, giving them greater flexibility in dealing with less serious careless driving offences - such as tailgating or middle lane hogging - and freeing them from resource-intensive court processes. The fixed penalty will also enable the police to offer educational training as an alternative to endorsement. Drivers will still be able to appeal any decision in court.
In addition, existing fixed penalty levels for most motoring offences - including using a mobile phone at the wheel and not wearing a seatbelt - will rise to £100 to bring them into line with the penalties for similar non-motoring fixed penalties.
Stephen Hammond said:
Careless drivers are a menace and their negligence puts innocent people’s lives at risk. That is why we are making it easier for the police to tackle problem drivers by allowing them to immediately issue a fixed penalty notice rather than needing to take every offender to court.
We are also increasing penalties for a range of driving offences to a level which reflects their seriousness and which will ensure that they are consistent with other similar penalty offences.
Edmund King, AA President said:
It is worrying that 3 quarters of drivers see others using mobile phones behind the wheel on some or most journeys1. This epidemic of hand held mobile phone use while driving has already cost lives and our members have demanded action. An increase in the standard motoring fixed penalty fine will help deter those who commit motoring offences including mobile phone use. AA members broadly support an increase in the level of the fixed penalty. Our members also fully support educational training as an alternative to penalty points.
We are also pleased to see that at long last new powers and fines will be given to the police to tackle the top three pet hates of drivers – tailgaters, mobile phone abusers and middle lane hogs.
Chief Constable Suzette Davenport ACPO lead on roads policing said:
The new penalties are absolutely necessary to deal with drivers who are putting people’s lives at risk and police will not hesitate to enforce them.
These measures should also act as a reminder to careless drivers that their behaviour will not be tolerated.
The vast majority of drivers are law abiding, but some are still not getting the message. We said we would get tougher on those who make our roads dangerous and that is exactly what we have done.
The fixed penalty for careless driving will be £100 with 3 points on the driver’s licence. The most serious examples will continue to go through court, where offenders may face higher penalties.
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There are no changes to penalty levels for parking offences.
Fixed penalty levels for most of these motoring offences have not increased since 2000, and are now lower than other penalties of a similar severity. In addition, raising the penalty levels for these offences offers an additional incentive for drivers to take up remedial courses which address poor driving behaviour in the longer term.
The changes - which the government aim to bring into force in July this year - are being introduced following extensive public consultation with road safety groups and police forces.
As with other existing fixed penalty notice offences, such as speeding, police forces will also be able to offer careless drivers the option of remedial training.
Endorsable road traffic offences contribute to a significant number of casualties. For example, in 2011, excess speed contributed to 213 deaths and using a mobile phone while driving contributed to 374 road casualties.
Though penalty levels will increase, penalty points will not change. Fixed penalty notices for parking, waiting and obstruction offences will also remain unchanged.
1Populus interviewed 20,936 adults aged 18+ on The AA-Populus online panel between 20 and 23 August 2012. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
Roads media enquiriesPress enquiries 020 7944 3066
Out of hours 020 7944 4292
Public enquiries 0300 330 3000
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Nissan has been forced to recall about 841,000 vehicles worldwide due to a faulty steering wheel.
Nissan said that a bolt used in the steering wheel was not screwed on properly, but that there was no danger of sudden failure.
The Japanese car manufacturer said it would recall models of the Micra, produced in Britain and Japan between 2002 and 2006 and the Cube, which was produced in Japan around the same period.
The discovery will affect about 133,869 models of the Micra in the UK.
The carmaker said that it will fix the issue by tightening the bolts or replacing steering wheels entirely.
So far, no accidents involving the cars have been reported, Nissan said. But drivers will notice if the steering wheel is getting loose, the company added.
A Nissan Motor GB spokesman said: "Over time, the nut that holds on the steering wheel can become loose. Drivers could start notice some wobbling of the wheel and if this is ignored there is the possibility that it could come completely off."
"There have been a few incidents of steering wheels becoming loose, but there have been no accidents," he added.
Nissan has said that the repair would take about 15 minutes.
Earlier this month, Nissan recalled 500,000 vehicles globally over a defect in passenger airbags.
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Allow at least a two-second gap between you and the vehicle in front on roads carrying faster-moving traffic and in tunnels where visibility is reduced.
The gap should be at least doubled on wet roads and increased still further on icy roads.
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You should look and listen for ambulances, fire engines, police, doctors or other emergency vehicles using flashing blue, red or green lights and sirens or flashing headlights, or Highways Agency Traffic Officer and Incident Support vehicles using flashing amber lights.
When one approaches do not panic.
Consider the route of such a vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass, while complying with all traffic signs. If necessary, pull to the side of the road and stop, but try to avoid stopping before the brow of a hill, a bend or narrow section of road.
Do not endanger yourself, other road users or pedestrians and avoid mounting the kerb. Do not brake harshly on approach to a junction or roundabout, as a following vehicle may not have the same view as you.
Some vehicles are being recalled by manufacturers and can't be used for driving tests until they've been checked and fixed if necessary.
A vehicle can be recalled by the manufacturer if it has a known safety fault.
There has been a worldwide recall of some vehicles because of concerns about potentially faulty passenger airbags.
Recalled vehiclesYour vehicle will need to be checked and may need to be fixed before you can use it for the driving test if it’s on the list below.
Vehicles registered from 2000 to 2004 are affected - these have the following registrations:
The proof you bring has to be one of the following:
Tests booked for 15, 16 or 17 AprilIf your test is booked for 15, 16 or 17 April 2013 and your vehicle is listed above and hasn’t been checked, your test will be cancelled. However you will be offered another test free of charge.
You still need to turn up for test as planned to show your vehicle is affected by the recall.
From 18 November 2012 classic and historic vehicles, those manufactured before 1 January 1960, will be exempted from the MOT test.
Classic and historic vehicles are often very well maintained by their owners and have a much lower accident and MOT failure rate than newer vehicles. The current requirement to undergo an MOT test goes over and above the obligations set out in European legislation. Following a public consultation which showed high levels of support for the proposals, vehicles manufactured before 1960 will be exempted from the MOT test from 18th November 2012 reducing costs for owners.
Owners of affected vehicles will still be able to take exempt vehicles for an MOT test on a voluntary basis. If you are presented with any of these vehicles you should continue to conduct the test as for any other vehicle and apply the appropriate pass/fail criteria as set out in the Inspection Manuals.
For more info go to http://www.dft.gov.uk/vosa/repository/Special%20Notice%205-12.pdf
DSA’s Fraud and Integrity team led a raid in Greater London on 20 February as part of a joint operation with the Metropolitan Police.
It resulted in the arrest of a DSA driving examiner, an approved driving instructor and 4 candidates suspected of conspiracy to commit fraud.
As a result of this operation 100 driving licences are being revoked.
A BBC report of the arrests was broadcast on the lunchtime national news yesterday.
Watch the BBC video
Bringing offenders to justice
Andy Rice, DSA Head of Fraud and Integrity, said afterwards:
“Although rare, when it happens, driving test fraud is a serious offence that puts the lives of innocent road users at risk.
“We have stringent procedures in place to ensure that any fraudulent activity will be detected. As today’s operation demonstrates, we take all allegations extremely seriously and will work with the police to bring offenders to justice.
“The safety of the general public and the integrity of the driving test are paramount.”
You can report anything you know about driving test fraud to the Fraud and Integrity team on 0115 936 6051 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sometimes the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has to cancel or stop driving tests because of bad weather, vehicle problems or other reasons.
Your test will usually be automatically rebooked for you at no further cost if it’s cancelled by DSA.
Bad weather: Practical driving tests are not held in dangerous weather conditions, e.g. when the roads are icy.
Call your test centre if there is snow or ice in your local area on the day of your test.
When to phone your test centre: You should call the test centre:
Call the test centre again or go there in time for your test.
If your test can’t go ahead: A new appointment date will usually be sent to you within 3 working days. This could take up to 7 days when the bad weather goes on for longer.
You won’t be able to claim for any out-of-pocket expenses.
Waiting times for a practical driving test: As well as causing cancellations, bad weather can sometimes lead to longer waiting times for practical test appointments.