Town & Country is a leading transport training provider in the North West. Part of the DriverLink Group.

The Highway Code

So Guys,

Blog of the week – The Highway Code…

…I can hear the laughing already, last read the day of your driving test!

But seriously, The Highway Code contains the rules of the road, and learning just a few of the rules can give you a lot more credibility when some idiot doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Rule 259 for instance – How to join the Motorway

Rules 221 and 222 are useful too, but as professional drivers, you know that, don’t you?

Reading the code can save you hassle too, would you stop for a Highways Agency Traffic Officer?

If your answer is no, then you could be in trouble,

If your answer is yes, then where do they have the power to stop you??

Rule 108 will give you the answer to this one, Rules 106, and 107, will tell you the powers of the Police and VOSA, and tell you the correct procedures they should follow when stopping you. Knowledge will empower you, and as you are now recognised as trained professionals, if you get it wrong, you will be prosecuted as trained professionals, which means higher fines of course!

Then there are the Flash for Cash scams that have replaced the Crash for Cash scams. Rule110 is the one they use to get their money, ‘ Only flash your headlights to let others know you are there’ ,not to let them out of a junction etc.

At this time of year, Rule 229 comes into force. Before you set off:

  • You MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows
  • You MUST ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible
  • Make sure the mirrors are clear and windows are demisted thoroughly
  • Remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users

Get yourself a copy, or book a course with Driverlink, and get your knowledge up to date.

Drive safe,

Guy

 

First Person on the Scene of an Accident

Ok guys, this will be the first in a series of updates based on frequently asked questions, not just from course dates but general telephone enquiries.

This week I would like to focus on being the first person on the scene of an accident, and would like to state that you do not have to stop and you do not have to give first aid, but imagine if you did and you saved a life.

Personally, I carry a kit in my car which contains a high visibility vest and coat, warm clothing including a hat and gloves, bottles of fresh water, a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit and a tool kit, in some countries, some of those items are compulsory.

When you arrive at the scene, always check for danger by assessing the site, DO NOT PUT YOURSELF AT DANGER. Look around, is anything likely to collide with you? Can you safely access the injured victims? Are there any hazardous goods involved including fuel leaks?

Call the emergency services, and stay calm. One of the first pieces of information they will need is your location, take a look around, can you see any sign posts or land marks? Relay your investigation to the emergency service operator – don’t worry, they will have already dispatched help to you and this information will be relayed to the professionals while they are on route.

Assess the victims, are they conscious, bleeding and/or breathing. Would you know what to do if they are suffering? If not, maybe you need to consider a First Aid course, the next victim may be a close loved one.

Provide as much first aid as you possibly can, comfort the injured and reassure them. you will never be sued for giving first aid, this is a common question asked in our courses. Ask others for help if you are unsure about anything.

First Aid saves lives, and we believe everybody should do this course at least once per year. Should you have any questions or be interested in this kind of course, you can reach us on 01942 826133

Drive safe

Hazardous Goods training (ADR)

At long last the project for Driverlink Training to deliver ADR Training Courses has finally been approved by the SQA, and as a result we will be running these courses from various locations across the North West including Warrington, Preston and Skelmersdale.

Introduction

1  ADR works in such a way that classification is the precursor for everything that follows.  Once a substance or article has been properly classified, table A (ADR 3.2.1) allows every other requirement to be ascertained by working logically through the columns.

ADR

2  The rules for classification are in ADR at part 2. Dangerous substances (and this includes articles) are very widely defined, but some, for example most medicines and cosmetics, do not have the hazardous properties that would bring them within scope of the requirements, and those that do are usually carried in very small receptacles, allowing at least partial exemption from the requirements (either limited quantities or limited loads.

3  Consignors have a duty to identify the hazards of the goods they intend to transport. There are nine classes, some with divisions, as follows.

UN ClassDangerous GoodsDivision(s)Classification
1Explosives1.1 – 1.6Explosive
2Gases2.1Flammable gas
2.2Non-flammable, non-toxic gas
2.3Toxic gas
3Flammable liquidFlammable liquid
4Flammable solids4.1Flammable solid
4.2Spontaneously combustible substance
4.3Substance which in contact with water emits flammable gas
5Oxidising substances5.1Oxidising substance
5.2Organic peroxide
6Toxic substances6.1Toxic substance
6.2Infectious substance
7Radioactive materialRadioactive material
8Corrosive substancesCorrosive substance
9Miscellaneous dangerous goodsMiscellaneous dangerous goods

4 Part 2 of ADR works through the categories in logical sequence.  It sets out descriptions and criteria in some detail.  The consignor must assign a “proper shipping name” and UN Number to the substance.

5 All relevant  hazards have to be determined (ADR 2.1.2.1). There is a hierarchy of classification (ADR 2.1.3.5.3) and there are rules about choosing the most appropriate entry and hence UN number (ADR 3.1.2).

6 Many substances and generic groups (e.g. paints) have already been classified, so in many cases a consignor may only need to find his substance in the “dangerous goods list”, which is in part 3 of ADR. The lists are by UN Number (Table A) and alphabetical (Table B) . Both lists are at the end of Volume 1 of ADR.

7 Many preparations (i.e. mixtures of substances) will not be found in table A of ADR. In those cases the rules for classification need to be followed.

8 An important change was made in ADR 2011 in paragraph 2.1.3.3. The effect of this is that dangerous goods should be classified and named according to the properties of the predominant substance, and in general the presence of impurities is not relevant. There are some specific exceptions which are set out in 2.1.3.3

9 Once a UN number and proper shipping name have been assigned, table A allows all the relevant parts of ADR to be accessed. Some substances with the same name will have different degrees of danger (for example flash point). This is reflected in the “packing group” (PG), which is found in column 4 of table A. The head of column 4 in turn directs you to the relevant part of ADR (in this case 2.1.1.3). Where a substance has been classified from “first principles”, its PG will be determined by its properties (for example ADR 2.2.3.1.3 shows how flammable liquids are assigned a PG)

10 Some substances are not assigned a PG (notably gases and explosives), but they do have a transport category, the relevance of which will be discussed elsewhere  in relation to limited load exemptions. In certain special circumstances it may not be practicable to classify the goods fully before carriage, for example when sending samples for analysis. In such cases it is acceptable to “over-classify” the goods on the basis of the information which is already available (ADR 2.1.4).

11 Proper shipping names may also be qualified by the addition of the terms such as ‘SOLUTION’; ‘LIQUID’; ‘SOLID’; ‘MOLTEN’, ‘STABILIZED’. Details at ADR 3.1.2.3 to 3.1.2.7.

12 ADR has changed in respect of classification for environmental hazards. There are links to the “supply” classifications implemented in GB by the CHIP regulations and to the GHS system of classification. See ADR at 2.1.3.8 and 2.2.9.1.10. This means that all dangerous goods, not just those directly assigned UN 3077 (solids) or UN 3082 (liquids), meeting the relevant criteria will be regarded as environmentally hazardous substances and required to show the “dead fish and tree” mark. The requirements for the mark mirror the provisions for labels and placards (ADR 5.2.1.8 and 5.3.6).

Wastes

13 With the exception of clinical waste, wastes are classified in the same way as other substances. The rules at ADR 3.1.2.8 mean that where generic or “NOS” names are chosen, the substance or substances giving rise to the hazards may have to be named. See Special Provision 274 where it appears in column 6 of Table A. The word “WASTE” should qualify other descriptions where applicable (ADR 5.4.1.1.3), and should appear before the “Proper Shipping Name”.

Article extracted from the HSE website.

New Website!

I have been working on my new website for quite some time now and has now finally been launched. To mark this occasion we have decided to heavily discount our Basic First Aid course; this has also been approved for your Driver CPC and will constitute as 7 hours towards your 35.
This discount is available to the first 10 customers who use the code which is currently on the homepage of the website.
I have tried to keep the design as simple as possible, please take a look around and feed back to us your thoughts!

Half of truck drivers risk their lives by not belting up!

After an 8 hour delay Kev, our illustrious leader and usual company blogger, has returned from holiday and taken a half day to unpack so once again yours truely finds himself sat at the keyboard to write this weeks post.

The Driver CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) has been introduced across the European Union to maintain high driving standards and improve road safety.

All well and good  but according to a recent Volvo survey half of truck drivers risk their lives by not belting up

Using a safety belt doubles the chance of survival in a serious accident but this new research undertaken by Volvo has found half of us truck drivers don’t bother to use them.

Conducted in safety-conscious Sweden,Volvo surveyed 700 drivers to get this result and usage in other countries could be even lower.

The UK has an excellent road safety record butVolvo wants to highlight the danger of not belting up and encourage us all to use them and  to save more than 7000 lives across the EU.

Volvo Trucks Traffic and Product Safety Director Carl Johan Almqvist said: “In recent years belt usage has increased among truck drivers, but even so, fewer than half use the safety belt.

“Our own and other European research has revealed that 50% of truck driver who lost their lives in traffic accidents would have survived if they had been belted in.

“Of all truck drivers involved in fatal accidents, only 5% were wearing their safety belts.”

Almqvist says the most common reasons given for not using the seatbelt – because it was difficult, inconvenient or time-consuming – were simply ‘not credible’.

“I would encourage both haulage firms and drivers to do what they can to improve safety. the simplest measure of all is naturally to use the single most important safety feature on board – the safety belt.”

Looking at the figures it makes sense so belt up!

Drive safely,

Andy.

Careless Driving: The Fixed Penalty Notices Explained

Kev is on holiday this week so it falls to me to post this week’s blog.

Hopefully this goes some way to explaining the recent changes to the Fixed Penalty Notices.

Thanks to Roger Brown and Chris Druce, Commercial Motor, for the excerpts used here.  The views expressed are  those of the authors and not those of  Driverlink Training Ltd.

Commercial vehicle drivers face larger fines from today, (16th August 2013) with careless driving now punishable with a fixed penalty notice (FPN) and graduated fixed penalties (GFP) for offences such as breaking drivers’ hours increased.

Described by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) as the largest change in traffic policing policy in decades, the move to make careless driving an offence punishable by FPN attracted plenty of headlines earlier this summer with the mainstream press emphasising £100 fines for middle-lane hoggers on the motorway.

Careless and inconsiderate driving
Careless driving occurs where the standard of driving falls below that expected of a competent and careful driver; examples include momentary lapses of concentration and tailgating.

Inconsiderate driving occurs where a motorist is found to be driving without reasonable consideration for other road users. In this situation, the police officer needs only to be satisfied that the motorist’s driving inconvenienced other road users.

This could include behaviour such as cutting into a queue of traffic and hogging the middle lane on a motorway.

Will the change really work?
FPNs are widely used as a method of punishment for incidents that have been committed that are perceived to be less serious traffic infringements.

Implementation of an FPN regime for the offence of careless driving means that, where a police constable in uniform witnesses first hand, or possibly by way of photos or video footage, what they consider to be poor driving, they have the ability to stop the motorist and issue them with an FPN – either at the time of the incident or at a later date.

The motorist can, if they wish, refuse to accept the FPN and challenge the evidence in court. However, when the key evidence is from an experienced road traffic officer, the likelihood of acquittal might be low.

What are the risks with FPNs?
Drivers issued with an FPN could find themselves in a situation where, faced with the alternative of taking time off work to attend court, and potentially having to receive more penalty points if their defence is rejected, they feel under pressure to accept an FPN for a swift resolution.

A driver shouldn’t feel under pressure to accept an FPN on the spot and shouldn’t pay the fine or surrender their licence until they have considered the matter and obtained legal advice.

It might be that the allegation can be defended, particularly if there are circumstances the police officer isn’t aware of. This is particularly important for drivers whose livelihoods depend on their licence.

The potential advantage in accepting an FPN in cases of alleged careless driving is that penalty points will be limited to three (and the fine to £100) as opposed to up to nine points plus potential disqualification, which could be issued by a magistrates’ court. This might be seen by some to be a less risky option.

However, professional drivers and their employers should  also consider the insurance implications that accepting three points will have – premiums will increase, for example. Where an FPN is accepted, no evidence will be heard in court and the punishment will effectively be handed out based purely on the perception of the police officer.

This will likely lead to a discrepancy in the standard of driving for which a penalty is issued and uncertainty for drivers, employers and insurers.

For example, LGV drivers are, to an extent, frequently left with little option but to hog the middle lane due to overtaking times. There is an added risk that an FPN may be offered and accepted for an apparently minor driving offence where no injury is initially alleged but one then materialises at a later date.

LGV

Under such circumstances, this would provide a road traffic conviction that can potentially be relied upon by the injured party as an admission of liability to support a subsequent civil claim.

We would recommend that any motorist offered an FPN ensures they write an account of the incident as soon as possible. Recording the circumstances as accurately as possible at an early stage could assist in establishing whether to defend the charge or whether to accept the FPN.

Will FPNs for careless driving work?
The demotion of careless driving to the FPN scheme sits a little uncomfortably with the offence of causing death by careless driving, as the same standard of driving may now result either in prison or an FPN, depending almost entirely on circumstances beyond the driver’s control.

The government’s thinking is that road safety will improve as motorists drive more carefully for fear of on-the-spot fines. However, detection will be largely dependent on police presence and, with ongoing cutbacks to police numbers, there appears less chance that an offence will be witnessed and a motorist stopped.

All rise
The government also says it will increase penalty levels for FPNs and graduated fixed penalties generally. Although penalty levels will increase, penalty points will not change. FPNs for parking, waiting and obstruction offences will also remain unchanged.

Increases in FPNs include:

  • A non-endorsable £30 fixed penalty notice will rise to £50.
  • An endorsable £60 and non-endorsable FPN will rise to £100.
  • An endorsable £120 FPN will rise to £200.
  • The fixed penalty notice for driving with no insurance will rise from £200 to £300.

Graduated fixed penalties (mainly for commercial goods and passenger carrying vehicles and includes offences like drivers’ hours and overloading) and financial deposits (for drivers without a satisfactory UK address) will also increase:

  • A £30 non-endorsable fine will rise to £50.
  • A £60 endorsable and non-endorsable fine will rise to £100.
  • A £120 endorsable and non-endorsable fine will rise to £200.
  • A £200 endorsable and non-endorsable fine will rise to £300.

Hope this helps, drive safely.

Andy.

It’s good news week – new team member brings new offer!

All our regular readers will be used to Kev posting informative, interesting and hopefully useful blogs on our website and, as a new recruit to the Driverlink Training Team I hope I can do the same.  With my remit including the sales and marketing of the business this forum falls right into my lap.

I am delighted to be able to deliver two pieces of good news in my first post (three if you count my re-joining the business – yes, I’ve been here before but on an interim basis).

With gas and electric prices set to rise and with bank interest rates tipped for a hike it can only be good news when I formally announce our decision to freeze all our course prices for the next six months.  That’s right; all our courses will remain at the published prices on the website until 2014, including our brand new first aid course.  Check out all our courses at https://townandcountrylgv.co.uk

In addition – it’s all good news this week – we are increasing our menu options for lunches while you are training with us.  We will let you have a menu to choose your meal first thing in the morning and it will be delivered, fresh, to your specification, ready for the midday break.  Essentially “You pays your money, you takes your choice”.  Couldn’t be simpler.

My name’s Andy, as I said sales and marketing is where I sit now, having swapped the road and logistics management to work in training with Kev and Guy.

You’ll hear a lot more from me over the coming weeks and I look forward to your comments.

Drive safely,

Andy.

Driving whilst Tired has Horrific Consequences

This Article has been abstracted from ‘The Mail Online’ and does not necessarily reflect our views. The purpose is to realise consequences and importance of obeying Driving Hours Laws.

This is the horrific moment a father-of-four  was killed when he fell asleep at the wheel after driving 592 miles over a 19  hour period of work.

Adrian McMurray 54, and his son Adrian, 36,  were today jailed for manslaughter after Stephen Kenyon was  crushed to death when his 39 tonne Renault lorry crashed into a lorry in front  on the M1.

Tragic Mr Kenyon fell asleep at the wheel,  crashing into a line of stationary traffic on the southbound carriageway near  Luton Airport on February 12, 2010.

Tragic: Stephen Kenyon was crushed to death when his 39 tonne Renault lorry crashed on the M1Tragic: Stephen Kenyon was crushed to death when his 39  tonne Renault lorry crashed on the M1
Exhausted: The father-of-four was seen moments before the crash drifting from the slow lane into the middle laneExhausted: The father-of-four was seen moments before  the crash drifting from the slow lane into the middle lane
Mr Kenyon fell asleep at the wheel, crashing into a line of stationary traffic on the southbound carriageway near Luton Airport on February 12, 2010
The father-of-four was seen moments before the crash drifting from the slow lane into the middle lane

Accident: Mr Kenyon fell asleep at the wheel, crashing  into a line of stationary traffic on the southbound carriageway near Luton  Airport

The father-of-four, from Milton  Keynes,  Buckinghamshire, was seen moments before the crash drifting from the slow lane  into the middle lane.

As eyewitnesses went past the lorry, Mr  Kenyon, who was on his way to Essex with a delivery, could be seen rubbing his  eyes.

Despite braking hard at the last moment, Mr  Kenyon crashed into the back of a lorry in front, St Alban’s Crown Court  heard.

His cab was crushed and he suffered serious  head and chest injuries. He was pronounced dead at 2.26am.

The jury were told how tachographs inside his  van showed Mr Kenyon had been at work since 5am the previous  morning.

He had been on duty for 19 hours and 15  minutes and had been driving for 13 hours and eight minutes, covering 592  miles.

 

Adrian McMurray Snr was jailed for a total of seven years today
Adrian McMurray Jnr was jailed for a total of four years today

Jailed: Adrian McMurray (left), 54, and his son Adrian  (right), 36, were today jailed for manslaughter following the death of Mr  Kenyon

Accident: Despite braking hard at the last moment, Mr Kenyon crashed into the back of a lorry in frontAccident: Despite braking hard at the last moment, Mr  Kenyon crashed into the back of a lorry in front

The McMurrays, who  ran a haulage business for 99p Stores,  denied manslaughter by gross negligence and failing to discharge an employer’s  duty but a jury unanimously convicted the father of both charges.

McMurray Jr was found guilty of manslaughter  by a majority of 10 to two and guilty unanimously on the second  charge.

McMurray Snr was jailed for a total of seven  years, McMurray Jr was jailed for a total of four years.

‘Adrian John McMurray and Adrian Paul  McMurray you ran the business with scant regard to your legal  obligations and  cutting every corner to maximise your profits’

– Judge  Andrew Bright

The pair had also admitted cheating cheating the PAYE and National Insurance  system of £896,050 between April 2005 and April 2010.

McMurray Snr and  another defendant, the  firm’s bookkeeper, Heather Parkinson, aged 69, also  pleaded guilty to  cheating the Inland Revenue of £311,976 between April 2005  and September 2009, and evading £424,248  VAT between February 2005 and July 2009.

Jailing the two McMurray’s today, Judge  Andrew Bright said: ‘The excessive hours for which he was driving caused him to  be so tired he was a danger to himself and other road users.

‘Heavy lorries pose a very real threat to  other road users and that threat was substantially increased by the way you ran  your haulage business.

‘The death of Stephen Kenyon was an accident  waiting to happen.

‘Adrian John McMurray and Adrian Paul  McMurray you ran the business with scant regard to your legal obligations and  cutting every corner to maximise your profits.’

Sentence: McMurray Snr has been jailed for a total of seven years
McMurray Jr was jailed for a total of four years

Sentence: McMurray Snr has been jailed for a total of  seven years while McMurray Jr has been jailed for a total of four  years

Road haulage legislation states truckers can  only drive large commercial lorries for a maximum of 10 hours in a 24-hour  period and only for two days a week.

Charles Miskin QC, prosecuting, said the  practice of ignoring legislation was ‘tolerated if not encouraged’ by the  McMurrays.

Drivers were ‘frequently asked to do  deliveries that would take them over permitted hours’.

‘The excessive hours for  which he was driving caused him to be so tired he was a danger to himself and  other road users’

– Judge Andrew Bright

He said: ‘This is a case about a man who lost  his life because the rules were broken.’

Mr Miskin said the father and son team, who  were based at the 99p Stores depot in Daventry, Northamptonshire, showed a  ‘flagrant disregard for the law’ in the pursuit of profit.

He added: ‘Mr Kenyon’s death was the utterly  foreseeable consequence of the way the defendants conducted their business. It  was an accident waiting to happen.

‘Their negligence had exposed him to the risk  of death and that failure had been so reprehensible that it amounted to gross  negligence.’

Mr Kenyon’s death also led to an  investigation into the company’s financial affairs.

The business turnover was £5.23 million, but  a turnover of only £400,000 was declared. No VAT returns were ever  made.

Heather Parkinson was jailed for 27 months  after admitting cheating the public revenue and National Insurance of £15,081.76.

McMurray Snr also pleaded guilty to  possessing a stun gun that was found in the leather jacket on the back seat of  his car.

He had previously been jailed for three years  in France in May 2001 after being caught in a lorry importing drugs.