Diary Of An ADI

A Driving Instructor's Blog

This was first flagged (officially) back in December 2014, and the initial email warned that from 8 June 2015 the paper counterpart of the licence would no longer be valid.Licence counterpart - RIP

DVSA has issued an update now that the deadline is imminent – and this is aimed at ADIs.

As an approved driving instructor, this will mean the following for you and your pupils:

When presenting for lessons

You can check your pupil’s photo card licence for ID purposes. However if you want to carry out further entitlement checks you can do so by using either of the following:

  • ‘Share Driving Licence’, DVLA’s new online driving licence enquiry service
  • DVLA’s existing telephone, post and intermediary enquiry services

This user guide gives further information about how you can carry out further entitlement checks.

This user guide tells your pupils how they can share their driving licence with you.

Several things are apparent from this. Firstly, ADIs only really need to check the photo card for ID purposes (which is precisely what I said in the latest issue of ADI News (June 2015)). But if they still want to play James Bond and find pupils’ inside leg measurements, those two links in the above quote provide the means and the explanation for doing so, because it turns out that the new Show Licence system allows temporary sharing of the information.

The DVSA email makes it clear that entitlement checks will have been carried out at the time their test was booked. Examiners will not be doing any additional checks on the day of the test other than looking at the photo card. I suppose that ADIs come in earlier in the learning process and have slightly (and I mean “slightly”) more reason to want to check entitlement – the View Licence service shows penalty points and disqualifications.

One significant change is the fact that pupils are going to have to send off their licences on their own when they pass if they have switched addresses at any point.

Pupils with EU/EEA licences will need to apply for a D91 form before they can book their tests. At the moment, I cannot find any reference to D91 other than in this DVSA email. That must be on its way.

You should destroy your counterpart after 8 June 2015 (I’d wait until 9 June if I were you).

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Sometimes you couldn’t make it up. Three cows “escaped” from a country park in North Tyneside. Two were recaptured, but one – Bessie – was shot “in the interests of public safety” after apparently attempting to rob several local banks and then going on the run.A cow - like the one Northumbria police had to take down

John Millard, a photographer, witnessed the scene:

…there was a “massive police presence” with more than 15 police vehicles, a helicopter hovering overhead, and three or four officers in sniper gear.

Northumbria police were anxious to talk it up into the serious threat that it wasn’t, though:

…[the cow] was destroyed after becoming “increasingly distressed” and “causing dangerous and severe obstructions” on a major road.

I wonder why the cow was becoming “distressed”, Mr Police Spokesman? I mean, it couldn’t have had anything to do with dozens of people chasing it (i.e. at least two officers in each of the 15+ vehicles) and no doubt shouting and pretending to be Arnold Schwarzenegger, and a helicopter, could it?

The local residents are keeping the surrealness alive by organising a candle-lit vigil for the dead cow.

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I just got a good giggle from my inbox. The Tri-coaching partnership has sent out an email which is titled “supply and demand lead to profit”.

No, really?

If you feel that you need to go on the course to find out how this complex concept works it’ll cost you at least £275 – or £400 if you want the BTEC certificate at the end. As I have said in the About Me page, my experience of NVQs and BTECs is that they aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. The one being touted here is Level 3, and is therefore apparently “worth” three A levels.Clown College - for all your worthless qualifications

Three A levels in just two days, for £125? Hang on a minute while I try not to choke laughing.

If my memory serves me correctly, an A level was something that took two years of full-time study and hard work. It culminated in a difficult exam (possibly several, depending on the subject). Back when I did them – when they were still hard – you usually only took two, unless one of them was in a non-science subject. Failure was a distinct possibility. What an A level wasn’t was something you acquired just by turning up and paying a wad of cash for over two days (if you tried to get one that way, chances are you’d get kicked out of sixth form or find yourself on criminal charges). And you couldn’t get more than one A level from a single course – each one was a separate entity, and two A levels was twice as much work as one.

But I can’t get that “supply and demand lead to profit” thing out of my head. Anyone who needs to attend a course to discover that shouldn’t be allowed out on their own!

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Following on from that last story, here’s an example of more legal gobbledegook – this time, quite possibly with a virtual death sentence for someone.Duck shooting gallery

To begin with, just consider what those retards did at Charlie Hebdo back in January 2015, and why. Then consider what the cretins in Isis are doing to people almost daily. With such a suitable backdrop, now consider what that first story is all about.

An American film called “Innocence of Muslims” was banned from YouTube on the orders of a federal court. Actress, Cindy Lee Garcia, had received death threats as a result of her involvement – which she was tricked into, as she had not acted specifically for that film or that role. The editing made it look as if she was accusing the Prophet Muhammad of being a child molester. You can imagine the incendiary nature of such a suggestion when you consider the brittle mental state of those people who start issuing death threats over things like this.

Enter: Google. As most people will be aware, Google is a company which seems to believe that pretty much anything and everything should be allowed under the auspices of free speech on the internet solely in order for Google to reap obscene profits from it all. Oh, it will sometimes ban things – especially if it looks like not doing so could impact earnings – but otherwise it is essentially a clone of the British Press as far as demands for the freedom to publish anything about anyone go. Except that it is about a million times bigger.

This behemoth has been seeking to overturn the original judgement on the basis that it was “a misapplication of copyright law”. It has now got its way, and is free to put the film back on YouTube (which it owns). No decision has yet been taken over whether or when that will happen but Google is no doubt wetting its trousers over the victory now that such a decision lies with it and not with someone above it (i.e. the Law).

If they do (and even because they originally did) reinstate it, it will obviously be open season on Ms Garcia as far as some idiots out there are concerned. I hope Google is proud.

The film should have remained banned. It is simply a crap attempt at shit stirring.

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I’ve just seen this on the BBC website. I only vaguely remember hearing about the row some time ago.

Ashers is a bakery in Northern Ireland. It is run by devout Christians, and when they were approached by a militantly gay person to make a cake with a gay slogan on it, they refused. The customer, Gareth Lee – who is described as “a gay rights activist”, hence my use of the word “militant” – took them to court.

Well, it seems that the judge has rule against Ashers. Ashers had said before the judgement:

We happily serve everyone but we cannot promote a cause that goes against what the Bible says about marriage.

We have tried to be guided in our actions by our Christian beliefs.

The judge ruled:

[Ashers are] conducting a business for profit, [they are not a religious group,]

They were found to have discriminated against Mr Lee on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Martin McGuinness (Deputy First Minister) tweeted:

Asher’s bakery judgement a good result for equality, Gay people have for far too long been discriminated against. We and the law on their side.

David McIlveen (DUP) tweeted:

Utterly sickened that a Christian owned business has been hauled over the coals for refusing to promote something that is not legal in NI.

Personally, I can see an appeal coming on (if NI allows that sort of thing). Ashers would happily have provided Lee with a cake. They just refused to put a gay slogan on it. It makes you wonder what would have happened if they’d have refused to make one with a pro-jihadist slogan. By the precedent set in this judgement, they would therefore be guilty of racial discrimination.

And what about fast food outlets run by Muslims who only use Halal meat? Since – also by precedent – they are not religious groups either, but profit-making enterprises, shouldn’t they be required by Law to also provide non-Halal meat? Oh, and pork products? Can you imagine the flood of racial discrimination claims that would arise if they were forced to do these things? And who do you think would win?

Note that I am simply commenting on the skewed logic of the judgment. Don’t try and read into my views on any of those involved as far as their beliefs or lifestyle preferences go (though I’m certain that’s exactly what some jackass is bound to do). I’m as much against having other people’s religious beliefs rammed down my throat as I am of having their sexual orientation similarly thrust at me.

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Chile’s Atacama Desert is widely considered to be the driest place on earth. Some weather stations in the area have never recorded any rainfall at all, and others go for four years or more without recording any. It is believed that the region has been like this for at least 3 million years.

This story has been in the media before, but I was interested to see this BBC article which explains how they are using fine nets as fog traps to catch water from the regular fogs which roll in from the South Pacific. When I looked into it a little more, I found these two videos on YouTube.


Apparently, they can average 15,000 litres of water a day (I assume that is for each bank of nets). In the first video, local farmers are using the water to irrigate Aloe Vera crops. The second video shows them using the method to provide water to the city of Tacna, Peru, which has grown significantly in recent years. It’s weird seeing vegetables growing in desert sand.

It’s a great story.

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Rush kicked off their North American tour (the R40 tour) in Tulsa. They have released this teaser video.

The quality of the original on YouTube suggests that we’ll have a DVD at some stage, but still no word on them coming to Europe and the UK. This is bad news, as all the signs are this will be their last big tour. Surely they must come…?

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I’ve recently been having a bit of trouble with one of the plugins I use on this site. It started when WordPress was updated.Video icons

The plugin in question displays videos (Flash movies, to be precise), and it isn’t the first time it has gone titsup. The only reason I was using it in the first place was that the uploader built into WordPress is restricted to the size limit for PHP file transfers set by your hosting company. When I first came up against this several years ago my main concern was to get videos working and I didn’t really think about how I could change the basic settings. Since there is no upload size restriction using FTP I just used that.

Using the WordPress’ native uploader would be by far the preferred option, though, because using FTP means you have to install a plugin to display the video (well, you did when I first came up against the problem), then upload the video manually using your FTP client. A simple short code pasted into the article will display the video. Until the plugin stops working, that is.

I’d had enough of the 8MB upload limit on my server, so set out to do something about it. For anyone else who has run into the same problem – particularly if they’re using 1&1 as their host – here’s how to increase the maximum upload file size limit. Type the following code into a text editor (NOT a word processor – I use Notepad++):php.ini file code

Save it with the filename “php.ini”. Upload the file to the wp-admin folder of your WordPress site. And that’s it. The values here increase the limit to 32MB.

It’s the php.ini  file that you will need to target whoever your host is. Some may not let you change it, but others might. The advice above is specifically for 1&1 customers.

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Originally published in 2011. Updated for 2015.

I watched a debate on a forum descend into a slanging match a while back after someone brought up the “4 Es” concept.All the Es

It’s funny watching people trying to put each other down, especially when none of them know what they’re talking about. One sarcastic comment that caught my eye was that “even Google doesn’t know about the 4 Es”. In actual fact, if you know how to use Google you can find quite a lot of information if you look past the first hit.

America is on to the 4 Es, and so are the Australians. Wikipedia – hack! spit! – has a definition of it. In fact, their definition uses the word “psychology”, and that alone would make you think that plenty of ADIs would be on to this like starving Chihuahuas on a pork chop, because they usually like to compare themselves to the medical profession whenever they get a chance. Some companies are even based on supplying the 4 Es.

To be honest, you’ve got to be fairly computer illiterate not to find this information, and in the original forum discussion someone claimed that ADIs “should be teaching the 4 Es” to their pupils. They implied that anyone who doesn’t is somehow inferior. But what are the 4 Es?

In the UK, the Grampian Police has just adopted the 4 Es approach as part of a road safety initiative. They are given as:

  • engineering
  • encouragement
  • enforcement
  • education

Indeed, here is an example of their use of the 4 Es. And the Wikipedia entry explains:

Accident prevention and improvement of traffic safety

This comprises education and information, above all following the “4 Es”: enforcement, education, engineering, encouragement/economy. The main goal is promoting safety by influencing and modifying behavior using legal, educational, vehicle- and road-specific measures; driver training, driving-instructor education, information on traffic issues, campaign design and marketing, effective enforcement.

The problem is that some things – and common sense is a prime example – remain the same whatever name you give to them. The GDE Matrix is a good example: it’s just common sense dressed up in order to become a marketable product.  The 4 Es is exactly the same, and it can be applied to virtually any aspect of industry or activity. It isn’t just a road safety thing, or even a driving instructor thing. It’s just the usual over-complication of something which is really very simple.

The whole debate smacks of flipcharts and Powerpoint presentations by besuited executives (I had my fill of that working for a large manufacturer/retailer when I was still in the rat race). But the bottom line is that it is just common sense.

Unless an instructor is deliberately teaching their pupils to behave like complete prats, he or she will already be doing their bit on at least two of the Es. They don’t need to buy anything to be able to carry on doing it.

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WordPress is a powerful blogging platform used by about 75 million people around the world. At least half of those host their own sites rather than use the free WordPress.com platform. That’s because you can install various plugins and themes that the free option doesn’t allow.Hacker Alert

Of course, freedom is always quickly followed by the scammers, spammers, and general scumbags, and a recent scare reveals that  some smaller sites – probably run by people who don’t update very often – are being targeted.

As you are aware, I don’t allow comments on this site. Any form of live comments system (and that includes most forums) just attracts arseholes who think they can get away with saying things to others that they would get a punch in the mouth for if they tried it face to face. But probably the most common use of any system is to post URLs linking to (often illegal) pornographic material or, increasingly, terrorism-related sites. I don’t want any of that, so I’ve disabled commenting completely.

Unfortunately, though, this is still not enough. Those scumbags I mentioned are like dog-shit – once you get some on you, you can’t easily get it off again.

I installed some new security software recently and made an odd discovery. Although my site is secure, one infected link was discovered. It seems that an article I wrote about an examiners strike contained a link to the PCS Union website, and this was possibly infected with malware (well, the destination was, according to Google). It’s gone, now.

I’m not quite sure what to make of that. My anti-union stance is well known, as is my derision of any strike by PCS staff – intended, as these are, to cause the maximum amount of inconvenience and suffering to as many innocent people as possible. But the link was definitely clean when I first posted it.

Very interesting, to say the least.

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