"Here is the sixth in a series of articles I have written on the subject of driving instructor training, first published in The Intelligent Instructor magazine.
I hope you enjoy it."
My last article focused on the EU projects that have influenced thinking in the UK and resulted in the DVSA National Standards. This article will take a look at the DVSA National Standard for Safe and Responsible Driving. As I said in last month’s article, driving cannot be seen as an isolated, skills-based task, but rather, as one that considers the specific purpose of the journey as well as the goals for life and skills for living of the individual carrying out the driving task. In this respect, the Standard for Safe and Responsible Driving goes far and beyond the practical driving test and requires that the driver understands their role and responsibility as a qualified driver.
There are six Roles in the DVSA National Standard for Safe and Responsible Driving:
Role 1 – Prepare vehicle and its occupants for a journey
Role 2 – Guide and control the vehicle
Role 3 – Use the road in accordance with the Highway Code
Role 4 – Drive safely and responsibly in the traffic system
Role 5 – Review and adjust behaviour over lifetime
Role 6 – Demonstrate developed skills, knowledge and understanding
The Standard applies to driving:
· all types of vehicle covered by driving licence category B
· manual and automatic vehicles
· on any type of road
· at any time
· in any weather conditions
· with any number of passengers (staying within the law and the manufacturer’s specification)
· with any load (staying within the law and the manufacturer’s specification)
· for private use and for commercial purposes (staying within the law)
Roles 1 to 5 set out the standard needed to get a category B driving licence and continue lifelong learning.
Role 6 sets out the standard needed to drive more safely and efficiently. It will help reduce risk and costs, especially if you:
· carry passengers
· drive a lot
· drive in varied conditions
It is useful if you want to:
· drive vans or minibuses for a job or as a volunteer (staying within the law)
· accompany a learner driver (staying within the law)
· train to be a driving instructor
· provide other driver training
· work in a job that requires driving a car or light van
Linked to the Standard is the DVSA National Safe and Responsible Driving Syllabus, which consists of four Units:
Unit 1 – Prepare a vehicle and its occupants for a journey
Unit 2 – Guide and control a vehicle
Unit 3 – Driving a vehicle in accordance with The Highway Code
Unit 4 – Drive safely and efficiently
This Syllabus aims to provide a structured approach to gaining the skills, knowledge and understanding to be a safe and responsible road-user in this class of vehicle.
Drivers who fully engage with the programme of study and training that this Syllabus supports will be able to demonstrate:
· their knowledge and understanding of the theory of safe driving
· their ability to apply their theoretical knowledge and understanding while driving
· their ability to reflect on their own driving performance and to recognise the need to take remedial action if needed
The underpinning research indicates that the process of learning to drive safely and responsibly needs to be approached in a joined-up way if it is to be successful. Therefore it is important that drivers and trainers do not see these units as ‘boxes’ that can be ‘ticked-off’ one-by-one and in isolation. The route taken through the material by each learner may differ. It is important that learners and trainers all understand that a driver can only be said to be competent when they understand how the content of the units fits together.
In developing the National Standard for Driving™ the DVSA has made the assumption that further improvements in road-safety will follow if newly qualified drivers can:
· develop a greater awareness of the risks associated with driving
· learn to actively reflect on their own driving performance and take steps to improve where they see areas that require further development
To support these objectives the DVSA believes that the learning-to-drive process should be ‘client-centred’. This means that there should be an emphasis on transferring ownership of the learning process to the client at the earliest possible stage.
Some ADIs seem to believe that a syllabus for teaching someone to drive is a list of topics that should be gone through systematically. Actually, it is easier to work from the DVSA National Syllabus and then use the topic as a platform, on which to build and develop the skills needed to drive safely and responsibly. As driving instructors, we need to deliver great lessons that are built around Lesson Planning, Risk Management and Teaching and Learning Strategies. First and foremost, learner drivers need to work towards a goal. Once the goal has been identified and agreed, the structure of the lesson and the appropriate route will follow, which naturally leads to a division of the responsibility for risk. The teaching and learning strategies will encourage the learner driver to reflect on their own performance and determine the need to take remedial action. Reflection is one of the most important aspects to improving road safety because if a newly qualified driver can recognise a ‘near miss’ and take steps to avoid something similar happening again, they are more likely to remain crash-free.
My next article will look at the DVSA National Standard for Driver and Rider Training.