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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Learner Drivers need to be shown the Way by their Parents!

There is currently worldwide scrutiny of Driver Training activities and regulations as respective Governments and Transport Ministries finally realise that learner Drivers are not magically going to transform themselves into competent, safe and conscientious drivers!

Virtually every State in the America is evaluating its’ licensing laws and regulations at the moment as more and more young drivers take to the road and then obliterate themselves and their passengers.

In Australia and New Zealand tougher measures are being rolled out to control reckless and Drink Driving which clearly is a global problem!

The European Union is bringing in continual changes to Driver Education regulations and the format of Driving Tests. In fact in Europe currently mandatory Tuition before sitting a Driving Test is the norm as is the Regulation, Monitoring and Testing of Driving Instructors and Schools.

The recent announcement of the Regulation of Driving Instructors in Ireland is to be welcomed but it is long overdue and is only now being recognised as an integral part of the solution to the ever increasing level of accidents and road fatalities!

The cost of accidents to the Irish Exchequer is reckoned to be around € 1Billion per Annum. You don’t need to be an Einstein to realise that a fraction of this figure, if spent on Driver Education (and re-education for miscreants) would pay handsome dividends.

However the improvement of Road accident statistics can begin with a change in attitude of all existing Drivers. It is too late for a Parent to complain of the lack of Government Regulations after a son or Daughter has been killed!

Parents have a responsibility to guide their offspring to sensible decisions regarding Driving Lessons, choice of cars and certain other critical motoring standards, such as restricting the number of passengers carried until the Driver is competent.

We will wait anxiously to see exactly how the new Driving Instructor and Driving License proposals are enacted and what means of enforcement are employed.

Astral Driving School. Limerick. (c)2006
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Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Destruction Left by Motor Accidents—The True Cost!

Most people are clearly horrified by the Carnage on the roads but after the News bulletin has faded or the Paper thrown into the bin the horror subsides and we get on with our lives until the next broadcast, which in the case of the Irish Driving Scene is all too soon! Recent figures show 31 persons killed in Motor Accidents for the Month of MAY 2006.

The age group represented by the highest casualty figure is naturally, but sadly the 16 -30 category with 14 fatalities. Next up is the 30 -40 age group with 5 deaths; the 40 -50 age bracket with just 2 and also unsurprisingly the 50 -60 age group with 4 deaths and the over 60’s with 6. In this latter category 4 out of the 6 were over 70 which indicates a similar vulnerability to the youngest age group. Most of this older age group would have been pedestrians or passengers...

The facts speak for themselves. As a rough guide 33 per cent of all fatalities during May 2006 were in the under twenty five age group …most of these would have been Drivers and some would have been passengers. It is very common for a driver to be killed when involved in a single car accident which involves the driver losing control of the car and leaving the road at high speed and finally either hitting a wall or a tree or plunging into a dyke or ditch.

Losing control of a vehicle because of too high a speed for the road conditions is a common mistake made by very many young and untrained Drivers. If you undertake proper Driver Training at the outset before taking the Driving Test then this occurrence is likely to be very rare indeed.

In many accidents involving inexperienced Drivers, passengers are also killed or seriously injured with long term life changing injuries. The life changing aspects affect not only the injured parties themselves but their families as well.
We have always pleaded with our pupils not to carry other passengers until they have clocked up several years driving after passing their Driving Test and certainly not to be carrying young children especially some one else’s.

Young children are particularly vulnerable to serious injury in a collision as their bodies have not had a chance to grow and build strength as in an Adult .Non wearing of seat belts by children will almost certainly cause death in a serious accident! Yet we still see Parents driving with their children unbelted.

Apart from the human cost and suffering as a result of the aftermath of car accidents there is the hidden cost. Hidden to most people because they are only aware of the mangled bodies but to the Emergency Services and of course the State Coffers it is a very different story and far from hidden!

A spokes person for the Irish Insurance Federation gave some stark and sobering figures when interviewed recently:-
The average cost of a car repair following an accident equates to approximately €2,500.; €30,000 is commonplace in the case of personal injuries incurred and a staggering figure of up to € 4 or € 5 million in the case of deaths as a result of an accident.

The cost to the State of Motor Accidents is reckoned to be in the region of €1Billion per annum. To say that this is unsustainable is to understate the seriousness of the situation.

The introduction of sensible and enforceable Mandatory training for young Drivers and a system of Driving Test Management similar to most other European Countries would go a long way to reducing this carnage.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Arrive Alive (the Astral Driving School Blog ©June 2005)

Arrive Alive (the Astral Driving School Blog ©June 2005)
(or if you prefer the R.S.A. Summer Campaign)

Good news today with the announcement of tough new Legislation that for
once will be put into force before the Dail Brakes for its Summer recess!( we need to be pleading with the road Safety Oracle(no not Gay Byrne!) that this time the trumpet fanfares are justified!).

Worth pointing out that it is now 4 years +4 months and 31 days since the Regulation, Examination and Monitoring of Driving Instructors was due to be implemented! So keep your plaudits under the bonnet (hood for Transatlantic visitors) for another week or so and lets see what happens (or doesn’t as the case may be!)

The Brakes have been on for far too long with a pile of legislation that has been gathering dust since most cars had only three gears and a strange wobbly lever thingy jutting out from the Steering column. Weren’t those days wonderful with little yellow plastic things which pretended to be indicators and at least ten cars on the side of the road with steam billowing out from under the bonnet (?) during any ten mile journey in the Summer! Summers were Summers back then and driving with Kids in the back was something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy…I should know I was one of them!

Random Breath Testing will come into effect and along with this will be an immediate and on the spot confiscation of the Driving License if the legal limit of 80mg is exceeded. The Ban will last for 6 months which should give most individuals plenty of time to reflect on their plight and also to hire a chauffeur or indeed look for another job! Any Driver whose prime activity is piloting a Company Van, Truck or Car and who also is in the habit of taking a drink should brush up his (or her?) C.V it may be needed sooner than you think.

Mobile phone (cell) use while Driving will also be outlawed and many little Black flight recorders will be hidden in the hedgerows. Not sure whether they will be black or not though; perhaps green to blend in with the scenery? To the cognoscenti these will not be monitoring low flying Aircraft but low Flying cars trying to emulate the former .i.e. Shpeed Camera Yokes!
Perhaps the roads will be much less crowded in double quick time if these measures are well enforced and The Minister for Justice has to cut short his own Summer Recess and put out an emergency Call for 3000 new Gardai to keep up with the demands .

All of the proposed measures are long overdue as most right thinking citizens will agree, even those who are not Drivers. Pedestrians are a most overlooked category of road user and also fall foul of treacherous Driving. They do however; have their own catalogue of misdemeanours which can make a driver’s hair curl and cause difficulties to Learner Drivers on their Driving Tests more than just occasionally.

Very gratifying to note that the Summer Campaign by the newly inaugurated Road Safety Authority against drink driving has been named “Arrive Alive” which is by complete coincidence the name of the first Astral Driving School Blog set up just a year ago. Looking forward to oodles of more traffic as a result of this endorsement. Actually there is a South African Driving Web Site with the same name…isn’t it great that there is no copyright on everyday words?

While we are on (so to speak) our blogging levels have been almost zero for the last couple of months as we attended Seminars and Workshops and the rebuilding of the Astral Driving School Web Site which goes live in a few more days. So apologies to any of our earlier visitors who thought we had emigrated or passed out (!)

Just launched ...the Astral Driving School go take a look …it’s still in its infancy but make a post or a comment as long as it’s printable and as long as you do a spell check.! How I hate Forum posts and Blog entries that look like a Text message with gastric attachments! ….. website …..Arrive Alive… …..Forum
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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Penalty Points coming to a Town Near You!

Just days away to the Introduction of the next round of Penalty Points it’s worth looking at the rationale behind this system. When you are starting your Driving career it is unlikely that you will instinctively know when you are doing wrong or indeed breaking the Law. If you have not taken Driving Lessons with a Professional School then you are going to be considerably at risk of flaunting some of the very basic rules of the road and in considerable danger most of the time.

It’s a fact that young drivers both male and female are much more likely to be involved in serious accidents due to the lack of training .Training highlights the need to be very committed to a high standard of driving skills right from the off; and we are not talking about passing a Driving Test here we are talking about staying alive in the very hectic driving environment that we have today.

Unfortunately, and it’s a natural human failing, that so much emphasis is placed on the Driving Test and very little on Driving Skills for Life, most untutored Learner Drivers are going to find out the hard way .The hard road is also likely to be extremely expensive as well and in many scenarios it will be forever life changing!

We live in a fast moving world especially when behind the wheel of a lethal projectile and if we don’t have enough sense to learn some valuable lessons early on, and then the Law of the Land takes over and levies some rather harsh penalties. Forcing someone to obey the Driving Laws is a last resort but absolutely necessary.

There is so much backed up and talked about Legislative change that you could script a full length Spielberg epic with it. It is of epic proportions and will continue to be a talking point in all the media channels until we stop killing each other off in truckloads every year.

If we would take some ideas on board that are already in Law in many of our neighbouring European Countries things would improve over time .Right now the accident rates are increasing steadily due to a lack of will on behalf of the Legislators to bring laws into force and to police them adequately!

Here is an example from the U.K. If a newly qualified Driver in his or her first two years after passing the Driving Test, picks up six penalty points then the Driving License is immediately revoked and the person has to go through the whole process of learning to drive all over again!. Yes that is a provisional license, followed by a Driving Test and the fee to transfer the provisional license to a full license after passing the Test a second time!

Makes sense…and hopefully encourages new drivers to behave themselves and drive sensibly and within the law at all times .Driving Test first time
Pass rates have been continuing to fall in the U.K. as more stringent parameters are applied. Here in Ireland we are not concerned with Driving Standards seemingly; the only thing that worries Learner Drivers and others, who like publicity on a current bandwagon, is the waiting list to get a Test appointment!

If beginner drivers took lessons with a Professional School then the waiting lists would be much reduced as the tsunami of ill-equipped and unready for the Test, Candidates wouldn’t be clogging up the waiting rooms!
Let’s see what happens after April 1st 2006 and the following months and we will then get a better idea of what will be additionally needed to improve out Road Accident statistics here in Ireland.

Astral Driving School Ireland. Learn with the Professionals

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Complete Beginner

The Complete beginner should first read the Theory Test and Provisional License pages at our web site under heading .The Test. to acquaint themselves with all that these items entail.

Learning to Drive need not be a harrowing experience nor should it be viewed as a lengthy drawn out affair. Providing you take Professional Lessons at the outset you will be able to drive competently within a few weeks, following completion of Module one which runs for approximately Ten Hours.

At this point you will have covered all the Theory and Technical requirements to be safe on the road but of course you will have a long way to go to reaching driving Test Standard. During this first module you will experience plenty of reversing manoeuvres, a high speed run on a carriageway which will test several new skills, including a firm understanding of the importance of correct fifth gear usage. Or if you are planning on buying a Mini or an Alfa Romeo…sixth gear!

Most beginner drivers are of the opinion that the Driving Test is all that is going to be required to be a skilful and competent driver. Passing the current Irish Driving Test is certainly much more difficult than a few years ago but it is not yet up to the highest of European Standards and should be regarded as just the start of the Learning process that will continue throughout your driving career. It is only the beginning not the end of the process of being a competent and courteous Driver.

Even if you do pass the Test at your first attempt( and many do not) it will be several years before you can say that you are becoming a reasonably experienced and safe driver .This can only be achieved with very regular driving under all conditions imaginable and this of course takes time. It is a very different kettle of fish to be driving on a beautiful summer evening with everyone at home watching the International Soccer on T.V and battling with a howling gale on an Irish Country road in the middle of winter!

Parents, Boyfriends, Girlfriends or other relatives should be completely absent during this beginner phase since they are not equipped to impart the up to date skills needed to survive in the driving World that we have today. They may not even have taken a Driving Test themselves and invariably will be displaying many of the poor habits that lead to many of today’s accidents. After the first phase then by all means enrol some additional help in the form of an accompanying driver as you venture further afield in your driving adventures.

Advanced professional tuition at this early stage is vital to Your safety on the road and that of other road users.

Go take a look at our article entitled “Ten Tips on Choosing your Irish Driving Instructor” at Ezine Aricles.Com , the Leading Internet Article Directory.You could of course navigate to it below but we are aware of the configuration limitations of this Blog and are working to finalise not only our Newly expanded web site but our blogs as well making a better reader experience in the process.

CopyRight(c)Robin Piggott.Astral Driving School.Ireland.2000-20006

Friday, February 03, 2006

Penalty Points about to be added…Hoorah!

Last week the Minister for Transport Martin Cullen TD announced the introduction of a further 30 offences to the existing 4(!)
On the first of April (an appropriate date!!!) these additional offences will become live and Motorists need to be alert and aware especially since there has also been promised a much greater Garda presence on the side of the road or in the middle, as the case may be.
One of the omissions during the announcement, much to the dismay of sensible Motorists and indeed The Driving Tuition Profession and Road Safety Groups, was the absence of any Mobile Phone clause.
The continued use of Mobile phones while driving especially amongst the Younger and Learner Driver sector is a cause for alarm.

Hell it’s difficult enough for an experienced Driver to deal adequately and safely with all the situations that he or she comes across during a driving Trip without being distracted by cell phone use. For learner and inexperienced Drivers cell phone use while driving is not only insane but a great danger to all other road users.

Mature (!) Drivers are not setting a good example in this arena by exhibiting one-handed techniques while cornering constantly in their daily travels.
We see it many times a day and of course the longer you get away with a dangerous (and stupid!) habit ,the closer you are getting to that day when all hell breaks loose and your conversation about last nights’ party or meeting will turn in to an expensive Nightmare.

Several days after the above mentioned announcements, we were invited to participate in a Live Radio Broadcast from Limerick 95FM .The Morning Show under the Guidance of Ed Myers always provides a good forum on Motoring Matters and we are grateful to be able to put our point of view across. Thankfully, during the debate which included Senator Michael Finnucane, no mention was made of the Real cause of all our Motoring and Driving Test problems, which as we all know rests entirely with the Driving Tuition Profession.
This hobby horse gets Rolled out or is it Rocked! …periodically by Politicians of all shades as the main cause for everything rotten in the State of Motoring (apologies to Mr William Shakespeare who is not available for comment!)

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

NO POSTS for a While....

We have been concentrating on our new Internet Marketing Blog for the last week hence no posts for a while, however eventually we will get all our content on the two Learner Driver Blogs funnelled into one readable usable Blog.

If you find that Arrive Alive is a little hard on the eyes you could try our Motorvating Blog which is powered by Wordpress There is currently a lot more information on Arrive Alive,however, so you have a choice.

We are not computer professionals so bear with us as we gradually improve the feel and experience of the Astral Driving School Blogs. Our expertise on Four Wheels however is …well you can judge for yourself! We take great delight in teaching our enthusiastic pupils not quite so much delight with those who ring us up one week from their Driving Test and expect to Pass!

Have a good day and drive safely.

If you head on over to the Web’s Foremost Article Directory via this link it will take you to our own Library of Articles which are not all Driving related .In fact now I come to think of it Our direct Feed for these articles is somewhere in the depths of the Arrive Alive Blog but a little difficult to se because of the colours currently
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