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Make it Illegal to harass a learner??

By October 3, 2016January 1st, 2017Uncategorized

Some thoughts on the  petition going around with the following description:

“Make it illegal to harass a learner driver who is on a lesson

It is becoming more and more dangerous for driving instructors to teach learners on UK roads as we are continually harassed by other, so called “qualified” drivers. We are cut up, sworn at, threatened and verbally abused every day. This should be treated as a “hate crime”

I have been overtaken on many occasions while approaching a pedestrian crossing or road junction in a dangerous manner. Sooner or late, (probably sooner), this will lead to a death or serious accident involving an innocent member of the public. There are many examples on various websites to support this”




I’m not in favour, first because the example makes no sense – If you are overtaken on the approach to a junction or a crossing and and an accident is caused as a result – well guess what? That’s already a serious offence – It’s one called Dangerous Driving or Careless Driving or Driving without due care.

Secondly having taught people at all levels over many years, I can’t actually think of an occasion where I’ve been “cut up, sworn at, threatened and verbally abused” at all, let alone every day, (although the difference between being sworn at, threatened  and being verbally abused, I’m not entirely sure?, and they are all Section 5 Public Order Act Offences already)

Personally I think the problem is some Instructors will take clients onto roads or place them in situations long before they are ready to deal with them.

This is because (and I’m only guessing) they want to give the client a ‘sense of achievement’ i.e. “I’ve been on a 60mph road today” or “I must have a good instructor we’re already on roundabouts”,  I’ve even read of people with no previous experience being taken on a Dual Carriageway on the second lesson.

Now this in itself isn’t necessarily a problem if the level of instruction is high enough and the client is able to respond to that level of instruction, I mean it’s pointless  –  they won’t really have learnt anything at the end of the session, they’ll have just sat there and done exactly what they’ve been told and left satisfied they’ve had some value from the lesson.

I’ve often done it with Advanced students on an initial session to give them a taste of the standard required, If they can handle it , given a high level of instruction on a initial session and they’ve done things they never thought were possible, limit point matching on cornering, rev matching etc, but the brightest ones realise they haven’t done anything at all, it’s really me driving the car from the passenger seat.

Unfortunately many can’t provide that level of instruction and/or the client can’t respond to it, so in the case of Learners you end up with them doing 35mph in a 60 weaving all over the road and holding people up, or attempting complex junctions for the first time at busy times. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen a Learner in a situation they are clearly unable to deal with and I’m not talking initial sessions on quiet roads.

Even so the vast majority of drivers will see the L plates and react sensibly, but a small minority will be the ones “cutting you up, swearing, threatening and verbally abusing”

Some ADI’s will immediately jump up and say – ‘Ah but its CCL, we’re doing that the client wants’  Well to drop into coaching mode – They’re not using the GROW model then – The ‘R’ is Reality “The Current Reality is where the client is now. What are the issues, the challenges, how far are they away from their goal?”

This means the Objective must be realistic!

How do you eat an elephant ? One bite at a time

The structure of the lesson, and the route, must be appropriate to the level of the client.

If you’re being “We are cut up, sworn at, threatened and verbally abused every day.” then think about addressing your level of instruction and the ability of the client first. When that’s right then we can look at the minority of drivers causing the problem.