A Message From The Group Secretary

Dear Associate,

IAM Roadsmart has stated that Car Groups can resume observed drives starting from Monday 20th July 2020.

I have attached the relevant information for you in red below.

We recognise some Associates, Observers and Examiners will be hesitant about returning to in-car course delivery and testing. All activity must only resume when they feel it is safe to do so, according to individual circumstances. If any party has concerns, an observed drive or test must not be carried out.
Guidelines for restarting Advanced Driver coaching are now available on the Group Management dashboard for groups, Observers and Examiners.
In-car coaching in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland remains suspended until devolved administration restrictions are eased.
The guidelines – Car Observer COVID-19 Restart Guidance V1 2 July 2020 and Car Examiner COVID-19 Restart Guidance V1 2 July 2020 – reflect the guidance issued to driving instructors by the DVSA. Advice for Associates is also available as a guidance document.
Recommendations about the use of PPE – facemasks, gloves and hand sanitiser – are included and groups are encouraged to start making arrangements to provide this equipment for Observers. The indicative timetable for a return to Advanced Driver coaching, subject to the circumstances in each car and combined group, is:
Monday 6 July – peer observed sessions and assessments can begin to ensure observing skills are up to date. These sessions must be conducted in accordance with the guidelines unless all participants are part of the same household or ‘social bubble’. Observers must continue to operate to IMI standards. The LOPS and NOPS forms on the Group Management dashboard provide a helpful guide.
Monday 20 July – Observed sessions with Associates may start.
Monday 3 August – IAM RoadSmart Advanced Driver testing starts.
While groups may wish to set a different timetable for returning to in-car coaching according to their circumstances, in preparation all Observers and Examiners in England are requested to:

Use the guidelines – Car Observer COVID-19 Restart Guidance V1 2 July 2020

We understand that you will be disappointed to not be able to start/resume your progress toward becoming and advanced drive but we feel that, in the interests safety of both associates and observers, it is still too early to resume observed drives due to the difficulty in maintaining a safe social distance between observers and associates (unlike the motorcycle groups where they are on separate machines and can maintain a good social distance between the observer and associate).

The main reason for this is that large majority of our observers feel that now is not yet the time to resume observed drives due to age, underlying health issues or both.

We will continue to monitor the situation and also advise you of any change in circumstances. In the meantime, please do take care, stay safe stay well.

Kind regards,

John Butler

Group Secretary and National Observer

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A message from our Chairman, Derek McMullan

A message from our Chairman, Derek McMullan

Dear All 

I hope you, your family and loved ones remain well. 

Our now reduced freedom is alien to us all and will be a challenge in all aspects of our lives.  It is vital to arrest the progress of the virus and give us all the best chance of minimising the impact on us all.  I hope you can see the team-spirit you’ve developed in your local groups and as a member of IAM RoadSmart is a strength you can apply to all aspects of your lives in the challenge ahead.

The extraordinary pace of the virus has forced equally extraordinary changes to our normal activities and the team supporting you from Welwyn Garden City has made an outstanding effort in transferring as much of the business as we can over to home-working. Local groups are also finding new and innovative ways to keep in touch and for that I congratulate you all.

A number of IAM RoadSmart staff have already stepped forward to join the NHS Volunteer Responders. I am sure many of you have also done so and I thank everyone who is using their commitment to volunteering to help at this time.

You may also wish to find out more about the COVID-19 symptom tracker app which is providing valuable research data to help tackle the spread of the virus.

We are as well prepared as it is possible to be in the circumstances. Now we need to maintain IAM RoadSmart for the time when we can return to the real world.

Stay safe.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) – member update

In light of the most recent instructions from government about the vital importance of social-distancing as part of the fight against Coronavirus (COVID-19), IAM RoadSmart’s Senior Management Team continues to meet daily by conference call so I wanted to communicate with all our members about what actions IAM RoadSmart has taken to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.

The priority must be for IAM RoadSmart and all our members and groups to contribute fully to efforts to minimise the spread of the virus nationwide and maintain the health and safety of all staff, members, associates, examiners and customers. Therefore all groups have suspended activities including observed runs for associates, both in cars and on motorcycles and all meetings and social gatherings, including AGMs and ride-outs. Advanced driving and riding tests and assessments remain suspended until further notice as are all re-qualifications for Local Observer Assessors, National Observers, Fellows and Masters.


We have also taken the decision on Tuesday 24 March to close our offices in Welwyn Garden City until further notice. We will therefore unfortunately be unable to respond to letters or communications that are sent in the post at the current time. We would encourage people to use email to contact us wherever possible. Membership related enquiries should be sent to support@iam.org.uk.


Our Customer Care phone lines are still operational from 8.30am until 6pm, Monday to Friday. You may have to wait a little longer than usual for a response to your call or email, but we thank you in advance for your patience and will answer your query as quickly as we can.

Where associates’ membership expires, we will extend their membership, at no additional cost, for up to a further six months to enable all associates to complete their coaching and take their test without disadvantage. Each associate should contact our Customer Care team by emailing support@iam.org.uk  or calling 0300 303 1134 only when they have received their membership renewal notice.

I trust you enjoyed reading our new redesigned magazine, RoadSmart, which you should have received last week. We appreciate all feedback, suggestions and your letters for the next issue. You can access a digital version on our website via the member login at www.iamroadsmart.com and don’t forget the member area also has a whole host of member benefits as well as enabling you to update your contact details.  Why not login now and see everything we offer?  

We thank you for your support in these unprecedented times and we will continue to update you regularly, as the situation and government advice develops.



Best wishes to you, your friends and family.


Mike Quinton


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Driving Licenses in the EU after Brexit

Be Prepared! Travelling in the EU after Brexit.

The Government has confirmed that if there is no deal with the EU then mutual recognition of driving licences between the UK and EU may end. This would mean that UK drivers wishing to drive in the EU after 29 March 2019 would need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP). An International Driving Permit is a permit that allows you to drive in countries where a UK licence alone is not sufficient. It is basically an official, multi-language translation of your driving licence. You could be fined (or worse) for relying on just an IDP – so, you must carry your UK licence too. You can apply for an IDP 3 months before you travel, however, a permit cannot be backdated.

IDPs are valid for 1 to 3 years depending on the type required for your destination country. Whilst your IDP is valid it can be used in as many countries as you wish providing you have the correct version. You can purchase as many permits as required, as you may need more than one permit if you are travelling or driving through more than one country. You should check the requirements for each country.

  • A 1949 Convention IDP (Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Malta, Cyprus), or

  • A 1968 Convention IDP (all other EU countries, Norway and Switzerland)

  • A 1926 Convention IDP (Liechtenstein)

  • Ireland has ratified the 1949 Convention but doesn’t require foreign drivers to carry an IDP, so you won’t need an IDP to drive in Ireland after 29 March 2019.

Find out if you may need an IDP using the Post Office’s IDP Country Checker.

Find your nearest IDP issuing Post Office, and despite there being around 2,500 branches, the nearest issuing Post offices to Derby seem to be Nottingham, Sheffield, Leicester and Coventry! Refer to:

https://www.postoffice.co.uk/international-driving-permit (Where’s My Nearest Branch)

Number Plates and National Identifiers

Under international conventions, GB is the distinguishing sign to display on UK-registered vehicles when driving outside of the UK, including in the EU and the EEA. You will not need a GB sticker to drive outside the UK if you replace a Euro-plate with a number plate that features the GB sign without the EU flag.

You can display the distinguishing sign as either a GB sticker or a GB sign on your number plate.

From 29 March 2019, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you may need a GB sticker even if your vehicle has a Euro-plate (a number plate displaying both the EU flag and a GB sign).

All things considered, a staycation may be a better option!

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RoadSmart Videos

An introduction to the stages of IPSGA
Check out our new IPSGA video which is aimed at non-advanced drivers and riders and can be used as a promotional tool. Have you taken a look at our YouTube page recently? We’re producing more video content with the newest videos being about IPSGA and our driving and motorcycle Skills Day. Take a look at our YouTube page by clicking here.
Image result for iam roadsmart
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Vision Zero

IAM RoadSmart and Continental Tyres are looking for drivers to participate in their Vision Zero Live driving events at Dunsfold in Surrey and Donington Park in Derbyshire in September.​​

New Saturday dates added!

Invite extended to all IAM RoadSmart members (and families)

Book your places now.


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Poor Driver Vision – Better Watch Out!

900x444 Granny Smith False Awake Eyes Glasses by atnezau on DeviantArtCourtesy Daily Mail 3 September 2018

A police crackdown on drivers with defective eyesight has been launched. Every motorist stopped by roads police officers from three forces in September will be required to read a number plate from 20 metres. The initiative is being run by forces in Thames Valley, Hampshire and the West Midlands, and is supported by road safety charity Brake and optician firm Vision Express.

Anyone who fails will have their driving licence immediately revoked.

Officers can request an urgent cancellation of a licence through the DVLA if they believe the safety of other road users will be put at risk if a driver remains on the road.

The power was introduced in 2013 under Cassie’s Law, named after 16-year-old Cassie McCord, who died when an 87-year-old man lost control of his vehicle in Colchester, Essex.  It later emerged he had failed a police eyesight test days earlier, but a legal loophole meant he was allowed to continue driving.

Presently, once someone has obtained their licence, it is up to them to tell the DVLA if they have a problem with their eyesight.  It has been suggested that a recent eye test should be required when licences are renewed every 10 (3) years.

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The Bank Holiday Get-away

If you’re planning a bank holiday getaway then be sure to read our tips on how you can make your journey a safe and stress-free one.

We asked IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, for some tips to help you prepare for your journey.

Richard said: “With so much planning involved in a holiday, many of us forget about the first bit – how we get to our destination.

“If your journey is a long one, take some time to plan where and when you will be taking a break – just so you can get a little rest and have some water to stay hydrated. Enjoy the journey and more importantly, enjoy the getaway.”

A little preparation goes a long way! Take some time to check your vehicle inside and out before you set off. Check the tyre pressure and fluid levels are right and make sure your car ancillaries are working properly.

Secure your luggage in your boot so it’s out of the way and doesn’t obstruct your view.

Give yourself plenty of time for the journey and check the news for any traffic updates and roadworks.
Traffic England:
Weather Forecast:

If you’re travelling during the early hours of the day or late in the evening make sure you take some rest beforehand and eat something light so you don’t feel sluggish before you leave.

If you plan on using a satnav don’t forget to programme in the destination before you leave and check it. Leave plenty of time for the journey so you don’t find yourself pushed for time.

Make sure you take regular rest breaks to split up the journey when driving on a long, boring stretch of a motorway. It’s good practise to stop at least every two hours.

(Photo courtesy www.plymouthherald.co.uk)

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Useful Links

Why not check out the useful links?

There is a handful of external websites that offers help and assistance to all motorists. Route planning, weather, highway code and MOT reminders are all there.

If you now of a good website that could be of use to other drivers, why not let us know. Talk to the site managers at the next Sunday run and we will add it in.

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Well, We Didn’t See This Coming!

Here’s a short story just to hold your attention whilst I get my thoughts in order.

The other day I was in my car, legally parked, on a street in Mickleover, waiting for my good lady. Just then there was a tapping on the window. “You can’t park here!” said the owner of the offending knuckle. Keeping the window firmly closed, I enquired as to what the problem might be. “You can’t park here!” insisted the knuckle owner. “But I’m parked in a quiet Cul-de-Sac and most certainly not obstructing any traffic.” I pointed out. “I don’t care what car you’re in, you can’t park here!”

In Chatter 6 – 2, I posed the question as to what would happen if two driverless cars met, bonnet to bonnet, on a narrow lane. Would there be a precedence to giving way? Autonomous technology is certainly on the way but it will be many years before true driverless cars will be available to us all and by then the above scenario will have been sorted out, one hopes.
Apparently, there are four key stages to get working properly before we can all zip around without a care in the world. Often referred to in the motor industry as: Feet Off, Hands Off, Eyes Off and finally, Brain Off. Although we have all come across drivers who have reached stage four already. Autonomous cars have been hailed by many as the solution to our congested roads and pollution. Back in February 2015, Claire Perry, MP Parliamentary Under Secretary Department for Transport wrote in the Forward to The Pathway to Driverless Cars Summary Report and Action Plan:
“Driverless vehicle technology has the potential to be a real game changer on the UK’s roads, altering the face of motoring in the most fundamental of ways and delivering major benefits for road safety, social inclusion, emissions and congestion.”

I, dear reader, have long been a student of the University of the Patently Obvious and I find the research carried out in its hallowed laboratories is far ahead of some of the most prestigious centres of learning in the world. And once again this has proved the case. Just this weekend, the media have been reporting on a Department for Transport study that suggests driverless cars will cause more road congestion because the vehicles will behave too cautiously. Researchers have found that the performance of autonomous cars will be limited by the behaviour of other vehicles around them.
Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said: “There’s a prize to be had in terms of swifter, safer journeys, but the transition to that world will be challenging. There are around 32 million conventional cars on the UK’s roads – as driverless cars come in, traffic flow could initially get worse rather than better, potentially for many years. Much will depend on how an autonomous car’s parameters are set and just how defensively these vehicles will be programmed to drive.”
Any benefits, it seems, will only be felt when 50% to 75% of the traffic comprises of automated vehicles. According to the most recent RAC Report on Motoring found 58 per cent of motorists believe that fully autonomous vehicles will only outnumber conventional ones by 2050. I’ll be 103 years old!

Well, despite all this wonderful technology, I’m going to continue to buy and drive Cul-de-Sacs. Very reliable, quiet and cheap to run!

  • John Owen, Jan 2017
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