Category Archives: Vehicle

Mobile Phone Use While Driving Gets You 6 Points from Today

Driver using Mobile Phone

Driver using Mobile Phone

I’m a day late I know, but I’ve been a busy bee with surgery issues and winding up business for my down time. The law came into force on Wednesday 1st March 2017. From Wednesday, using your mobile phone while driving, means 1 text can get you 6 points and a £200 fine on the spot, scrolling your music, making calls etc will all get you 6 points and £200 fine. It used to be £100 and 3 points with an optional retraining scheme. 

Its bad for experienced drivers who are allowed up to 12 points within any 3 year period before you receive a ban, but its even worse for new drivers like myself, if you get 6 points in the first 2 yrs then you lose your license.

The mobile phone retraining scheme where you could choose to a do a safety course instead of the points has been withdrawn, so its points, points or points oh and a fine. I’m not sure the seatbelt and speed awareness course are still running or not. Best to drive on the assumption that Tullocks Going to Get Ya. 

This legislation were brought in after Polish Driver Tomasz Kroker killed 4 members of the same familey while he were playing with his mobile phone. From memory he claimed he weren’t using his phone but instead were scrolling through his musical playlist. 

Police Crack Down

Police Crack Down Barrier

Police Crack Down Barrier

The police are reportedly doing 7 day crack downs, the first of which runs from 1st-7th March 2017, with another rumoured to start 22nd March 2017, a similar week long crack down in February 2017 resulted in over 3600 motorists given points, a fine or retraining scheme. With the scheme now withdrawn and the points doubled and fine increased, there is a world of pain heading to 1000s of motorists in March. 

According to government figures there about 2 dozen people killed per year and 100 seriously injured my motorists using their phones every year. A survey I saw reported that about half of young drivers think its acceptable to use their phone for short calls or quick texts. With many young people unable to stand switching their mobile phones off, its a recipe for disaster. 

Insurance Punishment

I phoned my insurance just for giggles (and fuck yeah I lied about who I was) and asked them how much it would increase my premium if I were banned within 2 years of passing. It really would be pointless me driving, it nearly tripled the premium. With a clean license having been driving 6 months the quote on a 1.4T Astra SRI were £1,200. Now add 3 points and the premium shoots to £1,800, next add a ban (non drink driving) raised the premium to £3,500. A driving driving ban they said they wouldn’t insure me.

They also pointed out that mobile phone use penalties are a CU80 Penalty and put you at more of risk than someone who were 5mph over the speed limit. Given there are reasons you could be caught speeding, but there is no excuse for using your phone, so your wallet will get more abuse for such a penalty. The official figured being bandied about suggest a CU80 will get you 30% insurance increase, which is quite close what I were told. 

Mobile Phone using Driver image by Breakingpic and Police Car image by Unsplash.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

My Driving Test

L Plate

L Plate

I finally succeeded at passing my driving test, I say finally but given my first driving lesson ever were less than a month before hand, I guess it weren’t that long. It just felt like longer due to the pressure and rushing to fit it all in before my shoulder surgery, work issues, business and other stuff. I’ve included more about my theory test and driving test results later along with some commentary. 

First things, my Driving Instructor were John Swain (FB link) or 07968956860. He does both slow and steady as well as high intensity driving courses. Basically this is lessons from 1 hour to 5 hours (with breaks), between the hours of 6am-8pm. He can be flexible beyond that too, but best to talk to him about your specific needs.

I did a mixture of lessons, I went with 3-4 hours for my first few lessons, then between 1.5-3 hours, using the longer lessons to work on my sticking points. I believe it were a total of 11 lessons, spread over about 3 weeks, with lessons from 7am to 8pm fitting around my work timetable.

What I will say is intensive teaching seems a little overwhelming at first as you literally dive right in. Lots of things, for example moving off safely, at first I were thinking, where are my peddles, check mirrors, look over shoulder for blind spot, damn it man you forgot to indicate, indicate on, check mirrors, look in blind spot, press clutch down, find my gear stick, move into first gear, its been too long, check my mirrors, and blind spot again, slowly raise clutch, don’t stall, find the bite point, don’t stall mofo, check my mirrors again, steer out the spot, last glance to right, ease on the gas, mirror check, off the clutch fully, and pull away. 

Once you’re more in to it, you don’t think so much about the actions, or sequentially its more check mirrors while getting into gear and finding bite point, blind spot check, move out, speed up and away. The intensive courses made this process harder at first but the extended driving lesson time meant you could keep trying and trying and get it nailed.

My Driving Test Pass Score

My Driving Analysis Form

My Driving Analysis Form

My test started out potentially really badly, firstly the number plate I were asked to read had a bolt and cap in one of the letters, which made it near impossible to determine M or N and possibly even a W. Angela (my test examiner) struggled a little too, but I chose M and upon inspection at about 5m we both agreed M.

For reference in this instance its the examiners discretion if they accept M/N/W and your option to ask to read the car next to it or another plate, if you wish. 

The nitty gritty, I got 3 minor faults. One of them were as simple as poor positioning of my left foot and the heel got caught on the floor mat so I fluffed some consecutive gear changes. The other 2 minors were for mirror/signal category. I’m not 100% sure where they were, but I’m sure 1 of them were signalling (indicator) before a mirror check. I’m working on this, when I’ve been checking my mirrors on approach to a turn, I have sometimes forgotten to double check or rather include a dedicated mirror check.

I made an absolute point of NOT looking at what my DVSA Examiner were writing or marking, I didn’t want it to distract me. This is why I’m not 100% what the minors were for, other than the gear one.

I asked Angela for an extra critical assessment at the end to which she jokingly offered to add some extra minors if I liked. To be crystal clear I’m 100% sure I earned those 3 minors and they were genuine. I included mention of this joke as often I hear examiners are very stuffy, but they are only human. In her more critical assessment she said her only suggestion were work on mirrors and observation in general, everyone always need more observation. In general my driving were fine.

John also parroted her observation comment saying more experienced drivers often don’t do blind spot checks, so hammer the checks home as a newly qualified driver and build the habit.  

Excellent Lesson 

Poynton Round About Hazards

Round About Hazards

On my test day, a really helpful thing happened, confusing at first but helpful. Right by the test centre in Bredbury is a BP petrol station, which has a HGV/LGV fuel pump (I’d never seen one, or noticed before). We needed air in one of the tired and a screen wash refill to make sure all tip-top for the test. A large truck was in the right lane, indicating left, so I’m thinking slow down, give it space, its going to turn left at the lights. Suddenly its hazard lights come on, it did some weird positioning and manoeuvres, so I come to a near stop, then it became clear it were heading into the petrol station.

It were an excellent thing to happen, and taught me when you’re going to perform unexpected manoeuvres bang the hazards on and hopefully the cars behind will give you extra room. The first day I were driving, a transit van pulled up towards the end of a one way road, and banged the hazards on, so I hung back an sure enough the driver performed a tricky reverse park into a obscured drive way. His hazard lights meant I allowed space and all good. 

Consealed Car Park Entry Hazard

Consealed Car Park Entry Hazard

The pic on right is a place I sometimes park to stop at the pharmacy and its a nightmare, the green dot is a tree, the blue dot a statue and the red line is my route of travel. Invariably people expect you to enter the round about, so when you indicate left into the concealed entrance between the tree and statue you’re risking a rear end bump. I have seen many actual bumps and near misses in this very spot. When I approach now, I bang my hazard lights on about 2-4 car lengths before the status and the car behind me almost without exception drops back and I can safely make that turn.

Just for completeness as I have said before, I passed my theory with 49/50 on questions and 67/75 on hazard perception, which is a very good score, since I had never had a driving lesson before. 

Generation Gap

Huge Round About Portwood

Huge Round About Portwood

My early days driving has highlighted many things, many of these things are linked to potentially overly confident drivers, or perhaps drivers who were trained the old ways. My mum for example said she had never seen a round about with more than 2 lanes before. She as a younger person had never even seen or been on a motorway as a passenger.

The biggest round about she encountered for years of driving were 2 lanes, and she never came across one with lane guidance which negated the need to indicate in the first decade (see left). Lots of other things she had to figure out as she came across them. There is a growing argument for drivers to take refresher tests or a second driving test to see if you’re still safe, I can see why. I can however see that actual driving is about the road not the book, so I’m not sure it would help massively. 

I get the feeling many of the things which confuse me as a new driver, are because I’ve been taught the 2016 way, and my mother were taught the 1990s way, my older sister the 1980s way, and so on.

Its not so much people are driving wrong, they are just driving to a different era and we all have to find a working middle ground, and get by. 

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Driving Examiner Sues Learner Driver for Whiplash

Crash Test Collision

Crash Test Collision

Ben Williams, 24, from Sutton Coldfield has failed his driving test when DVSA Examiner Keith Priestly accused him of “braking too quickly” and causing whiplash. Luckily on this occasion Mr Williams Driving instructor Elaine Rose were in the rear of the car and she is reported to have argued that Ben executed the emergency stop manoeuvre perfectly. 

Ben who is an Engineer said “It was a nightmare. Its nerve-racking enough doing a driving test – let alone the examiner trying to sue you afterwards. He asked me to perform the emergency stop, so I did, and then he started groaning that I braked too hard and fast… but I felt fine and so did my instructor”.

His test were cancelled due to the examiner not being fit to continue the test, which gave Mr Williams a free retest. A few weeks later Mr Williams revived a letter from solicitors saying they were lodging a claim for damages to Mr Priestly for whiplash. On a side note, this is what happens if your test is cancelled due to bad weather, heavy traffic or anything else which isn’t the candidates fault.

Not So Emergency Stop

Sorry pedestrian peoples, your dog, your 3 year old child and your granny need all the kings men to put them back together, I decided to plough you down because, well I didn’t want to brake too fast in case I got whiplash.  My examiner said that’s fine but you’re all dead so all good, doesn’t matter. 

The emergency stop is essentially the ONLY manoeuvre you accrue faults and fail for checking your mirrors and being too slow, the key is EMERGENCY, not when its safe, convenient and legal, it means RIGHT NOW!

Lets do the maths, 30 mph, you’re travelling at about 15 meters per second and thinking time 10 meters. The very idea is that you cut the time in half and save lives. My instructor John told me off for worrying about lurching him forward and other stuff, STOP!

The Final Outcome

A few weeks later Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) wrote to Mr Williams saying Mr Priestly has been disciplined and the case has been dropped. A DVSA spokesperson has said “Mr Priestly no longer works for the DVSA. We can’t comment further”. 

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Driving Test Changes for 2017

L Plate

L Plate

I posted about the consultation on changes to the driving test previously but the results from that little experiment are starting to filter down. Whilst some of the things I agree with, some of them I have major issues with.

As a learner driver now, my experience is very limited, too small to be statistically relevant. I will of course update this with a new post at a later point and reference this one once I have more input.

Change Is In The Air

There are a few major changes, some are good and some appear to be minor tweaks, and one is questionable at best.

  1. An increase to the ‘independent driving’ part of the test from 10 to 20 minutes.
  2. Asking the candidates to follow directions given from a SatNav during the ‘independent driving’ part of the test.
  3. Replace the ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn in the road’ manoeuvres with more real-life scenarios such as driving into and reversing out of a parking bay. Parking on the right side of the road.
  4. Ask one of the two vehicle safety questions (known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions) while the candidate is driving, such as asking them to use the rear heated screen or use screen wash and wipers to clear the window.

The replacing the manoeuvres is a little eek, we already have the “Bay Park” which is reverse parking into a bay, on top of this they are planning on adding forward parking as well. I’m not sure this counts as real-life scenarios, but I guess its a start.

The using SatNav is a definite plus, and honestly its about time this were in there, so I guess on balance its ok. 

What’s New

Motorway Speed Light Lines

Motorway Speed Light Lines

One of the things suggested by Transport Minister Andrew Jones is actually really very good. He wants learner drivers to be able to take driving lessons on motorways before passing their driving test. Just when you think its getting good, it turns out these lessons will be voluntary. It would also be up to the driving instructor to determine when they learner driver is competent and safe to have motorway lessons. 

Currently the only way to get motorway lessons is pay for them after you have passed your test or as some new drivers do by completing the also voluntary Pass Plus or similar scheme.

Its complete madness yet again by not making them mandatory. Sooner or later you MUST use the motorway so you should be trained to use them.

High speed driving is a very different animal, during my first 4 driving lessons I never went over 31mph, and 51mph were the fastest speed I went in the 8/9 professional lessons I have had.  I went up to the next major town to me in a relatives car, and theres a NSL Dual Carriageway. Steering at 70-72mph is VERY different than lower speeds. If you’ve never gone 50+, the odds of you turning too aggressively are so high, and flipping the vehicle becomes a reality if not cracking something.

Making It More Modern

I mentioned changing the manoeuvres earlier to add forward bay parking and parking on the right side of the road. This is all well and good but its hardly scratching the surface of what’s needed. If you drove like you are trained to, and what you MUST emulate to actually pass, you would be Schrodingers Handgrenade on the road. By that I mean at any given moment someone tests your status, and its BOOM time.

The only way you get away with it while learning is because of the L Plates, and the exceptions others make for you. Excluding White Van Man who either wants to claim whiplash off you, or is too high on paint fumes to realise how much danger they are causing. If ever there were an advert for dash cams it should just be a picture of a white van in your rear view mirror.

Round About Lane Discipline

Round Abouts No Left

Round Abouts No Left

Today while I were out, one of the techniques I was taught and expected to use went wrong, horribly wrong. The round about technique is essentially if you are going left or straight ahead, you approach just left of the curb or in the curb lane. You then have to follow the curb around to the left and steer with the curb around to the exit and off. 

This works amazingly well on multi-lane round abouts, but as soon as you have a single lane, which is wide enough for 2 or more vehicles such as this one. In this google maps image, you can see a few cars have parked at the bottom.

I drew in the white line to show its wide enough, there are no lines though. What are you supposed to do, is in blue. While I followed the blue line, another car came up and followed the red line. The brown splat is where the others Christmas tree air freshener became ineffective against the load in his pants.

There is an argument the other guy shouldn’t over-take on a round about, but there also an argument that sticking to the curb is nuts in such circumstances. A more defensive road position would have solved this potential collision. I can see the point of instilling lane discipline on round abouts, but single lane round abouts need some work. There are slightly different rules for mini roundabouts, laned roundabouts, and normal roundabouts, so why not for single lane vs multiple lane ? 

Co-incidentally, the red line would be what is called “Straight lining The Round About”, it would fail your driving test, should a police officer be really kinky and enjoy the punishment of writing reports it can be an endorsable offence. While talking about this, Straightlining a mini round, as in driving over the hub, is a 3 point offence. Rule 188 prohibits it, but doesn’t expressly prohibit using a mini round about as a U-Turn location. 

3 Point Turn vs Turn In The Road

Austin Powers 3 Point Turn

Austin Powers 3 Point Turn

The 3 Point Turn has been renamed Turn In The Road some years ago, which is probably good, since its not always possible to do a 3 point. However as I understand it, you can still earn minor faults for doing more than 3 points. There are actually about 5 different ways to fail during a turn in the road manoeuvre. 

If its a 3 point turn, then call it that. The name Turn In The Road implies that as long as your observation, control and technique are on the ball then 3 or 6 should still be acceptable. There also needs to be a point where you are performing a 10 point turn, and holding 200 cars up, that you simply accept if the curbs low enough, its safe to do you, you have to mount the curb as its safer to do that.

I ended up on a new build housing estate where they hadn’t quite finished the road, the madness they hadn’t even lowered the curbs for drive ways, it were double parked and a nightmare. I hadn’t been prepared for that kind of turn, trying to use standard techniques I would have hit another car, mounted the huge 9″ curbs, or something worse.

 Reversing In General

While reversing, you’re expected to look out your rear window for about half of your time going in reverse. I can’t see much of anything out of my rear window, so I had to literally take my eyes of the road, and look into space. I may as well have been checking my phone and texting for all it helped. 

This needs to be updated, the technique for vehicles without a rear window needs to be taught and then the option given. I could see more by using my left, right, interior and checking my side (front and rear/blind spot) than I could in the rear, the rear window check made me feel like I were taking my eyes off the road.

The vehicles I have learned in have both had rear cameras, so the odd glance at that revealed a better rear view than any rear window glance ever could. While they are adding technology like SatNav usage, they should also include the usage of Parking Sensors and Rear View Camera’s. You should absolutely learn how park and reverse without using technology but you should also be taught how to use it too. 

I could go on way more, but hopefully this update is just the start and other updates are coming, more useful ones. 

 

Highway Image by Tookapic, Map Image by Google and Austin Powers image by New Line Cinema / Warner Bros.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Ex-Police Car Insurance Tips

KP10NXY Vauxhall Astra

KP10NXY Vauxhall Astra

I have had a nightmare getting insurance for my last car, I no longer have the car since Ex Police Car Specialist in Manchester who sold it me, basically sold me a lemon and were dicks about the Consumer Rights Act, more on that another time. Lesson learned, if a dealer won’t, or can’t take credit card, I’d walk away.

I’d already started writing this article, and figured it contained some useful information for others buying ex-Police cars from honest dealers. So I went ahead and posted it anyway. 

Almost ALL the main comparisons websites didn’t carry my car’s Trim and Spec (Astra Special 1.3 CDTI) hell most of them couldn’t even find my number plate (KP10 NXY).  When I visited the main dealer (Bristol Street Motors), they put my number plate in and were sure it weren’t a real car plate.

I don’t think a single one of the the big boy comparison sites got it right straight off the bat, and only Mustard.co.uk off the top my head found it at all, I think Asda were able to manually look it up.  The story were the same with most of the major direct insurance companies, only a handful actually found the car.

Average Quotes

KP10 NXY Barebones

KP10 NXY Barebones

Most my pre-purchase quotes were around £800-1000 on a provisional license, and around £1,800-2,400 on a full license. I decided given my previous experience hunting quotes that I would tweak the options a little using the many accounts I had made until I found the best combination. 

There were some outside the above range quotes, my biggest quote were around £5,000 with a £3,000 Compulsory Excess but with some fiddling and jigging, I managed to find an Excellent Deal.

Top Tip: Make a second account with a fake name, who lives nearby (same postal code range, same age, date of birth, job etc, but diff email). The reason for this is, insurance companys record EVERY quote you make. If you test the price for parked on the road, then try parked on the driveway and its cheaper.  If your car is broken into it, and it were on the road but you choose on the drive they can cry about it and refuse to cover it. Experiment with a fake account but very very similar details. Remember don’t enter your drivers license number on this accounts 😉 

Now if you have an Ex-Police Car this list will save you a heap of time as it gives you an order to work again, an save you a heap of time. 

Insurance Companies Break Down

Its set out in order of most useful down to shocking and couldn’t help at all. I’m going to have a little rant about Hastings Direct and a Kudos to the company I chose in the end, but here’s the run down. Good Luck!

Detected The Trim AND All Engine Sizes
This means they had the make, model, trim and its selection of engine sizes (1.3, 1.7, 2.0).
Admiral (and Bell, Elephant), More Than, Asda, Mustard and Tesco Bank.

Had The Trim but Not All Engine Sizes
These were unable to detect the reg plate, but manually did have the make, model, trim but usually only the 1.7 engine size, not the other two. If you have the 1.3 of the bigger engine, no point trying these.
Zurich, Liverpool Victoria, uSwitch, Go Skippy, Swinton Insurance, Co-Operative Bank, Kwik-Fit Insurance, Quote Me Happy, Swift Cover, Diamond and John Lewis.

Had Car but Unable to Quote or Didn’t Do Online Quotes.
I can’t say don’t try these, only that you need to phone them or them phone you, but were too much hassle.
TheAA and Allianz

Comparison Sites Failed Catastrophically
Confused, Compare The Market, Money Supermarket and Go Compare,

Didn’t Have The Trim FULLSTOP!
Hastings Direct, 1st Central, RAC, Direct Line, AXA, eSure, Churchill, Endsleigh, Sainsburys, Adrian Flux, Post Office, Marks and Spencer, NatWest, Prudential and Privilege.

As you can see I literally spent hours upon hours trying to find a bargain, and I found one in the end, just not the one I expected before I purchased the car. 

Hastings Direct Sucks

Hastings Direct Logo

Hastings inDirect Logo

I’m giving Hastings Direct a special mention / kick because this were the company I really wanted to go with, their Hastings Direct Premier Insurance ticked all my boxes. The key fact were I was assured that provisional drivers could earn no claims bonus with them. I were quoted around £700 as a provisional, and then up to £2,100 the day I pass the test. I would have to pro-rata this, since I intended on passing in about 6 months at the time (September 2016), my first year would cost me £1400. This £1400 would be made up from 6 months as a provisional and 6 months as a qualified driver, the break down is below for completeness.

Provisional Driver: £58.33 per month multiplied by 6 months = £350.
Qualified Driver: £175 per month multiplied by 6 months = £1050

On the same phone call I confirmed the Provisional NCB, I were told the fact the insurance couldn’t find my actual trim, but the Reg Plate returned the Exclusiv Spec, which had the correct transmission, engine size, bhp, etc I were told “We’ll be able to cover you, we’ll just need to add the ‘special’ name to your policy.”, so I worked on the basis of this being accurate and would be plain sailing.

I regrettably bought the wreck of a car, I get an estimated delivery date, all I need to do now is call to get my car insured. This is where it all went to hell. On this second call, I were told “Underwriters don’t speak to customers directly, sorry nothing we can do to help, its not something we do”, they wouldn’t even ask the underwriters or whoever themselves or pass me to someone who could.

F*#k You very much Hastings, I spent 2 weeks thinking I had it all planned and were ready to roll before you kicked the stool from under my feet.

Tesco Rocks

Ask MID (Motor Insurance Database)

Ask MID (Motor Insurance Database)

Since I kicked Hastings in the nards, I thought I would give Tesco a special mention. In the end it were them which saved the day. A provisional license holder, parking the car on the road, on a 2010 Astra Special 1.3 CDTi and the quote was a mouthwatering £540.

A whole £160 less than Hastings Direct, which I thought were a good deal.

I nearly snapped their arm off before they changed their mind, an off I went happily insured… so I thought.

The day the care were delivered, I’m sat in the gym, cooling down before a shower. I thought I’d tax the vehicle it showed me the link for Motor Insurance Database (MID) and suggested you check the insurance status before you pay. When I did this, it came up with the wrong trim. It showed Vauxhall Astra Exclusiv CDTi (see right), which meant technically my insurance were invalid. 

Tesco definitely showed the correct spec and trim searching with my number plate, and it still does right now. I checked my quote emails, and confirmation emails and they all matched up saying Astra Special. I checked my documents, and blow me if it didn’t say Exclusiv on the certificate of insurance, GRRRR. 

Tesco Insurance Correction Letter

Insurance Correction Letter

I phoned Tesco Insurance up, which has a UK Landline phone number (01332093098), the advisor on the phone checked all my quote references, and said it shows Exclusiv on their side. He checked it on MyCarCheck and it showed as Astra Special, and he checked Tesco’s customer site and agreed it said Special. So assured me now I had notified them I were fully insured until its sorted and safe to drive. I would need to send in documentary evidence of the cars specification, and the quotes saying special so they could add it to the system.

At this point I were expecting a repeat of the Hastings Fiasco and finding I had no insurance. I emailed in photo’s of the documents, the Tesco quotes, Tesco emails and everything else, and waited nearly a week before a letter arrived from Tesco.

This letter (see left) basically confirmed although the MID says Exclusiv, Tesco has added a note on their systems to ensure the correct model is insured and I’m legal. 

This is effectively what Hastings Indirect had promised they would do, so I have no idea why they couldn’t do it, but kudos to Tesco for actually sorting it out. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re buying an Ex-Police car, Tesco, Admiral (Bell/Elephant), More Than, Asda and Mustard are the top pics, given mustards best price promise, it should be a no brainer. Earlier I mentioned their lowest price promise, and as best I can find, this is provided by Adrian Flux who usually are the go to for modified cars. If I had added a DTUK or other tuning box along with a K n N air filter etc, I’d have probably tried them, so maybe worth a look.

I also found it dropped the price by about 20% by adding an experienced named driver, in my case my poor old Mother were added as a Named Driver, this dropped the insurance about £100 for me. So adding a more experience driver, may save you big money, just use one with no convictions, no accidents, no points, basically a clean license.

 

KP10NXY Car image by Cobalt271, who has a hell of a collection of service vehicle images. He also has quite a bit of information about the cars usage, due to the stream of images. If you’re considering a car which appears in his images, a polite message via Flickr may be invaluable.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Car Registration vs Number Plate Retention

V778 Retention Document

V778 Retention Document

I have seen this being asked quite often, and there is certainly a fair bit of confusion since it quite recently, well a year ago at time of writing, it all changed.

The million dollar question, I see asked is How Long Can You Keep A Personalised Registration on Retention (V778) or Certificate of Entitlement (V750) without actually assigning it to a vehicle ?

The Short Answer is, You can keep a private number plate on Retention or Entitlement for as long as you like, assuming renewals and such are kept up to date.  

Much like Domain Names, its quite common nowadays for parents, relatives and siblings to buy a domain name or reg plate for their relevant family member for future use. Its then gifted once the person passes their driving test and obtains a car of their own. 

The Fee’s

Until March 2015, the DVLA used to charge you £25 for every year you wanted to keep it on entitlement or retention documents. This all changed going forward from March 2015, when the DVLA issued Retention Document (V778) and Certificate of Entitlement (V750) documents became valid for 10 years. Beyond 10 years there are currently no fee’s to extend or renew. 

There are a few common questions asked around this question too, so threads often get “hi-jacked” from the OP (Original Posters) questions, so a few of them are below. 

My Retention or Entitlement Documents Expired

V750 Certificate of Entitlement

V750 Certificate of Entitlement

Its always best to renew your documents as soon as possible and not let them expire, but life happens. Mistakes happen, reminds get lost in the post, or we simply forget. Officially and again much like Domain Names, you lose the name or registration.

However while domains have a fixed grace period number plates current do not. 

Quite often its reported that an apologetic grovelling letter to the DVLA is often enough for them to update the records. Unlike domain names where there is often a new owner, registration plates don’t move so quickly. 

You will have to pay any back fee’s owed, which is £25 per year, since the certificate expired up until March 2015, when the fee’s were removed.

Renewing Your V750 0r V778

For the V750, you’ll get a reminder letter or email when the certificate of entitlement is about to expire. As soon as you get this document, I suggest doing it as soon as possible.

Create an Online Management Account over the DVA. You can add all your number plates to this one account, and handle renewals, details and nominee information.

You can also complete the V750 and post it with the appropriate fee, if any. 

For the V778, you nee to complete the V778 Certificate, signed by the grantee to the address listed on the document.

It can only be done via post currently.

Lost Retention or Entitlement Documents

This isn’t really a big issue any more, you do however have to write to the DVLA, emails and phone calls aren’t accepted. Simply write to them with a cover letter explaining what happened and what you need to: 

DVA Personalised Registrations
DVLA
Swansea
SA99 1DS

It will take upto 4 weeks for the new V750 or V778 to arrive.

Mistakes On Retention or Entitlement Documents

This MUST be done via Post, you can’t correct the name or address on either the V750 or V778 any other way. You need to return the incorrect V750 / V778 with a cover letter explaining what is wrong, and include relevant documents to support any change requested.

Most commonly this is misspellings or married names, it takes around 4 weeks for new documents to arrive. 

That’s All Folks

I think that covers everything you need to know about retention and entitlement docs. 

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.
1 2 3