Many ADIs are concerned with how the Risk Management section of the Standards Check needs to be met. Today's blog will hopefully make the requirements a little clearer.
In the Standards Check guidelines in the ADI 1 Standard Operating Procedure, it states:
The ‘balance of responsibility’, between the pupil and the ADI, will inevitably vary in different circumstances. For example, compare the following two scenarios:
a) A pupil in the very early stages of their training, in a car fitted with dual controls.
In this situation it might be reasonable for an ADI to start a lesson by saying something like:
‘At all times I expect you to drive as carefully and responsibly as possible. I will expect you to be aware of other road users and to control the car. However, I do have the ability to take control of the car in an emergency. I will only use these controls when I feel that you are not dealing with the situation yourself. If that happens we will take some time to talk about what happened so that you understand for next time.’
b) A pupil who has passed their driving test but has asked you to give them some additional training in their own car, which is much bigger and more technically advanced than the one they learnt in.
In this situation an ADI might say something like:
‘You have passed your test and I will therefore assume that you are taking full responsibility for our safety. I will be talking to you from time to time but I will try to keep that to a minimum so that I don’t distract you. If I am quiet don’t worry; that just means I am comfortable with what you are doing. I will, of course, let you know if I see any risk that you appear to have missed.’
This statement, or something similar is very important, however there is more to responsibility of risk that a mere statement at the beginning of a lesson.
At The Beginning
If, for example the ADI has been working with approaching and emerging at junctions and their topic for the lesson is how to deal with roundabouts. How will the responsibility for risk be shared? What can the student be reasonably expected to be responsible for?
This will depend on their previous experiences. If they were dealing with junctions really well on their own on the last lesson then it may be reasonable to suggest that they try these independently with a little help at first just to get them warmed up. Or, if they still needed a little help last time you may start with a full talk through and then follow up with a few questions.
Who will be responsible for the areas that they know nothing about yet? This is the responsibility of the ADI, so a great deal of help will be needed here.
However the sharing of risk is divided, this must be agreed by the student, but this agreement does not need to be set in stone for the duration of the lesson. Ultimately the ADI is responsible for the safety of the car, occupants and other road users, so if you need to take a bit of responsibility back (more help), or indeed give the student a bit more responsibility (less help), then this must be discussed and agreed with the student.
On The Move
Risk should also be managed on the move. Keeping the roundabouts topic as an example, the ADI needs to use Q&A to manage risk in other areas of development, not just on roundabouts, for example:
At junctions: "Tell me when you think it's safe to go"
At the brow of a hill: "What are you preparing for as you approach the brow"
Meeting situations: "How will you know if the vehicle ahead is going to hold back"
These are just some examples but there are of course many more.
When does a situation become safety critical?
The easy answer to this is when the ADI has to intervene either verbally or physically to avoid danger.
The above question examples are a 'call to action', and gives the student an opportunity to demonstrate that they are dealing with the potential danger, the ADI expects the correct response, but what happens if the student does not respond in the expected way? The ADI needs to then respond verbally by telling the student what they need to do. If the student does not respond to the instruction, the ADI would then need to take control by maybe using the dual controls.
If an intervention by the ADI, either verbally or physically, is necessary then it is imperative that the student has an opportunity to discuss the situation and the ADI helps them to come up with a solution of how to deal with similar situations in the future and not just ignore the issue as if it never happened!! Give them lots of help.
The next question the ADI needs to ask themselves is:
Will this situation affect the success of the student to achieve their learning outcomes for this lesson?
Yes? Change the lesson plan
No? Ask the student if they wish to change the lesson plan
For example: A lesson on how to deal with roundabouts has been agreed, the student has tried to emerge at a junction unsafely. Here the lesson plan must be changed.
However, if their lesson plan is to improve their reverse around a corner and they had the same problem, the lesson plan does not necessarily need to be changed but the student must be given the choice. If their choice is to continue with the original plan, in this instance this is completely acceptable but, help will be required to prevent the same issue reoccurring. In other words you must agree what help is required if the same situation arises.
So we can see that the responsibility for risk continues throughout the driving lesson and is shared by agreement between ADI and student. If the responsibility for risk shifts this must be discussed and agreed.
I hope this helps to clarify the this section of the Standards Check and I wish all of you who are awaiting the day the very best of luck.
If I can help anyone to prepare for the Standards Check please do not hesitate to contact me on my mobile 07714440800 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org