Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Client feedback

 Man providing anonymous online feedback
Anonymous online feedback helps us ensure we provide the best service
We have always asked people for feedback on a variety of topics ranging from the quality of the advice and representation they received to questions about professionalism, costs and convenience.  But, historically we always struggled to get responses to our paper surveys, which is why this year we moved to an online feedback form that clients, former clients and even people who decide against instructing us can complete quickly and easily - incidentally, we love hearing from people who don't choose us because their feedback can really shape how we approach potential clients in the future to ensure that people who come to us are receiving the service they really want.

So far, we've only had a few responses to our survey - not the thousands that John Lewis probably receive every week - but the responses have all been positive.  A low number isn't a surprise to us because we are a small bespoke practice that takes very few cases per year compared to the larger warehouse-style firms that churn our cases quickly by simply handing them to contractors to deal with. 

It's worth saying that the surveys are entirely anonymous; we have no way of knowing who has completed the survey once our computer automatically sends out a link.

So far everybody who responded said that we are "extremely professional" and everybody agreed that we are either "extremely convenient" or "very convenient" to use.  Since all of our client meetings take place at a location convenient to our client, such as their home or work, that isn't too much of a surprise.  Every client and former client who responded has said that we are either "extremely responsive" or "quite responsive" to questions about their case.

We are thrilled to be able to say that 100% of respondents said that they were "extremely satisfied" with London Drink Driving Solicitors work.  100% also said that we were able to answer their question or solve their problem "extremely well".

We are really pleased that 75% of respondents rated our service either "a great deal better" or "quite a bit better" than the service they have received from other solicitors.  The remaining 25% said they "did not know".

In terms of price, 50% said that our fees were "somewhat lower" than our competitors while 25% said they were "quite a bit lower".  Nobody thought we are more expensive than other motoring law solicitors they spoke to about their cases.

It is very early days in the running of this survey but so far the results are excellent.  We will be taking on board comments about how we can improve even further and aim to go on providing every client we meet with the best possible service.

If you need a solicitor in the London, Oxford or Thames Valley areas call us today on 020 8242 4440 or 01869 866 490.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Summer drink driving clampdown

Police are cracking down on people who get behind
the wheel after a drink

Police forces across the country have launched their summer crack down on drink driving offences, beginning with a "month of action for June".

As the sun finally comes out to play across the UK, police forces expect to be busier than ever hunting down people they suspect of drink driving.  Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, said:
"We shall be better equipped than ever this summer and we will be ready for action to keep the road network safe, whether it be at night or the morning after."
But, police don't always get it right - in 2012 157,000 drivers were breath tested, of which just 4.6% tested positive or refused to provide and were arrested!  In the summer of 2014, police achieved a slightly better hit rate of 6.45% out of 63,688 breath tests.  We don't have figures for those who were convicted following arrest but our experience tells us that there are many things that can lead an innocent person to be wrongly accused of drink driving.

As specialist drink driving solicitors we meet a lot of people who have got behind the wheel above the drink driving limit and one of the things we can do is help them minimise their sentence.  One thing we find consistently is that people over-estimate the amount of alcohol they can drink and remain below the drink driving limit.  This is as true of the young as it is of the old and we don't see any significant difference between men and women making this mistake.

The best advice we can give is not to drive after consuming any alcohol.  But, if it's too late for that and you have already made a mistake - or been wrongly accused - then call us on 020 8242 4440 (London) or 01869 866 490 (Oxford/Thames Valley) and get the drink driving experts on your side today.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Drink driving smart cars

In car breath tests could become the norm

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that they have developed a new technology to prevent drink driving offences.  Called the DriverAlcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) the technology will monitor the alcohol level of drivers and immobilise the vehicle if the driver exceeds the drink driving limit.

DADSS can operate through an in-car breath test machine that operates as the driver breaths normally, i.e. there is no need to breath into a special device for a set period of time as with systems that you can currently buy to fit to vehicles.  The other option is a system that claims to be able to monitor blood alcohol levels via infrared detectors mounted in the steering wheel.  It’s unclear at the moment whether DADSS will use breath and blood analysis together or separately.

The proposal at the moment is to offer DADSS as an optional extra, although it’s difficult to see it being a popular option.  People who don’t care about drink driving won’t buy it and nor will people who are convinced drink driving is something they would never do – in our experience most of our clients fall into the latter category.  The only real market we can see for this technology is parents concerned about their children drink driving – how big a market that is we don’t know but we have only come across one youngster with the current technology fitted to his car.

We see possible problems with the system.  First, if the car is simply analysing the air inside the car it gives rise to the possibility of false positives from passengers and even from chemical fumes that can mimic alcohol in the air – in one particular case we discovered a roofer who was able to set off breathalysers at 50 paces due to the type and amount of chemicals he used in his daily work.

This system is being designed by the US safety administration with the cooperation of leading vehicle manufactures from around the world, including BMW, Mazda, Porsche, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover and many others.  This means that the system will have to be programmed for each jurisdiction because different countries have different drink driving limits.  If a computer can be programmed it’s likely it can be reprogrammed – car enthusiasts already reprogram their car’s computer to produce more power from the engine and tweak other functions.  Is there really anything to stop people reprogramming this device?

Is the future self driving cars?
Anybody who has driven cars fitted with automatic windscreen wipers may also be dubious about how reliable car manufactures can make this technology – our experience at least is that automatic windscreen wipers are completely unable to detect water on the windscreen properly, so will a car be able to detect alcohol inside a human body any better?

It’s worth remembering that Toyota have been working on their own version of DADSS for more than a decade but have yet to bring any technology to market in their vehicles, which may give some indication of just how difficult a challenge this is.

Some people have suggested that DADSS is the technological equivalent of Betamax in that by the time it is ready to launch self-driving cars will be available thus rendering this technology irreleva

Monday, 8 June 2015

Driving licence counterpart abolished

The counterpart has now been abolished
As of this morning (8th June 2015), the driving licence paper counterpart has been abolished and is no longer valid.

The government is advising drivers to destroy their counterpart document; however, we think you should hold off from doing that for a little while.  As from today if you plan to hire a vehicle, at home or abroad, you'll have to visit a government website first and obtain a code that you provide to the hirer so they can check your driving record.

New drivers will only receive a
photo-card licence
At the moment, there are reports of some hirers not being ready to handle the new system and it will no doubt take some time for overseas hirers to catch up with the new system in the UK.  Because of this, you may find it helpful to keep the paper part of your driving licence until the new system is bedded in properly.

In future, new drivers and people renewing their licences will be issued with only a photo-card licence.

The changes also apply to those drivers from European countries who have been issued Community counterparts by the British authorities.

From today, new endorsements and penalty points will not be entered on to your physical driving licence and will exist only on your electronic driving record.  This means that when people appear in court, the court will need to obtain the electronic drivers record for every single defendant.  Currently, courts normally only do this where the counterpart is not available.  There are frequently problems obtaining a DVLA printout at court so this change may create me delays for the court service.

If you have received penalty points before the new system began they will be transferred to your new driving record and continue to operate exactly as before.

Should you require legal advice on any driving matter please call the London Drink Driving Solicitor on 020 8242 4440 and ask for Nick.