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Thousands of young drivers losing licences in Wales

Last year fixed penalties for speeding and mobile phone use rose from £60 to £100. Credit: PA Images

More than 2000 young people in Wales had their driving licences revoked for speeding last year.

That's according to figures released today by the vehicle licensing agency, the DVLA.

GoSafe, a charity which aims to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding, is today launching a campaign to educate young drivers on the importance of sticking to speed limits.

It places speed cameras in areas where people have been killed or seriously injured, or where communities have raised concerns over speeding.

There were more than 800 people killed or seriously injured on Welsh roads in 2013.

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Police crack down on poor vision with roadside checks

Police have been out and about today asking motorists to stop and read the registration plate of a vehicle parked 20.5 metres away - the legal standard set by the DVLA.

They are warning that drivers who fail this roadside eyesight test could have their licence revoked instantly.

Many sailed through the spot-check - but for others it was a wake-up call, as our correspondent Carl Edwards reports.

Police: 'Drivers who fail eyesight test could be banned'

South Wales Police are warning that drivers who fail a roadside eyesight test could have their licence revoked instantly.

Police are stopping motorists and asking them to read the registration plate of a vehicle parked 20.5 metres away - the legal standard set by the DVLA.

Previously, drivers who failed an eyesight test were free to return to their vehicles and drive away until a slow postal-based licence revocation process was complete.

But improved technology means a licence removal notice can now potentially be issued within minutes, making it an offence for that driver to get straight back behind the wheel.

The motorcyclist pictured in our report above passed the sight test - but police say many are still taking risks through driving with poor vision.

Our correspondent Carl Edwards has been out and about this morning watching some roadside eye tests being undertaken.

'Public complacency' about driving with poor vision

Drivers will be stopped by officers and asked to read the number plate of a vehicle 20.5 metres away in four operations across South Wales.

That task is part of practical driving tests in line with the DVLA's legal standard.

Now police can use new handheld devices at the roadside to report offending drivers to the DVLA and a licence removal notice can potentially be emailed straight back within minutes, making it an offence for them to get back behind the wheel.

South Wales Police says this will eliminate a "window of risk" that has existed, as drivers were previously free to drive away and wait until their licence was revoked by post.

The force says that highlighting the issue in public is even more important.

The primary focus is about raising general public awareness about the dangers of driving with poor vision. It is about tackling the public complacency which exists around the issue.

– South Wales Police

Licence can be 'revoked immediately' after roadside test

Drivers will be asked to read the number plate of a vehicle parked 20.5 metres away - the legal standard set by the DVLA.

From today, drivers in Wales could have their licences revoked immediately if they fail a roadside eye test.

South Wales Police officers are stopping motorists to carry out on-the-spot eye tests for the first time since tough new rules were introduced, which can speed up the process of revoking driving licences.

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Seven employees suspended over 'inappropriate comments' on Facebook

Seven workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Swansea have been suspended after putting "inappropriate" comments on the social networking site Facebook.

The staff are being investigated by company bosses and face disciplinary action after being caught writing personal comments on the website.

A DVLA spokesman said: "The staff remain suspended while investigations are ongoing."

5,000 people are employed at the DVLA's main office in south Wales.

The staff are thought to have posted the remarks outside work and were later reported to their bosses.

The DVLA is currently in the process of closing all 39 of its regional offices in an attempt to cut costs and drive more customers to use its online services.

DVLA workers stage 24-hour strike

Workers from the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Wales will be staging a 24-hour strike today in dispute over closures and job losses.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union at 39 local and 10 enforcement offices in England, Scotland and Wales will take part in the industrial action. In Wales, the offices facing closure are Bangor, Cardiff and Swansea.

The union has delivered a 72,000 name petition opposing the closures, to the Department for Transport, saying it was the largest paper petition it had ever organised.

A union spokesman said: "We're very concerned about the lack of awareness among people that the offices are set to close or even that a consultation has been carried out."

DVLA said it could not guarantee a business-as-usual service because of the strike and asked people to avoid travelling to any DVLA office today.

Contact centres will be operating a reduced service and callers were warned to expect longer waiting times.

The organisation suggested conducting transactions by other means such as electronically or via the Post Office.

DVLA workers strike

Workers at dozens of DVLA offices are staging a 24 hour strike today in a dispute over closures and job losses.

Members of the PCS union at 39 local and 10 enforcement offices in England, Scotland and Wales are taking part in the industrial action.

The union is campaigning against planned office closures across the country, arguing it signals the end of a "highly prized" face-to-face service to motorists.

The union has delivered a seventy two thousand name petition opposing the closures, to the Department for Transport.

"As well as losing a high quality public service and more than 1,000 jobs at a time of high unemployment, we believe these closures will lead to increased vehicle tax evasion and fraud.

"We want the minister to listen to the overwhelming views of the public, motor traders and his staff, and to see sense and reverse these ill-thought through and damaging closures."

– Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary

DVLA said it could not guarantee a business-as-usual service because of the strike and asked people to avoid travelling to any DVLA office today.

Contact centres will be operating a reduced service and callers were warned to expect longer waiting times.

DVLA offices facing closure in Wales are:

  • Bangor
  • Cardiff
  • Swansea
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