Suggested COVID 19 Guidance when giving Instruction in a Vehicle
“The Executive Office has confirmed that the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2020 do not currently prevent driving lessons from taking place, if it is safe to do so for both instructors and their customers.”
NIAIC is fully committed to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
You are kindly requested to consider the following policy example for your use and if necessary you can modify it to suit your own particular requirements.
It is therefore important that we all respond responsibly and transparently to these health precautions. Weshould always treat anybody’s private health and personal data with high confidentiality and sensitivity.
Consider wherever possible to use your vehicle solely for work purposes and minimise allowing family in it if at all possible.
Primarily we encourage you to follow all Government and Health and Safety advice.
Instructors need to remain ALERT and make their own risk assessments concerning the provision of a safe system of work. The health and wellbeing of clients, ourselves and those closest to us must be our primary consideration as we return to work.
In evaluating your return to training on-road, you should also be alert to the risks to your vehicle insurance, professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance of making modifications to vehicles that are not approved as safe by manufacturers and insurers (Not your broker and consider getting approval in writing).
You will need to consider:
if you, or your client, have any symptoms;
if you, or your client, fall into higher risk groups; or
if, as an ADI, you have a relative or partner you are living with who is also moderate or high risk.
The main symptoms of COVID-19 described by the Government are (but not exclusively):
a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature);
a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual); and
a loss of taste or smell.
When, and if, you make the choice to return to work it will be an individual decision for your business, but we advise that you make sure that you have guidelines in place.
Before collecting the client
Consider your client’s occupation. (Is it high risk? – for example meat plant worker, production line worker etc.).
Consider whether you or they have had any symptoms of the virus within the last seven days or have been in contact with someone who has within the last 14 days.
Before you leave to collect the client for a lesson, call or text them and check if they have had any symptoms of the virus within the last seven days.
Remind them to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, in line with Government guidance, immediately before leaving the house for their lesson. If they want to wear a face mask, to have it in place before putting on disposable gloves it they wish to use them just before getting into the car. Remind them that they should not touch their face or mask with the gloves on.
Make sure you ask your client to wear suitable clothing providing as much covering as is reasonable. Explain that the windows will be down as much as possible during the lesson to allow for ventilation and advise them to wrap up warmly as it might be cooler in the car than usual.
It is highly recommend not to wear any jewellery, even watches, as they are difficult to clean and they gather a lot of unwanted materials.
You should ask your client if they have any allergies or have an adverse reaction to any cleaning products as you may have to change your PPE equipment to allow for this. (For example a supplier uses tea tree oil in their product which some people are allergic to.)
Collecting the client
Once you arrive to collect the client, exit your vehicle to have a conversation with them at least two metres apart to see if you notice any symptoms and they are well enough to start the lesson. Arrange to meet by the vehicle not at their front door. You need to be 100% happy with their state and if you are not, do not start the lesson and explain your need to cancel until they have recovered fully. Ideally do this before every lesson you have, even if you saw the client the day before.
Ask the client if they have washed their hands and ensure you have hand sanitiser ready for the client to sanitise their hands before getting into your car.
Explain that you have also just cleaned your hands with hand sanitiser, or soap and water where possible and that both of you should avoid touching your face and hands.
Explain you will not shake their hand, share visual aids, pens etc. with them and will be minimising contact with them for safety.
Explain that between lessons you have cleaned down door handles inside and out, windows and mirror controls, seat adjusters and head restraints, seatbelt and its connection, gear lever, steering wheel, indicator and wiper stalks, car keys and training resources.
Explain that the windows will be down as much as possible during the lesson to allow for ventilation and it might be cooler in the car than usual.
Avoid using the air conditioning if possible, however if it is used do not set it to recirculate.
Explain at this time that the clients parents, guardians or friends, will not be able to sit in on the lesson or test when these become available.
Any new clients will need their licence checked. Ask them to hold the licence up so you can check it. Do not touch or take the licence from them.
If you are considering making any additions in the vehicle, ie plastic screening or dividers, please check the construction and use regulations, as they may affect the airbag deployment and could mean you cannot safely reach all the controls when required. Also check with your car insurance company (not just your broker) before making any adaptations. It would be recommended to have this in writing.
During the lesson
Visual aids and any training resources should be held up and not passed between the two of you to hold and touch.
Writing should be done by you. Do not share a pen or other devices where possible. If you do, then clean with spray or wipes straight afterwards.
Try to avoid directly facing each other when in the vehicle or outside when discussing scenarios. Ideally do this outside of the vehicle where it is legal and safe to do so. Ensure you face forwards in the vehicle, because we cannot maintain being 1 metre + apart.
If you give a demonstration drive, you will need to wipe down the controls before and after the drive.
If you have to touch the controls during the lesson, the car must be stopped safely at the earliest convenience and the controls must be wiped down. If you and the client touched hands as a result, you must both sanitise your hands.
Consider wherever possible giving any briefing notes digitally.
Consider wherever possible reducing the handling of cash and use electronic payments and receipts.
After the lesson
Remind the client to wash their hands as soon as they get back into their house.
After you have finished the lesson you will need to repeat some of the same processes that you did at the start of the lesson before you drive home or drive to another client. In short, each time someone different has been in the driving seat, you need to clean the vehicle.
Make extra time between lessons to allow for these processes.
Call your next client and assess their state to avoid a wasted journey.
Taking a client to test:
At the time of writing this example policy, there was no guidance on the NI Direct web page.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
It is essential you have hand sanitiser (at least 70% alcohol content is recommended) and wash your hands as frequently as you can.
Antibacterial wipes or spray (check they also say virus) should be used to clean down the car between lessons. Household disinfectant can also be used. Some instructors have made their own, using products similar to Zafora diluted as necessary in a garden spray bottle.
The disposal of waste that could be infected with COVID-19 the PHA states that you must securely store the PPE waste in disposable rubbish bags (for example, click seal freezer bags). You must place these bags in another bag. You must tie this bag securely and keep it separate from other waste. This waste must be set aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual external household bin for non-recyclable waste.
You may also want to consider the following
Disposable gloves could be worn by yourself and the client, but you will still need to wash your hands and clean down surfaces and controls. Some people have a latex allergy so check with your clients. You will need to change them frequently and after each lesson.
If you consider the use of face masks, remember to complete a risk assessment with each client as the mask may become a distraction during the lesson. For example, if the client is wearing glasses which keeps misting up. (You could consider an anti-fogging spray used by motorcyclists.) You cannot force someone to wear a face mask, so if you feel the risk is too great consider postponing the lesson to another date.
It is not recommended to use face visors. However, if a client insists on wearing one, then a mask or face covering must also be used as wearing a visor alone will provide little protection. Check with your insurance company (not just your broker) first before using a visor. It would be recommended to have this in writing.
Have a supply of both gloves and masks to offer your client before they enter the vehicle including a safe process to discard them as above.
If you do use a mask, make sure you use a new one frequently and dispose of the old one safely and responsibly as above. Cloth ones need to be washed at least daily and at 60 degrees and above to be effective.
Wash your clothing as soon as you have finished work for the day at 60 degrees and above to be effective.
You should wash your hands as soon as you get home, shower or bath at the end of the day.
Avoid equipment that is difficult to clean between lessons (for example, beaded seat covers).
It is essential that the PPE equipment you choose does not impede yours, or the client’s ability to control the vehicle or communicate with you. For that reason, we do not recommend plastic face visors or plastic screen dividers between yourself and the client. They could be dangerous if they mist up, become insecure or an airbag is deployed and they may be regarded as an adaptation to the vehicle.
If a client becomes unwell and believe they have been exposed to COVID-19
If you or your client becomes unwell during the lesson, the unwell person should be removed to an areawhich is at least two metres away from other people.
The individual who is unwell should call NHS 111 from their mobile, or 999 if an emergency (if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk) and outline their current symptoms.
Whilst they wait for advice from NHS 111 or an ambulance to arrive, they should remain at least two metres from other people. They should avoid touching people, surfaces and objects and be advised tocover their mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when they cough or sneeze and put the tissue in abag or pocket then throw the tissue in the bin. If they do not have any tissues available, they shouldcough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow. If they need to go to the bathroom whilst waiting formedical assistance, they should use a separate bathroom if available.
Your Terms and Conditions (T&C’s) during COVID-19
Your usual T&Cs may need to be revised during this time. An example, would be your normal late cancellation policy may need to change to accommodate COVID-19. This could relate to the following situations:
if your client or anyone in their household becomes unwell and has symptoms;
if your client believes they may have been in contact with someone showing symptoms;
if you become unwell and are showing symptoms or if anyone in your household is showing symptoms; or
if you believe you may have been in contact with someone showing symptoms.
Please remember it is wise to check the source and validity of any information you see, particularly on social media, if it does not come from a professional body within the sector.
NIAIC will continue to keep you updated and would also encourage you to follow the nidirect website at www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-and-motoring for further information.