Vehicle Tyre Checks- Yes it’s your job

All drivers (work or personal) are being urged to equip yourself with special service kits enabling you to easily check tyre pressure, tread and condition as new figures highlight the potentially fatal risk of cars and commercial vehicles fitted with illegal tyres.

Furthermore, according to the Drivers and Vehicle Standards Agency, tyre defects are one of the major causes of MOT failure among cars and vans with available figures suggesting 2.2 million vehicles annually fall foul of checks due to tyre-related issues.

With the onset of winter driving conditions, and the increasing demands of improving carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and fuel economy, even more important to ensure your check tyre conditions regularly, regardless you are driving for work or personal use.

What’s more, illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres are the single largest vehicle-related defect recorded by police officers as a contributory factor in road traffic collisions.

The Department for Transport’s Reported Road Casualties Great Britain analysis for 2015 reveals defective tyres were a contributory factor in crashes that resulted in 16 deaths, 146 people being seriously injured and 746 people slightly injured.

During 2015 there were 908 casualties resulting from tyre-related incidence on Britain’s roads.

Drivers spending just a few minutes of their time checking their tyres at home, or in a car park or when filling up with fuel could be the difference between life and death.

Best practice dictates that tyre condition is checked at least monthly and prior to long journeys. Poor tyre care reduces road safety – the penalty for illegal tyres below a tread depth of 1.6 mm is a fine up to £2,500 and three penalty points per tyre – and incorrect tyre pressures impact on fuel economy and tyre wear.

Get yourself on one of our Driver CPC courses, and we will practically get you used to checking and doing your route walk-round checks, regardless whether you drive from work or own-use.


Stay Safe at Christmas


Christmas is a special time for celebration and should not end in tragedy because of the extra hazards that are present at this time of year.

Fairy Lights

1. Check the fuses are the right type (see the box for the maximum size of fuse you should use).

2. If bulbs blow, replace them.

3. Don’t leave fairy lights on when you go out or when you go to sleep.

4. Don’t let the bulbs touch anything that can burn easily, like paper.

5. Don’t overload sockets.


1. Decorations made of light tissue paper or cardboard burn easily.

2. Don’t attach them to lights or heaters.

3. Don’t put them immediately above or around the fireplace.

4. Keep them away from candles.

Christmas Trees

Special fire safety precautions need to be taken when keeping a live tree in the house. A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases.

Selecting a Tree for Christmas

Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.

Caring for Your Tree

Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

Disposing of Your Tree

Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling centre or have it taken away by a community pickup service.

From everybody at Fitzcharles Training, we hope you will have an enjoyable Christmas, but most importantly, we want you to have a safe Christmas.

David xx

Buying Pet Toys This Christmas – BE CAREFUL!

Christmas is coming and there’s lots to look forward to, but don’t forget the needs of your four-legged friends. With a little planning and preparation, and extra consideration for your dog on the big day, Christmas and be a truly family affair for everybody including our four-legged friends.

How safe are pet toys?

For dogs and other pets, toys are not a luxury, but a necessity.

Toys help fight boredom in a dog you’ve left alone. They can also provide comfort, and toys can help prevent your dog developing certain problem behaviours.

Although cats can be fussy about toys, dogs are often more than willing to play with any object they can get their paws on.

Sadly, we are seeing more unsafe pet toys on the market than ever before, which could end up being fatal to our four-legged friends. Pets toys in general don’t have legislation to stringent checks that human toys have to go through, although their some good, some bad pet businesses out there, but this Christmas, lets be wise about, what toys we buy our pets this Christmas!

Toys and chews

Should always be monitored for wear and tear, as ingestion of small parts and indigestible materials is a major cause of illness and intestinal issues.

(1) Sponges, loofah products are the biggest problems which can cause the items to compress somewhat, so they are easier to swallow, but expand again once in the stomach or intestine – such as a sponge.

(2) Toys with small parts. This would include things such as buttons and plastic eyes, also look out for bells, small plastic pieces, ribbons and other embellishments.

(3) Toys not suitable to the size of your pet. Large dogs, especially, should not have toys designed for small dogs.

(4) Rope toys. Toys with irregular surfaces then to stick to the mucosa (intestinal lining) and get caught. They can create intestinal blockages and major digestive issues. Other examples of such items would be corn cob, sponge toys, etc.

(5) Stuffed toys with squeakers. Dogs love speakers, but these toys tend to tear easily out of stuffed toys, and they can constitute a chocking hazard.

(6) Tennis Balls. Again, dogs love tennis balls, but the outer ‘fuzz’ of a tennis ball can cause problems. They also often chew these thin, hollow balls into small indigestible pieces. A thicker, sturdier rubber ball or a Frisbee is a safer solution, and remember don’t give large dogs tennis balls.

(7) Labels. Check your dog toy labels for child safety testing. Toys labeled as safe for children under three years of age do not contain dangerous fillings or unclear fillings. Though be aware that even fillings that are not dangerous may not be digestible and your dog should still be supervised when playing.

(8) Heavy metals. Toys with printing or scrapeable surface coatings, like printed tennis balls, are especially prone. As in humans, overexposure to high levels of lead, especially when digested, can cause issues with mental and physical development and is toxic to many of the organs of the body.

(9) Bowls and feeding aids. Be sure your bowls are foodware are all tested, because heavy metals can leach into drinking water and food from bowls that are not compliant with the regulations.

(10) Pet Beds and pillows. Stuffing materials should be tested for cleanliness. Look for labels that say “all new materials”. Seams and stitching should be strong.

(11) Rawhide Chews. You might have heard that rawhide is good for your dog’s teeth and helps with their natural instinct to chew, but there are drawbacks, you need to be aware of. Rawhide treats come from the inner layer of cow or horse hides. During manufacturing, the hides are cleaned and cut or ground. Then they’re pressed into chewable dog treats of different shapes and sizes. However rawhide is known to contain traces of toxic chemicals, and, as with other pet (human) foods, Salmonella or E. coli contamination is possible. Even humans can be at risk when coming into contact with these bacteria on rawhide treats.

Some dogs are simply sensitive or allergic to rawhide. Rawhide bones and other edible chews can pose a chock or blocking risk. In fact, this is a much bigger risk than contamination or digestive tract. If your dog swallows large pieces or rawhide, the rawhide can get stuck in the esophagus or other parts of the digestive tract.

(12) Don’t rush out and buy Dog Christmas Stockings full of dog treats. Check the contents.

  • Chocolate: Affects the nervous system, could be fatal.
  • Onions:(whole, powdered or cooked): Toxic to dogs
  • Mushrooms : Toxic to dogs
  • Raisins and Grapes: Could cause renal (kidney) failure
  • Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Peaches and Plums: Toxic to dogs
  • Alcohol: Even a small amount of alcohol can be enough to kill a small dog.
  • Nuts: Toxic to Dogs
  • Chicken Bones: While not toxic, chick bones or splinters from bones may get lodged in various places, and could be fatal.
  • Additives: Same as humans, could bring on various health conditions.

Keep to Thick, durable toys for your dog, plus if your dog does ingest part of them, they can be more easily detected with x-rays. Always monitor your dog and its toys, especially if your dog has destructive tendencies. Toys that show wear, or that they have been ripped open should be thrown away.

You pet gets a lovely Christmas present, not sure how safe, bin it!

Also be prepared this Chistmas, Vet Opening hours, Emergency Telephone numbers, always be prepared. Book yourself or your friends on a Pet First Aid course, in fact what a wonderful idea for a Christmas present.




It’s a difficult time of year from us, drivers, pressure just to have small glass of wine, or pressure not to drink at the Christmas party, because your driving the next morning, and it’s doesn’t matter how tempting this may be, not only do we need to protect our jobs, but the likely hood of killing someone is most likely.

Alcohol remains in our body for around 24-48 hours. Your ability to react quickly may be reduced, and the effects will still be evident the next morning, when it’s more likely that you could still fail a breath test.

Your body tissues actually need up to 48 hours to recover, although your breath/blood alcohol levels may appear normal after 24 hours. the only safe limit, ever, is a zero limit.

The police can ask you to perform a breath test if they suspect you’ve been drinking. This includes if your driving seems erratic or if you’ve been involved in a collision. Drink-driving offences will result in mandatory disqualification from driving.

Continue reading “Drink-driving”

Freight Enforcement

Freight enforcement partnership helping to make London’s roads safer

DVSA has joined in a partnership with Transport for London, Metropolitan Police and City of London Police with the aim of reducing the number of unsafe lorry drivers and operators on London’s roads.

Officers from each organisation will carry out joint intelligence led operations, in the form of spot checks on commercial vehicles in London.

This partnership builds on the success of the Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) industrial task force, which was set up in 2013 to reduce the number of cyclist fatalities caused by HGVs.

Since the taskforce started, more than 6,030 vehicles have been targeted and stopped for offences including:

  • driving without the correct licence
  • unsafe tyres
  • not accurately recording driver hours

Peter Hearn, Head of DVSA Testing and Enforcement Policy said: “Over the past 2 years, the HGV Industrial task force has proved that working together has significant benefits. The partnership will aim to set itself stretching targets and goals, as it continues to make London`s roads safe for all users.”


Drink driving


The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales and is essential reading for everyone.
Rule 95

Do not drink and drive as it will seriously affect your judgement and abilities.

In England and Wales you MUST NOT drive with a breath alcohol level higher than 35 microgrammes/100 millilitres of breath or a blood alcohol level of more than 80 milligrammes/100 millilitres of blood.

In Scotland the legal limits are lower. You MUST NOT drive with a breath alcohol level higher than 22 microgrammes/100 millilitres of breath or a blood alcohol level of more than 50 milligrammes/100 millilitres of blood.

Alcohol will

  • give a false sense of confidence
  • reduce co-ordination and slow down reactions
  • affect judgement of speed, distance and risk
  • reduce your driving ability, even if you’re below the legal limit
  • take time to leave your body; you may be unfit to drive in the evening after drinking at lunchtime, or in the morning after drinking the previous evening.

The best solution is not to drink at all when planning to drive because any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive safely. If you are going to drink, arrange another means of transport.

Check out this drug-driving film