Sunday, 31 August 2014

DVSA - The roadworthiness package . . .


The roadworthiness package

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The European Union’s roadworthiness package was agreed and published as 3 separate directives in the Official Journal of the European Union:
  • 2014/45/EU Periodic Technical Inspection (our MOT or annual test).
  • 2014/46/EU Registration Documents for Vehicles
  • 2014/47/EU Technical Roadside Inspections

Although the 3 directives came in to force on 20 May 2014, they have implementation dates ranging from 20 May 2017 through to 2023.

These directives aim to improve road safety by agreeing the minimum common requirements for annual roadworthiness tests (the MOT) and roadside inspections of all vehicles within the Union.

These directives were formed from the European Commission’s white paper, ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system’. in which the Commission set out a ‘zero vision’ objective, which directs the Union towards close to zero fatalities in road transport by 2050.

Roadworthiness testing contributes to this zero vision by making sure that vehicles are kept in a safe and environmentally acceptable condition. Vehicles with malfunctioning technical systems can cause road crashes involving injuries and fatalities.

Over the next few months we will be looking at the content in detail and working with Department for Transport to form a plan that makes sure the necessary changes take place on time.

We will engage with all our stakeholders to develop the procedures and standards.

You can read each of these directives on the EUR-lex website. Select the pdf in your preferred language – English is EN – then use the bookmarks on the left to go directly to the numbered directive – 45, 46 or 47 – that you wish to read.

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Saturday, 30 August 2014

£20 fine for leaving your diesel engine running: Drivers face on-the-spot fines in move to cut pollution . . .


£20 fine for leaving your diesel engine running: Drivers face on-the-spot fines in move to cut pollution

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Islington Council to issue fines if diesel drivers leave their engines running

On-the-spot £20 penalties have been described as a 'stealth tax'
Council officials will target lorries, buses and diesel cars

Other local authorities may follow suit

Motorists are being fined for leaving their diesel engines running, in a move aimed at cutting pollution.

A council has begun issuing on-the-spot £20 penalties for drivers who fail to turn their engines off when they are stationary, leading to claims it is introducing a ‘stealth tax’.

Others are likely to follow suit in order to meet European environmental targets.

Motorists are being fined for leaving their diesel engines running, in a move aimed at cutting pollution

The draconian measures, in place in Islington, North London, are yet another blow to drivers with diesel cars.

London mayor Boris Johnson has already revealed plans to charge them £10 extra to enter the centre of the capital from 2020.

Communities minister Brandon Lewis called the fines a way to ‘tax drivers by stealth’ and warned that they could push people away from high streets.

Councils gained the power to issue penalties for idling in 2002 but the rule has not been widely enforced until now.

Boris Johnson Wants London To Have Cleanest Air in Europe

Officials from Islington Council in North London are to issue the on-the-spot fines, and will target buses, lorries and diesel cars

Officials from Islington council have claimed they will target lorries, buses and diesel cars. 

Mr Lewis told the Daily Telegraph the policy was symptomatic ‘of a clipboard-wielding culture in many town halls where every response to a policy challenge involves a new tax or a fine on local residents’.

Islington councillor Claudia Webbe said: ‘We are committed to improving air quality, which is why we are clamping down on idling buses, lorries and diesel cars. 

‘We need Boris Johnson to do his share by introducing a low-polluting bus fleet, and addressing the high number of polluting lorries that travel through our streets on a daily basis.’

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Friday, 29 August 2014

M11 hard shoulder madness: . . .


M11 hard shoulder madness: 

child plays on scooter and holidaymakers walk with suitcases amid Harlow-Stortford crash gridlock

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A young woman was airlifted to hospital after her car crashed into a tree, shutting the M11 between Harlow and Bishop’s Stortford yesterday (Sunday, August 3).

Traffic was brought to a standstill for at least three hours and there were lengthy tailbacks as a result of the accident, the second in as many days on the northbound stretch between junctions 7 and 8.

The collision happened at about 11.30am and involved two vehicles, a silver Citroen C5 estate and a silver and black Mitsubishi Shogun.

The Shogun left the carriageway, hitting a tree. Its driver, a 26-year-old woman from Margate, Kent, had to be airlifted to the Royal London Hospital. Her condition is described as serious but stable.

On the Herts & Essex Observer’s Facebook page, Michael John Palmer said: “I got through that just before they closed it off ... was a pretty nasty-looking crash. The motor folded round the tree like a glove. Lucky if they survived it.”

Police closed the motorway at junction 7 – resulting in further tailbacks to junction 6 (M25) – so that an air ambulance could land to take the casualty to hospital and for crash investigators to gather evidence.

An Essex Police spokeswoman said: “Officers are grateful to motorists who patiently endured the delays whilst this vital work was carried out.

“They would also like to appeal for anyone who witnessed the incident to contact PC Paul Lindup at the Chigwell road policing unit on Essex Police 101.”

With delays dragging on, some motorists reported seeing people en route to Stansted Airport walking along the hard shoulder with their baggage in an attempt to make their flights.

One of them, Louis Costa, tweeted: “Just seen two people walking down hard shoulder with their suitcase. They definitely aint catchin their flight.”

The Highways Agency urged motorists to remain in their vehicles, but some ignored the warning.

According to motorists, some people stood on the southbound carriageway to watch the air ambulance take off while, incredibly, May Simpson tweeted: “Are you actually stupid letting your child play on their scooter on the hard shoulder? Seriously?”

Frustrations mounted as motorists resorted to using the hard shoulder to jump the queue. Tom Clamp tweeted: “Clever people driving down the hard shoulder and blocking the ambulances #idiots.”

One person noticed a driver asleep at the wheel, while Rebecca Tobin said on Twitter: “Big round of applause to the prick in the Poundland lorry who parked in a lane and went for a wander. Well done mate.”

As the hours ticked by and the temperatures peaked at 23C (73.4F), motorists – some travelling with small children – who were stuck on the motorway began to feel the effects of being without food and water.

One offered to swap cupcakes in exchange for water while Alexandra was prepared to resort to more desperate measures: “Will exchange sister for Marmite on toast.”

But there was help at hand, as May Simpson tweeted: “The kindest lady ever came on her bike to the M11 and is handing out bottles of water. We need more nice people like this. Thank you!”

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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Diesel car drivers 'betrayed' as EU cracks down on Britain over air pollution . . .


Diesel car drivers 'betrayed' as EU cracks down on Britain over air pollution

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As Britain is sued by the European Commission for breaching pollution limits, drivers of diesel motor vehicles are warned that they face higher costs

For more than a decade, motorists buying diesel cars have enjoyed tax breaks because the cars produce lower levels of carbon dioxide and are more fuel efficient.

More than 10 million motorists who were “betrayed and misled” into buying diesel cars have been warned that they face higher costs as the European Union puts pressure on Britain to cut air pollution levels.

It comes as Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, announced plans to charge diesel drivers an extra £10 to drive in the capital – a measure that could be copied by as many as 18 other cities.

For more than a decade, motorists buying diesel cars have enjoyed tax breaks because the cars produce lower levels of carbon dioxide and are more fuel efficient.

Now, Britain is being sued by the European Commission for breaching air pollution limits, because emissions from diesel vehicles are contributing to tens of thousands of premature deaths each year.

Senior Conservatives are understood to be lobbying the Government to increase road taxes on diesel vehicles to bring them into line with petrol, although ministers have ruled out such a move in this parliament.

Motoring groups warned that new levies would hit drivers already struggling to cope with high prices at the pumps and lower the resale value of diesel vehicles.

Edmund King, the president of the AA, said: “Some drivers will feel betrayed and misled because they were encouraged to go for the dash for diesel.

“In the 1990s there was a near hysteria about carbon dioxide, and yet nobody looked at the bigger picture.

“The drivers thought they were doing the right thing, but now they are being told that it has serious health implications. They are being made to feel guilty for something that they were encouraged to do.

“There is no doubt that other cities, encouraged by EU legislation, will look to introduce similar restrictions on diesel cars.

“I think it’s highly likely that the Treasury might slap an extra penalties on diesel vehicles.”

In 2001, Gordon Brown, the then chancellor, overhauled vehicle excise duty so that cars that emitted a higher level of carbon dioxide faced a higher level of vehicle excise duty.

Labour introduced the new regime despite official warnings that diesel vehicles emit “10 times the fine particles and up to twice the nitrogen dioxide”.

The move prompted a “profound” shift towards diesel cars, which produce lower levels of carbon dioxide because they are about 20 per cent more efficient than petrol engines.

Over the past decade, the number of diesel cars on Britain’s roads has risen from 1.6 million to more than 11 million and accounts for a third of vehicles.

However, diesel vehicles produce high levels of nitrogen dioxide, which can lead to respiratory disease and has been linked to 7,000 deaths a year.

Frank Kelly, the chairman of the Department of Health’s committee on air pollution, said the public were still being misled about the benefits of diesel cars.

He said: “I have full sympathy with the public who have not been provided balanced information on this issue.

“Even today if you go to buy a new car you are provided with lots of information about its CO2 emissions and nothing in respect to the pollutants it emits.

“The whole scenario is a very good example of why government policy needs to founded on best science available – not just one aspect, as it was in this case.”

Prof Stephen Glaister, the director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Buying a car is one of the biggest purchases people make.

“Drivers do not want to go to the garage one morning only to find what was previously worth a lot of money has plummeted in value overnight because politicians have suddenly moved the goalposts. People with the oldest, dirtiest diesels will feel the financial squeeze most. They face paying more to use their cars and getting less for them when they try to sell.”

According to official figures, some 18 cities across Britain will fail to meet EU clean air targets for nitrogen dioxide emissions by the end of the decade.

Bristol, Birmingham and Leicester are all considering introducing levies for diesel cars to cut emissions, while Labour is considering plans for a national network of low emission zones in cities that would limit access for diesel vehicles.

There are growing fears that the charges could affect vehicles including school buses and hearses.

In London, only diesel vehicles that meet the Euro 6 emissions standard will be exempted from the charge.

Matthew Pencharz, the Mayor of London’s environment adviser, suggested that successive governments are to blame for a “generation of dirty diesels”.

He added: “These measures can help us to meet EU emission limits ten years ahead of government projections and will deliver significant health benefits to all Londoners.”

The latest government statistics show that in 2011, the nation’s 28.5 million cars emitted 150,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, but a further 97,000 tons were given off by just 400,000 HGVs.

Government sources said rates of vehicle excise duty are unlikely to change for diesel vehicles.

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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Transport for London trials 'safety shield' on buses . . .


Transport for London trials 'safety shield' on buses

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New software is being trialled to try to reduce deaths on London's roads, Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed.

Two systems will be tested out by bus drivers, including the 'Cycle Safety Shield' which is designed to detect pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists nearby.

Three seconds before a potential collision, the system gives a red visual warning, followed by an audible alert to the driver.

TfL says it wants to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured by 40 per cent over the next seven years.

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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Locations of mobile speed cameras available online . . .


Locations of mobile speed cameras available online

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Locations of mobile speed cameras available online

THE county’s mobile speed camera locations will be revealed online for the first time.

Minchinhampton common is one of six roads across Gloucestershire which has been identified as a priority by local people and police officers for the upcoming month.

The list of roads has been posted on Gloucestershire's Road Safety Partnership website and in future the information will also be posted on Gloucestershire Police's website and Twitter feed.

It will be updated each month and complemented with statistics from the previous month showing how many people have been flouting the law and how many people have been fined.

The speed detection vans will continue to visit other areas across the county and operate on most days of the year.

Rob Vestey, from the Road Safety Partnership, said: "This is all about reducing speeds across the county and particularly those hotspot areas that have been identified.

"It also shows us acting on community concerns and will provide people with clear information about what we have found.

"We won't be advertising the days we will be at each site but if someone looks at the list and adjusts their behaviour when they are driving along that road clearly this will have been a success."

Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire, Martin Surl, said: "Safe and social driving is one of the priorities of my Police and Crime Plan.

“I am determined to help people move around our communities in safety and with as much ease as possible and this will make a significant contribution to that aim.

"This isn't about catching people out - we're trying to influence and educate motorists into acting more responsibly and I'm really pleased people will have access to this information and will be able to see just how active we are."

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Monday, 25 August 2014

Pensioner caught by police driving mobility scooter on the M1 . . .


Pensioner caught by police driving mobility scooter on the M1

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Why use public transport and fight for a seat when you already have a fully charged up four wheeler at the ready?

That’s what this gentleman decided to do, apparently disregarding the law.

Mobility scooters are banned from being used on any non-pedestrianised roads – let alone one of the UK’s busiest motorways.

But the OAP was seen on the hard shoulder of the M1 being escorted by a police motorcyclist between Junction 31 near Sheffield and Junction 32 for the M18 interchange.

A passenger in a passing haulier lorry filmed the bizarre occurrence on Britain’s oldest full-length motorway.

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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Airport car hire firm labels cyclists a 'hazard' . . .


Airport car hire firm labels cyclists a 'hazard'

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A car hire firm at Heathrow Airport is facing criticism for describing cyclists as a “hazard” in its advice for overseas visitors to Britain, adding that they “become most indignant if you hit them”

“Cyclists tend to ignore traffic lights and one-way streets," according to the website 

The website – which is currently offline, but has issued an apology – added that “cyclists tend to ignore traffic lights and one-way streets”.

Twitter users – including Ned Boulting, who fronted ITV4’s coverage of the Tour de France – expressed disbelief at the advice, which was meant to be “light-hearted”, according to the firm.

The advice, aimed at foreign visitors hiring a car at Britain’s busiest airport and found under the headline “Essential things you need to know”, read: “In London, as in other places, cyclists can be a bit of a hazard, since - though they pay no road tax - they still have the same rights as any other vehicle.

"No law requires them to wear reflective clothing, have lights, or give any sort of signal. Furthermore, cyclists tend to ignore traffic lights and one-way streets, so please be careful you don't hit them, cyclists become most indignant if you hit them, and legally, it is always the motorists fault.”

It should be noted that “road tax” was actually abolished in 1937 and replaced by Vehicle Excise Duty.

The website also had some curious advice regarding pedestrians.

“Regardless of whether a pedestrian is crossing the road in the right place, or at some other random point, it is strictly forbidden to hit them,” it said. “Hitting pedestrians, even if they are on a road or any other dangerous place, is considered ‘Dangerous Driving’ and specific laws have been drafted in the UK to discourage, indeed outlaw, the hitting of pedestrians.”

The London Cycling Campaign, which promotes safe cycling, described the comments as "irresponsible". “The comments made by the firm were irresponsible and as a public-facing website, potentially very dangerous to cyclists," it told The Evening Standard. "It also tends to undermine the image abroad of London as a city that encourages cycling and sustainable travel.”

The firm issued an apology on its website, which it suggested was offline due to the “large amount of traffic received from a campaign by Twitter users.”

“We apologise also to all those cyclists and other website visitors who took offence at some light-hearted comments that were on this website about cyclists,” it said. “All these offending remarks have been removed.”

The firm's apology . . .

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Saturday, 23 August 2014

The Official Highway Code: hot weather . . .


The Official Highway Code: hot weather 

Hot weather 

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

Rule 237

Keep your vehicle well ventilated to avoid drowsiness. Be aware that the road surface may become soft or if it rains after a dry spell it may become slippery. These conditions could affect your steering and braking. If you are dazzled by bright sunlight, slow down and if necessary, stop. 

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Friday, 22 August 2014

Sainsbury's designs lorry to be safer for cyclists . . .


Sainsbury's designs lorry to be safer for cyclists

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Sainsbury’s has unveiled a lorry designed to be safer for cyclists – it has 360 degree monitors, extra side lighting for road users at night and low side guards.

The move coincides with launch of a consultation by London Mayor Boris Johnson on the Safer Lorries Scheme, which would see lorries without side guards and safety mirrors banned from London's streets from early next year.

The retailer came up with the design in collaboration with Solomon and Mercedes. Sainsbury’s retail & operations director Roger Burnley said: ‘This is an important step in our work to make London’s roads safer. We’ve put an enormous amount of thought and research into creating a truck that we hope will be the safest on the road – for all road users.”

The truck has video technology in the cab giving 360 degree vision of the surrounding road; proximity sensors down the sides of the lorry that beep to alert the driver to other road users; side guard extensions and reflective infills to help stop cyclists from falling under the vehicle; more indicators along the sides to increase awareness that the truck is turning; and more down lights along the sides that glow at night, giving the driver more visibility of road users in the dark.

There is also a warning sticker to alert road users that they are in the driver’s blind spot; and a tail lift operation warning. There would also be further driver training on higher safety standards in the truck.

‪The Safer Lorries Scheme will use a combination of powers held by TfL and London Boroughs. Every vehicle in London over 3.5 tonnes will have to be fitted with sideguards to protect cyclists from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision. It will also require them to be fitted with mirrors giving the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicles. ‪

The ban would operate across London 24 hours a day, seven days a week, covering the same area as the London Low Emission Zone. It would be enforced by on-street enforcement and, in the future, could move to CCTV cameras subject to further approval by the Department for Transport and London boroughs. ‪

Speaking at the launch of the consultation, which runs until 22nd September, Boris Johnson, said: "I have long been worried that a large number of cyclist deaths involve a relatively small number of problem lorries which are not fitted with safety equipment. My Safer Lorries Scheme would see those lorries effectively banned from our streets and the lives of thousands of cyclists and pedestrians would be much safer as a result.

“Vehicles that would be affected by this scheme can easily be retrofitted to comply and doing so will save lives. Companies such as Sainsbury's and O'Donovan are already leading the way when it comes to cyclist safety and I urge others to follow suit.”

Transport commissioner Sir Peter Hendy said: "The proposed Safer Lorries Scheme is a further demonstration of how London is working with the freight industry to drive up safety standards. Many vehicles in London will already comply with this scheme, but by forcing the dangerous minority to follow suit, we can ensure that everyone is doing what they can to help make our roads as safe as possible." ‪

Under national legislation, many HGVs must already be fitted with safety equipment. However, construction lorries, tipper trucks, waste vehicles, cement mixers and certain other forms of HGV are currently exempt from having sideguards fitted. HGVs registered before 2000 are also exempt from the requirement to have extended view mirrors fitted.

  • The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the changes that have been made in improving the design of the London Safer Lorry Scheme, however it said that the blanket regulations of this type have their limitations and that other approaches would have better results in improving cyclist safety.

Christopher Snelling, FTA’s head of urban logistics policy, said: “Good progress has been made since the concept was announced last September. We have moved away from a £200 a day charging scheme and now some of the necessary exemptions have been incorporated in to the SLS proposals”.

It argues that the best use of Transport for London’s time and money as regards HGVs would be to maintain a higher level of enforcement against poor quality operators who break the existing laws.

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Thursday, 21 August 2014

UK green-lights driverless car tests in 2015 . . .


UK green-lights driverless car tests in 2015 

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Google bosses in one of the company's autonomous cars back in 2011.

Nevada also issues special red license plates for autonomous vehicles, includes infinity symbol.Following the lead of the United States, the United Kingdom has announced that it will allow driverless cars to be tested on British roads starting in January 2015.

In a Wednesday announcement, the UK Department of Transportation said that up to three cities would be selected to host trials. They will be awarded a total of nearly $17 million to cover the costs of such tests.

“Driverless cars have huge potential to transform the UK’s transport network—they could improve safety, reduce congestion and lower emissions, particularly CO2,” Transport Minister Claire Perry said in a statement. “We are determined to ensure driverless cars can fulfill this potential, which is why we are actively reviewing regulatory obstacles to create the right framework for trialling these vehicles on British roads.”

If this trial goes ahead as scheduled, it would be the first location within Europe to allow these robot cars. The BBC reported that Gothenburg, Sweden, has given Volvo permission to test 100 driverless cars—but that trial is not scheduled to occur until 2017.

Only California, Nevada, and Florida have also given the green light for driverless cars to hit their roads.

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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Official Highway Code: vehicle towing . . .


The Official Highway Code: vehicle towing

Vehicle towing

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

Rule 98

Vehicle towing and loading. As a driver
  • you MUST NOT tow more than your licence permits. If you passed a car test after 1 Jan 1997 you are restricted on the weight of trailer you can tow 
  • you MUST NOT overload your vehicle or trailer. You should not tow a weight greater than that recommended by the manufacturer of your vehicle 
  • you MUST secure your load and it MUST NOT stick out dangerously. Make sure any heavy or sharp objects and any animals are secured safely. If there is a collision, they might hit someone inside the vehicle and cause serious injury 
  • you should properly distribute the weight in your caravan or trailer with heavy items mainly over the axle(s) and ensure a downward load on the tow ball. Manufacturer’s recommended weight and tow ball load should not be exceeded. This should avoid the possibility of swerving or snaking and going out of control. If this does happen, ease off the accelerator and reduce speed gently to regain control 
  • carrying a load or pulling a trailer may require you to adjust the headlights 
  • In the event of a breakdown, be aware that towing a vehicle on a tow rope is potentially dangerous. You should consider professional recovery. 

Laws CUR reg 100 & MV(DL)R reg 43

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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

DVSA - Consistency . . .



When you have a lot of people performing the same role, but working across the nation, it’s a challenge to get everyone doing things the same way. But this is what customers both deserve and expect. So how do we make sure our approach in the test lane and at the roadside is consistent? Read more

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Monday, 18 August 2014

DVSA - The roadworthiness package . . .


The roadworthiness package

The European Union’s roadworthiness package agrees the minimum standards for the annual test and roadside inspections of all vehicles within the Union. But how will we make those directives a practical reality for commercial vehicles on British roads? Read more

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Sunday, 17 August 2014

DVSA - Exclusive preview of new OSS system . . .


Exclusive preview of new OSS system

Here’s a sneak preview of the new layout we’re designing as part of our work to improve operator licensing self service. We’re working with the government’s digital team to make sure the system is available through the Government’s website, GOV.UK.

This article has been provided by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner

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Saturday, 16 August 2014

DVSA - How to stay safe this winter . . .


How to stay safe this winter

Highways Agency, which manages motorways and major trunk roads in England, seeks your views on what they can do to make winter driving safer for you. Read more

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Thursday, 14 August 2014

The Official Highway Code: parking . . .


The Official Highway Code: parking 


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

Rule 239

Use off-street parking areas, or bays marked out with white lines on the road as parking places, wherever possible. If you have to stop on the roadside: 
  • do not park facing against the traffic flow 
  • stop as close as you can to the side 
  • do not stop too close to a vehicle displaying a Blue Badge: remember, the occupant may need more room to get in or out 
  • you MUST switch off the engine, headlights and fog lights 
  • you MUST apply the handbrake before leaving the vehicle 
  • you MUST ensure you do not hit anyone when you open your door. Check for cyclists or other traffic 
  • it is safer for your passengers (especially children) to get out of the vehicle on the side next to the kerb 
  • put all valuables out of sight and make sure your vehicle is secure 
  • lock your vehicle. 

Laws CUR reg 98, 105 & 107, RVLR reg 27 & RTA 1988 sect 42

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Sunday, 10 August 2014

Diesel drivers face environmental penalties to cut pollution levels . . .


Diesel drivers face environmental penalties to cut pollution levels

Cited at:

Owners of diesel cars could face higher road taxes and increased fines when entering Britain’s cities, in a move to lower city pollution levels under fresh calls to adhere to European emission targets.

London, which has faced increasing criticism to manage its internationally infamous pollution levels, plans to charge diesel drivers an extra £10 as part of the inner city congestion charge – with other cities following suit.

London’s mayor Boris Johnson announced the plans earlier this week – adding that the government should charge diesel drivers higher road tax – coinciding with a Labour-led initiative to create emission- free networks throughout the country, preventing older diesel cars from entering cities altogether.

Other cities, like Bradford, Birmingham, Bristol, Sheffield and Leicester, are looking to follow London’s lead in order to avoid fines from the European Commission regarding breaches on EU air pollution limits.

A recent study concluded that London’s popular shopping destination, Oxford Street, had the worst pollution levels in the world – primarily caused by diesel emissions – and later refuted by Johnson as“bollocks”. 

The impact of air pollution on public health is extensive, with authorities stating that 29,000 premature deaths a year are currently caused by the UK’s pollution levels. Nine UK cities currently retain air pollution levels that are deemed unsafe.

Dr Doug Parr, chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, stated in response to the announcement, “Air pollution is a serious issue in the UK and other countries and diesel cars have to take their share of the blame.

“Whilst it is true that diesel cars are more fuel efficient and therefore have a CO2 footprint 15% lower or more, clearly a balance needs to be struck between the health dis-benefit of diesels and their CO2 emissions, especially in the context of urban environments where pollution levels are at their highest and population exposure is at its greatest.”

Petrol cars registered before 2006 would also face higher charges, while diesel cars that meet the Euro 6 emissions standard will be exempted. The charges are expected to come into force as early as 2020.

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Saturday, 9 August 2014

Police to Seize Mobiles in All Car Crashes to Cut Deaths . . .


Police to Seize Mobiles in All Car Crashes to Cut Deaths

Cited at:

Why texting at the wheel is as dangerous as being well over drink-drive limit

Drivers involved in all car crashes will have their mobiles seized by police.

The move aims to cut deaths, with police using phones as evidence in prosecutions to determine whether motorists may have broken the law by phoning or texting at the wheel in the moments before any accident.

The advice to check phones at the roadside was issued to officers by Gloucestershire Chief Constable Suzette Davenport.

The move was welcomed last night by charities and pressure groups amidst concerns of the growing numbers killed or seriously injured because drivers are distracted by their mobile phones.

More than 500 people are estimated to be killed or seriously injured every year because car and lorry drivers were texting, responding to emails or posting messages on social networks.

Ed Morrow, of road safety charity Brake, said mobile phones are a 'menace on our roads' as many drivers continue to flout the law.

"We are fully supportive of the efforts by the police to clamp down on mobile phone use at the wheel," he said. "Offenders need to know they will be caught, they will be prosecuted, and there will be serious consequences."
“We are fully supportive of the efforts by the police to clamp down on mobile phone use at the wheel. Offenders need to know they will be caught, they will be prosecuted, and there will be serious consequences.”
- Ed Morrow, of road safety charity Brake

According to the new initiative, the phone checks will apply to any accident, whereas previously they were made only in accidents where people were killed or seriously injured.

Hugh Bladon, of the Alliance of British Drivers, supported the confiscation of potentially incriminating mobile phones, but expressed concerns about over zealous police officers. He said: "I am 100 per cent against anyone texting while driving and those caught deserve everything they get. But I'm worried police could overdo it, just because someone is involved in a minor shunt, surely it shouldn't mean they should lose their phone."

Drivers caught using a hand-held phone at the wheel to call or text face a fixed penalty notice of £100 and three points on their licence.

In 2012, more than 10,000 drivers caught using their phone at the wheel opted to take a road safety course instead of the points.

Those who cause a crash and kill someone while using a phone could face up to 14 years in prison, but the vast majority of sentences are much shorter.

Earlier this month Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced that he is considering doubling the punishment for those caught texting at the wheel to six penalty points.

"The amount of casualties has been absolutely appalling," he said. "We've got to change this."
There have been growing calls for the Government to do more to stop drivers using phones at the wheel.

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Friday, 8 August 2014

Motorway tailgating blackspots topped by M1 near Leeds . . .


Motorway tailgating blackspots topped by M1 near Leeds

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Analysis of official data reveals the 10 worst stretches of motorway in England where motorists drive too close to the vehicle in front

The worst spots on the motorways for tailgating drivers have been disclosed by new research.

Analysis of Highways Agency data showed a section of the M1 at Leeds was the stretch of road with the highest incidence of tailgating - one of the most dangerous bad driving habits on the road.

The one-mile section which claimed the dubious record - the southbound carriageway at the very top of the M1 between the A1M and junction 47 - saw the largest number of drivers leaving less than a two second gap between their vehicle and the car in front, according to Direct Line car insurance which commissioned the research.

In second place was the northbound M42 between junctions six and seven at Solihull in the West Midlands, and third was at the M1 junction one northbound by Brent Cross, in north London, between the exit and the on-slip lane.

The study by the Transport Research Laboratory analysed Highways Agency figures from 6,500 sections of motorway in England.

In all, 49 per cent of vehicles were found to allow less than the recommended two second gap from the car in front - equivalent to 65 yards. The figure included 17 per cent of vehicles which were travelling less than one second apart.

Further analysis showed that among vehicles travelling at higher speeds - between 60mph and 69mph - nearly eight out of 10 drivers failed to leave long enough stopping distances from the vehicle in front.

The M42 claimed four of the top 10 places.

According to police data more than 1,700 injuries on motorways and dual carriageways are caused by “close following” each year, including around five deaths, according to the new report.

Official figures also indicate that younger drivers are most likely to be involved in accidents caused by tailgating, with around 37 per cent caused by under-30s.

Rob Miles, of Direct Line insurance, said: “Tailgating is extremely dangerous and also against the law, regardless of whether it’s done intentionally or in ignorance.

“Often people can find themselves too close to other vehicles on motorways as they rush to their destination or try to keep up with traffic flow.

“We’d urge drivers to keep their stopping distances in mind, as these are often forgotten in times of haste or frustration.

“Drivers should aim to always have at least a two-second gap between themselves and the car in front to keep safe on the motorway and avoid facing the on-the-spot fines for tailgating that were introduced last year.”

The data was gathered over 18 days in March from nearly 6,500 Motor­way Inci­dent Detec­tion and Auto­mated Sig­nalling sites on the road system, which monitor traffic flow and speeds using induction loops placed in the road surface.

Top 10 spots for tailgating on motorways in England

1. M1 at A1M to J47 southbound, Leeds

2. M42 J6-7 northbound, Solihull

3. M1 inside J1 northbound, Brent Cross

4. A1M J51-50 southbound, Leeming, North Yorkshire

5. M27 J7-5 westbound, Southampton

6. M42 J6-5 southbound, Solihull

7. M42 J4-3A southbound Solihull/Redditch

8. M42 J7-6 southbound, NEC Birmingham

9. A627M between start and J1 northbound, Oldham/Rochdale

10. M11 inside J9 northbound, Bishops Stortford/Cambridge

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