Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Motorist confronts sneaky police speed checking drivers in unmarked car . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Motorist confronts sneaky police speed checking drivers in unmarked car

Cited at:
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/watch-motorist-confront-sneaky-police-4088563


Officers were caught out in the Gorbals area of Glasgow even though Scottish police are told that all such check should be done from liveried vehicles

Two sneaky policemen were caught red-handed illegally trying to catch drivers speeding while in an unmarked police car.

The male and female officers had parked up at a junction next to a busy road in Scotland although rules state they should have been highly visible.

They were spotted by pals Jamie Rooney and Chris McCann who pulled out a video camera and recorded their confontation with the embarrassed pair - to the delight of tens of thousands of internet viewers who have seen the clip.

In the hilarious video, Jamie and Chris demand to know what the officers - sat in an every-day black Vauxhall Astra armed with a speed gun - think they are doing.

As the officers clearly squirm, Jamie tells the shame-faced female in the passenger seat: “You’re in an unmarked police car with a speed gun. You’re meant to be highly visible.”

At first she has the cheek to claim they are - by pointing to her hi-vis jacket and saying "We are!"

But Jamie persists: "You're not. You're in an unmarked car and that's not highly visible."



The male police driver knows they do not have a leg to stand on and quickly drives off, with a chuckling Jamie gleefully shouting at the departing car: “And now you’re leaving because you know it’s entrapment.”

Jamie, who posted the video on Facebook, said: “I was raging because earlier I saw them chasing after a silver Audi.

"So when they came back to the same spot I decided to speak to them.

“There is no way they are identifiable as police officers when cars come over the hill towards them – it’s outrageous.”

The video has become an internet hit with one viewer writing: "Sneaky as ever"

A Scottish Government document on Safety Camera use states: “Vans or other substantive vehicles used for safety camera deployment must be clearly identifiable as such.”

The incident took place in Glasgow’s Gorbals area on Wednesday.



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Monday, 29 September 2014

New driving theory test for island drivers . . .

___________________________________________________________________

New driving theory test for island drivers

Cited at:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-isle-of-man-28897039


The new test has been developed on the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey

An updated driving theory test is being introduced to better reflect the demands of modern motoring in the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

The new test has been developed by infrastructure teams on the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.

A Manx government spokesman said it would highlight the unique aspects of island driving and the differences encountered in the UK.

The revised theory test will come into effect for learners from 4 September.

The computer-based test, which features multiple choice questions and answers and a section on hazard perception, must be passed before candidates can apply to take their practical driving examination.

Isle of Man Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK said: "We are continually striving to improve driving standards in the Isle of Man to make our roads as safe as possible.

"I am delighted that we have been able to work in partnership with our colleagues in Jersey and Guernsey to develop this test to improve driving standards."

The new CD asks people which island they live in - and selecting the Isle of Man will ensure that no questions specific to Jersey or Guernsey will appear and vice versa.


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Sunday, 28 September 2014

M25 is UK's middle-lane hogging capital . . .

__________________________________________________

M25 is UK's middle-lane hogging capital

Cited at:
http://www.businesscar.co.uk/news/2014/m25-is-uks-middle-lane-hogging-capital

The south-east of England is the country's middle-lane hogging hotspot, and the M4 near Slough has the incidence of hogging.

That's according to analysis from insurer Direct Line which studied traffic data from nearly 6500 sites on UK motorways and compared the amount of time on each motorway that occupancy in the middle lane exceeded the inside line.

Furthermore, the M25 appears five times in the list, which entirely consists of motorways in London or the south-east.

Further analysis by the insurance company shows that 78% of 2034 motorists surveyed know the law dictates drivers should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear, and more than half of drivers know that middle-lane hogging is illegal.

Despite this, 59% of drivers admitted to lane hogging, with 9% saying they do it regularly or all the time.

It is the easiest way to drive on motorways as it saves changing lanes according to 43% of motorists when asked why they middle-lane hog, while 32% claim they does it without realising.



"Lane hogging causes congestion, reduces the capacity of the roads, and most crucially, can be dangerous," said Rob Miles, director of motoring at Direct Line.

"It is also illegal which means drivers could face a £100 on-the-spot fine and three points on their license if caught," continued Miles.

"Motorists are risking their own safety and the safety of other road users through their actions so we'd urge them to be aware of the other lanes and drivers around them when on the road," said Miles.

Rank Location Nearest location Region Percentage
1 M4 J5-J6 Westbound (Lane 2) Slough SE 27%
2 M1 J4-J5 Southbound (Lane 2) Watford SE 26%
3 M4 J7-J8/9 Eastbound (Lane 2) Slough SE 24%
4 M25 J4-J5 Clockwise (Lane 2) Sevenoaks, Kent SE 22%
5 M25 J12-J13 Anti-Clockwise (Lane 3) Cheshunt SE 21%
6 M4 J2-J3 Westbound (Lane 2) Brentford London 19%
7 M25 J18-J19 Anti-Clockwise (Lane 3) Watford SE 19%
8 M25 J16-J17 Clockwise (Lane 3) Gerrards Cross, Bucks SE 17%
9 M4 J5-J6 Eastbound (Lane 2) Heathrow London 16%
10 M25 J16-J17 Anti-Clockwise (Lane 3) Gerrards Cross, Bucks SE 12%

Reasons for middle lane hogging                                                                              Total %
It is an easier way to drive on the motorway because it saves me changing lanes         43%
I only do this when the road is quiet                                                                           38%
I do it without realising                                                                                               32%
It is a safer way to drive on the motorway                                                                  24%
It is a driving habit                                                                                                     18%

In a separate AA Populus survey, 29% of drivers have said they have modified their driving as a result of fines brought in to tackle careless driving.

Changes, introduced a year ago, allow the police to issue a fixed penalty notice for less serious examples of careless driving, such as tailgating and middle-lane hogging.

The results are based on 16,606 responses from AA members to its online poll between in July.

One in 10 drivers say they see fewer examples of tailgating (12%) and lane-hogging (11%) now than they did a year ago.

The majority of AA members (82%) share the view that a greater visible police presence will make the new law more effective.

Neil Greig, IAM Director of policy and research, said: "These fines were introduced to change the behaviour of drivers, which clearly has not happened in large numbers just yet.

"However, it was never going to happen overnight - so the jury is still out on careless driving as a fixed penalty offence. Research shows that visible policing is the most valuable deterrent against careless driving."


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Saturday, 27 September 2014

Road users split over 'magic roundabout' which separates bikes from cars . . .

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Road users split over 'magic roundabout' which separates bikes from cars

Cited at:
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/road-users-split-over-magic-roundabout-which-separates-bikes-from-cars-9680178.html


Breakthrough: vehicles and cyclists travel in separate lanes

A breakthrough in cycle safety was unveiled today as work began to create the first fully segregated roundabout in London.

Cyclists and vehicles will be kept apart by using raised kerbs and separate traffic lights on the Queen’s Circus roundabout in Battersea.

The interchange is not notorious for collisions but Wandsworth council decided to make the improvements under plans to prioritise cycling and walking in the redeveloped Nine Elms area.

The roundabout is used by thousands of commuter cyclists each day as it lies on Boris Johnson’s cycle superhighway 8 that links Wandsworth and Westminster.

Use is expected to increase as former industrial areas of north Battersea are being transformed with the redevelopment of Battersea power station and the relocation of the US embassy.

The new roundabout, which will also be fitted with pedestrian crossings, is the first to attempt to keep cyclists and motorists fully segregated in London. Work is due to be completed next summer.

The proposed roundabout has received some support from cyclists online today.

Kevin Denihan said: "Great news for us cyclists. More of the same please."

Cycling group @citycyclists wrote: "Hmm. Intriguing. Plan for bike track around roundabout with traffic lights Battersea Park"

But others criticised its design, saying it was not "user friendly".


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Friday, 26 September 2014

Cat and Fiddle near miss biker guilty of dangerous driving . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Cat and Fiddle near miss biker guilty of dangerous driving

Cited at:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-28856485

A biker who uploaded a film of a high speed ride in which he almost crashed head-on into a car has been found guilty of dangerous driving.

Jack Sanderson, 22, swerved and rolled down an embankment on the A537 Buxton New Road in Macclesfield, to avoid an oncoming car in February.

Footage of the near miss on the Cat and Fiddle, a road branded Britain's most dangerous, became a hit on YouTube.

Sanderson, of Mobberley in Cheshire, is due to be sentenced next week.

Sanderson recorded the incident on a camera fixed to his helmet.

He told Macclesfield Magistrates' Court: "I was in full control until I hit the fence. I drove into the fence to avoid a collision."

The landowner is seeking £1,000 in compensation from Sanderson for damage to his fence.

The Peak District A537 road between Macclesfield, Cheshire, and Buxton, Derbyshire features severe bends and steep drops.

The Road Safety Foundation charity has called on the government to spend more money on the Cat and Fiddle to improve safety on the roads but said the attitude of motorists also needed to change to make it safer.

Lee Murphy, from Cheshire Safer Roads Partnership, said: "The Cat and Fiddle does have a bit of a challenge mentality and a minority do try to ride it as fast as they can."


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Thursday, 25 September 2014

Police crash into man's car to stop him driving wrong way down motorway . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Police crash into man's car to stop him driving wrong way down motorway

Man with dementia, 77, returned safely to family after being stopped while heading south on northbound carriageway of M6
Cited at:
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/aug/20/police-crash-dementia-man-car-driving-wrong-way-motorway


Police stopped a man driving the wrong way down the motorway by crashing into his car. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA


Traffic police had to crash into a car being driven at 50mph the wrong way down a motorway by a 77-year-old man with dementia.

Officers stopped the Honda Jazz on the M6 toll in the West Midlands after reports that it was heading south on the northbound carriageway, between junction T5 and T4.

The Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) said the driver had dementia and had been reported missing by his family.

A police spokesman said: "Officers took the decision to make a deliberate head-on contact with the Honda to bring it to a stop."

The driver, from Rowley Regis in the West Midlands, was not hurt while an officer sustained a minor injury. The pensioner was returned home to his family.

Inspector Mark Watkins, of the CMPG, said his officers' brave actions prevented a more serious incident.

"This was an extremely unusual situation where the driver of the car had shown no intention to stop travelling in the wrong direction.

"Traffic officers bravely took the decision to engineer a collision with the vehicle and I am sure that their selfless actions have prevented serious injury or worse to the driver and other motorists on the road.

"We were relieved that we could bring this situation to a safe conclusion and return the man home safe and well to his family."


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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Lawyer warns street lights switch-off could provide loophole for drivers caught speeding . . .

__________________________________________________________________

Lawyer warns street lights switch-off could provide loophole for drivers caught speeding

Cited at:
http://www.harlowstar.co.uk/Lawyer-warns-street-lights-switch-provide/story-22787320-detail/story.html


An expert in motoring law believes the decision by Essex County Council to turn off street lights in Harlow and other parts of the county means some 30mph limits may not apply, offering a loophole to drivers accused of speeding.

Around seven in every 10 of the county's 127,000 street lights are now turned off between the hours of midnight and 5am. Claims that the move will save money and cut carbon dioxide emissions are countered by concerns that darkness increases crime and accidents.

But Essex barrister Antony Hook said: "Many, or even the majority of, residential roads do not have speed limit signs and are legally restricted to 30mph if they have working street lights up to 200 yards apart.

"The courts have ruled that speed limits may not apply if street lights are broken, too far apart or illuminate the pavement instead of the road.


"It follows that there is a strong legal argument that switching off street lights can also remove a speed limit.

"I regularly represent innocent motorists in court. Motorists may have a defence to a speeding charge because street lights have been switched off. This may make all the difference as to whether or not people get points, a fine or lose their driving licence and possibly their job as well.

"Road traffic law is very complicated and motorists should not hesitate to seek legal advice. Recent rule changes mean that motorists and other members of the public can now come directly to a barrister as I explain on my website www.hooklaw.org."

An Essex County Council spokesman said: "Turning street lights off or on has no effect on the speed limit."

A Department for Transport spokesman added: “Drivers are told via speed limit signs when they enter a 30mph limit and the onus is on drivers to make sure they are aware of what signs mean and what is expected of them. 

"The Road Traffic Act is clear that street lighting indicates the speed limit, and in our view this applies even when the lights are off, for example during the day.

"In our view it is the presence of a system of street lighting that indicates the limit – the wording of RTRA section 82 makes no reference to times of illumination (street lighting is unlit during daylight hours as well, but the limit still applies).

"Drivers are told via speed limit signs when entering a 30mph limit, so they are not expected to rely solely on the presence of street lights. 

"The Highway Code makes clear in rule 124 that the presence of street lights means a 30mph limit, as does advice in Know Your Traffic Signs. It is for drivers to make sure they are aware of what signs mean and what is expected of them.

"It’s for local authorities to implement speed limits and review as needed. 

"The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions do not permit 30mph ‘repeater’ signs to be placed within a 30 limit, as the presence of street lighting provides this information to drivers. "


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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Four lorries crash into Somerset cottage causing £50,000 of damage after Sat Nav wrongly directs vehicles down 6ft wide lane (and three lorries have got stuck) . . .

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Four lorries crash into Somerset cottage causing £50,000 of damage after Sat Nav wrongly directs vehicles down 6ft wide lane (and three lorries have got stuck)

Cited at:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2728883/Somerset-cottage-four-lorries-crash-causing-50-000-damage-Sat-Nav-wrongly-directs-vehicles-6ft-wide-lane.html
  • Caroline Cockman has lived in cottage in Coxley for 23 years 
  • Homeowner has 'lost count' of times drivers have become stuck in lane 
  • Calling on council officials to make signage at top of road more obvious 
  • Ms Cockman says crashes to her wall have caused £50,000 in damage 

This lane is only 6ft wide and has a sign to warn off larger vehicles, so you might have thought truck drivers would steer well clear.

But to the dismay of resident Caroline Cockman, some just blindly follow their satnavs – getting themselves stuck and damaging her beautiful Grade II-listed home.

She estimates that lorries have so far caused around £50,000 damage to her side and garden walls, and to her neighbour’s wall on the opposite side.




Caroline Cockman said she has lost count of the number of lorries that have become stuck in her lane or damaged her property 


The homeowner, who has lived at the property for 23 years, said drivers of large vehicles ought to know better

Sat navs keep sending lorries crashing into Somerset cottage



The homeowner, who lives in a former Georgian mill house, said: ‘Their satnavs direct them down the lane. 

They ignore the evidence of their own eyes that it’s too narrow and just carry on until they get stuck

‘The worst incident happened in 2008 when a big lorry got stuck then tried to ram its way down, costing £13,000 in repairs.

'There have been so many incidents, I can’t remember them all. Several have caused £5,000 damage. 

'I’ve started claiming off my own insurance because it was so slow claiming third party from the driver’s insurance.

‘It’s heartbreaking because as soon as something is repaired it’s just a matter of time before it gets damaged again.’



In the past week three motorists ran into trouble on the small, narrow lane in Coxley, Somerset 


Over the years Ms Cockman said around £50,000 worth of damage has been done to her home and grounds 


Sometimes the homeowner does not even have the chance to see the culprit, and they get out of the situation 'scot free'



Ms Cockman (left) is pleading with council officials to make signage before the turn down the lane more obvious (right)

There is a sign at the top of the lane in Coxley, near Wells, Somerset, warning drivers of the width restriction.

But Miss Cockman, who has lived there for 23 years, wants the council to make it more prominent.

Three trucks have got stuck in the last week alone, she said. One driver had to get in and out of the cab through a window while they waited four hours for a rescue vehicle to arrive.

Garden designer Miss Cockman added that she believes the problem is partly down to some drivers still using domestic satnavs designed for cars, rather than specialist satnavs for commercial vehicles.

‘I’m told the commercial ones do carry warnings about the lane’s width but the domestic ones don’t,’ she said.

'Sometimes I’ve come home and the damage has been done and the driver has gone and got away scot free.

'Luckily I’ve got a neighbour who works from home who can now get the driver details of most incidents when they happen.

'But I’ve started claiming off my own insurance because it was so slow claiming third party from the driver’s insurance - things would drag on and on because it was lower priority.


The homeowner has lived at the property for 23 years and has faced 'countless' problems, she says 


Despite hearing from council representatives, little is being done to solve the problem in Coxley, Somerset 


Council officials say the road signs are obvious enough despite repeated incidents. Three motorists in just one week have had trouble at the site 


Ms Cockman said drivers of lorries and vans should pay more attention to the road than to their sat nav 


On one occasion a driver caused £33,000 worth of damage after getting stuck in the lane and damaging the wall


The council said the sign is clearly marked enough though Ms Cockman says more needs to be done 

'Last Monday we had a big sewage tanker, with an escort to make sure it travelled safely, and it took him half-an-hour to reverse out.

'Then on Wednesday night someone collided with our low wall which stops vehicles coming off the lane and into our courtyard.

'Another guy was trapped for six hours. If only truck drivers used their common sense as the lane got narrower and narrower.

'You would think they ought to know better.'

'There needs to be more prominent signage at the top of the lane.

'I’ve had visits from council representatives who are sympathetic and make all the right noises but nothing ever gets done.

'It’s heartbreaking because as soon as something is repaired it’s just a matter of time before it gets damaged again.'

A spokesman for Somerset County council said there were enough warnings in place to avoid lorries getting stuck in the lane. 

'There are already signs in place at this location and we recommend drivers pay attention to these.'



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Monday, 22 September 2014

More than 150 drink-driver vehicles seized . . .

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More than 150 drink-driver vehicles seized

Cited at:
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/more-than-150-drink-driver-vehicles-seized.1408442631

More than 150 people had their vehicles seized because of drink-driving between April 2013 and March 2014.

The vehicles were forfeited by repeat drink and drug driving offenders, first offenders driving or attempting to drive with a high alcohol reading and those who refused to give a sample of breath to the police without a reasonable excuse.

Those of any value were sold at auction by Police Scotland and others were scrapped for their metal value. All proceeds went back into public funds.

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC repeated a warning he delivered at the launch of this summer's drink-driving campaign.

He said: "Drivers whose selfish actions result in the deaths of others when they drive under the influence of drink or drugs bring misery and devastation to families and loved ones throughout our communities.

"My message is very clear; you will be caught and when you are, you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

"Motorists in Scotland should also be aware of the tough legal and personal consequences of driving while under the influence of drink or drugs, not only could you lose your vehicle but you will receive a minimum 20-year criminal record."


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Sunday, 21 September 2014

How to make life easier for motorists without building new roads . . .

___________________________________________________________________

How to make life easier for motorists without building new roads

Cited at:
http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21612179-how-make-life-easier-motorists-without-building-new-roads-tailblazers

IDLING on a motorway for an hour or two has long been a part of any British summer holiday. But this year fractious drivers on the southern strip of the M25, an orbital road around London, may have some respite. In April part of the road, between junctions five and seven, opened as a “smart motorway”. It is one of around a dozen projects currently being undertaken by the Highways Agency, the body which manages Britain’s motorways and trunk roads. The scheme is an innovative way to reduce congestion cheaply. But it is also a striking example of how the government is quietly making life easier for motorists.

Britain’s roads have been creaking for years. According to the World Economic Forum, its lanes are worse than the underfunded stretches of tarmac in America. Spain and Portugal—two countries which suffered far more during the financial crisis—score higher. Funding is part of the problem: cash for maintaining major roads has halved since 2010. But motorways in Britain are particularly jammed. Although the number of people driving in cosmopolitan areas such as London is shrinking, the rise of online shopping and a growing population are pushing more delivery vans and cars on to busy roads.

Rather than spend lots of cash laying more tarmac, however, the Highways Agency has sought to invest in other ways to reduce congestion. In 2006 the Labour government ran a pilot programme, known as an “active traffic management” system, on part of the M42 in Birmingham. The scheme placed gantries with electronic signs every 500 metres along the motorway, installed CCTV cameras and allowed the hard shoulder to be used as an extra lane at busy times, boosting capacity by around a third. A variable speed limit was introduced, determined by sensors. Making cars travel at a slower, more uniform speed means more can be squeezed on the roads.

Since then the project, now known as “smart motorways”, has become more ambitious. On certain roads the hard shoulder can be used as a fourth lane at all times. Rather than plaster a motorway with words in flashing lights, more effective signs with pictures are now in use, says Graham Dalton, the chief executive of the Highways Agency. This means that non-English speaking truck drivers are more likely to take note, he adds. Future schemes may also have fewer emergency lay-bys, after it was found that many Britons used them to fiddle with their phones or for a toilet break.

Elements of smart motorways have long existed elsewhere. But Britain has taken the idea further, says Mr Dalton. In the Netherlands and Germany an extra lane can be used at peak times, while a few flashing signs may also manage traffic. But Britons appear to need a shove, not just a nudge.

Motorists should expect more of this: politicians like the scheme, which is far cheaper than traditional road-widening programmes. The M25 programme cost £129m ($215m). By contrast, adding more lanes between four junctions on that motorway cost £361m. And the government is adopting a friendlier stance towards motoring groups. The budget for the Highways Agency is projected to double under the next government. Flush with cash, the smart motorways scheme may move into second gear.


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Saturday, 20 September 2014

Foreign truckers help fix 320,000 British potholes . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Foreign truckers help fix 320,000 British potholes

Cited at:
http://www.motoringresearch.com/car-news/foreign-truckers-pay-fix-320000-british-potholes-0814947390


Foreign truckers have contributed to more than £17 million in lorry levies raised since the introduction of the government’s new ‘fair deal’ HGV charge in April 2014 – and ministers admit revenue raised is soaring well ahead of predictions.

The HGV road user levy was introduced to ensure British truckers weren’t penalised by competition from foreign trucks. Previously, explained Transport Minister Robert Goodwill, there was the “ridiculous situation” of foreign trucks filling up abroad, using British roads and then departing – “without giving a penny” to the British economy.

“Meanwhile British hauliers were effectively operating at a disadvantage. I’m glad to see this levy has addressed that imbalance.”

Levvies purchased to date total more than 618,000, with truckers from 76 different countries purchasing one since April. The £17 million raised is equivalent to maintaining and powering 170,000 streetlights, paying for 3400 electric car grants… or, yes, fixing 320,000 potholes.

The introduction of the levy has pleased the Freight Transport Association. Spokesman James Hookham said: “UK road freight operators have consistently argued that foreign-registered HGVs operating in the UK should contribute to their use of our roads.

“The HGV levy ensures this, and in so doing helps those domestic UK hauliers who are in direct competition with foreign carriers for loads.
How much is the HGV road user levy?

Truckers driving a lorry weighing 12 tonnes or more must pay the levy before driving on British roads. Charges vary between £1.70 and £10 per day, or £85 and £1000 per year.

British lorry drivers are not exempt from the levy, but they pay it when buying vehicle excise duty, which helps minimise costs.

Although more than 95% of British hauliers are paying it, DVSA enforcement officers have found 850 trucks who haven’t paid it during roadside checks: this alone has raised more than £250,000.

Initial government estimates, said Goodwill, was that the levy would bring in around £20 million a year. At current rates, it will actually bring in more than two and a half times that figure. Not bad for a so-called ‘fair deal’ tax.


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Friday, 19 September 2014

The Official Highway Code: motorcyclists and cyclists . . .

___________________________________________________________________


The Official Highway Code: motorcyclists and cyclists

Motorcyclists and cyclists

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

Rule 211


It is often difficult to see motorcyclists and cyclists, especially when they are coming up from behind, coming out of junctions, at roundabouts, overtaking you or filtering through traffic. Always look out for them before you emerge from a junction; they could be approaching faster than you think. When turning right across a line of slow-moving or stationary traffic, look out for cyclists or motorcyclists on the inside of the traffic you are crossing. Be especially careful when turning, and when changing direction or lane. Be sure to check mirrors and blind spots carefully.


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Thursday, 18 September 2014

Motorway middle lane hogging still rife a year after new laws were brought in to stop it

___________________________________________________________________

Motorway middle lane hogging still rife a year after new laws were brought in to stop it

Cited at:
http://news.sky.com/story/1322749/middle-lane-hogging-rife-despite-fine-threat

Research found 59 per cent of motorists confessed to staying in the central lane rather than just using it for overtaking

Middle lane hogging on the motorway is still rife - a year after new laws were brought in to stop it.

Research shows that 52 per cent of motorists know that stubbornly sticking to the central lane is illegal.

Yet despite this 59 per cent confessed to staying there rather than just using it for overtaking - and those aged 65 and over are the worst offenders.

The analysis also found the M4 near Slough has the highest incidence of hogging in the UK.

Motorway middle lane hogging still rife a year after new laws were brought in to stop it.



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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

DVSA - Test fees at ATFs will fall from 1 October 2014 . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Test fees at ATFs will fall from 1 October 2014

Cited at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/lorry-bus-and-trailer-annual-test-fees-to-fall


Following a consultation, fees for HGV and PSV annual tests will fall from 1 October 2014 for customers who use ATF sites.

Over 80% of all annual tests take place at private ATF sites. Customers who use these sites will no longer have to contribute to the cost of DVSA facilities. This means that test costs will fall by an average of around 3.5%.



However at DVSA sites, where the cost of delivering tests is higher, fees will increase by an average of around 18.5%. 

DVSA plans to provide at least 85% of annual tests from ATFs by 31 March 2015.

In addition to the changes to test fees, DVSA is also adjusting fees for HGV and PSV operator licences. These will rise by 1% to cover the running costs associated with the National Register of licensed operators.

For more information on the new fees, see the response to consultation on GOV.UK.



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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Is this Britain's deadliest bike lane? Route takes cyclists down 'suicide alley' down the MIDDLE of a road . . .

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Is this Britain's deadliest bike lane? Route takes cyclists down 'suicide alley' down the MIDDLE of a road

  • Lane in Reading, Berkshire, has been criticised by cyclists and drivers
  • Cyclists taken towards the middle of the road, past parking bays
  • Fears raised that someone opening car door could knock over a rider
  • Transport chiefs say newly-painted lane 'meets design guidance'
Cited at:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2728248/Is-Britains-deadliest-bike-lane-Path-takes-cyclists-suicide-alley-streams-traffic.html

A new bike lane has been dubbed 'suicide alley' by cyclists who say it takes them towards the middle of a road and past hazards including parking bays.

Transport chiefs in Reading, Berkshire, say the layout of the newly-painted cycle lane ‘meets design guidance and is aimed at accommodating all road users’.

However, neighbours living nearby have complained that the lane takes cyclists dangerously close to oncoming traffic, and that cars passing in the road have no option but to cross into the cycle lane.


Dangerous? A new bike lane has been dubbed 'suicide alley' by cyclists who say it takes them towards the middle of a road and past hazards including parking bays



Design: Transport chiefs in Reading, Berkshire, say the layout of the newly-painted cycle lane 'meets design guidance and is aimed at accommodating all road user'

They have also expressed fears that anyone opening the door of a parked car, without checking their mirrors first, could knock a rider into the path of oncoming cars, lorries and buses.

Adrian Lawson, chairman of the Reading Cycle Campaign, said the new lane is potentially deadly.

'It is disgraceful. Government notes say you shouldn’t put in a cycle lane if it is going to make matters more dangerous,' he said.

'There is no buffer zone which means if someone opens a door of a parked car the cyclist is knocked off, so riders are forced to stay outside the cycle lane which is going to upset following motorists.'

Mr Lawson suggested a wide grass verge could be converted to allow for more off-road car parking, and improve the area for cyclists.

One motorist, Caroline Downs, said: 'Reading road planners seem to have very little thought for cyclists these days and even less for the motorists.


Route: Cyclists say there is no room for two vehicles to pass on the road without crossing into the cycle lane


Fear: Neighbours living nearby have complained that the lane takes cyclists dangerously close to oncoming traffic

'The law says you cannot drive in a cycle way, but with cycle paths on both sides of this road, one almost in the middle of the road, there is hardly room for two cars without driving in the said cycle path.

'God knows what will happen if two larger vehicles come towards each other. It’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Another driver said: 'This new cycle lane has been painted on the northbound side to join the one that was already there on the Reading-bound side.

'The absence of centre lane markings and a narrow section near the traffic lights means Henley and Reading-bound traffic is now vying for the same bit of road.'

A string of comments have also been left on the Caversham Gossip Girls Facebook page with one member complaining she was almost hit by another car driving on her side of the road, while one cyclist said they would be using the pavement because it is safer.


Guidance: A council spokesman said the lanes were there for 'guidance', and that road users should be aware of others around them


Worry: Fears have been raised that anyone opening the door of a parked car, without checking their mirrors first, could knock a rider into the path of oncoming cars, lorries and buses

Council spokesman Anna Fowler defended the layout.
'The omission of centre lines from urban roads is encouraged by central government as it has a positive impact on reducing vehicle speed,' she said.

'The overall width of Lower Henley Road has not been reduced, but a cycle lane has been added to accommodate cyclists travelling up the hill.

'It is an advisory cycle lane, which means it is there for guidance only. It does not mean road users - whether cyclists or motorists - should stop being aware of each other as they travel along Lower Henley Road.

'The width of the Lower Henley Road - with the added cycle lane - meets the design guidance if the council were building a new road.

'Apart from playing an important role in drainage, the grass verge to the side of the road is banked in parts which means it could not all be removed to accommodate a cycle lane.

'We would also always ask drivers opening car doors to check for cyclists in their wing mirrors, as required by the Highway Code.

'The parking bay along the road was provided following local surveys. The layout will be monitored and reviewed over time however and alterations could be considered in the future.'


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Monday, 15 September 2014

Worst speeder in Scotland clocked on an Aberdeenshire road… but was never caught! . . .

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Worst speeder in Scotland clocked on an Aberdeenshire road… but was never caught!

Cited at:
https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen/318989/worst-speeder-in-scotland-clocked-on-an-aberdeenshire-road/


A motorcyclist who clocked 139mph on an Aberdeenshire road has never been punished – despite being Scotland’s worst offender in the last 15 months.

A mobile speed camera on the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road picked up the biker on a 60mph stretch between Keith and Huntly, but because the licence plate number was not clear in the footage, no action was taken.

His speed was the highest recorded in Scotland, and third in the UK, over the last 15 months, according to figures from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).

Of the highest 20 speeding offences – clocked on either fixed or mobile speed camera – three were clocked at more than 120mph on the A90 Aberdeen to Dundee road.

A further three were caught at speeds of more than 100mph on the A9 Inverness to Perth road.

The figures were obtained by the IAM using freedom of information legislation.

The second highest offence – 129mph – was committed on the A90 at Waterston Road, Angus.

Another driver was caught going at 122mph on the A90 near Mill of Forest, Stonehaven, while in the north, cameras picked up a motorist driving at speeds of 115mph on a 60mph stretch of the A82 Inverness-Glasgow road at the White Corries in Glencoe.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research IAM, said action was often not taken against speeders for “a variety of reasons”.

He added: “The real issue for us is that most of these are on single carriage, 60mph roads.

“And in the north-east where there can be a tractor on the corner or some one can be turning right, the roads aren’t designed for these speeds.

“You don’t just drift over the limit to this extent. This is really high-speed driving of a selfish nature.”

Police said action would not be taken if there was issues with vehicle registrations, road markings or if a police report was not completed within a specified time period.


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Sunday, 14 September 2014

Chaos on the M67 as drivers turn round and go the WRONG WAY up slip road to escape massive tailback caused by three-car pile-up . . .

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Chaos on the M67 as drivers turn round and go the WRONG WAY up slip road to escape massive tailback caused by three-car pile-up 

  • Dozens of motorists turn around on motorway and drive up slip road after smash blocked M67 for hours
  • Police warn of dangers of driving the wrong way, but people caught up in the chaos say it was just 'common sense'
  • AA 'understand drivers' frustrations' but does not condone their actions

Frustrated drivers have been slammed by the police for risking lives when they turned around on a motorway and drove the wrong way up a slip road to avoid lengthy tailbacks. 

Motorists were caught on camera spinning their vehicles around and exiting the M67 via the entry slip road after a three-car smash near junction 2, not far from Denton, Greater Manchester.

But drivers who turned around said their actions were pure 'common sense', while those who could not said they were jealous.


Turning back: Drivers drive the wrong way up the M67 motorway slip road after a crash


Police officers, firefighters and paramedics helped rescue motorists involved in the crash


People looked on in amazement from a footbridge as cars began to turn around and drive up the slip road

Property investor Mike Stenhouse was one of the last cars to escape the wrong way up the slip road before police intervened.

He said: 'We were one of the last people to get off that way. Luckily we were right by the slip road when the traffic stopped.

'God, it saved us a lot of time. People who were less lucky were stuck there for hours. 

'We were very relieved. It was a pack mentality but it got us out.'

Martin McDonnell was driving along the M67 with his brother at the time of the crash and was less lucky.

He said: 'I wouldn't have minded that at all. It would've been very nice to have got out of there early. I don't blame them.'

Peter Belsten witnessed the chaotic scenes from a footbridge and told the Manchester Evening News: 'Once one started, they all turned around in the motorway and headed up the on ramp.

'It was bizarre, complete mayhem, loads of bumps and irate drivers.'

A pedestrian could also be seen walking up the on ramp at Junction 1A as cars and vans weaved around the gridlocked traffic. 

Traffic officers eventually brought the free-for-all to an end by blocking the slip road. 


Martin McDonnell was among hundreds of drivers stuck in the tailbacks for more than two hours


Three cars were involved in the crash near junction 2, not far from Denton, Greater Manchester


Luckily nobody was seriously injured in the crash, but the tailbacks caused chaos for commuters

Paul Watters, head of public affairs at the AA, said he could 'see the thought process' of the drivers who turned around, but drivers should wait for instruction from the police.

He said: 'I have sympathy with the drivers. You can understand the frustrations of people stuck in these situations. They probably thought they were doing the right thing.

'I can see their thought process, but I cannot encourage people to turn around on the motorway.

'There could have been a motorbike zipping down the slip road, or another emergency vehicle trying to attend the crash.

'What the police don't need in these incidents is chaos upon chaos, so the right thing to do is wait for instruction from them.'

The Highways Agency condemned the drivers' actions and said nobody should ever drive in the wrong direction unless directed to do so.

The offence is punishable by three penalty points and a fine.

A spokesman said: 'I appreciate that when there is an accident people want to try to get to where they are going, but it doesn't help anybody if people take it upon themselves to turn around and drive the wrong way up a motorway.

'We do have a system of releasing traffic if it has been there for a while, where vehicles will be properly directed and it is done in a safe and controlled manner, whereas people turning round of their own accord and not under direction probably isn't.

'If somebody turns and drives the wrong way down the road and has a secondary accident that means we then have to deal with that too and the road is closed for longer for everybody else.'

Nobody was seriously injured in the crash. 


Paul Watters, from the AA, said he 'understood the thought process' of drivers who turned around after the crash, but said he would not encourage doing it himself


Turning around on the motorway can earn drivers three points on their licence and a fine



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