Friday, 31 October 2014

Terrifying moment motorcyclist hits pothole then veers across road and ploughs into lorry ripping the bike in half . . .

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Terrifying moment motorcyclist hits pothole then veers across road and ploughs into lorry ripping the bike in half

  • Biker hit divot in road near Rye, East Sussex and slid into path of truck
  • Horrific road accident was captured by the lorry's cabin CCTV camera
  • Film shows bike falling in front of the truck, which was doing 30mph
  • Amazingly, the motorcyclist walked away a broken shoulder after smash

Cited at:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2783707/Terrifying-moment-motorcyclist-ploughs-lorry-survives.html

This is the terrifying moment a motorcyclist veers across a winding country lane and ploughs head-on into a lorry.

The biker is seen failing to take a bend properly and drifting into the opposite carriageway as the HGV approaches.

The man's motorbike was torn in half by the impact - but miraculously the rider escaped with just a broken shoulder.


Footage filmed by a lorry's cabin camera shows the bike skid into the path of the truck near Rye, East Sussex


The bike was ripped in half in the incident but the motorcyclist escaped with only a broken shoulder


Police investigated the accident to see if the lorry driver was speeding but decided nobody was to blame

Police launched an investigation amid suspicions the lorry driver could have been guilty of speeding, dangerous driving or poor lane discipline.

But the footage, filmed with a SmartWitness Vehicle Accident Camera mounted on the dashboard of the truck, proved that the driver was not to blame for the 30mph smash in Rye, East Sussex.

Mark Chamberlain, managing director of John Jempson & Son who own the lorry, said: 'The driver was travelling safely and within the speed limit on the country lanes near where we are based.

'You can see on the video that he is passed first by a motorcyclist, who turned out to be the female partner of the injured rider.

'The second rider follows very closely behind her. If you slow the video right down you can see that he hits a pothole and veers over the road into the path of our truck after coming out of a corner.

'There is a collision but thankfully the motorcyclist is lucky and he escapes with a broken shoulder.'

The terrifying moment a motorbike collides head-on with a truck



The footage shows the moment the biker hits the pothole in the middle of the road as he rounds a country bend


Initially following another bike, the rider then loses control and slides across road into the path of the truck


The bike then ploughs into the front of the lorry and a cloud of smoke rises as it is ripped to shreds


The owner of the lorry says he is pleased he was using the camera, which showed his driver was not to blame

Mr Chamberlain added: 'He is already coming off the bike at the point of impact and he ends up falling to the side of our truck.

'Our driver is understandably badly shaken by what has happened and is immediately given a week off work to recover.

'The police quite properly investigate the incident and the first thing they want to see is the footage from Smart Witness.

'This shows quite clearly that our driver is blameless and there is no case to answer.'

Manufacturers say the devices, which start at £149, 'pay for themselves' through reduced insurance premiums.



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Thursday, 30 October 2014

Road Hauliers In Christmas Deliveries Warning . . .

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Road Hauliers In Christmas Deliveries Warning

Cited at:
https://uk.news.yahoo.com/road-hauliers-christmas-deliveries-warning-230318234.html#vtHrNUG


Road Hauliers In Christmas Deliveries Warning

Hauliers are warning that a national shortage of lorry drivers could hit deliveries to shops and stores in the run-up to Christmas.

They say the cost of obtaining a licence and strict EU rules are putting off many would-be drivers.

"What we're concerned about is that as things start to ramp up around Christmas... there just simply won't be enough drivers available to make all the deliveries that are needed," said Natalie Chapman of the Freight Transport Association.

According to the organisation, 40% of lorry drivers are 50 or over, while just 1% are under the age of 25.

Chris Stevenson, 24, from Bloxwich, told Sky News he is desperate to become a lorry driver.

"It's the freedom of the job really. Seeing a bit of the country, maybe seeing a bit if the world, doing continental driving, you can get around a bit - (it) beats being stuck in one place all the while."

However, three unsuccessful attempts to get his HGV licence have cost him £2,500 so far.

John Heighway, transport manager at Devaneys Haulage, says such costs and the image of the profession have resulted in too few young people wanting to join it.

"It's quite desperate really. We could have enough work for an extra 10 vehicles.

“But we just don't have the drivers to cover it, so we just have to turn work down which is something we don't like doing."

That is great news for agency staff like Martins Svarcs from Latvia, who is working for the West Bromwich-based company.

"I'm working every day, five days a week, nine hours driving a day, so I'm happy."

But even temporary workers cannot fill all the vacant posts.

Hauliers say the problem is being made worse by EU rules which require experienced drivers to undertake further costly training - or face a large fine.

Roy Reynolds, 68, from Wolverhampton had been driving for 41 years and like many others decided to quit.

"Now regulations are coming in where you've got to go back to the classroom.

"I don't feel that I need to do that with the experience that I've gained over a number of years. It just seems pointless, so I decided to retire."



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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Official Highway Code: motorway signals . . .

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The Official Highway Code: motorway signals

Motorway signals

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

Rule 258

Red flashing lights. If red lights on the overhead signals flash above your lane and a red ‘X’ is showing, you MUST NOT go beyond the signal in that lane. If red lights flash on a signal in the central reservation or at the side of the road, you MUST NOT go beyond the signal in any lane.


Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10 & 38




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Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Tyres behind 1,600 incidents . . .

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Tyres behind 1,600 incidents

Cited at:
http://www.lep.co.uk/news/traffic-travel/tyres-behind-1-600-incidents-1-6879345



Motorists in Lancashire are being warned to check their tyres after hundreds of incidents linked to defects.

The Highways Agency says there were more than 1,600 tyre-related incidents on major roads in the North West last winter. They include punctures and blow outs, and 1,001 of them took place between October and December.

The statistics were released in support of tyre safety month, organised by TyreSafe – a body that raises awareness of the dangers of worn, unsafe or defective tyres.

Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, presented Lancashire’s Highways Agency traffic officers with tyre safety gauges to hand out to drivers, giving practical advice about tyre safety.

This year, the focus of tyre safety month is urging drivers to ensure tyres are ready for wet weather by checking that they have enough tread.

Experts say this can be done using a 20 pence piece – if you can see the outer rim of the coin when it’s inserted into the main grooves of the tyre, they should be checked by a tyre professional. Simon Sheldon-Wilson, Highways Agency director of customer operations, said: “It’s important to ensure that your tyres are ready for winter and that includes the kind of wet weather we saw last year.

“By checking your tyres at least once a month, you can make sure you have enough tread to control your vehicle in wet conditions.”

and avoid aquaplaning at high speeds which could lead to disastrous consequences. There were 11,057 tyre related incidents on motorways and major A roads in England last winter with 1,623 of those incidents North West – don’t become a statistic and check your tyres are safe today.”



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Monday, 27 October 2014

Warning issued over misuse of railway crossings . . .

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Warning issued over misuse of railway crossings

Cited at:
http://www.torquayheraldexpress.co.uk/Warning-issued-misuse-railway-crossings/story-23046482-detail/story.html


BRITISH Transport Police are targeting people who misuse railway crossings as they attempt to reduce the thousands of cases each year they need to deal with.

Nearly 4,000 offences at railway crossings where dealt with between April 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014 by BTP in which pedestrians and motorists risk not only their own lives, but also those of rail passengers and staff by misusing crossings.

Operation Look will see BTP officers and colleagues from Network Rail carry out extra patrols across the country and officers will talk to pedestrians and drivers about the dangers of crossing misuse. They will also visit schools, youth clubs and local businesses to warn people to use crossings safely.

While communicating the importance of proper level crossing use is vital, BTP is also committed to enforcement.

Between April 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014, 732 motorists were charged or summonsed for crossing misuse, with a further 740 issued with fixed penalty notices, and 102 cautioned for traffic offences.

A further 2,125 drivers were sent on safety-awareness courses. The vast majority completed the course, with very few going on to re-offend.

BTP is also determined to tackle pedestrian misuse of crossings and its recent campaign to warn against any trespass on the railway, Operation Intruder, involved education and extra patrols at crossings.

Insp Becky Warren said: “It is important people realise there is a serious penalty to pay for crossing-misuse. However, while we will not hesitate to use the force of the law, we are also acutely aware of the need to promote safety at crossings through education. We need drivers and pedestrians to realise level crossing misuse is a danger, not only to their safety, but the safety of others.

“We work closely with our partners at Network Rail, as well as colleagues across other police forces, to ensure crossings remain as safe as possible and will spend much of this week of action talking to people who use level crossings on a daily basis.”



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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Changes to tachograph rules for local journeys . . .

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Changes to tachograph rules for local journeys

Cited at:
https://movingon.blog.gov.uk/changes-to-tachograph-rules-for-local-journeys/


Soon some vehicles will no longer have to be fitted with tachograph recording equipment and their drivers will not have to comply with EC drivers’ hour rules, but with GB drivers’ hours rules instead.
From 2 March 2015, a new European regulation – EU 165/2014 (PDF 2 MB) – will replace EEC 3821/85, setting out requirements for the construction, installation, use, testing and control of tachograph recording equipment.

The new regulation increases the journey distance for exemptions from 50km to 100km from the operator’s base. This will apply to:

1. vehicles or vehicle and trailer combinations with a maximum weight of 7,500 kg which are: 
    • used to carry materials, equipment or machinery for the driver’s use in the course of his work and when driving the vehicle is not the driver’s main activity
    • used to carry goods and which are propelled by natural or liquefied gas or electricity
2. vehicles used to carry live animals from farms to local markets, or from markets to local farms or slaughterhouses

From 2 March 2015, these vehicles will no longer have to be fitted with tachograph recording equipment and the drivers will not have to comply with EC drivers’ hour rules. Instead, drivers of these vehicles must meet GB domestic drivers’ hours rules.




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Saturday, 25 October 2014

VIDEO: Crowd of people lift car to free man stuck in China . . .

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VIDEO: Crowd of people lift car to free man stuck in China

Cited at:
http://www.independent.ie/videos/world-news/video-crowd-of-people-lift-car-to-free-man-stuck-in-china-30634675.html


VIDEO: Crowd of people lift car to free man stuck in China


Police and passers-by in China helped lift a car to free a man who was run over as he attempted to cross the road in eastern China's Anhui Province.



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Friday, 24 October 2014

Vehicle Fault Crashes: Tyres Contribute To 40% Of Deaths . . .

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Vehicle Fault Crashes: Tyres Contribute To 40% Of Deaths

Cited at:
http://www.motoring.co.uk/car-news/vehicle-fault-crashes-tyres-contribute-to-40-of-deaths_65391

Tyre Fault Casualty Figures Revealed
#

Defective, illegal and under inflated tyres caused 40% of road deaths in the United Kingdom in 2013 where vehicle fault was a factor, according to TyreSafe. The safety organisation's statement is based on new information from the Department for Transport.

This shows that there were 2,855 casualties last year caused by faulty vehicles, with tyres blamed on 968 occasions. 45% of incidents occurred on a-roads – with the south-east being the most prolific region.

TyreSafe Chairman, Stuart Jackson, said: "The latest figures are very worrying and sadly reflect a general attitude of indifference by many drivers toward checking their tyres regularly.

“As the only part of your car in contact with the road, it's vital that your tyres are looked after correctly and inspected regularly to ensure they will work properly in emergency situations.”

Casualty Figures Revealed Days Before Tyre Safety Month

The Department for Transport’s figures precede the October Tyre Safety Month Campaign. This will emphasise the importance of having enough tread to consistently and comprehensively clear rain water. It will be timed to coincide with what is traditionally the wettest month. During the campaign, thousands of garages and tyre retailers will offer complimentary safety checks.

These will ensure that tyres – as required by law – have 1.6mm of tread across their central 75% and around the circumference. The penalty for having a defective tyre is a fine of up to £2,500 and penalty points. (in extreme cases). TyreSafe Chairman Stuart Jackson added: "Driving on safe and legal tyres is important all year round but especially so as we approach the winter months. Without adequate tread depth your tyres will not be able to cope properly on wet roads, and if we have a repeat of last year's record levels of rainfall we could well see even more needless tyre-related injuries which could have been easily avoided."



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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Driving licence changes - abolition of the driving licence paper counterpart . . .

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Driving licence changes

Cited at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/driving-licence-changes


Updates and advice on abolition of the driving licence paper counterpart.


From January 2015, DVLA will no longer issue the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence.

You can check your driving licence record online, by phone or post.
What this means for you

You do not need to take any action, just keep your current photocard driving licence.

If you have an old style paper driving licence issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998, this change won’t affect you, and you should keep your licence.

The next time you need to update your name, address or renew your licence, you will be issued with a photocard only.

Entitlements, penalty points and the status of your driving licence won’t change.
What to do with your paper counterpart from January 2015

If you don’t think you’ll need it, then you may destroy it. You should not destroy the counterpart before 1 January 2015.

You’ll still be able to use the counterpart driving licence to change your address with DVLA. You can also change your address online.
Organisations and businesses that check the driving licence counterpart

DVLA is developing a new digital enquiry service for launch later this year that will allow organisations and businesses (such as employers and car hire companies) to view information they can currently see on the driving licence counterpart.

This new service will be offered in addition to the existing services, but is designed for those who have a business need for real-time access to the information and may not wish to call DVLA or be in a position to use an intermediary.

Driving licence information via this service will only be made available to those who have a right to see it, and with the knowledge of the driving licence holder.
Newsletter

Stakeholders and commercial customers can find further information about the abolition of the counterpart in our newsletters.



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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Car jumps across rising bridge in Croatia . . .

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Car jumps across rising bridge in Croatia

Cited at:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/motoringvideo/11132377/Car-jumps-across-rising-bridge-in-Croatia.html


Watch the moment a motorist made an audacious jump across a rising bridge in Croatia


An impatient driver has been caught on camera making a dash to cross a bridge as it was being raised to allow a boat to pass under.

The footage, captured on Monday by a CCTV camera at a nearby tourism office, shows a small yellow car accelerating over the crossing in Tisno in the coastal Dalmatia region.

Despite the attempts of the bridge operator to stop the car, the driver manages to complete the stunt and drive away without sustaining any serious damage.



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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Children As Young As 11 Caught Drink-Driving . . .

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Children As Young As 11 Caught Drink-Driving

Cited at:
http://news.sky.com/story/1345863/children-as-young-as-11-caught-drink-driving

Records reveal five under-18s are caught drink-driving every week, with Greater Manchester and Scotland the worst offending areas.


One thousand under-18s are convicted of drink-driving every year

Children as young as 11 have been caught drinking and driving, according to police records.

An 11-year-old was stopped in the Thames Valley area in 2011 and several 12-year-olds were apprehended in Scotland in 2012 and in Manchester in 2008.

An average of 1,000 under-18s have been convicted of drink-driving every year since 2008, according to figures obtained by in-car camera provider Nextbase.

Every week since 2008, an average of five drink-drivers under the age of 18 have been caught, the figures also revealed.

All 43 police forces in the UK have stopped under-18 drink-drivers between 2008 and 2013, with figures from Freedom of Information requests revealing the worst area in England for offenders was Greater Manchester, with 409 people arrested over the period.

Other hotspots included Scotland with 718 offenders, Hampshire with 276 and Devon and Cornwall with 241.

Nextbase said the overall number of underage drink-drive arrests had fallen year-on-year, but a number of areas including South Yorkshire, Northumbria and Kent had seen a rise.

A Department of Transport spokesman said: "Under-age driving is illegal and no person under the age of 17 should be driving a car.

"We have tough laws in place to tackle those caught driving without a licence.

"Drink-driving is a menace that costs lives, and the Government is strengthening the law to help police crack down on this problem."




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Monday, 20 October 2014

Google Glass “no safer” than phones for texting while driving . . .

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Google Glass “no safer” than phones for texting while driving

Cited at:
http://arstechnica.com/cars/2014/09/google-glass-no-safer-than-phones-for-texting-while-driving/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+arstechnica%2Findex+%28Ars+Technica+-+All+content%29

Study shows that multitasking on the road is never a good idea.


Don't text and drive, kids, not even if you're using high-tech, hands-free goggles to do so.

Researchers at the University of Central Florida have concluded in a study that using Google Glass to text while driving is clearly a distraction. They also discovered, however, that Glass wearers were more capable of regaining control of their vehicles than smartphone users following traffic incidents.

The peer-reviewed study was the first to examine the impact of Glass on driving, and was conducted with the hope of finding new ways for technology to deliver information to drivers with minimal risk. "As destructive influences threaten to become more common and numerous in drivers' lives, we find the limited benefits provided by Glass a hopeful sign of technological solutions to come," said researcher Ben Sawyer.

Sawyer has investigated how distractions impact human-machine interactions in many different contexts. Previous research conducted by Sawyer and his team at the University of Central Florida found that it didn't make any difference to driving performance if study participants were using their own phone or unfamiliar phones.

For the study, he used 40 participants and examined how they reacted while being forced to slam on their breaks to avoid an accident while using either Glass or a smartphone in a car simulator. Those texting using Glass didn't react any faster than those texting smartphones, although they did return to driving normally more quickly afterwards. "Compared to those just driving, multitaskers reacted more slowly, preserved less headway during the break event, and subsequently adopted greater following distances," said Sawyer.

He also discovered that Glass drivers tend to follow cars ahead much more closely, which suggests that even just wearing Glass could cause drivers to lose control. "While Glass-delivered messaging has benefits, it does not in any way make driving-while-messaging safe," he said.

Google itself has some advice for Glass-wearing drivers: "Read up and follow the law! Above all, even when you're following the law, don't hurt yourself or others by failing to pay attention to the road."

We asked the company if it had anything to add in light of the study, but we hadn't heard back at the time of publishing.



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Sunday, 19 October 2014

‘Don’t become a statistic’ – tyre safety advice for drivers . . .

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‘Don’t become a statistic’ – tyre safety advice for drivers

Cited at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/dont-become-a-statistic-tyre-safety-advice-for-drivers


More than 11,000 tyre-related incidents took place on England’s motorways and major roads last winter, statistics released today reveal.


The incidents include punctures and blow outs which put road users and road workers in risk of danger. Most took place between October and December.

The statistics have been released by the Highways Agency in support of Tyre Safety Month, this October, which is organised by Tyre Safe, a non for profit UK tyre safety organisation that raises awareness of the dangers of worn, unsafe or defective tyres. Also as part of the month, Stuart Jackson, the Chair of Tyre Safe, presented Highways Agency Traffic Officers in the North West with special tyre safety gauges to hand out to drivers to give practical advice about tyre safety.

This year the focus of Tyre Safety Month is urging drivers to ensure tyres are ready for wet weather by checking that they have enough tread. This can be done easily using a 20 pence piece: if you can see the outer rim of the coin when it’s inserted into the main grooves of the tyre then they should be checked by a tyre professional.

Simon Sheldon-Wilson, Highways Agency Director of Customer Operations said:
It’s important to ensure that your tyres are ready for winter and that includes the kind of wet weather we saw last year. By checking your tyres at least once a month, you can make sure you have enough tread to control your vehicle in wet conditions and avoid aquaplaning at high speeds which could lead to disastrous consequences.

There were 11,057 tyre related incidents on motorways and major A roads in England last winter – don’t become a statistic and check your tyres are safe today.

Stuart Jackson said:
Last year was the wettest winter on record. Ahead of any wet weather we may encounter this winter, we’re reminding drivers to check that their tyres’ tread depth is deep enough to manage driving in wet conditions.

Having adequate tread depth means the tyres will be able to handle wet weather much better, remaining in control and reducing the real risk of aquaplaning.

Tyre Safe has published a short film online that compares the handling of two vehicles with different tread depths. This illustrates how important it is to have enough tread on your tyres to drive in wet conditions.

Tyre Safe has also organised free tyre safety checks at participating local tyre dealers. For more information about that offer and more about the campaign visit: www.tyresafe.org

General enquiries
Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.



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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Benefits of joining DVLA's fleet scheme . . .

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Benefits of joining DVLA's fleet scheme

Cited at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/benefits-of-joining-dvlas-fleet-scheme

DVLA’s fleet scheme has a number of benefits for fleet operators and it’s free to join.



The scheme is for vehicles of all sizes, ages and taxation classes. DVLAallocates a fleet number which is a unique identifier for use with a company’s address. The fleet number is added to all V5Cs of vehicles within that company’s fleet. DVLA maintain the fleet list to make sure name, address and contact details are up to date.

Benefits for fleet operators include:
  • receipt of vehicle documents in bulk including V11 & V85/1 tax reminders and V5C registration certificates
  • bulk taxation at a Post Office
  • access to a dedicated fleet operator support helpdesk
  • quicker resolution of queries as DVLA can identify the vehicles assigned to each fleet number
  • access to the View Vehicle Record (VVR) enquiry service from spring 2015 on GOV.UK

VVR will offer advantages such as having access to data for vehicles within your fleet, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and being able to see which vehicles are due to be MOT tested and taxed.

You will be able to opt in or out of having a V5C issued which could reduce the administrative burden, the amount of storage space as you won’t need to store the V5Cs and allow you to request a V5C when required.

For more information on how to join the DVLA Fleet Scheme please contactDVLA via email.


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Friday, 17 October 2014

The Official Highway Code: lane discipline . . .

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The Official Highway Code: lane discipline

Lane discipline

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

Rule 264


You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. If you are overtaking a number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely past. Slow-moving or speed-restricted vehicles should always remain in the left-hand lane of the carriageway unless overtaking. You MUST NOT drive on the hard shoulder except in an emergency or if directed to do so by the police, HA traffic officers in uniform or by signs.

Laws MT(E&W)R regs 5, 9 & 16(1)(a), MT(S)R regs 4, 8 & 14(1)(a), and RTA 1988, sects 35 & 186, as amended by TMA 2004 sect 6



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Thursday, 16 October 2014

Revamped lorry designs could avoid hundreds of cycling deaths – study . . .

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Revamped lorry designs could avoid hundreds of cycling deaths – study

Cited at:
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/23/revamped-lorry-designs-could-avoid-hundreds-of-cycling-deaths-study-claims

Lorries should have longer cabs, rounded noses and expanded glazed areas to increase visibility, Loughborough team says

Proposed new lorry design to reduce cyclist fatalities. Photograph: Loughborough University


Revamping lorry designs to overhaul blind spots in current models could save the lives of hundreds of cyclists and pedestrians every year, according to a new report by Loughborough University.

Lorries are responsible for over half of all cyclist deaths in London, a third across the UK as a whole, 43% of cycling fatalities in Belgium and 38% in the Netherlands.

In all, about 1,000 people die annually in Europe’s road traffic accidents, but a ‘direct vision’ design concept could slash those figures by increasing the field of vision for drivers in front – and to the sides – of their lorries, the paper claims.

“Blind spots can be a significant factor in fatal accidents with lorries,” said Dr Steve Summerskill, one of the report’s co-authors. “The study shows that the size of these blind spots can be minimised through improved cab design, the reduction of cab height and the addition of extra windows.”

The proposed new lorry model would have an 80cm longer cab with a rounded nose, smaller dashboard, expanded glazed areas and a slightly lower driver position, panoramically expanding the range of sight from behind a lorry cab’s wheel.

By contrast, truck drivers today sit in a position high above their engines in brick-shaped lorry cabs that leave them unable to see much of the movement around their vehicles.
Driver blind spots on existing lorry designs. Photograph: Loughborough University

The paper analysed 704 accidents involving heavy goods vehicles and found that 31% of road fatalities were caused by drivers pulling away, 19% were caused by left turns, 7% by right turns, and 25% from drivers reversing.

Surprisingly, vehicles changing lanes were responsible for half of all accidents, but no fatalities.

The analysis indicates that “critical blind spots” in current models cannot be compensated for by the use of lorry driver’s mirrors, because of the time lapse between checking them, making observations through the window, and then pulling away from a junction.

“If this time period is four seconds, this is enough time for a cyclist to undertake the HGV, with the driver being unaware of his or her presence,” the paper says.

Such weaknesses have been highlighted in other research but European rules have still tended to prioritise drivers’ ‘indirect vision’ – or the line of sight they get from mirrors – over their blind spots.

The EU’s existing law on lorry weights and dimensions compounds this by forcing a design with particularly large blind spots, according to Transport and Environment (T&E), a green think tank which co-funded the report.

“Not only drivers, but politicians too need vision,” said William Todts, a senior policy officer for T&E. “It’s incomprehensible that we allow huge 36 tonne mammoths on our roads without making sure the people behind the wheel actually see what’s going on. After decades of tinkering with mirrors, we now have an opportunity to make direct vision compulsory in new lorry designs and save hundreds of lives.”

The research was also funded by Transport for London, as a way of improving the safety and efficiency of freight transit.



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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Drivers warned over smart-watch use . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Drivers warned over smartwatch use

Cited at:
http://www.shropshirestar.com/news/uk-news/2014/09/17/drivers-warned-over-smartwatch-use/

Motorists are being warned about the potential risks associated with using the new Apple Watch and other smartwatches while driving.
Drivers are being warned smart watches such as these Samsung Gear 2s, or the Apple iWatch could be a distraction behind the wheel.

The Apple Watch will allow users to make and receive calls and check messages by operating the device on their wrists.

But the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) says this could be a major cause of distraction that could significantly impair driving performance.

The IAM said: "Constant alerts will require motorists' regular attention. As opposed to using a legal hands-free piece of equipment, the (Apple) iWatch will require drivers to use two hands to operate the device - impacting speed, lane position and time spent looking at the road."

IAM policy and research director Neil Greig added: "An iWatch has the potential to be just as distracting as any other smartphone device. Indeed, more so if you have to take your hand off the wheel and your eyes off the road to interact with it.

"Enforcement will be difficult for the police, but powers exist to seize and interrogate devices in the event of a serious crash. The very device that distracted you also has the power to convict you."



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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Official Highway Code: other animals . . .

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The Official Highway Code: other animals 

Other animals 

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

Rule 57

When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars. 




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Monday, 13 October 2014

Boris Johnson: Cars keep streets 'lively' . . .

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Boris Johnson: Cars keep streets 'lively'

Cited at:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29146009


Pedestrianised streets can be "soulless" and cars are needed to "keep them lively," Boris Johnson has said.

Ruling out banning cars from major thoroughfares, the Mayor of London told MPs that "something funny" happened to streets when vehicles disappeared.

Appearing before MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee, he defended his record on air pollution.

He cited figures suggesting London was healthier than many of its European and global rivals.

Mr Johnson told MPs he wanted to counter those who claimed London was the most polluted city in Europe, suggesting research showed it was outperforming Paris, Munich, Rome, Milan and Istanbul among others.

'Assumptions'
In a report published by his office on Wednesday, London ranked ninth out of 36 cities around the world on the health impacts index, 15th on the citywide index and 17th on the traffic focused index.

The research, conducted by consultancy Amec, looked at the incidence of pollutants like particulate matter, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide and their effect based on different indicators.

He insisted he was not being complacent but claimed huge progress had been made in combating air pollution in the capital, which is thought to cause thousands of premature deaths every year.

The Mayor further claimed his "very aggressive" programme of measures to reduce emissions from public transport, private vehicles and new housing would continue.

Levels of nitrogen dioxide (N02) emissions had fallen by 20% since 2008, he said, while emissions of key dust particulates were 15% lower than when he was first elected.

Mr Johnson said the figures had never been "seriously challenged" but Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, who is a member of the select committee, said they were "assumptions" based on economic modelling.

'Ambitious'
In contrast, she said "actual readings" from King's College London suggested that roadside emissions of N02 over the same period were down 3% and the discrepancy between the two had not been properly explained.

"If I had to choose between assumptions based on your modelling and empirical data coming out of the back of a tailgate, I know which I would go with," she said.

Although he acknowledged there may be some higher readings from monitoring stations in the busiest parts of London, Mr Johnson said it did not invalidate the overall figures.

Mr Johnson also rejected suggestions his campaign to be elected MP for Uxbridge would drain impetus from his environmental agenda, saying he would continue to look after the interests of the entire city even if he won the West London seat.

"I don't think there will be any issue. We go on with the most ambitious programme for improving air quality that any city in Europe can currently boast," he said.

"The results you have seen already are very good."

As part of his efforts to deal with pollution hotspots, Mr Johnson was asked by Labour's Mike Kane whether he would support banning cars from the busiest roads, like Oxford Street and Whitehall.

In response, he said he was "not at all certain" that this was the right step.

"Something funny happens to streets when you pedestrianise them. They can become rather soulless. There is something about the effect of cars that can keep them lively."



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Sunday, 12 October 2014

Highways Agency and National Express announce closer operational working . . .

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Highways Agency and National Express announce closer operational working

Cited at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/highways-agency-and-national-express-announce-closer-operational-working

The Highways Agency and coach operator, National Express, have reached a landmark agreement to work together to improve the customer experience for everybody who uses England’s motorways and A roads.


The Memorandum of Understanding, signed between the two organisations today (Tuesday 9 September), is the first agreement of its kind between the Highways Agency and a commercial transport operator. National Express is an important stakeholder and partner and makes millions of journeys on the Agency’s network every year.

Graham Dalton, Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, signed the Memorandum of Understanding today with Dean Finch, Chief Executive of National Express Group, at London’s Victoria Coach Station – the busiest coach terminal in the UK.

Graham said:
England’s motorways and major A roads are a crucial part of our national transport system – used by a wide range of customers with varying needs.

As we move towards becoming a government-owned company, with additional responsibility and accountability on behalf of road users, it is important that we provide an even greater focus on our customers.

We recognise that partnerships like the one signed today are vital if we are going to improve the customer experience for the millions of drivers who use our network every year.

The agreement will see road users’ journeys benefit directly. In practice this will herald:
Faster information sharing when incidents occur on the roads, enabling National Express to add to knowledge of the issue and support the Highways Agency to deal with it as effectively and quickly as possible.

Earlier notification of incidents so National Express can react more readily to divert coaches and keep them on track as necessary.

Increasingly agile responses by National Express by improved forward planning around road works and improvements

The Highways Agency will additionally benefit from the company’s 40-plus years of expertise in coach journeys and their real-time updates, sent from their coaches while en route to destinations. This will give the Agency an extra assessment tool regarding the reliability of journeys on its network.

Dean Finch said:
National Express continually strives for excellence across all our operations and working in partnership with the Highways Agency will enable us to deliver a better service for the millions of customers who use our coaches every year, as well as supporting road users generally. We have an unrivalled expertise in passenger transport and believe this offers unique insight that can be harnessed to the benefit of road users across the UK.

General enquiries
Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.



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