Friday, 30 January 2015

Chaos after dogs and huntsmen stray onto busy dual carriageway . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Chaos after dogs and huntsmen stray onto busy dual carriageway

Cited at:'
http://metro.co.uk/2015/01/09/chaos-after-dogs-and-huntsmen-stray-onto-busy-dual-carriageway-5015895/

Wait a second… that’s not a car 

Motorists in Shrewsbury were treated to an unusual sight when a large number of hunting dogs strayed onto a busy dual carriageway, causing chaos for drivers.

The dogs accidentally ran onto the A5 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, on Wednesday afternoon, prompting huntsmen on horseback to chase after them and forcing cars to brake suddenly.

And West Mercia Police said ‘massive traffic problems’ were caused by the incident, with at least one car believed to have suffered ‘extensive’ damage to the front and side, though it is not known how.

‘Massive traffic problems’ were caused by the runaway dogs

‘In all likelihood the dogs collided with the vehicle,’ a West Mercia Police spokeswoman reported a woman, who was driving an Audi A3, as saying.

Police called to the situation at 3.10pm stayed for some time as dogs and horses was ushered off both sides of the carriageway

The huntmaster said to police that he ‘wasn’t told’ if any of the dogs were injured.






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Former racing driver clocked up 127mph on Highland road . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Former racing driver clocked up 127mph on Highland road

Cited at:
http://www.ross-shirejournal.co.uk/News/Former-racing-driver-clocked-up-127mph-on-Highland-road-28112014.htm

Inverness Sheriff Court

A FORMER racing driver who now works as a motoring journalist has been put off the road for more than a year for driving his powerful Porsche 911 Carrera at more than twice the speed limit on the A96.

Owen Mildenhall from Edenbridge in Kent was clocked at 127mph by speed cops at Tornagrain.

Inverness Sheriff Court heard on Thursday the 41 year-old was travelling to the Highland capital for the launch of a new BMW car.

As well as a £2,000 fine, Mildenhall was given a 15-month driving ban, which his solicitor said would mean he would lose his job.

Mildenhall admitted driving dangerously at a grossly excessive speed on July 10.

Depute fiscal Stewart Maciver explained that at 12.45am police carrying out speed checks became aware of a high performance vehicle accelerating towards them.

“Using their pro-laser speed camera they detected Mildenhall was travelling at 127mp in a 60mph zone. He was followed and stopped," said Mr Maciver.

Mildenhall was taken to Burnett Road Police Station and when charged he told police: ‘I was just accelerating out of the roundabout. I was not going to sustain that speed. I was testing the vehicle acceleration through the gears. I understand that’s not an excuse’.

His solicitor Joe MacPherson said Mildenhall and his partner had a mortgage of £1,100 a month and he knew he would lose his job.

Mr MacPherson said: “He was about six miles from his hotel. It was at the end of a very long drive from London.”

Mr MacPherson said there was a bright moon, road conditions were good and the road was clear.

The solicitor added Mildenhall was a highly trained driver who clocks up 80,000 miles a year as a road tester for a motoring magazine.

“He has never had points on his licence and never been in an accident. He held a racing licence for 10 years and he became a high performance instructor in that industry," said the solicitor.

“He considers he drives with skill and consideration. This is an exception.”

Mr MacPherson said the case would create great difficulties in his personal life.

“He will lose his job. I have a letter from his editor. He needs his licence to review cars and he will be out of the industry for at least the period of the ban and he has no other skills.”

The consequences of his actions he said would mean he faces a period of great difficulty.

“Since this happened he has been beset by worry and is upset at putting himself in this position.”

Mr MacPherson added that despite the high speed Mildenhall was driving within his capabilities, but he knew it was unacceptable.

Sheriff David Sutherland said it was a grossly excessive speed despite the fact traffic was light at the time of night the offence took place.

He said he also took into account Mildenhall’s clean driving record.

But he told him: ”The penalties for such an offence are considerable and can include imprisonment.

“But I have taken into account the fact you have lost your employment and you have no previous convictions.”

Mildenhall was ordered to resit a test to drive at the expiry of his disqualification.




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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Group warns against fiddling with your sat-nav or car radio . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Group warns against fiddling with your sat-nav or car radio

Cited at:
http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Group-warns-fiddling-sat-nav-car-radio/story-25815800-detail/story.html


Using a sat nav while driving can be as distracting and dangerous as texting or fiddling with your car radio.

MOTORISTS have been banned from using mobile phones at the wheel for some time, but now road safety charity Brake says sat-navs are dangerous.

And they cautioned drivers against fiddling with their car radio while on the road.

One in seven drivers who use a sat-nav admit to making dodgy U-turns when correcting a mistake, putting themselves or others at risk of a devastating accident, according to the charity's latest survey.

Illegal or risky manoeuvres are not the only danger.

The survey found that one in 14 drivers have had a near miss, having to swerve or brake suddenly to avoid a hazard because they were distracted by a sat-nav.

It also found that one in 14 drivers had a near miss because they were fiddling with their in-car stereo player.

A voice-based sat-nav can be safer than a visual display or paper map but there is evidence to show sat-navs have a tendency to make motorists drive faster and be less observant.

Road safety charity Brake is calling on all drivers to make a New Year's resolution to stay alert and keep their mind and eyes on the road.

That means programming your sat-nav before you set off, and not attempting to re-programme it, fiddle with your stereo, use a mobile, or do anything else while driving.

Research shows almost everyone is unable to multi-task at the wheel without driving performance being badly affected.

Carry out a secondary activity and you are two to three times more likely to crash. If you try something complex such as talking on a phone or texting, the risk becomes much greater.

Brake is also urging drivers not to be distracted by the range of technologies being installed in many new cars that have nothing to do with driving, such as access to social media. It is also appealing to the Government to regulate the use of features that can pose a dangerous distraction to drivers.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "Sat-navs have revolutionised the way many of us drive and there are indications they can make you safer. However, there are potential pitfalls to be wary of that can pose a real danger to yourself and other road users.

"For many drivers there is an increasing array of technological temptations that can pose a deadly distraction.

"Brake's advice is: set your sat-nav and radio before you set off, put your phone in the boot and ensure you're not tempted to do anything that will take your mind or eyes off the road while driving."

A police spokesman said: "Nothing should be used by a driver which could cause a lapse in concentration or put them at risk of a road traffic collision. We would ask and expect all motorists to drive in accordance with the law at all times."






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How many firms like G24 have access to DVLA data . . .

___________________________________________________________________

How many firms like G24 have access to DVLA data

Cited at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-many-firms-like-g24-have-access-to-dvla-data


FOI response on how many firms like G24 have access to DVLA data.



Document


FOIR4251   PDF, 3.57KB, 1 page

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.Request a different format.

If you use assistive technology and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email comms.web@dvla.gsi.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


Detail

FOI response on how many firms like G24 have access to DVLA data, how much they paid for the data over the last 5 years. The figures reflect the position as at 18 November 2014.





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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Shocking dashcam footage captures terrifying moment driving instructor was confronted by car driving the WRONG way round a busy roundabout . . .

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Shocking dashcam footage captures terrifying moment driving instructor was confronted by car driving the WRONG way round a busy roundabout

Cited at:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2898761/Shocking-dashcam-footage-captures-terrifying-moment-driving-instructor-confronted-car-driving-WRONG-way-round-busy-roundabout.html

  • Car spotted travelling the wrong way around a busy roundabout in Kent
  • Driving instructor David Tomlinson said he had to swerve out of the way
  • His dashcam captured terrifying near-miss footage from Folkestone road



This is the terrifying moment a driver was caught on camera driving the wrong way around a busy roundabout.

Driving instructor David Tomlinson, 51, was on his way home after a lesson when he was forced to swerve out the way of the silver Renault Megane.

The near-miss took place at Cheriton roundabout in Folkestone, Kent, and was caught on Mr Tomlinson's dashboard camera. 

Unbelievable moment car drives WRONG WAY round roundabout


Dashcam footage shows the Renault Megane travelling the wrong way around a busy roundabout in Kent

Driving instructor David Tomlinson, 51, said he was forced to swerve out of the way after the vehicle drove towards him on Cheriton roundabout in Folkestone, Kent. His dashcam recorded the vehicle's movements

Mr Tomlinson, a father of two, said the driver was in his late 60s and could have been confused after returning from the continent.

He said: 'It would be understandable if it was a foreign driver but it wasn't a foreign car.

'The roundabout is quite near Dover so maybe they had just come back from France and forgot they were on the wrong side of the road.

'He was driving at about 30mph. He just had a normal expression on his face, he didn't look panicked or anything.

'It was pretty lucky that there was nobody in the left hand lane as the guy wasn't stopping and it could have been a pretty bad accident.'

Mr Tomlinson said he keeps a dashcam in his car to help show those who he teaches to drive the mistakes they made. He said he was able to keep calm during the incident because of his years working as a driving instructor.

He said: 'Doing the job that I do I think I'm used to these things happening unfortunately. 

'I’m just glad that at the time there wasn’t a learner in the car because it probably would’ve put them off driving. 


The father of two said the driver appeared unfazed after driving the wrong way around the busy roundabout

'It could’ve been a lot worse, if there had been a car in the lane I needed to move into, I wouldn’t have been able to pull across. He just kept on coming.

'The problem with the roundabout is its quite big and fast, so cars go around about 25-30mph. 

'If that left lane had been blocked I would’ve been involved in a head-on or a side swipe. But luckily I was able get out of the way.

'It’s a very good system to use in the car, and it records in HD. It’s normally used to help my pupils, if they’ve made a mistake, I can show them the footage so they can see what they’ve done. 






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Three-point turn may be dropped from UK driving test . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Three-point turn may be dropped from UK driving test

Cited at:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-30249249


The three-point turn could be dropped from the UK driving test as part of biggest update to the exam in 20 years.

Under a revised practical exam, learners may also be asked to use a satellite navigation system instead of following road signs.

About 1,000 learners will take part in a trial of a new practical exam.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency said any eventual changes would be subject to full public consultation.

"We are carrying out initial research to explore how the driving test could better reflect real-life driving," said a DVSA spokesman.

The DVSA is an agency of the Department for Transport and sets the standards for driving and motorcycling in the UK.

The theory test was introduced in 1996 and a section where motorists are asked to find their own way to a destination - aimed at assessing "independent driving" - in 2010.

Under the other changes being considered, drivers may no longer need to reverse around a corner.

The DVSA said drivers may instead be asked to focus on more realistic everyday manoeuvres, such as reversing out of a parking bay, or re-joining the flow of traffic from the side of a road.

But reverse parking - either into a parking bay or parallel parking - would remain as one of the manoeuvres candidates could be asked to perform, a spokesman said.

The two vehicle-safety questions are currently asked at the start of the test. In future, one these may be asked while the candidate is driving. The DVSA said a candidate, for example, may be asked to show how they would operate the rear heated screen while driving.


The driving test
  • First introduced in 1935
  • Test suspended during World War Two and the Suez crisis in 1956
  • Hand signals dropped in 1975 and theory test introduced in 1996
  • Practical test made up of eyesight check; vehicle safety questions; general driving ability; reversing vehicle safely, independent driving
  • Pass rate in 1935 was 63% compared with 46% in 2009
  • More than 46 million tests taken since 1946

The Driving Instructors Association welcomed the plans.

Its chief executive Carly Brookfield said: "DIA has been heavily involved in the scoping of this project and is enthusiastic about the opportunity it presents to evolve the L-test to a level where it more realistically assesses a candidate's ability to competently and safely manage road based risk and driving in real life, on real roads."

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: "We all rely on our sat navs but they are not infallible and it is when they have led us down a dead end that we need to know how to do a three-point turn.

"It's fine to add some aspects to the test but we should be cautious about removing the basics."




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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

‘Rat run’ lorry drivers will be facing a fine . . .

___________________________________________________________________

‘Rat run’ lorry drivers will be facing a fine

Cited at:
http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/11695789.___Rat_run____lorry_drivers_will_be_facing_a_fine/



AN agreement to fine lorry drivers who “rat-run” through Sutton Courtenay to a new warehouse has been backed by a district councillor.

Diageo Pension Trust Ltd has won permission for a one-million sq ft warehouse on land off Harwell Road, to the west of Didcot power station.

Vale of White Horse District Council members rejected the application in May but developers resubmitted the plan after reducing the building’s height.

Councillors on the planning committee voted by 10 votes to four earlier this month to approve the scheme, which could create up to 2,000 jobs.

Sutton Courtenay and Appleford councillor Gervase Duffield, who is not on the committee, said: “There will certainly be hundreds more vehicle movements a day and building work could start in 2015.

“Councillors agreed there should be camera enforcement in the village so that HGV drivers who are rat-running could be fined.

“They will be given a warning and after that they will be fined — that’s the correct thing to do.

“The village needs protecting and hopefully the camera system will provide some protection.”

The Conservative councillor added: “The village already suffers with HGVs so we need to do something to protect it.”

No-one from Diageo was available for comment.







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Increased speed limit for HGVs on dual carriageways . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Increased speed limit for HGVs on dual carriageways

Cited at:
https://movingon.blog.gov.uk/increased-speed-limit-for-hgvs-on-dual-carriageways/


Transport Minister Claire Perry has announced today that the government plans to raise the speed limit for lorries travelling on dual carriageways from 50 mph to 60 mph.

Today’s announcement will ensure that as of 6 April 2015, lorry drivers have speed limits that are better suited to a modern transport network.

The changes to speed limits will update previous regulations dating back to the 1980s.

The government also published today responses to a consultation on issuing on the spot fines for HGV drivers who take insufficient breaks from driving on longer journeys.

Read the news story for more details.




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Monday, 26 January 2015

Is this Britain's silliest cycle lane? New Bristol bike lane sees cyclists dodging trees and lamp posts . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Is this Britain's silliest cycle lane? New Bristol bike lane sees cyclists dodging trees and lamp posts

Cited at:
http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Britain-s-silliest-cycle-lane-New-Bristol-bike/story-25787686-detail/story.html


The UK's shortest cycle lane? David Stone spotted this very short lane in Frampton Cotterell

The new bike lane in Nelson Street

The new bike lane in Nelson Street

The new bike lane in Nelson Street

The UK's shortest cycle lane? David Stone spotted this very short lane in Frampton Cotterell

The new bike lane in Nelson Street

IS this Britain’s daftest cycle lane? Bristol City Council has installed a new bike lane in the city centre that sees cyclists have to dodge trees and lampposts.

The new lane has been painted onto the pavement in Nelson Street to allow cyclists to travel in thedirection of oncoming traffic in relative safety while major road works are carried out.

The zig-zag bike lane has been labelled as one of the most unusual in the country. Cyclists using the new lane, which has cut into a busy pedestrian walkway, will have to weave in and out of trees and lampposts every few metres.

A Bristol City Council spokesperson said: “The cycle lines in Nelson Street are temporary because the work on the other side of the road has narrowed the width of the one-way carriageway. The original cycle lane will be reinstated once the work has been completed. It is not an ideal situation but we are monitoring the operation closely during the development work.

“These types of segregated cycle paths are intended to make cycling safer however there will always be times when a bit of common sense is needed. We always advise that cyclists travel at a speed that is appropriate for a shared path and that they take heed of pedestrians and other path users. We hope that all cyclists bear this in mind as they travel throughout the city.”

Nelson Street is not the only place to house a bizarre cycle lane in the region. Earlier this year Bristol Post reader David Stone couldn't believe his eyes when he spotted a new lane as he cycled along in Frampton Cotterell.

The lane, which has since been dubbed one the country’s shortest, covers just a few yards.

It appears out of nowhere in Heather Avenue, and comes to an abrupt end at a road junction with Park Lane.

Mr Stone said: "Is it the shortest cycle lane in the UK?" before adding the tongue-in-cheek comment: "It may be South Gloucestershire's contribution to the National Cycle Network.

"It would have been twelve inches longer but council cutbacks have called for prudence when allocating the use of taxpayers' money."

Mr Stone added: "I just happened to be cycling through Heather Avenue, which is not a road I use very often, when I came across this outstanding addition to the road markings.

"There was not another cycle lane marking either in Heather Avenue or Park Lane, the road it joins.

"I have no idea how long it has been there but a new mini roundabout has recently been located in Heather Avenue – it may be they had some paint left over!"

But South Gloucestershire Council has distanced itself from the lane, saying it is most likely the work of developer Barratt Homes, which has recently completed work on a new housing estate called The Meads.

A spokesman for the authority said it is likely the lane was added to help protect those on two wheels joining the road from a "shared space" pavement for pedestrians and cyclists running alongside it.

He said: "It is believed that it is there to protect cyclists who have returned to the road.

"In the planing application for the development, there is an agreement to provide for safety at road junctions."








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DVLA becomes sponsor of digital services initiative TechHub Swansea . . .

___________________________________________________________________

DVLA becomes sponsor of digital services initiative TechHub Swansea


From: Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
First published: 14 November 2014
Part of: Transport

Cited at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/dvla-becomes-sponsor-of-digital-services-initiative-techhub-swansea


DVLA has become a sponsor of Tech Hub Swansea, which will see DVLA working with local businesses, suppliers, customers and universities to design and develop digital services over a 2 year programme.



The initiative is being officially launched in Swansea today (Friday 14 November) by Head of Government Digital Services Mike Bracken.

Partnering with TechHub is another part of DVLA’s strategy to develop and attract digital talent. DVLA will become part of a network that will work together in a unique environment to share resource, knowledge, experience and workspace. This is a completely new way for a government agency to harness the skills and knowledge in the local tech community, which will assist in the provision of excellent digital services.

DVLA will have space at the TechHub offices in Swansea, which are currently home to six technology start-up companies. It will be using the cutting edge digital skills of graduates and tech start-up gurus to improve the services it provides to the public. As well as upskilling its own staff, DVLA will share its knowledge and experience to mentor these start-ups in their projects, and will be able to offer placements and projects to undergraduates. The overall aim is to reduce the Agency’s reliance on large IT suppliers for all of our services and to reduce operating costs.

Swansea TechHub was co-founded by Adam Curtis, Paul Harwood and Matt Warren, three local software company entrepreneurs whose ambition is to make Swansea a target area for new technology businesses. It is part of a small but global network community.




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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Revealed: Eco-friendly spin on road toll scheme . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Revealed: Eco-friendly spin on road toll scheme

Cited at:
http://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/revealed-eco-friendly-spin-on-road-toll-scheme-1-3648730


The plans were a precursor to London s congestion charge. 

DONALD Dewar’s Labour-led administration attempted to present plans for a controversial road toll scheme as a green policy to tackle congestion, writes Tom Peterkin.

Newly released papers reveal that Scotland’s first transport minister Sarah Boyack privately warned cabinet colleagues that charging drivers money “seemed the only means of raising the necessary resources for investment” in the trunk road network.

In the knowledge that such a policy would prove deeply unpopular with motorists, Ms Boyack admitted that the proposal would prove “controversial”.

In an attempt to overcome public opposition, papers reveal that Ms Boyack said it was “important to try to broaden the debate from road tolling to place the main emphasis on congestion charging”.

The proposals were subsequently published in a consultation paper entitled: “Fighting traffic congestion and pollution through road user and workplace parking charges”.

Minutes from a cabinet meeting at the time state: “Ms Boyack introduced her paper on road user charging. She said that it was important that the Executive should seek to move the debate on to the role which charging might play in an integrated transport policy.”

Proposals for trunk road tolls were “undoubtedly the most controversial” but because congestion was getting worse “could therefore genuinely be seen as part of the response to congestion rather than simply a way of raising revenue”, the documents said.

The minutes state: “In the autumn the executive would announce the outcome of the strategic review of the trunk road network. Some new road schemes would be critical to the effective functioning of the network and in the absence of other resources trunk road user charging seemed the only means of raising the necessary resources for investment.”

Ms Boyack was urged to examine “whether trunk road charges could be set at a level to produce sufficient revenues to justify their introduction”.

In a restricted policy document on road tolls, Ms Boyack said: “Our policy is to reinvest the proceeds in transport generally. but colleagues should be aware of the pressure for an announcement on the outcome of the much delayed strategic roads review.”






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Could YOU pass the driving theory test? Two in three experienced motorists would fail... and the biggest stumbling block is basic road signs . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Could YOU pass the driving theory test? Two in three experienced motorists would fail... and the biggest stumbling block is basic road signs 

  • Half of drivers in the study failed the multiple choice section of the test 
  • More than a third failed the hazard perception section of theory exam
  • Experts said the findings showed a worrying level of 'road illiteracy'
  • Novices taking the test scored higher than experienced drivers on average
Cited at:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2833874/Two-three-experienced-drivers-fail-today-s-theory-test.html

Two out of three experienced motorists would fail the driving theory test if they took it now, a study found.

And the biggest stumbling block? Basic traffic signs, according to researchers who gave 50 drivers a real copy of the test.

Only 33 per cent of them scraped through, compared to 51.6 per cent of novice drivers who pass their theory.


Questions on road and traffic signs were the most likely to trip drivers up, followed by those on vehicle handling and accidents, see answers at bottom of story (Answers below)



More than a third (34 per cent) failed the hazard perception test while half (50 per cent) did not answer enough of the multiple choice questions correctly.

Candidates need a pass in both parts to demonstrate basic knowledge and progress to the road test.

Experts said the findings showed a worrying level of 'road illiteracy' and stressed the importance of keeping up to date with changing rules.

Feeling uncertain about signs and markings can lead to slow and unsafe driving, they said.


Experts said the findings showed a worrying level of 'road illiteracy' and stressed the importance of keeping up to date with changing rules

Questions on road and traffic signs were the most likely to trip drivers up, followed by those on vehicle handling and accidents.

But they did well on questions dealing with other types of vehicles, suggesting their road experience may have helped in this area.

The research, by Churchill Car Insurance, also found that more than half (53 per cent) of drivers think it should be compulsory to retake the theory test. Its report concluded: 'Just over ten years was felt to be the most appropriate frequency for retaking the test.'

Around one in 12 (8 per cent) wanted a retest every five years – but not everyone agreed. Roughly one in seven drivers (15 per cent) felt that they were 'completely road literate' and never had any trouble reading signs.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency theory test, introduced in 1996, consists of 50 questions, taken from a bank of hundreds. Candidates must answer at least 43 correctly within 57 minutes.

The hazard perception test, which was first used in 2002, involves watching a video of a driving scenario and clicking on the screen to demonstrate awareness whenever a hazard appears.

On average, novices taking the test score higher than experienced drivers did in the study. For the 1.54million theory tests taken in 2013/14, the pass rate was 51.6 per cent. Among men it was 48.8 per cent and for women, 54.7 per cent.

Steve Barrett, head of Churchill Car Insurance, said: 'An inability to read the road properly often leads to hesitant and unsafe driving, so we'd urge all road users to regularly brush up on their knowledge of road signs and regulations, as these are frequently updated.' Ian McIntosh, of Red Driving School, said: 'It is very worrying that road illiteracy among experienced motorists is so widespread.

'The theory test is an essential part of a driver's road education.

'The test was introduced in 1996 so there will be a lot of drivers on the road without this grounding.

'We would encourage all motorists to ensure their driving knowledge is current.'

Answers: 1 (C), 2 (D), 3 (C), 4 (C), 5 (A)




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Saturday, 24 January 2015

Have your say: Removal of exemptions on HGV testing and operator licensing . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Have your say: Removal of exemptions on HGV testing and operator licensing

Cited at:
https://movingon.blog.gov.uk/have-your-say-removal-of-exemptions-on-hgv-testing-and-operator-licensing/



The Department for Transport has published 2 consultations on GOV.UK and is seeking your views. These consultations cover Goods Vehicle Operator Licensing exemptions and HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicles) periodic testing and inspections exemptions.

Here are some details about each consultation and how you can have your say.

Goods Vehicle Operator Licensing Exemptions consultation

This consultation is about the proposal to remove certain exemptions from HGV operator licensing. The exemptions removed would relate to vehicles which deliver and process materials that are included in the current definition of engineering plant.

Operators of vehicles in formerly exempt HGV classes would be required to have those vehicles specified on an operator’s licence.

HGV Periodic Testing and Inspections Exemptions consultation

The HGV testing scheme provides exemption for 37 classes of vehicle. This consultation is about the proposal to remove or modify exemptions covering 10 categories of vehicle.

Operators of vehicles in currently exempt classes would be required to have their vehicles tested annually.

These consultations will run until 5 March 2015.






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Dumfries & Galloway appoints Ctrack to keep tabs on fleet . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Dumfries & Galloway appoints Ctrack to keep tabs on fleet

Cited at:
http://transportoperator.co.uk/2014/11/13/dumfries-galloway-appoints-ctrack-to-keep-tabs-on-fleet/



Dumfries & Galloway Council has awarded a four-year contract to Ctrack to provide vehicle tracking services across its entire fleet – a move which is expected to generate operating efficiencies, enhance health and safety, and reduce environmental impact.

Under the agreement, web-based Ctrack Online will be used across more than 600 vehicles made up of cars, vans, HGVs and buses, along with specialist assets such as gritters, sweepers and refuse collection vehicles.

The contract was awarded following a competitive tender process, which identified Ctrack as best placed to support Dumfries & Galloway Council’s diverse tracking requirements across a wide range of services including social work, construction, building services, road maintenance and waste management.

The telematics solution, which will replace an existing system that no longer meets the needs of the council, will be rolled out over the coming months.

In particular, the tracking solution will include Driver ID, which will provide greater insight into the status and whereabouts of mobile employees historically or in real-time, by allowing visibility and reporting by driver as well as by vehicle.

Meanwhile, vulnerable lone workers will be provided with panic alarms to enable them to operate safely in isolated or unfamiliar locations without being cut off, thereby giving direct access to assistance in case of an emergency or accident.

Councillor Colin Smyth, chairman of the economy, environment and infrastructure committee at the council, said: “Using advanced communications technology, this vehicle tracking system will enable us to be more efficient and responsible. It will reduce fuel use, minimise carbon emissions, protect staff, and provide enhanced service levels, meeting our fleet needs now and in the future.”

John Wisdom, managing director of Ctrack, added: “We are working with an increasing number of local authorities because of our ability to develop and support advanced vehicle tracking system that are tailored to meet precise operational needs. Councils have diverse vehicle fleets responsible for a wide range of services, so any telematics solution needs to reflect these unique requirements with high levels of scalability, functionality and flexibility.”




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Friday, 23 January 2015

Bridgestone helps Ryder cut callouts by 28% . . .

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Bridgestone helps Ryder cut callouts by 28%

Cited at:
http://transportoperator.co.uk/2014/12/11/bridgestone-helps-ryder-cut-callouts-by-28/



Tyre specialist Bridgestone has reported a 28 per cent drop in tyre-related breakdown callouts for commercial vehicle rental giant Ryder, one year on from the implementation of a strategic partnership aimed at maximising fleet uptime and lowering running costs.

Ryder is Bridgestone’s largest UK commercial fleet customer and the two organisations have been working together for nearly 20 years. The relationship evolved into a strategic partnership in 2013 with the implementation of a joint framework that aims to reduce tyre wastage through closer collaboration and improved working practices.

Strategies include a major focus on tyre husbandry; an increased emphasis on setting correct tyre pressure both to protect the tyre and improve fuel economy; and a detailed review of removed tyres, to avoid premature removal and to ensure that all parties are properly managing the use of tyres throughout their life.

The fleet management programme has been jointly developed by Ryder and Bridgestone. Under the programme Ryder employees receive specialist training from Bridgestone to enable them to take a more hands-on role in the maintenance and management of tyres.

Ryder’s maintenance teams are supported by Bridgestone’s fleet managers who offer specialist advice and consultation.

The programme is backed by a dedicated 24/7 phone line, run and administered by Ryder. If a customer experiences tyre failure, Ryder will manage and monitor the call out and replacement process through Bridgestone’s Truck Point dealer network, which has 355 outlets across the UK.

Over the past year Truck Point has achieved industry-leading response times for customer call outs, Bridgestone claims, typically reaching customers within 76 minutes.

To maximise efficiencies and fleet uptime for customers, Ryder and Bridgestone are committed to a process of continuous improvement. This includes on-site coaching and monthly performance reviews to identify and implement service improvements.

Ryder’s head of maintenance strategy, Philip Martin, said: “We are delighted that this partnership is proving so beneficial for our customers. Ryder is committed to a process of continuous improvement in all areas of the business. We will continue to monitor and measure tyre performance to ensure that we are providing the best, most reliable and cost effective service possible.

“Our ongoing relationship with Bridgestone is helping us to raise industry standards and we look forward to building on this joint collaboration.”

Bridgestone’s fleet manager, Ian Baker, added: “Bridgestone has spent a great deal of time in developing a more consultative, partnership-based relationship with Ryder and this is where we can see the biggest change in commercial tyre support.

“We provide bespoke training modules for Ryder to share our knowledge at the outset and this is then supplemented by regular dialogue and more formal monthly meetings.

“The word ‘partnership’ is overused in the commercial fleet world but with Ryder this is genuinely the case as we have reduced volume, improved tyre longevity and overall productivity.

“We expect this new way of working to underpin our offering in the future, which is a prospect that genuinely excites us.”





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Vision Techniques secures £1m Veolia cyclist safety investment . . .

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Vision Techniques secures £1m Veolia cyclist safety investment

Cited at:
http://transportoperator.co.uk/2014/11/11/vision-techniques-secure-1m-veolia-cyclist-safety-investment/



Environmental services giant Veolia is investing £1 million to improve cyclist safety, using Vision Techniques ‘TurnAlarm’ systems across its refuse management fleet – one of the country’s largest.

The million pound contract will mean every Veolia refuse vehicle will be fitted with enhanced audible and visual awareness when turning, reducing the risk of accidents involving cyclists.

In addition Veolia has now made cyclist awareness key to their vehicle procurement, with Vision Techniques’ TurnAlarm system now a standard purchase on every new vehicle above 3.5 tonnes.

The TurnAlarm functions as both an audio and visual warning to approaching cyclists: high intensity LEDs flash from its side mounted position, and a high volume speaker provides audible warning that the ‘vehicle is turning’.

The contract also includes a module to measure speed, preventing the alarm from activating over 10mph, and cautionary blind spot signs for the rear and near side of the vehicle.


The scheme also includes a cyclist awareness training programme for Veolia drivers which will be completed by September 2015, building upon its existing scheme in London to obtain a ‘cyclist’s eye view’ of a HGV.

John Matthews, fleet director of Veolia, said: “By launching this initiative now we are putting the onus on accident prevention. We believe there will be an enforcement of a minimum cyclist standard for fleet operators in London and around the UK and these measures reflect the need to promote safety in a demanding operating environment.

Michael Hanson, managing director of Vision Techniques, added: “Cyclist safety is key to vehicles driving in any town or city around the country, and we believe by improving both driver and cyclist awareness we can help reduce the risk of these type of accidents on our roads.

“We’re very proud to secure this contract with Veolia thanks in part to our 25 years of expert knowledge and experience and comprehensive range of vehicle safety equipment, and we look forward to more years of working together to improve vehicle safety.”




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Thursday, 22 January 2015

FTA: scrapping of paper counterpart licence postponed . . .

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FTA: scrapping of paper counterpart licence postponed

Cited at:
http://transportoperator.co.uk/2014/12/11/fta-scrapping-of-paper-counterpart-licence-postponed/



The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has said it has convinced the government to delay its plans to abolish the paper counterpart to the driving licence, asserting that the electronic system the government was proposing to allow fleet operators to check their drivers’ licences was “not fit for purpose.”

The removal of the paper counterpart was due to go ahead on 1 January 2015, but FTA says this will now not happen following its intervention – and called the postponement: “an early Christmas present for employers who rely on the counterpart to ensure that their drivers are legally able to drive.”

While FTA had supported the initial decision to remove the paper counterpart aspect of the licence, this was on the proviso that a suitable online replacement, agreed by business users, would be available prior to implementation of the removal. The association says it was given assurances by the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in July 2014 that the change would not go ahead until an alternative deemed satisfactory by FTA business users was in place.

The system proposed by the DVLA relies on an individual driver logging into the ‘View Driver Record’ system, printing off a copy of their counterpart details, then passing this to the employer who will be able to verify this information within 48 hours via the online service.

While FTA admitted that this would work for some employers, it said that those of its members who employ many thousands of drivers and check their licences up to three times a year would find the process “both time-consuming and costly.” It added that DVLA should not withdraw the counterpart for vocational drivers: “until a multiple checking system is in place that meets the needs of the FTA members and business users.”

Ian Gallagher, FTA head of policy for driver licensing, said: “Businesses that employ a large number of people who have to drive for a living have a critical role in ensuring these drivers are safe and eligible to be on the road.

“FTA members desperately want a sophisticated electronic system for monitoring their drivers – but the system the government is currently proposing is not suitable for business needs. The decision to postpone the scrapping of the counterpart is therefore welcomed while we all work together to sort out a system which is fit for purpose.”

He added: “Failure to ensure that a driver is entitled to drive has a direct impact on road safety. With many hundreds of thousands of drivers employed in GB, additional resources will need to be targeted at this process, adding cost and time to a requirement that is currently free of charge.”

On request for comment, a DVLA spokeswoman told Transport Operator: “We are committed to making it as easy as possible for motorists to access government services and to get rid of unnecessary paper. That is why the driving licence paper counterpart will be abolished in 2015.

“We recognise that businesses like the car hire industry, employers and fleet operators will need to be ready for the change. That is why we have actively involved these organisations in developing the new services, including those represented by [vehicle rental and leasing sector trade body] the BVRLA.”

The agency added that it was developing a new service in tandem with organisations, which would: “allow ‘trusted partner’ third parties to check driving licence information, providing they have the permission of the driver to do so.”





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