Monday, 23 February 2015

Met’s new Merc to help drive cycle safety . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Met’s new Merc to help drive cycle safety

Cited at:
http://transportoperator.co.uk/2015/01/29/mets-new-merc-to-help-drive-cycle-safety/


The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has taken delivery of a new Mercedes-Benz Actros, supplied by Sparshatts of Kent, which will be deployed as part of its cycle safety programme, Exchanging Places.

The award-winning safety scheme aims to address collisions involving HGVs, the most common cause of death and serious injury to cyclists. It allows cyclists to sit in the driver’s seat of a lorry, and see for themselves how difficult it can be to see cyclists riding close to the vehicle. This is complemented by advice from experienced traffic police officers on how such collisions occur, and how best to avoid them.

Thanks to support from Mercedes-Benz and continued Transport for London (TfL) funding, the new vehicle will cost the MPS nothing except fuel, and meets or exceeds all emissions and safety standards. While the truck has been fitted with police livery and blue lights for promotional purposes, it will only be driven by trained police drivers, and not used for patrols or enforcement.

The Exchanging Places scheme has seen participation from more than 15,000 cyclists since 2007. It is run by the Cycle Safety Team, part of the MPS Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC). The growing popularity of the programme led to a need for a dedicated vehicle in addition to those donated by hauliers in support of the project. Mercedes-Benz was the winning bidder amongst manufacturers invited to bid for provision of the vehicle, which is on a one-year lease.

Police sergeant Simon Castle, Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: “We are grateful to Mercedes-Benz and Sparshatts of Kent for supplying us with this vehicle, which is perfect for our Exchanging Places programme. The feedback from these events is overwhelmingly positive with 97 per cent of cyclists saying they would change their riding as a result of sitting in the driver’s seat, and 99 per cent would recommend it to a friend.

“I urge cyclists to watch the Exchanging Places film on the MPS Youtube website and also arrange to attend an Exchanging Places event. It is invaluable and a potential life saver.”

Andrew Sparshatt, Sparshatts of Kent dealer principal, added: “Safety is at the very top of the agenda for the Mercedes-Benz Trucks business here in the UK, so Sparshatts of Kent is delighted to be supporting the Exchanging Places scheme.

“This admirable initiative addresses a major issue for the truck industry, particularly in urban areas – that of cyclist safety. It is an area in which Mercedes-Benz is already doing a lot of work in partnership with the industry, through its Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety (CLOCS) programme.

“The Actros looks stunning in its Metropolitan Police livery and will, I feel sure, be an invaluable aid to Sgt Simon Castle and his colleagues in helping them to increase awareness among cyclists of what heavy goods vehicle drivers can – and more importantly cannot – see from their cabs.”








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Sunday, 22 February 2015

London’s HGV Taskforce reports enforcement success . . .

___________________________________________________________________

London’s HGV Taskforce reports enforcement success

Cited at:
http://transportoperator.co.uk/2015/01/28/londons-hgv-taskforce-reports-enforcement-success/


Transport for London (TfL) has announced that the capital’s Industrial HGV Task Force (IHTF) has issued more than 1,000 fixed penalty notices to unsafe and non-compliant HGVs since its operations commenced in October 2013.

The Task Force, which was established by the Mayor of London and is jointly funded by TfL and the Department for Transport (DfT), has reportedly stopped more than 4,000 vehicles since its formation, with 2,000 roadworthiness prohibitions issues and 47 vehicles taken off the road altogether.

IHTF comprises Metropolitan and City of London police officers, and enforcement officers from the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

Items checked during IHTF inspections include driver and operator licences, drivers’ hours, vehicle tyres, steering, brakes and loads. Prosecutions and fixed penalty notices have also resulted from vehicles not being equipped with sideguards, and lack of insurance.

The Task Force also works works alongside the Metropolitan Police’s commercial vehicle unit, whose role is to attend and investigate collisions between HGVs and cyclists, taking action against drivers and operators where appropriate.

London’s transport cCommissioner, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, said: “These results show that our Industrial HGV Task Force is going from strength to strength to identify and take action against dangerous and non-compliant operators and drivers of HGVs, particularly construction vehicles, on London’s roads.

“These enforcement results send out a clear message to everyone concerned that we will not tolerate or put other road users, cyclists or pedestrians at risk through the actions of the minority of negligent operators and drivers in the capital.

“We will continue to work with the freight and construction industries to ensure safer vehicle operation across the capital and will push for the toughest penalties for anyone caught acting illegally.”

Malcolm Tipping, head of policy at DVSA, said: “The number of penalties already issued by the Task Force demonstrates the effectiveness of the joint working between DVSA, TfL and the Police. Drivers and operators should be in no doubt that if they choose to work outside the law and put innocent road users at risk, they will face serious consequences.”

Nick Denton, the traffic commissioner for London and the south east, added: “The Industrial HGV Task Force has brought a greater number of non-compliant operators from the capital to my attention, with reports of defective vehicles and a failure to meet basic driver safety rules all too common.

“The Task Force’s work has helped me focus my attention on the worst operators who pose the greatest risks to road safety and compete unfairly against those operators who comply with the law.

“I have imposed some very sharp sanctions against non-compliant operators identified by the Task Force. Those sanctions include suspending their licences for substantial periods, reducing the number of vehicles they are allowed to operate and, in quite a few instances, revoking the licences altogether and disqualifying their holders from returning to the industry.

“I will continue to do this until the standards of operation improve, the roads are safer and there is a level playing field for those operators who do get it right.”

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) reiterated its support for the Task Force, saying it was “working well.”

Christopher Snelling, head of urban logistics policy at FTA, added: “Its success is based on it being a targeted programme – identifying the potential non-compliant vehicles though intelligence or observation, and focusing on them for enforcement action.

“This has allowed the IHTF to concentrate their efforts on the more serious infractions by a tiny minority of operators whilst letting the vast majority of HGV operators get about their business of providing London with the goods it needs to keep working.”

He added: “It should be remembered that every day over 360,000 tonnes of goods are moved by thousands and thousands of lorries in London. The examples of non-compliance found by the IHTF are not representative of the industry as whole as they are based on a highly targeted operation…

“FTA members spend thousands of pounds making sure each vehicle and driver is safe on the road and do not want to be undercut commercially by any of the small number of operators who work to a lower standard.”







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Saturday, 21 February 2015

Boris ‘cycle superhighways’ get go-ahead . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Boris ‘cycle superhighways’ get go-ahead

Cited at:
http://transportoperator.co.uk/2015/01/28/boris-cycle-superhighway-gets-go-ahead/



The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced the go-ahead for two continuous segregated ‘cycle superhighways’ through the centre of London.

The routes will become Europe’s longest urban cycleways – one running north to south, from Elephant & Castle to King’s Cross, and another running along Embankment and past the Houses of Parliament, linking Hyde Park in the west with Tower Hill in the east. Construction is slated to begin in the spring, following formal approval by the Transport for London (TfL) board next month.

Announcing the plans, the Mayor said: “We have done one of the biggest consultation exercises in TfL’s history. We have listened, and now we will act. Overwhelmingly, Londoners wanted these routes, and wanted them delivered to the high standard we promised. I intend to keep that promise.”

The mayor also responded to criticism attracted by the scheme during the consultation process, due to the possibility of increased congestion for motor vehicles, as a result of the reduction in number of lanes.

“I have also listened to those concerned about the east-west route’s impact on traffic,” he said. “Thanks to the skill of TfL’s engineers and traffic managers, we have made changes to our original plans which keep the whole of the segregated cycle track and junctions, while taking out much less of the route’s motor traffic capacity – and so causing much shorter delays.”

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) said that, while it wasn’t opposed to the principle of cycle superhighways, it was concerned at the speed at which the scheme was to proceed.

“These projects will be in place for decades and therefore, more time should be spent now getting all of the aspects understood and correct before work begins,” said FTA – pointing out that the environmental impact report and business case were only published today, rather than with the consultation. Meanwhile, the final picture regarding loading restrictions remains unclear, the association added.

FTA’s head of urban logistics Christopher Snelling said: “The information published on delay times still does not reflect how industry and private motorists actually use these roads. And yet the first road-works to build these superhighways will start in just a few weeks’ time. 

“By this April we will see works underway on all the proposed routes, affecting some key routes into the centre of London. It seems that the target pushing this is the aim to finish the routes by May 2016 – when the mayor leaves office.”

FTA added that the impact on traffic would be: “considerable… not just on the routes themselves, but also across London and even out to the M25, as TfL re-sequences red lights to make it harder for motor traffic to get on the routes.”

“Given the tight constraints of drivers’ hours rules, this could result in significantly increased costs to the logistics industry,” added Snelling. “And that means increased costs for the businesses and residents in London who rely on them.

On a positive note, he added: “The improvements that have been announced today show how careful work can improve the situation to better reflect the balance of London’s transport needs, and the revised plans issued are an improvement on those previously put out – traffic delays have been reduced somewhat and more loading capacity has been added than was planned before.

“TfL has also committed today to work further with the freight industry to refine the loading facilities on the routes before they go live, which we welcome.”







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Friday, 20 February 2015

Potential potholes detected by smart scanner . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Potential potholes detected by smart scanner

Cited at:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31001119


In a test, the device correctly identified 900 potential pothole sites.

Smart scanners that can identify the sites of potholes before they form are being developed by academics at Nottingham Trent University.

An algorithm processes data captured by 2D and 3D scanners and sensors positioned at the front of a van.

It identifies signs of "ravelling" - damage to the asphalt that leads to cracks and potholes.

Drivers claimed more than £3m compensation for pothole damage in the UK last year, according to the RAC.

The scanner system can distinguish ravelling from other textural differences on the road, such as oil spills, tyre marks and previous pothole repairs.

In a test, the device correctly identified 900 potential sites. It took 0.65 seconds to process the data, the researchers say.

While the technology would be adopted by paving specialists Dynatest, who collaborated on the research project, it would also be open-source, said Dr Senthan Mathavan, lead researcher and visiting fellow at Nottingham Trent University.

The sensors used on the device were the same as those developed to help robots perceive their environment, he said.


The RAC says drivers claimed more than £3m compensation for vehicle damage caused by potholes

"These sensors are common to us and to civil engineers," he said.

"The technology is established, but we're using the data to look for much smaller defects."

Fellow researcher Dr Mujib Rahman added: "Dealing with road-surface damage like potholes in the early stages is cheaper in the long-term than reacting to potholes when they occur.

"This technology will also allow councils to plan ahead better and be more efficient with any programme of repairs.

"If councils know that there's likely to be a pothole in a certain part of a road in say three years' time, they can plan the repair before it gets to the point that an emergency repair is needed."








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Thursday, 19 February 2015

Police stop driver who was doing 100mph in a 30mph zone while double the drink-drive limit . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Police stop driver who was doing 100mph in a 30mph zone while double the drink-drive limit

  • Motorist arrested on suspicion of drink-driving at speeds of 100mph
  • Driver was twice the drink-drive level as he tripled the speed limit
  • He was arrested after police pulled him over on the A38(M) in Birmingham
  • Car had been travelling in a temporary 30mph zone on Aston Expressway 
Cited at:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2925784/Police-stop-100mph-driver-TRIPLE-speed-limit-DOUBLE-legal-drink-drive-level.html

A motorist has been arrested on suspicion of drink-driving after he was stopped speeding at 100mph - more than three times the limit.

The driver failed a breath test, blowing a reading of more than double the drink-drive level, after his vehicle was seen travelling at around 100mph in a 30mph limit zone.

Officers arrested the man after pulling him over on a section of the Aston Expressway A38(M) in Birmingham, which had a temporary 30mph restriction at the time.


A motorist was stopped speeding at 100mph, more than three times the temporary 30mph limit, on the Aston Expressway A38(M)

In a tweet early this morning, Central Motorway Police Group said the man had given a reading of 74 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath, more than double the 35 microgram legal limit.

It said: 'Vehicle stopped on a38(m) having been travelling at 100mph in temp 30mph area. Driver arrested for drink driving having blown 74.' 

Another tweet said: 'Two more drink drivers through the night, 1 drew attention to himself by driving in excess of 100mph and was twice over drink drive limit.'

The fastest speeding motorist in Britain is thought to be getaway driver Ben Westwood, 33, who reached speeds of up to 180mph as he fled police during a 65-mile chase in 2012.

During the pursuit on the M6, his stolen Audi RS5 almost outran a police helicopter and left officers in high-performance BMWs trailing in his wake.

Officers from Central Motorway Police Group arrested the motorist on suspicion of drink-driving this morning

Westwood was jailed for a total of nine years after he was found guilty of dangerous driving, conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to steal. 

Before him, Timothy Brady was thought to be Britain's fastest speeder.

He was jailed for 10 weeks after admitting clocking up 172mph while driving his new Porsche 911 on the A420 in Oxfordshire in 2007.





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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Images reveal new safety system at the Dartford Crossing . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Images reveal new safety system at the Dartford Crossing

Cited at:
http://www.courier.co.uk/Images-reveal-new-safety-Dartford-Crossing/story-25888095-detail/story.html


Images reveal new safety system at the Dartford Crossing

Images of a new safety system that will help to keep the Dartford Crossing operating safely following the removal of payment barriers have been published today by the Highways Agency.

Dart Charge was launched last November in a bid to make journeys quicker by not needing to stop at the barriers.

However identifying and managing over height vehicles and dangerous loads has still been carried out at the payment barriers as some vehicles may need an escort or be prohibited.

The new safety system will use various detectors to identify the vehicles, signs to encourage drivers to get into the correct lane in good time, and barriers and traffic signals to control them - bringing them to a safe stop and turning them around if necessary.

Highways Agency Project Director Nigel Gray said: “With Dart Charge, drivers no longer stop at a barrier to pay the crossing charge, speeding up journeys and reducing congestion.

“But the barriers are also the point at which we have identified and managed dangerous loads and oversized vehicles – so now we need a new approach. This system has been extensively tested and will be able to do the job effectively, and without requiring every driver to stop. It is a big part of fully realising the benefits that Dart Charge is already bringing.”

Construction of the new system of traffic signals and barriers on the northbound carriageway will begin in late January and is due to be completed by early April.







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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Revealed: Company behind 'sneaky' new motorway speed cameras is paid £2.1million by the taxpayer so they can catch MORE drivers . . .

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Revealed: Company behind 'sneaky' new motorway speed cameras is paid £2.1million by the taxpayer so they can catch MORE drivers 

  • A new generation of speed cameras being introduced on the M25 in Kent 
  • Company behind them have £2.1million contract with the Government
  • They have been installed to catch drivers breaking the 70mph speed limit
  • Unlike traditional yellow cameras, they are painted grey and harder to spot 
  • Have already caught almost 700 motorists on the M25 in just two months 
  • Same technology is now set to be introduced on the M1, M3, M60 and M6
Cited at:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2916359/Company-sneaky-new-motorway-speed-cameras-paid-2-1m-taxpayer-catch-drivers.html

Taxpayer deal: The company behind new stealth cameras being installed on Britain's busiest roads is being paid £2.1million by the Government

The business behind new 'stealth' speed cameras being installed across Britain is being paid £2.1million by the taxpayer to help catch more drivers, it was revealed today.

The controversial devices have caught almost 700 drivers in just two months and unlike traditional yellow speed cameras, they are painted grey, making them harder to spot.

The technology has been introduced to catch drivers breaking the 70mph speed limit on the M25 in Kent. 

And the same technology is being introduced on a northern section of the M25 and also parts of the M1, M3, M60 and M6.

Today it emerged that Redflex Travel Systems Ltd agreed a £2.1million deal with the Government to set up the system.

The Highways Agency confirmed to MailOnline they pay £150,000 per site to install the equipment and· £25,000 per site per year to maintain the equipment.

The company's UK boss Ronald Moore last night refused to comment on whether the cameras are unfair on motorists.

But he did tell The Sun: 'I work for the company who do the technology for the cameras. I have no comment'. 

The cameras, called the Hadecs3, enforce variable speed limits on motorways when they are congested. 

But when the speed limit at 70mph they are not switched off, instead they then catch people breaking the limit. 

Front and rear-facing cameras are used to verify a vehicle’s speed. 

And, while conventional devices have to be trained on only one lane at a time, the digital cameras can scan four. 

Motoring groups claim the devices will see thousands of drivers facing at least £100 in fines and points on their licence for straying marginally over the 70mph limit.


Uproar: The cameras, pictured on the M25, were believed to be just enforcing variable speed limits but they are actually doing the 70mph limit too

The Association of Chief Police Officers recommends drivers are not charged unless they exceed 79mph in a 70mph limit zone.

HOW A 'STEALTH' CAMERA WORKS 

The grey cameras are being installed across Britain's busiest motorways can track dozens cars across four lanes in the heaviest of traffic.

Conventional cameras can only scan one lane and are usually painted yellow - but these are grey.

Attached to the motorway gangway - front and rear-facing cameras are used to verify a vehicle's speed. 

The same camera system is also used to grab the vehicle's number plate and match it up with the national vehicle registration database. 

They enforce variable speed limits and also the standard 70mph speed limit if needed. 

Hugh Bladon, one of the founder members of the Alliance of British Drivers, said they did not believe targeting drivers on the motorways was the best way to improve safety and that punishing drivers for exceeding the 70mph limit was often unnecessary.

'The 70mph limit is not a speed that a lot of people bother to observe any more,' he said. 

'It was originally brought in as an experiment and was made permanent without any real testing. It was brought in at a time when the stopping power of cars was a bit like stopping an oil tanker, and the maximum speed of most cars was 74mph. We've moved on now, some 50 years later we have cars that stop much more quickly. 

'The amount of traffic that exceeds the 70mph limit is enormous. Most people are driving at 80mph on motorways, and these are our safest roads in the country.' 

Mr Bladon said he did not think using speed cameras on the M25 was appropriate because there are many times, particularly late at night or when there is little traffic, when it is safe to driver faster than 70mph. He also said these should be made more visible, rather than disguised to try and catch drivers out. 

In 2013 the number of people fined for speeding peaked at more than 115,000 - the highest level since 2009. Ministers said the rise was largely due to the increased number of speed cameras that were in operation for 24 hours a day. In total 115,549 motorists were fined more than £100 that year. 

It was also announced last year that the maximum fines for motorway speeding that could be imposed by magistrates would rise from £2,500 to £10,000. 



In 2012-13 the Government collected £284million in speeding fines.

Where the new cameras will be placed: Several stretches of road are being upgraded to become 'smart motorways', with new speed cameras a part of improvements. Above, a map detailing which will be affected

Work begins on M62 to create new 'smart motorways'

Rupert Lipton, managing director of the National Motorists Action Group, said he was 'shocked' officials had decided to use this type of speeding enforcement. 

He said: 'This is a another missed opportunity. The Highways Agency is introducing so called "smart motorways" but relying on dumb enforcement. It is policing by numbers, by remote control'. 

Studies have shown that nine out of ten drivers admit to breaking the motorway speed limit.

The Government had planned to raise the limit to 80mph before the proposals were shelved by transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin two years ago.

Brake, the road safety group, has previously said that raising the speed limit would cause more accidents and deaths on motorways. 

The first cameras were installed between junctions five and six of the M25. Kent police figures showed that 668 speeding offences were logged in just over two months.

Until now, cameras have mainly been used to keep drivers below 50mph in sections of the network undergoing roadworks.


In the two months since they have been installed on the M25, pictured, almost 700 drivers have been caught breaking the 70mph limit 

The Highways Agency said signs warning about speed cameras should be displayed on every gantry of the motorway where they are used. 

A spokesman said: 'Variable speed limits on smart motorways are primarily there to smooth traffic flow, reduce congestion and make journeys more reliable.

'Hundreds of thousands of motorists use this stretch of the M25 every day. The vast majority are sticking to the speed limits and are experiencing better journeys as a result of smart motorways.

'There are clear signs where cameras are in place and the new cameras are more visible than the previous versions.' 





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Monday, 16 February 2015

The Official Highway Code: driving in fog . . .

___________________________________________________________________

The Official Highway Code: driving in fog 

Driving in fog 

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

Rule 235


When driving in fog you should 
  • use your lights as required (see Rule 226)
  • keep a safe distance behind the vehicle in front. Rear lights can give a false sense of security 
  • be able to pull up well within the distance you can see clearly. This is particularly important on motorways and dual carriageways, as vehicles are travelling faster use your windscreen wipers and demisters 
  • beware of other drivers not using headlights 
  • not accelerate to get away from a vehicle which is too close behind you 
  • check your mirrors before you slow down. Then use your brakes so that your brake lights warn drivers behind you that you are slowing down 
  • stop in the correct position at a junction with limited visibility and listen for traffic. When you are sure it is safe to emerge, do so positively and do not hesitate in a position that puts you directly in the path of approaching vehicles. 







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Sunday, 15 February 2015

The Official Highway Code: before entering fog . . .

___________________________________________________________________

The Official Highway Code: before entering fog 

Before entering fog 

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

Rule 234 


Before entering fog check your mirrors then slow down. If the word ‘Fog’ is shown on a roadside signal but the road is clear, be prepared for a bank of fog or drifting patchy fog ahead. Even if it seems to be clearing, you can suddenly find yourself in thick fog. 








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Saturday, 14 February 2015

The Official Highway Code: alcohol and drugs . . .

___________________________________________________________________ 


The Official Highway Code: alcohol and drugs 

Alcohol and drugs 

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

Rule 96

You MUST NOT drive under the influence of drugs or medicine. Check the instructions or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Using illegal drugs is highly dangerous. Never take them if you intend to drive; the effects are unpredictable, but can be even more severe than alcohol and may result in fatal or serious road crashes.Law RTA 1988 sect 4 








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Friday, 13 February 2015

Is this driver off his trolley? Hilarious website reveals parking misdemeanours . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Is this driver off his trolley? Hilarious website reveals parking misdemeanours

A HILARIOUS website has taken to naming and shaming some of the country's worst parkers ­complete with pictures of their maddening misdemeanours.

Cited at:
http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/549446/Badly-parked-car-drivers-named-shamed-funny-website



ROSS PARRY Some of the horrendous parking on display in Hull

Images such a red Renault Clio jammed into the trolley bay in a supermarket car park are commonplace on the Facebook page Bad Parking Cars - Hull.

Others include cars left taking up two bays, on verges ­ and one vehicle even parked at such an angle that somebody has chalked a wonky parking space around it.

Also featured are cars parked across yellow lines, on zebra crossings and pavements, and one even managing to straddle four parking bays.

ROSS PARRY This driver appears unable to grasp the concept of a motorcycle bay

The page invites motorists to upload their own images of badly parked cars around Hull, East Yorkshire.

Badly Parking Cars is already an online hit, with more than 4,000 Facebook likes.

The page's creator, who asked not to be named, believes the page is proving a hit because people can identify with it and recognise the places in the pictures.

ROSS PARRY Another less-than-solid parking job recorded on the site

He said: "The reason for launching the page is to show how incompetent or selfish people can be when parking their vehicle.

"It's harmless fun and it's just one of those things that gets on a lot of people's nerves, because it only takes seconds to straighten up your car once you have parked in a space."








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Thursday, 12 February 2015

Speeding fines in England and Wales hit four-year high . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Speeding fines in England and Wales hit four-year high

Cited at:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-30612570


The number of people fined by the courts for speeding offences in England and Wales has risen to its highest level since 2009.

More than 115,000 people were fined by magistrates last year, figures from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) show.

AA president Edmund King said the rise reflected the fact that digital speed cameras were working 24 hours a day.

The Department for Transport said it was magistrates who decided when to impose fines.

The MoJ figures show 115,549 motorists were issued with fines of at least £100 in 2013.

South Wales saw one of the biggest increases, with the number of drivers fined tripling last year to 6,491, from 2,181 three years earlier.

One speed camera in Cardiff generated more than an estimated £800,000 of fines in six months.

The number of offenders fined grew over the same period by almost 1,000 in both South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, and by close to 2,000 in Staffordshire.

London saw the most people fined last year, although the figure for the Metropolitan Police area fell to 7,736 - its lowest level in five years.

'Pot luck'

AA president Mr King told the Daily Telegraph that the increase "is a reflection that cameras are more efficient than ever".

"In the past, cameras in London would only take valid pictures for a quarter of a day and it was pot luck whether you are fined. The cameras are now working 24 hours a day."

A spokeswoman for the Department for Transport said: "Speeding can have devastating consequences and it's right that drivers should abide by the speed limit.

"These fines were issued at the discretion of the magistrates and show the number of fines issued is in decline across many police force areas."

Earlier this year it was announced the maximum fines imposed by magistrates for motorway speeding would rise from £2,500 to £10,000.








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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Icy and snowy weather . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Icy and snowy weather 

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

Rule 228


In winter check the local weather forecast for warnings of icy or snowy weather. DO NOT drive in these conditions unless your journey is essential. If it is, take great care and allow more time for your journey. 

Take an emergency kit of de-icer and ice scraper, torch, warm clothing and boots, first aid kit, jump leads and a shovel, together with a warm drink and emergency food in case you get stuck or your vehicle breaks down.










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Speeding Fines Up Amid New Digital Cameras . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Speeding Fines Up Amid New Digital Cameras

Cited at:
https://uk.news.yahoo.com/speeding-fines-amid-digital-cameras-190917915.html#tSZUaiL



The number of people fined for speeding has hit a four-year high, as new digital cameras trap more motorists.

Courts handed out 115,549 fines in 2013 - the highest number since 2009, figures released by the Ministry of Justice show.

South Wales has seen one of the biggest increases, with the number of people fined tripling last year to 6,491, from 2,181 three years earlier.

The number of offenders has also risen in that period by almost 1,000 in both South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire - and by close to 2,000 in Staffordshire.

While London saw the most people fined last year, the figure for the Metropolitan Police area has fallen to 7,736.

That is the lowest level in five years.

Those convicted of a speeding offence must pay a minimum of £100 and get three penalty points added to their licences.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "Speeding can have devastating consequences and it's right that drivers should abide by the speed limit.

"These fines were issued at the discretion of the magistrates and show the number of fines issued is in decline across many police force areas."

AA president Edmund King said the introduction of digital cameras mean the devices are now working all day long.

He told the Telegraph newspaper: "It (the rise in speeding fines) is a reflection that cameras are more efficient than ever.

"In the past, cameras in London they would only take valid pictures for a quarter of day and it was pot luck whether you are fined. The cameras are now working 24 hours a day."

Last week the Institution of Engineering and Technology said in the future the speed at which cars can travel may be altered to fit the driver's experience, and the development of driverless cars may mean an end to speeding.

"Within 15 years, we predict that the performance of cars could be altered to fit the driver," the institution said.

"Speeding may become a thing of the past as cars are likely to be fitted with speed-limiting devices."

This year this year a speed camera in Cardiff generated more than an estimated £800,000 worth of fines in just six months.

According to road safety group GoSafe Wales, the device on the junction of the city's Newport Road and Colchester Avenue caught 13,624 speeding motorists and a further 146 running red lights between January and June.







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The Official Highway Code: Icy weather . . .

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The Official Highway Code: Icy weather 

Icy weather 

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

Rule 231

Drive extremely carefully when the roads are icy. Avoid sudden actions as these could cause loss of control. You should 
  • drive at a slow speed in as high a gear as possible; accelerate and brake very gently 
  • drive particularly slowly on bends where loss of control is more likely. Brake progressively on the straight before you reach a bend. Having slowed down, steer smoothly round the bend, avoiding sudden actions 
  • check your grip on the road surface when there is snow or ice by choosing a safe place to brake gently. If the steering feels unresponsive this may indicate ice and your vehicle losing its grip on the road. When travelling on ice, tyres make virtually no noise. 














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Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The Official Highway Code: alcohol . . .

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The Official Highway Code: alcohol 

Rule 95

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

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

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

Alcohol will 
  • give a false sense of confidence 
  • reduce co-ordination and slow down reactions 
  • affect judgement of speed, distance and risk 
  • reduce your driving ability, even if you’re below the legal limit 
  • take time to leave your body; you may be unfit to drive in the evening after drinking at lunchtime, or in the morning after drinking the previous evening 
The best solution is not to drink at all when planning to drive because any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive safely. If you are going to drink, arrange another means of transport. 



















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Monday, 9 February 2015

Pictured: Passenger carries huge metal ladders through car WINDOW at 50mph . . .

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Pictured: Passenger carries huge metal ladders through car WINDOW at 50mph

Cited at:
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/pictured-passenger-carries-huge-metal-4985596


It's the height of stupidity – a man clings on to a ladder out of a car window on a busy dual carriageway.

The back seat passenger of this blue Nissan went to great lengths to carry the metal steps as he travelled on a busy dual carriageway at 50mph.

Passing motorists couldn't believe what they were seeing as they witnessed the potentially catastrophic scene.

Builder Steve Wignall, who caught the crazed antics on camera, said: "Okay, it looks funny but I was a bit annoyed.

"I've got two young kiddies and there's a potential for a really bad road traffic accident.

"It's not what you expect to see on the dual carriageway coming out of Bolton."

The man was seen on Tuesday morning on the A666 in Bolton, Lancs., in the vehicle which another man was driving.

The speed limit on the busy road, which runs between Salford, Gtr Mancs., and Langho, Lancs., is 50mph.

Dad-of-two Mr Wignall has run his construction business for two years but has been in the building trade for 20 years and is well aware of the strict health and safety rules in place to protect himself, workers and others.

He added: "You would normally put them in a van but it wasn't big enough. There are roof bars you can use that are specifically for ladders.

"Hopefully the driver will read all about his stupid antics and think twice before doing it again."








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Sunday, 8 February 2015

Drug driving test device approved . . .

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Drug driving test device approved

Cited at:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-2911652/Drug-driving-test-device-approved.html

The first mobile drug-testing device has been approved by the Government for use on drivers suspected of being under the influence.

The device known as Drugwipe is the first portable device that can detect the presence of cannabis and cocaine - two of the most common substances used by drug drivers - by analysing a small quantity of saliva.

Results are indicated by the appearance of lines on the device - similar to a pregnancy test - within eight minutes.


Drugwipe is the first portable device that can detect the presence of cannabis and cocaine by analysing a small quantity of saliva

Policing Minister Mike Penning, who announced the device's approval at a road policing conference, said: " Drug drivers are a deadly menace and must be stopped.

"It has long been my ambition as Roads Safety Minister and now as Minister for Policing to take further action on drug driving.

"Those who get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs not only put their own lives at risk, but also those of innocent pedestrians, motorists and their passengers."

Following a positive reading, the police will take the individual to the police station for a blood sample, which will b e used in any subsequent prosecution.

It is estimated as many as 200 people a year are killed by drivers impaired by drugs.

Drugwipe will be used to enforce the existing offence of driving whilst impaired as well as a new drug driving offence set to come into force in March.

The penalty under the new offence will be 12 months disqualification, a fine up to £5,000 and up to six months in prison or both.

The new law sets limits for eight illegal drugs - cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine, heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide, methylamphetamine and MDMA - at very low levels.

AA president Edmund King said: "We have known for a long time that drug-driving kills around 200 people every year on UK roads.

"To tackle this needless waste of life, the police need to be able to test drivers accurately for drugs and we need tough legislation in place to prosecute those who are found to be drug-driving.

"The approval of drug-testing devices is certainly a move to be welcomed. Any driver who has taken the risk of drug-driving in the past should take this as their final warning that drug-drivers will not be tolerated on our roads."








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