Friday, 31 July 2015

Targeted enforcement to drive rogues out of industry . . .


Targeted enforcement to drive rogues out of industry

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The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is to focus its roadside enforcement efforts upon those operators that it believes to be serious lawbreakers, and work towards scrutiny of electronic records to keep the rest compliant, according to Caroline Hicks, the head of enforcement transformation at the agency.

In a presentation at the Microlise Transport Conference in Coventry entitled New Agency, New Approach, Hicks outlined her ‘next generation enforcement’ strategy: envisioning a future which would be without random roadside checks, but where operators would welcome electronic overview of their activities by DVSA as an alternative.

“The focus should be on compliance, not enforcement,” she said.

She pointed out that a ‘clear’ roadside encounter with DVSA could cost the operator concerned up to £4,000 because of the delay, even though there was no fault found.

“That figure,” she said, “isn’t my figure. It’s what a major supermarket has told me.”

But targeted enforcement could leave lawful operators to get on with business, and push up costs for non-compliant operators to the point where they would be forced out of the industry, Hicks argued.

She pointed out an example in which a notoriously non-compliant operator was singled out for roadside targeting.

“In a four-hour period, we stopped 24 of his vehicles, and 17 of them were not allowed to leave the test space. Effectively, we priced him out of the market in the space of those four hours.”

Her objective was to get operators to open their electronic records for inspection by DVSA – at any time and without permission.

At the start of her presentation, she asked how many delegates would be happy for DVSA to be able to examine their driver and vehicle records at any time and without their knowledge. The majority (52 per cent) said no.

She then explained how DVSA could ‘triangulate’ data yielded by automated number plate recognition and vehicle and driver records to identify potential problems.

Remote enforcement (as successfully trialled in the Western traffic area) meant that DVSA could ask for access to records for vehicles and drivers, rather than demand them during a site visit.

DVSA was also looking at ways in which it might be possible to interrogate moving vehicles using their on-board diagnostic and telematics systems.

The agency was looking for conformance as an objective, and giving DVSA open access to records meant that conforming operators could avoid roadside checks and site visits, while the agency concentrated upon checking non-compliant operators at the roadside.

When random roadside checks were made, 13 per cent of vehicles stopped were non-compliant. But there were large variations in the figure across different industry sectors.

“Foreign trucks are a higher-than-average sector for non-compliance, as are foreign drivers in British-registered trucks,” Hicks reported. “Our message is, become compliant or get out of the industry.”

“We accept that you will never get 100 per cent compliance: components fail on vehicles and circumstances change on the roads.

“We need to know what a ‘good’ operator looks like. We already know what a bad operator looks like, but does a good operator have one tacho infringement per 100 days, or 1,000 days?

“We want to work with operators to set up good systems.”

At the conclusion of Hicks’ presentation, she asked how many operators would be willing to disclose the contents of vehicle and driver records such as tachograph and CPC details to the DVSA, if doing so reduced the likelihood of their drivers being stopped?

84 per cent said they would be willing to do this.

The table below shows current versus future DVSA activity for operators with differing levels of compliance. Whereas current roadside enforcement efforts are spread more evenly, ‘next generation’ enforcement would be progressively targeted, with the worst operators subject to massive resources. Source: DVSA presentation, Microlise Transport Conference.

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Thursday, 30 July 2015

Councils want powers to enforce truck restrictions . . .


Councils want powers to enforce truck restrictions

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The Local Government Association has called for powers to enable councils in England outside the capital to enforce local vehicle weight and width limits, just as they can in London and Wales.

If such measures were introduced, councils would be able to task officials with upholding weight limits and issuing tickets to offending companies, possibly through the use of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras.

LGA transport spokesman councilor Peter Box said: “There has been a spate of accidents involving lorry drivers driving irresponsibly and bringing bedlam to small rural communities – and action must be taken immediately to curb this.

“Councils are doing everything they can to help their residents, working with communities by organising lorry watch schemes. But they are trying to take action with one hand tied behind their back and urgently need tougher powers.

“If a community is being plagued by problems at an accident blackspot, councils should be able to respond to communities’ concerns by issuing fines to act as a deterrent.

“We would stress that most lorry drivers are reputable and drive responsibly. These powers would be targeted at the minority who do not follow the law. This is also about protecting the drivers’ safety as well as the safety of residents and other road users.”

The LGA quoted three ‘case studies’ (in the form of links to local newspaper reports) in support of its position.

One involved a confused Bulgarian driver who passed a 7.5-tonne limit sign in Kent and caused damage to vehicles and property in the village of Iwade; the second happened when a truck was diverted off the M5 in the small hours of the morning and clipped housefronts and overhead wires in Uffculme, Devon after apparently following the wrong diversion signs; and the third when a truck rolled on an unrestricted rural road near Chippenham, Wiltshire.

It is not clear how giving the local council enforcement powers would have prevented any of these incidents. But another issue raised by the LGA was that drivers can tend to blindly follow satnav instructions on unfamiliar rural roads, making them less alert to road signage and the nature of the road that they are on.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport (DfT) appeared to rule out any immediate change to the law, stating: “The police already have the necessary power to take action where it is needed, and there are no plans at present to give local authorities greater powers to enforce moving traffic contraventions.”

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) denied the LGA claims that lorries were ‘bringing bedlam’ to British villages.

“FTA fully supports enforcement of weight and width restrictions and actively helps its members to adhere to these with regular updates on regulations and industry innovations,” said Christopher Snelling, head of urban logistics at FTA.

“Transferring responsibility for policing these restrictions to local residents would be fraught with problems because most would not have the relevant knowledge to make judgements.

“Weight limits are not HGV bans and residents may not understand different sizes of trucks. Also, most weight restrictions are on an ‘except for access’ basis – some HGVs may be making legitimate visits to local business or indeed residents, such as home removals or washing machine deliveries.”

FTA also pointed to DfT figures showing that deaths and serious injuries involving lorries had halved in the last decade.

He added: “The logistics industry is working hard to reduce the problem of HGVs using inappropriate routes, such as HGV-specific satnavs that are now on the market. Most operators do follow the rules, and the handful that don’t should be detected and dealt with.”

“The four examples in the past 10 years quoted by LGA don’t illustrate that the problem of lorries in villages constitutes a ‘spate’ or are getting worse,” said FTA.

Meanwhile, John Howells, southern and eastern regional director for the Road Haulage Association, questioned how such a policy would be enforced.

He told the BBC: “In London the roads are filmed with cameras. In the country it will cost the communities a lot of money to have cameras.

“There is a problem with poor signage. On some roads lorry drivers do not know that there is a weight restriction and people use satnav so drivers are very reliant on signage.

“But it’s not just the drivers. We also need the authorities to provide lorries with alternative appropriate roads when main roads are closed.”

The build-up of HGV traffic in villages is an issue that recently reared its head in parliament. Last month Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general and MP for Beaconsfield, spoke of how it had impacted on his constituency.

Mr Grieve said that the village of Iver was: “experiencing a catastrophic problem with heavy goods vehicle movements.

“The number of transport depots in the immediate vicinity of the village, many of which have grown up out of existing planning uses that predate the arrival of planning control, mean that the village is slowly being strangled by the HGV movements.

“If one stands in Iver village high street, one will see a heavy goods vehicle coming through every 58 seconds on average.”

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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

RHA: rising employment masks ongoing driver shortage . . .


RHA: rising employment masks ongoing driver shortage

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Richard Burnett, the chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, has warned that recent positive news of rising employment levels is in stark contrast to what he called the “chronic skills shortage” continuing to affect hauliers.

The warning came the day after Mr Burnett led a road haulage industry delegation to Number 10 (pictured) to petition David Cameron for £150 million of government help to train up new drivers.

“We warmly welcome the positive news on the employment figures. They are another sign that the UK economy is continuing to strengthen,” he said.

“However, we are suffering from a severe skills shortage in our industry. Failing to address the chronic driver shortage threatens to stop the UK economy recovery in its tracks and it will be a missed opportunity for the government in its drive to achieve full employment.

“Getting a truck licence costs somewhere between £3,000 and £5,000 – that’s a huge amount of money for people trying to enter the industry – and most haulage businesses are small family companies who run on very small margins so they too struggle to fund the training.

“Currently, there is no suitable apprenticeship scheme for truck driver training. That’s why I was at Downing Street yesterday calling on the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to invest £150 million into driver training as an urgent priority to help keep the recovery on track.”

RHA also highlighted the latest driver shortage figures by region, from the Office for National Statistics (right).

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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

DVSA launches tacho centre checks reform . . .


DVSA launches tacho centre checks reform

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DVSA has changed the way that it undertakes its approved tachograph centre and nominated technician checks.

The routine visit check has been replaced with a biennial desk-based assessment for each centre, with half the authorised centres being checked each year, and a site assessment and technical check for 10 per cent of all sites and their technicians every year.

The desk-based assessments require the centre to fill in and return a form, with the information provided being very similar to that which was obtained previously by DVSA staff undertaking routine visits. DVSA said that designated managers should be able to complete the forms with no difficulty at all, as all the information required should be readily available.

A completed desk-based assessment will also qualify as one of the mandatory three-monthly centre quality control checks required to be completed by the quality controller.

The approved tachograph centre technical audit will be a verification of the details disclosed by the approved tachograph centre in its desk-based assessment.

Technical audits of nominated technicians will take place in one of two ways: either witnessing a nominated technician undertake a calibration in “real time” to ensure calibration procedures are followed correctly, or instructing and witnessing a nominated technician re-performing a calibration of a very recently calibrated vehicle still in the approved tachograph centre.

This is to ensure full compliance with calibration practices, that procedures have been followed and maintained, and that no manual intervention of the calibration characteristics has occurred.

Where any significant areas of non-compliance are identified, then formal disciplinary action may take place as per the procedures outlined in the approved tachograph centre manual.

DVSA personnel are currently receiving formal training to nominated technician standards in order to support them with this new task.

To offset any additional burden on approved tachograph centres created by this change in procedures, DVSA will count any technical audit check undertaken by them as a qualifying quality assurance check required to be undertaken on the nominated technician as specified in the approved tachograph centre manual.

Meanwhile, nominated tachograph technicians have had the ‘window’ for the recertification courses extended from one month prior to expiry to three. Technicians can therefore attend recertification training at any time within the three-month period prior to the expiry of their current certificate without any loss of time.

However, the DVSA warns, there is no latitude if certification is allowed to expire. Technicians who fail to undertake the recertification training prior to the expiry of the current certificate will have to sit the whole course to requalify.

DVSA has also recently reminded operators and tachograph centres that recent changes to truck speed limits on non-motorway roads in England and Wales have had no effect on truck speed limiter settings.

European speed limiter requirements remain unchanged and these must be set at 56mph or lower, so no changes to the over-speed setting are to be made on digital tachographs.

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Monday, 27 July 2015

Heads-up displays in cars can hinder driver safety . . .


Heads-up displays in cars can hinder driver safety

A new study suggests HUDs could actually increase driver distraction.

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Jaguar's Virtual Windscreen technology. 
We can't wait for this to advance from the R&D lab to the track.

Heads-up displays (HUDs) in cars were once a rare thing. More and more, new cars now come with HUDs as standard, and you can even buy aftermarket HUDs. HUDs project useful information like the car's current speed and navigation directions into the driver's field of view, saving them from having to look down at an instrument panel or display, the idea being to reduce distractions and keep a driver's eyes on the road. But a study from the University of Toronto led by Ian Spence suggests that HUDs might actually have the opposite effect and can even be a threat to safety.

According to the study, published last month in PLoS ONE, the question of how our brains deal with dividing our visual attention between spatially commingled information isn't currently well understood. Rather, most studies have looked at how divided attention works when performing a single task that requires us to get visual information from two distinct spatial locations (i.e., looking down at an infotainment display and then at the road). The researchers wanted to get a better idea of how commingled division of visual attention works in practice, using a simulation of an augmented reality HUD to do so.

Augmented-reality HUDs are are tantalizingly just out of reach right now, but thanks to several decades of video games, most of you will be familiar with how they work. The idea is best explained by the image above, a concept from Jaguar in the UK that shows a performance augmented-reality HUD overlaying an optimum driving line on top of the road surface. Cars are increasingly covered in an array of sensors (optical, LIDAR, ultrasonic, radar, infrared) which are combined and analyzed to warn of impending threats—"is that tractor-trailer getting too close," for example, or "is that a deer in the middle of the road?"

Spence and his students conducted two experiments that required participants to perform a primary task where they needed to pay attention over a wide field of view, something one needs to do when driving. The first involved counting or estimating the number of black spots flashed up on a screen. At unpredictable intervals, the participants would also have to perform a second task—detecting a square also flashed on the screen somewhere within that field of view. The second experiment used the same primary task, but it used triangles, squares, and diamond shapes as a secondary stimulus, asking the participants to identify which shape they saw (in addition to having seen it).

During the first experiment, participants became less accurate at estimating the number of spots on the screen as the number increased beyond four, but this wasn't affected by the presence or absence of the square (the secondary task). However, in tests where the square did show up, reaction times went up by almost half a second on average (both the time needed to estimate the number of spots and to determine if the square was present or not). The second experiment revealed an even bigger increase in reaction time when participants had to correctly identify one of three possible shapes, particularly as the number of spots (the primary task) increased.

Spence suggests that his results have implications for automotive augmented reality. He notes that participants in the study were forewarned that a secondary task was possible but that a driver in the real world would have less expectation of an alert requiring their attention at the same time as they're supposed to be concentrating on the road. This commingled attention would result in a "loss of accuracy and increase in reaction times in attending to the external information" and that drivers could even end up paying less attention to visual threats in the real world as opposed to the ones being displayed virtually.

It is a provocative thought, and one that runs counter to the prevailing mindset in the auto industry; our recent experience with Mini's augmented reality goggles is a great example of how car makers are turning to technology to give us augmented-reality driving experiences. Augmented reality and full-windscreen HUDS also came up in a discussion about automotive technology trends we had recently with Douglas Patton, chief technical officer with DENSO, a large tier-1 supplier to the auto industry. Patton told us that he thinks HUDs are poised to play much more of a safety role in the coming years, providing drivers with "much more valuable information that gets their eyes on the road."

As Spence and his coauthors note, simulator data, real-world testing, and epidemiological data are needed before we know enough to make definitive declarations about the safety—or lack thereof—of augmented-reality HUDs. Gathering that data may take some time. According to Patton, there are still quite a few technical challenges that need to be solved. The biggest is a physics problem, something Microsoft's HoloLens is also running into. Right now, the size of the mirrors one would need for a full-windscreen HUD just aren't compatible with fitting them inside a dashboard of a car.

Patton also pointed to challenges with keeping the optics and electronics cool, a problem that has led DENSO to look ways of combining HUD electronics with a car's air conditioning system (which the company also produces) in a neat bit of corporate synergy. It's also possible that the arrival of augmented reality in our cars will be via some other technology—Mini's googles, for example, although GM has also been working on a system that uses a laser to excite phosphors coating the inside of the windscreen. Here in the US, we may also need some changes to the federal regulations that prevent the use of active displays when driving.

Our recent experience of current automotive HUDs has been broadly positive. For example, we're fans of the way BMW includes the speed limit of the road you're on alongside your car's speed. But sometimes a HUD can be distracting from the road, something we noticed on a recent long-distance drive. That's on top of problems with positioning the display in the first place; shorter or taller drivers can have a hard time getting a HUD to work well with their seating position, and the technology works better in lower light environments (polarized sunglasses can be their kryptonite).

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Sunday, 26 July 2015

Nottingham roads have more 12-point licence drivers than anywhere else in country . . .


Nottingham roads have more 12-point licence drivers than anywhere else in country

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Across the country, 6,523 motorists are currently on the road with at least 12 points.

There are more motorists from Nottingham on the road with at least 12 penalty points than anywhere else in the country, according to new research.

The figures show 180 drivers in the city are using the roads despite having 12 or more points on their licence.

The news comes after the Post revealed last month how police have handed out 10,395 fixed-penalty notices in the county since 2011 – with more than 7,500 of them picked up by men. So far this year, 513 fixed-penalty notices have been given to men and 219 to women drivers.

The latest figures were released following a Freedom of Information Act by Co-operative Insurance.

Motorists are normally disqualified from driving if they incur 12 points within a three-year period.

Road safety charity Brake spokesman Gary Rae has today criticised the system.

He said: "The penalty point system exists to take potentially dangerous, repeat offenders off the road, while giving drivers ample opportunity to mend their ways.

"If drivers are not banned when they reach 12 points or more, it makes a mockery of the whole system.

"Drivers who have accumulated this many points have already proved they have no respect for the rules of the road."

In Doncaster, there are 174 motorists with 12 points or more and in Cardiff 173.

Birmingham is fourth on the list with 169 drivers and Sheffield fifth with 156.

Steve Kerrigan, spokesman for Co-operative Insurance, said: "It is clear that there are a large number of drivers on the roads with more than 12 penalty points on their licenses.

"Despite young drivers having the reputation for being the worst motorists, when it comes to the drivers that have an excessive amount of penalty points, we have found that in the majority of cases, older drivers, aged between 26 and 55, have more points than any other and as a proportion of their age group.

"As new generations of young drivers come through, it is extremely important for safe driving education to continue and, in future, we will hopefully see safer roads as a result."

Across the country, 6,523 motorists are currently on the road with at least 12 points.

The investigation also revealed that a female driver in Blackburn currently has 38 points on her licence, while a man in Liverpool has 45.

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Saturday, 25 July 2015

Dash-cam footage shows drink drive crash . . .


Dash-cam footage shows drink drive crash

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Dash-cam footage shows the drink driver smashing into a parked car just before it flips onto its roof

POLICE have released dash-cam footage of a drink driver as a stark reminder of the dangers of driving under the influence.

The footage was taken by a member of the public and shows a driver swerving between lanes, braking erratically and driving without lights on.

He eventually crashes into a parked vehicle on Victoria Street in Newtown, Wigan, and flips onto its roof.

The driver blew three times over the limit and was disqualified from driving for 26 months.

The reminder comes as GMP come to the end of their summer drink and drug drive operation, ‘None for the Road’.

Sergeant John Brennan from GMP’s Roads Policing Unit said: “The footage shows the dangers drink drivers pose to innocent members of the public.

The drink driver in question puts other road users lives in jeopardy as he swerves across lanes and drives without lights on, oblivious to warnings from other motorists Sergeant John Brennan

“Luckily nobody was seriously injured in this collision but it could have been a very different story.

“The drink driver in question puts other road users lives in jeopardy as he swerves across lanes and drives without lights on, oblivious to warnings from other motorists.

“Never underestimate the effect alcohol can have on your ability to drive, even the smallest amount can pose a risk. The safest amount is none at all.

“If you suspect a drink or drug driver may be putting themselves and others at risk please dial 999.”

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Friday, 24 July 2015

Are we on the brink of an electric car revolution? . . .


Are we on the brink of an electric car revolution?

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Electric car sales have fallen far short of predictions, but the global push to cut carbon emissions and improved techology could see them poised to hit the mainstream, says Renault-Nissan’s head, Carlos Ghosn


Renault-Nissan president Carlos Ghosn charges the electric vehicle ‘Leaf’. Transport contributes 23% of global greenhouse gas emissions, so tackling climate change will drive electric car sales, says Ghosn. 

Carlos Ghosn, the fast-talking head of the Renault-Nissan alliance, is not keen to be drawn on targets for electric car sales. A 2011 prediction of 1.5m Renault-Nissan electric vehicles by 2016 turned out to be wildly optimistic. The group just passed the 250,000 mark.

Ghosn was not alone. President Barack Obama predicted 1m electric cars in the US by 2015: in January the total was 280,000. Virgin boss Richard Branson, adept as ever at grabbing headlines, said this week that “no new road cars will be petrol driven” within 20 years, calling combustion engines “complicated and antiquated”.

Unlike Branson, Ghosn does not want to stick his neck out. But as head of the companies which sell more than half the electric cars in the world, what Ghosn thinks about how fast the market will grow matters.

Transport contributes 23% of global greenhouse gas emissions, so the fundamental driver will be the ambition of the world in tackling climate change, Ghosn told the Guardian in an interview. “When we know exactly where the EU, US, China will be heading in 2030, I can tell you exactly how much electric cars will be needed,” he says, referring to a crunch UN summit in Paris in November.

The reasons for people being relatively slow to buy electric cars are simple, Ghosn says: “If there is a price penalty, they just don’t buy. If there is range anxiety, they just don’t buy.”

He says Renault-Nissan are working on cutting the cost of the cars, which he says largely comes down to volume, with electric cars currently making up a tiny proportion of the 85m new cars sold globally each year.

“This is a scale problem,” Ghosn says. “The technology fundamentally has nothing expensive. If you come to the basic physics of an electric car, it is not supposed to be more expensive than a combustion engine.” Government subsidies for cars are also key, he says, as is the building of a network of charging points.

Ghosn is also president of ACEA, the European automobile manufacturers association, which has been criticised for lobbying to weaken EU fuel efficiency targets. It is a charge he robustly rejects: “If you are worried about the total CO2, there is an obvious solution. It is to stop the old cars. This would be radical, but politically extremely difficult.” But he says emissions limits will also be important in accelerating electric car sales.

Move out Formula One, hello Formula E: UK race first to use solar-charged cars

Ghosn was in London for the finale of the first FIA Formula E all-electric race series, in which Renault took the team title and were pipped in the final laps for the drivers’ championship by Nelson Piquet Jr from the China Racing team. Ghosn says the races, on city centre circuits around the world, have helped solve the image problem of electric cars.

FacebookTwitterPinterest e.dams Renault driver Sebastien Buemi during the Visa London ePrix at Battersea Park, London, 28 June 2015. Photograph: David Davies/PA

“Ten years ago people thought that electric cars would never make it, they thought electric cars were like a golf cart, something slow, bulky, not very attractive,” he says. “Now they see the [Renault] Zoe, the [Nissan] Leaf, the Teslas etc and they think electric cars can be fun. They see Formula E and see the cars can be very powerful and go very fast. The idea that electric cars are normal cars, which is a big revolution from 10 years ago, has taken place.”

Ghosn raised the intriguing prospect of Renault, a major player in Formula One for many years, exiting the high-octane race series as it increases its involvement in the nascent Formula E series.

“The only thing that is certain today is that we are going to be bigger in Formula E,” he says. “We could be big in Formula E and absent in Formula One. Everything is open.”

Ghosn also delivered a barely-disguised barb at the F1 Red Bull team boss, Christian Horner, who has criticised the Renault engines it uses. Red Bull won four F1 championships in a row up to 2013, and Ghosn says that in F1 “you have the honour to be forgotten when you win and highlighted when you lose.”

Renault hope that electric racing will deliver technology benefits to its road cars, and Patrice Ratti, head of Renault Sport and Technology, says they have already learned from Formula E how to use software to manage energy better. “In a few years, we will have three to four times the range [in road cars] and the anxiety will go away,” he says. How long is a “few years”, I ask. “Maybe five to 10,” he says.

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Thursday, 23 July 2015

London's getting the world's first all-electric double-decker bus . . .


London's getting the world's first all-electric double-decker bus

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London's red double-decker buses are going green. No, we're not talking about a change to their iconic paint-jobs: Mayor Boris Johnson today announced plans to introduce an all-electric model in the capital. London is already served by hundreds of hybrid and eight all-electric single-decker buses, but the new double-decker variant is set to be a world first. That's not surprising, given such a large and heavy vehicle will require more, or higher capacity batteries to continue picking up passengers throughout the day. (Wireless charging can only help so much.) The new vehicle is being developed by BYD and will be trialled on route 16 between Cricklewood and Victoria Station from October.

Transport for London (TfL) announced back in March that route 312, which runs between Norwood and South Croydon, will become the first route in London to be served entirely by all-electric buses. Today, the Mayor reiterated that pledge and said the roll-out would be completed before the end of 2015. So the next time you're in London, pay extra attention when you're crossing the road -- public transport is about to get an awful lot quieter.

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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

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, 21 July 2015

Ingenious new cycling device projects signs onto riders' backs to cut down on accidents . . .


Ingenious new cycling device projects signs onto riders' backs to cut down on accidents

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The pioneering invention can be attached to bicycles and is designed to make riding bikes in traffic safer
Pioneering: The Cyclee is a mounted device that projects signals on cyclists’ backs

An inventor has created a clever new device designed to make it safer for cyclists to ride their bikes at night.

The Cyclee is the brainchild of Azerbaijani designer Elnur Babayev and projects different illuminated signs which show up on the rider's back.

The images, which can say things like 'stop', or can indicate which way the cyclist is going to turn, can then be seen by motorists driving behind.

Illumination: The device projects signals on cyclists’ backs

Cyclists can even modify what the signs say by using an app on their mobile devices.

The projector, which is fitted to their bike, then projects the information so it can be seen by other road users.

There have been eight fatalities involving cyclists in London alone so far this year.

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Monday, 20 July 2015

'Most hated man on two wheels' strikes again as he outs bus driver for chatting on his phone AND shames a woman for texting while driving . . .


'Most hated man on two wheels' strikes again as he outs bus driver for chatting on his phone AND shames a woman for texting while driving 

  • Bus driver is facing the sack after being filmed using a phone while driving
  • He was caught on camera by cyclist Dave Sherry, a bus driver himself
  • Father-of-five dubbed Britain's most feared cyclist for online video posts 
  • Mr Sherry also spotted a woman holding phone in both hands at wheel
  • She is seen apparently texting and with children in back without seatbelts 
Dubbed Britain's 'most hated man on two wheels', it appears a vigilante cyclist may get another bus driver fired after filming him using a mobile phone while driving.

It comes after cyclist Dave Sherry 38, a bus driver himself, shamed a woman motorist after she was caught apparently texting while driving with her two children in the back of the car

He spotted the motorist holding her phone with both hands and not on the wheel while he was cycling home in Waltham Forest, east London, last week. 

Now it has emerged a bus driver who he caught using a phone behind the wheel on Saturday is facing the sack – four months after the same happened to another bus driver filmed by Mr Sherry.

The unnamed woman can be seen at the wheel of her blue Ford Fiesta while looking down at her phone as her children sit in their school uniforms in the back

The unnamed driver of the Town Link single-decker bus, on its way from Harlow to Ongar in Essex, was caught by Dave Sherry, from Harlow, Essex, who was cycling at the time. The driver is now facing the sack

Mr Sherry (pictured), a bus driver of 13 years, says he has secured around 80 convictions after posting videos of motorists running red lights and driving dangerously to his YouTube channel

The unnamed driver of the Town Link single-decker bus, on its way from Harlow to Ongar in Essex, was caught by Mr Sherry, from Harlow, Essex, who was off-duty and cycling at the time.

Mr Sherry, a bus driver of 13 years, says he has secured around 80 convictions after posting videos of motorists running red lights and driving dangerously to his YouTube channel. 

The father-of-five – dubbed Britain's most feared cyclist for his prolific helmet-mounted camera videos – said he was horrified when he saw the bus driver chatting away on his phone as he drove.

'As a bus driver, I clocked a mile off that he was doing something he shouldn’t be,' said Mr Sherry, who has passed his video on to police.

'The bus was slightly overshot on the road.

'When I saw the handset to his ear I was shocked.

'He had passengers in the vehicle and a duty of care to be giving them.

'As a bus driver you should have 100 per cent concentration on the road, there is a certain standard and this driver does not meet it.

Mario Giola, the director of Town Link buses, said: 'I have spoken with the driver and called him in for a meeting. I want an explanation as to why he was using a mobile'

Mr Sherry – dubbed Britain's most feared cyclist for his prolific helmet-mounted camera videos – said he was horrified when he saw the bus driver chatting away on his phone as he drove

'People are putting their lives in his hands, the people of Epping need to be aware of this.

'People shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not their driver is fully concentrating on the road when they board a bus, that is an unwritten rule.'

Mario Giola, the director of Town Link buses, said: 'I have spoken with the driver and called him in for a meeting.

'I want an explanation as to why he was using a mobile, or even his hands on anything other than the bus, while he was driving.

'We provide our drivers with a wireless bluetooth ear piece just in case we need to contact them during an emergency.' 

Meanwhile, Mr Sherry has also spoken of footage uploaded to the internet last Thursday which shows an unnamed woman paused in traffic before pulling away while still holding her phone. 

Shocking footage shows woman texting whilst driving

Cyclist Dave Sherry spotted the woman while sitting in traffic in Waltham Forest, east London, on Thursday

She came to his attention after failing to pull away behind the moving traffic and he noticed she was using her phone behind the wheel

Mr Sherry noticed that the two children in the back weren't wearing seatbelts.

He said: 'The traffic was pulling off and she wasn't moving so I thought, "Hello, what's she up to" and low and behold she's texting with no hands on the wheel.

'I was just cycling along and I looked in to see the child staring back at me. I bet she thought "uh-oh mummy is going to get busted".

'It's a total disregard for her safety and for the kids in the back - that's a new low in my books. It makes me wonder if she's fit to be a parent endangering kids like that.'

Metropolitan Police say the footage has not been reported to them but recommended submitting it to Roadsafe London, where necessary intelligence checks can be carried out.

A spokesperson added: 'We will also write to the registered keeper of the vehicles warning them of the offences witnessed. 

Mr Sherry - dubbed Britain's most feared cyclist - said he looked in to see the child staring back at him and said: 'I bet she thought "uh-oh mummy is going to get busted"'

He claims he has handed the footage to police to investigate, as well as footage he caught of a fellow bus driver two days later, also using his phone at the wheel

Cyclist's camera used to convict more than 70 motorists

'This also makes drivers aware that reports of poor driving are being brought to the attention of police, even though not witnessed by police at the time. 

'They will receive a copy of a leaflet highlighting the offence of mobile use whilst driving which we enclose with the letters to the registered keepers. 

'This contact is intended to change the driver’s mentality and improve their manner of driving whilst on the road.' 

'People shouldn't have to worry about whether or not their driver is fully concentrating on the road when they board a bus, that is an unwritten rule.' 

At the height of his notoriety Mr Sherry even took to wearing body armour while cycling after he was punched in the stomach by a furious van driver.

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Sunday, 19 July 2015

Being a good bus operator . . .


Being a good bus operator

Earlier this year, the Senior Traffic Commissioner published revised guidance for operators of local bus services in England (outside London) and Wales. If you’ve seen the document already, you’ll know the punctuality and reliability standards haven’t changed.

If you operate local services, the window of tolerance still requires bus services to depart from timing points up to 1 minute early and 5 minutes late. The punctuality target is also the same – 95% of your registered services need to operate within this window of tolerance.

Good practice

As regulators, Traffic Commissioners want to provide clear advice to help the industry with compliance. To assist with this, the revised guidance now has a section on what a good bus operation looks like. You can use this as a checklist to measure your standards and review your operations. It covers what Commissioners expect in terms of:
  • Registering your local bus services
  • Monitoring your services
  • Your systems and resources

Traffic Commissioners also use this guidance when dealing with operators at public inquiry to check they’re meeting the standards a compliant bus operator would demonstrate. Additionally, the guidance has a section for local authorities on what activities can ensure a good bus operation.

The Senior Traffic Commissioner has been encouraging operators to share the guidance across their businesses, including the examples of what a good operation looks like. Read the guidance here.

The guidance published by the Senior Traffic Commissioner relates to bus operations in England (outside London) and Wales. The Traffic Commissioner for Scotland has confirmed that the existing window of tolerance and standards will continue to apply for operators running registered services in Scotland.

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Saturday, 18 July 2015

Samsung creates "transparent" truck . . .


Samsung creates "transparent" truck

Samsung's prototype "Safety Truck" offers view of the road ahead

Samsung's prototype "Safety Truck" offers view of the road ahead

When driving behind big semi-trailers, people regularly take risks overtaking them because they often have to first move out from behind the truck to see if the road ahead is clear before passing. This is particularly dangerous on single-lane highways because such a maneuver can mean driving into the path of oncoming traffic. Now Samsung Electronics has come up with a way to help reduce this problem by mounting cameras on the front of a truck and large screens on the rear to display to following drivers a clear view of the road ahead.

Like the See-Through System we wrote about in 2013, the prototype video system on "Safety Truck" comprises a front-mounted camera to capture view of the road ahead of the truck. Rather than wirelessly send a live feed to a transparent LCD screen installed in a trailing driver's car, Samsung's solution transmits a continuous view of the road in front of the truck to exterior monitors mounted on the rear.

This view is enabled both day and night, and is said to have the potential to significantly reduce overtaking accidents, as well as providing trailing drivers with information on road hazards ahead well in time for them to react.

After extensive tests of the prototype in Argentina, Samsung says that the test vehicle is no longer operational but believes that the the technology has been proven to work. As such, there are plans to carry out further tests that will have the technology comply with the appropriate road authorities for use on the highways. In this regard, Samsung is working with NGOs and government to see this through.

No announcement has been made as to when – or if – such a system will be made commercially available or at what cost.

The short video below shows the system in use on the highway.

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