Friday, 17 November 2017

Car tax evasion triples after paper tax disc scrapped

Since the paper tax disc was abolished the number of unlicensed vehicles on the road has tripled.

The data, published every two years, shows that the government potentially lost out on £107m from 755,000 unlicensed vehicles last year.

The RAC said the decision to get rid of the paper tax disc three years ago has proved "costly" when it should have saved the Treasury £10m a year.

"It appears that having a visual reminder was an effective way to prompt drivers into renewing their car tax - arguably more drivers are now prepared to try their luck and see if they can get away with not paying any vehicle tax at all, or are simply forgetting to tax their vehicle when they are due to."

When the abolition of the paper tax disc was announced by then-Chancellor, George Osborne, the Treasury said it showed government was moving "into the modern age".

The RAC said a third of untaxed vehicles had changed hands since September 2016, indicating that many drivers were not aware that tax does not carry over when ownership changes.

The seller receives a refund of any full months of remaining tax while the new owner must tax the vehicle immediately.

For more on this story please see BBC

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Drivers 'should have compulsory eye tests'

the Association of Optometrists has said that Drivers should have compulsory eye tests every 10 years.

One in three optometrists say they have seen patients in the last month who continue to drive with vision below the legal standard.

Motorists must read a number plate from 20m (65ft) in the practical driving test, but there is no follow-up check.

It is currently down to drivers to report changes to eyesight to the DVLA. However this is not always as simple as it sounds and this is down to the fact that sight changes can be gradual, often people won't realise that their vision has deteriorated over time.

Data from the Department for Transport shows seven people were killed and 63 were seriously injured in accidents on Britain's roads last year when "uncorrected, defective eyesight" was a contributory factor.

Currently when drivers pass the age of 70, the emphasis changes a little. Drivers must actively make a declaration every three years that they are fit to drive. As part of that they must confirm that they meet the minimum eyesight requirement.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Driving test changes

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has confirmed that the driving test in England, Scotland and Wales will change from Monday 4 December 2017.

The changes are designed to make sure new drivers have the skills they’ll need to help them through a lifetime of safe driving.

The changes will only apply to car driving tests to begin with.

The 4 driving test changes


1. Independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes
The independent driving part of the test currently lasts around 10 minutes. During this part of the test, you have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner.

This part of the test will be made longer, so it’ll last around 20 minutes - roughly half of the test.

2. Following directions from a sat nav
During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav.

The examiner will provide the sat nav and set it up. You won’t need to set the route - the examiner will do this for you. So, it doesn’t matter what make or model of sat nav you practise with.

You can’t follow directions from your own sat nav during the test - you have to use the one supplied by the examiner.

You’ll be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where you’re going if you’re not sure. It won’t matter if you go the wrong way unless you make a fault while doing it.

One in 5 driving tests won’t use a sat nav. You’ll need to follow traffic signs instead.

3. Reversing manoeuvres will be changed
The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will no longer be tested, but you should still be taught them by your instructor.

You’ll be asked to do one of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres:
  • parallel park at the side of the road
  • park in a bay - either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
  • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic
4. Answering a vehicle safety question while you’re driving
The examiner will ask you 2 vehicle safety questions during your driving test - these are known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

You’ll be asked the:
  • ‘tell me’ question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving
  • ‘show me’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving - for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers
How the new test will work
This video shows how the test will work from 4 December 2017.

Who it affects

All car driving tests taken from 4 December 2017 will follow the new format. This includes if:
  • you fail a test before then, and retake your test from 4 December 2017
  • your test is cancelled or moved for any reason, and your new test date is from 4 December 2017
Your driving instructor should have been teaching you everything you need to know to drive safely, so you shouldn’t need to worry about learning anything new.

Read more about what will happen during the driving test from 4 December 2017.

Pass mark, length of test and cost not changing

The pass mark is staying the same. So, you’ll pass your test if you make no more than 15 driving faults and no serious or dangerous faults.

The examiner will still mark the test in the same way, and the same things will still count as faults.
The overall time of the driving test won’t change. It will still take around 40 minutes.

The driving test cost will also stay the same.

Why the changes are being made

Road collisions are the biggest killer of young people. They account for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19.

DVSA wants to make sure that training and the driving test reduce the number of young people being killed in collisions.

These changes are being made because:
  • most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads (not including motorways) - changing the format of the test will allow more of these types of roads to be included in driving test routes
  • 52% of car drivers now have a sat nav - DVSA wants new drivers to be trained to use them safely
  • research has shown that new drivers find independent driving training valuable - they can relate it to driving once they’ve passed their test

Changes are supported by the public

The changes follow a:
  • public consultation that over 3,900 people took part in
  • trial of the changes involving over 4,300 learner drivers and over 860 driving instructors
The proposals were widely supported by the public. The results of the consultation show that:
  • 88.2% agreed with increasing the length of the independent driving part of the test
  • 70.8% agreed with asking candidates to follow directions from a sat nav
  • 78.6% agreed with the plans to change how the reversing manoeuvres are tested
  • 78.4% agreed with asking the ‘show me’ question while the candidate is driving

Helping you through a lifetime of safe driving

Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, said:
Our roads are among the safest in the world. However, road collisions are the biggest killer of young people.
These changes will help us to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads and equip new drivers with the skill they need to use our roads safely.
DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said:
DVSA’s priority is to help you through a lifetime of safe driving.
Making sure the driving test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently is part of our strategy to help you stay safe on Britain’s roads.
It’s vital that the driving test keeps up to date with new vehicle technology and the areas where new drivers face the greatest risk once they’ve passed their test.

More information

More information for driving instructors is being published on DVSA’s Despatch blog.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Half of UK road speed cameras are switched off

According to new data only around half of fixed speed cameras on British roads are switched on.

The figures that were released by 36 police forces in the UK show that of a total 2,838 cameras, just 1,486 - or 52% - are active. (Fixed cameras only not mobile devices)

according to information obtained by the Press Association (PA), some police forces have completely turned off all their cameras. Northamptonshire police deactivated all of theirs in 2011 but left the machines in place as a deterant. (Cleveland, Durham and North Yorkshire said theirs are all also turned off)

A spokeswoman for the National Police Chiefs' Council said the decision to use cameras was "an operational matter", adding that "all forces have individual responsibility for their use of speed cameras".

  • Fixed speed cameras in Cleveland, Durham, North Yorkshire and Northamptonshire are all inactive
  • Staffordshire Police has 272 fixed cameras across the region, of which 14 are active
  • In Scotland, less than 29% of fixed cameras are switched on
  • Forces where less than 25% of fixed cameras are active: West Yorkshire, Kent, South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Cheshire
  • Derbyshire force operates 112 cameras, of which 10 are switched on
  • Gwent police force has 17 fixed speed cameras of which 8 are active while South Wales has 88, 59% of which are switched on
  • Police forces with all fixed speed cameras switched on include: the City of London, the Metropolitan Police/Transport for London, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Suffolk and Northern Ireland

Edmund King, president of the AA, said: "Many of the empty yellow cases are due to cuts in road safety grants and the fact that digital cameras, although more effective, are very expensive."

He added: "It has long been the case that cameras were moved between sites, depending on need. When it comes to the chances of being caught on camera, it is a postcode lottery. All cameras in City of London and Suffolk are working whereas only 5% are active in Staffordshire."

"However, drivers should remember that lack of a yellow fixed camera doesn't mean they are immune from mobile hidden cameras. Best advice is stick to the limits rather than gambling on the yellow boxes."

 Source BBC

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

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The Escort Passport Qi45 - Tuned Exclusively For The European Union!

The Escort Passport Qi45 is designed by Escort to be the quickest and easiest to install integrated radar detector system made for an under the bonnet hidden solution. The system has three components: The antenna/receiver, the interface, and the display/controller. Just connect the interface to a switched power supply and connect the antenna and display using standard RJ11 cables.

In addition to being easy to install, the Qi45 offers excellent performance. The Qi45 detects all bands of radar and Laser. The Passport Qi45 has voice alerts, a Signal Strength Meter, AutoMute, and three sensitivity levels.

Because the display can be mounted almost anywhere, it is easily concealed. If you have been looking for an integrated radar detector to replace your traditional windshield mount one, then the Qi45 may be exactly what you have been looking for.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Motorway lessons for learner drivers from 2018

The Government has announced that as from next year learners will be able to have motorway lessons in dual control cars with approved driving instructors. (England, Wales and Scotland)

Currently you have to have passed your driving test to be allowed to drive on motorways. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the lessons would make UK roads safer.

He said: "Allowing learners to drive on motorways in a supportive environment will help them develop a practical understanding of how to use motorways safely before driving independently."

Mr Grayling said young drivers were more likely to be killed or seriously injured on Britain's roads - and a lack of experience was an "important factor".

"The UK has some of safest roads in the world and we want to make them even safer," he said.

Motorway rules
  • When joining the motorway give priority to traffic already on the road. Match your speed to fit safely into the traffic flow and remain in the left-hand lane long enough to adjust to the speed of traffic before considering overtaking
  • When you can see well ahead and the road conditions are good, drive at a steady cruising speed within the speed limit
  • Always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. If you are overtaking slower-moving vehicles, return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely past
  • Only overtake on the right-hand side, when it safe and legal to do so. In congested conditions, however, you may keep up with the traffic in your lane even if this means passing traffic in the lane to your right. Do not weave in and out of lanes to overtake
  • Do not stop on the hard shoulder except in an emergency
  • Do not reverse, cross the central reservation, or drive against the traffic flow. If you have missed your exit, carry on to the next one
Source: The Highway Code

For more on this story please read this article by the BBC

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Police to net an extra £12 million from speed awareness courses

More than a million drivers each year now opt to attend speeding awareness courses instead of receiving points and a fine

Currently police forces are not supposed to generate and income from the courses but do receive a "flat fee" to cover their costs, because of a £10 per person price rise from last month, they are estimated to receive an extra £12 million a year from speed awareness courses going forwards

With thousands more speed cameras being placed around the country, Police forces have now been accused of deliberately targeting motorists to raise revenue

Hugh Bladon of the Alliance of British Drivers claimed it was clear by the huge numbers taking part, that police forces were generating significant amounts of revenue from the schemes.

He said: "The incentive is clearly there for the police to get people onto these courses because they benefit financially. It does not accord with what our definition of justice is in the UK".

Claire Armstrong of the group Safe Speed, also said it was nonsense to suggest speed awareness courses were about anything but making money.

She said: "These course are using the police as a sales mechanism for the speed camera industry. It is so far from being about road safety that they should be embarrassed.

"Motorists are being bribed into doing these courses that are not improving road safety. It is a huge scam."

Two private companies run the majority of courses, but five police forces; Lancashire, Merseyside, Humberside, Cheshire and Northamptonshire run their own.

Any profits they make, must be put back into road safety, but with forces facing unprecedented financial pressure, any extra revenue will be welcomed by Chief Constables.

For more information around this please read this story in the Telegraph