Tuesday, 16 January 2018

France cuts speed limit on roads after alarming rise in deaths

The French government has said it will lower the speed limit on two-lane highways to 80km/h (50mph) from 90km/h, in an attempt to reverse an alarming rise in road deaths.

Highway deaths reached nearly 3,500 in 2016, with about 55% of those deaths (1,911 victims) occurred on the 400,000km of so-called secondary roads across France, two-lane routes with no separating guardrail.

The government says the lower speed limit could save 350 to 400 lives a year.

“Unsafe roads are not inevitable,” prime minister Edouard Philippe said after a meeting of the government’s road safety council.

“Lowering speeds reduces the number of accidents, as well as the severity of these accidents,” he said.

The government also plans to crack down on the use of cellphones while driving. Police can now suspend a licence if the driver is found to have broken other laws while using a phone that could “endanger his own security or that of someone else”.

To read more details on this story please visit:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/10/france-cuts-speed-limit-rise-deaths


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

How leaves on the road could save you from a parking ticket

In winter sometimes fallen leaves can obscure yellow lines, resulting in drivers receiving parking fines for stopping on roads where they thought that it was ok to park.

If leaves are obscuring lines on an un-spwept roads it is worth being aware that this is grounds for appealing a parking ticket, but only if certain conditions are met.

This is because it is the responsibility of local councils to keep roads clean with parking restrictions clearly visible. If the lines were covered by leaves and there was no relevant signage close to your vehicle then you have a good chance of having the ticket overturned.

In order to appeal  you need to do the following upon finding the parking fine.

  • look for signs that state the restrictions. (If there’s one right next to your car then your appeal is likely to fail).
  • Measure its distance from your car to the nearest signage. (One pace = around a metre) 
  • Take a picture of your car in relation to the sign
  • Take a photograph of the road showing that the lines are obscured by leaves or flooding.

Most phones will embed Exif data on the image, this information can be used to prove the location and time that the photo was taken. This could be vital in any appeal.

The Source of this information is aph.com, there are also many other helpful tips for winter in their article


Sunday, 26 November 2017

Road safety campaigners call for anti-speeding system in all new cars

Road safety campaigners want anti-speeding technology (Intelligent Speed Adaptation - ISA) fitted as standard to all newly manufactured cars after a rise in the number of crashes caused by breaking the speed limit.

The system shows the speed limit of the road a person is driving on and can control the speed of the vehicle.

Intelligent Speed Adaptation technology allows drivers to select an option where acceleration is stopped automatically at the speed limit specific to any road (this can also be disabled via button). When this mode is turned off the speed limit is still displayed but the speed not overridden.

Its developers say ISA is intended as a road safety device, but it could have additional benefits.

These include reducing congestion as a result of collisions, and cutting vehicle emissions as drivers adopt a smoother driving style

Campaigners are making the call as part of Road Safety Week after Scottish government figures earlier this year showed a 14% rise in road deaths in Scotland during 2016 compared with 2015.

Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for Brake, said: "Speeding remains a major problem, causing untold suffering to families up and down the country."

More on this story


Friday, 24 November 2017

M60 driver caught doing 136mph in Greater Manchester

A driver has been caught doing 136mph on the M60 in Greater Manchester.

Police filmed the driver doing the speed at junction 24 just after 22:00 GMT last Sunday.

Greater Manchester Police tweeted: "136mph & not checking its the dibble behind."
The driver has been reported for summons, it added.



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.