Friday, 1 September 2017

UK petrol prices could jump after Hurricane Harvey

The RAC has warned that as a result of the disruption caused by Hurricane Harvey in the US, Over the next few days we may see the price of unleaded petrol rise by up to 4p per litre.

Hurricane Harvey has left a 1/4 of America's oil refining capacity offline. This has meant that the US demand for petrol imports has jumped, which has in turn driven up prices.

RAC spokesman Pete Williams said this was now affecting UK forecourts.

"The average price of a litre of unleaded petrol on Thursday 31 August was 117.29p and diesel was 118.14p," he said.

"But we could see unleaded rise in the coming days to around 121p a litre, with diesel likely to stay stable around 118.5p."

He added: "This will be the first time unleaded has been higher than diesel since June 2016 and we expect this to be the case for some time to come - or at least until the US oil industry is able to get refineries back into operation."

Read More BBC

Monday, 21 August 2017

Beware Admiral’s policy when it comes to speed awareness courses

We came across a news story in the Guardian where journalist One of the questions was asking if he had been on any speed awareness courses. He replied “yes” and the quote increased by £50.

This seems ridiculous when the whole point of the courses is that they are an alternative to prosecution meaning that no official record is kept. Admiral defends its action saying that its data shows that drivers who attend a speed awareness course are more likely to have an accident in the following 12 months than those who committed no offence. “A speed awareness course will impact the premium, but shouldn’t impact it as much as a speeding endorsement".

Miles said that his course provider, DriveTech, says it does not share details as it is information not in the public domain.

It would appear from the information in the Guardian that as far as they know, at the moment at least! Admiral is the only insurer that asks this, Other big firms are still only asking about formal convictions.

Common sense therefore having come across this information would be to avoid admiral when its car insurance renewal time if you have attended a speed awareness course within the last 12 months.

Fore more on this story please see the Guardian

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Will driving licenses be a thing of the past in the age of self-driving cars?

Driverless vehicles may seem  a long way off at the minute, but over the coming years they are going to become a lot more commonplace with people using them on a daily basis. Will it mean the end of the driving licence and changes to the rules of the road?

All around the world you can already see projects that are developing the technology that will eventually be used to bring driverless cars to our roads. For example in south-east London a white droid delivers takeaway food at a speed of just 4mph. In Paris and Helsinki robot busses are already in use.

Here in the UK current plans are to test driverless cars on roads and motorways starting in 2019. 

So far, there is no international safety standard for driverless vehicles - and each country will be responsible for writing its own rules. People are questioning whether rules for driverless vehicles should be national.

A hot issue is what ethics driverless vehicles should adopt. For example, in the case of an unavoidable accident, should a fully autonomous vehicle be programmed to career off the road, risking the lives of the people inside the vehicle, or continue into a pedestrians crossing the road?
Because human drivers make split second, instinctual decisions, human behavior cant be referenced to come up with the right answer.

Technology to handle these situations may be quite some time away meaning that for now humans will still continue to be used as back-up drivers within the vehicles.

Until cars are fully automated and don't need human input, manufacturers won't be able to dispense with steering and braking controls, meaning that YES people will still need driving licences and they'll have to ready to take control at short notice - so challenges like distraction and drunkenness will remain.

For more in depth information please read this piece by the BBC Which goes in to much more detail.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Britain to ban sale of all diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040

Britain is to ban all new petrol and diesel cars / vans from 2040 due to fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health and indeed could be responsible for 40,000 premature deaths a year.

The commitment, which follows a similar pledge in France, is part of the government’s clean air plan, which has been at the heart of a lengthy high court legal battle.

The government said the move which will include hybrid vehicles, was needed because of the unnecessary and avoidable impact that poor air quality was having on people’s health. Ministers believe it poses the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK, costing up to £2.7bn in lost productivity in one recent year.

a government spokesman also said. “we are providing councils with new funding to accelerate development of local plans, as part of an ambitious £3bn programme to clean up dirty air around our roads.”

A briefing on parts of the plan, seen by the Guardian, repeats the heavy focus on the steps that can be taken to help councils improve air quality in specific areas where emissions have breached EU thresholds.

Measures to be urgently brought in by local authorities that have repeatedly breached EU rules include:
  • Retrofitting buses and other public transport
  • Changing road layouts 
  • Altering features such as roundabouts and speed humps. 

Prof David Bailey, an automotive industry expert at Aston University, said: “The timescale involved here is sufficiently long-term to be taken seriously. If enacted it would send a very clear signal to manufacturers and consumers of the direction of travel and may accelerate a transition to electric cars.”

Britain’s air quality package also includes £1bn in ultra-low emissions vehicles including investing nearly £100m in the UK’s charging infrastructure and funding the ”plug-in car” and “plug-in grant” schemes.

This summary was taken from The Guardian

For more on this please read The Guardian

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Drink driver caught speeding at 146mph on M4

Billy James Rich was caught drink driving whilst speeding at nearly 150mph on the M4. 

Mr Rich, from Highworth, was behind the wheel of a black BMW in the early hours of Wednesday when he overtook an unmarked police car at speed on the A350.

After heading on to the motorway, he was clocked doing 146mph (235km/h) by officers before being pulled over near Chippenham.

The 23-year-old pleaded guilty to drink driving and speeding

During a hearing at Swindon Magistrates' Court he was fined £692 and disqualified from driving for 22 months.

PC Andy Lee said: "His actions put himself, other drivers and road users in danger."


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

NEW Apple Software Feature ‘do not disturb while driving’

Apple has announced that its next iPhone software update will feature a ‘do not disturb while driving’ mode.

The iOS 11 update due out later this year, will provide all iPhones with the function, which is designed to address the dangers associated with smartphones and distraction.

The software will be able to sense when a person is driving, and when activated will block notifications from calls and texts as well as social media. The user won't even be able to access the phone’s homescreen to open apps.

The driver will be able to set a personalised automatic text response to notify anyone attempting to make contact that they’re currently behind the wheel.

The new feature will assume a person is driving if their phone is connected to the car via Bluetooth. Alternatively, it will use a phone's WiFi antenna to sense when it’s moving at car speeds.

Passengers will be able to override the feature by turning on the screen with the iPhone power button and then clicking on a button marked ‘I'm not driving’.

Once the update has taken place, Apple will prompt drivers to use the new feature on the first occasion that they drive with an iOS 11-powered iPhone.

The move has been welcomed by the RAC, who are encouraging motorists through their campaign  #BePhoneSmart to make a personal pledge to not use their handheld phone while driving.

It has also been welcomed by Brake, who describes mobile phone use behind the wheel as a 'growing menace'.

Source: roadsafetygb

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Drivers could be fined for moving out of the way to let an ambulance through

MOTORISTS who enter a bus lane or go through a red light to move out of the way to let an ambulance or police car through could be slapped with a fine.

The Highway Code states: “You should look and listen for ambulances, fire engines, police, doctors or other emergency vehicles using flashing blue, red or green lights and sirens, or flashing headlights, or traffic officer and incident support vehicles using flashing amber lights.”

The highway code also states that you should not panic and consider the route of the vehicle to take appropriate action. If you need to pull over, it suggests stopping before the brow of a hill, a bend or a narrow section of road.

It adds: “Do not endanger yourself, other road users or pedestrians and avoid mounting the kerb.

“Do not brake harshly on approach to a junction or roundabout, as a following vehicle may not have the same view as you.”

Blue Light Aware, is a campaign launched by GEM Motoring Assist, informs drivers on how best to help the emergency services.

Its website states: “Of course, there will be times when there simply is no room for an emergency service vehicle to get past, or perhaps its crew are activated by their control room to respond to an emergency while they are waiting with everyone else at the traffic lights.

“On these occasions, they know that other motorists are not allowed to ‘jump’ the red light, and the emergency vehicle would ideally not activate its sirens and lights until it was safe for the vehicle in front to cross the solid white line at the junction.

“On the (hopefully) rare occasions that a blue light vehicle, in ’emergency mode’, is sitting behind another vehicle at a red traffic light, it’s important to appreciate that it would be both very dangerous and illegal for the other vehicle to move across the solid white line.

“The exception to this is that a uniformed police officer can direct a motorist through a red traffic signal.”

In order to get advanced warnings about approaching emergency vehicles there is a product called Blu Eye which can alert you to their presence to give you more time to plan how you will move safely out of the way

Source thesun