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Friday, 27 February 2015

Motorway snooze drink-driver banned

Christmas Drink Drive Campaign

A drunk driver, who fell asleep after parking on the outside lane of a motorway, has been banned from driving.

Police were alerted to John Alexander Reid's pick-up truck by other motorists, who had encountered the stationary vehicle on the A1(M) near Baldersby, North Yorkshire.

Northallerton Magistrates' Court heard that officers found Reid asleep at the wheel, and that the car's lights had been turned off.

Hilary Reece, prosecuting, said: "Officers eventually managed to wake him and a rolling road block was used to get the vehicle onto the hard shoulder," The Mirror reported.

24-year-old Reid, from Alloa, Scotland, was found to be nearly twice the legal drink drive limit, having 60 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. He gave no explanation for how he ended up asleep on the busy national speed limit road.

Zoe Passfield, defending, said that Reid accepted it could have been a much more dangerous situation: "Fortunately no damage or injury was caused to Mr Reid or other people.

"He had been drinking but never intended to drive," she added.

Reid was banned from driving for 18 months after admitting a single charge of drink driving. He was also fined £120 and ordered to pay court costs and a victim's surcharge totalling £105.

Following the verdict, a spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police commented: "It is extremely fortunate that no one was killed or injured because of Reid's actions in the early hours of 28 January.

"This is another shocking example of how drinking can affect your judgement behind the wheel.

"The consequences of leaving a vehicle in lane three of a motorway, during hours of darkness, could have been utterly devastating."

Thursday, 12 February 2015

IAM say - London's worst speeder was recorded at 123mph on a 30mph road

Britain's worst speeders recorded at 146mph
Britain's worst speeding offenders have been caught going as fast as 146mph.

Two instances of this excessive speed - the worst recorded by speed cameras in 2014 - occurred on the M25.

One offender was caught travelling anti-clockwise at junction 5 near Westerham in Kent, while the other was captured on film going clockwise at Swanley in Kent.

Compiled by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) following a Freedom of Information (FOI) Act request, the figures for England and Wales in 2014 also showed three other incidents in which drivers were recorded travelling at 140mph or more

There was a case of 145mph being reached on the M6 Toll road in the West Midlands, a speed of 141mph was captured on the A1 northbound at Great Ponton in Lincolnshire and 140mph was filmed on the A5 near Crick in Northamptonshire.

One of the worst examples of speeding was on the 30mph-limit London Road in East Grinstead in West Sussex where one driver was recorded doing 128mph.

Of the 36 England and Wales police forces who responded to the FOI request, all but six recorded top speeds of more than 110mph in 2014.

London's worst speeder was recorded at 123mph on a 30mph road by the Metropolitan Police

The highest figure recorded in a 50mph zone was 120mph, by Nottinghamshire Police on the A631 Beckingham road.

The worst speed caught on a 40mph road was 115mph on the A10 Great Cambridge Road in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.

The IAM believes that an improvement in driving skills and attitude is the key to reducing the numbers of people killed and injured on UK roads, advocating advanced driving and riding tuition to help achieve this.

IAM chief executive office Sarah Sillars said: "It is disheartening to say the least that some road users are showing such disregard for the safety of all other road users.

"At speeds of 140mph an individual is travelling at nearly two-and-a-half miles a minute. At that speed it is simply impossible to react to anything that might happen in front of you."

She went on: "All these individuals are playing with their own lives and others. They are all accidents waiting to happen and it requires a major shift in the attitudes of these people to think about safety."

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Speeding driver was late for 'speed awareness course'

Increased checks for speeding in Germany
A motorist caught driving at nearly 100mph on the M6 Toll in Staffordshire, told police that he was late for a speed awareness course.

The man, reported to be in his 50s and from greater Manchester, was stopped by police from the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG), as they conducted speed checks on vehicles on the northbound carriageway between Lichfield and Burntwood earlier this week.

A CMPG spokeswoman said: "Around 3.30pm, CMPG officers were conducting a routine speed check on the stretch between northbound T5 and T6 of the M6 Toll, when they recorded a driver of a Nissan Pathfinder driving at a speed of nearly 95mph," the Birmingham Mail reported.

"A man in his 50s, from Sale, gave the excuse that he was late for a speed awareness course. He has now been reported for summons."

Speed awareness courses are normally offered to speeding drivers who have been found to be marginally exceeding posted limits. Normally lasting four hours, they aim to educate drivers of the reasons behind speeding and the potential consequences. It is highly unlikely the bungling driver will be offered one for this second offence.

In a separate incident, motorway patrols caught another driver at 128mph – a speed at which a lengthy ban is commonplace, in all but the most unusual of circumstances

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

IAM brings you the key to motoring happiness

The battery in your car key will not last forever. When the battery fails there is always the option of unlocking your car manually, but with some simple maintenance you can avoid getting locked out this winter. The IAM's head of technical policy, Tim Shallcross, shares his top six tips as part of our #wheelsinwinter campaign:

  1. Make sure you replace the key battery every two years, including the battery in the spare key if you have one.
  2. If you don't already have a spare key, make sure you get one and keep it safe – a failed or lost key will cost much more in vehicle recovery. A replacement key typically costs between £20 and £50 for a blank electronic remote with a blank transponder, and a blank key blade from online suppliers. Allow around £15 - £20 to programme it and cut the blade.  The cost is likely to be higher from a main dealer, typically £70 - £150.
  3. Each autumn on a dry day before the first frost use some lubricating spray on the keyhole, such as a 3-in-1 oil or GT85 Teflon spray. This will help keep the small parts in the lock dry and help those parts to move freely.
  4. The lock can freeze in winter if there is water or condensation in it. Place a hot water bottle over the lock for a few minutes and then use WD40 or GT85 to disperse the water and reduce the risk of it freezing up again.
  5. A frozen lock may also mean that the rubber seal is frozen on the doorframe and if you pull too hard at it you may risk pulling the rubber apart. To prevent this apply some chalk dust on to the rubber. This is an important step to carry out during the same time you are oiling the locks each autumn.
  6. Looking after your car keys and locks may seem trivial, but a 'lockout' is a severe irritation and you will have no other choice but to call for professional help.

Tim said: "Key issues can easily happen without proper thought and maintenance, and the costs of replacement can be shockingly high. These easy steps will not only save you money, but also eliminate the annoyance factor should this ever happen to you."

Driving over the age of 70: what you need to know

AT4PMT retired person driving motor car. Image shot 2008. Exact date unknown.

As we get older, reaction times and possible health problems means we might not be as safe on the road as we once were, and at the age of 70, Brits are asked to renew their licence every three years. If you're approaching the milestone birthday, here's what you need to know about renewing your licence, and undergoing a driving assessment if necessary.

How to renew
Since the law requires you to renew your licence at 70, the DVLA should send you an application 90 days before your birthday. Renewal is free - all you need to do is fill in the form (D46P) and include your photo card licence along with its paper counterpart. If you still have a paper licence, you will need to enclose it and include an original document such as your passport or confirmation of eligibility for the State Pension by way of identification. In both cases, you will more than likely need a new passport photo. Alternatively, you can renew your licence online at the Gov UK website, following the step-by-step instructions. If for some reason your application form does not arrive, call the DVLA on 0300 790 6801 or pick one up from the Post Office. Remember, you will need to repeat the process every three years after your 70th birthday.

It may be that you need to undergo a reassessment of your driving ability to ensure that you are still safe on the road. This could be because you have developed a medical condition or disability that makes driving more difficult, or because you feel you would benefit from an assessment yourself. If you, your family members of doctor have expressed concerns, the DVLA can refer you to a Mobility Centre for a free assessment of your current situation and suggest ways in which you can continue to drive, perhaps with the aid of some vehicle adaptations to make life easier. Bear in mind, however, that there may be a lengthy wait for the service, and you may find that paying yourself will speed up the process.

During the assessment, staff at the Mobility Centre will discuss the concerns raised, either by yourself or your doctor, and do everything they can to help you stay on the road. You will need to undergo a physical assessment to establish how much movement you have in your arms and legs, and how easily you can operate the controls, a cognitive assessment testing your reaction speed, and an eyesight assessment. Your position and strength at the wheel will also be looked at.

The assessor will then go through all of the test results with you, and suggest adaptations that might allow you to continue driving. Everything from hand controls instead of pedals to switches that control the car's functions are available to help you, so don't assume that you'll be banned from driving.

However, it may be that a medical condition or disability make driving dangerous, and if this is the case, the DVLA will instruct you to stop driving until your condition improves, at which point you can reapply for your licence, provided your GP is happy that your condition has sufficiently improved.

Turning 70 doesn't mean you have to lose your independence - but it is important that you stay safe on the road, so if you have any worries about your ability, an assessment is well worthwhile.

Have you undergone a driving reassessment? What advice would you give to others turning 70? 

Monday, 2 February 2015

Test Passes

Associate secretary Terry Nunn had the pleasure of presenting certificates on yesterdays Sunday session. 

Associates who passed their Skill for Life tests recently were Sue Stanbridge and Robert Olding. A big Congratulations to both them both from all at the Kent Group of Advanced Motorists 

Our observers under take tests and re tests from time to time and Terry was pleased to present observers Peter Bott and Graham Aylard certificates for passing their National Observers exam. Congratulations to the both of them. 

If you fancy the challenge of becoming an Advanced Motorists, why not visit our website. All the details are online. www.kentiam.org.uk