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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Motorists could soon face a 'drive-safe' mode being added to their phones

Phone Driving
Motorists could soon face a 'drive-safe' mode being added to their phones in a Government bid to cut road fatalities.

With nine per cent of drivers admitting to taking a selfie behind the wheel in the past nine months, ministers are considering promoting apps that automatically lock phones when travelling at more than 5mph. The number of drivers taking a selfie was found through an Institute of Advanced Motorists poll. 

Phone manufacturers could even be requested to install the apps as standard.

However, some problems have already been highlighted – namely, making sure that the technology can differentiate between someone driving a car or travelling on public transport – and making sure phones don't cut out for users of the latter.

Officials at the Department for Transport said: "These issues can be overcome."

With nearly 3,700 crashes from 2009-2014 caused by a driver using a phone, the new technology could have a dramatic effect on road safety.

Because of the high amount of incidents involving drivers using phones, a course of re-education for offenders is being considered, with drivers taking part at their own expense.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists said "Forcing all drivers caught using a hand-held mobile for the first time to attend a re-education course would be a really positive step."

A study by the RAC Foundation found that 60 per cent of drivers would be happy to use a drive-safe mode should it be created.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding told the Press Association: "Reassuringly, the vast majority of people said that they wanted to use technology to check the state of their vehicle and make their journeys easier, not to read Facebook messages, send texts or email the boss."

Drivers admit to leaving car far away to make parking easier

Parking garage underground interior
One in four drivers admit to leaving their car further away from where they want to go if it means that parking is made easier.

The research was conducted by Young Driver, which questioned more than 1,000 people across the UK about how well they can carry out basic manoeuvres. 

28 per cent of those asked admitted to having trouble with parallel parking, with one in four saying that they often tried to avoid reversing into a bay.

A quarter of drivers admitted to parking a great distance away from their destination in order to make their parking lives easier – and find spaces that required little or no effort to get in to.

One in six drivers said that they often felt nervous when parking was on the cards – this rose to one in four for those aged between 18 and 25.

Kim Stanton, head of Young Driver, said: "When you learn to drive you are taught specific techniques to help you get your parking and reversing spot on, every time.

"But once you pass your test, skills can quickly fade. Our new research shows that before long, many drivers are actively avoiding having to try, even if it means parking a long way from their destination and walking the rest of the way to avoid certain parking spaces."

The research found that drivers in Glasgow are the worst regionally when it comes to reversing into a parking space, while motorists in Birmingham are the ones who find parallel parking the most difficult.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Smart phone use - is it an addiction?

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has welcomed the Department for Transport today opening up a public consultation on stricter penalties for using a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving.

The DfT's consultation is looking for feedback on proposals for increasing the fixed penalty notice level from £100 to £150 for all drivers.

It also invites views on increasing the penalty points from three to four points for non-HGV drivers, and three to six points for those that hold a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) licence and commit the offence whilst driving an HGV.

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research said: "Forcing all drivers caught using a hand-held mobile for the first time to attend a re-education course would be a really positive step.

"For many, smartphone use has become an addiction that we can only start to cure through some form of therapy. The IAM does not object to tougher penalties but we do believe that the real deterrent is fear of being caught. That fear can only be increased by increasing the numbers of traffic police on our roads."

The DfT's report launching the consultation (reference 1) cites the IAM's survey in July 2015 on drivers taking selfies at the wheel (reference 2)

The IAM found that 9% of drivers surveyed admitted taking a selfie whilst driving within the previous month – a figure that increases to 19% of 25-35 year olds.

The survey also discovered 8% of drivers admitted to driving while using a video-calling application such as FaceTime and Skype to make and receive video calls, rising to 16% among 18 to 24 year olds.

Neil added: "Technology has caused this issue and technology offers one route towards reducing the distraction effect of mobile phone use.  It will not be easy to retrofit many of these solutions but the IAM is supportive of trials and pilots to show whether automatically switching off phones when moving can deliver safer roads."

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Woman fined £145 for eating banana & 3 points too

Sitting in a long line of traffic can really work up an appetite, but satisfying your hunger could cost you.  A woman was fined a staggering £145 for eating a banana while behind the wheel.
Her crime was spotted by an eagle-eyed policeman in Christchurch, Dorset.
The officer claimed that she had taken her hands off the wheel to peel the banana.
And that's not where her bad luck ended - because not only was she fined but she was also given 3 penalty points on her driving licence.  The amount of points she received for her supposed crime is the same amount given to those who have hit a pedestrian.
The driver said "I'm a single mum, this is the most expensive banana I've ever had in my life.
"When the officer got out he was really angry from the offset, but I was still completely unaware I'd done anything wrong."  She went on to explain that as a Carer she often doesn't have time to stop for lunch while at work so she has to 'eat on the hoof'.
Dorset Police No Excuse Team deal with 'bad and inconsiderate driving' and they said: "A driver was offered a Driver Awareness Course for not having proper control of their vehicle whilst driving. They had been seen peeling a banana whilst driving with no hands on the steering wheel, risking the safety of other road users.  Had she have chosen the DAC which costs the same as a fine then she would have avoided the points on her licence".

Friday, 15 January 2016

Police find drink-driver asleep and snoring at red light

Breath test
A drink-driver was found asleep and snoring at a red light on a road in Hastings.

A motorist notified police of the incident, telling officers that they had seen a vehicle stationary with the engine running at a set of traffic lights. 

The driver was nearly three times over the legal limit, was also found at the scene by a postman who removed the keys from the vehicle and placed them on the car's roof. He left the man asleep while waiting for police to arrive.

Officers were able to get the driver out of the car, but were unable to get a coherent answer from him.

A Sussex Police spokeswoman said "The man was still asleep at the wheel when we got there and it took officers some encouragement to wake him up.

"He opened his eyes and he seemed to not know where he was or who they were.

"He was asked if he was OK, but he wasn't able to speak; he just mumbled. He was very unsteady and smelled of alcohol."

The driver later admitted driving with excess alcohol. He was found to have 104mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system - the legal limit is 35mg - and was disqualified from driving for 25 months. He was also ordered to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work, as well as pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

Sussex Police arrested 182 people as part of their Christmas campaign to reduce drink-driving incidents during the festive period

McLaren F1 supercar heads to London Classic Car Show

A selection of five McLaren F1 supercars will take pride of place at the upcoming London Classic Motor Show in the capital's ExCel centre.

In an exhibition created by Gordon Murray, the Surrey-based designer of the iconic supercar, the vehicles will create a striking centerpiece to the show, alongside memorabilia from its racing days, technical drawings and a detailed history of the car, which was built in Woking from 1992 to 1999. 

Designed to rival supercar royalty, such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche, the McLaren F1 – of which only 106 examples were built – was the first car in history to sell for more that $1m US dollars, which equates to £634,500.

It also stole the title of world's fastest production car in 1998, when it reached the blistering speed of 231mph. The F1 held this title until 2005, when the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 reached 253.81mph, however it still remains the world's fastest naturally aspirated production car.

The F1, examples of which have recently sold for over £3.5million, paved the way for the brand's modern supercars, including the MP4-12C and the P1 hybid.

Bas Bungish, event director, commented on the exhibition: "All those involved in what's clearly going to be a very special homage to the F1 believe it will be by far the best, and most complete, insight ever put together for the public – thus something no car enthusiast will want to miss."

The London Classic Car Show will take place in the ExCeL centre from February 18-21.

Monday, 11 January 2016

F1irst Pass

Like many dads Daren Bubb (a National Observer at the Kent Group) taught his daughter how to ride her first bike. So when it came to a Skill for Life Christmas present father and daughter paired up again.

After training with her dad during the summer Lauren took her advanced test before going back to university. Both were over the moon when Lauren passed with a F1rst and a clean score of all 1s.

Congratulations to Lauren from all at the Kent Group.

If you wish to join Lauren and many others to become an Advanced Motorists, why noy visit our website for more details.  

Monday, 4 January 2016

New Years Celebrations

Chairman Linda Davies hands out the first certificates of 2016 to three Associates who recently passed their Skill for Life Advanced Test.

Congratulations to Stephen Rudd, Heather Dent-Cowan and Posy Metz. (pictured above) Stephen wished the current associates all the best explaining 'Keep reading the books, including the Highway Code, put it to practice and keep at it' Heather and Posy thanked all the observers for their time and dedication during the course. 


If you fancy taking up the challenge of becoming an Advanced Motorists in 2016 please visit our website for more information.