Posts Tagged ‘motoring’
According to Sky News, the company called PaymyPCN.net, which has collected penalty charges for two decades has a direct link to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) database, which means people who shouldn’t be looking, can see drivers’ names and addresses.
Not only that, there’s public access to the content of emails that are appealing charges and photos of drivers and the cars. In addition to all that, this database allows the aforementioned photos to be uploaded and deleted, which is just magic.
How did this all come about? Well, a link to all that lovely data was published on Twitter by Michael Green after a private parking firm sent it to someone in error.
Green said: “I am not surprised by this. The DVLA claims to have safeguards in place to ensure drivers’ details are safe but these only exist as media soundbites. Our campaign challengethefine.com aims to get people compensated for parking data breaches. Despite the RAC Foundation questioning the legality of these charges the DVLA still passes millions of details on to private firms.”
Of course, this is the DVLA that have come under heavy fire for their collective failure to vet and audit the companies in which they are prepared to sell the names and addresses of motorists, so this latest news isn’t a shock at all. This is also the same DVLA who have been acting unlawfully when it comes to losing your letters that you’ve sent them (and here’s what you can do if the DVLA say they’ve lost your letter).
A DVLA spokeswoman said: “This is not a DVLA error. We take our duty to safeguard data very seriously and we will not compromise data security. DVLA does not hold or provide data such as photographs, emails and phone numbers to private parking companies.”
As for PayMyPCN – if you want to get in touch with them to see about data breaches, here’s the number to call and their email: Tel: 03450 737 209, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The RAC on the warpath over what they claim to be millions of pounds worth of ”illegal” parking fines which were issued on private land. They say that ”fines” of up to £100 for infringing conditions in private car parks might not be legal and they want the Government to put an end to it.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Millions of drivers could be in line for a refund. We estimate that in 2013 alone, drivers might have been overcharged by some £100m.”
Glaister added that the Government should be determining what a reasonable charge is: ”They allowed a system of ticketing to emerge which is barely regulated. In effect, drivers have been short-changed.”
As you’ll know, clamping cars on private land is not allowed thanks to the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. However, charges for parking infringements have shot up.
The thing is that, while some private landowners have been charging motorists up to £100, the genuine loss suffered by said landowners is considerably less. Penalties that far exceed the loss are rendered unenforceable in court.
With more and more drivers appealing these fines, the penalties are looking increasingly shakier. Figures show that nearly half (49%) of these fines are overturned in favour of the driver. Not only that, the advent of ‘early payment discounts’, which are usually used to get drivers to cought up coins more quickly, are unlawful because they constitute a price escalation clause.
Add to this, signs being vague or not prominently displayed, there’s more and more reasons for drivers to challenge these penalties.
Audi have made a car that you won’t have to pay tax on, which is nice. It is also very, very efficient thanks to a turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine.
The new Audi A1 will replace the old 1.2-litre affair and it will ramp up fuel economy and hack into CO2 emissions, which is all rather good and will be very kind on a driver’s pocket.
This is awful news for those of you who like your cars to go incredibly quickly and use huge amounts of fuel to make the ferocious engine frighten the birds out of the trees, but then, you invariably wouldn’t be weighing up anything that has a 1 litre engine. You’d probably turn your nose up at a lawn mower with an engine that small.
The little number goes 0-60ish in 10.9 seconds and will be available in three and five door models.
The CO2 emissions which Audi are claiming to achieve are at 97g/km, which is low enough for tax-free motoring under the present rules. That changes to a £20 a year charge if you get the one with a S Tronic automatic gearbox in it, but again, that’s not exactly going to break the bank.
If you’re Earth-minded, the 1.6-litre diesel A1 claims to have an economy figure from 74.3mpg to 80.7mpg, with the relevant drop in emissions.
So how much to buy one? The new 1.0-litre model is going for somewhere around the £14,300 mark, while the five-door equivalent will set you back around £14,900. They’re available this summer and look like great little runarounds. Looks a bit nicer than the also-taxless Hyundai i10 hatchback and Skoda Citigo hatchback and around the same price as the popular Mini hatchback.
Imagine you’re on a blind date and you meet an attractive woman and, being a man’s man (in reality or in your head), you decide to impress her with tales of how much you like to party or whatever.
At some point, you get into her car and you decide to help her with her driving. In this Ford hidden-camera blind date, it is at this point when things get interesting.
As you can see, the men are taken on the razz of their lives and the lady in question reveals herself to be a professional stunt driver. Most of the men in the clip take it in the fun it was intended, which is nice.
We guarantee that the folks of Bitterwallet would’ve been filmed sobbing and then tipping our soiled undergarments out onto the pavement while the stunt-woman wrung the vomit out of our hair.
Remember when we told you that you wouldn’t be allowed to smoke in your car if you had children in it? Well, we weren’t having you on as from 1st October, drivers will be banned from smoking if they’ve got children as passengers in their vehicle.
What constitutes a child? Anyone under 18 years old. So, potentially, they might already be chunging 20 Lamberts a day, but you won’t be able to light up.
There’s already a similar ban in Wales and Scotland are also thinking about following suit.
If you’re found ignoring the rule, then you could be on the end of a £50 fine. If you’re driving alone, the rules don’t apply to you (although, you wouldn’t bet against a ban on smoking in cars at all, coming into place). If you have a convertible and have the top down, you won’t get fined either.
These new regulations were passed in the Commons with 342 MPs voted in favour, and 74 against.
Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison, said: “Three million children are exposed to second hand smoke in cars, putting their health at risk. We know that many of them feel embarrassed or frightened to ask adults to stop smoking which is why the regulations are an important step in protecting children from the harms of second hand smoke.”
Driverless cars have long been talked about and they’re coming ever closer to the roads of the UK as changes to the MOT test and Highway Code are being looked at by the Department of Transport in a report.
The government, in their aim to make the UK one of the world leaders in driverless technology, is going to publish a code of practice in the coming months, which is going to make it easier to test autonomous vehicles on the roads of Britain.
The cars will be tested out on the roads of Coventry and Milton Keynes and there’s going to be a full review of current driving legislations by the summer of 2017, which will weigh-up whether driverless cars need to adhere to a higher standard of driving than normal cars.
One of the main concerns is who will be responsible should an accident or collision happen and, of course, the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.
“Driverless vehicle technology has the potential to be a real game-change on the UK’s roads, altering the face of motoring in the most fundamental of ways and delivering major benefits for road safety, social inclusion, emissions and congestion,” said transport minister Claire Perry.
£19m is being freed up by the government to launch a number of schemes in four locations in the UK and, included in this is the promise of a fully autonomous shuttle in Greenwich.
Google have been parping on about their driverless cars, and now, rumours are getting louder about Apple making an electric car.
CNN have an image of a patent which has been granted to “Apple Electric Car, Inc.,” yesterday, which should get some Apple devotees reasonably excited, and some Android defenders tutting into their laps.
Now specifically, this patent shows an adjustable mount for a computerized display in a golf cart, which isn’t strictly going to fulfil the promise of an all singing Siri and app-dancing iCar, but there’s no smoke without fire.
Tesla were spotted at Apple a few years ago, which got tongues wagging and Wall Street analysts have been loudly muttering about Apple looking at electric cars as an investment for ages.
And let’s be honest here – electric cars and Apple do look like a match made in heaven and with motoring changing toward a new model and, most importantly, a huge money-spinner if you get it right, Apple will absolutely be weighing up a move into the car game.
If this is just a move that Apple are making to create huge LCD dashboard panels, then you’ve got to ask yourself if you’d be into having that, or indeed, distracted by that.
Feel free to make your own jokes about an Apple car being installed with windows.
Parking spaces aren’t always great, especially if a great big bush is growing at the bottom of it, or it was painted so narrowly that you have to climb out of your exhaust pipe to exit your car.
However, in Romford, residents saw a parking spot that defied belief.
Contractors managed to paint the useless parking bay around a signpost, which obviously means a whole load of trouble for anyone daft enough to try and put their car in it.
Phil Wailing spotted the bay, complete with huge metal obstruction that a contractor really should’ve spotted, when he was out taking the dog for a walk.
Phil said: “It really beggars belief. I think the contractors must have been down the Aspen Tree pub at the end of the road before they started painting.”
“It smacks of the work of jobsworths but you’ve got to laugh.”
Havering Council, looking for someone to shout at, said contractors “mistakenly” painted the parking area and it will be removed as soon as possible.
There are bad cyclists. There are bad drivers too. When you mention either, people from either side start screaming at each other, before someone spoils it all by mentioning road tax and immediately forfeiting the argument.
Worse than both camps are people who work in advertising and, combining the war between motorists and cycling enthusiasts, one advert has appeared which is in rather poor taste indeed.
Basically, we see that a taxi has run a cyclist over. Y’know… because people getting hit by cars is funny in 2015?
Westminster Insurance ran their commercial in the latest copy of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association Magazine (a thrilling read which covers ‘ice breakers for when you want to indulge in small talk with someone who has their headphones in’ and ’10 anecdotes about drunken customers you’ve had’) which advises that cabbies have cameras fitted in their taxi, so they can get a 10% discount on their insurance.
To convey this message, the accompanying image shows a cyclist lying on the ground while being shouted at by a judge alongside: “A fitted camera in your taxi is like having a witness and a barrister permanently with you.”
The amount of cyclists that have been killed on the roads of the UK, this advert will surely be a bit of light relief for all those widows and bereaved families! Of course, not forgetting the real victims of the road – drivers who have been a bit inconvenienced by someone on a bike.
Either way, the funny thing here is that these cameras can convict drivers, as well as cyclists. Maybe it would be a good thing if everyone on the road got rigged up with cameras, like we’ve seen in Russia.
Tony Steeles from Croydon said his car kept being targeted by hungry squirrel gangs, hell bent on feasting on the eco-friendly bits of the vehicle.
Mr Steeles first noticed teeth marks on his rubber areas, and suspected those varmints because only the roof was affected. Tony said: “I got a new car from Toyota. I’d not had it very long and I noticed that some of the rubber parts of the car, like the aerial, were being damaged.”
“So I had to call out the AA because the car had lights coming on the dashboard. He looked at it and said it’s rodent or squirrel damage.”
“So I took it back and got it repaired. This happened a few times and eventually I got it replaced. Since then I keep the car in the garage. I could see the teeth marks. It was definitely some sort of wildlife, and I thought it was a squirrel not a rat because the area affected was on the roof.”
Speaking to Auto Express, Mr Steele said: “The aerial’s been chewed off twice, the oxygen sensor’s been damaged and various rubber-like trim parts have been chewed.”
Handy tip, from someone who has been there: wasabi paste. Smear your aerial with that. Foxes don’t like wasabi paste. Even the fancy inner London ones.
A spokesman for Toyota told Auto Express: “We have had very few complaints of this occurring in the UK.” But said they would “investigate if any improvements can be made to the design of our products to deter rodents”. Mr Steeles added: “To be honest, Toyota have been quite good about it.”
Which is quite good really.
We wouldn’t like to say that traffic wardens are pointless, dimwitted individuals, but you might after you hear about this.
In Carmarthen, a traffic warden is under investigation after they gave a parking ticket to a bin. That’s right. One of those big bins that are on wheels.
The bin was on some double-yellow lines and passers-by noticed the strange behaviour as the warden stuck a penalty charge notice to the rubbish receptacle.
Mercifully, Carmarthenshire council said that there was no ticket was inside the wrapper, so you have to assume that it was a joke by the warden. However, this being a council, they will still be looking into the traffic warden’s conduct.
Salesman Mike Jones told the BBC: ”It was bizarre – I realised I had just watched a warden give a ticket to a wheelie bin for bad parking. It appeared the warden slapped the plastic ticket envelope on the bin in a moment of high jinks after a member of public pointed out it was parked on double yellow lines.”
Carmarthenshire council traffic and safety manager John McEvoy said: “There was no ticket issued, it is not possible to book a wheelie bin or anything that is not motorised.”
“Although this was meant as a humorous incident, we take this kind of thing very seriously and have launched a formal investigation into the conduct of this officer.”
In tinfoil hat news, an expert has been shrieking about the devices that are given to drivers by insurance companies which track your driving habits and price your premiums. They could mean you car could get ‘hacked’, including your brakes and steering, which means bad people will make you drive into the sea or something.
Corey Thuen – a security expert – has investigated the SnapShot device which Progressive Insurance has issued to American drivers, and in the UK, similar devices have been handed out.
Thuen reverse engineered some software and found that he was able to access some functions of the car’s CAN bus (the CAN bus is a thing that allows some components and computers to communicate inside the car) and, when he got in there, he deduced that hackers could do the same and affect steering or braking… theoretically.
“The firmware running on the dongle is minimal and insecure,” Thuen said. ”It does no validation or signing of firmware updates, no secure boot, no cellular authentication, no secure communications or encryption, no data execution prevention or attack mitigation technologies… basically it uses no security technologies whatsoever.”
“I suspected that these dongles were built insecurely, and I was correct. The technology being used in them is outdated and vulnerable to attack which is highly troubling considering it is being used to remotely access insecure by design vehicle computers. A skilled attacker could almost certainly compromise such dongles to gain remote control of a vehicle, or even an entire fleet of vehicles. Once compromised, the consequences range from privacy data loss to life and limb.”
Imagine! Hackers taking over an entire fleet of vehicles, making them crash into things like banks and children! Of course, if you were sat in your car, you’d just turn the engine off and whack the handbrake on and you’d be fine… but still… DANGER! DANGER!
The reality of the situation is that hackers could get into the system and inconvenience you by messing around with your self-parking features, or maybe pre-collision systems. We don’t have cars that drive themselves yet, so you suspect that, when we do, the security on those will be beefed up to buggery.
Of course, things like Snapshot really only track how fast you’re going, how far you drive and what times of day you use your car, so don’t worry Bitterwallet motorists, you’re safe for now.
The self-styled ‘fourth emergency service’ believe that car insurance could rise by up to 10% in the next 12 months, and that home insurance premiums are unlikely to go any lower either.
According to the latest index of the cheapest deals on the market showed that the cost of annual comprehensive car insurance had risen by 0.2% to £540 in the final three months of 2014.
However the total was still £200 cheaper than the peak in 2011, the AA said.
Janet Connor, managing director of AA Insurance said: “Car insurance is extremely competitive. Nevertheless the underlying trend is upward.”
The AA Insurance Shoparound survey helps to sift out the best deals on an average premium from the five cheapest quotes from insurers and price comparison websites. It showed that the cheapest annual motor insurance had still risen in price during the second half of 2014.
However, the AA has previously said claims management companies and law firms may have found loopholes around the reforms as many insurers have reported a surge in lower-value ‘cash for crash’ claims, where bad people deliberately brake to cause a vehicle to crash into the rear of their car
Meanwhile, the cheapest buildings and contents insurance premiums didn’t alter much significantly in the final three months of 2014, the AA added.
The AA also said that it expected premiums to stay still, bar any freakish weather action this Winter.
Nigel Stewart-Stone was helping his son – Dalton – sell his Renault Clio and has become an internet hero with the honesty of his eBay advert. He left no stone unturned when describing the state of the car.
The ad, titled my teenage sons 2005 Renault Clio, with story time, who would buy it?, which you can see here, kicks off by saying sorry for the condition of the battered motor, listing the numerous faults with it and basically taking the piss out of his son.
Referring to the electric windows, they apparently work well “considering the amount of times they go up and down calling to his mates, and banter with the passing girls, many of whom have been taken for rides in the car, which may explain the passenger seat not moving back and forth anymore, still makes it hard for them to escape his deafening music.”
He adds: “Anyway if you think this car may be suitable for your son, please go ahead and buy it, its (sic) after all in the perfect state for any teenager lad, and will save them all the time and effort that my son has put in to it, getting it this way.”
Dad noted: “There may or may not be any oil and water in the car , despite me repeatedly telling him to make sure it was maintained , I believe he thought this meant sitting in it on the driveway listening to his music whilst having a smoke , he would have washed it occasionally , but said” not really worth it now is it dad” , as its got a big dent on it !!! and anyway, surely I would know if it needed oil , the red light would come on !! , still he does have a brand new set of mats in the boot , bought when he first had the car”
While there are some bids on the car, tellingly, one person commented: “You have made my day! I have no interest in buying your son car! But I love the fact that you let your son live his life! WELL DONE FOR BEING A FAB DAD!!!”
The winning Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 90 SE beat 25 other new cars that made the overall shortlist, as well as winning the small car category.
It beat the key big boys in its class – the Ford Fiesta and VW Polo – for space and practicality. It also had good notes for the touchscreen technology and the Mirrorlink system, which works with Android phones to provide Sat Nav action.
And yet, still, Skoda is still a bit of a joke to some people, which seems rather unfair.
Other cars that did well in What Car!!! award dole-out, included the Hyundai i10 1.2 Premium in the Best City Car category, while Skoda’s larger Octavia won the award for best family car.
Best electric car was the Audi A3 e-tron, with the same company’s TT 2.0 TFSI Sport scooping the award for best coupé and the A3 Cabriolet 1.4 TFSI 150 Sport taking the gong for convertibles. Ford picked up good notices in the estate and hot hatchback categories, with the Mondeo Estate 1.6 TDCi 120 Econetic Zetec and Fiesta ST respectively.
The Citroën Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 e-HDi 115 Exclusive won the best MPV category, and the Nissan Qashqai – last year’s overall winner – is still the magazine’s favourite in the small SUV category. The best large SUV was the Range Rover Sport SDV6 HSE.
BMW’s 520d SE automatic took the award for the leading executive car, with Porsche winning the sports car award with the Boxster 2.7 and Mercedes-Benz taking the luxury car prize with the S350 CDI Bluetec L SE Line.
What are What Car!!! readers looking forward to the most? Why, that would be the Honda HR-V SUV, due out later in 2015.
Jim Holder, What Car!!! editor, said: “The Fabia is a fully deserved winner of our most sought-after award – not just because of the fact it is a well-equipped and practical small car, but also because of the big name rivals it has disposed of in the process. We’ve driven and evaluated all of its rivals and, whichever way you cut it, the Fabia is the most rounded small car on sale in the UK today.”
Well done Skoda, you one-time laughing stock!