Posts Tagged ‘motoring’
From October 1st, cars that have a tax disc in the window will either look a bit daft or they’ll be the kind of people who get old motors and renovate them so they look all shiny and they can pretend they’re living in the sixties.
The RAC aren’t finding this funny though. They’ve been pacing around and nervously wringing their leather driving gloves.
They think that the lack of tax discs could lead to tax evasion which will cost the economy £167 million a year. They’re worried that the number of drivers dodging tax could equal the number who try to avoid paying motor insurance. We’ll let them explain.
An RAC spokesman said: “We could be looking at about £167m of lost revenues to the Treasury, far exceeding the £10m saved by no longer having to print tax discs and post them to vehicle owners. The big question has to be whether enforcement using only cameras and automatic number plate recognition will be sufficiently effective.”
Currently just 0.6% of cars do not have road tax, which equates to something like £35 million in lost revenue from the 210,000 cars concerned. The RAC are worried that the same number of drivers won’t have insurance either.
The DVLA aren’t having it: ”There is absolutely no basis to these figures and it is nonsense to suggest that getting rid of the tax disc will lead to an increase in vehicle tax evasion,” said a spokesperson.
Seems no-one gives a monkeys about airbags and crumple zones.
Of course, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) has been knocking about for a few years now, but there’s talk of making them compulsory, which will no doubt infuriate drivers.
This tech can slow or stop a vehicle before a crash occurs at speeds of (up to) 50mph. Peter Shaw, chief executive of Thatcham, the motor insurers’ research centre, told What Car!!! magazine that this auto-braking could reduce the number of accidents significantly. They’ve been doing some maths, too.
Thatcham reckon that fitting all cars with AEB from 2015 could result in 17,000 fewer deaths and serious injuries from car accidents by 2025, and on top of that, it would reduce insurance premiums by 10%. Of course, there’s nothing on Earth that can reduce insurance premiums – they’ll find another thing to charge you for.
Shaw said AEB, which utilises radar and lasers to detect obstacles and hits the brakes for you if you can’t be bothered, “has the potential to be as important a breakthrough as the seat belt in terms of vehicle safety” and added that the Treasury really should be offering £500 subsidies for cars fitted with the technology.
Edmund King, president of the AA, threw his views around wildly: “It is incredibly impressive technology. If you look at things in the past from the seat belt to airbags to anti-lock braking systems, every so often a technology comes along that breaks the mould and is a great advancement in road safety and we certainly believe this is one of the future technologies that will make a great difference.”
When driverless cars come in to play, there’ll be no need for you at all. You’ll be sat at home watching Top Gear while your cars goes off to a supermarket’s car park doing doughnuts with it’s robot car friends.
He’s trying to tackle air pollution [insert satirical joke about his needless emissions and hot air here] and wrote about this £1,000 scrap scheme to the House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee, who are looking into the air quality of the capital.
This proposal builds on the national scrappage scheme which was introduced in 2009 which offered drivers of vehicles over 10 years old £1,000 toward a new car. This initiative ended in 2010, but Johnson wants it back.
“A national scrappage scheme for diesel and other polluting vehicles is now needed as a priority in order to compensate people who have bought polluting diesel vehicles in good faith, as well as to drive forward air quality improvements,” the submission reads.
As you know, there’s already a load of guff about doling out on-the-spot pollution fines to those who keep their motors running while stationary (of course, those giving the fines out will have their engines running while stationary, just for peak farce) and there’s suggestions that diesel drivers will have to pay an extra £10 per day on top of London’s congestion charge.
That said, diesel cars do pump out more soot and nitrogen dioxide, so it isn’t surprising that it is being looked into.
It is little wonder that London isn’t expected to comply with EU legal air pollution limits until after 2030 – at least 20 years after the original 2010 deadline set by the European Commission.
So, fancy scrapping your diesel car and getting £1,000 in return, so you can buy an old petrol banger which is probably just as bad for the environment?
This isn’t as some kind of ‘be free of technology! Throw off your mental chains!’ type nonsense, she’s just a bit pissed off with lorries driving into her cottage.
Caroline Cockman, reckons lorries have caused £50,000 of damage to her home in Coxley, Somerset, due to believing everything that the sat nav tells them.
Cockman has lost count of the amount of vehicles that have got stuck up her lane.
It’s an ongoing hassle for the poor woman, claiming that just this week, there’s been three large vehicles trapped in her narrow strip of road.
“Their sat navs direct them down the lane and they ignore the evidence of their own eyes that it’s too narrow and just carry on until they get stuck.”
“The worst incident happened a couple of years ago when a big lorry blew out my back wall – it cost £33,000 in repairs. There have been many other incidents – I can’t remember them all. It must be well over £50,000 of damage in total.”
Understandably Cockman is now pleading with council officials to make signs at the top of the lane more obvious.
“The trouble is some drivers still use domestic sat navs instead of commercial ones. I’m told the commercial ones do carry warnings about the lane’s width but the domestic ones don’t.”
“Last Monday we had a big sewage tanker, with an escort to make sure it travelled safely, and it took him half-an-hour to reverse out. Then on Wednesday night someone collided with our low wall which stops vehicles coming off the lane and into our courtyard.”
“Another guy was trapped for six hours. If only truck drivers used their common sense as the lane got narrower and narrower.”
Perhaps we do need those new robot lorries after all?
Of course, with robot lorries, school children on coach trips will miss the opportunity to moon at drivers, get lorries to beep their horns at them or, in some cases, get mucky drivers to show off centrefolds from dirty magazines at them while everyone cackles on the back seat.
These driverless trucks will be electronically linked together, so that the driver in the front vehicle will control the lot. Could be nightmarish if they’re falling asleep at the wheel and working through a hangover.
The Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 prototype has already been trialled in Germany. Scania have also been doing their own tests for the last couple of years. It looks like the automated lorries would have to have humans in them, just in case there’s an emergency, which means that they’ll either have to do admin work or just drink strong tea from a flask while looking at dirty pictures on their phones.
The idea is that these lorries would cut down on congestion. The reality is that businesses will opt for the cheapest thing.
A government source told the Times: “There are potential benefits, notably reduced costs for haulage firms and reduced congestion for motorists, so there is sense in looking into it. Equally we have to be cautious and ensure that safety isn’t compromised in any way.”
There’s going to be inevitable issues with other drivers trying to enter and exit motorways and being able to see the road signs behind a train of robot trucks.
What do you make of it all?
Take two drivers with identical cars, spotless driving history who park their cars on their respective drives, but in different areas, and you’ll find there’s a discrepancy in how much their car insurance costs.
For example, someone who lives in London will pay three times the amount of someone in the Isle of Man. It doesn’t matter if you’re a responsible driver – if your car has a greater chance of being nicked, then you have to pay for it.
Central London motorists pay an average of £922 a year on insurance, whereas those in the Isle of Man pay just £231, according to figures from the AA.
London boroughs and those just outside it attract top premiums, while in the North, Manchester residents will pay £821, and folk in Bolton and Liverpool will cough-up £737 and £720 respectively. Meanwhile, up in Scotland, someone in Aberdeen will pay £286 on average, while someone who drives in the Orkney Islands will pay just £252. The cheapest rates in England can be found in Truro, Cornwall (£280) and Dorchester, Dorset (£286).
It seems that, where car insurance is already cheap, the premiums are most likely to fall as well. Not in London. Drivers in the capital are just going to be asked for more and more as time goes on.
Janet Connor from AA Insurance said that insurers are looking to put their prices up across the board: “I believe that this time next year, the AA’s Index will be reflecting a rising trend (in cost). But I don’t expect to see the sharp premium inflation we saw between 2009 and 2011, when over a 12-month period premiums rose by more than 40 per cent.”
“The premium reflects the likelihood of a claim being made and, in some urban areas, there is much greater risk of a collision taking place, or of car crimes such as theft. Sadly, the criminality of some people has a detrimental effect of the premiums paid by honest motorists in such places.”
They’ve said that the recent fall in premiums may be ending, even though regulatory efforts have been trying to bring them down even further.
Admiral’s chief executive, Henry Engelhardt, said: “In the UK there are some signs that premiums are no longer falling but we have yet to see firm evidence of an inflection point and a return to premium growth.”
“Admiral’s premium rates have been pretty flat over the first half of the year, though as a result of the reductions in 2013, total premiums are down around 9% compared with the first half of 2013.”
You see, insuring your car has been a little cheaper since the Government and industry got together and started to come down hard on fraudulent claims (we’re looking at you Mr I Got Whiplash After Someone Took My Wing Mirror Off And I Gasped A Bit Harder Than Usual). With a decline in claims , premiums went down with them.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) proposed imposing a cap on replacement vehicle costs too, which would be passed on to the at-fault driver following an accident, as well as wanted to ban price parity agreements between price comparison websites and insurers.
However, it looks like Admiral & Co have found a way of milking more money out of drivers.
David Elliott was in the process of enjoying a £6.99 wash and wax of his new £75,000 BMW (a bit like this one pictured) at the Morrisons branch in Evesham, Worcestershire.
It was when the back window shattered, that he realised that this wasn’t part of the service.
Part of the car wash mechanism had got snagged the lower edge of the car’s boot. However the safety mechanism that usually kicks in to cut the machine off didn’t work, and the car wash rollers carried on.
When Mr Elliott drove his car out of the machine, he then noticed the full extent of the damage, which he has since been quoted £4,000 to have it fixed.
Now Mr Elliott claims that Morrisons are refusing to accept liability. A claim disputed by the supermarket, who say they have not yet finished their investigation into the incident.
“I called Morrisons customer services immediately telling them what had happened and within a week they had basically denied liability.”
“They didn’t even send somebody to look at my car. The car wash was broken by the incident. But they got an engineer in who presumably just pushed the reset button and said the car wash was fine.”
“Morrisons said to me they didn’t deny that the incident took place but because the car wash was fine beforehand and now the engineer said it’s working, it’s not their liability. They are completely washing their hands of it.”
There’s probably some gag about a company washing their hands of a car wash incident, but now’s not the time. However, next time he wants his car cleaning, he might have more joy if he goes for a good old fashioned hand-job.
This will be no surprise to some (because ‘some’ are smartarses who say “well, duh!” at everything, regardless of whether or not they actually know anything), but there’s a good number of major motorways in Britain that spent a whole 365 days of the year without operating at full capacity.
Figures obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request show that there were lane closures for a full calendar year on the M1, M4, M5, M6, M25, M27, M40, M54, M60 and M62.
The motorways with the least amount of lane closures in days were M48, M53, M58, M61, M65 and M69.
The figures were obtained from the Highways Agency by Swiftcover, who said that 2013 saw more than a third of motorways with lane closures for at least six months. Only a quarter were fully open for 25 days or less.
They said: “Motorists can expect an increase in motorway road works during 2014 as a result of the Government’s £317 million ‘pinch point’ programme. This ambitious programme includes 123 extensive road works projects across the UK. However, less than a quarter of these have so far been completed.”
Swiftcover.com product manager Roman Bryl said: “Some of our busiest road networks are never fully operational, and lane closures and diversions are a source of real frustration to drivers. Obviously it is important that motorways are kept in a good state of repair, but maintenance works can be very disruptive and stressful.”
“Drivers should bear in mind that motorways may not actually be the quickest route for their journey, and plan ahead in order to avoid potential delays.”
No wonder road rage is still a thing.
That’s right – the roadworks had been on Kelston Road since February and the road won’t be fixed until the end of 2014. Watts isn’t having it and used rolled chippings to create a back road so drivers can dodge the hold-up on the section of the A431 between Bath and Bristol.
If you want to use it, it’ll cost you £2 and it’ll be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Talking to the Western Daily Press, Mike said: “There will be some people who will be reluctant to pay the money but it is an option for people if they feel it will save them money in terms of the fuel costs and time.”
“If people don’t want to use the road then don’t. The drive behind it is to get Bath and Bristol back on track because the impact is more far reaching than just the residents of Kelston.”
Of course, local officials aren’t happy and say that the road doesn’t have planning permission or safety certificates. More pertinently, they’ll be annoyed that they didn’t think of it first.
A council spokesman said: “It’s not just the planning, it’s the legal aspect of drivers using the road, and also safety. We appreciate the difficulties that local residents have experienced since the emergency closure and work has started to deliver a permanent solution as quickly as possible, but will not encourage proposals that have not been proven to be safe or compliant with statutory requirements.”
“The council has no details to confirm the toll road design meets safety standards and no evidence that insurances are in place for any member of the public who uses the private toll road.”
“The temporary toll road access is likely to generate a need for more traffic management on site, prolong the construction period and increase the cost of the repairs.”
The Mirror have photos of the rogue road, if you’re at all interested in seeing how happy Mike Watts looks with his toll.
The business secretary is looking into the laws that ban them from the roads, and going to see if he can overturn it.
He also added that the government would make a £10million fund for developing the technology in the UK. Because it’s quite a priority for the cash-strapped Briton – rent, food, driverless car etc.
Speaking with his mouth, he said: “Today’s announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society.”
It is currently illegal for driverless cars to mooch around UK roads. There are those semi-autonomous affairs like the Volvo XC90, but they still require a human with a license, as opposed to say, a labrador.
The Department for Transport are also looking into updating the rules on road use, but aren’t offering an ETA of when they’ll get that finished. Hark at them.
The UK already has a few groups working on driverless car technology, with boffins at Oxford and engineering firm Mira.
Coo. Imagine being able to hail a driverless cab and programming it ahead to play Heart’s ‘Alone’ and Atlantic Starr’s ‘Always’ on it’s in-car stereo for major late night vibes.
So yeah. The future.
Sainsbury’s have redesigned their lorries so that they are now safer for cyclists. Of course, it is obligatory that the mere mention of cyclists should provoke people into shouting incorrectly about road tax and start crying about some of them running red lights.
Anyway, back to the Sainsbury’s trucks – the redesigned vehicle will have 360 degree monitors, extra side lighting for road users at night and low side guards.
This all coincides with Boris Johnson’s Safer Lorries Scheme, which will see lorries without side guards and safety mirrors banned from the streets of London next year.
Sainsbury’s retail & operations director Roger Burnley said: ‘This is an important step in our work to make London’s roads safer. We’ve put an enormous amount of thought and research into creating a truck that we hope will be the safest on the road – for all road users.”
The new lorry will have enough technology and safety features that it’ll make drivers aware of pretty much everything around it, cyclists, pedestrians and other motor vehicles. The side guard extensions and reflective infills will stop cyclists from falling under the wheels and there’ll be more indicators along the sides to alert everyone that the truck is turning with increased visibility.
There’s also going to be a warning sticker to alert everyone else that they’re in the driver’s blind spot.
Speaking at the launch of the consultation, Boris said: “I have long been worried that a large number of cyclist deaths involve a relatively small number of problem lorries which are not fitted with safety equipment. My Safer Lorries Scheme would see those lorries effectively banned from our streets and the lives of thousands of cyclists and pedestrians would be much safer as a result.”
“Vehicles that would be affected by this scheme can easily be retrofitted to comply and doing so will save lives. Companies such as Sainsbury’s and O’Donovan are already leading the way when it comes to cyclist safety and I urge others to follow suit.”
If you’re renewing your licence after 10 years of driving, it’ll now cost you £14 instead of £20. In addition to that, all driver tachograph cards would be £32 from the old price of £38.
The new transport minister Claire Perry, said: “The cost of driving can be significant, especially for new drivers. I’m pleased to say that we are planning to save drivers £18million a year by cutting licence fees, thanks to the DVLA making significant savings to their running costs.”
This is a smart move by the coalition, but the Lib Dems won’t let the Tories speak without chipping in themselves, so over to creepy schoolboy robot, Danny Alexander, who says: “I have been working hard to drive savings across the whole public sector and it’s great to see the benefit of these efficiencies feed through to drivers and businesses’ pockets. What the DVLA have shown today is that you can do more for less.”
It is worth pointing out though that this is a review, so someone might scupper this plan. However, the DVLA are reviewing all the fees they charge to motorists, so it looks good for drivers new and old.
This consultation closes on August 25th (2014, so they’re not mucking about) and it is thought that the Government will introduce the new fees by the end of October 2014.
Sadly, no-one is able or willing to do anything about rip-off mechanics and petrol prices for you drivers.
Drivers who use their mobiles while driving could be getting slapped around the face with six penalty points as part of a Government bid to crackdown to stop people getting killed on the roads, even though statistically, people are always going to die on the roads.
The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said he’s going to weigh-up doubling the penalty points for those caught pissing about with their phones while at the wheel.
This is because the latest figures suggest that there’s one road death per fortnight that is directly related to mobile phone use, which McLoughlin described as “absolutely appalling”.
If the six point penalty comes in, that means you’d be banned from driving after two mobile-related offences. If you’re a new driver, you will probably be banned after a single offence.
There’s more too. The fines imposed for tweeting while driving could be increased too. The government are looking at getting the current £100 penalty and hiking it up to £150.
In fairness, no tweet or text is important enough to do while you’re driving. It also stands to reason that the kind of people who think they’re amazing drivers won’t stop doing what they want anyway, because that’s the way the world works.