As Christmas approaches, London becomes busier with shoppers and party-goers. Between Saturday 23 December 2017 and Monday 1 January 2018, the vast majority of our services will be open. There will also be service changes because of Christmas operational hours, and essential planned work on some parts of the public transport and road networks. Read More
The All-New Nissan Micra arrives to challenge small car standards in design, comfort and performance. With its daring design, sleek exterior, intelligent features and agile driving characteristics, the fifth generation Micra offers you a driving experience unlike any other. Read More
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The director of a fraudulent insurance ‘crash-for-cash’ scheme was recently jailed for 5 years following a Metropolitan Police investigation.
So, how did the scam work? Firstly, a decoy vehicle was required to brake suddenly in traffic. Then, a second vehicle also employed by the fraudulent firm would then stop suddenly, causing the vehicle behind to crash into the second. The passengers in the second vehicle would then submit personal injury claims to insurance companies. It is estimated that the firm caused around 300 accidents.
Judge, HH J Barrie, said: “The idea that crash-for-cash frauds are victimless crimes has to be rebuffed immediately. The impact of this offending on the insurance industry is substantial and this, in turn, leads to routine increases in insurance premiums for the wider public.”
“The manner of the driving in the collisions is inherently dangerous involving the sudden slamming on of brakes in traffic – often at night and often in poor weather conditions. Unlike the fraudsters, the innocent occupants of the cars behind have no opportunity to prepare or brace themselves for the impact”.
The BBC has recently reported that car clamping has risen significantly since the abolition of tax discs from 5,100 cars per month to 9,200 cars per month (approximately).
The main reason for this sudden rise is thought to be that the tax disc serves as a reminder for the motorist to pay their tax.
The penalties for failing to pay can be considerable. Possible fines include £100 clamping release fee (first day), £200 release fee if the car has to be taken to a pound, £21 per-day storage fee, £80 late licensing fee plus the cost of any unpaid duty. Furthermore, after 14 days a vehicle can be sold or scrapped.
Unlike council parking operators that are regulated under road traffic regulations, private parking companies are unregulated, motorists have no official route of a complaint and getting money back from an unfair clamping incident is very difficult. There is a £125 cap on the charges that can be applied for clamping but private clampers often get around it by double charging for clamping and removal.
DVLA executive Oliver Morley, said: The law is that you pay your tax. The vast majority pay with no problem at all.” He also confirmed that motorists do get email and postal reminders, but if the driver’s contact information isn’t up to date they could miss these reminders.
Critics of the DVLA have said that the punishment for not paying your road tax on time is extremely heavy-handed. So the moral of the story is this – set a reminder on your phone to pay your road tax on time. You’ll be extremely glad that you did!
From September 1st 2019, all new hybrid and electric vehicles in the USA must emit artificial noises to warn pedestrians of their presence. The rule is in response to the fact that engines in such vehicles are much quieter than traditional engines.
Hybrid and electric vehicles can easily sneak up on pedestrians and cyclists, many of who rely on the sound of the engine to be aware of oncoming cars. This is also a more pertinent issue for the elderly and visually impaired.
Artificial noises will be emitted only when the car is travelling below 30kph, as tyre and wind noise will compensate when the vehicle is going faster. The noise will have a minimum volume, but it will change according to velocity.
Secretary Anthony Foxx from the United States Transportation, said: “We all depend on our senses to alert us to possible danger. With more, quieter hybrid and electric cars on the road, the ability for all pedestrians to hear as well as see the cars becomes an important factor of reducing the risk of possible crashes and improving safety.”
Is this an unnecessary and potentially irritating measure, or will this end up saving thousands of lives each year? Share your thoughts below.
The new Christmas Drink Drive campaign for 2016 introduced by road safety organization THINK! has targeted young men between the ages of 25 to 34. The campaign is also focusing heavily on getting the message out through online and social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Spotify.
The Department for Transport revealed that young men account for 62% of drink driving fatalities, and a further 20% admit to having consumed 2 or more drinks prior to getting behind the wheel.
Road Safety Minister Andrew Jones explained: “Drink driving destroys families and ruins lives, yet some reckless drivers continue to take the risk and get behind the wheel after drinking – particularly young men. We have some of the safest roads in the world and deaths from drink driving have fallen significantly over the last 30 years, but it is still responsible for the deaths of 5 people every week.”
Is THINK! doing the right thing by targeting young men, or are they ignoring a significant amount of other age groups prone to drink driving? Do you think the campaign will be a success this Christmas? Share your views below.
There are also plans to encourage motorists to favour greener vehicles, such as hybrids or those powered by electricity only. Rumored incentives include tax breaks or preferential access to car parks. A safer and more secure infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians is also expected.
Diesel fuels are said to emit “particular matter and nitrogen oxides” which contribute to cardiovascular problems and breathing issues. The World Health Organization claimed that ambient air pollution took 3 million lives in 2012.
The Head of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, Helena Molin Valdés, explained: “92% of the world’s population lives in places where air pollution levels exceed the WHO safe level for air pollution. Soot from diesel vehicles is amongst the big contributors to ill health and global warming.”
Diesel engines contribute to the problem in two key ways – through the production of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Very fine soot PM can penetrate the lungs and can contribute to cardiovascular illness and death.
Nitrogen oxides can help form ground-level ozone and this can exacerbate breathing difficulties, even for people without a history of respiratory problems.
As the evidence has mounted, environmental groups have used the courts to try and enforce clean air standards and regulations. In the UK, campaigners have recently had success in forcing the government to act more quickly.
Now, mayors from a number of major cities with well-known air quality problems have decided to use their authority to clamp down on the use of diesel.
In the UK, campaigners are calling for London’s mayor to commit to phasing out diesel vehicles from London by 2025.
Sadiq Khan has proposed an expansion to the planned Ultra-Low Emission Zone in central London.
ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews said: “In the UK, London’s mayor is considering bolder action than his predecessor, proposing an expansion to the planned Ultra-Low Emission Zone. This is welcome but we want him to go further and faster.
“And it’s not just London that has this problem, we need a national network of clean air zones so that the problem is not simply pushed elsewhere.”
However, there are likely to be huge setbacks for car manufacturers worldwide if several major cities stop investing in Diesel cars. It may also have an adverse effect on the general public – although there has been a growing trend in hybrid and electric cars recently, these vehicles are simply too expensive for a majority of people.
Could this be the encouragement that the motoring industry needs to invest in more environmentally friendly vehicles, or will the move cause more harm than good for ordinary people? Let us know your view – leave your comments below.