Monthly Archives: February 2010

February 26, 2010
SPEED LIMITS REDUCED TO LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD

A lot of new buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles (HGV’S) are being introduced with speed limiters.

According to the Department for Transport (DfT) motorway speed limits need to be changed in order to balance differences between new vehicles and old.

The newer HGV’s will now be limited to 56mph and passenger vehicles with over eight seats restricted to 62.5mph.Whereas all older vehicles will be able to continue driving at 70mph. So the DfT are set to implement motorway restrictions for all of the above vehicles regardless whether they are fitted with speed limiters or not.

The consultation also includes plans to see HGV’s, buses and coaches with more than eight passenger seats not being allowed to use the right hand lane of a three lane motorway.

The problem with not imposing these rules and regulations will be that companies and individuals will see no incentive to buy new vehicles as they will be at a disadvantage, despite the vehicles being more fuel efficient and safer to drive.

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February 25, 2010
Government announces more incentives for ‘plugged-in’ driving

The Government has today announced more incentives to jump-start the take-up of electric vehicles, including £5 million of funding to introduce 2,430 charging points for electric vehicles in Milton Keynes and car grants.
The Milton Keynes investment is part of a £30 million fund from the new Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) for a network of electric vehicle hubs, the first three of which – Milton Keynes, London and the North East – were announced today and where 11,000 vehicle recharging points will be installed.

The idea is that the experience of these first three hubs – or ‘Plugged-In Places’ as they have been named – will inform the future development of a national charging infrastructure.

The Government is also looking at how to join the Plugged-In Places up with charging infrastructure along strategic corridors, and how to support multi-modal journeys to facilitate the wider use of electric vehicles.

Today’s announcement was welcomed by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) which, through its ‘Joined-Cities Plan’ is working with a number of cities to help develop a user-friendly environment for plug-in vehicles.

The ETI’s ceo, Dr David Clarke commented: “The funding from OLEV’s Plugged‑in‑Places scheme will enable a step‑change in infrastructure deployment in three of these locations – London, Milton Keynes and the North East.”

Plug-In Car Grants open to both private and business fleet buyers
Alongside the Plugged-In Places initiative, the Government has also announced that it will provide a so-called ‘Plug-In Car Grants’ worth 25 per cent of the cost of ultra-low-carbon car.

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February 24, 2010
DRIVING LICENSE HISTORY

Ian Jane an avid reader of Britannia’s website has provided some rather interesting information regarding driving licenses.

He is currently in possession of a driving certificate that was issued to a nurse in Finchley by the RAC in July 1916. It looks similar to the red folding card issued later by local councils.

The first drivers license of sorts was issued to a man called Karl Benz in 1988. Karl Benz was the inventor of the modern automobile. The license was acquired when local residents complained of the smell the vehicle was producing and he got written permission from the local authorities.

It wasn’t until 29th September 1905 that the first locality required mandatory driving licenses and testing. However, Britain did not make it compulsory for drivers to take a driving test until 1935, with this being suspended during World War Two.

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February 23, 2010
Careless winter driving ups car insurance claims

Many motorists are putting themselves at risk by failing to adapt their driving style to compensate for the weather, a car insurance provider has warned.

According to Sainsbury’s Car Insurance, 33% of drivers do not bother to check the weather forecast before heading off on a journey, while 18% have ignored warnings against driving in inclement weather on at least one occasion.

The insurer estimated that around 800,000 people have had an accident after ignoring such advice and has advised drivers to pay more attention to the weather.

Ben Tyte, manager of Sainsbury’s Car Insurance, said that British motorists have a “typically stoic approach” to driving in wintry conditions.

“If they start to become complacent and think the worst weather is behind them, they could increase their chances of having an accident in the coming days and weeks,” he warned.

Mr Tyte also urged drivers not to leave their engines running if they are not actually inside the vehicle.

“If their car was stolen with the keys in the ignition, they would most likely not be covered by their insurance policy,” he explained.

Meanwhile, a separate study by Virgin Money has revealed that a disproportionate number of car insurance claims are made for vehicles that are five years old.

Cars from this age group account for 10% of all claims, the company revealed, while those aged between three and six years old account for nearly two-fifths of all car insurance claims, even though they make up just 24% of all vehicles.ADNFCR-2196-ID-19629899-ADNFCR ADNFCR-2196-ID-19464191-ADNFCR

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February 21, 2010
Red Driving School Crashes into Bankruptcy

Landsdowne Venture Group (LGV), the parent company of “The Instructor College” and “Red Driving School” has gone into administration.

The company made a net profit of £3m in the year to October 4 2009, but in the 16 weeks to January 24 lost £2.5m.

LVG employs 400 people in total across three offices, but all the Red Driving School instructors are franchisees.

LVG’s 400-strong workforce includes 200 people at its head office, and 150 spread across two “operational support facilities” in Liverpool and in Bellingham near Middlesbrough. It makes most of its money from training driving instructors who pay fees of about £3,500.

Trainees who cannot afford to pay fees up-front often take out a loan to cover the cost of the course. “The Instructor College” used to offer loans through Barclays but the bank withdrew that facility after huge number of defaults by trainees unhappy with the training they received.

The company that was to become LVG began in 1992 when David little and Nick Buckingham founded Airport driving School in Croydon.

They expanded into instructor training then merged with accountancy FBTC, renaming the joint operation Landsdowne, now known as LVG.

In 2004 they launched the Red Driving School and acquired Letsdrive, after LetsDrive went into administration.

Natasha Simper of Britannia Driving School said: “The 400 operational staff, trainee instructors and the franchisees must be distraught at the news, not knowing what is going to happen to them next. Part of the problem is that in the two years from March 2007 to March 2009, the number of new applications for provisional licences fell 34 per cent. I’m happy to say that in the same period Britannia’s bookings have increased by 43 per cent.”

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February 20, 2010
SURFING THE NET WHILST NAVIGATING THE ROADS

The latest technology about to hit the road is the web-enabled vehicle.

Ford and Audi have found a niche in the market and are set to release a new gadget in their vehicles. With more car dealers set to follow.

The small monitor meant to be introduced in 2011, will enable drivers to access the internet, send emails, surf the web and use skype. It will also double up as Sat Nav, with drivers being able to access Google maps and get directions.

The monitor will act as a wireless hotspot throughout the car. It will allow drivers to get work done whilst on the roads and may replace the use of laptops for the more frequent travellers.

However, there are safety campaigners who have expressed their concerns and pointed out the danger the latest technology could cause. Many accidents are caused every year due to mobile phone use and this will just act as another distraction for drivers.

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February 19, 2010
Five million Britons break law driving unsafe vehicles

MORE than five million British motorists are currently breaking the law by driving unsafe vehicles, according to new research.
And the number of dangerous cars on the road may have been boosted by people keeping older cars for longer to benefit from the government’s scrappage scheme, claim insurers.

The most common repair faults identified include worn tyres (12 per cent), defective brakes (9 per cent) and faulty exhaust pipes (6 per cent), according to a poll of more than 3,200 motorists conducted by breakdown service Britannia Rescue.

One in 20 cars has broken or missing wing mirrors and a similar number (5 per cent) have broken head or tail lights, the study revealed.

Simon Stevens, general manager of Britannia Rescue, said: “It’s concerning so many motorists drive dangerous vehicles in need of repair. Some repairs may appear to be minor but they could still turn a car into a death-trap.”

Researchers calculated that of 33.8 million drivers in the UK, according to the most recent census, 16 per cent, or 5.4 million, admit currently driving a damaged vehicle with faults.

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February 16, 2010
Is it illegal to drink and ride a golf buggy?

Drinking and driving a golf buggy is, like drinking and driving a car, something which may well attract the long arm of the law.

The same goes for those navigating a quad bike or mini motorbike while under the influence.

But in these scenarios there is no strict alcohol limit, as there is with when driving a car.

So South Wales Police have charged rugby player Andy Powell with “driving a mechanically propelled vehicle whilst unfit through drink”, under the Road Traffic Act 1988. In such cases, it is up to the court to decide what constitutes being unfit to drive on a road or other public place.

“This could lead to an anomaly where somebody is driving a mechanically propelled vehicle which is not a motor vehicle, whilst over the prescribed limit, for example a golf buggy,” says Nick Freeman, the lawyer known as Mr Loophole for his skill at finding ways to get celebrity clients off driving offences. “That person might be over the prescribed limit, but not unfit to drive… and therefore escape prosecution.”

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February 15, 2010
SNOWMAN ATTACK

A CCTV camera in London picked up a hit and run…on a snowman.
 
The snow has caused disruption for many people across the country however, for many it has provided fun and games. Children and adults alike, have played in the snow, sledging down hills and building snowmen.
 
However, some take it to the extreme, when a camera caught a car driving into and knocking down a snowman. Although it seems harmless, it could have had some serious consciences.
 
Not only could people walking close by to the snowman have been injured, even if the vehicle had been travelling at low speeds, the impact could have caused serious damage to the vehicle and the occupants.
 
Drivers are warned to be extra vigilant in these bad weather conditions, keeping a safe distance from other vehicles, reducing your speed and being more aware of your surroundings.
 
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February 12, 2010
THE 3 SECOND RULE APPLIES

Many accidents occur every year due to drivers not leaving enough distance between themselves and the vehicle in front.

Braking distance refers to the distance a vehicle will travel from the point the brakes are applied to when the vehicle comes to a complete stop.

Road conditions, speed and weather conditions can all affect the time it takes for your car to come to a complete stop. Many cars have ABS antilock brakes which helps decrease braking distances on most road surfaces in most weather conditions, it prevents tyres locking and the car skidding. However, in order to get the most out of antilock brakes, you must know how to use them.

The thinking time that it takes an individual to respond to a hazard is the same regardless of speed. If you were in a car travelling at 60mph it would take around 4.6 seconds for you to stop the car. Therefore a 3 second rule applies. Guidelines suggest that you leave at least a 3 second gap between you and the car in front and even more of a gap when the weather is bad.

It is recommended that you get your car serviced regularly to make sure that your car is in good working order, particularly the brakes.

It is also recommended that drivers take the occasional refresher lesson with a qualified driving instructor, to get the most of out their driving ability and to eradicate any bad habits they may have picked up. This of course is something that Britannia can provide.

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