Monthly Archives: June 2010

June 30, 2010
FRONTING DRIVING INSURANCE IS A RISKY BUSINESS

More and more parents are fronting their children’s car insurance in a bid to save money.

Research has shown that around 40% of parents are adding their children to an insurance policy as the named driver when they are in fact the main driver and often the owner of the vehicle being insured.

More worryingly is that many young drivers are driving with no insurance at all. Yet by fronting, it can invalidate the insurance which in effect is the same as driving without any insurance as a claim can be refused by the insurer or the policy cancelled altogether.

Parents believe they can save hundreds of pounds and that it is harmless. However, the risks are substantial in that they can find it hard obtaining insurance in the future and can even be prosecuted, as it is against the law.

There are a number of ways other than this to help reduce young driver’s premiums:

Choose your car carefully, different cars fall into different insurance bands.

Check the car has an alarm and immobiliser fitted.

Do your research – there are lots of insurers out there all fighting for your business.

Pass plus courses will also help to reduce insurance costs and will sharpen your road skills. Click on the pass plus link on our website for a list of insurance companies that support the Pass Plus scheme and for prices.

Natasha Simper of Britannia Driving School said: “I understand that motorists will often cut corners in a bid to save money however, insurance is one you really shouldn’t avoid. Insurance doesn’t have to be expensive if you invest a little of your time into finding the best deal and follow the easy steps highlighted above.”

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June 29, 2010
Diplomatic Traffic Fines

LONDON — Foreign diplomats in Britain have been accused of human trafficking, domestic violence, drink driving and threats to kill — and owe more than 36 million pounds in traffic fines, new figures reveal.

Foreign Office figures show diplomatic missions owe 36,057,690 pounds for not paying London’s congestion charge since 2003 — and half a million in parking and traffic fines in 2009 alone.

But the 25,000 people entitled to diplomatic immunity in Britain are not simply using it to avoid traffic penalties, according to the figures revealed Monday.

Last year, 17 people were accused of drink driving and serious crimes — those warranting at least a year in jail.

This includes two people accused of human trafficking, one from the Saudi Arabian embassy and one from the Sierra Leone mission, a Saudi accused of sexual assault and a Pakistani official accused of threatening to kill someone.

A member of the Gambian mission was accused of shoplifting, a Nigerian of actual bodily harm and numerous officials — including from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain — were accused of drink-driving.

Previous years saw further accusations of drink driving as well as of dangerous driving by a Russian diplomat, domestic assault and car theft by South African officials, and robbery by one of Guyana’s diplomats.

The biggest offender in non-payment of the London congestion charge is the United States embassy, which owed 3,821,880 pounds at the end of January. It is followed by Russia and Japan.

The embassies say they are exempt from all taxes in their host nation but authorities in the British capital insist the congestion charge, levied on vehicles entering the city at peak times, is not a tax and they must pay up.

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June 28, 2010
FLYING OUR FLAGS BECAUSE BRITANNIA RULES

One author has suggested that by flying a St Georges flag from your car you are identifying yourself as worth avoiding on the roads. He even goes as far as to say that the number of flags indicates the degree of driver stupidity and that four flags is the icing on the cake and denotes a complete moron.

Outrageous you might say.

Flying a flag or the type of clothes a person is wearing does not determine their driving ability.

What about families that share a car, it may be a family member who has put the flag up.

There are many ADI’s that are proud of their country and decide to fly a flag, are these individuals’ bad drivers?

The author suggests that we often stereotype drivers, such as the elderly and that we are wrong to do this as statistically they are safer drivers. However, the author is condescending writing this article when there is no research or proof to suggest that flag flyers are bad drivers.

Natasha Simper of Britannia Driving School said: “The flag does not in my opinion denote the drivers driving skills however, you must fly them in a sensible manner. The flags cost so little that they can easily snap of when driving on the motorway, which not only litters the streets but could also cause damage to other vehicles or even worse fly off and restrict a motorcyclist’s view. So secure your flags and be proud of your country.”

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June 25, 2010
PROTEST AND DRIVE AWAY WITH THE BEST DEAL

Insurance companies and breakdown services compete for business often by offering special discounted offers to new customers, but it is the loyal customers that lose out.

Customers who have been members for years can pay up to a third more than new customers online.

However, don’t be duped into thinking that the price they offer you as an existing customer is fixed. If you contact them with regards to leaving and taking your business elsewhere, more often than not they will lower their original quote.

Even this seems somewhat unfair, as those who are not confident enough to contact the company and demand a lower premium will pay whatever they want to charge.

You must also be aware that with most insurers and breakdown companies, after the first year they will use what is known as ‘continuous payment authority’ whereby they can charge your card the next years charges regardless whether you want them to or not.

Natasha Simper of Britannia Driving School said: “My advice is shop around for the best deal, don’t be afraid to challenge quotes and threaten to take your business elsewhere and remember to keep an eye out for your renewal date, if you don’t want to stay with your existing company, you need to opt out of the payment so that it does not automatically go through.”

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June 24, 2010
Clamped As I Was Driving

A MUM told yesterday how she was clamped while DRIVING her car.
Jessie Martin, 31, pulled into the car park of a block of flats to turn round on a road.

But as she did so two vans screeched up and blocked her exit.
Two “scary-looking” hulks who jumped from the vans told her to turn off her engine. And when she did, they clamped her car.

Sobbing Jessie, who at first feared thieves were after her, said she was ordered to pay £120 to have the clamp released.
When she refused she was told a tow truck would have to be called, costing her £434.

Jessie said the LBS Enforcement team, who operate in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, pulled on identity badges only after they clamped her car.
She added: “I phoned the manager and he was really rude. He said, ‘You shouldn’t be parked there.’ I said I wasn’t parked, I was turning around. Then he hung up.”

Jessie’s roofer partner Michael Jenner, 39, said the couple, who have four kids, paid up with a credit card and cash meant for a daughter’s birthday. They will try to retrieve it via a small claims court.
Last month Jordan Hall, 19, was clamped as he turned in a garage forecourt in the same road.

LBS manager Marvin Sanz denied his men were laying in wait for drivers. He refused to comment on claims that the company owes £14,000 to drivers who won court judgements against them.

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June 23, 2010
PREPARING YOUR CAR FOR ITS MOT

We all know that cars can be expensive to look after and statistics show that around a third of all cars fail their yearly MOT.

When an MOT is being carried out the inspector cannot amend any faults no matter how small the defect, which can then result in it failing.

However, there are a few pointers to consider before putting your car in for its MOT which could make all the difference and save you a lot of money.

Make sure that your licence plate is clean and secure.

All seatbelt should be in correct working order, no DIY jobs allowed such as a knot to hold it in place!

Your windscreen wipers must clean the window screen sufficiently, if they don’t they are easy to replace. Your local garage or Halfords will sell them, much cheaper than paying for a new MOT.

The lights on the vehicle must all be in working order. The lens covering the light must be clean and have no serious cracks.

It is also wise to make sure your tyre pressure is correct and that there is 1.6mm tread across three quarters of the tyre as this is a legal requirement.

Natasha Simper of Britannia Driving School said: “Most of these things are simple and easy to do and with a wet cloth and a quick visit to your local petrol station, all of the above can be rectified before the MOT inspectors get their hands on your car.”

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June 22, 2010
Police arrest 95 for drink driving

Police in Avon and Somerset have arrested 95 people for drink driving offences three weeks into a campaign to save lives on the roads.

Operation Tonic was launched on June 1, and has seen officers carry out high-visibility stop-checks to raise awareness of the dangers of drink-driving and target repeat offenders.

In the last three weeks, over 23,600 motorists have been stopped, 1,513 have been breathalysed and 95 people have been arrested.

Chief Inspector Polly King said: “The drivers we have spoken to have given us really positive feedback and have been reassured to see that we take a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drink driving.

“Everyone is making the most of the warmer weather we have been enjoying recently – having fun at family barbeques, relaxing in beer gardens or supporting the World Cup. But I would ask that everyone remembers it is impossible to calculate your drink drive limit and even a small amount of alcohol can affect your ability to drive.

“We will not tolerate drink or drug driving in Avon and Somerset and will be cracking down on those that do so. Our message is clear – if you do drink or drug-drive this summer, you can expect to be caught.”

In Avon and Somerset, seven people were killed and 35 seriously injured in drink-drive related collisions in 2009.

The consequences of being caught drink driving are extensive – including a minimum 12-month driving ban, a criminal record, up to six months in prison and a fine of up to £5,000. Those convicted of drink-driving for a second time are also likely to have their car seized and potentially crushed.

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June 21, 2010
RACING GAMES AND UNSAFE DRIVING

There are not many households that do not have a games console of some sort, be it an X-Box, PlayStation or Nintendo and many of you will have played some form of driving game.

But are we able to see the distinction between the racetrack on screen and the roads in real life.

Research has shown that those that play racing games can often act in a similar way on screen to that on the roads. Driving actions in these video games often include reckless driving, speeding, crashing into other vehicles and carrying out risky stunts.

It has been found that there is a link between this behaviour and the driving risks we take in real life. Young drivers are thought to be especially prone to this behaviour.

Natasha Simper of Britannia Driving School said: “It is worrying that drivers cannot differentiate between games and real life but then who is to say that these risk takers would act any differently if they didn’t play the games.”

What are your thoughts on this article? Send your views to Britannia Driving School by using the comments link below:

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June 18, 2010
NOTHING SACRED WHILST DRIVING

Police are introducing a new camera system to help catch careless drivers.

The approach they intend to use has caused much debate and for many they feel it is an invasion of privacy.

The new spy cameras are to be on a mast positioned on top of police vehicles. The cameras will be able to zoom in for some distance and catch drivers who are using mobile phones, not wearing a seatbelt, eating or applying make-up.

The police suggest that introducing the cameras will help reduce road deaths but motorists see it as another way for the Government to cash in.

Drivers caught on camera talking on their phone will automatically be fined £60 and will be given three points on their licence. Anyone caught not wearing a seatbelt, eating or driving unduly will be fined £30.

One worry is that the cameras will reduce police presence on the roads and that their time will be spent surveying the footage rather than combating crime directly.

Some have suggested that the cameras be implemented to catch crimes that really affect society such as burglaries and anti-social behaviour. However, they realise that this is not likely as there is no money to be made doing this.

Natasha Simper of Britannia Driving School said: “Are the spy cameras there to stop motorists acting carelessly on the road or are they just a money making machine ready to spy on the public. My advice is to resist picking your nose!”

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June 17, 2010
Drink-driving limit could be cut by third

THE legal alcohol limit for drivers could be reduced by more than a third if the Government agrees with the recommendations of a new report.

Reducing it from 80mg per 100ml of blood to 50mg would save hundreds of lives per year, a Whitehall-commissioned report by leading academic and legal expert Sir Peter North said.

He also recommended the one-year driving ban – automatic for those who exceed the current limit – should be maintained for the new 50mg limit.

Sir Peter, who was asked to review drink and drug-driving laws, also called for police to be given greater powers to check for drink-drivers.

Making 51 recommendations in all, he said police procedures enforcing current drug-driving laws should be improved, making it more straightforward for police to identify and prosecute drug-drivers by allowing nurses, as well as doctors, to authorise blood tests of suspects.

Medium-term, he recommended early approval of saliva testing of drug-driving suspects in police stations.

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