Monthly Archives: September 2011

September 30, 2011
NO LICENCE, NOT INSURED AND UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL

Mr Ashworth of Oxfordshire was found guilty of death by careless driving after he knocked down a cyclist.

At the time of the accident Mr Ashworth was not licensed, not insured (as the car was borrowed from a neighbour) and he was under the influence of drink and drugs. The judge made it very clear that he will be facing a prison sentence.

The cyclist Mr Kahl who was knocked down was not completely blameless however, as he has also been drinking before the accident, was not displaying any lights on the bicycle and was listening to his MP3 player.

Ultimately if Mr Ashworth had not been drinking or had not taken cocaine before driving his vehicle the outcome could be very different for both Mr Kahl and his family. It is strongly urged that all cyclists take something away from this tragedy and remember the Highway Code:

At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit.

You must not ride when under the influence of drink or drugs, including medicine.

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September 29, 2011
Teenage wrote off mothers car.

A teenage learner became so confident after 15 driving lessons he decided to take out his mother’s car and wrote it off by smashing into a bridge parapet.
Greig Gorrie’s parents replaced the £6700 insurance write-off and have ordered their son to pay for the new vehicle with regular £100 instalments.
Perth Sheriff Court heard on Tuesday that Gorrie had been taking regular formal driving lessons and had completed more than a dozen by July this year.
Without his parents’ permission he decided to help himself to his mother’s Vauxhall Corsa to demonstrate his driving skills to his friend Christopher Stewart.
But the court was told that the impromptu lesson lasted only a few minutes before Gorrie lost control of the car because he approached a bend in the road at excessive speed.
Fiscal depute Nicola Manison told the court that the 19-year-old failed to negotiate a left hand bend on the B9112 Perth to Dunning road, near to the village of Aberdalgie.
He left the road and struck a wall and bridge parapet and both he and Mr Stewart were injured, while the Corsa was so badly damaged it had to be written off.
Gorrie, of Viewlands Road West, Perth, also admitted driving without insurance and without a qualified driver while he was a provisional licence holder on July 12 this year.
Solicitor John McLaughlin, defending, said: “He had been taking lessons and had done 14 or 15 when he decided to take the car out to increase his knowledge of driving.
“Unfortunately he took the corner too fast and struck the wall. Neither he nor his passenger suffered significant injuries, but the car was written off.
“Since then his father has bought his mother a new car and my client is being made to pay that back at £100 a time.”
The teenager, who works for a garage, had his licence endorsed with eight points and was fined

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September 28, 2011
PAIN, GRIEF AND GUILT WHEN WIFE KNOCKS DOWN HER HUSBAND

A 25 year old woman holds the pain and grief of the death of her husband after he was hit by a car, but she also holds the guilt as she was the one that hit him.

Mrs. Knox, was driving their family car when she was trying to find her husband after an argument, she had her two young children with her in the back. She found her husband sitting on the pavement with his back to a fence and pulled up onto the pavement to speak with him.

She had not realised that whilst pulling on to the pavement she had struck her husband and he went on to die later that day in hospital.

Witnesses described her as hysterical when she realised what she had done and she immediately called the emergency services.

Suzanne Knox has denied causing her husband’s death by dangerous driving but had admitted a less serious charge of death by careless driving. Police accident investigators have said that she must have been driving very slowly at the time of impact as there was very little damage to the fence and hedge.

Emily Smith at Britannia Driving School said: “This it is a tragic accident that has seen a family lose a loved one. However, we must all think about how our driving and in particular our parking can affect others, in most cases parking on the pavement is restricted and when parking on the pavement is permitted, we must all take extra care to look out for pedestrians.”

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September 27, 2011
Uninsured Drivers

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau, which provides compensation to victims of uninsured drivers, has pinpointed the worst offending areas in the country.They include Bordesley in Birmingham, where nearly one in three drivers is without a policy. Other badly behaving areas include parts of Essex, Manchester and West Yorkshire.There are thought to be 1.4million uninsured drivers on Britain’s roads – or one in 25 motorists.Around 23,000 people are injured and 160 killed by uninsured and untraced drivers every year.Uninsured drivers cost inurance firms up to £500million a year and adds an average of £30 to every single annual premium, it is estimated.

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September 26, 2011
WHITE VAN MAN GETS LUCKY

A driver in Argentina has been given a second chance at life after narrowly escaping death when his van was hit by a train.

The driver jumped the gates at a level crossing and was hit by the oncoming train. Cameras fitted to the train showed the accident and shows the van being shunted along the tracks.

The man has been detained by authorities after he was given the all clear for injuries.

This was the second incident to take place in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, when a city bus was hit by a passenger train, unfortunately this led to the death of 11 people, with hundred injured.

The City is now looking into the effectiveness of the railway gates however, it must be said that all drivers have a sense of responsibility and should approach all junctions and crossing with care.

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September 23, 2011
LEARNERS MAY HAVE TO LEARN THEIR THEORY BEFORE BEING ALLOWED BEHIND THE WHEEL

Learner drivers in Jersey may have to pass their theory test before being allowed on the roads to take practical lessons under new proposals looking to make roads safer.

Currently learners can apply for their provisional licence up to 2 months before they turn 17 but must not start driving until the licence has arrived and they have turned 17 years of age. They can then drive whilst supervised without having to sit any exams.

Yet parish constables in Jersey want to see learners pass their theory first before being issued with a licence. They would be allowed to sit the theory test up to a year before their 17th birthday so they could learn to drive on their licence from the day they turn 17 still. This would ensure everyone knows their theory before getting behind the wheel of a car.

The proposals may also be extended to moped riders who would also have to sit a theory test before doing the basic training which allows them to ride on a provisional licence.

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September 22, 2011
Young Drivers Pushed Out

Young drivers are being made scapegoats and priced out of the market by insurance companies desperate to counter the loss of premiums from disloyal customers, according to the findings an Independent on Sunday investigation.
The study found that soaring premiums for young motorists – one company quoted £9,000 for a 17-year-old – are not in line with prices quoted for the rest of the population which have also risen steeply.
The problem is such that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has decided to step in, announcing recently that it will launch an inquiry into the escalating price of car insurance.
Average premiums for comprehensive cover rose by over 40 per cent in the 12 months to March, according to the AA. Drivers, aged 17-22, are facing an even tougher time, paying 64 per cent more today – at a typical premium of £2,431. In reality, many young drivers are paying much more than even this.
Recent research from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), the road-safety charity, found that the cheapest insurance quote for an average 17-year-old driver was a colossal £7,091 a year, while at the top end the highest quote was £9,700.
“You often wonder if they just don’t want the business. In the past you attracted young people so that they stayed with you for life, but now people change insurers all the time. It seems to me these companies don’t want them,” says Neil Greig, IAM’s director of policy and research.
We are told repeatedly that younger drivers pay more because they cost more – they have more accidents than other drivers and these accidents are more likely to lead to expensive third-party claims from passengers. Insurers say an increase in fraud and a significant rise in the number of personal injury claims are also to blame for the rises.
Simon Douglas, the director of insurance at the AA, explains that price hikes are inevitable when companies are losing money. “By 2009 insurers were paying out £123 in claims for every £100 taken in premiums. As some insurers began to push up rates in response, people bought instead from those insurers that had not increased prices, causing them to write even higher volumes of loss-making business,” he says. “This trend was fuelled by the growth of price-comparison sites, where typically half of customers buy the cheapest product they can get.”
This alone cannot explain why premiums for young drivers have increased out of all proportion over the past few years, however, and Nigel Lacy, of specialist insurer Young Marmalade, says that the crux of the matter is one of customer loyalty.
Previously insurers could bank on a young driver staying with them for a few years, often because mum and dad were with the same company, giving them time to spread the risk. Today, however, firms are unable to rely on customers sticking around, making balancing the books difficult.
“Now everybody is so price conscious and are going straight to the comparison sites. It’s purely price driven, so insurers have got to try to recover their potential risk for that particular segment within the year,” Mr Lacy says.
The crucial question is how can car insurance be made more affordable and how can insurers be persuaded back into this area of the market?
There are signs that changes could be on the way in the shape of a new invention from Ford, introduced in the US in 2009 and on its way to Britain next year. The MyKey is a device which limits the top speed, ensures people are wearing seatbelts and even makes emergency calls after a crash. Nervous parents wanting more control over the way their offspring drive can pre-programme a master key to impose limits on the car, capping the top speed, using warning beeps at other speeds, setting a maximum audio volume and even muting the audio system if seatbelts aren’t worn.
But whether the additional safety measures will actually be recognised by insurers is another question. Similar technology is in place already with telematics, or black-box technology, which monitors driving behaviour to calculate premiums. By supervising braking, acceleration, cornering, speed and the time of day the car is driven, companies can lower premiums to reward safe driving and increase costs for risky motorists.
The choice is limited to just a few providers, however, and there is little to suggest that many of the big insurers will follow. Back in 2006, Norwich Union (now Aviva) pioneered “pay as you drive” insurance, but scrapped the products after only two years because take-up was low and the boxes were too expensive to fit.
Today, to set its prices, Co-operative Insurance fits a “smartbox” in the cars of 17 to 25-year-olds, along with a driving dashboard so that young drivers can see for themselves how they are being rated. The annual premium starts from an average of £1,800, but responsible drivers receive a “safer driving discount” of up to 11 per cent.
Young Lewis Hamilton wannabes who break speed limits and take corners too sharply could see their premium jump by 15 per cent. Similar products are available from specialist providers such as Insure the Box.
Young Marmalade offers Intelligent Marmalade, starting from the premise that customers can access cheaper insurance, and then assess and adjust their own driving using data from a motion sensor fitted to the cars. Bad driving can result in premiums being raised (initially by £250, then by £500).
For careful drivers with low mileage who are happy to avoid peak periods, these policies may be a good option, but there is no guarantee they will always beat standard cover.
“They aren’t an instant solution to the young-driver problem as they don’t consistently undercut traditional policies, but they can definitely provide savings for some drivers,” says Lee Griffin, from the comparison site Gocompare.com. “Each of the policies operates slightly differently, so you need to look at which one may suit your situation.”
He adds: “Young-driver premiums vary so much between insurers and between drivers that it really is down to each individual. The best advice is to compare the different approaches to see if you can benefit from trying something different.”

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September 21, 2011
LEARNER DRIVER CAUSES TWO FATAL ACCIDENTS WITHIN 8 YEARS

Mr Eden was jailed last week for seven years after he was found guilty of death by dangerous driving. He has been travelling at excessive speeds and lost control of his car, which then drifted and collided into an oncoming car.

Mr Eden owned a range of fast performance cars and it was due to his speeding that he had a motorbike accident back in 2002 which led to the death of his friend. He was jailed for three years after this offence and banned from driving for 10 years. However, he didn’t adhere to this and was involved in another accident in November 2010 which resulted in the death of his girlfriend.

The Judge was appalled and said that he has ‘learned little’ from his 2002 conviction.

Learner drivers should always be supervised by a full licence holder and despite Mr Eden clearly having driven for a number of years, he could not control the vehicle and showed off in adverse conditions which resulted in the death of two people close to him.

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September 20, 2011
A Drugs-Driver Banned

A MAN has been banned from driving for three years after he drove having taken drugs.
Carlisle magistrates’ court heard how 29-year-old Mark Anderson was stopped after police saw his silver Toyota 4×4 driving down Tait Street in an “inconsiderate manner” on May 28. Prosecutor Pam Ward said police noticed his eyes were glazed and he failed a roadside impairment test. A small amount of heroin was seized.
Anderson, of Northfield Park in Annan, gave a urine sample which proved he was unfit to drive through drugs. He admitted that charge and possessing heroin in court yesterday.
Nick Kennon, defending, said Anderson, a single parent, worked as a warehouse man for a national parcel delivery company and needed his licence for work.
Magistrates disqualified him for 36-months, saying it was his second driving ban in 10 years.
He was fined £215 for the driving offence and £185 for drug possession, and given court costs of £100 with a £15 victim surcharge.

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September 19, 2011
CONGESTION COULD MEAN TOUGHER DRIVING TESTS

Reports have found that congestion costs the UK economy billions each year and if we do not reduce congestion then it could cost us £24b a year by 2025 through late deliveries, missed appointments and other delays.

MPs are looking at lots of ways to reduce congestion and one suggestion is a tougher driving test. Evidence shows the poor road user behaviour led to increased congestion. Therefore we need to address the safety issues linked to drivers that cause accidents and inappropriate road use which adversely affects traffic flow.

Another suggestion was to keep motorists up-to-date with road signs and the law after passing their test. This could be done by having a free Highway Code app for mobile phones or including changes to the Highway Code in the form of a leaflet which would be given to drivers when they renew their licence or tax disc.

Simple solutions such as monitoring bus lanes and the access to the hard shoulder for normal motorists, improving accident clear-up times and tackling road works’ disruption should also help traffic flow.

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