Monthly Archives: July 2009

July 30, 2009
1,500 breathalysed in drink-driving campaign

More than 1,500 motorists were stopped and breathalysed in Nottinghamshire as part of a month-long drink-driving crackdown.

Of the 1,507 checked, 139 people tested positive, or refused or failed to provide a sample to see if they were over the legal alcohol limit.

The scheme, part of the national summer campaign throughout June, saw drivers or bikers suspected of driving under the influence of drink or drugs stopped at the roadside, and extrad patrols on main roads.

Chief Insp Andy Charlton, head of Nottinghamshire Police’s roads policing unit, said: “It is still extremely disappointing to find people continue to drink alcohol and drive.

“Not only do they face a fine and the possibility of losing their licence, but it also significantly increases the chances of killing or seriously injuring someone – even themselves.”

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July 28, 2009
Commons committee stokes up the pay-as-you-go motoring scheme again

Despite a move to introduce pay as you drive motoring being shot down in flames by UK motorists only 2 years ago it looks as though this particular policy may well be back on the agenda. Citing the fact that motorists no longer believe the government when it introduces tax rises for motorists in the name of “the green revolution” there is a push to put pay as you drive motoring back on the agenda.

While there is a valid reason for disputing the UK government’s handling of various tax increases in connection with motorists in the UK, there are grave concerns that by introducing pay-as-you-go motoring this will give the government an easy opportunity to increase the charges year-on-year. At least with the road tax you know exactly what you are paying for the next 12 months, even though the duty on petrol does fluctuate. Would you rather the government introduce an initial low pay-as-you-go mileage charge then increase this in the years to come, again in the name of “the green revolution”?

While there may be some new support for pay-as-you-go driving there is a danger that motorists will make it much easier for the government to increase charges in the future citing the fact that motorists are in control of the number of miles they travel each year.

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July 27, 2009
Show Me, Tell Me Failures

More than 14 per cent of learner drivers now fail the Show Me, Tell Me, part of the practical driving test that was introduced in 2003.

It would seem that many learners are not getting proper training before taking the driving test for practical questions such as “Open the bonnet, identify where you would check that the engine has sufficient oil?”

Parents are being blamed for the failures as professional driving instructors teach the “Show me, Tell me” in their syllabus.

Simon Bush of Britannia Driving School said: “In the show me, Tell me part of the test, learner drivers are asked to identify various parts of the engine and to demonstrate how they would carry out basic checks and maintenance. In the L-test only one driving fault is allocated to this section of the test. All the latest “show me, Tell me” question and answers are listed on this website.” 

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July 23, 2009
UK motorists being driven crazy by deteriorating roads

Despite paying billions in road taxes, British drivers believe not enough care is being taken of the nation’s roads.
While news that a majority of UK motorists are unhappy with the amount of road tax they pay is unlikely to come as a shock to anyone, the extent to which disaffection is growing among the nation’s drivers is still somewhat surprising.

According to the latest research, around four in five Britons believe that they are paying over-the-odds for getting behind the wheel, with high road tax rates exacerbated by added costs such as car insurance, high fuel prices and even road tolls.
At the same time, a similar proportion are even more frustrated as they fail to see where their money is being spent, with many convinced that the state of British roads is deteriorating despite the millions being generated for the Treasury.

While it could be argued that motorists are often only too happy to play the victim card and believe that they are being unfairly persecuted by those in power, in this instance the pessimists may have a point, with the motoring group estimating that around £45 billion worth of road taxes are paid each year across the UK and of this just one-sixth is ploughed back into the national transport infrastructure.

Notably, 82 per cent of those drivers polled said that they felt the quality of roads is deteriorating, representing a 14 per cent increase on the 2008 study, while many also feel that speed cameras are little more than cash-generating machines for local councils and police forces.

At the same time, motoring groups in America are mooting the idea of introducing varying rates of road tax, dependent upon how heavy – and therefore how damaging to a surface – a vehicle is.


July 21, 2009
Fraudulent ADI’s

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has delivered a stark warning to any Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) who engages in fraudulent practices by misusing their status of responsibility.

ADI Peter Cyril Groombridge, 72, of South West London was today sentenced at Inner London Crown Court to 10 months imprisonment for encouraging four illegal instructors to provide driving tuition to candidates through his company ‘Professional Driving School.’

It is illegal to receive money or money’s worth in exchange for driving tuition unless you are a qualified, registered ADI.

Early suspicions were raised when a DSA test centre staff member expressed concerns that illegal instructors were presenting candidates for test.

Bogus instructors, Edward Asare Afriyie, 58, of Peckham, George Ferreira Cabral, 35, of South West London, Ali Mazhar Mirza, 74, of South East London and Astley Hasten Davis, 73 of South East London received a combined fine of £2,580 for their illegal activity.

The DSA’s driving instructor Registrar, Charles Morton said: “The DSA message is clear: if you are not an ADI qualified to teach learner drivers, but continue teaching for money or moneys worth, you can expect to face ever increasing penalties.

“Illegal instructors are a danger to the public. They have not been assessed by us to ensure they are able to provide driving instruction to required standards.

“It is very simple to check that a driving instructor is qualified. Ensure they display an in-date pink or green badge in their windscreen during lessons and that the photo on the badge matches the person providing the instruction. The pink badge indicates that they have trainee status and are entitled to give paid instruction whilst acquiring practical experience. The green badge indicates their name is in The Register of Approved Driving Instructors, they are fully qualified to give paid instruction and are subject to regular checks by DSA to ensure their continued competence and suitability to give instruction”.

The head of the DSA Fraud and Integrity Team, Andy Rice added: “We investigate all reported cases of suspected illegal instruction and work closely with the police and criminal justice agencies to identify offenders and prosecute”.


July 20, 2009
Electric Car Sales to be Subsidised

Drivers will be offered subsidies of up to £5,000 to help them to purchase electric or plug in hybrid cars under plans announced by the government.

It’s part of a plan to promote low carbon transport over the next five years.

The strategy includes plans to provide £20m for charging points and other necessary infrastructure. At present they are very limited.

Currently sales of hybrid vehicles has been held back by a number of factors: They commonly have a limited range of about 40 miles, take several hours to charge, and have only two seats.

But the government hopes to target drivers of a new generation of all electric or plug in petrol electric cars, which are expected to go on sale in two years time.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said:  “When people see the electric car – the speed, the lack of noise – they are going to fall in love with it.”

Environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth said financial support for electric cars was a step in the right direction but said investment in public transport was also needed.

Simon Bush of Britannia Driving School said: “The big problem is that the next generation of electric cars will initially be very expensive to make. Without subsidies, nobody will buy them, so manufacturers won’t be able to increase production and get the price down.”

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July 16, 2009
Old vs Young Drivers

Almost a third of 45 to 64-year-olds admitted to driving while potentially over the drink-drive limit compared with only 24% of 17 to 24-year-olds, its survey found.

However, more than a quarter of 17 to 24-year-olds occasionally send text messages while at the wheel, with 5% being frequent texters.

And one in four of these young drivers have been in a car when they believed the person at the wheel was under the influence of drugs, while 10% of 17 to 24-year-olds admitted being under the influence of drugs themselves while driving.

“Younger drivers have many good habits that bode well for the future of motoring, but their attitude towards drug-driving is worrying, particularly as the number of fatal accidents involving drugs has increased by 28% in recent years.

“For other motorists, there’s still work to do on tackling the drink-drive culture, and raising awareness of environmental driving issues.”

The Government needs to listen to the voice of the new generation of motorists. They want more clear and accessible information on the effects of drugs, the reality of the drink-drive limit and the ‘morning after’ risks.


July 15, 2009
Benefits of LPG Conversion for Drivers

The number of vehicle LPG conversions carried out has increased dramatically as more people realise its cost and environmental benefits.

An added benefit of running a vehicle on LPG can include up to 100 per cent exemption from the London Congestion Charge.

There are environmental benefits too, as vehicle running on LPG produce far fewer harmful emissions that contribute to environmental and health problems than traditional road fuels.

Autogas Limited, a joint venture between Calor and Shell, currently supplies around 220 outlets in the UK. In addition, Calor supplies Autogas from over 150 outlets through its Calor Centres, Morrison’s supermarkets and other independent sites.

Simon Bush of Britannia Driving School said: “Calor and Autogas advise that conversions should always be carried out by an LPG Approved installer and, as there are around 200 outlets currently registered in the UK, it is easy to find your nearest specialist on the internet.”

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July 14, 2009
Dangerous driving on the rise

Nearly 70% of UK drivers admit to having dangerous driving habits.

Potentially fatal driving habits are on the increase, too, with research revealing an increase of 4% compared with results from last year.

Eating or drinking while driving was the most common bad habit, which was admitted to by 43% of those asked, while 9% of drivers confessed to getting behind the wheel after having an alcoholic drink and 10% said they had driven ‘the morning after the night before’.

There’s good news for seatbelt campaigners, though, with a 3% reduction in those driving without strapping in.

Most common bad habits
Top 10 bad habits that drivers admitted to doing during June 2009:

1 Eating/drinking while driving 43%
2 Driving while tired 32%
3 Excessive speed 17%
4 Driving while wearing flip flops/no shoes 14%
5 Using a handheld mobile phone 12%
6 Reading a map 11%
7 Texting while driving 11%
8 Driving after having an alcoholic drink 9%
9 Driving ‘the morning after the night before’ 10%
10 Driving with a pet loose in the car 8%


July 13, 2009
Jack Straw promises to review dangerous driving laws

Justice Secretary Jack Straw has vowed to review dangerous driving laws after a 13,000 name petition for a child left brain-damaged by a boy racer.

Cerys Edwards was just 11 months old when millionaire’s son Antonio Boparan, 19, crashed into her parents’ car at 70mph on the wrong side of the road in a 30mph zone.

Her mum Tracy and dad Gareth want a new law of causing serious injury by dangerous driving with up to 10 years’ jail – instead of the 21 months he got for dangerous driving.

Mr Straw said: “I pay tribute to their campaign and they have my best wishes. They make a very powerful case and I can assure them their views will be carefully considered.”

Boparan spent just six months behind bars for the November 2006 horror. The most he could have got was a measly two years.

Gareth, 44, of Sutton Coldfield, West Mids, said: “Boparan as good as killed Cerys and only served six months – that’s not justice. The laws are outdated and this is an important step in our quest to change them.