Monthly Archives: November 2009

November 30, 2009

There are far too many accidents and fatalities (34 in 2008 alone) in the U.K. that occur as a result of illegal or unsafe tyres. Research has found that more than half of all motorists could not correctly identify the legal tread depth. ‘The lifesaver in your pocket’ campaign aims to get hundreds of motorists to check their tread depth in a simple and easy way, which will keep them safe and avoid any repercussions.

The Current law states that tyre tread on cars must be at a minimum of 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tread, around its entire circumference. Any motorist found to be in breach of this can be fined up to £2500 and given 3 points for every illegal tyre.

Tyres are the only part of the car that comes in contact with the road surface therefore its essential that they are in proper working condition. Cars without sufficient depth are liable to aquaplaning on water on road surfaces and stopping distances are likely to be longer. 

Drivers are encouraged to insert a 20p coin into the main grooves of the tyres and if the outer band of the coin is visible when inserted, then the tyre may not have sufficient depth and should be checked by specialists.

Simon Bush of Britannia Driving School said: “The 20 pence piece provides a useful guide but is not always accurate; therefore it is always advisable to use a calibrated tread depth gauge if one is available.”

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


November 26, 2009
Drivers urged to expose insurance cheats

MOST people are backing moves for tougher action by insurers to expose the cheats who lie about motoring offences when applying for insurance.

Survey findings show support of more than 70 per cent for companies who try to find out about speeding and offences relating to the use of mobile phones while driving, claims the Association of British Insurers.

‘Honest motorists are fed up with drivers who lie and cheat to try to obtain cheaper insurance,” said ABI director of general insurance and health Nick Starling.

‘We rely on people being honest, but those who conceal motoring offences not only push up the cost of insurance for everyone, but also run the risk of having any claim rejected.

‘To protect honest customers, insurers are currently discussing with Government whether they would be able to check for relevant motoring convictions and endorsements.’

Other survey findings reveal the main concern for women drivers is being involved in a staged accident while men motorists worry most about having their car vandalised.


November 23, 2009
Driving app Waze turns the highway into a Pac-Man game with Road Goodies

Mobile driving application Waze is adding a little extra inventive for users to help build out its crowdsourced maps. It already offers users points for “munching” up the road — i.e., driving around with Waze and validating the app’s directions. The latest version adds “road goodies,” special spots on the map that you get extra points for driving over.

Those goodies (hammers, cherries, and presents) are placed on Waze maps wherever the company has identified problems. When you drive over those spots with Waze activated, it uses GPS data from your phone to correct the map. As a bonus, Waze’s maps start looking more and more like the Pac-Man video game.

The company, based in Israel and Palo Alto, Calif., is kicking off the new game with a contest that will last until Nov. 30. At the end of that time, the users with the three highest scores will win Amazon gift cards worth up to $500.


November 23, 2009
DSA Plans for Instructors to Sit in on Driving Test Come to a Halt

Radical plans to make it compulsory for instructors to sit in the back of the car when their pupils go up on test have done an emergency stop. The original plan was to alter the driving test regulations to see instructors in the back of cars from October 2010. The original plans were implemented as the former Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly said ‘We propose that the person presenting the candidate should have to sit in the car with their student when the candidate takes the practical test, and to stay as the examiner gives their pupil feedback.’

The DSA (Driving Standards Agency) has now stated that candidates will be encouraged to take an observer along, but this does not have to be the instructor. The observer is there merely to help the pupil understand the feedback in an unbiased way. However, after reviewing this, it has been decided that this will not be mandatory but just advised.

Simon Bush of Britannia Driving School said: “By making the instructors sit in the back on the car will inevitably raise the standards of those going up on test. It also allows for the instructor to act as a witness and allows for them to tailor further learning accordingly.”

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


November 19, 2009
New York Now Has Toughest Drunk Driving Law

Something crazy happened in Albany this week: The Assembly passed a bill, then the Senate passed their version of the bill, and then Governor David Paterson signed it into law—all in two days! Yesterday New York instituted the nation’s toughest drunk driving law, making it a felony to drive intoxicated with a passenger 15 years old or under. The bill, “Leandra’s Law,” was named for the 11-year-old New York girl killed in a DWI crash on the West Side Highway last month. At the signing yesterday, Leandra’s father Lenny Rosado vowed to take his crusade to Washington and pass the law on the federal level:

From here on, those that think it’s OK to drink and drive – with children in the car or not – will pay the price…This is not going to be where I stop. I’m going to go out there to as many people as I can and educate them about this terrible disease we have out there…and hopefully we can take it all the way up straight to the White House.

Senate President Malcolm Smith told Rosado, “I don’t know how you stand it. I’m not sure, as a father of a 16-year-old, that I could be standing here if I had befallen the challenge that you have… We stand behind you. If you move this to be a national crusade, know that under leader Sampson and myself we stand to move with you.” Leandra died October 11th when an allegedly drunk adult crashed a van full of children, killing her and injuring her six friends. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn told reporters, “It is tragic that it had to take the loss of Leandra Rosado’s life in order for this to come to our attention and for action to be taken.”


November 17, 2009
84-year-old woman gets 12 month ban for driving wrong way down dual-carriageway

Magistrates ordered Margaret Street to take an extended test before being allowed to drive again and heard that she was unlikely to get behind the wheel again.

Prosecutor Helena Jackson said that at 10pm on October 7 police officers saw a car heading towards them in what was for them the outside lane.

They switched on their blue lights to warn other vehicles travelling behind them and the Ford Focus carried on, avoiding them.

After reaching Rhuddlan roundabout on the A525 town by-pass near Rhyl, North Wales, the officers chased back after the car and, when stopped, the pensioner said she had become confused.

She explained that she had been to St Asaph and normally returned home through the village of Rhuddlan.

“I realised as soon as I got onto the dual-carriageway but could not get off, so drove carefully to the end of the road,” she told magistrates in Prestatyn. Street, of East Avenue, Prestatyn, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and was fined £60. She was also banned from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay costs of £85.

Her solicitor, Gwyn Jones, said she realised she had made a grave error of judgement, but having entered the dual-carriageway was faced with the predicament of whether to stop, do a U-turn or carry on. “She accepts that the standard of her driving on that occasion fell below what was expected of a reasonable and prudent driver,” he said.

He told the court it was highly unlikely his client would take the extended test, and added: “This may be a reminder to us all that when we reach a certain age it might be better for us not to drive any more.”


November 16, 2009
Motorist Would Like To See All Children Illuminated During Winter

With the dark winter months upon us, many motorists say that they worry about not being able to see child pedestrians while out driving. Nine out of ten motorists feel that parents do not do enough to keep their children safe and all children would benefit from a florescent glow. Some even go as far as suggesting that all children should be made to wear a compulsory orange school uniform so that their visibility is increased.
Special safety training should be implemented so that young children are aware of the dangers on the roads. They should be taught skills such as where it is safe to cross and how to judge distances of cars and motorcyclists. Not only will this decrease the risk of injury and fatality but also give motorists some peace of mind.
Simon Bush of Britannia Driving School said: “According to the road safety organisation, GEM Motoring Assist, the government’s resistance to keep British Summer Time all year round is causing death and injury to many young pedestrians and adults.”

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


November 12, 2009
Safer women drivers

Average premiums for men have risen to £886 – £386 more than the average for women. And the gap is even wider for teenage males, with 18-year-old men paying £1,081 more for cover than females of the same age.Women get a better deal because insurance companies continue to regard them as safer and more mature when they’re behind the wheel.

Analysis of more than six million quotes supplied between June 2008 and June 2009 has revealed that men have to pay 71 per cent more for car insurance. But teenage males with a few years’ driving experience can expect premiums to drop from £2,318 to £1,004 when they reach the age of 20.

Men have historically had to pay higher motor premiums than women and this is reflected in the different prices insurers charge for male and female drivers. Many insurance companies view women as safer and more mature motorists and this is why their premiums are not only cheaper but also decrease with age at a much faster rate than those of men.

Likewise, younger drivers, especially males, will find themselves having to fork out for expensive motor insurance as they are perceived as a high risk category.


November 10, 2009
Biggest rise in car sales in 10 years

A combination of the Government’s “cash for bangers” scrappage scheme and a rush to beat next year’s 2.5 per cent VAT increase combined to give car makers another buoyant month.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders the scrappage scheme – in which anyone trading a 10 year old car gets a £2,000 subsidy towards a new model – accounted for a fifth of sales in October.

This seems to have been confirmed by the figures, which showed that households accounted for more than half of cars sold – at least 10 per cent more than in a normal month.

The Ford Fiesta continued to be Britain’s best-selling car and small models appear to have dominated sales, reflecting a trend towards those with lower running costs.

October was the fourth month in succession in which sales rose compared to the same period in 2008. The increase was rise was the biggest recorded by the industry since 1999.

Scrappage is still having an impact as one would expect,” said Mike Allen, a motor industry analyst with the stockbrokers, Panmure Gordon. “But with January’s VAT increase having been confirmed, people are buying a car now to save paying the extra tax.

“Given the cost of more luxurious models, it makes sense to bring the purchase forward, before the price of the car goes up.”


November 9, 2009
The DSA Blacklists the Toyota iQ as Unsuitable for the Driving Test

It has emerged that learner drivers will not be allowed to take their test in a Toyota iQ, as the DSA claims the car is not suitable.

The ban was declared after a risk assessment was carried out and it was found that the iQ’s thick B- and C- Pillars and rear windows prevents the examiner from having a clear view at angled junctions, which compromises the strict testing methods. It was complaints from the DSA (Driving Standards Agency) examiners which prompted the investigation.

Steve Garrod, head of training at the Driving Instructor Association (DIA), spoke to Toyota about the problem and their advice was for instructors that own this car to take it to their Toyota dealer and look to part exchange it.

Simon Bush of Britannia Driving School said: “The Toyota iQ joins an honorable list of cars deemed unfit. Any instructor looking to buy a car should check that it is suitable as a lot of the smaller cars such as the Ford Street Ka and Mini Convertibles present problems. Their size may be good for learners when they are practising manoeuvres but they are no good when they are being turned away at the test centre.”

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