Monthly Archives: August 2010

August 31, 2010
Accidents at level crossings are still cause for concern for train industry

Last year there were as many as 3,244 recorded incidents of misuse or error at level crossings, following 3,495 incidents in 2008.

In 2009, there were 14 collisions between vehicles and trains at level crossings and there were 13 deaths.

here were also 145 near-misses between motor vehicles and trains last year – almost three a week.

Earlier this year Network Rail (NR) chief executive Iain Coucher called on the Government to do more to curb unsafe driving by motorists at level crossings.

NR wants the driving theory test to include compulsory questions on level crossings to enforce learner drivers’ understanding of the Highway Code and reduce risky driving behaviour, such as driving around barriers and running red lights as trains approach.

NR calculates that up to 95 per cent of incidents at level crossings are down to motorist or pedestrian misuse or error.

Mr Coucher said: ”Motorists are too often playing Russian roulette with a 200-tonne train – and tragically some lose their lives gambling at level crossings by running red lights or dodging around barriers.


August 27, 2010

A brother and sister from West Drayton ran their own business taking theory tests for candidates at an astronomical fee.

It is thought that the siblings arranged over 100 theory tests, charging up to £450 for somebody to impersonate the candidate at the test centre.

The pair appeared alongside 4 candidates who had paid for their services at Ipswich Crown Court. The brother and sister aged 35 and 33 were jailed for a total of 39 months between them and the candidates received community service.

Not only were all involved in committing fraud but the siblings were enabling individuals to obtain licences which act as an identity document. This could lead to further crimes such as benefit fraud, obtaining credit and debit cards and travelling freely.

Suffolk police once tipped off about Vishal Aggarwal and Vanita Aggarwal quickly took action, which resolved in them being arrested and bringing the case to a close.

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August 26, 2010
Over packing causes driving holiday domestics

One out of every four driving holidays for British families sets off amid arguments over bags.

Before any assumptions are made over who may travel the heaviest, it was found that women lag just behind men in terms of total luggage taken to an average beach holiday. Men, who apparently get bored sitting on the sand if they cannot ogle the locals, turn to game consoles, DVDs and board games to keep themselves amused. Women seem content with less luggage and more beach.

Nearly one in three (29 per cent) British males admitted to being overambitious with their packing habits, being forced to leave various items at airports or arrival ports as there just isn’t enough room in the car. No mention was made as to what would have been the preferred item left behind, though the same over-ambition affected just 17 per cent of British women.


August 25, 2010

Many pupils learning to drive will experience performance related stress on the day of their practical test. This can be for a number of reasons, those who are adversely affected by nerves, those that need to pass for their job and for everyone else there is all the time and money they have invested.

There are a few simple pointers to consider before your test:

Make sure you get plenty of rest the night before

Eat something that will not leave you hungry but will not make you feel uncomfortable

Try not to feel pressured by other people

Before you arrive at the test centre, concentrate and drive to the best of your ability. A good drive beforehand will reassure you that you are capable of passing

Do not treat the examiner any differently to your instructor, most individuals are nervous on test and the examiner will try their best to put you at ease

Your instructor can also help in lots of ways, firstly by allowing you to go up on test only when they feel you are ready. They should also take you around the test routes you may cover and explain the requirements of the practical test. They should prepare you for all situations you might meet and make sure you can comfortably carry out all 3 manoeuvres.

There is lots of material available to help you prepare for the practical test and how to be a competent and safe driver once passing your test.

Natasha Simper of Britannia Driving School said: “With plenty of practice and a calm approach there is no reason why you should not pass first time. You must remember that if you fail, it is not the end of the world, you can retake the test. If you are unfortunate enough to fail, use the experience to help prepare yourself for the next test.”

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August 24, 2010
Army improves facilities at world’s largest driving school

NEW facilities for thousands of armed forces personnel learning to drive the latest military vehicles and their instructors have been officially opened.

The development – which includes classrooms for 200 students and facilities for instructors, as well as three huge storage facilities for Mastiff and Wolfhound vehicles – was erected in just 20 weeks at the Defence School of Transport at Leconfield.

The buildings are the latest addition to the world’s largest driver training establishment.

About 850 civil servants and support staff are employed on site beside 230 military staff, who put 16,000 students through their paces every year.

Most students go on to frontline operations in Afghanistan.

The new facilities, called the “Herrick” block, referring to recent operations in Afghanistan, were officially unveiled by director general of Army recruiting and training, Major General Gerry Berragan.

Major Shaun Robjohns said as well as four state-of-the-art classrooms, 60 instructors who work day and night shifts were getting their own facilities, including showers and a kitchen.

Even modern vehicles needed regular modifications, he ex- plained, adding: “The new vehicles are designed in such a way with such an emphasis on safety that it is giving soldiers so much confidence to do their jobs.”

Engineers have been installing the latest seats in Wolfhound vehicles which protect drivers from explosions – at a cost of £10,000 each.

During their Leconfield training, students are put up against mock river crossings, gullies and other obstacles they are likely to encounter in Iraq and Afghanistan.


August 23, 2010

We can all become distracted when driving, with mobile phones, sat navs, eating and drinking. However, statistics show that the most distracting of all is passengers, in particular children.

Drivers with children are encouraged to plan their journey and to ensure that children are adequately catered for before setting off.

It is not only the little passengers that can cause drivers to lose attention on the road but adult passengers as well.

Drivers require a noise and distraction free environment when driving. Making sure that all in car gadgets are programmed and working and that passengers have all they require for the journey will minimise the risk of an accident.

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August 20, 2010

A DSA (Driving Standards Agency) examiner at Morden Test Centre alerted the police to a 35 year old who regularly took practical driving tests for other people.

Gageen Preet Singh who took payment of up to £3000 from individuals wanting him to impersonate them on test would wear wigs and disguises in order to trick examiners. Unfortunately his disguise on this occasion led to him being sentenced to a 12-month prison sentence at Guilford Crown Court.

Mr Singh is thought to have taken over 100 fraudulent tests, many of which he failed. He even sat exams whilst disqualified for drink driving.

Officers found around £55,000 in Mr Singh’s property thought to be from the scams, this money along with his car is to be forfeited.

It is worrying to think that if this examiner had not informed the police, thousands of potentially dangerous and unqualified drivers would be on the roads. Even more worrying is that Mr Singh could not pass the practical test despite taking it hundreds of times.

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August 19, 2010
Now, in-car driving coach that reminds you to keep your eyes on the road

Cell phones, music players, and a numerous other gadgets in cars pose a constant problem – distraction for the drivers. But soon, in-car coach could solve this problem.

Professor Linda Ng Boyle from University of Washington has developed an in-car driving coach, an electronic device that reminds you to keep your eyes on the road if it finds your vision wandering away from the road.

The coach uses an eye tracker to monitor drivers’ gaze.

“By providing continual feedback, drivers may be more likely to learn from their mistakes and put their eyes back on the road,” said Boyle.

In the study, the high-risk drivers’ longest glances tended to be between 2 1/2 seconds and 3 seconds. They also had the shortest time to collision, a measure of how long until they could crash.

After the drive, a trip report summarized what the driver did right and wrong.

The coach decreased the length of high-risk drivers’ glances by an average of 0.4 seconds and the feedback also increased the high-risk drivers’ time to collision by roughly 8 seconds.

“I think that drivers are coachable,” Boyle said.

“The worst drivers can benefit the most, because we can change their behavior the most dramatically. We can also reinforce the good behavior for safer drivers,” she added.


August 18, 2010

A two-litre VW Beetle convertible with top speeds of 114pmh now runs on human excrement.

UK engineers have established the bio bug which runs on methane gas generated by human excrement. Household sewage is processed by anaerobic digestion at sewage works, which in turn generates enough energy to power the vehicle.

It is hoped that energy will also be generated through treating general household food waste.

The methane tanks are found in the boot of the Beetle and the car cleverly converts back to petrol when the methane tanks run out. The car does use unleaded petrol until the engine is up to temperature but swiftly converts to methane.

This new green motoring idea is thought to out shine electric models and is thought to be one of the most sustainable cars around.

Natasha Simper of Britannia Driving School said: “It is amazing that this prototype could soon become reality with millions of drivers recycling energy to power their cars whilst reducing CO2 emissions. I just hope that the cars come with an air freshener!”

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August 17, 2010
64% of drivers admit to potentially dangerous driving

Some 64 per cent of British drivers have admitted to driving in a potentially dangerous way, a study has revealed.

Research conducted by Sainsbury’s Car Insurance found that 38 per cent of motorists had driven while eating or drinking in the last month.

Some 28 per cent admitted to driving whilst feeling tired, 18 per cent said that they had got behind the wheel while wearing flip flops or without shoes, which is a four per cent increase on last year.

Over the last month, some 16 per cent of motorists drove at excessive speed, the survey revealed.

Ben Tyte, Sainsbury’s Car Insurance manager, said that simple things like eating while driving can significantly increase a person’s risk of being in an accident on the roads.

“We would urge motorists to focus on their driving and not be tempted to engage in anything that may distract them,” he added.

Earlier this week, research by the Institute of Advanced Motorists revealed that 44 per cent of motorists in the UK are in support of the government’s decision to cut the funding of speed cameras.