Monthly Archives: February 2011

February 28, 2011

A judge from Northern Ireland has been fined £120 and disqualified from driving for 12 months after officers stopped him and found him to be over the drink drive limit.

He was removed from office whilst investigations were carried out and after a tribunal it was decided he will not lose his job.

Those involved said he recognised his mistakes and it appeared to be a grave error of judgement. However, The Lord Chief Justice said he regarded the matter very serious and expects high standards of behaviour at all times.

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February 25, 2011

When a pupil goes up on test not only do they need to ensure they have all the correct documents with them but also that the car is roadworthy.

An examiner will carry out brief checks before allowing the test to go ahead. General checks include conditions of the tyres, that there is no visible sign of damage, parts hanging off the car, L-plates are clearly visible and no cracks in the windscreen.

They will then check the car is legal to drive by inspecting the tax disc. The tax disc must have the vehicles correct details and it must be in date. Even if a tax disc is new, if it has not yet started it will not be accepted.

The registration plate must also be legal, both front and back plates must match and they must be clearly visible from any objects or dirt.

Although there are no guidelines regarding the cleanliness of the car, it is important that the car is clean and clear of any hazardous objects.

The main responsibility lies with the instructor however, if a pupil is hiring their car, it does not harm the pupil checking the car before test and raising any concerns.

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February 24, 2011
Small Print! Small Print! Small Print!

Check the small print before taking out a car insurance policy with a vehicle rental company, that’s the advice being given this week by top industry advisers as they’ve found that in some cases, the policies being offered by car hire companies, don’t always cover the basics.

Many car rental customers opt to take out cover with their operator for the convenience of sorting all of paperwork out in one go. However it’s been found that a number of the policies being offered by car rental companies, don’t offer cover for basics such as tyres, windscreen and wing mirror damage, meaning the customer will be hit by a hefty excess should they face a problem in this area during their rental period.

To avoid such circumstances, insurance experts are warning car hire customers to check their policy thoroughly before signing on the dotted line. If you’re opting to hire car for a holiday abroad, and own your own car in the UK, another option is to ask your current car hire provider for a quote to cover your car hire on holiday. This way you can weigh up your options ahead of time, and make the decision which is right for you.

If you’re planning to hire a car on your summer holiday this year, it’s advisable to book in advance to make the most of any special discounts which are often offered for early bookings.


February 23, 2011

Researchers from Berlin have developed new technology which could lead to cars being controlled by the mind.

With technology advancing all the time and new applications being introduced, this system has been adapted from a headset currently used as a gaming tool.

Brain activity is recorded using electroencephalography (EEG) sensor-equipped headsets. Each movement of the vehicle or object is corresponded with different activity patterns.

A Volkswagen Passat has been modified and has cameras set up to allow a 360 degree view in order for tests to be carried out.

This system is not roadworthy but could lead to further research and a design that transforms our driving experience.

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February 22, 2011
Going Green

Eco-friendly car finance seekers might be interested to note a number of Nissan LEAF motors have arrived in the UK.

The first regular European shipment of the automobile – which won the 2011 European Car of the Year award – is set to come to the north-east on the City of St. Petersburg, the brand’s green car carrier for transporting vehicles around Europe.

Simon Thomas, senior vice-president of sales and marketing at Nissan International SA, the company’s European headquarters, said it is fitting that the motors are being delivered on the manufacturer’s environmentally-friendly transporter.

He added: “The Nissan LEAF is a genuine alternative to petrol and diesel cars in terms of style, features, safety, performance and handling.”

What’s more, he pointed out it is a landmark day for the company, as well as European transport, describing the green motor as the world’s first affordable all-electric car.


February 22, 2011
Cuts in Speed Camera Cash?

THE future of speed cameras across the West Midlands is in doubt after councils proposed cutting funding for the controversial scheme.

Leaders of the region’s seven metropolitan councils have recommended axing £250,000 from the amount of money they hand to the West Midlands Road Safety Partnership, the body responsible for locating the cameras, which cost £2 million a year to run.

The council leaders also warned they would not be able to afford an estimated £1.2 million to replace ageing equipment and appealed to police chiefs to make a contribution towards keeping the system going.

The move follows a major change in the way the Government provides cash for road safety.

In the past, lump sums have been handed to councils and “ring fenced”, leaving the local authorities with no choice but to hand the money over.

The ring fencing has now been removed, giving West Midlands councils total discretion over how they use a £2.4 million Local Transport Services allocation.

Birmingham City Council chief executive Stephen Hughes stressed that it would be up to each individual council to decide what to do with the money.

The councils were thought to be split over the effectiveness of speed cameras, with Labour-controlled authorities tending to support the initiative and Conservative authorities taking a more sceptical view.

Mike Bird, the Conservative leader of Walsall Council, said many of the 454 speed cameras in the West Midlands were “obsolete”. There were better ways of reducing traffic accidents – including more patrols by police, he said.

Coun Bird added: “There will be people who shout foul, but we only have a finite amount of money and we have to make the best use of it.

“We are in control of our own destiny and can decide what to do about road safety.”

Coun Bird joked that the price of steel might justify dismantling the cameras and selling them as scrap metal.

He added:: “Speed cameras were effective many years ago, but the world has moved on.”

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February 21, 2011

States in America are debating whether those that use marijuana for medical needs should be punished if caught driving whilst high.

Lawmakers are talking about making provisions for marijuana users however, there will still be a limit, as it is illegal to drive whilst impaired by drugs.

Different states are struggling to agree on the limit as medical users are more likely to have a higher tolerance level or may have traces in their bloodstream despite being capable to drive at the time of being pulled over.

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February 18, 2011

Researchers and scientists have shown that music similar to that of your heart rate is best for releasing tension, therefore whilst driving it is important to choose the right genre of music.

It is thought that drivers are more likely to run red lights and speed when listening to fast, up-beat music, whilst slow, relaxing music can cause drivers to feel sleepy.

Drivers have rated their top three driving songs as: Bat Out Of Hell by Meat Loaf, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Dancing Queen by Abba.

Music that comes in as most dangerous songs to listen to whilst driving is: Radar Lover by Golden Earring, Highway to Hell – AC/DC and Drive My Car by The Beatles.

Music can be a form of distraction when on long car journeys and help to reduce boredom and irritation, just be careful when selecting your songs you don’t want to speed your way to a ticket or fall asleep on route.

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February 17, 2011
Driving at Night is like Drink Driving – They Say.

A new European study published this month reports that prolonged nighttime driving can be just as hazardous as driving drunk.

Researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands found that driving for just three hours at night was similar to being drunk. Even two hours behind the wheel after dark was like having a strong buzz.

Conducting the test on men aged 21 to 25, the researchers supervised their driving skills at various shifts between 9 pm and 5 am. After two hours of nighttime driving, the subjects made errors similar to those made with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05. The more they drove, the more their driving resembled that of someone who was intoxicated. Three hours behind the wheel was comparable to a BAC of 0.08 percent. Driving 4.5 hours at night was akin to reaching a BAC of 0.10 percent – for a man weighing about 80 kilos (176 pounds), that is about the same as drinking four alcoholic beverages in an hour. Blasting the stereo at high decibels and opening the window for a blast of air had little effect, researchers said.

The researchers estimate that as much as 20 percent of vehicle accidents in industrialized countries can be attributed to sleepiness.

In an effort to help the problem, a new system is being developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology in Germany called Eyetracker. The Eyetracker, when mounted on your dashboard, uses cameras to track the spatial positioning of your pupils and line of vision, and can detect when you’re getting drowsy, to which the system responds with a warning to snap you awake. The system isn’t retailing just yet but was presented at an industry trade show in November 2010.

The study was published in the January issue of the Journal of Sleep Research. Access it here:;jsessionid=F0F9FF80026C877A8577CC2C295FC43B.d03t01


February 16, 2011

Research has shown that theft of a car and break-ins happen across the country and there is no one particular hotspot for thieves.

The top five locations where your car is likely to be stolen are: Aberdeenshire, West Midlands, Cheshire, Manchester and Liverpool.

Yet it appears that thieves looking to break in and steal valuable as opposed to the car itself generally operate in city centres, with Belgravia, London at number one and Newcastle City Centre following close behind.

So no matter where you park up, ensure you car is locked, windows are shut, you are parked in a well lit area and never leave any valuables on show as most thieves are opportunists.

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