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    Monday, 28 February 2011

    England tops UK road safety league

    England tops the UK road safety league table with the lowest rate for deaths on the roads, ahead of Scotland and Wales, with Northern Ireland firmly at the bottom, according to a report published today by the IAM.
    The report ‘Comparisons -- England’s regions, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland’ shows substantial differences in the safety of roads and levels of car ownership around the UK. England’s north - south divide is also a significant factor.
    In England the north east and the north west are the safest places to drive, while the east Midlands is the most dangerous.
    IAM director of policy and research Neil Greig said:
    “While the UK is now top of the European road safety league, the risk of being killed on UK roads varies considerably around the country. Road deaths in Northern Ireland are twice that of north east England. Bringing the worst areas in the UK up to the same level of the best would save many more lives and reduce serious injuries. This should be a prime focus for central, devolved and local government road safety plans.”
    While England’s northern regions are the safest, they are at the bottom of the car ownership league table -- more than a quarter of households don’t own a car. Over 80 per cent of households in the south east and the south west own one or more. Overall in England car ownership fell in 2009, in Wales there was no change, and in Scotland there was a modest increase on 2008.
    Greig said: “Car ownership is a good measure of prosperity. Regional declines in ownership and the fact that ownership is much higher in the south of England reflects the UK’s economic and employment trends.”
    source: IAM

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    Friday, 18 February 2011

    Claims for pothole damage treble in Kent

    The number of claims filed by drivers in Kent for pothole damage nearly trebled last year to 3,474, figures released by the county council show.
    It has so far paid out £56,113 to settle compensation claims lodged in 2010, but the figure will rise because many remain outstanding. In 2009, the council paid out £111,234 after 1,196 claims for vehicle damage.
    The council said fixing potholes was its top priority on the roads, which it wanted to keep as safe as possible.
    The head of AA roads policy, Paul Watters, said the increase in the number of claims against Kent County Council (KCC) was a big leap. "It is disappointing there are so many claims because it shows there are so many roads at breaking point that need proper repair," he said.
    source: BBC

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    Australian town renamed SpeedKills in safety campaign

    A small town in the Australian Outback has decided to change its name for a month in an attempt to increase road safety.
    The town of Speed - a blink-and-you'd-miss-it town in the countryside of Victoria - will be known as SpeedKills.

    Speed-dwellers are hoping it will persuade drivers to slow down on country roads. Speed is hoping to become something of a global, internet sensation with the launch of this novel safety campaign.

    The idea was the brainchild of the Victoria Transport Accident Commission, which soon won over Speed's 45 residents.

    For the full story from the BBC click here...

    source: BBC

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    Wednesday, 16 February 2011

    UK new car sales fall 11.5% in January

    Sales of new cars in the UK fell for the seventh month running in January, according to the Society of Motoring Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
    New car registrations last month were 128,811, down 11.5% from a year ago. The fall was in line with the SMMT's forecast, and was partly due to the ending of the car scrappage scheme. The SMMT added that the market share for cars with low CO2 emissions had increased to 2.7% from 1.4% in the same month last year.
    UK-built cars maintained the same share of the market as a year ago, with 13%. The Ford Focus was the best selling new car last month with 7,582 new cars registered.
    source: BBC

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    Monday, 14 February 2011

    Giant Andy Scott statue felled in roundabout crash

    A giant sculpture of a striding man by public artist Andy Scott has been knocked over in a car accident. The 4m (13ft) structure, installed at Muirside roundabout, Tullibody, in Clackmannanshire, is one of five pieces in the county by the artist.
    It is understood a car crashed into the statue, which sits outside the village police station, at about 2110 GMT on Saturday. Central Scotland Police said they were investigating the incident.
    The sculpture - also known as the Man in Motion - is made of welded steel mosaic and has the Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle as a backdrop. Brian Smith, a college lecturer who lives near the sculpture, said the impact of the crash must have been considerable.
    source: BBC

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    New blue badge parking crackdown

    A crackdown on abuse of the disabled "blue badge" parking scheme in England has been announced by ministers.
    It is estimated that use of up to half of the existing 2.5 million badges could be fraudulent, costing the UK an estimated £46m a year.
    More people are to face mobility tests to get the badges, which offer special parking rights, and councils will have greater powers of confiscation. Use of blue badges has soared by more than a third in the last 10 years. The badges allow access to special parking or the right to avoid parking restrictions.
    source: BBC

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    Wednesday, 9 February 2011

    ABI says cold weather sees UK insurance claims double to £1.4bn

    The freezing weather in December resulted in £1.4bn of insurance claims on property and vehicles in the UK, figures have shown.
    This is more than twice the £650m claimed due to the cold snap the previous year, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said. The snap was more severe, longer and affected more of the country.
    Burst pipes caused the most problems, with more than 100,000 claims totalling £680m, the ABI said. More than 250,000 vehicles were damaged as a result of the snow and ice on the roads, leading to £530m of claims.
    Figures released last month showed that the cold weather was largely responsible for the contraction in the UK economy during the final three months of last year. The economy shrank by 0.5%, but activity would have been "flattish" without the impact of the bad weather, the Office for National Statistics said.
    source: BBC

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    New spy camera to check level crossings

    Drivers and pedestrians who put their lives at risk and ignore safety signals at level crossings have a greater chance of being prosecuted thanks to a new high-tech spy camera.
    Network Rail say the number of people risking their lives has risen over the last five years.
    source: BBC

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    Tuesday, 8 February 2011

    DVLA warns drivers of email scam

    The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is warning of an email scam that asks drivers to verify their licence details via a website link.
    The email, which purports to come from the DVLA, appears to be an attempt to trick drivers into providing personal details.
    David Evans, the DVLA's corporate affairs director, said: "We would strongly urge anyone in receipt of this or a similar email to treat it with extreme caution and not to follow the instructions given."
    source: BVRLA

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    Credit law gives greater protection

    New laws that came into force last week have strengthened consumer protection.
    Under the new rules, introduced on 1 February to reflect the European Council's Consumer Credit Directive, customers have:
    • up to 14 days to cancel agreements
    • the option to make partial repayments ahead of schedule (at present, they are obliged to either pay off the full sum owed or stick to the agreed rate of repayment).
    Lenders also have greater responsibility towards their customers. They must now:
    • give standardised pre-contractual information to improve comparability
    • ensure the customer understands their agreement
    • carry out a thorough check on the creditworthiness of the customer.
    Information on the types of customer and agreement covered by consumer credit law is available from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
    The BVRLA will also have guidance available shortly. If you have any questions in the meantime, contact head of legal services Jay Parmar.
    source: BVRLA

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    M25 scheme 'may have wasted £1bn'

    A project to widen two stretches of the UK's busiest motorway could have wasted £1bn of public money, MPs have said.
    The Highways Agency gave poor cost estimates for the M25 scheme and did not look at possible cheaper alternatives, the public accounts committee found.
    The MPs also questioned why it had taken nine years to sign a contract with a private company to do the work. But the agency said the project was progressing on time and under budget. It covers 22 miles (35km) between junction 16 and junction 23 of the M25, in Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex.
    The agency's cost estimates for a 30-year, £3.4bn private finance contract for road-widening had been "poor", the committee said. It expressed concern that the invitation to tender for the contract had excluded "hard shoulder running", in which drivers are allowed to use the hard shoulder at peak times.
    source: BBC

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    Monday, 7 February 2011

    A future without car crashes?

    More than a million people die around the world in car accidents each year but experts in the industry now believe fatal smashes could be eliminated. Some hope there could be an end to car crashes altogether.
    Accidents can be caused by a multitude of reasons, but human error is at the heart of them. Drivers go too fast for the weather conditions, make unwise decisions and fail to notice or anticipate potential hazards. But what if the car could help the errant driver?
    Scientists and engineers are developing technology and enhancements to cars that would aid drivers to the extent that crashes would become rarer events. Bad weather conditions and poor judgement would be mitigated by the car itself. Drivers, passengers, cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists could one day be protected from bad driving.
    Sophisticated technology is also being mapped out to ensure drivers and passengers can survive even catastrophic accidents.
    Volvo believe in the future they can stop cars from ever crashing. They are developing auto-braking technology to ensure cars come to a stop when they sense another car coming close to them - both from the front and the side.
    Scientist Erik Coelingh has been testing his crash avoidance technology at their test track in Sweden. He has high hopes for the research being carried out at Volvo: "We believe that accidents are not inevitable. And we have a vision that in - in the future there will be no collisions, will be no fatal accidents with vehicles any more."
    source: BBC

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