Summer heat takes its toll on windscreens

Windscreens take the Summer heat as the UK experiences temperatures of 30°C. With the hot weather set to continue, and motorists take to their cars to enjoy the UK sunshine, it is increasingly important that drivers prepare their cars for long journeys, as well as themselves. Families often ensure that they and their kids are ready for hours on the road with food, drink and games prepared, but some forget about their own car’s needs. If care is not taken beforehand, overheating, increased debris, poor visibility and other problems caused by the intensely hot sunshine could have implications for the condition of the car and safety on the road. If your windscreen is already damaged, the hot weather can make it worse. Simple steps to prepare the windscreen, fluid levels and wheels, can make all the difference to being safe on the road this…

Speeding drivers face tougher penalties

New sentencing guidelines take effect this week (from April 24) which will see speeding fines rise by up to 50% for the most serious cases in England and Wales. The previous limit was 100% of the driver’s weekly wage, up to £1,000 or £2,500 if they were caught on a motorway, however, under the new guidelines a driver caught doing 41mph in a 20mph zone, or 101mph on a motorway, could be fined 150% of their weekly income – although the upper cash limit will stay the same. Road safety charity, Brake has welcomed the measures to get tough on drivers who break speed limits. Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, said: “Toughening the fines and penalties for speeding is long overdue. “As a charity that offers a support service to families bereaved and injured in road crashes, we see every day the consequences…

IAM get to the root of motorway closures in 2014

More than 40% of all motorway and major A road lane closures in England in 2014 were caused by vehicle breakdowns – and 122 unsupervised children caused them to be shut too… obviously not at the same time In total there were 443,590 lane closures on motorways and primary A roads in England last year for 44 defined reasons by Highways England. The information came from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from the IAM, the biggest independent road safety charity in the UK, which asked for the number of incidences of lane closures on roads managed by Highways England’s in 2014. Some of the major findings of the report were as follows: 12,759 pedestrians walking on a motorway live lane or active A road caused lane closures (3% of all incidences) in addition to the 122 unsupervised children. There were also 7,446 cases…

Fleet managers warned about ‘disruptive’ passengers

Fleet managers should be wary of the potential distraction passengers can cause drivers, after a recent survey showed many drivers find passengers ‘a disruptive and potentially dangerous influence’. A third of drivers have fallen out with a passenger while travelling and in 15% of instances, tensions have reached such a point that the driver opted to throw the passenger out of the vehicle, according to the survey by Admiral Insurance. Three-quarters of drivers also admitted to feeling more nervous when they had somebody in the car with them. Steve Clarke, group marketing manager at MileageCount, said: “You have a situation with two people in the confined space of a car or van, with the driver having to concentrate and be in control while the passenger can be a distraction, so it’s not surprising this sometimes causes conflict. “Fleet managers should be aware of this…

Fleets urged to help tackle pedestrian and cyclist casualties

Brake is calling for employers to play their part in preventing pedestrians and cyclist casualties after research found 54% of companies don’t provide driver education on protecting pedestrians and cyclists. Newly-released Government figures show six people are killed and 157 seriously injured every week while walking or cycling. At least 24% of road deaths and serious injuries involve a vehicle being driven for work. The Brake and Licence Bureau research also found: Two-thirds (68%) don’t instruct drivers to slow down to 20mph around schools, homes and shops Six in 10 (61%) don’t instruct drivers on looking twice and checking mirrors at junctions for cyclists or motorcyclists. Nine in 10 (89%) don’t plan routes to avoid schools and residential areas. Eight in 10 (80%) don’t use blind spot sensors and seven in 10 (70%) don’t use blind spot cameras on large commercial vehicles;. Almost half…

Crash for Cash warning to van drivers…

“White van man” is increasingly being targeted by criminals running dangerous crash for cash fraud rings, according to new research conducted by anti-fraud firm APU. According to APU, light commercial vehicles have been involved in almost a third of all deliberate collisions caused by the gangs in a worrying trend that has emerged in the last 12 months. The announcement comes as new data shows that crash for cash incidents increased by 51% in 2013 to reach a record level, according to claims fraud data from Aviva, which is calling for stronger sentences to deter fraudsters. As police, insurers and authorities continue to battle the scourge of crash for cash, APU and international commercial law firm Hill Dickinson have identified the trend involving drivers of the UK’s 3.7 million LCVs. Specialists found that fraudsters target professional vehicles like vans because they are most likely to…

Apple curb driver distraction from smartphones

Apple has patented a system which will lock smartphone and tablet functions such as text messaging if the device is being used by a driver. Originally filed in December 2008 but granted this week, the lock-out function is timely as Apple prepares to launch its CarPlay system starting with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo later this year but soon to be extended to 14 other manufacturers shortly afterwards. CarPlay streams apps from a smartphone to the vehicle’s infotainment display, features intelligent navigation based on recent text and e-mail conversations and allows devices to be controlled via buttons on the steering wheel. The technology giant said its lock-out system addresses the 80% of accidents caused by distractions and the rise of teenagers texting while driving, adding that the latter is hard to police because devices are usually out of sight. Most of the functions are based…

Lives at risk as flood-hit drivers IGNORE ‘Road Closed’ signs

AA Special Operations are urging a review of road signage around flooding areas and warning drivers of the penalties for ignoring them. The AA have attended around 3,200 flood-stricken vehicles since December, many of which were the result of drivers wilfully ignoring or misunderstanding road closure signs. Studies have shown an estimated 680,000 UK drivers would ignore ‘Road Closed’ warnings, putting themselves at risk of danger, as well as a £50 fine. Darron Burness, Head of the Flood Rescue Team at the AA, said: “While our crews have heard every excuse, it’s become clear that the signage around flooding isn’t as effective as it perhaps should be. “Part of the problem is that the ‘road closed’ sign isn’t always completely understood. “Some people may think it’s just advisory, as it’s a temporary sign just like those often seen at roadworks. “For example, a lady…

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