For all the latest motoring news, the ups and downs happening this week, look no further.
Updated daily to keep you up-to-date with everything that takes place as it happens.
Graduated driving licences
Today the Government made their Annual Road Casualty Announcement.
And it reinforces what many road safety organisations have believed for a considerable period of time, that there is a need for the Graduated Driving Licence.
According to recent reports from the Department of Transport, there were 1,782 reported road deaths in 2018 – though this figure is incredibly similar to figures released every year since 2012, that there hasn’t been a reduction is discouraging.
The figures released today show that as well as over 1,700 reported fatalities, there were also 25,484 serious injuries that were caused by road traffic accidents.
In total there were 160,378 casualties (including deaths, serious injuries, and many injuries of various levels of severity).
It is felt that the introduction of the Graduated Driving Licence, with several stages of qualification, will help to reduce the number of serious incidents on the road. Though only 7% of drivers on the road are between the ages of 17 and 24, over 20% of fatal and serious collisions involve a driver of that age.
The number of critical incidents that occur on the road every year involving younger drivers are felt to be an indicator that more controls are required to ensure that newly-qualified drivers are safer.
Flip flops, hand gestures and more…
Everyone knows that using your mobile phone, smoking with children in the car and not wearing seatbelts can land you with a fine (and possibly points) on your driving licence.
However, did you know that there are some more rules of the road that you should know to follow when behind the wheel:
In this heat the last thing you really want is to be wearing socks that stick to the skin, and shoes that make your feet feel even warmer. But, don’t get out those comfy and breathable flip flops just yet.
The DVLA is warning drivers who consider flip flops to ditch them in favour of shoes or trainers as these flimsy but eminently comfortable sandals could land you in seriously hot water with the police.
If you’re found to be wearing them if you are unfortunate enough to have an accident, not only can the beach-practical footwear get you a possible 9 points on your licence, but they could also see you handed a pretty hefty £5,000 fine.
That’s enough to make you seriously reconsider how cool they make your feet feel when you’re stuck in traffic…right?
Angry hand gestures
It’s so easy to lose your temper with another motorist and simply make a rude hand gesture – you know the ones we’re talking about – in the heat of the moment.
However, it’s worth asking yourself if it’s worth a possible fine of up to £1,000 (the fine is worked out at 75% of your week’s salary and capped at £1,000 as it’s classed as disorderly conduct under teh 1998 Crime and Disorder Act and fines are awarded accordingly).
If another motorist cuts you off at the roundabout, or steals the parking space you were about to drive into, take a few minutes before you raise a hand to show them how angry you are.
It’s also possible that, if you are seen by the police, lifting your hand from the steering wheel to make a rude gesture, could be interpreted as ‘not being in full control of your vehicle’ which could find you getting a find of up to £1,000 and 3 points on your licence.
Covered in snow…
It’s really not relevant now – snow is not on the way. But did you know that if you drive a car covered in snow you can be given a fixed penalty fine of £60 and get 3 points on your driving licence.
Definitely worth taking a little more time to clear the car of snow before you head off.
Clean that car
You may have been off-roading, or maybe it’s been particularly rainy and you’ve been driving through a few puddles. But this is no excuse (according to the law) for driving around with a number plate obscured by mud, or dirt.
If you let your car get so dirty that your number plate is unreadable then you are opening yourself up to a fine of up to £1,000 under the Road Vehicle Regulations 2001.
Emojis and other images (except for your country flag) are also not allowed and could see you hit with a fine.
Don’t obstruct emergency services
We’ve all been there; driving along and suddenly you hear an ambulance or police car siren coming up behind you.
Of course, your first instinct is to get out of the way. And you’d be sort of right, as you can be fined up to £5,000 for obstructing any emergency vehicle with their sirens blaring. However, the law doesn’t allow you to take any measures you believe are necessary to do this. Driving into an active bus lane (in cities where these are provided), or going through a red traffic light, will not be ignored.
The only time it’s acceptable to break the traffic laws to get out of the way of an emergency vehicle is when you are advised to do so by the police.
It might look funny, but it’s not great for the bank balance
It’s happened to everyone at some point or other. Standing at the edge of the pavement; maybe you’re waiting for a bus, or to cross the road and a car comes along and you get soaked through by the puddle you weren’t even thinking about.
As a driver you may not have even noticed the puddle coming up, or the pedestrian waiting near it for whatever reason, but this act of soaking someone could land you with a fixed penalty notice of £100 for driving without reasonable consideration for other road users.
If the case ended up in court the driver could find themselves hit with a fine of up to £5,000.
Secure your pet
They might not like it much, in fact it may mean you end up with a hissing and spitting cat in a carrier in the back seat, or a dog who is less than happy at being restrained. But making sure your pets are safely secured when you take them anywhere in the car will save you from the long arm of the law.
Having an unsecured animal/pet in the car is illegal, it’s considered ‘distracted driving’ and can leave your wallet £100 lighter thanks to a fixed penalty fine. It can also add 3 points to your licence, something you are likely wanting greatly to avoid.
Of course, it might not end there. If they wish to, a court can bump your fine up to £5,000 and award you 9 points.
Warning other drivers of a speed trap
It may feel like you are showing solidarity for your fellow drivers, perhaps even doing them a favour! But, flashing your headlights to warn of a temporary speed trap could mean you end up being fined £1,000.
Warning drivers that they are headed into a speed trap is considered obstructing the police.
Do you need glasses?
No, this isn’t meant to be rude. However, if the answer is yes and you are caught driving without them then you could get a fixed penalty fine of £100.
On the back of your licence there is a set of information codes which outline the restrictions on the vehicles the licence holder is allowed to drive, as well as any other actions they are required to take (such as wearing glasses).
If the case ends up going to court then you could find yourself with a fine of up to £1,000 and six penalty points on your licence.
Definitely don’t forget your glasses if you need them!
Sounding your horn
You’ve been stuck in a traffic jam for what feels like an eternity and there’s no sign of it ending. You haven’t moved and you can’t see what’s going on, and all you want to do is vent some frustration.
Don’t do it! Sounding your horn while stationary in traffic is illegal and can mean you are fined £1,000. Unless you’re warning another road user of danger.
It’s also illegal to sound your horn if you are on a road with streetlights and a 30mph speed limit if it’s between the hours of 11.30pm and 7am.
Update that address
When you move house there’s a lot to sort out. You need to contact all the utility companies; make sure you’ve filled in the forms at the bank; let your employer, friends, family know that you’ve moved. It may be at the very bottom of your list, but you need to make sure you get the address on your driving licence changed.
Forgetting to update the details on your driving licence (name and address) means that your licence is actually invalid, and if you are caught you could be fined up to £1,000.
Aston Martin share drop
Aston Martin have been having a really good year so far. Some incredible car launches, investment in a new production plant based in the UK, and a huge role in James Bond 25.
In October 2018, Aston Martin Lagonda became the first UK car manufacturer to float on the FTSE, with their shares going for £19 each. Great news for a company with really good growth, a strong portfolio and some beautiful cars.
However, the second quarter of 2019 has not been so kind to the superspy’s favourite car maker, and the company has experienced a 22% drop in sales in the UK, with the rest of Europe, Africa and the Middle East seeing that decrease reaching 28%.
All this has meant that, today, shares are selling for less than 50% of their original price (currently £7.76 at 4.06pm).
“We are disappointed that sales have fallen short of our original expectations…” Dr Andy Palmer, the president of Aston Martin Lagonda has said regarding the decline in share prices. However, as a whole, the company is hoping that with the launch of their much anticipated DBX SUV, they will find their saving grace.
Nissan to cut 10,000 jobs?
Some not so great news from Nissan this morning.
According to Japanese media, the car manufacturer is preparing to axe more than 10,000 jobs across their global sites.
This plan follows an announcement they made earlier this year in which they cut 4,800 jobs.
The formal announcement is expected to be made on Thursday, but reports are already suggesting that the majority of these job losses will take place at plants outside of Japan.
Would you pay more to have pothole-free roads?
We all know that there’s a problem with UK roads. Potholes are making the driving experience an often less-than-pleasant one.
Motorpoint, an independent retailer, conducted a survey to find out the lengths motorists were willing to go in order to get their roads repaired.
According to the results of the survey, only 18% of motorists who responded would be willing to make additional payments (above the monies they already pay for vehicle excise duty) towards repairing UK roads.
The Transport Select Committee recently referred to the ongoing issue we have with potholes as a “national scandal” and they called on the Treasury to provide a funding settlement in order to make it possible for local authorities to repair the roads in their regions.
A total of 675 drivers participated in the study which was carried out at the beginning of July 2019.
Can you read those signs?
In our Behind the Wheel news, we’ve previously mentioned that there are too many signs on the roads. There’s a sign for pretty much everything and the more there are, the more confusing it can get.
However, in some places, quite a few of these signs are no longer visible, having been obscured by foliage that has overgrown and hidden the signs that could be vital to road safety.
Of course, just because you can’t see the sign telling you that the speed limit is 30mph doesn’t mean it’s invalid. It’s definitely worth remembering that the speed limit of 30 usually applies to traffic on roads with street lighting (unless there are signs to say otherwise. If you can barely make out a sign because of plant overgrowth report it to the local authority.
Keeping cool in the car – dog edition
Everyone knows that you need to keep hydrated when it’s hot. It’s also common sense to ensure that when you start to feel sick or headachy and have been out in the heat you should take a break, get some shelter and drink slowly.
However, our pets can’t communicate this to us, so it’s worth knowing the signs when your dog is really feeling the heat.
Keeping your dog cool and safe in the summer heat (especially now that we are expecting our second ‘heatwave’) is vital.
Dogs can’t sweat through their skin and therefore rely on panting and releasing excess heat through their paw pads and nose to help regulate their body temperature.
It takes mere minutes for a dog to suffer fatal heatstroke so it’s really important you know what to look out for.
Symptoms include: excessive panting, dribbling and collapse.
If you even suspect that your dog is suffering from heatstroke you need to immediately move them to a cool place (somewhere with a through draught is ideal) and we ttheir coat with cool water before you contact your vet. Do not use freezing water as this can cause further issues.
Everyone has seen the headline at least once Dog locked in hot car and the horrific consequences that can occur.
The temperature in a car can climb incredibly quickly during hot weather, becoming dangerous in a very short period of time.
However strongly you feel about it, you cannot break a window, or break into the car unless advised by the police, this could end badly for you with a charge of criminal damage you may need to defend in court.
If you see a dog locked in a car experiencing distress call 999 immediately. Explain the situation and it will be treated as an emergency. The police will advise you what to do – whether that is waiting for them, or breaking into the car yourself.
Take photos of the situation, get information from witnesses (names and contact details) and contact the police telling them what you intend to do, and why.
Ultimately, never leave a dog in a car unattended. Even a few minutes is too long.