Wednesday, 25 January 2012

IAM calls for 'country roads' element of driving test

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has asked for a rural A-roads section to be added to the driving test, as stats show that 82% of rural fatalities happen on them.

According to an IAM report about rural roads, of the nine people that die on Britain's roads every day, six of them are on rural ones. Two-thirds of the rural road crashes happen on non-motorways with 60- or 70mph speed limits.

The fast, sweeping nature of rural A-roads, combined with low forward visibility due to roadside trees and other obstacles, make the risk of dangerous accidents high; driver error is a contributor in two-thirds of rural road accidents, and two thirds of those killed are drivers. A quarter are front seat passengers.

The IAM's chief executive Simon Best said: "Roads where drivers are most frequently killed and injured are still not consistently part of the driving test. The Government recently announced young drivers would be allowed to use motorways when accompanied by an instructor, but it is single carriageway A-roads where the real problem lies.

"Driver and rider error is a contributory factor in two thirds of accidents. We can only improve our cars and roads so far. The challenge now is to improve the humans that drive them, to continue our outstanding record of road safety."

IAM: Cheaper insurance costs and training for young drivers

Vauxhall Insignia
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has called on the Government and insurance companies to provide reduced insurance costs to young drivers who take additional training after passing their tests.

With premiums having risen substantially over the last few years, many young drivers admit to lying about their details to insurers, in hope of a better deal. Not surprising, when you consider the average premium for a 17-22 year old man is £2,977 – more than three times the national of £907.

Worryingly, a Government Transport Select Committee survey recently found that 21% of young drivers had considered driving with no insurance at all.

The IAM is also calling for the standard of the driving test to be reviewed.

It is highlighting the issue after its own survey revealed that half of all new drivers questioned did not feel fully prepared to drive on their own, and that 74% would definitely take further driving training if it meant reduced insurance premiums.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: "The simplest way to reduce insurance premiums is to prevent accidents. We need to start rewarding good drivers by encouraging further driver training through cheaper insurance.

"Pass Plus no longer provides a respected or effective training offering. The government, insurance and road safety industries need to work closely together to develop a better, universally recognised option - a partnership which the IAM is keen to be a part of."

Friday, 13 January 2012

Young male drivers think they know best despite road casualty figures

L plates and car keys
The latest report by the Institute of Advanced Motorists has found that almost 2 out of 3 young, inexperienced male drivers think they are more skilful than the average motorist.

Despite novice drivers being calculated as the highest risk group on our roads and male drivers between 17-29 more than twice as likely to be killed or seriously injured as female drivers (according to DfT road casualty statistics), bravado and a lead right foot are still major issues when young men get behind the wheel.

The road safety charity found that in contrast, only 32% of young women believe they are more skilled than other drivers.

A staggering 30% of car occupant deaths are drivers aged 17-24, yet according to the DVLA, only eight percent of drivers in the UK fall into this age group.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: "Young male drivers suffer from a lethal combination of overconfidence and inexperience. They don't need curfews and other restrictions on their driving; they need to practice and gain driving experience safely.

"There are many paying thousands of pounds a year in insurance and killing themselves. The solution to this problem is to link driver training and insurance discounts."

The IAM is calling for more young driver training through incentives such as lowering insurance premiums through more advanced driving tests.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

New TFL Low Emissions Regulations

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Changes to MOT rules January 2012 - Are you ready?

Citroen Ami 8 MOT
On 1 January 2012, new rules were added to the current MOT by the Department for Transport (DfT) to comply with European testing procedures.

It's a pretty substantial list, but there's one which could mean big bills for thousands of drivers. If your car has any illuminated warning lamps, whether it is the airbag, seatbelt, ESP, SRS, ABS or others, it will soon fail the MOT.
It's not all bad news. If your car's MOT runs out before the 31 March 2012 and you have a warning light that needs addressing, the testers will treat it as an 'advisory', i.e. advice on what needs to be done for the next MOT.

However, if your MOT is due after 1 April 2012, you better get your skates on and get the warning light (or other faults in the list below) fixed, otherwise you'll receive the dreaded red fail sheet.

If you think your car needs attention on any of the points below but still has a long MOT left, we recommend getting it seen to sooner rather than later.

The main changes from 2012

Electronic parking brake
Electronic parking brake controls are now included and must be present and not inappropriately repaired or modified - repair obviously likely to adversely affect the roadworthiness of the vehicle or modification that has seriously weakened the component.

(The 'inappropriately repaired or modified' check is to be applied to a wide range of systems and components throughout the vehicle.)

The car will fail if an Electronic Parking Brake warning lamp is illuminated to indicate a malfunction.

Electronic Stability Control
Checks of anti-lock brakes will be extended to include Electronic Stability Control if fitted. The tester will check for the presence and correct operation of the ESC malfunction warning light together with looking for obviously missing, excessively damaged or inappropriately repaired or modified components and electrical wiring, as well as an ESC switch missing, insecure or faulty.

Warning lights
As well as electronic parking brake and electronic stability control warning lights (where fitted) the MOT test will also include checks for the correct function of the following, where fitted;

Headlight main beam warning light
Electronic power steering warning light
Brake fluid level warning light
Tyre pressure monitoring system warning light
Airbag warning light
Seat belt pre-tensioner warning light
Steering & suspension

The new test includes a check on the presence and correct function of the steering lock where fitted as standard.

Missing, or split/damaged dust covers on steering and suspension ball-joints will result in failure if they will allow dirt to enter the joint.

Power steering fluid level must be above the minimum level indicated on the reservoir.

Products on the lens or light source that obviously reduce the light's intensity or change its colour will become a reason for failure – applies to front/rear position lamps, registration plate lamps, stop lamps, rear fog and direction indicators,

Headlight requirements are updated to take account of the particular characteristics of High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps.

HID headlights can cause dazzle if they are dirty or aimed too high so car manufacturers must fit headlamp cleaning and levelling systems. A car will fail if a mandatory headlamp cleaning or levelling system is missing, doesn't work or is obviously defective.

Vehicles fitted with aftermarket HID systems must also be fitted with properly working washer and levelling systems.

If a headlamp bulb is not seated correctly the resulting beam pattern will be indistinct and this will result in a test fail.

Electrical wiring and battery
An insecure battery will be a reason for failure as will a battery that is leaking electrolyte.

Visible wiring that is insecure, inadequately supported or likely to cause a short will also result in a failure as will wires bared by damaged insulation.

Trailer/caravan electrical socket
There will be a basic security/damage check of 7-pin sockets,

13-pin sockets will be subject to a full electrical connectivity check and incorrectly connected or inoperative circuits will result in failure.

Tyre pressure monitoring systems fitted to vehicles first registered after 1 January 2012 must be working correctly and not indicating a malfunction.

Supplementary restraints
The vehicle will fail the test if any airbag fitted as original equipment is obviously missing or defective.

A seatbelt pre-tensioner fitted as original equipment but missing or that has obviously deployed will be a reason for failure.

Seatbelt load limiters that are missing where fitted as standard or folding webbing type limiters that have obviously deployed are also reasons for failure.

The vehicle will also fail if an SRS malfunction light is missing, not working or indicating a fault.

The car will fail if a speedometer is not fitted, is incomplete, inoperative, has a dial glass broken/missing or cannot be illuminated.

It must be possible to secure the driver's seat fore and aft adjustment mechanism in two or three different positions. On electric seats the motors must move the seat fore and aft.

A rear door that cannot be opened from the outside using the relevant control is a new reason for failure.

Doors must be easy to open and close – hinges, catches and pillars will be inspected.

Inappropriate repair or modification to the towbar assembly will be a reason for failure if judged likely to affect the roadworthiness of the vehicle/trailer.

A catalytic convertor fitted as original equipment but missing will be a reason for failure.

Fuel system
Damaged or chafed fuel pipes will result in failure.