Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Test crash dummies

Men are 6.4 per cent more likely than women to pass their practical driving test, according to road safety charity the IAM. But while young men are more likely to pass their driving test, they are also three times more likely to be killed or seriously injured (KSI) behind the wheel.

The findings are a result of analysing pass rates statistics from the Department for transport published in August for the financial year 2011-2012.

For example, the pass rate for men in Bradford (Heaton) is 39 per cent, compared to 26 per cent for women. In 2010 in Bradford, 22 young male drivers were killed or seriously injured in car accidents, while just four young female drivers were.

Other areas which reported a significantly high gender gap for test passes were Wolverhampton,­­­­ where men are 12.6 per cent more likely to pass their test. In 2010, 13 young male drivers and one woman were involved in KSI crashes.

In Birmingham (South Yardley) men are 12.6 per cent more likely to pass their test, while there were 38 young male drivers from Birmingham in KSI incidents in 2010 and six young female drivers.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: "As men make up the majority of drivers, a slight variation in figures can be expected. However, these figures suggest something is going wrong with the way we teach new drivers to cope with risk on the road. Unless we can crack the gender problem in road safety young men will continue to die in higher numbers.

"These findings must be used to inform research to find out why pass rates and causes of fatal car accidents vary so much between men and women."

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Mid Kent Group at the Maidstone Mela

Some of the group members at todays Maidstone Mela event at Mote Park. 

Today the group attended the Maidstone Mela event at Mote Park. It was a busy event and the group's stand was busy too.  Some of the group members who volunteered to man the stand spent their time   talking to motorist on the joys of driving and how to become an Advance Driver.  

Thankfully the sun was out for the day making such an event a joyful one. We'll be looking forward to welcoming new associates who spoke with the group very soon. 

Group members chatting to the public about the joys of Advance Motoring. 

Friday, 7 September 2012

Forged MOT certificates cause concern

Consumers are being warned not to rely on new-style MOT certificates when buying cars.

The warning comes from the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) after a 38-year-old man in Cleveland was arrested on suspicion of forging MOT certificates with intent to deceive.

TSI is concerned motorists still do not know paper certificates are no longer proof of existence of a valid MOT. This is despite the new style certificates being in operation for nearly 12 months.

Motor trade lead officer at TSI, Gerald Taylor, said the new certificates are easy to reproduce causing trading standards and the police great concern.

"When the new certificates were first implemented in October 2011 they were only intended to be a receipt for the MOT," said Taylor.

"The downloaded certificate in its present form can be altered and abused at will using the simplest of computer software available with nearly every personal computer.

"Purchasers – whether private or trade - should not rely on printed MOT certificates when buying cars.

"There is also the possibility that unscrupulous traders, and service and repair outlets, could agree to MOT a vehicle and charge accordingly but not carry out the test at all – the prospective purchaser would be none the wiser unless they go online."

Chris Mason, managing director of Motor Codes, the industry standards body says" car buyers should be checking whether a car has a valid MOT online.

"The new style MOT system hasn't quite been in place a year and we're all still used to having our bit of paper that shows a car as having a valid MOT," said Mason.

"It's a case of getting used to this different but very secure and easily checkable online process.

"VOSA's free, online verification facility makes it simple to get a clear-cut answer on whether or not a car has a valid MOT certificate and should form part of our routine checks when buying a car – just as we would look for outstanding finance and insurance write-off history."

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive advised "Motorists should always exercise caution when buying a used car as there is always a risk that unlawful individuals may tamper with vehicles or documentation for their own gain.

"The safest way to buy a second hand car is through a franchised dealer, but carrying out a vehicle history check and using government's online MOT checking tool are additional ways that motorists can protect themselves"

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

UK buyers to spend £5bn on new cars this month

Around 330,000 new cars are expected to be registered in the UK this month, with buyers spending almost £5bn in the process.

Those are figures just released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
"As always, it's impossible to accurately predict the market, but we expect around 330,000 new cars to be registered during September, with motorists spending in the region of £4.95 billion.

"The industry has worked hard to ensure that there is a fantastic range of products available and with increasing levels of fuel efficiency, safety, comfort and affordability, now is a great time for motorists to buy a new car."

September is a key month for the industry because "a positive performance can set the market on the right track for the remainder of the year".

And a cracking start to the autumn would have wider consequences too, he added. "September's new vehicle registrations will give a good indication of the overall state of the UK economy and consumer confidence.

"Despite continuing economic instability, there are some very good reasons for motorists to take a close look at the new models at their franchised dealers.

"We're seeing buying trends favouring models that boast cutting-edge styling and excellent fuel efficiency, while affordable finance and the reassurance of controlled costs through a scheduled service plan deliver peace of mind."

Earlier this year, the SMMT revised its registrations forecast for 2012 upwards to 1.97m cars.
"The outlook suggests a slight slowing of demand in the second half of the year but still ending ahead of 2011,"

Cars with digital radios, autonomous emergency braking, parking assistance and the latest in smartphone connectivity would be at the top of buyers' wish lists.
Will you be buying a new car this month?

British motorists cutting back on driving to save money

A survey from Green Flag says that 41 per cent of British motorists have reduced the number of their journeys in response to high fuel prices.

Eight per cent have gone further and traded in their car for something more economical and 11 per cent say they are making better use of public transport.

Miranda Schunke, spokesperson for Green Flag, said: "There's no doubt that the current price, and predicted increase of the cost of fuel in the UK is forcing many people to rethink their driving behaviour".

Green Flag has a number of recommendations:

• Reduce unnecessary weight - if there are still items for the charity shop in the boot - take them out!
• Only buy as much fuel as you need, think F1 - the more fuel on board, the more weight the vehicle is carrying around.
Check all tyres have the correct amount of air, too much or too little can be unsafe and can affect fuel efficiency.
• Be slick: Reduce external drag by improving the aerodynamics. Keep windows closed and lose the roof rack.
• Turn off air conditioning - though it is better than open windows on motorways.
• Make sure the vehicle is serviced regularly to ensure that it is running in top condition.

We would agree with all that, with the possible exception of minimising the amount of petrol in your car. An extra 20 litres of fuel weighs 14.2 kg, which is not a huge difference when the average car weights over 1300kg before the driver gets aboard. As driving into petrol stations frequently wastes fuel, we'd say brimming the car makes more sense – and will allow you to track fuel consumption more accurately

Car manufacturers will breach CO2 limit - and get away with it

Welcome to the strange world of the European Union, where rules mean whatever you want them to mean.

According to the latest figures from environmental website, CleanGreenCars, approximately half of all car manufacturers will miss the EU's "mandatory" 2012 target of average vehicle CO2 emissions of 130 g/km of CO2.

Yet none of them will pay a fine – because loopholes have been inserted that means every manufacturer which misses the target will have their own special exemption. Firstly, the limit only applies to the cleanest 65% of a manufacturer's sales – so the dirty cars are exempted altogether. Then any manufacturer who sells fewer than 300,000 cars a year in Europe is also exempt – after all, what difference could five manufacturers making 250,000 each make to pollution? Finally, large manufacturers who make large cars get a more lenient target – that was negotiated by the Germans, funnily enough.

So all the manufacturers will get a grade of A* from the EU come December 2012, despite the fact that some of them will completely fail to get to the pass mark.

As it happens, the lowest CO2 manufacturers are Fiat (113 g/km) and Toyota (117 g/km). Of the mainstream manufacturers, the worst are Mazda (139 g/km) and Chevrolet (146 g/km). However, some premium and niche brands have figures a lot higher than that: Jeep is on 197 g/km