Friday, 28 February 2014

Volvo unveils 'Roam Delivery' technology

Volvo Roam Delivery

It's an unfortunate side effect of Internet shopping these days. Goods are sometimes delivered when you're not at home.
But fear not – Volvo has found a solution that involves using your car as a mobile drop-off zone for your postie.

The clever Swedes have made their Volvo On Call telematics smartphone app even smarter by now allowing drivers to give delivery drivers access to their cars to drop off parcels.

Drivers will select their cars as a delivery option when ordering goods online. And via a smartphone or tablet, the owner will be informed when a delivery requires dropping off or picking up from the car.

Once the driver has accepted the delivery option, a "digital key" will be activated which tracks when the car is opened and then locked again. And when the drop-off has been completed, the key ceases to exist – and it's all done via clever telematics.

Is this a case of technology getting a little too clever? We'd say we've never wished that our car could be used as a postbox. But it seems there are many people who think the opposite.

The Swedish car maker says that last year, 60 per cent of people shopping online had problems with the delivery of their purchases, and more than half of people are not at home to receive online deliveries.

Volvo's digital keys pilot programme revealed 92 per cent of people found it more convenient to receive deliveries to their car than at home.

"By turning the car into a pickup and drop-off zone through using digital keys, it's now possible to deliver the goods to persons and not just places," explained Klas Bendrik, Group CIO at Volvo Car Group. "The test-customers also indicated that the service clearly saved time. And the same thing is valid for delivery companies a well!

"Because failed first-time deliveries cost the industry an estimated €1bn in re-delivering costs, we are now further investigating the technology of digital keys and new consumer benefits linked to it."

What do you think to this new technology?

Dorset Council claims 'wonky' road lines were painted on purpose (01202 558833)
Pic: CorinMesser/BNPS

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At first glance it would appear the worker who painted these wonky white lines might have had one too many in the pub.

Rather than the normal straight white lines running down the centre of the road, drivers are facing weird winding markings that wiggle down the carriageway.

They have been baffling motorists since they appeared on a street in Wimborne, Dorset.

But road chiefs insist they are deliberate, forming part of a bizarre calming measure aimed at slowing down traffic in a notorious rat run by forcing drivers to follow a curving course.

Motorists have been left scratching their heads over a set of 'wonky' centre lines that have been painted on a busy road in Wimborne, Dorset.
The wobbly lines that travel arrow-straight, in the typical fashion, through the East Borough area of the town, suddenly veer off into the opposite side of the road but the local councils insists it is deliberate.

Jennifer Carpenter, a community carer, was left completely bemused when she drove past the askew lines on her way to work.

She said: "It just struck me as really funny when I saw the lines.,"   "It's ludicrous. The road is a bit of a rat run anyway, particularly in the mornings, and there is always people driving along it, so I think there's going to be quite a lot of confusion.

"I can't logically explain how this has happened. It just makes the road narrower on the other side. It's crazy."

But Adrian Norcombe, construction manager for Dorset County Council's highways, said that the lines were meant to be there a device to slow drivers down.

"This road has recently been resurfaced as part of the defects programme,"

"The white lines that have been put down are replicating what was on the road before we resurfaced.

"We take detailed measurements of the existing markings to ensure that parking bays et cetera are reinstated in the correct legal positions.

"These markings were installed as part of a traffic engineering scheme which was carried out in 2007 when the road was restricted to 20mph.

"Our team have had a number of residents thank them for reinstating the curve as it helps to slow down traffic in a road that was previously considered a rat run."

But some resident aren't convinced. Driver Andy White, 28 said "I thought the person who painted them must have been drunk.

"If you stand at one end of the road and look down it the straight line in the middle goes off all over the place.

"If it is part of a traffic calming scheme then it has left me baffled."

Despite what the council claims, one reader posted on their site: "And as if by magic the lines this morning (Friday) have been repainted and we now have a straight line in the middle of the road... Simple wasn't it?"

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Mercedes technician crashes customer's powerful SL65 AMG (01202 558833)

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After the 'service' - written off.

A unique Mercedes that cost £168,000 when new has been written off after its unfortunate owner dropped it into his local garage for a service.

John Guest(56) from Poole in Dorset had taken his pride and joy into Sandown Group Mercedes for minor electrical fault - but was shocked to recieve a call hours later saying a technician had written off the 630hp V12 supercar.

A routine appointment with a local Mercedes-Benz garage turned into a nightmare situation for one SL65 AMG owner when the technician charged with transporting his vehicle "totally wrecked" it on a busy dual carriageway.

John Guest, a semi-retired IT consultant from Poole, booked his powerful sports car into Sandown Mercedes to fix a problem with the on-board computer but just hours after dropping it off, he received the fateful phone call.

The distraught owner said: "When I took the car in I told them there was also a problem with the traction control system but I was assured nothing was wrong.

"Later that day I got the phone call from the garage to say my car had been involved in a crash.

"My first concern was for the safety of the driver who thankfully wasn't hurt.

"The dealership tried to take it directly to a bodyshop but I demanded to see it.

"I thought the car might have been involved in a minor crash but I couldn't believe it when I saw it - it was totally written off and will have to be scrapped."

The dealership maintained that the car was being driven 'legally' and 'sensibly' at the time of the accident and that it had 'co-operated fully' with authorities on the matter.

The vehicle in question is one of the most potent in the Mercedes-Benz range, boasting a 630bhp V12 engine that is capable of catapulting the machine from 0-60mph in under four seconds and on to a limited top speed of 155mph.
Customers would have paid almost £170,000 when the car was new but Mr Guest bought the car in 2010 for a reduced price and has since spent £30,000 maintaining the sought after model.

"There was a tear in my eye because I have so many fond memories of the car. It was a car for life and it's irreplaceable," he said

"The thing that angers me most is the suggestion the car was being sensibly driven.

"Thousands of cars drove down that road that day, only three crashed and mine was the only one to be totally wrecked.

"It's negligence on the dealership's part.

"It is very galling given that I haven't done anything wrong. My only mistake was leaving my car with the dealership in the first place."

Mr Guest has since been given a Mercedes-Benz E350 as a courtesy car but is considering taking legal action against the dealership.

Gavin McAllister, managing director of the Sandown Group of Mercedes dealerships, said: "I was distressed to learn of the incident with Mr Guest's car, and I'm relieved that no one else was involved in this unfortunate accident.

"As soon as it happened, we co-operated fully with the authorities, and the police have confirmed that the car was being driven legally and sensibly in the road conditions.

"This is cold comfort for Mr Guest of course, who is a loyal and valued customer, and I along with everyone in my team at Sandown are committed to doing the right thing by him.

"We're working closely with the insurance team and are keeping Mr Guest fully informed throughout.

"Of course, we've provided a new courtesy car to keep him mobile in the meantime.

"Thankfully, incidents like this are very rare, and our technician is making a good recovery

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Lightbulb moment goes horribly wrong for car owner

It should have been a swift, run-of-the-mill task for the garage - changing a £40 lightbulb on a Vauxhall Insignia.

Instead, Ben Langley's pride and joy ended up mangled when a mechanic at the dealership drove it while the bonnet was up – and straight into a Vauxhall Zafira that was on a ramp.

The raised bonnet ended up folding back, snapping off and denting the Insignia's roof, as well as smashing its windscreen.

"It was like something you see in a demolition derby." Mr Langley, of Wawne, near Hull, said in a report about the accident at Evans Halshaw in Beverley, East Yorkshire.
The firm said it would repair the damage or give the project manager £4,000 for the vehicle, but the 38-year-old isn't satisfied.

"It's incompetence. I want a new car," he said.

The father-of-two, who had been outside the workshop, heard a massive bang and rushed to see what had happened.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I could see my car and there was a car on top of it. The mechanic had driven it across the workshop with the bonnet up."

The fire and rescue service extricated the Zafira.

A dealership spokesman said: "I can confirm Mr Langley's vehicle was involved in a minor collision during a routine repair in the workshop. Nobody was injured. We have apologised to Mr Langley and accepted our responsibility.

"We have given him the use of an Astra while we agree a proper remedy to this situation. We are sympathetic to Mr Langley and continue to engage with him with a view to finding a mutually agreeable and reasonable solution."

Novice driver caught speeding during lesson with AA

Learner Driver stock

A learner driver has been fined after being caught speeding while out on a driving lesson.

Seventeen-year-old Stacie Ralphes was caught driving at 36mph in a 30mph zone in the Weymouth area, while receiving tuition from the AA driving school.

The student, who only has 12 hours driving experience under her belt, was initially angered to find that she was liable for the offence.

"I was shocked to find that the notification was in my name. I thought the driving instructor would have made sure that speeding didn't happen as that's what they are there for," she said  "I was angry and frustrated. I understand that I was partially responsible but I felt as a learner driver who has just started, I've been learning to deal with everything else involved in driving."

As an alternative to the three penalty points normally received for such speeding offences, Stacie was offered the chance to attend a driver awareness course, which she accepted.

She added: "I've lost my confidence when driving through this. It has been a big setback."

Her mother, Beverley is now calling on the AA to ensure learner drivers are fully aware that they are liable for traffic offences that occur during lessons.

"I find it incredible that after 12 hours of driving my daughter could be solely responsible for this," she said.

Stacie has since resumed her driving lessons with another driving school.

The AA driving school offered to pay Stacie's £110 driver awareness course fee as a gesture of goodwill.

However, it reiterated the law relating to driving offences, which states that drivers are liable for penalties arising from traffic offences, even if they are a learner, and that it is illegal for anyone other than the driver to accept a penalty

Monday, 24 February 2014

Good IAM advice when travelling with kids

Are we there yet?

Forget changing the channel on the radio or eyeing up the talent on the pavement, kids in the car make it all too easy to take your eyes off the road.

If you've got a getaway planned for Easter, plan ahead so you keep the littlun's quiet and contented - especially on long journeys.  The trick is to keep them occupied as much as possible and to keep your attention on the road.

A second adult to look after the children makes a huge difference, leaving the driver to drive. This also may allow you the opportunity to share the driving if you're heading somewhere far away from home.

However tempting, don't turn round to deal with fighting kids.  Find somewhere to stop first. If anyone needs to pick up a child, make sure you stop and don't let any adults travel with a child on their lap.

Portable games consoles or in-car DVD players will keep kids occupied for hours. But add some headphones – the soundtrack on the monitors can be just as distracting as the kids.  You might like the Spongebob Squarepants tune now, but after a few plays in the car it'll really get on your nerves.

If you are planning a long journey, make sure you're organised, remembering to pack plenty of food and drink. Have a plastic bag (without any holes) at hand for travel sickness.

Play games that promote and reward quiet behaviour without needing the driver's direct involvement.

Always leave a gap of at least two seconds between you and the car in front. Following too close cuts the time you'll have to react should something happen. You'll be more able to spot hazards and keep your kids safe.

Allow extra stops. Find somewhere for them to let off steam such as a playground.

Don't forget that child seats or restraint must be used. Check the rules but, depending on their age, some sort of seat or restraint should be used until a child reaches the age of 12 or 1.35 metres in height.  Never put a rearward-facing baby seat in the front if there is a passenger airbag.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

School bus driver caught over the drink-drive limit

West Sussex,England - Warning: School children, education,color,vertical,West Sussex,England,warning,school,children,symbol,sign

A bus driver, whose vehicle was laden with primary school children, has been found guilty of being in charge of a vehicle while over the drink-drive limit.
He was a professional driver with over 30 years of experience, but failed a breath test after being stopped in Kington Langley, Wiltshire, while dropping children off at a local primary school.

The experienced driver claimed he had been at a football match the night before and had not eaten anything for breakfast.  District judge Simon Cooper said: "You are a man with a long and unblemished driving career. This was drinking the night before. It remains in your system. It has an effect.

"Driving through a narrow village with cars parked on each side at that time of the morning, and these buses are not small, they're large.

"There is potential to cause serious damage."

The court also heard that he had been driving HGVs since 1982 and had a clean licence but he immediately resigned from his job following his arrest.

He was handed a 16-month driving disqualification, which will be reduced to 14-months should he complete a drink-driver course. He was also fined £120

Tailgating driver handed £900 fine

Braking before the intersection

A driver found guilty of tailgating has been fined £900 and banned from driving for 12 months.
The Businessman was spotted closely following other vehicles, undertaking and driving in a generally aggressive manner on the A11 outside Norwich, in March last year.

He had been driving home from picking his daughter up from university and was apparently in rather a hurry, Norwich Crown Court heard.

The prosecuter said: "This defendant appeared to be in a hurry and started to tailgate people in the overtaking lane, coming up fast behind them,"
Despite other road users travelling at the speed limit, he continued to gesture and drive in an intimidating manner in an attempt to get them out of his way.

His driving was so reckless that two motorists rang the police to report him, including an off-duty police officer, who noted his car's registration number.

The Harpenden resident admitted dangerous driving and was fined £900 and ordered to pay £600 costs. He was also banned from driving for a year and will have to sit an extended driving test should he want to get his licence back.

Passing sentence, Recorder Rupert Lowe said: "You were in a hurry and in a temper. It was dangerous.

"It is a serious offence. It was persistent and it was angry and it was plainly dangerous."

The defence legal representative in mitigation said that there was no collision or injury resulting from his Clients driving and that his conduct that day was "wholly out of character".

Monday, 17 February 2014

Lorry drivers want high-winds ban

Review of the Year 2013

Lorry drivers are urging the Government to implement a ban on heavy good vehicles travelling during gale-force winds.
A transport union, which represents HGV drivers, is claiming that lives are being put at risk by "cowboy" haulage firms that are forcing its members to stay out on the road to ensure cargo is delivered on time, irrespective of the recent appalling weather conditions.

One unnamed driver said drivers were being put under "ridiculous pressure" by bosses, despite storms causing travel chaos.

"These bosses are not bothered about how the stuff gets there as long as it gets there. They're not bothered about safety, only money," he said.

"The bigger players are more understanding but the cowboy firms at the bottom just don't care.

"Maybe when one of these things goes over and crushes a family of four, the government will finally do something."

The recent storms have seen a number of roads across the country being blocked by HGVs that have been blown over by high winds.

Drivers have not escaped without injury. In December, a haulier died after his lorry toppled over, crushing two cars in West Lothian, Scotland.

Lee Pimbley, a spokesman for the United Road Transport Union, said: "Lorries are going over all the time – yet the government hasn't provided any guidance on the movement of these vehicles.

"They are not doing enough. They need to put rules in place to stop companies putting pressure on drivers. This would make the roads safer for all users."

Companies not taking the appropriate measures to ensure staff are safe may find themselves falling foul of health and safety legislation.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: "Employers have responsibility under Health and Safety legislation to ensure so far as reasonably practicable the health and safety of their employees and others who may be affected by their work activities. This includes the activity of driving on public roads."

Police warn of flood conmen preying on stricken vehicles

Britain Weather

Police in Hampshire have warned motorists about fraudsters who have been preying on the innocent victims of the recent flooding.
According to the authorities, tricksters have been removing the 'road closed' signs from flooded areas, waiting for a vehicle to get stuck in deep floodwater and then charging stricken motorists �30 to be towed out with a 4x4 vehicle.

Police have received reports of the scam in the New Forest area and have advised motorists to avoid driving through any floodwater in order to avoid the attention of the fraudsters.

Hampshire Constabulary took to its Facebook page to warn residents about the hoax, saying: "Flooding seems to be bringing out the worst in some people.

"We have had two reports this evening of a scam developing in the New Forest whereby someone is moving the 'road closed' signs, and then offering to tow people out with their 4x4 vehicle for a charge of at least �30."

The police appealed for further information and warned: "This is another scam, unfortunately. The simplest and easiest way to avoid it is to not drive into floodwater."

It follows a separate incident in Portsmouth where hoaxers have been cold-calling residents, claiming to be from the National Flood Warning Service. The fraudsters then advise residents to consider evacuating homes because of the impending floods.

Hampshire Constabulary said: "These calls are a hoax. If you are required to evacuate your property in any area in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, you will receive a personal visit from a uniformed police officer or fire officer.

"Please rest assured and if you get such a telephone call - hang up and ignore it."

60mph speed limit proposed for M3

Motorway stock

Sections of the M3 motorway in Surrey could have a 60mph speed limit imposed in a bid to improve air quality.
The Highways Agency has launched a consultation, which if approved, would see the reduced speed limit affect a 2.8-mile section between junctions 3 and 4, between 7am-7pm, seven days a week.

The Department for Transport body is already in the middle of a consultation for a similar speed restriction on 32-mile section of the M1 between Junctions 28 and 35a.

The proposals come after concerns over rising air pollution levels in the area - following the conversion of the hard shoulder into a full traffic-carrying lane in a bid to cut congestion.

The Highways Agency claims that even with the 60mph speed limit, the extra lane will ensure journey times are quicker during peak hours.

It is hoped that the restricted speed limit could be lifted by 2019, as new cars become less polluting.

However, motorists groups have warned that if accepted, the proposals would set the precedent for other areas of the motorway network where driving in the hard-shoulder is allowed.

RAC technical director David Bizley said: "Given the landmark announcement in early January about a reduced speed limit of 60mph on a 32-mile stretch of the M1 in order to protect air quality in the area, this should really not come as a surprise.

"It does, however, come hot on the heels of the first announcement and invites the question as to whether any of the eight other planned all-lane running, smart motorway schemes which the government have heavily invested in will also need to have reduced speed limits put in place to protect air quality?"

Drivers and other parties wishing to voice their opinion on the proposed 60mph limit on the M3 have until April 11 to contact the Highways Agency

Friday, 14 February 2014

Council says road outside primary school is too DANGEROUS for a lollipop lady

Man smashes up wrong car in revenge attack

Leicester Crown Court

A Loughborough man has been jailed for 14 months after admitting damaging the wrong person's car in a would-be revenge attack.
Daniel Zahir Ali Rushdi destroyed a £13,400 Volkswagen Golf, which he mistakenly believed belonged to a third party towards whom he held a grudge.

He attacked the car, causing considerable damage to the bodywork, and shattering the windows and light clusters.

He also took a knife to the tyres and interior upholstery, effectively writing-off the vehicle.

It was not until after his arrest that Rushdi realised his mistake.

Alan Murphy, prosecuting, told Leicester Crown Court: "Local residents heard the continuous sound of banging at about 12.50am. Two witnesses saw a male repeatedly striking what turned out to be the VW Golf and heard a car alarm sounding.

"One saw the male get into another vehicle and noted the registration number.

"The defendant was seen by the police, about 20 minutes later, at a petrol station in Leicester Road, Loughborough."

When confronted by officers, Rushdi claimed he had simply popped out to buy a bottle of milk, an alibi which his girlfriend later corroborated.

However, due to inconsistencies in his story, he was arrested and fragments of glass from the broken car windows were later found embedded in his clothing.

Judge Michael Pert QC said: "The only explanation you've put forward is that it was a mistake and you thought it was someone else's car.

"So you attacked and destroyed this car belonging to a person who'd done nothing wrong to you."

Rushdi pleaded guilty to causing damage to the car and failing to attend court on a previous occasion

Couple wins landmark victory against council over pothole damage


A Northamptonshire couple have won a legal battle against the County Council after it was discovered the authority had lied regarding their knowledge of a pothole which damaged their car.

Jane Tramontana, of Sutton Basset, drove through a 3ft-wide pothole, which punctured two tyres on her Nissan Micra.

However, when they reported the incident to Northamptonshire County Council in January last year, they were refused the right to apply for compensation, as the council claimed that it did not have any knowledge of the pothole's existence.

Not willing to simply roll-over on the matter, Jane and her husband Philip Charles started legal proceedings and were eventually awarded compensation of £311.

Northampton Country Court heard that the authority had in fact been informed of the dangerous road defect and had marked it as a priority case to be fixed within five days.

When the repairs were not carried out and the damage was caused to Ms Tramontana's car, council bosses simply stuck their head in the sand and denied all knowledge of the pothole.

District Judge Sarah Watson told the court: "There are clear problems with the way the council deals with dangerous potholes,"

Mr Charles is now urging others to take the fight to their local councils, despite the fact it has taken the couple over a year to be properly compensated.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, he described the case as a "nightmare".

"When I got to Sutton Bassett I found the road just littered with cars that had hit this hole – you couldn't avoid it," he said.

"Every one had damaged their tyres. I called the police in the end because it was obviously dangerous.

"The council denied being told of the pothole, but 'they clearly had."

Mr Charles went on to claim that the Council attempted to palm him off, claiming the hole wasn't a serious issue.

"We were told that people had reported it and since it is dangerous they should have fixed it straightaway. But they still tried to claim it wasn't a problem. They even sent us a group of reports that were obviously for a different hole.

"They then bombard you with all sorts of documents and hope they will confuse you into just going away."

The majority of councils promise to fix potholes within five days of inspection, but some have a policy of 24-hour repairs for dangerous defects.

Northamptonshire County Council did not comment on the verdict.

Driving instructor caught short at the wheel leads police on 120mph chase


A driving instructor has been convicted of dangerous driving after leading police on a high-speed chase, because he was desperate to go to the toilet.
Andrew Paton, of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, led traffic cops on a four-mile pursuit up the A90 after driving past a police speed trap at 86mph.

The 49-year-old then proceeded to accelerate even faster, and was observed undertaking traffic and hitting speeds of up to 120mph.

He only slowed his Audi A4 down to avoid triggering a speed camera in the Finavon area, as he steamed towards the restroom facilities of a local restaurant.

The trial at Forfar Sheriff Court heard that police officers initially struggled to catch up with Paton, due to the speed he was travelling.

A DVD showing footage of the chase from a patrol car ended with Paton expressing difficulty leaving his car to arresting officers.

"I think it's obvious from the video that there was something very wrong with my nether regions," he said.

Paton told the court he had been driving at around 85mph when he started experiencing stomach cramps and accelerated to make it to Peggy Scott's restaurant in Finavon before he soiled himself.

Despite this being an admission of breaking the 70mph speed limit in force in the area, Paton denied a charge of driving with excessive speed.

He was found guilty and disqualified from driving for two years and ordered to pay a £350 fine.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The Special One to be first customer to receive new Jaguar F-Type Coupe in UK

The official UK launch of the beautiful Jaguar F-Type Coupe will take place tomorrow, where fans and potential customers will be able to pore over it's sleek lines.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will make an appearance at the event and as UK ambassador to the Jaguar brand, he will also be the first in the country to receive a shiny new F-Type Coupe when deliveries commence in March.

The hard top version of last year's barnstorming convertible F-Type will come in three different variants: The top-of-the-range R iterant boasts the impressive 548bhp, 5.0-litre V8 that can hit a top speed of 186mph. The S Coupe and standard Coupe produce 378bhp and 338bhp, respectively.

Mourinho can also look forward to a bespoke suspension set-up and new dynamic technologies should he plump for the F-Type R Coupe. New gadgets on this model include a torque vectoring system and an electronic active differential that improves handling and steering response.

Jaguar Land Rover UK Managing Director Jeremy Hicks said: "I am sure all our customers will be as excited as our new ambassador José Mourinho at the prospect of driving the new F-TYPE Coupé."

This isn't the first time Mourinho's name has been linked to a sports car as it was revealed last year that the Chelsea boss had teamed up with tuning firm Mansory and high society club Raff House to work on a supercar that is set to rival the likes of Aston Martin and McLaren.

The 'Special One' was quoted by the car's manufacturer as saying: "I can see myself driving this car to a big game, adrenaline filling my system, as I'm trying to get to the stadium as soon as possible, wishing for the game to start".

Toyota to recall 1.9 million Prius models globally

Toyota Badge

Japanese automotive giant Toyota is due to recall 1.9 million Prius vehicles globally due to potential problems with the hybrid system's boost converter software that could lead to a lack of power or cause the car to stop completely.

Recalls involve 30,790 UK-registered Prius models manufactured between March 2009 and February 2014 and affected owners will be notified via a letter from the marque outlining the repair process.

A Toyota spokesperson said: "In limited cases, the hybrid system might shut down and the vehicle will stop, perhaps while being driven.

"The car may stop while driving, but not suddenly. It would slow down, eventually to stop."

"All the vehicles affected by this issue are being recalled so that the control software can be updated," a statement read on the company's UK blog.

Vehicle owners will be contacted by Toyota within the coming weeks by post or telephone and asked to make an appointment to bring their car to their nearest Toyota centre, in accordance with Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) guidelines.

Toyota Prius

A Toyota spokesperson said in a statement: "The software update will take about 40 minutes to complete; the work will be carried out free of charge."

The latest recall joins a long list of defects that has plagued the brand over recent years. Toyota share prices fell considerably when 10 million vehicles were recalled in 2010 due to acceleration issues.

Despite this, Toyota remained the top-selling global car maker last year, with worldwide deliveries amounting to almost 10 million vehicles.

Worried your vehicle may be affected? Head to Toyota's registration look-up function in the owners section of the main Toyota website.

If owners require additional information they can contact Toyota Recall Help line on 0800 1388744

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Massive 50ft-Deep Sinkhole Opens Up On M2 In Kent

A 10-mile section of a busy motorway has been closed in both directions after a huge, 50ft-deep hole appeared in the central reservation.

Long tailbacks built up after the M2 in north Kent was shut between junction 5 near Sittingbourne and junction 6 south of Faversham.

The Highways Agency said the hole measured 16ft (5m) by 6ft (2m) and was 50ft (15m) deep.


The sinkhole opened up on the central reservation

A spokeswoman said: "The road has been closed while urgent safety checks are made following a large hole opening up in the central reservation.

"Agency staff and contractors are working hard to inspect the hole and make the necessary repairs and lanes will be reopened when it is safe to do so."

She added that there were delays both east and westbound in the area of the closure and urged drivers heading to and from the port of Dover to use the M20 instead.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Don’t drive so close to me


There are fewer things in life more unsettling than being confronted with an aggressive driver. While some of us are better prepared for this than others, there's no easy way to know how it's best to deal with this kind of conflict.

Most irritating manoeuvres made by other drivers are unintentional. Don't take your frustration out by making offensive gestures, beeping your horn or flashing your lights.

Road works and bottle necking causes delays. Make sure you signal in plenty of time, other drivers will usually let you in. Try and show goodwill and let other drivers pass through. It's polite and it won't cost you journey time by letting a car go in front of you.

Set an example to others. Give way at busy junctions or where traffic lanes merge. Wherever there are merging lanes, join in turn.

Don't respond to somebody else's bad behaviour by accelerating, braking or swerving suddenly. As well as winding up other drivers, you reduce your own car control. 

We all make mistakes when we're driving, so try and cut people some slack when they do so. Road rage doesn't improve the situation, and puts you, your passengers, and other road users around you at risk.

The best thing is to stay calm and continue to drive sensibly so as not to make the situation any worse.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Now you can make money by scrapping your car

Crane picking up a car in a junkyard.accident, aluminum, car, center, compressed, crane, crushed, destroy, dump, ecology, engine
Your motor can still make you money at the end of its life, but there are several things to watch out for.

The recent bad weather can be the final straw for an old car, with more breaking down for the final time in the winter months than at any other time of the year. So what do you do with an old banger that either won't go ever again or will cost too much to repair.

Not that long ago a clapped-out car was a burden. It would no longer take you from A to B, and it couldn't even get itself to the scrapyard. In order to get rid of it you would have to pay someone upwards of £100 to tow it away, and then you would have to pay another £50 or so for it to be scrapped.

Now, thanks to the rising cost of scrap metal your old banger can earn you a final lump of cash before it heads to the great car park in the sky. Companies such as and will pay you to take your old car away as they can then sell on the metal.

You can make some cash, depending on your car make and whereabouts in the country. For example, a 2000 Ford Mondeo in Reading is worth £148.72 to RewardingRecycling. But a 1995 Honda Civic in Leeds would be worth £115 with

It isn't just rising scrap metal prices that mean you no longer have to pay to get rid of your old car. The EU End of Life Directive came into force back in 2005. This was brought in to reduce the number of old cars dumped by people who didn't want to pay for them to be scrapped.

Under this law car manufacturers had to set up agencies that would recycle their cars for free when they came to the end of their driving life. If you aren't sure which recycling company to use, contact the manufacturer of your car, and they should be able to tell you who recycles their models.

Selling your old car to the right scrap company is about more than just making the most money.
Scrapping a car involves important paperwork that you must get right, otherwise you could end up liable if the car isn't scrapped properly, or ends up back on the road.

First up, make sure the company that is going to scrap your car is licensed by the Environment Agency; if it is it will be called an 'authorised treatment facility' or ATF.

Next, check that the company will provide you with a Certificate of Destruction (CoD). They should send this to you within seven days to prove the car has been destroyed.

Finally, the scrap company will tell the DVLA that you no longer own the car, but you need to still complete section three of your V5 document and send it to the DVLA to prove you no longer it. Within four weeks you should receive confirmation that you are no longer responsible for the vehicle

Driving licence renewal texts are not what they seem


busy highway at night

The DVLA has issued a warning about a new risk for British motorists. Drivers are receiving emails and texts that claim to be a driving licence renewal reminder, but have nothing to do with the DVLA.

If you click the link you could end up seriously out of pocket


There is a steady stream of texts and emails being sent to British drivers, reminding them that their driving licence is up for renewal. Within the message is a link which takes you to a site where you are encouraged to renew.

A spokesman said that the DVLA never sends these types of reminders by text or email, so "drivers should be aware that if they follow the link in these messages they will be directed to a third party."


The idea of renewal itself is no scam. Most modern photocard licences are valid for 10 years, so you are legally required to renew them. Drivers over the age of 70 must do this every three years. The process requires you to complete a form, and pay a fee of £20 (there's no fee for the over-70s).

However, it's not the DVLA sending these texts and emails, it's a group of people who have worked out that they can use this rule to cash in. This is where those texts and emails come in. If you click the link, you'll be taken to one of the official-looking websites run by someone who has nothing whatsoever to do with DVLA.

They will charge you a fee to complete the form, then print it out and send it to you. Their official line is that when you input your details they will check it for errors and omissions, and that's what you're paying for. However, not everyone is aware of this when they hand over as much as £80, and many think that they are paying the DVLA fee.

Some of them also operate premium-rate phone numbers, so if you call with a query or to complain, you will be stung for even more of your cash.

In return for these steep fees, all the services offer is to fill out your application form and send it to you. At that point drivers realise that they need to send the form off to the DVLA, and that the £20 fee is still payable.

These sites are allowed to exist because they aren't doing anything illegal. As long as they don't claim to be the DVLA on the site, then they are selling an overpriced but legal form-printing service. The big players do all make this clear. It's just that users in a hurry don't always take the time to read the text, they just go straight to the Apply Now button.

Protect yourself

The best way to protect yourself is to check when your licence is up for renewal yourself. When you need to renew, you should do so online at, where you can do the whole lot online and just pay the £20.

You should avoid getting to this site through a web search if possible. If you end up doing a search, you need to take the time to check where you have ended up by reading all the text carefully. There have been a number of reports of people going to these third parties through searches, because they have paid for an advert linked to that particular search term, and subsequently appear at the top of the page.

You may think that you could easily spot a third party site (especially as they all contain disclaimers), but if you are in a hurry it's surprisingly easy to miss it

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Dog chews £80,000 Aston Martin

An Aston Martin owner from from Somerset, is having a bit of a ruff time at the moment as his border collie spaniel cross Luce has just chewed through the fibreglass wheelarch of his prized Aston Martin DB9 Volante.
Builder Royston Grimstead, 42, revealed that he had already considered re-homing the wayward pooch - which had previously caused friction with his other dog – and the damage to his beloved British sports car was the last straw.

Mr Grimstead said "'I came home and saw her covered in white stuff and I thought she had got a bird and it was feathers – but it was the fibreglass from the car."

"She knew she had done wrong because she had this guilty look on her face."

Luckily, insurance for the 15-month-old DB9 Volante will cover the £3,000 repair fee but things aren't looking so rosy for little Luce  "She avoided me after she did it and she was gone the next day," Mr Grimstead said

"I didn't tell the new owners what she had done - I expect when they hear I'll find Luce back on my doorstep."

A dog behaviour expert said that this was an unusual case as Luce hadn't chewed anything before but suspected the border collie spaniel cross had issues with being left alone.

Dog behaviour expert Helen Stone said "If she's normally fine to be left alone it seems like something will have happened to her, some stress or something, when he was out.

"We always say it is important that owners give their dogs something that they are happy to chew on when on their own and things to do to keep them busy when their owners are out."

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Rolls-Royce creates limited edition Sir Malcolm Campbell Phantom Drophead

The luxury British marque is set to reveal a new series of 35 Phantom Drophead Coupes, dubbed the Waterspeed Collection, that pay homage to Sir Malcolm Campbell's quest to make Britain the fastest nation on water.
According to Rolls-Royce chief executive officer Torsten Müller-Ötvös, the 35 vehicles "serve to display the breadth of bespoke personalisation available to every Rolls-Royce customer."

The Waterspeed Collection will be inspired by the Rolls-Royce R-Type-powered craft that Sir Malcolm Campbell used in his water speed record attempts back in 1937.

Taking to the wheel of his Bluebird K3 hydroplane boat, Sir Campbell set a record of 126.2mph on his very first attempt at Lake Maggiore on the Swiss-Italian border on September 1 1937. He later hit 129.5mph, ripping the record from the United States who had previously held it for five years.

"Sir Malcolm Campbell's successful pursuit of world-speed records on land and water were the result of his commitment to the most exacting standards of British design and engineering excellence," said Müller-Ötvös.

"Such attributes are hallmarks of every Rolls-Royce motor car, ensuring the marque's position at the pinnacle of super-luxury manufacturing."

The Bluebird Waterspeed boats will inspire the exterior design of the limited edition Phantoms, with classic blue hues and wooden inlays used throughout the exterior.

More information will be released soon, with first glimpses likely to happen at this year's Geneva motor show later next month

Saturday, 1 February 2014

100-year-old man clocks up a million miles - is it safe?


AT4PMT retired person driving motor car. Image shot 2008. Exact date unknown.

Dennis Garratt, a 100-year-old RAF veteran from Uppingham in Rutland, is celebrating having driven an impressive total of one million miles. He still drives regularly, and has never had an accident.

So should he, and others of his age, be allowed to keep driving?

He told the Daily Mail that he first started driving during the Second World War, and he still regularly takes his car to the shops. In all that time he has never had an accident.

He said that he has fast reactions and is a confident driver, so is completely safe. He was dismissive of suggestions that older people should have to sit tests or give up their licence as they get older.
It was younger drivers who worried him - because they are in so much of a hurry.

During his birthday celebrations in November he told the Stamford Mercury that his driving licence had been renewed, so he will be legal to drive until he is at least 103.

Older drivers?

There are currently 191 people over the age of 100 who are legally allowed to drive on the road in the UK. The oldest licence-holder is a 107-year-old woman.

The rules mean that it is up to older drivers (over the age of 70) to self-certify that they are still capable behind the wheel. They have to do this at 70 and then again every three years after that. It is left up to them to decide whether they are still safe to drive.

Is it safe?

Clearly Garratt is not posing a risk to anyone, and it's clear that his car is a vital lifeline. Statistically he's a safer driver than someone in their youth. People over the age of 70 are statistically far safer than those under the age of 30: they make up 9% of drivers but only 6% of driver casualties, while drivers under 30 make up 20% of drivers but 35% of casualties.

However, there are plenty of people who are unhappy with people driving as they get older. A survey by Autotrader in May last year found that three in five motorists thought that once drivers hit the age of 66 they should be made to sit their driving test again, while 73% of them are worried whenever they are following an older person on the road.

Some 65% of Brits believe older drivers should be subject to medical checks, such as regular sight and coordination tests, while 30% think Government should reduce the number of points older drivers are allowed before their licence is revoked.

Parking fines 'may be reduced'

File photo dated 01/08/13 of a parking ticket on a car windscreen. Parking fines could be reduced and grace periods introduced, the Government has said, following criticism that local councils use parking enforcement as a

Parking fines could be reduced and grace periods introduced, the Government has said, following criticism that local councils use parking enforcement as a "cash cow".

The Department for Transport is considering legal options to abolish the minimum rates for parking penalty charges to allow local authorities to lower fines for minor parking violations.

It also wants local authorities to publish their parking accounts in a bid to create more transparency around fines.

It today formally responded to a Commons Transport Select Committee report published last year which found "a deep rooted perception that local authorities view parking enforcement as a cash cow".

It also said it was "hard to justify parking fines that are substantially more than the fines for more serious offences like speeding".

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin froze parking penalty charges in December for the remainder of the current Parliament.

He also published a public consultation on parking issues, including whether five minute grace periods, which some councils already operate voluntarily, should be made a statuary requirement.

It is also seeking views on whether to end the use of cameras for on-street parking enforcement.

Last year the Local Government Association calculated that councils made a £411m surplus from both on and off street parking in 2011-12, while the RAC Foundation said the figure was £565m.

The consultation will end on February 14.

Louise Ellman, chairwoman of the Transport Select Committee, welcomed the Government's consultation on the report's findings.

She told Daybreak: "There is a feeling that people aren't being treated very fairly, and that's what the report was about.

"Councils do have a lot of discretion and that's right as it is a local service.

"But it is about being reasonable.

"Councils must be much clearer about what they are doing with their money and what money they are making."

She added that councils are not legally allowed to put up parking fines in order to raise revenue but that Government needs to make the law clearer to local authorities.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said parking fines need to be proportionate and urged councils to be more transparent.

"Parking can be big business for councils with English local authorities making a profit of almost £600 million between them last year," he said.

"We should see most parking offences for what they are. Not crimes but misdemeanours and we need enforcement that reflects this.

"We need some proportionality and transparency. At the very least all councils should publish an annual report outlining what their parking policy is, how charges are set and where any surplus goes.

"It was almost four years ago that the coalition promised to end the war on the motorist. It isn't over yet but perhaps these latest proposals will take us a step closer to victory."