DOCTORS MUST INFORM DVLA OVER FITNESS TO DRIVE
ADI News reports that Doctors must inform the Driver and Vehicle Licence Agency (DVLA) if a patient continues to drive against medical advice when they are not fit to do so and poses a risk of serious harm to the public, even if they don't have the patient's consent to do so, according to strengthened guidelines issued as part of a wider consultation on confidentiality by the General Medical Council (GMC). The guidelines also emphasise that when they diagnose a patient's condition or provide treatment, doctors should keep the patient's ability to drive safely at the forefront of their minds.
The consultation on confidentiality is due to run until mid-February 2016 with the final guidance being published in late 2016.
SMOKING IN CARS CARRYING CHILDREN ILLEGAL
From 1st October 2015 it will be an offence to smoke or to fail to prevent smoking in a private vehicle with someone under the age of 18 in the vehicle. The regulations do not apply to a driver on their own in a vehicle. People failing to comply could face a £50 fixed penalty notice.
VEHICLE TAX RATES CHANGE ON 1st APRIL 2017
For vehicles first registered on or after 1 April 2017, the amount you pay for the first 12 months is based on CO2 emissions as follows:
Over 255 £2,000
You can’t make a 6-month payment for the first year.
The amount you pay each year after that for a petrol or diesel car is £140.
The first time you tax a vehicle on or after 1 April 2017 with a list price (the published price before any discounts) of more than £40,000, you’ll pay the rate based on CO2 emissions. After the first 12 months you’ll pay an additional rate of £310 a year for the next 5 years. After 5 years, you’ll pay the standard annual rate.
CHEAPEST CARS FOR YOUNG DRIVERS TO INSURE
In May 2016 The Telgraph reported:
"Vauxhall's flagship car, the Corsa, is the most popular vehicle among younger drivers but they would save £400 if they picked a rival hatchback.
By opting for the Peugeot 107 as their first car instead, a driver aged between 17 and 25 would pay £900 for fully comprehensive insurance, compared with £1,305 for the Corsa.
The small engine of the Peugeot is the biggest factor in bringing premiums down compared with other, more powerful models. It's also a cheaper option to buy. A brand new three-door 107 sells for around £6,000 whereas the 2015 Vauxhall Corsa starts at £9,000.
But research shows that the Peugeot is less favoured among younger drivers, according to insurance quotes searched via comparison service Comparethemarket, which includes information about a person's age and car model.
Among those cars that are perhaps less fashionable, but cheaper to insure, are the Fiat 500, Citroën C1, Kia Picanto and Toyota Aygo. All of these cars can be covered for £706 or less.
But none of these cars are favoured by motorists in their teens and early 20s.
According to the data, under-25s would prefer a Ford Fiesta (£915 to insure), Renault Clio (£980 to insure), Volkswagen Golf (£1,104) and the Vauxhall Astra (£883).
Under-25s typically spend half of their car's value on insurance, and the cost of getting a younger driver on the road has by increased 18pc in the past year, to £2,232 on average for 17-year-old."
It's worth being aware that there are more and more insurance companies offering specialist young driver insurance policies. These policies offer significant savings on young driver insurance costs by using smart black box technology that monitors their driving habits and charges accordingly. Such policies are offered by reputable insurance companies and we have information on our Links page.
Many new drivers ask me why insurance premiums are often several times more than the value of their first car. The issue is not the value of their car but the potential damage that can be done with it. I read in an article in ADI News (July 2011) that, during 2011, AA Insurance had dealt with two crashes caused by 18 year old male drivers which had each resulted in claims of over £5 Million (one due to the driver's girlfriend being confined to a wheelchair for life following the car crashing into a tree at speed and the second where one of the driver's friends who was in the car and the driver of the oncoming car were killed as the result of the young driver misjudging an overtaking manoeuvre).
In my opinion, unless they introduce legislation limiting the power of cars new drivers can drive, times of day they can drive, etc, the Government can do all but nothing to achieve a significant reduction in insurance premiums for new drivers. Statistics demonstrate that new drivers have the most crashes between the hours of 2300 and 0600 and as the result of driving too fast and/or aggressively. If technology can now monitor these factors and allow insurance companies to identify new drivers who represent a lower risk and offer them lower premiums, I strongly believe this is to be welcomed.
Another way to reduce insurance premiums is to always check out insurance premiums for any car that you are considering buying. An insurance expert from major insurance broker, Adrian Flux, said in Auto Express magazine "Many first time buyers assume they should buy a cheap car in a low insurance group. But it's not that simple. We find that very cheap vehicles aren't looked after by their owners, so claims are common, and we build up our own profile for each model. This explains why two cars with the same insurance rating can attract different premiums". Auto Express advise "If you can afford it, try to spend at least £2,000 on your first motor; it's likely to require less maintenance than a £500 banger, and your insurer will assume you won't abuse it. It's also a good idea to opt for something mainstream, such as a Ford or Vauxhall, rather than niche models".
Auto Express magazine along with Adrian Flux and reputabled finance website This is Money along with motoring specialists Parkers.co.uk recommend the following as being cheap cars to insure (I've included the dates they were first introduced since used versions would be even more affordable):
VW Fox 1.2 Urban (2005 - preceded by VW Lupo introduced in 1998 which was all but the same as the Seat Arosa).
Fiat Panda 1.1 Active (2003 - Plenty available on the used car market).
Chevrolet Spark 1.0 (2010 - preceeded by Daewoo/Chevrolet Matiz which was introduced in 1998 and is in fairly plentiful supply on the used car market).
Vauxhall Corsa 1.0 (1983 - Comparatively expensive new but Vauxhall Corsa's are widely and comparatively cheaply available on the used car market).
Nissan Pixo 1.0 (2009 - All but the same as the Suzuki Alto which has been available in the UK since the early to mid 1980s with engines as small as 650cc. Earlier models are far from common on the used car market).
Citroen C1 / Peugeot 107 / Toyota Aygo (2005 - Can also deliver up to 60MPG!).
Toyota Yaris (1999 - Owing to it's reliability, especially Japanese built ones, it can be dearer on the used market than other similar cars but it does offer some of the lowest insurance costs around).
Ford Focus (1998 - If you need space in your first car. Widely and comparatively cheaply available on the used car market).
Peugeot 106 1.0 (1991 - I personally am not keen on these as they are of a very lightweight construction and have all but no safety features to the extent that a Traffic Policeman I met at a motoring event had an extremely low opinion of them from his first hand experience at road traffic crashes; it was a crashed and severely damaged Peugeot 106 that was at the centre of the Police display. The similar Citroen Saxo doesn't make the list as it is quite expensive to insure as it's a known "Boy/Girl Racer" modification favourite and this along with the lightweight construction and lack of safety kit has resulted in this model having a high insurance claim risk and, therefore, higher insurance premiums. In my personal opinion the Citroen Saxo and earlier model Peugeot 106s should be avoided as I believe the risks associated with them outweigh the attractiveness of their availablility on the used market at comparatively cheap purchase prices).
In their article, detailed above, The Telegraph also recommend:
Kia Picanto (2004)
Fiat 500 (2007 - Well the original was introduced in 1957! Fine for front seat passengers but not much room for passengers in the back seat.)
BUYING A USED CAR?
DVLA's Buyer Beware campaign is offering buyers of used vehicles useful guidance on which questions to ask about the seller, the registration certificate (V5C) and the identity of the vehicle to help them avoid being caught out by criminals selling stolen vehicles.
Some things to consider are as follows:
Be careful of mobile phone numbers as owners are hard to trace;
Watch out for adverts giving a landline number and times to call as criminals often use public phone boxes;
Check the market value of the vehicle and if it's offered much cheaper, ask yourself why;
Ask the seller for the registration number, make and model of the vehicle;
Ask the seller for the expiry date of the tax disc and the MOT test number;
Check whether the vehicle has outstanding finance or has been stolen or written off (e.g. HPI Check, etc.);
Arrange to view the vehicle in daylight at the seller's home and not in a public car park (consider your personal safety too);
Ask if the seller is the registered keeper, so you can view at the registered keeper's address (shown on the V5C);
Check the vehicle identification number (VIN) and engine number against the registration certificate (V5C);
For further information on why these checks are important go to www.gov.uk.
The ultimate message is - if in doubt, trust your instincts. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
DOES YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY KNOW?
Another way of reducing car insurance costs along with saving money, which you'll never recover when you come to sell your car and could in fact have a negative effect on your car's resale value, is not to modify your car. For example, adding alloy wheels costing £1000 to a car valued between £3-5000 can increase your premium by 15%, an air filter can add 2.5% to the premium and an aftermarket exhaust system (or component part thereof) can add 7.5% to your premium. So, if your car was valued at, say, £4000 and the insurance premium was £2,000 the addition of after market alloy wheels could add up to £300 to the premium!
If you're thinking that you can get away without telling your insurance company, think again. If you don't declare modifications to your insurance company, your insurance could be invalid.
When my stationary driving tuition car was hit in the rear by another vehicle whilst in a traffic queue (i.e. absolutely and utterly not my or the pupil's fault) the first thing the insurance Loss Adjuster (professionals who investigate insurance claims by interviewing the claimant and witnesses, consulting police and hospital records, and inspecting property damage to determine the extent of the company's liability) did when they came to assess the damage and cost of repairs was to check that my tyres had legal tread depth. They did, of course, but if they hadn't the insurer might have rejected my claim as the result of my vehicle not being roadworthy.
Do you think an insurance loss adjuster would spot aftermarket alloy wheels, exhaust systems, body kits, tinted windows, etc and highlight them to the insurance company in the event that they had not been declared? If you're not sure, have a look at the orange modified Peugeot 206 alongside the title of this article!
As a result of the level of claims being made, especially personal injury claims, insurance companies are increasingly invalidating insurance policies and rejecting claims (which can also result in you being charged for driving without insurance) whenever they believe that they are able.
THIS MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL!
Click here to see yet another news story involving a totally brainless and incompetent "boy racer" killing and maiming innocent people on the public roads!
I fully understand some people have a need for speed and, quite sincerely, have no problem with them fulfilling this need in the right place BUT NOT ON THE PUBLIC ROADS WHERE OTHER ROAD USERS DON'T WISH TO BECOME POTENTIAL FATALITIES AS A RESULT!
A maximum of a 40 minute drive from all the areas I cover is Castle Combe Circuit, who offer track days in a controlled environment which I would and previously have encouraged drivers who wish to fulfill a need for speed to attend. OK, they cost around £170 per day plus around £25 per additional driver but take along some mates (the cost reduces to around £61.25 per person with 4 mates in the one car, which isn't far off what many spend on a good night out!) and the cost pales into insignificance when taking into account the consequences of using the public roads as a race circuit.
I read an interesting article regarding overcoming Vehophobia, the fear of driving, which is one of the top 10 most common phobias.
If this affects you or someone you know, the advice given in the article is:
1. Do a few refresher lessons with a DVSA Approved Driving Instructor but not too many otherwise you may become dependent upon them. I have experience of helping people with this issue and think 2-6 hours should be sufficient for many clients. Talk through your main areas of concern and establish why you fear driving with your instructor before the lessons and away from the car.
2. The client has to do the work themself and go out driving somewhere (give yourself an aim as opposed to simply driving around) at least weekly otherwise old avoidance behaviours will return.
3. Keep a journal recording your level of fear out of 10 before going out in the car and again afterwards to see how it changes. Give yourself credit for what you've done well.
4. Do the same routes over and over again until you're bored since you can't be bored and frightened at the same time.
5. Be prepared! For example, consider using a SatNav to help you to concentrate on the road and not overly worry about your route and look at your route on Google Earth to work out potential difficulties.
6. Don't see everything as a hazard otherwise you may become overwhelmed. Prioritise hazards.
7. Be assertive about making decisions. For example, it doesn't matter whether you let another vehicle out of a junction but the important thing is to make a choice.
HOW TO DEAL WITH EMERGENCY VEHICLES & LEVEL CROSSINGS
Click on the Links to learn how to deal with emergency "Blue Light" vehicles and use Level Crossings safely (i.e. where a road crosses a railway line).
COMPULSORY BREATH TEST KIT IN FRANCE
If you're planning to take a car to France from 1st July 2012 it will be compulsory to take an "NF" marked (i.e. the French Standards Agency "kitemark") breathalyser kit with 2 disposable breathalysers, in addition to other compulsory equipment, otherwise you risk an 11 Euro fine. A single-use breathalyser kit such as available via Alcosense at £5.99 will suffice. Information on driving in different countries.