Driving Licence Set To Become Cheaper

Driving Licence on MapAccording to Yahoo! Cars News the cost of a driving licence is set to fall, with larger reductions to be seen for those who carry out online transactions.

The plans, which are to be consulted on by the Government, envisage drivers who apply online for their first driving licence would see the price drop from £50 to £34. Drivers who renew their licence after ten years would also see the price drop from £20 to £14. The online reduction will be 32% and the paper application will see a 15% drop.

The DVLA is currently reviewing all of the fees they charge to motorists and the consultation launched yesterday is the Government’s first step in their on-going review. The consultation will close on August 25th this year and the Government is hoping to introduce these new prices by the end of October 2014.

We found this story interesting and wonder if this will encourage more people to learn how to drive. The original article can be found here.

Never Leave A Dog In A Hot Car

Dog looking out from the car windowA recent article by MSN Cars News has revealed that a police officer has been awarded for rescuing a dog from a hot car by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Research has shown that dogs can die in hot cars and it’s a direct message that should not be hard to remember. However, it would appear that some people still need reminding of the dangers of leaving their dog inside the car on a hot day.

Just last week, Sergeant Richard Berns tweeted a photo of a dog who was left in a Saab with no ventilation or water on the hottest day of this year so far. The sergeant broke into the car, saving the dog’s life in the process. PETA have awarded Sergeant Berns and the Brownswood Safer Neighbourhoods Team with a Hero to Animals Award for rescuing the dog.

Dogs cool themselves down by panting and sweating through their paw pads. If they exceed 41C they may die, developing a loss of muscle control and kidney failure. They may also suffer irreversible brain damage. 

PETA has given advice for what to do if you spot a dog in a car with no ventilation or water:

You should take down the vehicle’s make, model, colour and registration number and try to locate the owner if it’s possible. If the owner is not present you should contact the local animal authorities or police and have someone keep an eye on the dog. A dog showing signs of heatstroke – such as restlessness, vomiting, lethargy, heavy panting or a lack of coordination – should be immediately taken to the shade. The dog’s temperature can then be stabilised by providing water, applying a cold towel to the animal’s head and chest or immersing the animal in tepid water before finally taking it to the vet.

We found this article very alarming and find it shocking that someone left their dog in a car when it was so hot. The original article can be found here.

Sri Lankan Cycling Team Spotted On Motorway

iStock_000042319804SmallAccording to a recent article by STV News police were called after four members of Sri Lanka’s Commonwealth Games cycling team were seen going for a ride down one of Scotland’s busiest stretches of motorway, the M74. The police intervened near the exit for Motherwell and Hamilton and advised them of the rules of the road.

The junction is near Strathclyde Park, which hosts the triathlon events on Sunday. On Wednesday morning fellow Glasgow 2014 athlete, Yorkshire-born Olympic triathlon bronze medallist Jonathan Brownlee, even tweeted a photo of the team on the motorway.

Police Scotland confirmed that they had been called to a report of four cyclists on the stretch of motorway at Junction 6 at roughly 11.55am on Wednesday morning. A similar incident happened during the Manchester Games in 2002 when two Kenyan cyclists travelled 17 miles down the M61 before being pulled over near Bolton.

We found this article interesting and wonder how the Games will affect Glasgow. The original article can be found here.

Salt Water Fuelled Car

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 18.41.09According to a recent story by MSN Cars News there is now a car that runs on salt water. It has four seats, zero emissions and can go as fast as a McLaren P1. This supercar is called the Quant e-Sportlimousine and has just been passed as road legal for use in Europe.

It is an electric car but it doesn’t get its power from conventional batteries. It, instead, uses what is known as ‘nano flowcell technology’. The system, which was originally developed for Nasa, works in a similar way to a hydrogen fuel cell, except the liquid used for storing energy is salt water.

This fuel (water) is carried in two big 200-litre tanks. All that performance and efficiency comes from an abundant liquid that covers 71% of the Earth’s surface. Is this the solution to the electric car problem? 

Quant says that the car will be as fast as any supercar, with four electric motors each driving a wheel individually for a total output of 925hp (9hp more than the McLaren P1 hybrid ‘hypercar’). It can also accelerate from 0 to 62mph in just 2.8 seconds.

We found this article interesting and look forward to seeing whether this will solve the electric car problem. The original story can be found here.

Government Urged To Crack Down On Foreign Cars

EuropaflaggeAccording to a recent article by the Daily Mail, the Government has been urged to crack down on unregistered foreign vehicles that dodge an estimated £3million of road tax per annum – a sum that may be funnelled back into maintaining highways.

Roughly 60,000 non-UK vehicles are registered with the DVLA annually but an estimated 15,000 are not, according to the RAC. This results in around £3million in missed Vehicle Excise Duty not being collected. At the same time, the RAC has warned drivers that these vehicles can dodge fines for speeding and using bus lanes as it is hard to track down the perpetrators, meaning more lost revenue.

Under current legislation, foreign cars must be registered with the DVLA once they have been in the UK for six months. After six months, they must pay a £55 first registration fee, ensure they have paid VED, obtain an MOT (if the vehicle is older than three years) and in some instances pay VAT.

However, despite the UK Border Force gathering the details of every non-UK vehicle entering and leaving the country, this data is not currently being used by the DVLA for licensing purposes, meaning that the Government is missing out on valuable tax revenue.

We found this article interesting and wonder what the Government could do to crack down on non-UK vehicles. The original story can be found here.

Government Cars Going Electric?

iStock_000023830503SmallAccording to a recent article by the Telegraph, the Prime Minister and his Government could soon be travelling in electric cars due to Downing Street being fitted with electric charging points. Over 150 electric cars are to be introduced to official Government fleets shortly after Autumn as ministers are aiming to lead by example and boost public confidence in electric vehicles. The Government Car Service, which provides cars for ministers, and the Department for Transport will be among the first to receive their new electric cars, with every government fleet eventually to reviewed.

Departments will be asked to consider which of their existing vehicles could be replaced with like-for-like electrically powered alternatives when they come up for renewal, with the initial leases to last two years. Later this year the wider public sector will also be included in the scheme costing £5 million, meaning that a further 135 electric cars can be added to the council, police force and NHS fleets. This money will also be used to expand the existing network of charging points.

We found this article interesting and wonder if this could increase the popularity of electric vehicles. The original article can be found here.

£1 Billion Motorway In Wales

iStock_000008421452SmallAccording to Yahoo! Cars News a £1 billion new motorway in south Wales has been given the green light by the Welsh Government. Ministers say a preferred black route between Junctions 23 and 29 of the M4 will boost the economy as well as reduce congestion. This will include a new crossing of the Usk, south of Newport. However, opponents of this idea suggest that improving existing roads around Newport would be cheaper as well as being kinder to the environment.

If built, the road would be the largest capital investment programme by the Welsh Government since the beginning of devolution. It is meant to be completed by 2022. Plans to ease congestion on this route were first suggested in 2004. Already being affected by the Severn Bridge tolls, the Welsh economy also felt a knock-on effect of a major traffic bottleneck just before Newport. But in 2009, the then Labour-Plaid coalition in Cardiff Bay set aside the idea when the estimated costs rose to £1 billion. However, UK Government ministers have since agreed Welsh ministers may borrow the money needed to fund the scheme.

We found this article interesting and wonder how this will affect congestion around the Newport area of Wales. The original article can be found here.

Britain’s Worst Learner Driver?

iStock_000004031255SmallThe Daily Mail has recently reported that a 28-year-old woman has failed her driving theory test 110 times, costing her a staggering £3,410. Despite the unnamed learner’s determination to pass the test, she is still yet to do so. Furthermore, she will still have the practical test to face after she finally passes her theory. The driving theory test costs £31 and is made up of 50 multiple choice questions and a hazard perception test. In order to pass you must receive at least 43 out of 50 marks in the multiple choice and at least 44 out of 75 in the hazard perception.

Nationally, the theory test has an average pass rate of 65.4 per cent. If this nameless lady had started sitting the test at the minimum age of 17, she would have sat it 10 times a year for the past 11 years. Although no one else has come close to the woman’s record, several other learners appear to be trying their best. A 30-year-old man from Petersborough has failed his theory test 86 times and a 41-year-old learner from Birmingham recently passed on his 80th attempt.

It isn’t just the theory test that certain learners find difficult to pass, it has also been reported that many struggle to pass their practical exam too. A middle-aged man who failed his practical driving test a record of 36 times, finally passed on his 37th attempt. The practical test costs £62 on a weekday and £75 on an evening, weekend or bank holiday.

We found this article interesting and wonder if anyone will ever beat these records. The original article can be found here.

Will The Penalty Of Using A Mobile Phone While Driving Double?

Concerned Blonde Woman Using Cell Phone While Driving.According to an article recently published by Yahoo! Cars News the penalty for using a mobile phone while driving might double. This comes under proposals being examined by the Government.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has called for offenders to be handed six points on their licence rather than the three given at the moment. This means that any driver caught using their phone behind the wheel twice in three years will receive a driving ban.

This new suggestion comes from an effort to end the appalling number of people killed or seriously injured in accidents where a phone was being used behind the wheel. This idea came to Sir Hogan-Howe in March after figures showed the first increase in deaths and injuries on the capital city’s roads in two decades. It has been illegal to use a mobile phone while driving since December 2003.

We found this article interesting and wonder if this will finally see a reduction in the number of people who use their phone behind the wheel. The original story can be found here.

Car Seats That Can Detect Sleeping

Yawning while drivingAccording to a recent story by The Telegraph there are car seats – which can detect when drivers are falling asleep at the wheel – that are being developed by Nottingham Trent University. This means that the danger of falling asleep while driving might soon be a thing of the past. Researchers are set to begin to embed electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor systems into the fabric of car seats.

Driver fatigue is a contributory factor in a fifth of motorway accents, according to research by the Department for Transport. The sensor system will be used to detect heart signals which indicate when a motorist is beginning to lose alertness and trigger a warning to pull over. If the driver chooses to ignore the alerts, active cruise control or lane departure technology may be used to gently guide the vehicle. This study has been granted over £88,000 of funding from the Technology Strategy Board.

We found this article interesting and wonder how this might reduce the number of road accidents in the UK. The original article can be found here.