DRIVER CALLS ‘FIRE’ ON MOTORWAY HARD SHOULDER
Wheeler-dealers trading cars, people picking flowers, and a driver who thought the ‘fire’ notification on their dashboard display meant their car was ablaze – instead of the name of the Adele track they were listening to.
These are just some of the reasons Highways Agency traffic officers were given by drivers who had stopped illegally on the hard shoulder of motorways.
The driver listening to the Adele track was one 10 of the ” most inappropriate reasons” given for stopping on the hard shoulder of the motorway.
One motorist parked up and fell asleep on the M6.
People stopping to read a map or check their sat-navs.
Traffic officers stopped with two cars on the hard shoulder – the owners were half way through the selling and buying process for one of the cars.
One driver realised their car insurance policy was up for renewal – they were ringing around for quotes to renew.
Parents feeding children.
Taxi drivers waiting on the hard shoulder around Heathrow airport for their client’s flights to arrive.
A mobile phone operator, stopping at regular intervals in their private car carrying out signal tests on the hard shoulder.
A driver who stopped to pick flowers.
Have you broken down Sir? No, came the reply, we are taking pictures of our new born grandchild (in their open top sports car) as it is a lovely day.
It is illegal to stop on a hard shoulder if there is no emergency. Agency data shows that between July and September last year 2,062 drivers stopped on the hard shoulder when there was no emergency.
It is also illegal to drive under a red X sign which is displayed when the lane ahead is closed.
Highways Agency national enforcement co-ordinator Jamie Hassall said: “Every day, millions of people use our motorways. “Most of them use the hard shoulder correctly and don’t ignore red X’s, but we are appealing to the few who put themselves, other road users, and those working on motorways at risk.
“Where the hard shoulder is used as an additional traffic lane at peak times, you can only drive on it if there is a speed limit over it. “When a red X is displayed over any lane, it’s simple – don’t drive on it.”
The Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) has warned drivers could face a fine and points on their licence, as driving on the hard shoulder is illegal and unsafe.
Inspector Derek Roberts, Central Motorway Police Group, said: “Between September 2013 and April 2014 we sent over 700 letters to road users misusing the hard shoulder and we have had less than 20 repeat offences.
“We are extremely encouraged by the results so far. All the indications are that this joint work with the Highways Agency is having a significant impact on educating and changing driver behaviour.
“Education is a key element to tackling hard shoulder misuse and we will be further developing the warning letter campaign. “But we will not hesitate to take formal action against those who are clearly and deliberately flouting the law.”
RAC CALLS ON COUNCILS TO MAKE PARKING EASIER AND CHEAPER
Soaring parking charges; fewer and smaller spaces; the disappearance of free parking. It’s a toxic combination, and one that has led the RAC to declare 2014 as the year of the Great British parking squeeze.
The RAC’s Report on Motoring 2014* paints a picture of a parking battleground on the nation’s streets, with motorists well and truly caught in the crossfire – trapped between fewer parking spaces where they really need them and increasing parking charges for those spaces that are left as local authorities look to raise extra revenue to fill gaps in their budgets.
And without action, the RAC is warning the squeeze will intensify in the years to come.
Eighty per cent of the 1,526 motorists surveyed reported increasing parking charges in towns and cities. Two thirds of these drivers (67pc) believe there is now less parking close to their town or city centre and that parking restrictions have become more stringent where they live, and a quarter (24pc) state traffic wardens are now more active in their area.
More than a fifth (22pc) said they had seen parking spaces that used to be free become charged for in the last 12 months, rising to a quarter (24pc) for those living in suburban areas.
And, 65pc of motorists reported that even when they finally find a space to park, it’s too small for today’s breed of cars, many of which are wider than previous generations of vehicle because of the addition of side impact protection features.
The effect of the Great British parking squeeze on motorists is significant – two thirds (67pc) of drivers who agree that parking has become more expensive in the town centre (54pc of all motorists) have cut the amount of driving they do as a direct result of these increased parking charges.
London motorists, in particular, have felt the pain of increased parking costs, with 59pc finding high street parking is hitting their pocket more.
In addition, four in 10 (41pc) motorists believe that the local authority where they live uses the revenue from parking charges to subsidise other areas of non-motoring expenditure.
RAC technical director David Bizley says: “It’s time for a reality check when it comes to parking in Britain.
“We have to find a happy medium between the desire of motorists to get to where they want to go, which our research shows is driven in part by inadequate public transport provision in many parts of the country, and the need to keep our towns and cities moving.
“Parking has always been an emotive issue for the nation’s drivers – whether that’s caused by driving around city centres endlessly to find an elusive space, or a neighbour mindlessly blocking your driveway.
“So what is the solution? Britain’s local authorities have undoubtedly got a tough job to keep a growing driving population happy while allowing our high streets to thrive and keep traffic moving, but they need to think and act boldly.
“We need transparency. “Councils should be compelled to report where the money raised from parking goes – giving drivers assurance that it is being ploughed back into road and transport improvements, rather than just plugging budget holes elsewhere. “41pc of drivers we spoke to were suspicious about what parking fees are used for.
“At the same time, drivers need to play their part in using their cars for appropriate journeys, and parking sensibly. “Take, for example, the chaos of parking close to the school gates; this is a perennial problem up and down the country and represents a safety risk as well as a general annoyance for drivers and pedestrians alike.
“Councils need to understand that most people are still highly dependent on their cars for shopping and punitive parking charges not only hurt motorists but also impacts on the health of local high streets and businesses.
“A busy town centre with free parking will invariably be better for local residents and the local economy than one where paid-for parking which brings in funds for the council but deters shoppers.
“The British high street is suffering and the squeeze on parking spaces is making it even tougher for many to get there.
“We need to find creative solutions that encourage motorists to use the high street or else the out–of–town shopping centre with its free parking will continue to thrive at the expense of traditional town centres.
“In short, councils should be looking to make it easier and cheaper to park, not more difficult and more expensive.”
*The RAC Report on Motoring 2014 is available to download fromwww.rac.co.uk/advice/reports-on-motoring/.
Motorcycle safety campaign aims to make drivers THINK!
The ‘Didn’t See’ radio campaign has been launched by THINK! to encourage drivers to take longer to look for motorcyclists.
A THINK! radio campaign has been launched to encourage drivers to take longer to look for motorcyclists after figures revealed that 30 bikers are killed or injured every day at junctions, road safety minister Robert Goodwill has announced.
The ‘Didn’t See’ campaign will run for 4 weeks on national radio with the aim of reducing the number of motorcyclist and driver collisions on our roads.
Research for THINK! has shown that drivers believe the majority of motorcycle accidents happen because of bikers breaking the speed limit – but statistics actually show around half of motorcyclist accidents, where the rider is killed or seriously hurt, occur at junctions, with drivers failing to look properly being the most common cause.
Robert Goodwill said: “Every day more than 30 motorcycle riders die or are injured in accidents at road junctions. “Often, though not always, this is because a driver has pulled out in front of a rider.
“More than two people lose their lives every week in this way and this is something we are determined to change – if all drivers and riders took a bit more care at junctions we could bring this figure down significantly.
“Motorcyclists make up just one pc of traffic on the roads but 19% of all fatalities. “They are 55 times more likely than car drivers to be killed or seriously hurt in an accident.”
THINK! will also be launching a new campaign this summer encouraging motorcyclists to undertake further training and to ride defensively to help improve their safety on the roads. (Source: Department for Transport press release)
DRIVING LICENCE CHANGES
From: Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
Updates and advice on abolition of the driving licence paper counterpart.
From January 2015, DVLA will no longer issue the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence.
You can check your driving licence record online, by phone or post.
What this means for you
You do not need to take any action, just keep your current photocard driving licence.
If you have an old style paper driving licence issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998, this change won’t affect you, and you should keep your licence.
The next time you need to update your name, address or renew your licence, you will be issued with a photocard only.
Entitlements, penalty points and the status of your driving licence won’t change.
What to do with your paper counterpart from January 2015
If you don’t think you’ll need it, then you may destroy it. You should not destroy the counterpart before 1 January 2015.
You’ll still be able to use the counterpart driving licence to change your address with DVLA. You can also change your address online.
Organisations and businesses that check the driving licence counterpart
DVLA is developing a new digital enquiry service for launch later this year that will allow organisations and businesses (such as employers and car hire companies) to view information they can currently see on the driving licence counterpart.
This new service will be offered in addition to the existing services, but is designed for those who have a business need for real-time access to the information and may not wish to call DVLA or be in a position to use an intermediary.
Driving licence information via this service will only be made available to those who have a right to see it, and with the knowledge of the driving licence holder.
GOVERNMENT BANS USE OF CCTV ‘SPY CARS’ FOR ON-STREET PARKING
In a victory for drivers and shoppers, the government will make it illegal to use closed circuit television (CCTV) ‘spy cars’ alone to enforce on-street parking ending the plague of parking tickets by post, Communities secretary Eric Pickles and Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin have announced.
“The announcement is one of a range of measures that will give hard working people and local shops a fairer deal by reining-in over-zealous parking enforcement practices, which often force people to shop in out-of-town centres or online.
“The long-called for ban will now become law through the Deregulation Bill, following a three-month consultation.
“Tickets will have to be fixed to the windscreen by parking wardens, making it illegal for councils to issue penalty charge notices to drivers using just the CCTV spy cars that currently patrol roads for on-street parking enforcement.
“Parking officers will now carry out all essential enforcement, limiting the use of CCTV to issue tickets by post to critical routes such as schools, bus lanes, bus stops and red routes where public transport must be kept moving for safety reasons.
“The other measures designed to help local shops, support drivers and give communities a greater say on parking policies include:
trialling a 25pc discount for motorists who lose an appeal against a parking ticket at tribunal on the full price of their parking ticket
changing guidance so motorists parking at an out-of-order meter are not fined if there are no alternative ways to pay
introducing a new right to allow local residents and local firms to demand a review of parking in their area, including charges and the use of yellow lines
reforming operational parking guidance so it is less heavy handed with motorists, prevents over-aggressive action by bailiffs, positively supports local shops and clearly reinforces the prohibition against parking being used to generate profit
proposing a widening of the powers of parking adjudicators. This could include, for example, measures to protect drivers where adjudicators have repeatedly identified a problem at a specific location, such as inadequate signage, and parking tickets have repeatedly been issued.
(In such circumstances, potential measures could see adjudicators allowed to direct an authority to stop issuing tickets or direct the authority to change the signage, or indeed both
updating guidance so the public know when they can be awarded costs at tribunals)
increasing parking transparency so councils are required to publish how income from parking charges is being used, including a new statutory Transparency Code
maintaining a freeze on parking penalty charges for the remainder of this Parliament
introducing mandatory 10 minute “grace periods” at the end of on-street paid for and free parking. Councils and parking adjudicators, who rule on penalty charge notice appeals, would be obliged to follow the new statutory guidance; any breach would be deemed an illegal fine and trigger a refund
Communities secretary Eric Pickles said: “CCTV spy cars can be seen lurking on every street raking in cash for greedy councils and breaking the rules that clearly state that fines should not be used to generate profit for town halls.
“Over-zealous parking enforcement and unreasonable stealth fines by post undermine the high street, push up the cost of living and cost local authorities more in the long term.
“Today the government is taking urgently needed action to ban this clear abuse of CCTV, which should be used to catch criminals, and not as a cash cow.”
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “These measures will deliver a fairer deal for motorists, ensuring that parking enforcement is proportionate, that school children are protected and buses can move freely, and that key routes are kept clear.”
Local authority revenue from parking in England rose from £608 million in 1997 to £1.3 billion by 2010. Nine million parking fines are now issued every year by local authorities in England. There has been a big increase in the use of CCTV for on-street parking enforcement following legislation in 2004.
The government has already scrapped previous Whitehall planning policy that encouraged councils to hike car parking charges, and removed Whitehall restrictions which restricted the provision of off-street parking spaces.
(Source: Department for Communities and Local Government, Department for Transport press release)
Councils given £168 million to fix local roads
COUNCILS GIVEN £168 MILLION TO FIX LOCAL ROADS
The government has outlined plans to help fill more than three million potholes as part of a massive investment in the country’s local and major roads.
Councils across England have been allocated £168 million of funding from a dedicated pothole repair fund. As a condition of receiving the money local authorities are required to publish quarterly progress updates on how many potholes have been repaired.
This is the latest in a series of announcements which will see more than £24 billion spent on England’s strategic road network between 2010 and 2021 – the biggest investment in the road network since the 1970s.
Parliament is now considering legislation that will transform the Highways Agency into a government-owned company backed by locked-in funding; changes that will eliminate the uncertain ‘stop-start’ funding processes of the past and save the taxpayer at least £2.6 billion over the next 10 years.
This huge investment in the strategic road network is reflected by a further £7.4 billion committed to local roads in the next Parliament, along with funding from the £12 billion Local Growth Fund.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Potholes are the bane of all our lives and the funding is an important step in ridding our roads of this menace.
“But it is only one part of a massive programme of investment to get our country up to speed as part of this Government’s long term economic plan. “By building, repairing and renewing our key infrastructure we will ensure the future growth and prosperity of this country.”
ESSENTIAL REPAIR WORKS TO PUTNEY BRIDGE
TfL to help keep Londoners moving during Wandsworth Council’s Putney Bridge essential repair works
Drivers are advised to change their route to avoid disruption
Buses will terminate at either end of bridge, with passengers needing to make their way across the bridge on foot to complete their journey
Bus passengers affected by bridge closure will only have to pay once
For more information on the works visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/putneybridge
Because of Wandsworth council’s essential repair works to Putney Bridge Transport for London (TfL) is advising drivers of disruption to the surrounding area, and is reiterating its commitment to ensure that bus passengers don’t lose out or pay twice if their journeys are affected by the bridge closure.
The bridge needs better protection from the damage caused by water penetration – which has contributed to the poor road surface.
During the works, which the council estimate will last for around three months to October 2014, all vehicles, including buses, will not be able to use the bridge.
Drivers will need to change their route to complete their journey and should allow extra time for their alternative routes.
Pedestrians will still be able to cross the bridge on foot, as will cyclists – although they will need to dismount. Buses will terminate either side of the bridge.
The Putney Bridge repair works will affect journeys over a wider area than the immediate vicinity of the bridge.
Traffic is expected to be congested around the works especially during morning and evening peaks, with alternative river crossings expected to be most disrupted. Additional traffic is expected in the morning peak across Kew Bridge, along the A316 across Chiswick Bridge, northbound journeys across Hammersmith Bridge, and around Clapham Junction. Variable messaging signs are now in place, advising drivers of the closures, and TfL will be providing up to date information through the @tfltrafficnews twitter feed and website to help drivers plan their journey – tfl.gov.uk/trafficnews.
London Buses will operate services from both ends of the bridge, and bus passengers who would usually cross the bridge will need to make their way across to the other side to continue their journey. Bus passengers from affected routes who cross the bridge on foot will be able to continue their journey on to appropriate services from the other side.
During the works, the frequency of the Route 72 between Roehampton and Hammersmith will be doubled (from around 7 to 15 buses an hour Monday to Saturday daytime and from 5 to 10 buses an hour on Sunday daytime) to provide an alternative link to the London Underground (LU) network from that part of London.
TfL has also worked to make sure that any customers who may have difficulty crossing the bridge can still get where they need to go by using alternative services. All buses are accessible and alternative routes, such as 37, 39 and 265 linking Putney and Wandsworth Town, and 485 from Hammersmith to Putney will be available. TfL will have additional staff in place on either side of Putney Bridge to help direct passengers and answer any questions about where to get buses from.
Passengers with Travelcards or who travel for free under a concession (around 90 per cent of passengers) will be able to walk across the bridge and continue their journey as normal. Anyone using Oyster pay as you go (PAYG) or a contactless payment card (who make up around 10 per cent of affected passengers) will be able to obtain a “transfer card” from the bus driver or a dedicated members of staff, which will mean that they also will not have to pay for the second leg of their journey.
Transfer cards can be used in conjunction with an Oyster PAYG or Contactless payment cards which are validated within 60 minutes on a previous bus journey on routes 14, 22, 39, 74, 85, 93, 220, 265, 270, 424, 430, N22 and N74. Passengers who have a transfer card can use it throughout the bridge closure and will not need to obtain a transfer voucher from the driver on each occasion.
Garrett Emmerson, Chief Operating Officer of Surface Transport at TfL, said: “We urge all drivers to plan their journeys in advance to minimise the affect of the council’s essential works to Putney Bridge. By taking alternative routes, disruption will be minimised. We will also be ensuring that any bus passengers affected by the works can continue their journey in the quickest and easiest way possible.”
TfL will also be carrying out essential road works to Hogarth Flyover from 19 July until 31 August as part of a continuing programme of roads modernisation across London. Drivers are advised to allow extra time for their journeys as these works will have an impact on a wider area than the immediate vicinity of the flyover. Where possible, drivers are advised to plan ahead to change their routes avoid the disruption, particularly during the morning and evening peak during weekdays and if travelling at the weekend.
For more information visit: www.tfl.gov.uk/putney-bridge-closure .
Details of bus routes affected by the closure of Putney Bridge can be found at www.tfl.gov.uk/driving
For more information about the works taking place on Putney Bridge – please visit -http://wandsworth.gov.uk/putneybridge
To help support Wandsworth Council, TfL has carried out a range of activity to alert drivers and bus passengers to these works. These include emailing affected bus and road users about the works, briefing key stakeholder groups around Putney and key freight contacts and placing customer information posters at both Putney Bridge and East Putney Underground stations. Putney Bridge also has an extensive temporary signage scheme to direct customers from the exit of the station to Putney High Street, for buses heading south
During the closure of Putney Bridge, customers travelling during the morning peak time (07:00-10:00) can expect additional traffic on across Kew Bridge towards Chiswick Roundabout, along the A316 across Chiswick Bridge towards Hogarth roundabout, eastbound on the south circular towards and through the Wandsworth one way system, northbound journeys across Hammersmith Bridge, and around Clapham Junction.
HISTORIC RACING TECHNOLOGY MAGAZINE LAUNCHES AT SILVERSTONE
Historic Racing Technology, the new classic and vintage motorsport title from the publishers of Race Tech, will be launched at the Silverstone Classic this week.
Following a similar template to its sister publication, the new magazine focuses exclusively on the engineering and technology which goes into racing and restoring historic cars in the modern era. Looking at both traditional methods and 21st Century techniques, it covers the rapidly expanding classic racing industry in an unprecedented level of detail.
Edited by Chris Pickering, Historic Racing Technology features contributions from experienced racers, engineers and journalists, including Nick Mason, Zak Brown and John Simister. It is being distributed as a quarterly, available at selected newsagents, including WH Smiths and Barnes & Noble, or direct from the publishers and sold at various motorsport events.
Historic Racing Technology will make its debut at the Silverstone Classic on 25-27 July, with members of the team on hand to discuss advertising and editorial opportunities.