MUMS ARE MORE likely to feel the brunt of a predicted sharp increase in the cost of fuel over the summer as world oil prices rise and the pound drops against the dollar, according to the RAC.
Analysis of raw data from the RAC’s report on motoring 2013 reveals that nearly two thirds (63pc) of mums feel their lifestyle has significantly suffered because of the existing high cost of fuel – 10pc more than dads and 12pc more than the national average.
“Consumers have enjoyed a brief respite from rising fuel prices at the pump over recent months but analysts agree this is set to change with a more volatile picture over the holiday season – and in particular a predicted 3p hike in the coming weeks” say the RAC.
“The impact of any rising fuel cost is most likely to be felt by mums planning summer holiday activities such as trips to the beach, national parks and other such destinations with children. “Further RAC research shows that 43pc of motorists are planning to use their car to take them on holiday.
“The report on motoring, which was launched in June, has already revealed that a third of mums (33%) say they have either stopped, or would have to stop, using their car to carry out family commitments. “This includes activities such as visiting elderly relatives or transporting their children if, as expected, the cost of motoring continues to rise.
“And following the introduction of the EU gender directive in May 2013, which enforces insurers to disregard gender when calculating insurance rates, premiums for many female drivers have increased. “The report on motoring shows 38pc of mums have seen their premiums go up in the past 12 months compared to only 29pc of dads.”
Justine Roberts, CEO and co-founder of Mumsnet, the UK’s largest network for parents, said the findings were not a surprise.
She said: “Many Mumsnet users are juggling the rising costs of essentials like childcare, food prices and utility bills, and the cost of running a car can be a big financial pressure, particularly since the hike in car insurance premiums for women under the EU gender directive.”
The report shows that a fifth of mums (20pc) would be forced to give up their car to carry out shopping for essential items such as food and a quarter (24pc) have had to cut back on using their car for conducting elements of their social life such as visiting friends.
More than a fifth (22pc) said they have or would stop commuting to work, compared to 15pc of the national average.
RAC technical director David Bizley said: “This forecast rise in fuel will be a devastating blow for families planning their annual holidays – and our research shows that mums will feel the pinch more than any other group.
“Every day motorists across the UK are being forced to make difficult choices in an effort to save money, but it is clear that mums are making the greatest sacrifices, particularly when it comes to the use of their car.
“With mums often looking after the household budget it seems they are sacrificing certain aspects of their lives in an effort to save money and to ensure the rest of the family doesn’t go without.
“There is also the impact of rising insurance premiums which is clearly adding to their desire to try to reduce the use of their car.
“Never has there been a more expensive time to be a motorist and we will continue to lobby the Government alongside FairFuelUK to raise awareness of the hardship faced by the UK’s motorists and ultimately drive down costs at the pumps.”
Parents who are struggling with the cost of fuel and motoring in general can turn to Mumsnet,com for top tips on making money go further in your car.
Justine said: “There are lots of discussions on our site about how to make ends meet, whether it’s car-pooling for the school run or cutting down on supermarket shops, and fuel efficiency is a priority when buying a family friendly car.”
“SAFETY FEARS FOR KIDS CONSTRAIN FREEDOMS”
A NEW AA Streetwatch study reveals that 94pc of AA members think that children should walk more but only 56pc believe their neighbourhood is safe enough to do so.
Encouraging kids to cycle more is supported by 76pc of the Streetwatchers. But, once again, only 31pc feel their local streets offer a secure enough environment.
Although the responses are broadly similar among men and women, across the age ranges and from region to region, the view from different social backgrounds is markedly different.
Between 92pc and 95pc of AA Streetwatchers across all socio-economic groups agree that children should be encouraged to walk more. But while up to 59pc of those in better-off neighbourhoods consider their local roads safe enough for their children to play and explore on foot, confidence in less well-off neighbourhoods drops as low as 45pc.
For example, Luton came out as the least safe place for children to walk locally, whilst the more affluent St Albans, 12 miles down the road, was in the top five safest areas.
Survey respondents from lower socio-economic groups were slightly less keen for children to take to their bikes, but the 71pc of them who favoured encouraging kids on to bikes still compared well with 78pc in the top ‘professional, higher managerial’ band.
Even so, in terms of the perceived safety of young cyclists on local roads, the gap between the richer (35pc) and poorer neighbourhoods (27pc) wasn’t as big as for children being allowed to roam around as pedestrians.
The findings from AA’s Streetwatch volunteers backs up previous research that shows children in inner-city areas are at much greater risk
Edmund King president of AA which have campaigned for road safety and cycle proficiency (Bikeability) to be included in the national curriculum for all primary school children, said: “The findings from our AA Streetwatch volunteers backs up previous research that shows children in inner-city areas are at much greater risk. “They make more journeys on foot and spend more time playing in the street because there are fewer playing areas.
“There are also more cars parked in the street, reducing visibility and making crossing the road more hazardous. “They also tend to live on busier roads rather than in the leafy suburbs.
“It is a shame when safety fears constrain freedoms and the social and physical development of young people. “Many communities have organised themselves to provide activities and supervision to reduce the chances of a mishap.”
More than 22,000 AA Streetwatch volunteers were surveyed to give their views on roads in their neighbourhood.
GUIDE DOGS SAY THOUGHTLESS MOTORISTS MAKING SOME PLACES ‘NO GO’ AREAS
Guide Dogs says thoughtless behaviour is making some of our town and city centres and suburbs no go areas for blind and partially sighted people and can undermine the life-changing freedom offered by a guide dog partnership. Now Guide Dogs wants to see local councils use their powers to ban pavement parking.
Their call comes after a survey found almost half of drivers admit they park on the pavement but don’t think about the danger they pose to people with sight loss’
The YouGov poll commissioned by Guide Dogs shows that most drivers (54pc) admit they park on the pavement – but nearly five out of 10 drivers (48pc) who said they park on a pavement haven’t thought about the possible problems it causes to blind or partially sighted people.
“Many pavement parkers also haven’t thought about the possible risk they pose to other vulnerable road users like the elderly (50pc, and adults with prams (36pc).
Campaigns manager, James White said: “Cars parked on pavements are an everyday nightmare for blind and partially sighted people, as well as other vulnerable pedestrians. “Imagine how terrifying it is to step into a road when you can’t see on-coming traffic.
“Too often people with sight loss are forced out into busy roads because an inconsiderate motorist has blocked the pavement. “Councils in England have the tools to penalise drivers who park on pavements and Guide Dogs want them to act now.”
The survey also showed that almost a third of drivers (31pc) don’t think parking on the pavement constitutes dangerous driving and two thirds (67pc) think parking on double yellow lines is worse than parking on the pavement.
226,000 MOTORISTS HAVE POINTS ON THEIR LICENCE FOR DRIVING WITHOUT INSURANCE
MORE THAN 226,000drivers in the UK have points on their licence for driving without insurance, according to a Freedom of Information request by the Institute of Advanced Motorists.
The FOI request, directed to the DVLA, revealed that 194,997 full licence holders and 31,806 provisional licence holders have been caught driving without vehicle insurance and have received points for doing so – one in two-hundred drivers. In the 17-35 age range, one in every 100 people with a full driving licence has points for driving uninsured.
Figures also show that one in every 200 people with a full UK driving license has been penalised with points for driving without insurance.
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “These findings are shocking. “Those 200,000 individuals who drive whilst uninsured place the burden back on those who abide by the law through higher premiums and potentially the cost of vehicle repair.
“The most concerning fact is that this could just be the tip of the iceberg, as these numbers only represent those who have been caught and penalised. “Insurance fraud and uninsured driving are also growing problems that need to be tackled through a coordinated approach from enforcement authorities. “It is not acceptable that drivers pay up to £70 in higher premiums to compensate for those who ignore the law.”
As well as six points and a fine for driving uninsured, an eighteen year-old with a £950 premium could expect to see this increase to £2,195. For a thirty year-old it would increase from £228 to £4621.
Peter Harrison, car insurance expert at MoneySupermarket, said: “It’s astonishing how many drivers are still prepared to hit the road without insurance. Not only is it illegal but you could face thousands of pounds in liability, a conviction, six points on your licence and a hefty fine should you be caught out or be involved in a crash.
“To make matters worse, uninsured drivers cost the insurance industry £500 million each year. “Furthermore, insurance fraud adds £39 to the cost of every motor premium and uninsured driving an extra £30 – this is not fair on law-abiding motorists.
“The cost of insurance premiums will no doubt have influenced the decision from some drivers to forgo insurance altogether. “But the penalties for not having insurance are great, and could even result in your vehicle being confiscated.
“Although car insurance premiums may appear high, having suitable insurance and proving you are a safe driver will help bring premiums down over time. “Not having insurance, and being caught without it, could result in you not being insurable in the future.”