Apple iPhone’s Driver Lockout

Apple iPhone’s Driver Lockout

Despite a ban 10 years ago on mobile phone use while driving, studies have shown that half of motorists on todays roads still use a phone whilst in control of a vehicle, to make or receive calls.
The road charity Brake and Direct Line have also published the results of a survey they conducted, and found that 3 in 10 drivers also send or read texts and 1 in 8 use apps while driving.
So, if so many people are still using their phones while driving does it mean there is a problem with the law? In my opinion, definitely not. If I witness mobile phone use when someone is behind the wheel of a car, I seem to get an incredible – bring back hangings –kind of rage towards the individuals. I always thought this could be down to the industry I work in and that I was a little more opinionated on the topic than most, but a recent study from KwikFit has found that using a mobile phone is the most hated driving habit. So it looks like I’m not alone.


The US Patent office published information they received back in 2008 from Apple. This patent was for a ‘Driver handheld computing device lock-out’ – You can read the Apple patent here

Apple’s idea was to effectively ‘lock out’ their device when someone was driving, therefore disabling their ability to text, call etc.
The tech would work by the phone detecting whether the user was going past a certain speed and by analysing the surroundings through the camera. It could also detect signals from an ignition key.
All of this sounds very promising but there are a few flaws; for example if a passenger was using your phone while you were driving, then this is entirely legal and safe, but it would be cut off. The only way I could see this being overcome would be to have a manual override, but that would defeat the point. There are already apps out there doing a similar thing.
Also, if you had an older car with no gizmos inside then this would clearly not work.
Overall I feel this is a good step forward but there is no evidence any real work has been put into this at present, the patent was made many years ago, and has yet to be implemented into a device.

Smart Highway

Smart Highway

Labeled as the route 66 of the future, a smart highway has been unveiled on a 500 metre stretch of highway in Oss, Netherlands.

Designer Daan Roosegarrade and Dutch civil engineering firm Heijmans have worked alongside each other to develop this idea aimed at saving energy and cutting costs.
The glow in the dark motorway has been made with paint containing photo-luminescing compounds. These compounds absorb daylight and can glow for up to 8 hours at night.

Speaking with the BBS, Roosegaarde said:

“The government is shutting down streetlights at night to save money, energy is becoming much more important than we could have imagined 50 years ago. This road is about safety and envisaging a more self-sustainable and more interactive world.”

As well as glow in the dark paint, they have also designed temperature activated paint so that certain symbols will show up during specific temperatures, ie snow flakes when it’s cold. However this has not yet been implemented.

In my opinion this is a good starting block but there are factors that worry me. 8 hours may not be enough, the UK has temperamental weather. Sometimes it can be technically day-time but the light levels outside would suggest otherwise and, without street lighting visibility, would be diminished. Another issue could be the potential wear and tear. Hopefully this will be assessed through testing, and the durability of the paint can be proven one way or another.
And my final concern would be – Humans. It’s not often you see a glow in the dark road. I’m sure if it’s implemented it will one day become the norm, however if you came across it now I’m sure many people would be tempted to switch off their headlights to enjoy the view, creating its own safety concerns.

However, knit picking aside, I believe one day the smart highway could well take off. Let’s hope Roosegaarde will be successful.

Foreign language tests end

Foreign language tests end.

From the 7th April 2014 driving test candidates will no longer be able to have the aid of a foreign language voiceover or interpreter on their driving test.

The transport minister – Stephen Hammond said:

“It is essential that all road users have the right skills to use our roads safely and responsibly. By stopping driving tests in foreign languages we will cut out the risk of fraud, and help to ensure that all drivers can read road signs and fully understand the rules of the road.”

One of the main reasons for the end in foreign language tests is to help reduce driving test fraud. Since 2008 over 1300 theory test passes have been revoked due to fraudulent interpreters. After an investigation it was found that learners were being fed correct answers without the examiners being aware.

The DVSA stated that between 2008 and 2009 more than 20 percent of the tests taken with a foreign language interpreter were fraudulent.

Another reason for the change has been concerns over the lack of understanding of road safety, for example an individual not being able to read road signs or details of the rules of the roads. Likewise, not being able to communicate with road enforcement officers.

The review from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) consulted almost 2000 people and more than 70% agreed with ending the tests.

In the past 19 different languages were available to take your test in. This has now been reduced to English and Welsh.

Candidates with special needs such as dyslexia or hearing difficulties will still be able to receive help.

Drug Driving Limits announced.

Drug Driving Limits announced

New regulations for Drug driving will come into effect this autumn. Regulations have been set for 16 drugs – 8 illicit and 8 prescription drugs – in order to deter people from taking drugs and driving.

Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill said:
“The results of the consultation is sending the strongest possible message that you cannot take illegal drugs and drive. This new offence will make our roads safer for everyone by making it easier for the police to tackle those who drive after taking illegal drugs. It will also clarify the limits for those who take medication…
…The next step is to take these limits to Parliament to see the offence come into force later this year.”

The guidelines are listed below in µg/L (Microgram / litre)

Illicit drugs

1. Benzoylecgonine, 50 µg/L
2. Cocaine, 10 µg/L
3. Delta–9–Tetrahydrocannabinol (Cannabis and Cannabinol), 2 µg/L
4. Ketamine, 20 µg/L
5. Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), 1 µg/L
6. Methylamphetamine – 10 µg/L
7. Methylenedioxymethaphetamine (MDMA – Ecstasy), 10 µg/L
8. 6-Monoacetylmorphine (6-MAM – Heroin and Morphine), 5 µg/L

Generally prescription drugs

1. Clonazepam, 50 µg/L
2. Diazepam, 550 µg/L
3. Flunitrazepam, 300 µg/L
4. Lorazepam, 100 µg/L
5. Methadone, 500 µg/L
6. Morphine, 80 µg/L
7. Oxazepam, 300 µg/L
8. Temazepam, 1000 µg/L

The limit for amphetamine has yet to be decided as the proposed limit needs to be reconsidered, due to patients who take the drug for deficit hyperactivity disorder. These limits will be added to the legislation at a later date.

Driving speed limit increase to 80mph.

Driving speed limit increase to 80mph.

Last year the Government put on hold its decision to increase the speed limit on UK motorways from 70mph to 80mph.

Arguments for:

In my personal opinion, I do think that increasing the speed limit is a good idea. This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, how many times have you been on the motorway and someone is driving over 70 mph? I would argue 100% of the time. Realistically the only thing that would change would be less people would get caught speeding.
One of the main arguments against raising the limit is that ‘speed kills’ and increasing the limit would mean faster drivers drive quicker. However a 2-year study from Denmark found that increasing the speeds on the roads – they increased the limit on rural roads from 50mph to 56 mph – actually decreases accidents. One of the main reasons for this was that people were less likely to overtake and therefore were less at risk of an Road traffic colision. It also stated that only the fastest 15 percent of drivers studied increased their speed by only 1 km/h.
When they changed their motorway limits a decade ago from 68mph to 80mph, fatalities decreased.

Driving speed limit increase to 80mph

Another factor to think about is that the current limit of 70mph was introduced in the UK in 1965. Standards of vehicle safety have greatly improved since then as well as electronic message boards above motorways giving information on the road ahead.
Stopping distances in modern cars are much better than when they were recorded for the highway code. For example, the Highway Code states that the stopping distance at 60mph is 55 metres. However, if you take an Audi a6 as an example of a modern day car, the stopping distance is 38 metres.
I think that it should come down to common sense. Many people forget that a set speed limit is a maximum limit, not a target. It’s like anything else when it comes to driving; you drive for the conditions that you are in. Drive with appropriate speed.

Arguments against:

One factor that I know will be an issue is the 10 percent plus 2 mile an hour rule. The Association of Police Officers implemented this rule to allow for a margin of error (eg from faulty speedos or inaccurate speed cameras). However, with this rule in effect, a limit of 80mph means you could drive at 90mph and probably get away with it.Driving speed limit increase to 80mph
Many campaign groups have argued against an increase. They claim that the cost to society would be an extra 1 Billion pounds a year and lead to 25 extra deaths and 100 serious injuries per year, as well as 2.2 million tonnes more of carbon emissions per annum. With electric cars unlikely to fully take off for a few years, carbon emissions are still a massive issue.
It’s also a known fact that driving faster increases fuel consumption, which means you are ultimately going to pay more for fuel. The only people who would benefit in this sense would be the government from fuel duty.

So what are your thoughts?

Eco Driving – Tyres

Eco Driving.

In this day and age any way of saving money is always sought after and valued. Often, small changes can combine to make a large difference over time. Imagine how much could be saved if you are able to make small savings over many items. Your fleet of vehicles can offer you a range of money saving options.

Tyres are an often overlooked item. A good driver can double the mileage they get from their tyres. They are also a vital safety element of the vehicle and you should always ensure the correct tyres are fitted. Here are some money saving tips when it comes to tyres.

  • Check your tyre pressures regularly (monthly) including your spare. Over or under inflation can reduce the life of your tyres, whilst correct pressures can increase fuel efficiency and save you money.
  • Balancing tyres when one is changed will reduce rapid and uneven tread wear.
  • Harsh acceleration and braking or late braking puts more pressure on your tyres. Smooth acceleration and planned braking will help prolong the use of your tyres and improve fuel efficiency.
  • Overloading the vehicle can have an impact on tyre wear and tyre pressures. Dry steering and high cornering speeds put undue strain on your tyres which can cause too much friction and premature wear.
  • Driving or parking up kerbs can seriously damage your tyres, causing undue wear and putting undue strain on them.

Would you like to know more, visit Corporate Driver Management.

Increasing the Licence Renewal to 80

Alex Pallister

Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

Increasing the Licence Renewal to 80

In the news this week it has been reported that the government maybe planning on increasing the licence renewing age from 70 to 80. By the looks of it, this is due mainly to cost cutting more than anything else. The DVLA seems to be under pressure to reduce it’s cost by £420 million and with 4 million drivers (as reported by the wanting to keep their licence who are over the age of 70, this looks to be one of their cost cutting measures.
One of the main factors that pops up time after time when I have been researching this topic, is not so much an older drivers ability but their decreasing health and reaction times. Many elderly people develop health conditions, which greatly impact on their driving ability. These include vision and hearing changes, joint pains and side effects of medications. So I hear you say, well – they need to inform the DVLA of any health changes affecting their driving. Whilst yes, this is true, what happens if someone develops alzheimers and genuinely doesn’t realize that they have an issue? Not everyone has a loved one around to notice a change. This would not only endanger themselves, but it could potentially harm other road users.

This reigns true when you read this quote from Rospa:

Reported statistics indicate that the risk of being involved in an accident increases after the age of 70, and up to that age drivers are no more likely to cause a crash than to be the victim of another road user’s mistake. However, drivers over 70 and especially over 80 years, drivers are more likely to be at fault when they crash.

At present when you reach the age of 70 you have to renew your car licence every 3 years, however in lorries, minibuses or buses when you reach 45 you have to renew it every 5 years and upon reaching the age of 65 you have to renew it every year. So, it begs the question what’s the difference?

Having looked into this topic, many opinions seem to be repeated over and over. The main one being, re-test. My question would be, is this fair? What says you’re going to be a worse driver on your 70th birthday than you were the week before? Many people of this age will have passed decades ago, trust me the driving test is very different now. So would they have to do a full retest? Or a refresher?

Many elderly people see their driving licence as a lifeline and if they gave it up then it’s the beginning of the end.

At the end of the day we can pull statistics for both sides of the argument, ie younger drivers cause more crashes than older ones. I do believe that something needs to be done, however for once in my life I don’t have a strong view point. If I was forced to make an opinion then I would say everyone (not just the elderly) should be forced into an assessment every few years, both for driving and medical fitness. I feel that passing your test at 17, having driven around supervised for 40 minutes isn’t going to guarantee you’re a safe driver for the decades to come. But how would this be implemented, who’s going to pay for this? Would it work?

So the real question is – to self regulate or not to self regulate?
Answers on a postcard!

Nick Freeman – Mr Loophole

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Web Manager.

Alex Pallister

Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

Nick Freeman aka ‘Mr Loophole’

For those of you who haven’t heard of Nick Freeman aka ‘Mr Loophole’ he’s a top criminal defence lawyer with an amazing talent to get people off convictions through technicalities or incredible explanations. Here are a few of his success stories

Sir Alex Ferguson

Back in 1999 Alex Ferguson was caught driving on the hard shoulder. The case ultimately ended up in court and Freeman successfully argued that Ferguson had a bad case of Diarrhea and had to get to a toilet quickly therefore needing to get to the Manchester United training ground. He also stated that Ferguson, as an elderly gentleman feared for his safety because he was being pursued by a car covered in Manchester City Flags. Finally He argued that he was trying to catch up with the Manchester United’s team coach who had left without him on the way to a premier league fixture.

Jimmy Carr

In 2009 Comedian Jimmy Carr was caught using him Mobile phone whilst driving. At the time the penalty was 3 points and a £60 fine. However after intervention from Freeman Jimmy Carr got off the charge. Freeman argued that as Carr was not using the mobile phone as a 2 way device he was not breaking any laws. He was using the phone as a Dictaphone and this was only a one way device.

Jeremy Clarkson

In 2006 a car on loan to Clarkson from Alfa Romeo was clocked doing 82mph in a 50mph limit. When it came to court in 2007 the Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Michael Atkinson asked to leave the court to make a phone call, upon returning to court he told the judge that “No evidence is to be offered in relation to the case.” And the judge through the case out.
Outside the court, Freeman explained that there were fatal errors in the summons and they had no information on who was driving the car, only that they knew who the car was loaned to. Prosecutors then pursued Alfa Romeo.

David Beckham

In 1999 David Beckham had his licence taken from him due to a 6-month ban for speeding. He was caught doing 76mph in a 50 mph limit.
Upon appeal Freeman argued that Beckham was suffering emotional trauma (do you remember this one?) having been hit with a boot kicked by Alex Ferguson. So therefore could not possibly be aware of his speed. He also argued that Beckham has been pursued by paparazzi on top of trying to get home to look after his newborn son. Freeman and Beckham won the appeal.

This all highlights that Freeman is a great defence lawyer. However is this a worrying trend? Should they be punished for their actions or should they be allowed to ‘go free’ because someone didn’t fill out some paperwork?
The counter argument would be that this shows failings in the system and without high profile cases like this, then failing would still keep happening.

45 Points on Licence.

Alex Pallister

Social Media Manager.
Web Manager.

45 Points on Licence.

Over 7000 people still remain on the roads after accruing more than 12 points on their licence.
The IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) released figures from the DVLA following a freedom of information request. The results were alarming.
The worst offender, a man from Liverpool, accumulated his 45th point in November. All of these points were totted up for exceeding the speed limit on a public road and for failing to disclose the identity of a driver.

So here’s the top ten.

  1. 45 points – Male – Liverpool – 8 Offences – Not declaring the driver of a vehicle and speeding
  2. 36 points – Male – Warrington – 6 offences – Driving without insurance.
  3. 34 Points – Female – Lincoln – 7 Offences – Not declaring the driver of a vehicle and speeding
  4. 31 Points – Female – Hull – 6 Offences – Not declaring the driver of a vehicle and speeding
  5. 30 Points – Male – Westcliff on sea – 10 offences – Speeding
  6. 30 Points – Male – Colchester – 4 offences – Not declaring the driver or a vhechile
  7. 30 points – Male – Brighouse – 5 offences – not delcarind the driver of a vehicle
  8. 30 points – Male – Doncaster – 8 Offences – Not declaring the driver of a vehicle and speeding
  9. 30 Points – Male – Dagenham – 6 Offences – Driving otherwise than in accordance with the licence, Not declaring the driver of a vehicle and speeding
  10. 28 points – Male – London – 4 Offences – Driving without insurance.

Deputy chief executive Julie Townsend of the Road safety Charity Brake said:

‘These irresponsible individuals have shown disregard for the law and the lives of other road users, time after time. Allowing these drivers to stay on our roads puts innocent members of the public in danger and makes a mockery of the system. Drivers who clock up 12 points have had ample warning to stop breaking the law and avoid disqualification.’

So what do you think?

Looking Back at Road Safety

Looking Back at Road Safety

Road Safety Advances since the Queen came to power 60 years ago
To celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this coming weekend, the Bill Plant National Driving School have glanced backwards in time for once, looking at road safety and its developments in the 60 years since our Queen took the throne in 1952.

Road safety today is quite often one of the focus topics for organisations, councils, and individual drivers themselves. It is at a stage whereby figures published last year were the lowest they have been in a long time, largely due to the investment by Road Safety conscious company’s and various local authorities all across the UK, helping to push understanding and awareness to the vast majority of UK road users today.
The Bill Plant National Driving School have in partnership with local councils been a part of this progression and reduction in road deaths by pushing their Road Safety Campaigns.
Using roadshows and leaflets highlighting to the general public the dangers of drink driving, speeding, and driving without due care and attention we have spread the Road Safety bug far and wide!

Having carried these roadshows out over the last 3 years, we are happy to be a part of making the UK roads safer for all road users today.

  • Since 1952, over 315,000 people have died on our UK roads.
  • An average of 6000 people died each year as a result of road traffic accidents in 1952 compared to recent record-low figures of 1857 in 2010 and even fewer in 2011.
  • Compared to 1952, you are up to 7 times safer on the roads in 2012.
  • In 1952 there were only 3.8 million vehicles on our roads rising sharply in recent years to over 35 million!
  • Just 6 years after taking the throne, our Queen saw the UK’s first motorway known then as the Preston Bypass (now the M6) being opened to our UK road users in 1958 and it had NO SPEED LIMIT until 1967 when a 70mph limit was introduced as an experiment.
  • Over £45 billion is paid in road taxes today, compared with less than £400 million in 1952.
  • Additions to road usage requirements include the MOT test, Theory Test, Hazard Perception Test, Child Seat Requirements, Compulsory Seat Belt Requirements, Speed Limits, Traffic Cameras, Motorcycle Helmet Requirements, and more recently Drink Drive and Drug Drive Limits.

The figures are promising and the movement closer and closer to the aim of zero road deaths per year is something that we should all be looking toward.

A word from the Bill Plant National Driving School’s Operations Director, Paul Kittrick;

“There is no such thing as a man-made accident, only incidents and collisions. These are preventable. There are very very few real accidents that cause road deaths and these include freak accidents such as trees falling onto cars. The other 99.99% of road deaths are caused by incidents and collisions, each and every one of these road deaths is the result of circumstances that were wholly preventable.
The risks associated to driving outside of the guidelines given in the Highway Code are far larger than road users often realise, until of course it is themselves that are a part of the statistics – don’t put yourself or other road users at risk by driving dangerously. Be road aware, be Road Safety aware and help us eradicate road deaths altogether.”

Stay safe on the roads and keep in mind that by following the guidelines set out, nearly every road death can be avoided! Quite an astonishing statement but very true.
Have fun celebrating 60 years of the Queen holding the throne, and during the Jubilee weekend be sure to not drink & drive.