NEWS ARCHIVE

 

 

July 9 2013

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Plans to make it easier to prosecute those who drive under the influence of illegal drugs have been published by Roads Minister Stephen Hammond.

In January 2012 the government announced that it would be introducing a new offence of driving with a specific controlled drug in the body above the specified limit for that drug.

A consultation published today (9 July 2013) puts forward proposals on the drugs to be included in the legislation and the limits to be specified.

 

Press release

Tackling the menace of drug driving

Organisation:

Department for Transport

Published:

9 July 2013

Policy:

Making roads safer

Illegal drugs and limits consultation.

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Plans to make it easier to prosecute those who drive under the influence of illegal drugs have been published today (9 July 2013) by Roads Minister Stephen Hammond.

In January 2012 the government announced that it would be introducing a new offence of driving with a specific controlled drug in the body above the specified limit for that drug. The consultation published today (9 July 2013) puts forward proposals on the drugs to be included in the legislation and the limits to be specified. The proposals follow a report published in March this year by a panel of medical and scientific experts which provided advice to the government on drug driving.

The new offence will reduce the wasted time, expense and effort involved for the police and the courts when prosecutions fail because of the difficulty of proving that a driver is impaired by a particular drug.

Stephen Hammond said:

Drug driving is a menace which devastates families and ruins lives. That is why we are proposing to take a zero tolerance approach with those who drive under the influence of illegal drugs and sending a clear message that this behaviour will not be tolerated.

We have also put forward our proposals for dealing with drivers who use specific prescribed drugs. We know that the vast majority of people who use these drugs are doing so responsibly and safely and that is why our approach does not unduly penalise drivers who have taken properly prescribed medicines.

Together, these proposals will make our roads safer for everyone by making it easier for the police to tackle those who drive after taking illegal drugs and clarifying the position for those who take medication.

RAC technical director David Bizley said:

We welcome the government’s move to bring increasing levels of clarity to driving on illegal drugs and prescription medication, something that is very much needed.

We all know that driving under the influence of drugs is extremely dangerous and wrecks lives – but it is also a growing problem, particularly among young motorists.

Therefore, it is more important than ever to inform and educate, otherwise we are allowing people to drive without regular reminders about the dangers of drug driving and how impaired senses can lead to serious injuries and fatalities.

Motorists will be happy to see the government taking a lead on this and ensuring people understand their position – and what happens if they step over the line.

In taking a zero tolerance approach to these drugs, the government proposes to set the limits at a level that does not catch someone who has consumed a very small amount of an illegal drug inadvertently. In considering what approach to propose for each illegal drug and what limit to set, the government has weighed up a number of factors including the evidence about the use of the drug when driving, wider drugs policy, and the findings and recommendations from the Expert Panel.

After considering all of the above the government proposes a zero tolerance approach to the following 8 controlled drugs which are known to impair driving:

  • Cannabis
  • MDMA (Ecstasy)
  • Cocaine
  • Ketamine
  • Benzoylecgonine (primary metabolite of cocaine)
  • Methamphetamine
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)
  • 6-monoacetylmorphine (6-MAM - heroin and diamorphine)

In addition to the eight illegal drugs listed above, the government proposes to set limits for eight controlled drugs that have recognised and widespread medical uses but which can also affect a patient’s ability to drive. The limits proposed follow the recommendations of the Expert Panel, which in the vast majority of cases, will avoid the new offence catching out drivers who have taken properly prescribed or supplied drugs in accordance with the directions of a healthcare professional or the drug manufacturer. This will avoid inconveniencing the public and taking up police time.

There is one further controlled drug, amphetamine, which has some medical use in specific circumstances but is also often taken illegally and which the government proposes to include in the regulations. The consultation seeks views on what a suitable limit might be for amphetamine.

While the draft regulations proposed are in relation to England and Wales, the consultation on the approach to the different policy options has been extended to Scotland.

The consultation starts today (9 July 2013) and closes on 17 September 2013.

Notes to editors

The Review of drink and drug driving law by Sir Peter North, published in June 2010, concluded that there was “a significant drug driving problem” with an estimated 200 drug driving-related deaths a year in Great Britain. Drug driving remains a primary concern for the public and that is why the government included in a Bill in May 2012 a new offence of driving with a specified controlled drug in the body above the specified limit for that drug. The Bill, which is now the Crime and Courts Act 2013 received Royal Assent on 25 April 2013.

Section 56 of the Crime and Courts Act inserted a new section 5A into the Road Traffic Act 1988. Section 5A(8)(a) includes a regulation-making power, exercisable by the Secretary of State in relation to England and Wales and by Scottish Ministers in relation to Scotland, to specify the controlled drugs to be covered by the new offence and the corresponding limit for each.

The Expert Panel’s report is available.

July 4 2013

This is the future of car-safety. It always starts with the big German cars - it won't be too long before your new Citroen or Ford have the features seen here.

Article courtesy of:

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By KEN GIBSON, Motoring Editor

IT was one of the most spectacular car launches ever.

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A new model billed the Best Car In The World, a singing superstar and the planet’s most advanced aeroplane.

The Mercedes S-Class lived up to its billing – it’s the first car that can drive itself and is a limo capable of 64mpg.

And the Merc was perfectly in tune as its first passenger was Alicia Keys.

The American singer was the star turn at the launch show in Germany.

There was even a thunderstorm as the car drove down the runway and into a hangar at the Hamburg HQ of the Airbus A380, in front of the 800 invited VIP quests.

Here’s the full review from the unveiling of the new Mercedes S-Class

                       

Steer, brake and drive ... Mercedes S-Class boasts 'self-drive'

CALLING a new vehicle “the best car in the world” has to be either misplaced arrogance or justified confidence.

That is the risk Mercedes took by making the claim at the VIP launch of their flagship S-Class model in Hamburg.

Just as well, then, that the car appears to have all the qualities to back up the bold boast, including being the first one that can drive itself in heavy traffic!

The steering assist and stop-go pilot mean it can steer, brake and drive itself automatically at speeds of up to 30mph in traffic jams.

The driver can, of course, always regain control.

The car also has a brake system that detects pedestrians or vehicles in front in city traffic, and can self-brake to avoid a crash.  

The system can also recognise a potential rear collision and put on the rear hazard lights.

These factors justify another Merc claim — that the S-Class is “the safest car on the road”.

And how about this for a ground-breaking development?

It has the first car suspension with “eyes”. It uses camera scanners — dubbed Magic Body Control — to detect bumps on the road ahead.

When it sees one the vehicle then automatically adjusts the dampers and suspension on each wheel to a firmer or softer setting to give a magic carpet ride across potholed surfaces — perfect for UK roads.

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Read more at Sun website

June 27th 2013

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Dodgy driver? Blame your dad: Parents are passing on bad habits to their children when taking them out for practice

  • More than half of parents take their children out with L-plates
  • But nearly two-fifths of the learners say they've inherited bad habits

More parents are passing on bad habits when giving their children driving lessons, a survey shows.

Fifty-two per cent take out sons and daughters with L-plates – double the number who were themselves taught by their parents.

But 45 per cent fear their children will pick up unsafe practices from them including speeding, failing to check mirrors and not using a seatbelt.

And 37 per cent of learners aged 17 to 21 say they have inherited risky habits.

Just 22 per cent of learners believe their parents are good enough drivers for them to benefit from their help.

The poll of 1,705 parents and 373 young learner drivers commissioned by insurer Admiral found that nine out of ten have lessons from a qualified instructor.

Forty-two per cent of parents who offer extra lessons do so to save money and 55 per cent want to help children get a full licence sooner.

But 18 per cent of parents who refuse believe they set a bad example and half say a driving school is the best place to learn.

Crossing hands whilst steering was the most common bad habit followed by exceeding speed limits, failing to use the handbrake when stationary and omitting to check mirrors or indicate.

The survey exposed a generation gap between parents and youngsters on the road to motoring adulthood.

Fifty-seven per cent of parents taught by their own parents say it helped them become a better driver.

But just 22 per cent of learners believe that their parents are good enough drivers for them to benefit from the experience. And only 47 per cent of parents are confident that they themselves could pass a practical driving test today.

The likelihood of in-car also rows puts a brake on lessons and 50 per cent of teenagers who are taught say sessions often end up in angry confrontations.

Thirty-seven per cent of those refused extra lessons in the family car also gave the certainty of arguments as a reason for going it alone.

'There are definitely benefits to giving additional lessons to your children but it’s important to notice your own bad habits and not to pass those on,' said Admiral’s managing director Sue Longthorn.

'Let your son or daughter have some lessons with a qualified instructor before venturing out with them'

Sue Longthorn, managing director of Admiral

'It can help them learn more quickly and, hopefully, spend less on driving lessons. However, it is always going to be a minefield as personalities clash and this often results in arguments.

'It’s a good idea to let your son or daughter have some lessons with a qualified instructor before venturing out with them.

'Then you might want to speak with their instructor first to make sure you are helping and not hindering their driving.'

The survey revealed that fathers are more likely than mothers to take children out for lessons.

Fifty-two per cent say their father takes them out most often compared 35 per cent whose mother is the principle teacher.

June 24th 2013

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EU Transport review: what the EU does and how it affects the UK

The Department for Transport is seeking your views on how the EU helps or hampers UK transport.

The influence of the European Union on UK transport is extensive. It affects many different areas - from air and rail travel to the cars and lorries on our roads.

It's not every day you get the chance to have your say on something as complex as the European Union's influence on transport. But we really want to hear from you.

The consultation closes on 6 August 2013.

Follow the link below to view examples, further reading and submit evidence online.

Take part

June 20th 2013

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DSA and VOSA to merge

DSA and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) are to merge into a single agency which will bring together their testing and standards services.

Rosemary Thew, DSA Chief Executive, has also announced that she will be stepping down and leaving the Civil Service on 30 June 2013.

Alastair Peoples, VOSA Chief Executive, will become joint Chief Executive for the 2 agencies and will oversee their strategic operations towards a full merger over the next year.

Rosemary Thew said:

“I’ve been considering moving on for some time, for private and personal reasons. The creation of a single agency replacing DSA and VOSA seems the right time for me to do so.

“I’m confident that the team here at DSA under Alastair’s leadership will continue to offer our customers the very best service they can as the merger proceeds and the combined agency emerges.”

No impact on our services

The changes won’t impact on:

  • the services you use that      are provided by DSA and VOSA, eg driving tests
  • progress of other ongoing      reform programmes

Better and more convenient services

The reforms are an outcome of the recent motoring services strategy consultation. They’re designed to offer motorists and businesses better and more convenient services, while making sure that road safety and first class customer service remain a top priority.