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Female drink drivers need better help

New research on female drink driving has revealed that the offenders are quite often older than their male counterparts, have had a better education and are more than likely divorced. Academics at Nottingham took into account data from throughout the world and now want more effective treatment which targets this demographic.

The research also found out that existing rehabilitation programmes for females are inducing feelings of shame and guilt which only increases the risk of re-offending. During the investigation it was also revealed that female drink-drivers had a lower income and they were more likely to have parents or partners who abused alcohol and who themselves had a history of mental health problems. However, very few female drink-drivers had previously been arrested for any public drunkenness or any other alcohol-related offence.

Researchers feel that programmes which have been designed specifically for females whose offence was alcohol-related need to be changed to take into account the broader psychological health issues, because these will affect the overall success of any programme. They hope that the information in this research will help to inform the future development and design of treatment programmes for what they see as a neglected group of offenders. The number of female drivers caught drink-driving has been increasing rapidly over the last fifteen years and each one will have faced bigger premiums on their motor insurance quote.

Prof McMurran from the University of Nottingham said: “The profile of women drink-driving offenders is of being divorced, widowed or separated and having fewer previous convictions than their male counterparts.

“Thus, it may be that these women are distressed by their situation and are turning to drink for solace. The researchers reviewed twenty six previous studies in an aim to help develop better treatment for drink related offending by females. They found that the treatment programmes induce negative emotions are actually increases emotional distress, which may increase drinking and, in turn, increase the likelihood of alcohol-related offending.”

Brand new law will affect everyone who owns a vehicle

New rules introduced in the UK this week will require the registered keeper of any vehicle to have continuous insurance. Failure to do so will result in penalties which range from a fine, to prosecution through the courts.

Anyone who owns a vehicle which has not been insured must either search for motor vehicle insurance before registering the car or declare it SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) with the DVLA. Non compliance will be quickly traced by the DVLA thanks to a link with the Motor Insurance Database which will detect all uninsured vehicles, and if there is no Statutory off Road Notification, proceedings will automatically start.

Although the CIE (Continuous Insurance Enforcement) starts this week, the law will not be enforced until 20th June. This is to allow both the DVLA and car insurers time to advertise the new law which will allow vehicle owners time to react. The Motor Insurers´ Bureau has created a television ad campaign which will target the estimated 1.4 million United Kingdom drivers who do not insure their vehicle.

Mike Penning, road safety minister, said “Uninsured drivers are a danger on our roads, killing 160 and injuring a further 23,000 people each year, and they cost honest motorists £500m in extra premiums. Our message is clear, get insured or face a fine, court action or seeing your car seized and destroyed.”

The DfT (Department for Transport) say police are seizing 1500 uninsured vehicles each week. It has been estimated that this figure will increase once the new law comes into force. The new law will affect everyone, even if the vehicle is a classic car parked in a garage and only used for a two months per year. It will still need to have twelve months insurance.

Council workers take over street parking

Residents in Derby are fuming as council workers looking for free parking are making their lives a misery. The council staff are taking over local streets close to Council Depots by parking outside resident’s homes and then going to work.

The topic was brought up by residents at a meeting with the council officials seven months ago but since then nothing has happened. One serious aspect of the problem is that resident have to walk in the road as vehicles are blocking the pavements. In all fifteen streets are affected and now residents are complaining they are getting no support and very little encouragement from Derbyshire County Council in resolving the problem. The parking issue has got totally out of control with workers arriving from 6.30am to park on side streets. Some local people are worried about the implications on their car insurance as they can no longer park outside their home, a fact they stipulated on their motor insurance quote.

Jenni Treasure, of Hopewell Road, said “They park there every day and there’s nowhere for residents to park. Nothing has changed since the meeting. It’s really frustrating. We’d be willing to pay for a residents’ parking scheme. The attitude of the council people is the worst thing. They act as though they own the street. There’s an attitude problem when you talk about car parking. I believe that parking provision should be paramount and that the county council should create more parking for their employees.”

The council say they proposed a residents’ parking permit scheme six years ago but the residents rejected the scheme. They also pointed out that they encourage car sharing and cycling. All the roads affected are public roads and as such anyone who has taxed and insured a car is legally entitled to park there. The dispute seems set to rumble on unless the council take a more conciliatory line.

Motorists shocked to receive driving fines in the post

Angry motorists have been shocked to receive motoring fines after falling victim to changes made to the hours they are allowed to drive in Reading town centre. Regular users of the road have been receiving the unwanted surprises which will cost them £60 each after they were caught driving along the roads totally unaware the rules had been changed.

Possibly hundreds of motorists have been caught out by the change in rules. The hours were changed on the 18th April when the new town centre traffic rule was introduced. Before the change, vehicles were banned from some roads between 11am and 4pm but the new restrictions mean they are banned between 7am-11am and also between 4pm-7pm with new cameras installed to catch all offending vehicles.

Keith Smyth has had two fines for driving down the street outside the new permitted hours. He stated: “I’m assuming there’s going to be hundreds of people getting them because I’ve watched four people drive through there in the space of five minutes. People are totally unaware that things have changed and I only found out about it when I received the fines through the post. I’m expecting at least another six bills to come through my door because I know I’ve driven down there several times since these were issued, I just hope it won’t affect my motor insurance quote.”

Drivers are angry because when previous changes were made the council ensured the general public knew by handing out fliers informing motorists of the impending alterations. However, this time there was only a new road sign installed a week before fines were imposed. Reading Council says that signs informing drivers they were approaching a restriction area were in place in good time for drivers to be aware of the changes. There were also other signs put up in the area to give drivers additional notice of the new restrictions.

Drunk nine year old caught driving a stolen car

A boy aged just nine was apprehended in Cumbria this week for driving offences. The boy, who is too young to be prosecuted by the police for a criminal offence, was arrested in Cumbria for being drunk behind the wheel. The shocking fact is that the boy is only one of hundreds of underage drivers who commit offences on the roads of the UK every week.

He was breathalysed at the scene and when he failed the test was then taken to the police station where stunned officers discovered his age was just nine, which means he is not old enough to be held accountable for his actions. What is just as alarming is the fact the he is just one of over 2000 juveniles arrested for crimes which include car theft and drink driving in Cumbria during the last two years. Sadly the problem is not restricted to Cumbria alone, as arrests are made throughout the United Kingdom. The figures have stunned safety campaigners who say better teaching of road safety awareness should be made a priority.

Kath Hartley, from the Brake charity, said “It’s incredibly concerning that young people many of whom will have had no formal driving tuition, are risking their own and other’s lives on our roads. This must be addressed as a matter of urgency. It is a clear example of why we need road safety education as part of the National Curriculum. Youngsters who are not old enough to get a car insurance quote must be taught the dangers of getting behind the wheel without proper training.”

However, police have stressed that these figures, alarming as they are, form only part of the overall picture. There were less vehicle crimes last year compared to the previous year and juvenile offences, where a vehicle was involved, was also down. The police are also working closely with road safety organisations to educate the young about the dangers encountered on the roads.

Drivers urged to not lose concentration while driving

There has been a worrying 9% increase in the number of rear bumper crashes during the past twelve months. This has resulted in higher premiums for drivers looking for motor insurance quotes. The increase now means this kind of incident now accounts for a quarter of all car insurance claims made.

New research has been released which shows over 400,000 crashes were caused by motorists going into the back of another car, costing the insurance industry nearly £2 billion in whiplash claims alone. This cost is then passed on to motorists by way of increased premiums.

The company who carried out the research say the reason for an increase in claims is down to two major factors: road congestion and fraud. There are now over 33 million vehicles on the roads of the United Kingdom which often results in slow moving traffic and according to experts is just as likely to cause a collision due to some motorists losing concentration and driving too close to the vehicle in front. Driving too fast and tailgating on the motorway are also contributing, but the recent news that fines are going to be issued for these offences may well help the situation.

Sue Longthorn the managing director at the firm who conducted the research said “There has been a rise in the number of incidents where drivers are deliberately and unexpectedly slamming on their brakes causing the vehicle behind to drive into their car. There are unscrupulous drivers out there causing slam on accidents so it’s important to keep the correct distance from the vehicle in front. Because the cost is handed down to motorists I would advise shopping around for insurance rather than automatically renewing with the current provider.”

Police make fifteen arrests in connection with vehicle thefts

Greater Manchester Police have made fifteen arrests following an investigation into the sale of stolen cars through vehicle trading websites. The cars were sold to innocent buyers, sometimes within hours of being stolen.

The police targeted twenty five addresses in Rochdale and Tameside and arrested seven men and eight women aged between 25 and 40 on suspicion of conspiracy to steal, conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to launder the money made from the thefts. They remain in custody for questioning after the police were granted extra time to interview them. During the raids police also recovered four cars worth around £100,000 and a large quantity of controlled drugs.

Police investigated the scam where registration number plates are obtained and then used to make stolen vehicles look genuine. They are then sold to members of the public using online websites such as Auto Trader.

Superintendent Alan Lyon said: “Today’s action follows a sensitive and thoroughly planned police operation into what we believe is an active organised criminal network trying to launder cash from stolen cars. Scams like this can have a lasting impact on victims. Today’s action shows Greater Manchester Police is taking a firm view on tacking burglary and its causes.”

Buyers have been urged to avoid purchasing a vehicle via a cash transaction and also to be wary of a vehicle when they come across what seems to be an appealing price. Online car websites do take fraud extremely seriously and will work in any way they can with the police to keep their users safe from scams. Anyone thinking of conducting a cash deal is advised to conduct all the necessary checks beforehand. Many innocent victims are not aware of any wrong doing until they start looking for motor insurance quotes. Anyone unsure should take a look around the online websites as they will provide comprehensive guidelines and safety recommendations to help buyers make sure the seller is reputable.

Council and Schools ask parents to have a car free day

The ongoing tensions between parents and angry neighbours have resulted in a campaign to ban vehicles from the school run in Rayleigh. The move comes after one parents vehicle was attacked by an irate neighbour near to the school earlier this year.

The council has worked with seven schools in the area, plus two more nearby to oversee the car free day next week. Relations between parents and residents have become fraught as dozens of vehicles arrive each morning and afternoon to drop off and pick up children. Earlier this year Mr. Blakesey was waiting to pick up his son when a resident, apparently angry because he had stopped outside his property, swung a spade at the vehicle breaking the window and damaging the vehicle. The resident is paying for the damage to save Mr. Blakesey experiencing a higher motor insurance quote due to lack of a no claims bonus, but the atmosphere between the two camps is still tense.

Margaret Spencer, chairman of Rayleigh Council, said “We are not anti-car as we appreciate it is not always possible for everyone to walk to school, but we want to encourage and promote walking some or all of the way to school for the children’s health and to reduce congestion around schools. Each school has been asked to inform parents of the preferred ‘no parking’ areas around the school and to suggest alternatives, such as nearby car parks.”

Wyburns is just one of the Rayleigh schools who are taking part in the car-free day, along with Downhall Primary, Edward Francis junior and St Nicholas Primary. The schools’ councils have already written to all parents, encouraging them to leave their vehicle at home for one day. To date, the response from parents has been very encouraging. On the day, town councillors and a road safety officer will be at the schools at drop off and pick up times.

Police take tough stance on anti-social drivers

A Scottish police force are assuring members of the public that they will not allow anti-social motorists to ruin the lives of law abiding citizens, as they crack down on rogue drivers. Forfar Community Council was given an update on the policing issues regarding anti-social driving during their latest meeting, where the local police force revealed they had seized 32 vehicles as part of the ongoing operation.

The behaviour of some motorists in one local area is constantly raised at community council meetings, with the antics of “boy racers” being the top complaint. The drivers are regularly being reported and nearby residents are also complaining about the amount of noise they are making.

At the meeting Constable Smith said: “Tayside Police continues to deal with numerous complaints of anti-social behaviour on the roads and car parks. A robust stance against this type of behaviour is taken. So far Tayside Police in Angus has issued 146 warnings in relation to anti-social behaviour driving, and 31 vehicles were seized as a result of a second warning.”

The Police scheme involves giving a warning ticket to anyone guilty of Anti-social driving and if they were caught again within six months, the police seize the vehicle. Tayside Police are also taking action against anyone caught drink driving as it continues to be a significant issue in Angus. Tayside Police have officers on the roads to carry out high visibility checks at peak times which it is hoped will provide reassurance to residents and make the areas safer.

The future prospects for a driver who is caught drink driving or a young driver who has their car seized or not good. Apart from a driving ban or points on their licence they can also expect a large increase in premiums when next getting a motor insurance quote. With young drivers already facing expensive insurance quotes, this could force them off the road completely.

Parking meters not ready for change

Motoring organisations across the country are reporting that members are inundating them with complaints about local authorities making money out of drivers by installing no change parking meters.

The plight of drivers in the Lancashire town of Preston is typical of what motorists across the UK are experiencing. According to figures gained by a local paper on a freedom of information request, Preston council makes £4,500 solely by the installation of parking meters that do not give change to drivers. Four car parks in the town centre have meters that don’t give change and motorists already hit by fuel price hikes and seemingly ever rising motor vehicle insurance quotes are incensed by the disclosure.

A spokesman for the AA, Paul Watters, said it was not just motorists in Preston; it was the same all over the country “Drivers feel ripped off at the pumps and ripped off in these car parks. It’s something that helps drive up revenue for councils. They won’t let you transfer your ticket to someone else if there is time left on it, either. It’s taking a bit of a liberty.” He went on to say it would be fairer if there was an alternative way to pay the exact fee.

A council spokesperson said the council policy was clearly defined and readily seen by motorists wanting to use the parks explaining: “All of our ticket machines clearly state that they are unable to give change, and that users should have the exact change so that they do not overpay for parking.”

Councils are installing no change machines because they are less expensive than those that actually return excess input, however, according to the British Parking Association any excess moneys obtained must be ploughed back into local transport or parking schemes.