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BMW’s roll-out of DAB radio as standard will .....

27 November 2012

...... prompt all carmakers to follow, says CAP

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One in three drivers fail legal vision requirement

27 November 2012

Research reveals one in three UK drivers is putting themself and other road users at risk by not meeting the legal vision standard for driving.
 
The statistic comes as a result of vision screenings carried out by Specsavers at county shows and town centres in the UK this year as part of the optician’s annual Drive Safe Roadshow.  A corresponding survey conducted at these shows revealed that drivers are unaware of their vision failings, as more than four out of five people with substandard vision claimed theirs was good enough to drive safely.
 
Paul Carroll, director of professional services at Specsavers, said: “In the UK, while drivers are asked to read a number plate at the time of their practical driving test, their vision is not then re-evaluated until the age of 70. Good vision is essential for drivers, ensuring they are safe and aware on the roads to help reduce the danger to themselves and other road users.”
 
The survey also found that two out of five people have not had their eyes tested within the recommended timeframe of once every two years. Only a quarter of specs-wearing drivers carry a spare pair of glasses in their car, even though more than two out of five of the participants need them.
 
Carroll concluded “As vision can change gradually over time - something many are unaware of - it is essential that drivers maintain a high level of vision with regular eye examinations. Any changes that do then occur can be more easily spotted in the controlled environment of an eye examination.”

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Honda unveils micro-sized electric vehicle

15 November 2012

Honda has unveiled the 'Micro Commuter Prototype', a micro-sized short distance EV commuter.
 
The vehicle was developed in light of the vehicle categories for micro-sized mobility products that are currently being discussed under the initiative of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Japan, as well as for the regulations for the L7-category in Europe.  Using vehicles based on this prototype model, Honda will begin demonstration testing in Japan in 2013.  The demonstration testing will verify the potential of the vehicle in various uses including supporting everyday short-distance transportation for families with small children and for senior citizens, home delivery services, commuting and car sharing.
 
The Micro Commuter Concept that was first introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2011. This prototype model advances the concept in terms of cabin space. By changing the rear seat, it is possible to seat one driver and one adult passenger in the micro-sized body.  The adoption of the variable design platform positions components such as the battery, motor and control unit under the floor and in the rear space to concentrate the vehicle driving functions into a compact space.  This made it comparatively easier to develop and produce a body and interior that accommodates various uses and customers’ needs than existing vehicles.
 
Other features of this model include the use of a user-owned tablet device for the application of functions such as meter display, navigation, audio and back-up camera display, and the ability to charge the battery of the tablet using solar cells mounted on the vehicle roof.  Honda is continuing research of onboard solar cells to provide solar energy to assist the driving.
 
Through collaboration with the Honda Smart Home System (HSHS) that has already begun demonstration testing in the city of Saitama in Japan, Honda is planning to verify the CO2 reduction effect from the optimised energy management in everyday life and the values this vehicle can provide for customers when it is used not only as an electric vehicle but also as a household battery.

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Chancellor should abandon fuel duty increases

15 November 2012

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) hailed Monday’s Parliamentary debate as confirmation that fuel duty has now become a mainstream political issue, and welcomes the suggestion that the Chancellor George Osborne may be about to cancel the increase in fuel duty planned for New Year's Day.
 
The indication that the Treasury may defer the 3p per litre increase comes hot on the heels of face-to-face talks initiated by the FTA-backed FairFuelUK Campaign, when research was presented illustrating the impact of fuel duty on UK growth and the economy, adding pressure on the government to axe the fuel duty hike scheduled for January 1, 2013.
 
James Hookham, FTA’s managing director of policy and communications, said:”We have been able to get this issue to the heart of the political debate in Westminster and ensure the weight of public and business opinion is brought to bear on decisions about future tax rates.
 
“We hope and expect that George Osborne will not only cancel the increase, but will abandon any further rises before the next election, as it is clear that a precedent has been set and that similar debates and votes will take place ahead of all future planned increases.  The Chancellor may as well give up on fuel duty increases as a bad job.”

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Road deaths rise in South East of England

15 November 2012

The South East of England has seen less improvement in its road safety than any other region in England, according to IAM’s analysis of recent data produced by the Department for Transport.
 
Figures for 2011 reveal that the rate of reported killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties in the South East of England has increased by 10% since 2010, equating to 45 more KSI incidents per million people.  The region that has made the greatest improvement is London, which has seen a decrease in the rate of KSI casualties on the roads by six per cent (81 casualties) since 2010.
 
The North of England (North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber) has experienced a period of stagnation, having made little or no improvements to their rates of reported KSI accidents since 2010.  However, the North East of England does have the lowest rate of KSI casualties per million population of all regions (329 per million).
 
The IAM reported earlier this year that local authorities will receive a 26% reduction in their funding from central government over the next four years.  Councils now have more flexibility in how they spend their money – with no obligation to spend a set amount on road safety – but significantly fewer resources, a fact which is reflected in these road safety statistics.
 
Other data includes:
 
• In 2011 there was an increase of 160 on the 2010 total figure of reported KSI casualties in the West Midlands.
 
• There was an increase in the rate of KSI incidents in the East Midlands between 2010 and 2011, from 463 to 478 per million population.
 
• The South West of England has seen a steady decline in KSI figures since 2005, with the rate continuing to decrease by an additional one per cent between 2010 and 2011.
 
• In 2011 the East of England saw a drop of five per cent on the 2010 KSI figure.
 
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “It is unacceptable that road deaths and serious injuries have risen since 2010 in several regions, as well as at a national level.
 
“Ministers should take this as a serious warning. Cutting road safety education and reductions in local authority spending all suggest that road safety isn’t a major priority for this government.
 
“The government must bring back targets for road safety. While our real aim should be for no deaths or injuries - as is the case on the railways - simply meeting the European target of reducing deaths by 50% by 2020 would in itself save a thousand lives.”

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