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‘Crash for Cash’ fraud costs UK motorists £392M

27 November 2012

‘Crash for Cash’ fraudsters are “gambling with the lives of UK motorists” and costing honest policyholders nearly £400 million every year, according to a new report published today by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB).
 
Established to clamp down on Crash for Cash’ scams, the IFB links one in seven personal injury claims (69,500) to organised fraud in its new report, ‘Crash for Cash – putting the brakes on fraud’. The report urges members of the public to blow the whistle on ‘Crash for Cash’ fraudsters by calling the Cheatline – powered by Crimestoppers – anonymously, on 0800 422 0421.
 
David Neave, chairman of the IFB, said: “Fraudsters don’t just scam the insurance industry; they pick the pocket of every honest policyholder whose premiums increase to cover the costs of fraud. But in ‘Crash for Cash’, insurance fraud poses even starker risks to society. Fraudsters motivated by greed are gambling with the lives of innocent motorists by deliberately causing crashes up and down the country.  Criminal gangs organising multi-million pound ‘Crash for Cash’ scams are also using the profits of their fraud to fund other crimes plaguing our society, including illegal firearms, drug dealing and people trafficking. Far from being a victimless crime, insurance fraud is serious and something we all need to be wary of.”
 
The IFB is currently coordinating 40 live police operations across the UK, investigating and dismantling criminal gangs organising ‘Crash for Cash’ scams worth £66.6 million in potential loses to insurers.
 
DCI Dave Wood, head of the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) – a dedicated police unit tackling insurance fraudsters across the UK – said: “‘Crash for Cash’ is a crime this country can ill-afford, putting innocent drivers at risk on our roads and leaving honest policyholders out of pocket.  IFED’s first year in operation has found that although methods can vary, the objective remains the same, with organised crime groups stopping at nothing in their attempts to con insurers out of tens of thousands of pounds per incident.  The IFB’s report sheds light on the murky world of ‘Crash for Cash’, spelling out the clear threats it continues to pose to the public and assisting the work IFED are doing to bring those responsible to justice.”
 
Craig Budsworth, chair of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) said: “The Insurance Fraud Bureau report makes astonishing reading and confirms exactly what we have suspected for some time - that organised criminal gangs are responsible for 1 in 7 personal injury claims relating to motor accidents".  According to a recent report, injury claims came down nearly 25,000 last year and this could be nearly tripled by stamping out fraud.  The report also confirms that the vast majority of whiplash claims are legitimate and any future action to combat fraud by the Ministry of Justice must protect these accident victims.

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Skoda revolution removes the bling

27 November 2012

Four years ago Skoda decided to “change its cars completely” in terms of design and technology.
 
Two years later, the Czech brand produced the Vision D concept at the Geneva Motor Show which according to Skoda design co-ordinator Peter Olah was “a bible of Skoda design”.  Speaking at the launch of the new Skoda Rapid, a model that sits below the Octavia, Olah says that Vision D demonstrated where all new Skodas would go, embracing “clever engineering with a human touch”.
 
According to Olah Skoda’s slogan of ‘simply clever’ is not just a marketing claim, it means trying to bring clever solutions and understandable technology to the cars.  “One of the best examples of this is the little hook in the trunk to hold your shopping – it costs almost nothing but really changes your life. This is what we call the human touch.”
 
This theme continues with the Rapid which includes such touches as a combined ice scraper and magnifier concealed inside the fuel filler cap.  Owners can remove snow and ice from the windows and around the door before getting into the car. And that means there will be snow falling onto the seats when the door is opened.
 
The first clues to Skoda’s new look arrived in the summer with the Citigo city car, boasting a new, bolder Skoda logo.  Rapid continues the theme. “We want to make our cars as clean as possible and get rid of unnecessary lines – customers have had enough of shiny, bling bling stuff,” Olah says.

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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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