New legislation to tighten up mobile phone loophole is good, but not good enough, say IAM RoadSmart

The UK’s biggest independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has welcomed the government’s decision to close a legal loophole which allowed drivers to not be prosecuted for using a mobile to film or take photos.

However, the new measures fall short of banning the use of hands-free mobile units in cars, something IAM RoadSmart and others have highlighted is just as distracting and dangerous as a hand-held unit.

Today (1 November) Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said there will be a review to tighten current laws on the use of hand-held mobile phones by drivers.

The Department for Transport announced that legislation will be revised so that any driver caught using a hand-held phone behind the wheel can be prosecuted whatever the reason; texting, taking pictures, surfing the web or scrolling for music. Spring 2020 is the likely date for implementation.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “The facts are there to see – the use of mobile phones for any purpose and in any manner while driving is distracting and potentially fatal.

“Today’s news is good, but not good enough. The increased penalties introduced in 2017, six points and a £200 fine, did change drivers’ behaviour for a while, but bad habits are creeping back in. Drivers keep doing it because they don’t think they will get caught, and they don’t appreciate they are risking lives.

“Mobile speed cameras need to be employed more broadly to also catch drivers using hand-held phones. Drivers need to know their actions could kill.”

Stratford Group AGM Monday 7th October

Notice of 2019 Annual General Meeting

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN by order of the Group Committee that the Annual General Meeting of Stratford upon Avon & South Warwickshire Group of Advanced Motorists will be held at 7pm on Monday 7th October 2019 at Warwickspace, 71 Coten End, Warwick CV34 4NU to enable the Trustees of the Group (Registered Charity No.1016119) to present their Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 st March 2019 for approval by the Group Full Members and to conduct an election.

Dealing with low sun

Image result for driving with low sun
One of the biggest driving hazards at any time of year

Now that spring is here, the sun is rising earlier and flowers blooming. However, being dazzled by the sun can be a major distraction and is often a factor in summer collisions.

Even though we have many tools that aid in protecting us from the glare, we often forget to use them. This week’s tips give advice on how to stay safe on the road with the glare of the sun on rampage, from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman.

  • Keep your windscreen clean both inside and out; a dirty screen will magnify the glare.
  • On the outside check for chips or cracks, replace worn wiper blades and make sure your washer bottle is kept well topped up with good quality screen wash to help remove those summer bugs.
  • Keep a cloth or chamois to wipe away the dirt that builds up on the inside
  • Use your sun visor. It may sound pretty obvious but a surprising number of people forget.
  • Invest in polarised sunglasses and remember to take a rest. Your eyes will strain quickly if you are squinting. Read our sunglasses tips for more information.
  • If you are dazzled by the sun, slow down and leave extra space between yourself and the driver ahead. This will give you more time to regain full control and assess the situation.
  • Remember that when the sun is low behind you, you might be able to see just fine, but oncoming drivers might not see you.

Richard said: “It’s easy to get distracted when the sun is out and the world seems a better place. By keeping the screen clean and your view shaded where possible, you will give yourself the best chance of staying safe. If you are wearing sunglasses, bear in mind that the protection they offer will be magnified by any tinted windows and remember to keep them clean – it’s amazing how distorting a sun cream fog can be. Be ready to take them off in tunnels or shaded areas but keep them close to hand.” 

Do you want to find out more ways to stay safe on the road? Try our Advanced Driving Course and get the best out of yourself and your car.

Renault winner Max Coates to run IAM Roadsmart logo on racing car

We are delighted to announce that Max Coates, seven times a race winner in the Renault UK Clio Cup, will be running the IAM RoadSmart logo on his car this year. Max, who achieved a F1RST in his advanced driving test (which he took during our #FormulaDriveSmart event at Silverstone last December) has kindly donated the space on his car to IAM RoadSmart for free. Having our logo on his car is very valuable as it puts our name directly in front the biggest at-risk age group when it comes to drivers – young men under 25 – who are the largest audience for this type of racing. The Renault UK Clio Cup supports the British Touring Car Championship, so look out for Max and his Clio as part of ITV4’s race-day coverage through the year.

Our first podcast: should the motorway speed limit be increased to 80mph?

motorwayTake a listen to our very first podcast! There’s been a lot of discussion about the UK motorway speed limit and if it should be increased to 80mph. Listen here to experts Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research and Rebecca Ashton, head of driver behaviour, chat about this topic.

Coming Soon

 

Are you using the correct car seat?

car seatThis week’s blog is written by guest blogger Jayne E Marshall, an advanced driver and Foundation Professor of Midwifery at the University of Leicester. She talks about the importance of having the correct car seat for your children and provides some very useful tips. Read more by clicking here.

Looking for young drivers who have experienced tailgating

tailgatingLooking for members’ help again! Following our successful request for people to take part in media activity for the recent Highways England tailgating campaign, we have been approached again to see if any of our younger members age between 18 and 35, or any of their friends or family, have had a frightening experience of tailgating and would be willing to be interviewed on the subject. The interview will be carried out by Highways England, but the content will be used on the LadBible website. If you are happy to take part, please reply by email as soon as possible to rodney.kumar@iam.org.uk with a daytime phone number, and a brief summary of your experiences.