The UK’s new speeding fines

Speeding fines to increase

Fines for the most serious speeding offences are set to rise in order to better reflect the gravity with which the courts view them.

Currently the minimum penalty you can expect to receive for speeding is a £100 fine and 3 penalty points added to your licence, but from April 24, 2017, magistrates in England and Wales are being directed to apply a Band C speeding fine for the most serious offenders.

What does that mean if I’m caught speeding?

A Band C speeding fine means that anyone speeding at 51mph or above in a 30mph limit – for example – faces a fine equivalent to 150% of their weekly income, and 6 penalty points on their driving licence, or disqualification from driving for up to 56 days. If you’re disqualified for 56 days or more you must apply for a new licence before you’re able to start driving again.

For anyone earning £25,000 a year, a speeding fine equivalent to 150% of their weekly income means handing over a minimum of £720 – no small amount.

You might receive a Band B speeding fine for doing between 41-50mph, in which case you’d face a fine equivalent to 100% of your weekly income (£480), and 4 penalty points on your driving licence, or disqualification from driving for up to 28 days.

A Band A speeding fine would be appropriate if you are caught speeding between 31-40 in a 30mph zone, and you can expect to receive a fine equivalent to 50% of your weekly income (£240), and 3 penalty points on your driving licence.

Disqualification from driving vs penalty points

If you get caught driving at a speed that will land you with a Band B or C speeding fine, the magistrates may believe your speeding is too serious for penalty points. In this case, you may be disqualified from driving for a period of time instead of being given penalty points.

You might wonder if you’re better off being disqualified from driving for a short time, rather than taking the 6 penalty points on your licence – especially if you’ve already racked up a handful of points with previous motoring offfences. In some instances you’d be right, especially if the addition of 6 penalty points would take you over the 12 point limit, as this would attract a six month driving ban rather than up to 56 days.

However, magistrates are aware of this potential ‘loophole’, so odds are that they would be reluctant to ban you for a short time in lieu of penalty points, especially if you have been consistently driving at dangerously high speeds.

If this is the case, perhaps you should be asking yourself exactly why it’s so important for you to get where you’re going so quickly, and consider rethinking your attitude to the laws that are, essentially, there to keep everyone safe on the roads.

Fleet Driving Solutions, providing fleet driving training services to companies throughout the UK. Call 0203 633 4682

Watch Out For Motorbikes!

As we move into summer, it’s worth talking about some of the road users that begin to appear when the weather improves. Motorcyclists are one of the most vulnerable groups to injury or fatality when involved in collisions.

When a crash happens involving a motorcycle and other vehicle, who is typically found at fault?

It’s most often the fault of the OTHER DRIVER…. SURPRISED?

In fact when it’s not a single vehicle incident involving the motorcycle, it’s usually the other driver who has made a mistake that resulted in the accident.

What is the most common place and type of collision involving a motorcycle and other vehicle?

There are certainly many places where vehicles can collide; but the most common place for another vehicle and a motorcycle to collide is at an intersection when the other driver is turning left or right and turns in front of the motorcyclist.

Why does this happen? (a driver turning in front of an oncoming motorcycle)

There are 2 primary reasons that this can happen:

  • The driver of the other vehicle simply did not see the motorcycle. Motorcycles are smaller and more difficult to see and many drivers don’t think to actually watch for them.
  • Speed: The driver of the other vehicle DOES see the motorcycle but thinks he has time to turn because he misjudges the approach speed.

Tailgating Tips:

Motorbikes are vulnerable road users; they do not have the protection that a car or Lorry has. Almost, always result in injury.

If you expect to see motorbikes, you are more likely to detect them. Often we can filter out the things we don’t expect and just not see them Always look for motorbikes especially at intersections

Motorbikes are much more lighter than other vehicles and can stop in much shorter distances. This means that when you are following a motorbike, you should leave more distance. If the rider has to make an emergency stop, the bike will stop in  a much shorter distance than your vehicle.

When you see a motorcycle approaching, realize that it’s easy to misjudge the speed because the size of the cycle and the fact that its coming towards you makes it difficult to estimate speed.

  • Keep Your Eyes Up – It’s tempting to look down and over the bonnet of the car at the centre line or the tail lights in front of you, but this can cause several problems. When your eyes are looking downward over the bonnet, steering can become choppy and require many more adjustments, and frequently you will either cut corners or run wide. It’s much more effective to keep your eyes up and this practise prepares you for the next technique.
  • Eye Lead Time – Look 12 to 15 seconds ahead of where your vehicle is at any given time. As your speed increases, so will the distance you look ahead if you always look for this time interval.
  • Move Your Eyes – This takes practice and intent. Look right, left, ahead and into the mirrors and as you look, identify potential problems so that you can decide what you will do about them. Moving your eyes is particularly important to see things to the side because your peripheral vision becomes increasingly ineffective as your speed increases.
  • See the Big Picture – By moving your eyes, you get a ‘big picture’ perspective of the traffic environment and your place in it. Pilots call this ‘situational awareness’ and it helps you to make good decisions about speed and movement such as lane changes, well in advance.
  •  Eye Contact – The only way to know if another driver sees you is to make eye contact with them. If they are looking at you and you see them making eye contact with you, you can be fairly sure (but not guaranteed) that they see you. If another driver is moving into your space and you want to establish eye contact, a light tap on the horn will attract their attention.

Practical Challenge:

For the next week, make a point of watching for motorcycles and develop a habit of identifying them as soon as you can. Be especially careful at intersections/junctions!

Fleet Driving Solutions, providing fleet driving training services to companies throughout the UK. Call 0203 633 4682

Cyclists!

Other road users that drivers need to be aware of on the road are pedestrians, motorcycles and of particular note, cyclists.  Cyclists can come from a full spectrum of ages and abilities.  Like drivers, cyclists must also follow the regulations for road users as riding on the footpath is prohibited.

What types of cyclists can be expected on roadways?

  • Young children learning and wobbling around with or without training wheels
  • Experienced cyclists commuting to and from work
  • Recreational cyclists on mountain bikers or cruisers.
  • Racers training for the next event

What challenges do bicyclists pose to drivers?

  • Dealing with cyclists can be frustrating, particularly if they are slow and in your lane where you don’t have room to pass.
  • Every cyclists has different skill levels and capabilities and a different attitude towards traffic
  • They are not permitted to ride on footpaths and gravel shoulders are difficult and dangerous for most cyclists; they are required to be on the roadway and it’s everyone’s responsibility to share
  • Some don’t all use hand signals to communicate intent

How does a cyclist communicate when on the road?

While cyclists are required (like other road users) to signal, they also need to keep their hands stationed on the handle bars at all times for steering and to control the brakes.  This hinders their ability to use hand signals to communicate intents such as a left or right turn.  Being aware of a cyclist’s bike lane position will help a driver anticipate the cyclist’s next movement.

What can you do as a motorist?

  • Keep Your Eyes Up: It’s tempting to look down and over the hood of the car at the center line or tail lights in front of you.  It’s much more effective to keep your eyes up
  • Eye Lead Time: Look 12 to 15 seconds ahead of where your  vehicle is at any given time and actively search for cyclists.
  • Move Your Eyes: This takes practice and intent.  Look left, right, ahead and into mirrors.  Cyclists are small and difficult to see and they may position themselves in your blind spots.  Moving your eyes is particularly important to see to the side because your peripheral vision becomes increasingly ineffective as your speed increases.
  • See the Big Picture: By moving your eyes, you get a ‘big picture’ perspective of the traffic environment and your place in it. Manage your space effectively and don’t crowd cyclists particularly as you pass
  • Eye Contact: The way to know if a cyclist sees you is to make eye contact with them.  If they are looking at you and you see them making eye contact with you, you can be fairly sure (but not guaranteed) that they see you.

Keep a sharp eye out for cyclists and when passing them, leave lots of room.  One small wobble or bump can send them right into your path.  The best plan is to wait until you can move way over into the other lane and not pass so closely or squeeze them towards the curb or ditch. New riders are focused on controlling the bike and are easily startled by closely passing cars.  This can cause them to jerk the handlebars and lose control!

For more information please go to The Highway Code rules for cyclists

www.fleetdrivingsolutions.com

Check Your Following Distances!

Many rear end collisions can be prevented by maintaining a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you.

What is a safe following distance and how can you check that you are leaving enough room?

The only way to accurately check your following distance is by using the ‘2 second rule formula’ which works by picking a fixed landmark like a sign or some other stationary object and counting seconds as the vehicle in front of you passes it. The number of seconds that you count is your time interval.

Under the best conditions, the minimum number of seconds needs to be 2 and more as conditions change or deteriorate.

What is this so important?

Stopping distance is a combination of reaction distance and braking distance. Reaction distance is the distance that your vehicle travels from the time you see a reason to apply brakes to when you actually move your foot to the brake pedal and begin to slow down. If you are too close to the vehicle in front, you will hit them NO MATTER HOW GOOD A DRIVER YOU ARE because you can only get to the brake as fast as a human can move and by the time you get there, if the guy in front is already braking hard, you don’t stand a chance.

What are some conditions that would require an increase in following distances?

  • Weather conditions, like rain or snow
  • Road conditions, such as gravel or uneven surfaces
  • Lighting. At night or if you are looking into reflected sun or glare, you need more space because you will not see things as easily.
  • Traffic conditions. As traffic gets heavier, you need to be more aware, than in lighter traffic. This occupies your attention, so more space in front buys you more time to react.
  • Your vehicle. The size of your vehicle (Car, Van or Lorry). Loaded/Unloaded. The towing of a trailer/caravan or boat The condition of your vehicle, brakes & tyres
  • YOUR condition; if you are tired or otherwise not 100%, leave more space (Or don’t drive at all!) because your reactions may not be as quick.

Fleet Driving Solutions, providing fleet driving training services to companies throughout the UK. Call 0203 633 4682

 

 

 

Why Train Your Drivers?

Vehicle incidents are expensive and training is cheap in comparison.

Statistically, driving is the most dangerous work activity carried out in the UK, yet this is the most neglected area when it comes to risk assessment and training.

Your employees deserve every opportunity to increase their skills and knowledge to keep them safe on the road.

Alot of people have never done any further driver training since they first passed their driving test. Government driving tests are designed to achievement a basic minimum standard and testing can be done in the smallest of vehicles, yet the resulting licence permits operation of much larger ones.

The fact that your employee has a drivers licence only proves that they were able to meet a minimum standard on one day sometime in the past in a vehicle type that may not even resemble your organisations vehicles and they may have not driven at all in the environments that you operate in!

Training ensures that employees are trained, evaluated and rated as competent to operate the assigned vehicle at the outset of their employment. Many workplaces use vehicles that new employees have never driven and could be much larger than what they are familiar with.

They are some fantastic examples of, very successful organsations, large and small that recognize this and provide driver training, before employment is offered (the recruitment process), during the employees induction period and continues throughout their employment.

Over time attitudes, knowledge and skills can fade and need refreshing. Delivering training can reinforce these key elements of safe driving to your employees.

Specialty training is also important. Courses such as Advanced Driving, Winter Driving, Four Wheel Drive, Trailer towing can fill in the gaps in skills and knowledge left from when your employee learned to drive in the first place and fully prepares them to drive incident free while performing their duties.

We can help you, dramatically reduce the risk and cost to your business, it’s directors and senior managers as well as your employees through our tailored professional risk assessment and training programs. By identifying and addressing risks you are demonstrating a high level of duty of care towards your employees, providing a safer working environment.

Fleet Driving Solutions, providing fleet driving training services to companies throughout the UK. Call 0203 633 4682

 

Advanced Driving

The advanced driving test is a special exam for motorists who can drive to a skill level substantially above average, and candidates who passed are called advanced drivers.

It is available from several societies, including the Institute of Advanced Motorists, (IAM), the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents  , (RoSPA)  and the Driving Instructors’ Association, (DIA).

There is no single “advanced test”, so standards are different depending on the provider. It does not affect the driver’s own licence. The test is mostly (but not exclusively) UK based; and is available for several types of vehicle (including car and motorcycle) depending on the provider.

Most candidates need advanced lessons before the advanced test.

Fleet Driving Solutions can provide both the training and the advanced Driving test  All out trainers are DVSA (Driving Vehicle Standards Agency) and Fleet Registered Driving Instructors.

Many of our Trainers are also

  • RoSPA qualified trainers and examiners
  • Police Class 1 advanced drivers
  • Police driving assessors
  • IAM driver trainers and examiners
  • DIA Elite trainers and examiners

RoSPA and IAM base their advanced driving test on Roadcraft, the police driving system, The DIA advanced driving test is based on The Official DVSA Guide to Driving: The Essential Sills

Advanced Driving was introduced in 1956 to improve driving standards, following principles set out by the Metropolitan Police. It is open to anyone who has passed the standard driving test, but only a small fraction of drivers choose to have advanced driver training or take an advanced test

The test covers different types of road, from town to country, city and country. Drivers will have trained in all areas and have to demonstrate the techniques and methods they’ve learned and will often be asked (depending on what advanced course they have chosen) to do a commentary drive. Some insurers will offer reduced vehicle insurance premiums to holders of an advanced certificate.

Advanced driving, as agreed by the Driving Instructors’ Association (DIA), Driving Vehicle Standards Agency, Institute of Advanced Motorists, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents is defined as.

“The ability to control the position and speed of the vehicle safely, systematically and smoothly using road and traffic conditions to make reasonable progress unobtrusively, with skill and responsibility. This requires a positive but courteous attitude and a high standard of driving competence based on concentration, effective all round observation, anticipation and planning co-ordinated with good handling skills. The vehicle should always be at the right place on the road at the right time, travelling at the right speed with the correct gear engaged and can always be stopped safely in the distance that can be seen to be clear.”

www.fleetdrivingsolutions.com Call 0203 633 4682 or 07919 193299

Fleet Risk Management

Maintaining a successful company in which vehicle use is a key aspect is a risky business. You have a number of factors to consider, including:

• The abilities of your drivers

• The road worthiness of your vehicles

• The potential hazards of other road users

Successful management of a fleet of vehicles and drivers can be achieved, but only if you take your risk management responsibilities seriously. By doing so, you will keep your drivers (and the rest of the general public) safe, and maximum the longevity and hence cost-effectiveness of your fleet.

Here are some common issues you will need to consider if you wish to achieve a successful fleet risk management strategy.

The driving abilities and qualifications of your employees

This really is the key aspect of the success of your fleet, and therefore of an important part of your business. You need to make sure your employees are both fit to drive, and are qualified to drive. Not all employees are guaranteed to be honest about their driving records, and ‘clean’ licenses could turn out to be laden with points, or even non-existent.
A fleet driving solutions provider – such as Fleet Driving Solutions – will help prevent you from suffering headaches when acquiring your drivers. They will provide driving licence checks to make sure your drivers are actually legally entitled to drive in the UK, as well as providing different levels of driver training, including the familiarisation of UK driving for drivers used to driving abroad.

Having an effective claims process in the result of an accident

If you’ve ever suffered a ‘prang’ – whether it was your fault or not – you’ll be aware of the pain associated with going through the claims process, especially if the other party is pursuing a counter-claim, or if their insurance company is not playing ball.
Your main concern in business is running your company, and you will not have the time to continually chase claims that result because one of your vehicles was involved in an incident.
Your best bet is to outsource your claims to an accident management company. They will work for you to bring any accident claims to a fruitful and satisfactory conclusion, leaving you free to concentrate on the more important matters of your business.

Make sure your employees are not claiming personal mileage as business mileage

There’s a tendency for employees to treat your fleet vehicles as their own – indeed, you may allow your fleet to be used for personal use. What you don’t want though is for your employees to start claiming the personal miles they drive as business mileage. Very few companies pay their employees’ commuting costs, so why should you?
Make sure you perform regular audits of claimed miles against driven miles. You can even use apps that track your vehicles at all times, and automatically log mileage and identify it legitimate or dubious (if business mileage is claimed outside of your company core hours, for example). False mileage claims can really eat into your profits, so it’s important you keep a careful eye on what is claimed.

For more information and advice on fleet risk management, please call Fleet Driving Solutions on 0203 633 4682, or email us at enquiries@fleetdrivingsolutions.com

Fleet Driving Solutions, providing fleet driving training services to companies throughout the UK.