Traffic lights. These baine of my existence.
Eight in ten traffic lights ‘should be ripped out to cut jams’
Report says over regulation of traffic is detrimental to road safety, the economy and the environment
Study by the Institute of Economic Affairs found economy is losing £16bn | From 2000 to 2014 traffic lights on Britain’s roads increased by 25 per cent | After a 2009 trial at the Cabstand Junction, near Bristol, traffic jams eased
The frustration of crawling towards traffic lights that seem almost permanently set to red is a daily ritual for millions of motorists.
Such delays cost the nation billions of pounds, according to researchers, and Britain would be better off if the government ripped out
80 per cent of traffic lights.
A study by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) found that a two-minute delay to every car journey made in a year equates to an astonishing loss to the economy of around £16 billion.
And the cumulative effect of unnecessary traffic regulation ‘imposes an enormous burden on the UK economy’, the IEA’s report says.
Its authors urge a radical solution, saying that car journeys would be much quicker if instead of sluggish queues at traffic lights, drivers deployed ‘voluntary cooperation’ to negotiate regulation-free roads.
Entitled ‘Seeing Red: Traffic Controls And The Economy’, the report says: ‘Not only is a high proportion of traffic regulation detrimental to road safety, the economy and the environment, it also imposes huge costs on road-users, taxpayers and communities.’
The report’s authors point to case studies from around Britain and evidence from successful schemes in both the Netherlands and Germany. After a 2009 trial switching off lights at the notorious Cabstand Junction, in Portishead near Bristol, traffic jams eased and the lights were removed – an approach the researchers want to see across the country.
‘Traffic signals could be taken out where they cause unnecessary delays, perhaps following Portishead-style trials where lights are switched off for several weeks to observe the impact
Drink and drug driving kills. THINK!
Hundreds of motorists arrested follow drink driving campaign
The Police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire has warned there will be no let up in the crackdown on drink driving across the county.
Full arrest figures for drink driving in Cambridgeshire for 2015:
January 60 February 79 March 88 April 75
July 81 August 75 September 90 October 79 November 78 December 80 Total 928 Average 77
The message comes after over 120 people were arrested during the festive period as a part of a seven-week campaign.
Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Sir Graham Bright said: “Drinking and driving puts people’s lives at risk and is not acceptable and targeting this irresponsible behaviour will not stop. The message is simple – do not drink and drive.”
The campaign launched by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Police Unit aimed to target those getting behind the wheel after a few drinks.
Road policing inspector Phil Bloor said: “Although our campaign against drink driving has come to an end for now, motorists shouldn’t think they won’t be caught.
“We tackle drink driving all year round, and those who think it is acceptable to drive on our roads under the influence of alcohol should be warned; we will not tolerate drink driving and will seek to prosecute offenders.”
Over the last six years the police have seen the number of people caught drink driving in Cambridgeshire has reduced to 928 compared to 1,133 in 2010.
Sir Graham added: “Although the number of people caught drink driving has decreased over the last six years, 928 in 2015 is still too many.”
Mobile phone use while driving is on the up. The most dangerous use, texting while driving is something that we see becoming more prevalent.
Drivers who use mobile phones behind the wheel will be hit with increased fines and points under new government proposals.
Offenders would see a rise from three to four penalty points on their licence and a rise in fines from £100 to £150.
The plans, to be consulted on in 2016, would also see HGV drivers hit with the same increased fines and penalty points doubled, from three to six.
An educational course to try to change behaviour could still be offered to first time offenders. Road Safety Minister Andrew Jones says HGV drivers are being specifically targeted to reflect the potential consequences of an accident.
“We are increasing the penalty points for HGV drivers because these are big, big vehicles up to 44 tonnes in weight,” he said. “The consequences of people not paying attention behind the wheel of these vehicles can be significantly greater, so that’s why we are treating them differently.”
Officers from the Central Motorway Policing Group, based in Birmingham, are catching offenders on a daily basis and welcome the proposals. Superintendent Paul Keasey says the rise in social media use is one reason why drivers are still using their mobile phones on the road, over 12 years since it became illegal.
“We almost want to know everything instantaneously and that hasn’t really transferred onto how people should be driving,” he said. “One of the big things is they don’t realise what a distraction it is. If you actually take your eyes off road for a second your braking distance is significantly reduced. “We are absolutely fully behind the government and our partners in preventing this type of occurrence happening.”
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin says the proposals are part of a wider package of measures to improve road safety.
“We have some of the safest roads in Europe but we are always looking for ways to improve that record,” he said.
“Using a mobile phone at the wheel is reckless and costs lives – I want to see it become a social taboo like not wearing a seatbelt.
“We will take action to tackle this persistent problem, with an emphasis on the most serious offenders.”
In 2013 the penalty for mobile phone use while driving was increased to £60.
In 2014 the use of a mobile phone was a factor in 21 fatal accidents and 84 serious accidents.
Source: Mail on Line
Dangerous parking is something that plagues towns and cities throughout the world. The following post just shows how bad things can get.
A farmer has been convicted of death by dangerous driving despite not being in his tractor at the time of the fatal crash, in what is believed to be the first case of its kind.
David Woodcock, 38, was held responsible for killing biker Alan Horrocks even though his tractor was stationary.
He had left his large agricultural vehicle protruding onto a country lane, in Congleton, Cheshire, while he went to feed his cattle in a field on September 10 last year.
The 68-year-old failed to spot the eight tonne Caseloader and ploughed his Triumph motorbike into the side of it – which burst into flames on impact.
Emergency services rushed to the scene on Dial Lane at 8.20pm but the grandfather was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering catastrophic injuries.
On Monday, Woodcock, from Congleton, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving at Stoke-on- Trent Crown Court.
But the father-of-four avoided jail after being handed a two year prison sentence, suspended for two years after a judge ruled he had shown “genuine remorse.”
He was also banned from driving for two years and must take an extended test before he can drive again and ordered to complete 240 hours unpaid work.
Sentencing, Judge David Fletcher said: “You are a man who has lived a blameless life. You will live with the consequences for the rest of your life, you did not have proper regard for vulnerable road users. You will live with the consequences for the rest of your life.”
The court heard Mr Horrocks had been on his way home to Crewe from North Wales with a friend when the accident happened.
Timothy Harrington, prosecuting, said the tractor’s lights and reflectors were not on when the biker crashed into it at between 40 and 45mph in the fading light. He told the court: “Mr Horrocks simply did not see the vehicle. “He collided with it, his bike caught fire and he was tragically killed at the scene.”
Mr Harrington said Woodcock had parked the vehicle during the day and his work had taken him longer than he expected. He added: “When the light began to fade it became invisible and, sadly, in this case deadly.
“Mr Horrocks was a competent motorcyclist. It was a hobby he had gone back to.
“He had given it up while he had a family and following his retirement from work decided to take it back up.”
Robert Smith, defending, said Woodcock had desperately tried to help Mr Horrocks at the scene.
He told the court the defendant did not normally use the machine and was covering for a member of staff who had not turned up for work that day.
He said: “He has an impeccable driving record. He has driven farm vehicles and HGVs for a majority for his adult life. He was not familiar with the task he was undertaking. As farm manager he had to cover as a member of staff had not turned up to work. He has always accepted culpability for the death.”
After the case Sergeant Ian Tanner, from West Midlands Collision Investigation Unit said: “Woodcock failed to appreciate the danger his stationary vehicle posed to vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists and this error had tragic consequences.
“We would urge all road users to ‘think bike’ as even a simple lack of judgement can prove fatal to a cyclist.”
At the time, Mr Horrock’s devastated family described him as: “A much loved dad and grandad, also a good friend to many. Missed by all.” Graham Walker, an expert in road traffic law, said: “The essence of causing death by dangerous driving is that the course of driving caused the death and that the incident takes place on a road or other public place and that it would have been obvious that such driving fell far below the standard of driving expected of a careful and competent driver.
“I would suggest that what makes the present case ‘dangerous driving’, even although the driver was not behind the wheel of his vehicle at the time of impact, is the fact that he had been driving that vehicle moments prior to the collision and he was responsible for leaving the vehicle in a position that would have been obvious to a careful and competent driver must have been a danger to other road users.”
This is the second time somebody has been sentenced for causing death by dangerous driving while not behind the wheel of a vehicle.
In 2010, millionaire John Nichols, 59, made legal history after he was jailed for four years while a passenger in his wife’s car.
He was held responsible for the deaths of a young couple after allowing his partner Mary Butres, 48, to drive home after a day drinking at the races.
She ploughed into Mark Crompton, 20, and Jodie Brown, 19, at 113mph in a Jaguar XJ8 on the A1 in Great Ponton, Lincs