The best idea I’ve seen in ages. Sadly it’s voluntary The app that blocks your phone while driving: Romex tracks how fast you are moving to lock down distracting handsets
Figures suggest that a staggering 95 per cent of motorists have seen other drivers using their phone at the wheel.
In a bid to curb this illegal activity, a London-based firm has developed an app that makes it physically impossible to check messages while the car is moving.
Called Romex MyFix, it uses the phone’s GPS system to detect when it’s travelling at 4mph
(6km/h) or faster and disable the screen.
It was developed by employer-tracking firm of the same name Romex. The firm already sells a similar product to the car fleet sector and is now adapting it to the consumer market with the app, called Distraction Prevention.
When the app detects movement at speed it locks the phone, disabling calls, texts, emails and social media messaging, among other distractions. It can also monitor a driver’s speed and time spent behind the wheel.
The app doesn’t disable the phone entirely and will allow people to accept calls using a Bluetooth headset. Source: Mail Online
How die this affect us? Read on. Does driving in the dark make YOU speed? Navigating at night tricks our brains into thinking we’re travelling slower than we are
When you drive you rely on your brain’s ability to process how fast the ground in front of you is speeding past, according to a new study.
Driving in the dark or in fog makes it more difficult to see objects moving past, making it seem like you are travelling more slowly than you really are.
This is because you rely on the whole road and not just the edges, the researchers have said.
A new study by the University of Leeds examined how people assessed how fast they were moving while driving.
The results could also explain how animals routinely move through the world by following demarcated paths, trails or runways, the researchers said.
HOW THE STUDY WORKED
The study used a driving simulator to test whether human steering was influenced by visual speed signals.
The textured ground either side of the road – on the inside and outside of bends – was manipulated to move artificially faster or slower than the driving speed.
It found a driver’s steering responded to the average ground speed, irrespective of which side moved faster or slower.
This suggested human brain uses the ground movement signal from across the whole of the scene to guide steering, and not just the road edges. When travelling across a ground surface we experiences the apparent perceptual motion of texture elements, referred to as optic flow.
When the optic flow is degraded, for example by the presence of fog or driving at night, this can reduce the perceived speed.
‘Whereas increases in flow quality or quantity, like driving with a seated position close to the ground along narrow country lanes, would increase perceived speed,’ the study said.
Lots of species are sensitive to the movement of objects around them as they move, including bees, flies, birds, desert ants and humans. Associate Professor Dr Richard Wilkie, co-author of the study, said ‘different species are sensitive to optic flow and one control solution is to maintain the balance of flow symmetry across visual fields.’
But he said it is not clear whether animals are sensitive to changes in asymmetries when steering along curved paths.
Road edges alone provide enough information for successful steering, but the brain also uses flow speed information to guide steering.
But he said ‘while asymmetric flow-speed conditions of the type simulated in this study are unlikely to occur naturally, the speed information from the global flow field can vary considerably across different real-world environments.
‘Conditions where the quality of flow is degraded, for example the presence of fog or driving at night, can reduce the perceived locomotor speed, whereas increases in flow quality/quantity for example driving with a seated position close to the ground along narrow country lanes would increase perceived speed.
‘Our findings indicate that such conditions could cause systematic steering errors even when there are clear visual markings for the position in lane and future steering requirements
In an era of anpr, vosa merging with Dvla and that in turn with Dsa to form DVSA, you’d think people would understand the shared information network of these bodies would end illegal driving instructors. Ask to see their licence. No show, no go. What investigating illegal driving instruction involves
By Andy Rice: DVSAs Fraud and Integrity Team
My investigative team encounter a range of situations when they’re out investigating suspected cases of illegal driving instruction. In this blog post, I’ll describe what this work typically involves.
The team although small, covers the whole of the country. Our investigative managers always work in pairs for safety reasons, as they can occasionally face aggressive hostility when trying to get statements.
Recently, 2 members of my team started off their day in the South Staffordshire area by
investigating a case involving a local instructor who is no longer on the register but continues to operate. He’s also suspected of offering motor racing tickets for driving lessons!
To help build the case against him, my team visited a number of his learner drivers to get witness statements. On this occasion, none of the pupils were in, so my team had to post letters through their door, asking them to call.
The next job involved the team trying to contact a different driving instructor whose licence ran out in November and hasn’t been renewed, despite him continuing to give lessons.
On a typical day, the team have to travel back and forth to follow up on cases, depending on whether they are contacted by potential witnesses.
For example, after having agreed to meet with the instructor whose licence had run out, they then got a call from are contacted by a pupil willing to give a statement as a result of an earlier letter drop. This meant they then have to re-order their workload.
Getting witness statements can be a lengthy process as often pupils won’t be in. This means that my team often have to return in the evening to either try again, or if they get a call from someone as a result of receiving the letter.
Once one of our investigating managers even turned around and drove 100 miles back down a motorway to get a statement.
Potential witnesses are often reluctant to get involved with an investigation for various reasons. Pupils often feel potentially at risk as an instructor knows where they live, what their parents do and when people come and go from the house.
On the other hand, we have had cases where the pupils themselves are reluctant to give a statement but are overruled by their parents into doing so.
My team’s hard work with Northumbria Police recently resulted in an illegal driving instructor being convicted of fraud by false representation, and sentenced to a 6 month custodial sentence, suspended for 2 years.
This particular investigation found that the instructor wasn’t qualified to take payment for driving instruction (section 123 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 prohibits drivers from receiving payment for providing driving instruction unless they’re qualified and registered with DVSA).
The instructor had previously failed to qualify as an approved driving instructor despite several attempts to do so.
Coming soon to a (TV) screen near you
You’ll soon get the chance to see some of our work in action. We’ve recently been working with TV production companies to film some of our investigative work for forthcoming documentaries about driving test fraud.
Acting Senior Investigations Manager, Vasim Choudhary being filmed for a future documentary about fraud.
Keep a watch on our Facebook page and Twitter channel for details of timings.
How to report suspected illegal instruction
If you suspect someone is charging for lessons when not qualified and registered then please let us know. You can contact us on 0191 201 8120 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Yet another life ended too soon. As a parent, I can’t and won’t imagine this. A teenager died after sustaining a head injury which was caused by his friend driving dangerously on a secluded country road, a court has heard.
Tragic William Sangster (pictured) 19, passed away following a collision between Adam Youngson’s car and a tree in Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire, on November 29 2014.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard on Wednesday how moments before the incident, another car being driven by Scott Neil,19, came close to the back of Youngson’s red Ford Fiesta. Youngson reacted by accelerating away from Neil’s car.
However, Neil then broke the speed limit to keep up with Youngson, who had passed his driving test four months earlier. Youngson – who ignored his passengers requests for him to drive carefully – lost control of his vehicle, causing it to leave the road.
Mr Sangster, of Auchnagatt, Aberdeenshire, was a back seat passenger in Mr Youngson’s car. Fire and Rescue staff had to cut him free, but he was pronounced him dead at the scene.
His devastated sister Nicole was also present in the motor at the time of the incident.
The story emerged after Youngson, of Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire, pleaded guilty before judge Lady Wolffe to causing Mr Sangster’s death by driving dangerously on the A950 New Pitsligo to Mintlaw Road near to Aden Country Park.
His co-accused Neil, of Stuartfield, Aberdeen, pleaded guilty to a charge of driving at excessive and inappropriate speeds on the B9030 road.
Mr Sangster’s family spoke of the “close” relationship he shared with them, particularly his sister Nicole, who was then aged 17. “William came from a big extended family and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him. He was well-known as a larger than life character and always had a big smile on his face. He was very close to his sister, they did everything together.
Now that insurers recognise dash cams is this the time to buy or is it telematics?
My driving score cut my premiums by £140′: How technology can cut car insurance costs
New technology is changing the way car insurers calculate risk, with the happy result that, for many, premiums are going down.
But there’s a price to pay: in many cases, to qualify for lower premiums, you need to be prepared to share more data with the insurer, including information about when, where and exactly how you drive.
A growing number of motorists are using dashboard cameras, or “dash cams”, to lower insurance premiums or to provide evidence when a claim is made.
Sales of the gadgets have increased by 800pc year-on-year, according to car and bike chain Halfords.
Last year Nextbase, a dash cam manufacturer, asked 29 top insurers about the technology. All of the firms confirmed to researchers that they would consider using dash cam evidence in their claims process.
Cameras track the time, speed and location of the car and continuously film the view through the windscreen. The gadget is wired into the dashboard and starts recording as soon as the engine starts. Dash cam prices range from £20 to £200, but despite this, the number of drivers with dash cams is still low.
Axa, which also operates under the Swiftcover brand name, is one of the insurers offering a discount – of up to 12.5pc – to customers with the gadget fitted. It says that just 1.45pc of its customers have them fitted.
However, is the discount being offered by insurers much more than a marketing ploy? Ian Crowder, from the AA, said: “One or two insurance companies offer discounts, but in some cases you need to have a particular model of camera for the discount to apply.
“They can certainly help if you have an accident and it’s not your fault.”
Over 400,000 drivers already use “telematics” technology to slash the cost of their car insurance, a number which is growing at the astonishing rate of about 40pc per year.
For careful drivers this technology offers savings of up to 25pc.
The technology works by deploying “black boxes” in the vehicle – or on the driver’s phone -to monitor a number of factors including speed, cornering, acceleration and breaking. The black boxes also store the location and time of drivers’ journeys.
Insurers use this information to assess the risk of the driver. The safest are rewarded with the biggest discount. Over 40 insurers in the UK sell black box policies, including Aviva, Admiral, Direct Line and Tesco.
Of course, there is a risk that some drivers’ premiums will rise. And the way insurers choose to reward customers varies, as some will give lower premiums from the outset while others give discounts for good driving.
Andrew Seddon, a transport manager from Liverpool, drives almost 100 miles on his daily commute. He used the Aviva Drive app to cut £140 off his car premiums. Source: Telegraph
Andrew Seddon cut £140 from his
premium by using an app
CREDIT: LORNE CAMPBELL /GUZELIAN