Elodie is F1rst class

Elodie Fuller is just 18 and has passed her Advanced Test today with a F1rst. Everyone at GAM is tremendously pleased with this result – well done Elodie, you deserved this after all your hard work.

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Toughening up seat-belt penalties is most obvious and direct way of saving lives

IAM RoadSmart has welcomed a possible toughening up of the penalties for not using seatbelts in cars, saying it’s the most obvious and direct way of saving lives in road crashes.

Today (19 July) the Department of Transport announced this as one of 74 measures to tackle road safety in the UK.

Currently, those not wearing seatbelts are given a £100 on-the-spot fine – but now the government is considering issuing penalty points for this offence.

In 2017 27% of car deaths involved people who were not wearing a seatbelt, an increase of 7% on the previous year and a marked increase on the years before it.

IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s biggest independent road safety charity, has consistently lobbied for these penalties to be made tougher, while also noting that the fear of being caught must be greater to encourage car occupants to belt-up.

An investigation by IAM RoadSmart in February 2018 found that more than a third of police forces were using their mobile safety camera vans to prosecute drivers not wearing seatbelts or using a handheld mobile phone.

The charity made a Freedom of Information request to 44 police forces and found that 16 of those that responded routinely used their safety cameras to identify other motoring offences. Those 16 forces recorded more than 8,000 unbelted drivers between them.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “This is very welcome news. The best way of tackling this ever-present issue is to make people believe there is a high chance of being caught. This could start tomorrow if consistent guidelines on using mobile speed camera vans to enforce seatbelt laws were issued. 

“Currently there is no standard approach on using this high-profile resource across the UK. Making non-wearing of seatbelts an endorsable offence is also a quick win. Not only would it persuade more people to take the offence seriously, but it might benefit them to take a seatbelt awareness course. People avoid using seatbelts for a wide range of individual reasons and these views need to be challenged face-to-face.”

Survey finds over 70% would get the jitters in a car that drives itself.

While the car industry invests billions into the development of self-driving cars, a survey by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has found that drivers have other ideas – with over 70% saying they would not feel safe travelling in one.

IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s biggest independent road safety charity, asked more than 1,600 visitors to its website if they would feel ‘confident and safe travelling in a fully self-driving vehicle, where there is no driver input.’ Just over 70% would feel ‘unsafe’ or ‘very unsafe’ with only 4% feeling ‘very safe.’

In addition, three-quarters (75%) expressed some level of disagreement with the statement that the vehicle should ‘always be in ultimate control,’ with 40% strongly against it.

There was an overwhelming view that the driver should always be able to take over from a self-driving car should he or she need to. Over 90% of respondents agreed this should be the case.

Those surveyed were also very definite over a future where there is no human involvement in driving. When asked if they agree that ‘all human drivers should be banned from driving on the roads once fully autonomous vehicles are widely available,’ over 82% either ‘disagreed’ or ‘strongly disagreed.’

A future where the car takes over more of the driver functions also didn’t fill those surveyed with joy.

When asked if they were ‘concerned about the progress towards a future where the vehicle takes over more and more functions previously controlled by the driver,’ two-thirds said they were ‘concerned’ or ‘very concerned.’

Even current technology in new cars does not fill some of those surveyed with confidence. When asked if they would be ‘comfortable using current technology features on many cars such as adaptive cruise control, lane-assist and self-parking’ more than a quarter (27%) said they would be ‘uncomfortable’ or ‘very uncomfortable.’

However, over 50% were ‘comfortable’ or ‘very comfortable’ with using them.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “It’s clear from the results of our survey that the motor industry has a big job ahead in convincing drivers of the safety virtues of self-driving vehicles. While on paper they offer significant advantages in eliminating human error from collisions, there is a lot of confusion, misinformation and an over-abundance of terminology which has made the public distrustful of it.

“Some 44% of our respondents felt poorly or very poorly informed on autonomous vehicles with only 6% feeling very well informed. There needs to be an industry-standard on the acronyms and product names used, and car companies need to come together, alongside government, to ensure the facts out there are clearer and easy-to-understand.”

IAM RoadSmart is focusing on driverless technology, assisted driving and autonomous vehicles this month. To see our microsite full of information and resources click here: https://www.iamroadsmart.com/campaign-pages/end-customer-campaigns/a-is-for-autonomous