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Motoring organisation issues Christmas drink drive warning

Motoring organisation issues 'drink drive' warning to drivers

Almost a fifth of drivers in the South have driven the morning after a night of heavy drinking according to figures from the AA.

The organisation has released the numbers to remind drivers this festive season - that they can still be over the limit the next day. However, the survey also shows that more than half of party goers will avoid drink driving by agreeing a designated driver before a night out.

The organisation also polled people on the top tactics they use the morning after a night of heavy drinking to reduce alcohol levels:

  • 37% Drink lots of water
  • 16% Eat a fried breakfast
  • 9% Drink fruit juice
  • 6% Take an Aspirin
  • 3% Go for a run
  • 2% Drink Irn Bru
  • 2% Eat choclate
  • 5% Use other methods

However, the AA recommends that if people are going to drive early the next day, that they do not drink at all the night before.

Car filmed going wrong way down dual carriageway

This is the terrifying moment a driver was forced to swerve out of the way of car travelling in the wrong direction on a dual carriageway.

The 73-year-old from Burgess Hill was spotted driving the wrong way along A23 towards Brighton.

It's believed he had been driving the wrong way for several miles.

Vehicles heading north were forced to swerve their cars to avoid him.

Sussex Police said the driver stopped his car after seeing the marked police vehicle travelling towards him slowly at the head of the traffic.

Sergeant Mark Baker said: "We are very grateful to all of the drivers and members of the public who stopped and called us to warn us about the man's driving and for their attentive driving that enabled them to avoid a collision.

"We were able to react quickly and thankfully no one was injured. The man was medically assessed and we will be making the DVLA aware of the incident."

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Drivers targetted in phone clampdown

Officers from the Hampshire and Thames Valley Joint Operation Unit have begun a week long operation targeting people who use their mobile phones while driving.

The operation will run across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Thames Valley and will see dedicated teams of officers targeting those who break the law by using their mobile phone while driving. As well as imposing penalties on those who flout the law, police will also be educating drivers about the dangers.

Between April 1 2013 and March 31 2014, officers have caught 15952 drivers using mobile phones or similar devices, across the three counties. Male drivers accounted for 12280 of those detected.

5280 of the drivers were caught in the Hampshire Constabulary area and 10672 in the Thames Valley Police area.

Those aged between 26 and 37 were the most prevalent offenders with 5521 being caught across the two forces during the time period.

The Facts

You’re four times more likely to crash if you use a mobile phone while drivingReaction times for drivers using a phone are around 50 per cent slower than normal drivingEven careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text – and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a crash

The Law:

It’s illegal to ride a motorcycle or drive using hand-held phones or similar devices.The rules are the same if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.It’s also illegal to use a hand-held phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver or rider.The penalties: If caught using your phone while driving, you can expect an automatic fixed penalty notice of three points on your licence and a fine of £100. The case could also go to court and you could be disqualified from driving or riding and get a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2,500.

As an alternative, those caught may be offered a Driver Diversion Course as an alternative to prosecution. The cost of the course is £85 and run by AA DriveTech.

You can use hands-free phones, sat navs and 2-way radios when you’re driving or riding. But if the police think you’re distracted and not in control of your vehicle you could still get stopped and penalised.

You can use a phone in your vehicle only if you need to call 999 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or unpractical to stop; or if you are safely parked.

“Using a mobile phone whilst driving is extremely dangerous. You are fours times more likely to crash if you use a mobile phone whilst driving. The reaction times for drivers is around 50 per cent slower than normal when using a phone.

“My advice is to turn off your phone or put it on silent. Keep your phone out of reach to avoid the temptation of looking at texts or making a call, it's not worth the risk!"

– Sgt Rob Heard

Driving charity supports point increase for phone use

A road safety charity has welcomed reports that the government is considering doubling penalty points for those caught using their phone while driving.

Brake is backing the proposed point increase that was recommended by the Metropolitan Police Chief.

This is a welcome proposal, and we hope the government will implement it.

Brake has long campaigned for tougher penalties for mobile phone use at the wheel because of the suffering we see the bereaved and injured victims of road crashes put through as the result of such a senseless and unnecessary risk.

An increase in penalty points is a step in the right direction, but it could provide a more effective deterrent if combined with a increase in the fixed penalty fine to £500-1,000, as well as heightened traffic enforcement, so risky law-breaking drivers know they will not get away with it."

– Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake

Motorist designs app to avoid queues at level crossings

Help could soon be at hand for drivers left fuming, waiting in queues at level crossings. One driver from Thatcham in Berkshire is so infuriated at the problem he's decided to do something about it.

Steve Ardagh-Walter is developing a system that tells drivers when the barriers are down so they can avoid the queues. Our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse reports.

  1. Derek Johnson (@derekjohnsonitv)

More education for young drivers says RAC

It's a chilling fact that parents of young drivers fear the most: teenage motorists are more likely to be involved in a car crash than any other age group. That's despite the fact that those youngsters make up only a very small number of drivers.

The RAC say if new licence restrictions for inexperienced drivers were brought in, every year more than 43 people could be prevented from being injured or killed. Derek Johnson reports, speaking to mother Denise Tegg and safety expert Wale Yusuff.

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Mother's tailgating warning 10 years after toddler crash

A mother from Surrey, whose toddler was killed 10 years ago this month, wants motorists to beware of how dangerous Tailgating is.

Marcus Mohabir was just two-years-old when the car he was in was involved in a terrible accident on the way back home to Godalming from a day-trip to Brighton. Seven other people died in the crash.

Tailgating - when a car behind drives too close to the one in front - is the biggest annoyance for motorists but as the death of Marcus shows, it's dangerous and can claim lives. David Wood spoke to Tracey Mohabir, Marcus' mother and Ed Morrow from Road Safety charity Brake.

People worry about tailgating but admit to doing it

Tailgating on the motorway is a worry for drivers, even though over half of people admit to doing it.

The survey, organised by the charity Break and insurance company Direct Line, showed that 57% of people owned up to leaving less than a 2 second gap between themselves and the vehicle in front.

But out of the 1000 asked, 95% said that they were worried about tailgating.

It also showed that men were worse offenders than women.

The survey also showed that 60% break the 70mph motorway speed limit by 10mph or more.

Drivers admitted to tailgating but were also worried about it Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Campaign to reduce crashes on Kent roads

The campaign looks top reduce crashes on Kent's roads Credit: PA Wire

A road safety team from Kent are working to reduce the number of motorists killed on the county's roads.

They are planning to work with the insurance industry to define crash risks and driver profiles so that there can be better focus on driver activity.

In Kent, the number of people killed or serious injured in road crashes fell by half between 2000 and 2010.

Research shows that nearly 80% of crashes occur because of behavioural factors - such as driving while drunk, on drugs or with distractions.

Kent County Council works in partnership with Kent Police, the Highways Agency, Medway Council and Kent Fire & Rescue Service under Kent’s Casualty Reduction Group (CaRe), the countywide body that collaborates over casualty reduction across the county.

David Brazier, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport, said:

“Making sure our roads are as safe as they can be is a key priority for the county council as we work to keep the Kent economy moving and support healthy living.

"In 2012, 524 people were killed or seriously injured on our roads. While the long term trend in our county is down – between 2000 and 2010, the number of KSIs fell by 50%, the figures for 2013, which are currently being validated, appear to be increasing."

  1. Kate Bunkall

Call for people to stop driving when dementia starts

The families of people with dementia are being urged to encourage their loved ones to give up driving, because of the potential dangers including the threat to their own lives, and those of others on the roads.

Alzheimer's Disease affects 800,000 people in this country, and before diagnosis and even after - some sufferers are still driving when they should not be behind the wheel.

A survey by a road safety charity has found a decline in the cognitive abilities of older motorists was the biggest worry for more than half of those questioned.

When David Orr from South Oxfordshire was diagnosed with Alzheimers, his family convinced him to stop driving. He has said that although it was a hard conversation to have, he is glad his relatives were honest with him. He told his story to our reporter Kate Bunkall.

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