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Racing champ Paddy backs refreshers for older drivers

He won at Monte Carlo - now former racing driver Paddy Hopkirk is advising his peers to do refresher driving courses

Older drivers have come under the spotlight in Buckinghamshire, with new figures showing a dramatic increase in the number of people over the age of 65 being involved in accidents.

Now the local council has enlisted the support of one of the World's top rally drivers to help keep senior citizens in the fast lane.

During his racing career Paddy Hopkirk, won the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally and numerous World titles. Now 82 years old, he's backing a scheme that encourages mature motorists to get their driving checked by the professionals. Penny Silvester reports.

The interviewees are: Paddy Hopkirk, 1964 Monte Carlo rally winner; Cllr Mark Shaw, Buckinghamshire County Council; and June Howlett, Buckinghamshire County Council road safety officer.

There is helpful information for older drivers at the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Older Drivers Forum.


  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

New tech warns phone-addict drivers

We all know it's against the law but thousands of drivers in the south-east are still using their mobile phones behind the wheel, making calls, texting, and even taking pictures.

In Sussex last year, more than 1,800 drivers were caught using a phone while driving. And in Kent, more than 1,000 drivers were given penalties in 2014.

Now a trial has started in Sussex of an "intelligent lamppost" that can detect when a phone is being used in a car - and it flashes a warning - telling you to stop doing it.

But will it work? David Johns investigates. He speaks to Carl Knapp of the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership; Peter Rodger of the Institute of Advanced Motorists; and sign manufacturer Tim Barnett.

Ferrari worth £220,000 is written off after being hired for family wedding

A 200mph Sussex supercar has been written off after being hired for a family wedding. A 29-year-old old man hired the Ferrari 458 Italia for the wedding in Luton. The insurance company took three minutes to write the vehicle off.

The Ferrari had been hired for a wedding Credit: SWNS

The Ferrari had been hired from Prestige Lifestyle in Shoreham. A spokesman for the company said they were devastated to learn about the crash. The '64 plate supercar had only covered 4,600 miles.

The insurance company wrote off the vehicle Credit: SWNS
The scene after the bizarre crash Credit: SWNS

No one was injured when the red and grey Italia hit a low brick wall and wedged itself under a VW taxi. The accident also involved a Vauxhall Astra.

Drivers are furious! Kate reports from the controversial bus lane as it rakes in millions

Seventy five motorists a day are being caught by a controversial bus lane camera in Oxford. The camera is raking in more than £1.5 million a year for the council. Now local businessmen are calling for better signs to stop confused drivers constantly being caught. The council is refusing to budge, claiming the scheme stops the city centre getting snarled up. Kate Bunkall talked to David Marcus, Oxford High Street Traders; Graham Jones, Rox; and Ian Hudspeth, Leader, Oxfordshire County Council.

'Unsafe' driver wins High Court battle to keep licence

A 78 -year-old woman has won her High Court battle to keep her driving licence - despite being branded as 'unsafe' on the roads. Georgina Hitchen from Henley in Oxfordshire caused a three-car accident and had her licence revoked by the DVLA. The pensioner won the right to drive again when a judge ruled that 'age alone is not a reason to remove a licence'. Penny Silvester reports.


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."

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
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