Do community speed watch volunteers work?

Lots of villages now have speed watch volunteers.  The question is whether or not they have a long term impact on speed and accident reduction?

The main people who drive over the limit are mostly mums driving their kids to and from school, followed by the infamous white van man.

The speed watch volunteers spend their time recording speeds through their villages, but despite the fluorescent jackets, their powers are limited.  If a driver far exceeds the speed limit say by 10mph they can write to the local police with the vehicle details.  Officers will then check that the vehicle is being driven legally and then write to them warning them about their speeding.

Suffolk Police state that since their CSW initiative started in 2009, 51 schemes have been set up across the county with the volunteers are trained by police, sites are vetted and then volunteers are left to decide how often they operate.

Suffolk Police have issued nearly 43000 fixed penalty notices for speeding in 2012 with 16000 licences endorsed and 2900 prosecutions.  The fastest recording speeding offence was 129mph in a 70mph zone.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), has said that Community Speed Watch schemes can be a useful way of monitoring speeds and encouraging drivers to stay within limits.

What do you think?


How to haggle down the cost of a new motor

Haggling is not a natural thing for most of us, but many are getting the hang of it.  As we get used to trying to make our money go further, there’s signs that more of us are looking at price tags as simple suggestions rather than set in stone.

Negotiations are about anchors and adjustments.  If a car dealer puts a price sticker on the windscreen they are setting an anchor and it will normally be as high as possible.  Your job as the buyer is to adjust the price away from it.  When the salesperson accepts the lower price most think it’s a good deal, however according to experts that’s not so.  Unless you know the real value, you’re unlikely to adjust enough.

For used cars, there are free and easy to use valuation tools on the net such as the glass website.  For new cars, have a look at internet forums and these will reveal that car dealers have a rather jaundiced view of the prices in various magazines.

Looking at a price guide is good because it gives you the starting points of a negotiation.  You then need to look for the other clues for a car’s true price and whether a dealer will be ready to negotiate.

Before you visit a dealership you need to be armed with as much information as possible to back up your assertion that the model you’re interested in is overpriced.   If you’re looking at a new car, check if it’s about to be superseded by either an all-new or mid-life “facelift” model.   Some dealers won’t tell you, so check the manufacturer website.

For a used car, try to find out how long a trader’s had it. The longer they’ve had it, the more receptive they may be to a deal.  Consider its colour and equipment, too. Is it red, black or bright pink?  And is it the only car of its type you’ve ever seen not to have alloy wheels, electric windows and air-con? They are all items owners of other models will have paid extra for, so are negotiating points on the price.

Taking a thorough test drive followed by an even more thorough examination of both the car (preferably by a professional) and its paperwork will likely throw up some more bargaining chips. Damage and potential repairs have a cost that can come off the asking price.  Missing documents make the car’s history less certain, providing another bargaining point.

If the car’s road tax and MOT are about to need renewing, they are another negotiating tool. If the owner won’t come down on the price enough, suggest they put it through a MOT test, not only is it saving you the cost of the test, it’s saving you the price of potentially expensive repairs.

A lucky escape

I’ve just seen this video and it does show how dashboard cams are catching on and can help prove to insurance companies that some hard to believe stories are truthful.  It also shows the need to make sure that wheels are tightened correctly.

The future of Lorry cabs

Lorry cabs have been box shaped for decades.  It’s bad for fuel consumption and lethal in accidents.

Now the European Commission say it wants to change the rules governing the size of lorries to help protect pedestrians and cyclists.  And this involves making them bigger.

They want to allow manufacturers to make more aerodynamic lorry cabs, and officials claim it will improve driver visibility and will save hundreds of lives as well as cutting approximately £1300 per lorry per year off the diesel bill.

The current shape was the result of well meaning EU rules from nearly 20 years ago, and a size limit was introduced to protect the roads and bridges from huge vehicles.

There are a few exceptions, but articulated lorries in the UK are normally no more than 16.5m long and 44 tonnes in weight.  So to maximise the payload, manufacturers have always squashed the size of the cab.

If the new rules come in, designers will be able to flex their brains on futuristic shapes.  These shapes are like the Concept S, MAN’s vision of the future.

Just like a car, the Concept S is shaped to deflect a person away from the vehicle, and it has bigger windows and cameras instead of mirrors, which will clear up some of the blind spots.  It also drinks less fuel.

Truck Maker MAN are suffering

MAN, who have their headquarters in Munich, have provided evidence that the euro zone financial crisis is hitting the common currency’s most powerful economy.

Their workers are facing shorter hours and lower pay.  More than 5000 people are affected.  In the first instance, the company expects the reduced hours to continue for six months and they will review it.

The blow is being softened by a government scheme for reduced hours work, and the Government makes up 60% of the lost income, in the case of MAN, another 30% is being found by changing the timing of workers bonus payments.  Even with this, the workers going onto shorter hours are taking pay cuts.