Stacking the Odds in the Favour of Young Drivers

young driversYoung drivers are facing bad odds when it comes to staying safe on the road.  They are the demographic group of drivers most likely to be in an accident and for that accident to involve a fatality or a serious injury.  While the odds may be against them statistically there are tools and decisions to be made that can stack the odds in their favour.

Parents can make a major difference in the safety of their young driver by setting a good example and driving safely themselves.  Young drivers were once just passengers in the back seat of the parent’s car.  Children watch and repeat the behaviours they see from their parents.  By driving safely and avoiding distracted behaviours and unsafe driving practices, parents can set young drivers up for success.

Choosing telematics car insurance is a tool to help keep young drivers safer since it serves as a constant reminder to drive safely.  The product uses a GPS unit to monitor the driver’s habits behind the wheel.  Driving data collected is reviewed by the car insurance provider for risk assessment and premium costing.  Safe driving could offer the possibility for discounted rewards on premiums.  Some policies offer parental alerts when unsafe driving events occur such as speeding or hard braking.  While the product can’t guarantee a young driver will drive safer it could serve as a safety reminder while offering quality coverage at an affordable rate.

Safety experts suggest parents choose the car with the most safety features for their young driver.  While it is true that young drivers often get the “hand me down” family car or a used car for their first car, it should not negate the need to look for as many safety features as possible.  Enclosing the young driver in the safest car available could make the difference should an accident occur.

Setting rules with young drivers is another essential tool to keeping them safe on the road.  Studies have shown that the presence of a peer aged passenger in the car with a young driver increases the likelihood of an accident.  The more peer aged passengers present in the car the higher the odds become of there being a serious accident.  By limiting the number of passengers in a car with a young driver, parents are setting safety standards that could make all the difference.


Car Color Can Reveal Your Personality

car color equals personality typeWhile young drivers often inherit the older family car and have less influence on the style, color or model of the car they drive, the same cannot be said of the original buyer.  According to a study by the former DuPont Company, now Axalta, the color preference of a car can tell a lot about the buyer.  Axalta Coating Systems is a global car coating business located in car manufacturing city Detroit so they know a lot about color preferences for cars of all types.

The Axalta Automotive Color Popularity Report for 2013 suggested that the type of car chosen by a driver such as a sporty car or a luxury sedan would likely be colored differently.  Sporty cars are more often colorful and meant to stand out such as bright yellow or red while expensive sedans are usually looking to be less flashy and more conservative in popular white or black tones.

White cars are often popular choices for people where the weather is hot.  So color could also divulge where the driver lives as much as their personality type.  White is also seen as a youthful and contemporary color that is seen as a fresh brand color.  Black is seen as a luxury color that evokes a flare of sophistication.  It is a classic color that is considered a popular color by conservative drivers.

Silver is another popular car color and is considered a neutral and modern color that is often chosen by ambitious personalities.  Red is a popular color and with men is seen as powerful while women view the color as fun.  It is definitely a color that is calling for the attention from others.  Blue comes in a wide variety of tones and depending on the particular blue chosen can indicate security and serenity or a bold confidence.

Brown and tans are popular with those that are reserved while yellow is a popular choice for outgoing young drivers.  Green comes in darker hues to light and can indicate conservative choices or a tendency toward environmentalism.

Of course most often there is more to the choice of the car than just the color but there is some truth to choice of color being indicative as to the driver’s current mood, confidence, place of residence and age.  The same can be said of fashion choices, color choice of smartphone and backpacks.  It is likely more important in this day and age whether the car gets good fuel mileage and has a reputation for safety and longevity on the road than whether it comes in bright red or subdued gray.

Drivers May Face Smoking Ban if Children are Passengers

ban on smoking with child in carDrivers may soon be forbidden to smoke in their personal cars as David Cameron is said to be considering the restriction.  The ban would be specific to those cars with children as passengers.  Possible fines would range in the area of £60 for a driver or adult in a car that smoked with children present.

Should the vote for the new restriction fail to pass then it is expected it would be included in the manifesto of the Labour party for their next election.

Smoking in workplaces and public areas has been restricted in England since 2007.  The savings in health care dollars is suspected to be in the millions of pounds as people have been able to avoid breathing in second-hand smoke from those that choose to smoke despite health warnings.

The ban against smoking in a car when children are passengers would not be trend setting as a new consideration to further cut back those exposed to second hand smoke.  Such a ban is already in place in many areas of America, Australia, and several European countries.

Andy Burnham, Shadow Health Secretary, made a comment to Sky News in an interview saying, “When it comes to improving the health of children, we are duty bound to consider any measure that might make a difference.

“Adults are free to make their own choices but that often does not apply to children and that’s why society has an obligation to protect them from preventable harm.”

Experts have revealed that smoking in a car is much more harmful to a child than smoking in the home due to the close quarters.  The toxic concentrations of the smoking are hard to avoid within a car and children do not usually have the means to escape the toxic air and choose to avoid it by opening a window or exiting the car.

Pro-smoking advocates feel that the ban is unnecessary.  They are also afraid of how far the ban on smoking could reach and perhaps someday be targeted to restrict smokers from inhaling their cigarettes, cigars and pipes within their own homes.

In a poll conducted by YouGov in 2011 it was found that 78% of adults in Great Britain felt smoking in a car with young children should be banned, while 44% felt the ban should be extended to all cars whether children are present as passengers or not.

Drivers Could Face Roadside Fatigue Tests in Near Future

fatigue drivingDrivers tired at the wheel are as dangerous as those that are drink driving and drug driving.  In Australia where two out of ten serious car accidents involve fatigued drivers they are attempting to make roads safer.  In a $14.5 million funded project, researchers are looking for ways to improve alertness and discover through roadside testing the drivers that are too tired to drive.

Should testing become available to officers then drivers could be fined for getting behind the wheel when they should be resting.  The current research is involving using a person’s saliva or sweat to determine if they are alert enough to drive.  The use of such a test could cross over to test workers that are fleet drivers or operating heavy machinery on a job site.

The research teams at the Co-Operative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity are working on ways to increase alertness with specialized lighting, alerting systems, and testing abilities to see past a person’s tiredness to discover underlying health problems such as sleep apnea or insomnia.  Consideration is being given to tests that could be done individually by a driver before they climbed in behind a wheel.  The test could signal that more than a caffeinated drink is necessary to begin a journey.

In a recent survey conducted by safety charity Brake and Direct Line insurance, it was determined that a third of the drivers in the UK admitted to nodding off while driving.  One in fourteen of those polled admitted to completely falling asleep behind the wheel.  Most of the reason is that people are simply sleep deprived with 49% of the 1,000 polled drivers saying they had driven after sleeping less than five hours the previous night.

Insurance Claims for Holiday Storm Damage Exceed Expectations

holiday storm damage claimsCar insurance claims for storm damage and flooding that occurred over the Christmas and New Year holidays have hit an unexpected level much higher than first thought.  The Association of British Insurers has estimated that all insurance claims, including home, car and businesses, currently submitted equal £426 million and more are expected to arrive.  The UK experienced bad weather with heavy rain, flooding and strong winds between 23 December and 8 January.

Community areas are also experiencing higher than expected expenses to correct damages from the storms.  Roads are in need of repair as are some public buildings and areas.

The probable end result claim payouts will not make the Holiday Storms the most costly but in terms of cost it could end up on a short list of the costliest.

Aidan Kerr, ABI assistant director, said, “Insurers are playing a crucial role in helping customers affected by the storms and floods recover.

“Together with loss adjusters, insurers reacted quickly to help flood victims get through Christmas. Insurers will continue to work closely with customers to ensure the repair process is completed as soon as possible.

“This was a traumatic event for those affected, and shows the importance of having adequate property insurance. The insurance industry is fully prepared to deal with the damage caused by bad weather like this.”

Unexpected events as well as unexpected accidents can interrupt daily life.  Insurance serves as a safety net to keep those impacted from experiencing difficult financial situations.  Only through quality insurance coverage can a person have peace of mind.  Car insurance offers drivers the peace of mind that they will be protected financially and drivers should seek out a policy that offers the best match of needed coverage.

Young Drivers Expected Safety Paper Delayed for Further Review

young driversYoung drivers and soon to be young drivers are awaiting the expected publishing of the Government’s Green Paper on young driver safety.  There are considerations to be suggested to be used in changing the licencing process or laws impacting young drivers for the purpose of keeping them safer on UK roads.  The Green Paper was due initially at the end of 2013 but it was delayed for further investigation as to how to best deduce the right decisions toward keeping young drivers safe while behind the wheel.

A specific consideration to be reviewed is that of whether or not to introduce a curfew for young drivers.  By keeping them off the road late at night when most accidents occur, it is expected many lives could be saved.  However, the restriction could be detrimental to those young drivers that work late hours and those businesses that are reliant on young workers to take on work hours that are not particularly popular or convenient for other aged workers.

The delay in the Green Paper has been criticized and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) in an interview stated that the publication is not likely to be available until after the next election since many of the suggestions may not be popular with voters.

Huw Evans, deputy director general of the ABI, stated in an interview with a news agency, “The prospects seem to be diminishing because a degree of political courage is needed, as there is with anything that explores change and reform.  We are getting increasingly frustrated and impatient at the lack of a green paper.  We don’t need a definite statement of government policy, just something to stimulate debate and discussion,”

Suggestions for the Green Paper are expected to include a graduated licencing process for new drivers, a possible curfew and more hours of driving experience required including night driving.

Drivers Contributing to Scotland’s Air Pollution Problems

scotland air pollutionDrivers are contributing to the air pollution in Scotland to produce some of the most environmentally dangerous areas.  In a research study conducted by Friends of the Earth it was found that Hope Street in Glasgow had the worst nitrogen dioxide levels and Aberdeen’s Market Street had dangerous levels of particulate matter pollution.  These two pollutants are reported to have links to health problems such as asthma (nitrogen dioxide) and heart attacks (particulate matter in the air).

While European legal level limit for nitrogen dioxide is 40 microgrammes per cubic metre the level at Hope Street was recorded at 65 microgrammes per cubic metre.  Other streets that recorded high levels of nitrogen dioxide were Paisley’s Central Road, Dundee’s Seagate, Edinburgh’s St. John’s Road and Aberdeen’s Wellington Road.

Scotland has an objective air quality of 18 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic metre, but many streets were found to higher levels such as Aberdeen’s Market Street which recorded 27 microgrammes per cubic metre of air and Wellington Road recorded 24 microgrammes per cubic metre of air.

Paul Wheelhouse, Environment Minister, said, “The Scottish Government is committed to working with partner agencies such as local authorities to tackle air quality in areas where it is a problem.

“While we have seen nationally a 65% decrease in nitrogen oxides, a 78% decrease in sulphur dioxide and a 58% decrease in particulates between 1990 and 2011, we recognise that more can be done. That is why we recently consulted on proposals for further action to improve air quality and expect to set out next steps later this year.”

Emilia Hanna, Friends of Earth Scotland Air Pollution Campaigner, remarked, “Air pollution has remained the biggest environmental threat to people in Scotland in 2013.

“Fumes from cars, lorries, buses and factories are killing off more people than car crashes. Air pollution is like passive smoking, we do not choose to breathe in this poisonous air, it is inflicted upon us.

“This year, as Scotland hosts the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and people talk of the legacy of the games for youngsters here and across the participating nations, potential athletes of the future need clean air, not an increased risk of developing conditions such as asthma.

“Some of these targets were set in the nineties and supposed to be met in 2005, yet we still have air pollution at dangerous levels on streets across Scotland.

“Both the Scottish Government and our local authorities are only just beginning to take this seriously and between them they need to act urgently to make Scotland’s air fit to breathe. We need action on traffic levels and the types of vehicles allowed on our most polluted streets.

“We need more investment in walking and cycling so that it is easier for people to leave their cars at home, we need cleaner and more affordable public transport, and we need to discourage the most polluting vehicles, including through the use of Low Emission Zones.”