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Latest news from Adept wk 2 June 2017

Apple announces new functionality to address distracted driving  -Source Apple

We all know the dangers of distracted driving and whilst new tougher penalties were introduced earlier this year, very little has been done by mobile phone manufacturers or service providers to tackle this worsening issue. Until now. On 5th June at the WWDC Conference, Apple announced plans to introduce a new 'Do Not Disturb While Driving' setting which prevents notifications when it senses the device is in a vehicle. This would put a stop to that all distracting flashing screen.

What apps will be affected?

If the vehicle is in motion, text messages, notifications and news alerts will not be displayed. Google Maps and Apple Maps will remain active, however drivers will not be able to edit the destination once the vehicle is in motion. Will passengers be able to use their phones? Passengers will be able to disable this function if they wish. What Apple has to say iOS 11 introduces a new way to help drivers stay more focused on the road with Do Not Disturb while driving.

iPhone can detect when you may be driving and automatically silence notifications to keep the screen dark. Users have the option of sending an auto reply to contacts listed in Favourites to let them know they are driving and cannot respond until they arrive at their destination.

Too little too late?

Whilst many will welcome news of this announcement, some may feel angered that such a simple setting has not been made available sooner. According to Mail Online, statistics show that 60 per cent of car crashes in the UK last year were caused by someone texting and driving and sadly many people have lost their lives as a result of driving whilst using a mobile phone. Let's hope that these developments together with tougher penalties will begin to see a reduction in the number of accidents caused by using a mobile phone whilst driving.

A driver built up 99 points on his licence by speeding 11 times on the same bridge over 25 days. Sourse Fleet News

Vasile Ciuca, 20, of Highfield Road in Felixstowe, was banned from driving for six months after it emerged he had repeatedly broken the speed limit on Ipswich's Orwell Bridge. Magistrates in Ipswich found Ciuca guilty in his absence of the offences, which happened in October and November. He was also convicted of failing to tell police who the car's driver was.

For each of the 11 occasions he was caught speeding, he was given three points on his licence. He then received an additional six points for each occasion for failing to tell police information about the driver. Ciuca, who was driving a VW Bora car at the time of the offences, was also fined £660 and ordered to pay £149 in costs.

Businesses faced a sharp rise in motoring fines in 2016 as the number of penalties incurred by company car and van drivers rose 21% year-on-year, according to annual figures from Lex Autolease. Source -Fleet News

The research, compiled from 353,000 company vehicles in operation across the UK, revealed drivers racked up a £14 million bill last year, an increase of more than a quarter (26%) on 2015. The figure represents a steep rise from the £7m accrued in 2012. Lex Autolease says a clampdown on bus lane infringements and illegal parking by local government is largely behind the rise.

The findings show the number of drivers caught by bus lane cameras rose by 27% last year compared with the previous 12 months, with the value of the fines rising by more than a third (37%) over the period. The number of parking offences committed by company car drivers also increased, by more than a third (34%) in 2016. The cost for businesses rose by the same amount to £6m.

Tim Porter, managing director at Lex Autolease, said: “The local Government clampdown on ‘minor’ motoring offences is behind the increase, and UK businesses are footing the bill. There is now a greater need to take action to change driver behaviours, such as providing additional education and training. “Organisations can better understand how the increase in fines and penalties impacts their business by benchmarking their data against similar fleets.

Businesses can also look to put in place straight-forward driver policies and procedures to help reduce the risk and bring down the bill.” A surge in receipts for the Dart charge – a congestion charge for the Dartford crossing – also made a significant contribution. The introduction of number plate recognition, which replaced the old system of paying at booths in 2014, saw collections rise 55% year-on year, costing UK firms £736,244 in the 12 months to December.

The charge accounted for 14% of the total offences committed by company car drivers in 2016. Despite the overall rise in the number and value of motoring fines, the figures reveal the frequency of more serious endorsable offences increased at a much slower rate last year.

Penalties for speeding, using a mobile phone behind the wheel and dangerous driving rose by just five per cent in 2016 and accounted for just under a fifth of the total offences recorded. In total, company drivers committed 40,647 more offences in 2016 than in 2015, bringing the overall figure to 238,833.