The UK government has launched an audit into the mapping of potholes in England. Aided by data from on-road businesses such as Uber, Deliveroo and Tesco in addition to local highway authorities and highway data and mapping company Gaist, the Department for Transport will identify ‘pothole hot-spots’. The scheme intends to better target road improvements as people return to work and school. According to the most recent research published by Kwik-Fit on the subject, potholes caused £1.25 billion of damage to vehicles in 2019, with the average bill for affected motorists £115. Potholes damage most frequently afflicts tyres, wheels, suspension, and steering.
New research by Money Expert has found that, when it comes to driving, family ties apparently count for little among British drivers, as seven in 10 people consider themselves better drivers than family and friends. When asked about their mum, only 16 per cent rate them a good driver. One in 10 people would also go as far to say that they wouldn’t let their mum, partner, child or best friend drive their car if they were insured to do so, with the most popular reason being that they’re most likely to crash.
For those who have had to use their vehicles throughout the lockdown period, it has been a welcome change on the roads, with less traffic and fewer jams and hold-ups. But now lockdown is being eased, it appears that old, bad habits are raising their ugly heads once again as motorists appear to have become ruder and inconsiderate.
Only Sweden has safer roads than the UK, according to figures unveiled by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) that cover Europe. In light of this, Sheffield-based Roadmender Asphalt commissioned nationally representative research that has explored commuter habits post-lockdown, showing that 69 per cent of Brits would rather cycle or drive in to work now than take public transport due to the COVID-19 risk, amounting to 24,261,000 people. Further to this, the study has unveiled that 65 per cent of Brits would not feel comfortable commuting to work via public transport anymore and think it will be one of the most stressful parts of their day.
A recent study has revealed that a driver’s average working week increased by almost five hours during lockdown, as many played a key role in keeping the country moving during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. As lockdown eases and brings new fleet management challenges, Venson Automotive Solutions is asking businesses to ensure the extra hours undertaken during lockdown and the new processes being accommodated to address relaxed social distancing, don’t take a toll on drivers’ mental and physical well-being. While most businesses know what to do to keep their vehicles safely on the road, they can sometimes miss the signs of an employee being under stress.
The Independent Garage Association (IGA) is urging the Government to remove the six-month MOT extension with immediate effect, following the Prime Minister’s announcement that further social distancing measures will be relaxed from 4 July.
Following the news that the DVSA will restart heavy vehicle testing from 4 July 2020, Tyres & Accessories understands that the government Department for Transport (DfT) is consulting on ending the rolling MOT extension initiated at the start of lockdown in March 2020. While DVSA published a statement on 19 June 2020 relating to restarting HGV tests, DfT has not yet answered T&A’s car MOT-related questions on the subject.
However, when we approached the National Tyre Distributors Association for a tyre industry perspective on the reports, the NTDA gave is full support to proposals to end the current temporary car MOT extension currently being given to the expiry dates of MOT tests as they become due. Specifically, the NTDA called for government to “restart with immediate effect” the normal MOT process.
MOT exemption means many cars will not be checked for up to six months and 49 per cent of drivers receiving an MOT extension will go to the end of the period without getting car tested, according to Kwik Fit’s analysis. However, the leading fast-fit chain also reports that the majority of drivers think the MOT extension should be ended now.
Following a budget that committed to the largest portfolio of inward investment in 30 years, on 14 May 2020 the UK Transport Secretary promised £1.7 billion for local road repairs and fast-tracked construction works worth £175 million while fewer passengers are using transport system. Hundreds-of-millions-of-pounds worth of upgrades have already been made to the nation’s road and rail networks during the lockdown period with more planned over the coming weeks and months. For the tyre industry, the new could also support flagging demand for OTR and off-road tyres used in such construction projects.
Venson Automotive Solutions is urging fleet managers to encourage company car drivers to ensure their vehicles are road ready as the nation anticipates an easing of lockdown. The advice from Venson follows its latest survey of UK motorists which revealed that one in five do not know when their MOT is due, and 69 per cent are unclear about when the Government’s six-month MOT exemption came into play.
Wheely-Safe has announced a new initiative with industry charity, Brake. It pledges to make a cash donation for every van, bus, coach or truck displaying a ‘Wheely-Safe fitted’ vinyl graphic, highlighting its protection using the firm’s latest generation tyre and wheel safety technology. Wheely-Safe will gift £5 for every light commercial vehicle (LCV) and £10 for every heavy goods vehicle (HGV) or public service vehicle (PSV) carrying the sticker, which it will supply with all new systems.
The UK Government exemption on MOTs for six months from 30 March 2020, may have come as welcome news to many motorists, but the NTDA has also raised serious concerns about its impact on future vehicle roadworthiness. The fact that the emphasis has been placed on motorists to ensure their vehicles are kept in a roadworthy condition, further raises concerns. In short, the NTDA believes this general exemption will create long-term problems.
Tread depth is essential to keep a vehicle in contact with the road in wet conditions and it remains a legal requirement, despite the introduction of a six-month exemption on MoT for Britain’s motorists. TyreSafe is reminding motorists that a tyre being driven below 1.6mm is illegal and if found by the police could result in a fine of up to £2,500 and three-points being added to a driver’s licence – per tyre.