The country’s basking in cracking weather at the moment which means most of you will be outdoors enjoying barbecues, knocking a football around in a park with your mates, getting back into fitness or just soaking up the rays. The Root this week is all about what’s happening in the world of driving and motoring, in bite-size chunks so you can catch up in a jiffy and then get back to the sun.
June marks the end of paper counterpart driving licenses
This particular bit of news was music to my ears, as I once turned up at an event and couldn’t for the life of me find the paper counterpart bit of my driving license, so I nearly had to sit it out. Fortunately I found it in the glovebox, but from June 8th, the Government is scrapping the counterpart and the DVLA will only issue photocards. Unless you’re someone who only has a paper counterpart license, or you want to tell the DVLA about your address change by sending your paper license in, you can tear yours up as it’s no longer needed. Any speeding offences, insurance details and information required for hiring a car will now be processed digitally online, saving paper, which I reckon is a good move.
Splashing pedestrians could cost you £100
The Telegraph has reported on some fascinating stats unearthed through a Freedom of Information request, which mean we all better be careful what we do on the roads, or we could face £100 on-the-spot police fines. Ten thousand motorists throughout the UK have been slapped with fines for doing things that aren’t even always illegal but just plain inconsiderate, from accelerating through a puddle and drenching people on the pavement, jumping to the front of a traffic queue, hogging the middle lane and racing other cars at traffic lights. Other bizarre fines were issued for being distracted by a female passenger, driving with a mattress on the front passenger seat and doing paperwork at the wheel, to driving on roads closed for roadworks and doing wheelspins and handbrake turns. Courteous driving saves you money, then.
Jeremy Clarkson dropped from Top Gear but may return to BBC in future
It’s the end of an era, the outspoken TV presenter’s contract on BBC’s Top Gear show not being renewed, after he allegedly assaulted a producer at a hotel in North Yorkshire. Some say he got what he deserved. Some say pushing caravans off a cliff every week was getting a bit boring. Whatever your own view, his shoes will be a hard act to fill and I can’t see another trio of presenters having quite the same chemistry. He was meant to be hosting Have I Got News For You tonight, but apparently he’s pulled out. In potentially more positive news for Jeremy, the Daily Mail reports that BBC creative boss Alan Yentob hasn’t ruled out the star’s return to the BBC in the future. Watch this space – or should that be sky?
Meanwhile, the former Stig…
The hearts of young ladies throughout the land will perhaps flutter with the news that one of Top Gear’s former Stigs, the handsome Ben Collins, is now reviewing cars. You can learn very much, or very little, about the latest Subaru Outback, by watching Ben’s video review here. Away from Top Gear, Ben is a racing and stunt car driver, placed behind the wheel of James Bond’s Aston Martins for stunt sequences. He also appeared on series 18 of Fifth Gear.
Lorries allowed to go slightly faster
April 6th saw speed limits for HGVs (lorries weighing over 7.5 tonnes, basically) increased on UK roads, so they will now be able to drive at 50mph instead of 40mph on single-carriage A-roads, and at 60mph instead of 50mph on dual carriageways. This is good news for car drivers as it means long, winding queues of cars won’t build up quite as often behind slow-moving wagons on country roads. It also means more HGVs will be capable of overtaking other, slower wagons, meaning less ‘side by side’ blockages holding up dual carriageways. The only word of caution is to remember that HGVs may be traveling faster than before, so take care when pulling out of junctions or trying to overtake them.
Beware dodgy tires after seller fined and sentenced
We all want to save a few quid wherever we can, but when your life is involved, it’s best not to cut corners. This week saw a guy given a suspended sentence and fined by a court in Lincolnshire for selling dangerous tyres. Loads of places have sprung up over the last few years selling part-worn tyres and there’s nothing illegal about this, as long as they are safe. The problem was, this particular seller’s tyres weren’t legal. Tyres must have at least 1.6mm tread on them to be roadworthy, but part-worn tyres need to have 2mm tread, be able to pass an inflation test and not have any defects or damage to them. The message is clear – shop carefully from trusted tyre traders, to remain safe.