Car Owners To Be Fined When Passengers Throw Litter Out Of Cars

Thursday, 13. April 2017

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

As I get older I’ve stopped doing many of the things I did as a young driver, mainly revolving around road rage. If someone pulls out in front of me on a roundabout now I no longer lean on the horn whilst screaming blue murder over the thumping sound of  Will I Am’s latest dance release, sticking two fingers up at the driver then spending the next 10 minutes trying to cut the dopey old 90 year old up at every opportunity to ‘teach her a lesson’!

These days I’m as likely to even slow down and let the driver pull out in front of me on the roundabout, only the one of course, my benevolence doesn’t stretch to being courteous to more than one driver at a time – behave! But there is still one thing that still causes me to see red and that is to be driving behind a car and the driver or the passenger in the car in front dispose of the remains of a Chicken McBucket meal for 4 out of the driver’s window.

Of course there are a few with a social conscience who either get the passenger to throw the rubbish out of the passenger window so that it doesn’t end up on the screen of the car behind, or if there are no passengers in the car open the passenger window and lob the rubbish out from the driver’s side contributing to the 700,000 bin bags of rubbish collected annually from the roadside.

Either way it causes me to get angry because it’s one of those things that I can honestly say I’ve never done. It’s despicable to mess up the roadside with rubbish. It’s no big effort to keep the rubbish in the car till you get home, to work or fill up at the garage – isn’t it? But having said that I don’t go knocking on car doors armed with a tyre lever to point out the error of their ways for two reasons.

Firstly cars no longer come with a tyre lever and to walk up to a car window armed with a can of Holts Tyreweld would be more than mildly silly. Secondly I heard of an old lady who became incensed when she saw the passenger of a parked car happily dropping the packaging and remains of their lunch on to the road from their window, asked politely to pick up their litter before they left, and ended up in traction for her efforts.

I’m not that brave over an empty crisp packet but I’m please to say that the law is tightening up on litter louts. From later this month local authorities in London have the power to issue £100 fines to those caught dropping litter out of cars and can be caught using CCTV cameras.

Caroline Spelman, Environmental Secretary is also considering rolling this out across the country with an increased fine of £200 and making the owner of a car responsible for the fine even though the rubbish may have been ejected by a passenger whilst the car was being driven by someone other than the owner.

The fact is that dropping litter is a criminal offence and you can be fined by a magistrate up to £2,500 so it is already serious but a fixed penalty of £200 may work better. Something else that makes me see red is seeing a driver either texting or driving with a mobile phone lodged under their chin – no that isn’t hands free! Oh and then there are the times when you let someone pass cars on their side of the road and they don’t even raise a finger in gratitude oh and then ……………… By Graham Hill

Huge Increase In Detection Of Mobile Telephone Use Whilst Driving

Friday, 10. February 2017

In an earlier blog I talked about speeding and the crackdown on those considered to be a serious speeder with the imposition of increased fines. Well not only are we seeing a crackdown on speeding offences but also distractions, in particular mobile phones.

 

In an exercise that involved 36 police forces last November they stopped 10,012 cars and detected 8,000 mobile phone offences. 7,800 fixed penalty notices were issued along with several  hundred verbal warnings and 68 court summons. In an earlier campaign in May 2016, 2,418 cars were stopped with 2,323 mobile phone offences detected.

 

When asked about the increase the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) explained that 6 more forces took part in the November campaign with more resources being dedicated to carrying out the roadside operation, especially by the Metropolitan Police. A further week long campaign was started in January 2017 the results of which are as yet unknown.

 

The exercise is a difficult one for the police as it is difficult for officers to differentiate between someone using a mobile rather than scratching an ear or nose or just raising a hand. But even so they managed to detect a frighteningly large number of offenders, many of whom weren’t aware of the increased fine and points as of 1st March 2017 (£200 spot fine and 6 points).

 

The NPCC said that outside these purges they are managing to detect more offenders as a result of new tactics and innovation employed, along with intelligence provided by the public, with particular success in catching repeat offenders. It would seem that this is something that the police will be doing on a regular basis following demands made by the public.

 

Whilst other distractions were detected such as eating crisps and chocolate and drinking from a bottle whilst driving they only amounted to 1.4% of the sample. So the police will continue to concentrate on mobile phone users whilst driving. You have been warned. By Graham Hill

Mayor Khan To Replace Congestion Charge

Friday, 3. February 2017

Following on from my note explaining that Mayor Khan is trying to reduce the number of diesels driving into central London, the London Assembly is calling on Mayor Khan to do more about the daily gridlock. It is suggesting that they need to replace the daily congestion charge with a road pricing scheme.

It currently costs £11.50 per day to drive around the congestion zone area which would be replaced by charges relating to the amount of time spent in the restricted area. Subject to consultations this new scheme could be introduced as soon as 2018.

According to the Assembly traffic delays costs London’s economy £5.5 billion in 2015/16 which represents an increase of 30% compared to 2012/13. Can’t for the life of me see how they arrive at such a figure. The Assembly pointed to a similar scheme operated in Stockholm whereby you pay between £1-£3 each time you cross in or out of a central zone, with the charges increasing at peak times.

The result was a drop in traffic by 22%. The proposal is that they consider a similar scheme but also include an allowance for emissions and adjust the rates accordingly. Before you start writing into Mayor Khan there are discounts and exemptions which the Assembly intends to keep but with no plans to extend further.

If you’re a Londoner I guess you must hope that Mayor Khan doesn’t have another Trump moment and apply the new rules by the end of February! By Graham Hill

Government To Remove Central Lane Markings

Friday, 26. February 2016

I recently reported that the Government is planning to scrap large numbers of sets of traffic lights as they seem to slow down traffic flow rather than improve it. Taking things one step further Transport for London (TfL) have been experimenting with removing central lane markings on busy streets around Croydon and Haringey.

Studies carried out during the experiment has shown that average speed has reduced by 13%. They have concluded that fewer road markings improve safety by making drivers more cautious and aware of their surroundings. The report stated that it has been found that a drop in average speed of just 1 mile per hour is associated with a 5% reduction in accident frequency.

TfL is not the only authority to remove centre lines. Apparently similar schemes have been introduced in Norfolk, Wiltshire and Derbyshire. In fact in Norfolk, Tracy Jessop, assistant director for Highways and Transport at Norfolk Count Council, said ‘We’ve been removing centre white lines for at least 15 years in locations that have the right characteristics and where there is community support.’

Personally, like Paul Watters, head of roads policy at the AA, I think this is a dangerous move. When you drive along a road and you see bits of tree strewn all over the place you sense danger and slow down accordingly, the same would apply if suddenly you had no guidance as to where the centre of the road is, people don’t slow down because the road is safer, they slow down because they sense danger – in this case not without reason. By Graham Hill

Graham Hill’s Euro 6 Masterclass

Monday, 15. February 2016

This week, following the VW emissions debacle, I’m going to give you a master class in understanding the new Euro 6 legislation and the effect on both petrol and diesel engines along with some relevant information that I hope you will find of use.
It’s not as boring as you might think because there has been a major change to the driver maintenance of diesel cars that you might like to consider before choosing diesel for your next car. I won’t go through the whole of the European Emission standards since they were introduced in July 1992 but I’ll touch on a couple of relevant points before bringing you bang up to date and reveal a couple of things you may not know about.
When Euro 1 was introduced it was really set up to provide drivers with information about the emissions from their new cars. Whilst limits were set for just a few of the exhaust emissions, CO2, Hydrocarbons (HC) + Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Particulate Matter (soot) they were more advisory rather than enforceable.
At the time there was a lot of discussion going on around CO2 and the effect on the environment but more important on the atmosphere, remember the discussions about the holes in the ozone layer? So as each new standard was introduced by the EU they changed from being advisory to statutory and more emissions became regulated. Testing standards were introduced and standard test conditions were introduced to laboratory standards.
Cars tested are not, as some believe and reported on recently, selected by the manufacturer and passed over for testing. Test cars are normal cars randomly selected from the production line and tested whilst being witnessed by Government agencies. In every case there has to be consistency. The environment is very carefully controlled.
The temperature, fluid levels and even tyre pressures are all set. This is about to change in 2017, something I don’t agree with, when they carry out measurements on the road instead of in the lab using portable measuring equipment. This will be known as Real World Driving Emissions (RDE). Really? what the hell is ‘real world’?
Its the same argument over fuel consumption figures. I can drive my car down the same stretch of road 3 days running and return three different MPG’s. Stick my son behind the wheel and you’ll return different readings again. In my opinion there is no such thing and once a car is out on the open road all sorts of dodgy things can be done to ‘fool’ the test equipment.
Anyway, back to Euro 6 which came into force in September 2015. This set the standard for petrol and diesel engine measurements and set emission limits. The limits are set for CO2, along with NOx (the gas that VW was misrepresenting), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Hydrocarbons (THC and NMHC) and finally Particulate Matter that is particular to Diesel (get it – sorry about that).
Whilst CO2 has always been the main concern of environmentalists and Governments around the world NOx has come to the fore with links to lung conditions and even premature death. These links are always debatable but assuming that the data is accurate the problem was already being dealt with by the EU with the introduction of Euro 6. The Euro 1 level of NOx was 780mg/km for diesel engines and 480mg/km for petrol.
Euro 5 saw diesel levels drop to 180mg/km, a huge drop and Euro 6 dropped the level in diesels to 80mg/km compared to 60mg/km for petrol – virtually the same. But in order to achieve this result in diesel cars an additive needs to be added to the diesel, something I’ll come onto in a moment.
There are two questions arising. Are diesels being unfairly demonised and as a driver should you be selecting petrol or diesel for your next car? Fuel consumption is still a big deciding factor for those covering high mileage but should it be such a deciding factor when most drivers are covering around 10,000 miles per annum?
Town mileage can in fact be more economical driving a petrol car compared to a diesel and with Ford working towards a petrol engine that will return 100mpg we may not be far away from the time when petrol cars are more frugal than diesel. But by then the environmentalists will complain that petrol engines always have and always will kick out more CO2’s than diesel. So what should you consider and what has Euro 6 changed?
First of all diesel’s spew out particulates, soot to you and I. However, these are captured by a particulate filter fitted into the exhaust system. However, the particulates are captured in the filter which then needs to be maintained to prevent blockage which will result in lost performance and ultimately the replacement of the filter which can cost up to £2,000.
In order to ‘clean’ out the filter you need to drive the car at more than 50mph for more than 15 minutes every month (see the manufacturer’s handbook). This creates a chemical action that effectively burns off the soot but for some who only drive locally this can be a bit of a chore. There is also the driving style when driving a diesel car. Even the latest cars suffer from a little turbo lag,
This means when pulling away from lights or out of a junction, you put your foot down on the accelerator and it takes a second to get the power into the wheels. You get used to it but it feels a bit weird if you have never driven a diesel before. Oh and a personal tip, always put a plastic glove on when filling up a diesel, in fact I always put two on as the smell seems to immediately absorb into your hand and stay with you for a week, even worse if you transfer onto the steering wheel. Petrol isn’t anywhere near as bad.
Another factor is cost. Generally diesel cars are more expensive than petrol to buy but when it comes to leasing diesels are in such high demand that the resale value ends up making diesel’s cheaper to lease than petrol so a bit of an advantage there. So what has Euro 6 done to make diesel’s less attractive? Well, in order to achieve the lower NOx emissions cars now require an additive called AdBlue.
In most cases the AdBlue reservoir is sufficient to last between services but as some drivers have found, depending on driving style and types of journey the reservoir needs to be topped up between services. Whilst you can buy AdBlue from anywhere that sells oil such as Halfords and is relatively cheap if misused or not topped up when the indicator light comes on you could be into some costly repairs or at best the engine not starting. So bear in mind if you are about to buy or lease a new diesel AdBlue is now something else to take into account.
Finally there seems to be a tide of hate spreading across the country against diesels. Boris has started the ball rolling by saying that any pre-Euro 6 cars will have to pay an extra tenner to enter what is known as the Ultra Low Emission Zone in London. Some councils have already started to charge extra for parking permits if you drive a diesel. Islington Council in London is set to introduce a surcharge of £96 for anyone with a diesel car from April and they don’t seem to be differentiating between Euro 6 and pre-Euro 6. Totally unfair!
So there you have it, you can now make an educated decision between petrol and diesel. The only other thing I haven’t mentioned is Benefit In Kind tax if you run a car through a limited company. The chancellor had planned to eliminate the 3% loading on diesel cars but following the emissions issues with VW he took the ill informed decision to retain it. By Graham Hill

 

Driverless Cars – What’s The Point?

Monday, 2. March 2015

I’m feeling the little hairs on the back of my neck starting to bristle! And any regular readers of my newsletter/blog will know that if that happens something or someone has seriously pee’d me off! And I mean seriously pee’d me off (that’s polite speak for pissed me off ).

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

That kindly bumbling old gent, Vince Cable, has done it again. Just as I though he couldn’t manage to do anything more during the course of this government that I would consider to be totally daft he did it again. He recently approved the testing of driverless cars on public roads in Bristol, Coventry, Milton Keynes and Greenwich.

He is following the USA who have allowed the testing of driverless cars in California, Nevada and Florida where they have roads bigger than the whole of the UK. So the odd stupid looking two seater driverless car poodling along a 10 lane 200 mile stretch of road, without the hint of a curve in it, won’t cause too much disruption.

But we live in a country where a dead badger on the opposite side of the road can lead to a 10 mile tailback as drivers take a closer look at the poor creature’s corpse as they drive by at walking speed. Just imagine the tailback as they drive past a car with no driver. ‘Wow kids look at that car – there isn’t a driver.’

Bang as they hit the car in front up the rear end! And the only driverless car I’ve seen being tested in the UK was in Greenwich toodling around at 2mph. Pedestrians were overtaking it for gawd sake! Now I’m not opposed to new technology and I would be happy for driverless cars to eventually be tested on UK public roads but whilst we need money in so many other areas should we be pumping money into such a project so early into the design stage?

And why do they need to test on our little public roads causing all sorts of problems? Here’s my idea, let the developers create driverless cars then when they are ready to test on public roads ship them over to Nevada and let the Americans stare at them and write their cars off in the process. I’m sure there will be some readers who disagree with me but I don’t care! I’m that kinda person! By Graham Hill

Which Cities Are Worst For CO2 Emissions?

Saturday, 27. December 2014

When people move house they tend to look for certain things in the area into which they are planning to move. Ease of access, closeness to schools with high teaching standards, where the shops are, likelihood of flooding etc. etc. But it is felt that a new credential is starting to surface, as a result of which those crazy girls and boys at Confused.com have carried out a survey in order to help.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

What is this new credential? Obviously it is the greenness of your nearest town or city. What they did was look at every car  registered to an area and calculated the average CO2 emissions figure.

Now I have to say girls and boys this isn’t the most scientific way of arriving at the greenest and dirtiest towns and cities across the land but it is a start and must have nicely filled a few otherwise boring days with something productive and incredibly useful (better than sitting in front of your PC’s playing Candy Crush – just).

In terms of cities, and according to Confused.com, London is the worst of all for CO2 emissions, followed by St Albans (is that a city?) then Brighton & Hove. This is what Gemma Stanbury, head of motor at Confused.com, had to say, ‘With so many Brits relying on their cars for work and other commitments, it’s unrealistic to think that people will be able to do without their cars.

But it’s encouraging to see that many drivers are making an effort to become greener.’ Are they? I have to say Gemma that I don’t have many clients that make their final decision based on the car’s CO2 unless they are looking at the benefit in kind implications which is more of a financial decision rather than a ‘save their local environment’ decision.

In case you are at all interested here are the vitally important stats in the event you are considering a move in the near future:

Town Emissions Per Car

CO2 g/km

Peterborough 142.03
Portsmouth 146.69
Stirling 147.38
Worcester 150.21
Glasgow 150.35
Birmingham 150.58
Durham 151.36
Sunderland 153.10
Exeter 153043
Gloucester 154.08

Graham Hill’s Bits & Pices

Thursday, 18. December 2014

Bits & Pieces: Halfords Autocentres found in a survey that a third of motorists believed that kicking tyres was sufficient to check whether tyres were safely inflated. Men are more likely to use this test (42%) compared to women (30%). Are they nuts or what?

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

Have you ever wondered how drivers of fighter jets keep their windscreens clear? No, nor me but it may be that the technology used on jets could replace windscreen wipers. They use frequency waves to keep the windscreen clear and this technology is being developed by McLaren and could ultimately find its way onto production cars. Especially when it was revealed that this technology could be mass produced for as little as £10 per car. Congestion is costing drivers a fortune according to traffic information company Inrix and the Centre for Economics and Business Research. Gridlock in the UK is costing households £4.4 billion each year with London accounting for £2 billion. By Graham Hill

Rail Cost More Expensive Than Car Cost

Thursday, 25. September 2014

You may or may not know that taxi fares are calculated (automatically via software in the metre) using a mixture of time and distance. For example, the cabs in London travelling between 06.00 and 22.00 on a normal weekday (excluding bank holidays) charge according to Tariff 1. For the first 252.4 metres or the first 27.1 seconds (whichever is reached first) there is a minimum charge of £2.40.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

For each additional 126.2 metres or 27.1 seconds (whichever is reached first), or part thereof, if the fare is less than £17.40 then there is a charge of 20p. Once the charge has reached £17.40 the charge increases to 20p per 88.5 metres or 19 seconds (whichever is reached first), or part thereof.

As it’s easier to calculate the cost per mile than per hour (we don’t know the speed the cab will travel at) the rate goes from £15.30 per mile to £2.55 per mile after the minimum charge then it increases again to £3.64 per mile once the charge reaches £17.40. All very complicated but converting into a cost per mile provides us with a better perspective.

So I was quite surprised to read a totally different perspective on rail fares following the last, above inflation, fare rise announcement. It was not only shocking but also gave us a very good reason why people are still not choosing to take public transport over their precious car. The report suggested that peak time rail fares are one of the worst value items, sitting alongside car insurance, inner city/airport parking, energy bills and car mechanics charged by some dealers at £200 per hour.

The columnist explained that his short, early morning trip cost an amazing £1.20 per minute travelled or £72 per hour. So comparing that with a black cab after the minimum charge of £2.40 you pay 20p per 27.1 seconds or £0.44 per minute or £26.40 per hour. Is it me and the columnist, Mike Rutherford, or is this madness? He calculated that those doing the 121 minute trip between Manchester and London during peak time costs them £1.33 per minute or £80 per hour.

He points out that it is just a matter of time before 2nd class peak travel will reach £100 per hour or £150 per hour first class. Apparently an annual season ticket between London and Manchester costs £14,000 which works out at £1.33 per minute. He then compared that with the cost of a new Mini which, after allowing for ALL running costs including the cost of the car, fuel, insurance, servicing, RFL, depreciation etc. it came in at 33p per minute if you assume an average 60mph.

Now this may be a little unrealistic but it puts rail travel into context. No wonder people still want to avoid train travel! By Graham Hill

Thieves Can Now Use Technology To Break Into Your Car

Tuesday, 17. June 2014

I was quite shocked to read that crooks no longer need to break a window to get into your car and forget about the tea leaves that  break into your house to nick your car keys along with the family silver and the contents of your fridge.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

Apparently the new techie toe rags can get into your car in less than 10 seconds with a computer or special gadget. Software or special gadgets that you can buy online fool your car’s computer that a smart key is present or it can be plugged into the car’s ECU to produce a ‘blank key.’

Not quite sure how you do that without breaking into the car in the first place? Anyway, it would seem that 47% of all car thefts in London last year were carried out using this method. That’s 9,870 out of 21,000. But the worst is yet to come.

When the police were asked how this type of crime could be prevented their only suggestion was to have a Thatcham approved tracking device fitted which operates separately to the ECU enabling the police to track and recover. Is that it? No fancy blocking device or an alarm that senses when an outside device is connecting to the ECU that isn’t approved? A bloody tracker!

What good is that after the event when some thief has driven your pride and joy like a bat out of hell for 5,000 miles? Worrying – very worrying! As a PS I have found out that manufacturers are more than aware of the problem and are addressing it – so there you have it.