Hastings Direct news: beyond the VW emissions scandal
Motoring news has been dominated by the Volkswagen emissions scandal last week, with the story unlikely to go away any time soon. For those that have either missed the news altogether or have only caught it in passing, the German car giant has been forced into admitting that it has cheated emissions tests in the US, allowing its diesel cars to produce up to 40 times more pollution than allowed. To illustrate the severity of these actions, reports suggest fines could add up to $18 billion (£11.8 billion).
However, we're going to leave that story to one side for our round-up this week and see what else has come to light in the world of motoring.
Reduce roadworks on motorways, say ministers
The other big story for drivers this week concerns that of motorway roadworks — with the government of the opinion that motorists deserve better than to have to endure lengthy works areas on motorways.
With that, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is said to have told Highways England to restrict roadworks to no more than two miles.
In recent years, drivers have become accustomed to crawling through more than 10 miles of roadworks due to ongoing repairs.
Such stretches of speed restrictions and narrow lanes are often anything but short-lived either, with Highways England working hard to develop smart motorways — designed to alleviate congestion in the long term.
However, the Department for Transport (DfT) says that "common sense decisions" are needed in order to "minimise frustrations".
"But as it (smart motorways) is delivered we've got to respect the drivers who use our roads every day," said a DfT spokesman.
Motorists illegally use slip road to escape traffic
Motorway traffic is every busy commuter's worst nightmare, as there is often no option to re-route and definitely no way of turning around. The only option, then, is to sit and wait it out, as frustrating as that can be.
However, after approaching a sea of traffic on the M60 near Sale — due to a serious accident having taken place — dozens of motorists decided to drive the wrong way up the slip road in order to escape the delays, the Manchester Evening News reports.
Just as they made it to the roundabout, though, the 74 drivers were met with an individual bearing a mobile phone, who decided to film them all in the act.
This gave police an opportunity to take action retrospectively.
PC Matt Picton explained why officers decided to teach the drivers a lesson: "There is no good reason to drive the wrong way down a motorway, it is extremely dangerous and no excuse could ever justify these actions."
Driverless cars concern motorists
"We'll have none of these traffic problems when driverless cars arrive", you might say. While that may be true if the technology is perfected — meaning no accidents — their arrival is a little way away yet (2035, according to the most recent predictions).
Given that drivers are still less than sure about the technology, however, the sight of a car travelling without human input may be even further away than currently being suggested.
According to a survey from Goodyear Tyres, just one in ten drivers aged 18-30 said they have complete confidence in automated cars.
The figures might not worry driverless car developers too much at the moment, but with Millennials the age group who the technology will be primarily aimed at, they have plenty of work to do to turn around public perceptions.
Kate Rock, PR manager for Goodyear Tyres UK, said: "Whilst driverless car technology is fast approaching, it is clear there is still a distrust in the technological advances, especially with the new generation of car buyers."
Affordability and the potential for car hacking were found to be the two things that concern drivers most about the technology, while fewer women than men said they'd be happy to let a computer do the driving.
Car buyers get 30-day return promise
For the time being drivers will still have to buy cars which have a steering wheel.
When purchasing any new car there are always plenty of 'What ifs'. The good news is that those concerns over whether dealers are trustworthy and honest will dissipate from next week.
That's because from 1st October, motorists will be entitled to return a newly purchased vehicle within 30 days if it proves faulty, as per the 2015 Consumer Rights Act.
As things stand, sellers are only required to replace or make good the damaged part of product. A spokeswoman said the new legislation will enable vendors and customers to reach an agreement with far more confidence.
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