The safety of drivers and their cars continues to be a hot topic as we start the new year. The RAC released figures showing there has been an increase in the number of vehicles damaged by potholes, while West Yorkshire police revealed more than 150 drivers were charged with drink or drug offences over the festive period. The safety of car commuters was called into question as research showed how likely they are to be involved in collisions. Lastly, the UK Government has welcomed recommendations aimed at tackling car insurance fraud.
The RAC have witnessed a 24% year-on-year increase in the number of call-outs they receive for vehicles likely to have been damaged by potholes.
The automotive services company revealed an upsurge of more than 5,000 incidents from 2014 to 2015, with 20,477 and 25487, respectively.
Call-outs for damaged suspension springs went up from 13,101 in 2014 to 18,417 in 2015. This represents an increase of 42%. Damage to vehicle subframes and wishbones both grew by 10%.
"It is very worrying that our patrols have dealt with more pothole-related breakdowns in 2015 than they did the year before because we did not experience a particularly cold winter in either year," said RAC chief engineer David Bizley.
"We urge drivers to conduct basic diligence in carrying out preventative measures to avoid potholes and uneven road surfaces on main and local roads," warned Mark Gibson, head of marketing at business mobility provider, Alphabet.
West Yorkshire Police has released figures showing they charged more than 150 drivers for drink or drug driving offences over Christmas.
According to the figures, the most common age group to be charged were people aged between 25 and 34 years old.
Despite the latest figures, the force has revealed this represents a "significant reduction" on the previous year which saw 183 people charged over the festive period.
"The number of drink driving charges is decreasing nationally which is a step in the right direction — this could be that we have been constantly reminding people about the consequences, or people have decided that it is simply not worth the risk," said Inspector Joanne Fields, who leads West Yorkshire Police's Roads Policing Unit.
The force believes publicising figures and adopting the national Christmas anti drink-driving campaign encouraging people to 'dob in a drink or drug driver' have attributed to the reduction in numbers.
Research conducted by AA Drivetech has revealed that it is statistically more dangerous to drive to work than it is to drive at work.
The research looked at incidents which took place between 2010 and 2014 and involved more than 1.3 million drivers.
"We found that compared to 'normal' drivers, car commuters are over-represented in collisions," head of marketing at AA Drivetech, David Richards, said.
Three main commuter time periods were discovered by the study. The first being 4.30am-7am, the second 7am-9am and the last, 4pm-6.30pm.
While the research found those travelling during the early morning commute were 28% more likely to be involved in incidents on roads with a limit of 60mph, travelling later in the morning meant commuters were 13% more likely to have an incident on a 30mph road.
However, the evening commute had the greatest risk of incidents on roads with a 30mph limit compared to the other two time periods.
RAC's 2015 Report on Motoring revealed that almost two thirds of drivers commute to work via a car, with half (50%) driving themselves.
The UK Government has welcomed suggestions on how to tackle car insurance fraud from the Insurance Fraud Taskforce (IFT).
The IFT believes, in addition to the changes the government has already made, that more can be done to combat the issue of car insurance fraud.
Among the organisation's recommendations were collaboration between the insurance sector and regulatory groups and the sharing of data and best practice.
The two main scams for fraudulent insurance claims are Cash for Crash and whiplash claims. The former involves drivers trying to claim insurance compensation as a result of purposefully getting people to crash into them.
According to the Insurance Fraud Bureau, Cash for Crash scams cost UK insurance firms £336m in 2015. It is estimated fraudulent whiplash claims cost the UK £2bn annually
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