Hastings Direct news: going ultra low
'Facebook stalking' may be a practice not everyone is willing to admit doing. However, Gwent Police have revealed adopting this social media behaviour helped them to convict a Crash for Cash gang in Wales. The technology theme continues this week with the news that eight UK cities have been awarded a £40m fund to support EV growth. And while research revealed the most dangerous day to drive, there were calls for more uniformity with regards to drink-driving laws in the UK.
Welsh police use 'Facebook stalking' to convict Crash for Cash gang
A Crash for Cash gang, responsible for the largest vehicle insurance fraud in Wales, were convicted after Gwent Police used 'Facebook stalking' to investigate suspects.
The investigation, named Operation Dino, lasted five years and resulted in 83 people being found guilty. Two were convicted of theft while the remaining 81 were guilty of conspiracy to defraud. Sentences ranged from suspended prison terms to six years in jail.
The Yandell family were behind the scam and used their Blackwood garage, Easifix, as the stage for their "crashes".
The scam involved the family claiming car accidents and whiplash injuries which never actually happened. The car would then be damaged at their garage.
Once the insurance company had paid the "victim" for their car, the Yandells would fix the car themselves, using parts from stolen cars, and then sell it on.
They recruited friends and family as those involved in the non-existent crashes, so as to avoid suspicion from the insurance companies.
The police used 'Facebook stalking' to establish links between the suspects and build a case against them.
It is believed a further 100 people may have been involved in the scam which earned the Yandell family an estimated £2m.
Eight UK cities receive £40m fund for EV growth
As part of the government's Go Ultra Low campaign, a £40m fund has been awarded to eight cities in the UK to support the adoption of hybrid and electric vehicles.
London will receive £13m of the fund, while Milton Keynes, Bristol, and Nottinghamshire and Derby will be awarded £9m, £7m and £6m, respectively. Projects in Dundee, Oxford, York and the North East will receive the remaining £5m.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "The UK is a world leader in the uptake of low-emission vehicles and our long-term economic plan is investing £600m by 2020 to improve air quality, create jobs and achieve our goal of every new car and van in the UK being ultra-low emission by 2040."
Last year, adoption of electric vehicles in the UK increased by 94%, the Go Ultra Low campaign claims.
Most dangerous day to drive
Drivers were urged to take care when driving on Friday 29 January as new research conducted by Accident Exchange, an accident management company, has revealed this is the most dangerous day to drive.
When compared to the average day, nearly three quarters (74%) more incidents took place on January 29 last year.
Figures show the Friday evening commute already brings more potential risk with it as people try to rush home in the dark. When compared to any hour between 10am and 5pm, the number of incidents increases by 53% between 5-6pm, while 19% more accidents occur on a Friday.
The research looked at 35,000 incidents that occurred between October 2014 and December 2015.
Calls for UK to have uniform drink-driving laws
Many people want the UK Government to follow Scotland and Northern Ireland in lowering the drink-drive limit in England and Wales.
Scotland reduced its drink-drive limit from 80mg in 100ml of blood, as it is in England and Wales, to 50mg in December 2014, while Northern Ireland voted to introduce two lower drink-drive limits two weeks ago.
Drink-driving offences in Scotland showed a 12.5% year-on-year decrease between December 2014 and August 2015, whereas the rest of the UK had a decline of 6.6%.
Had England and Wales' drink-drive limit been reduced to the same level as Scotland's, research commissioned by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) and RAC Foundation found 25 deaths could have been prevented and 95 drivers would have avoided serious injuries last year.
"A driver with 80mg blood alcohol concentration is 12 times more likely to be killed in a collision than a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of zero — but may still be within the law in England and Wales," executive director of PACTS, David Davies, said
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