Hastings Direct news: technology
You might have spotted this already, but technology is a recurring theme in the motoring news. Futurists strongly believe that shrewd use of technology will lead to safer roads with fewer incidents of wrongdoing. If that were the case, there would be few complaints, but where do we drawn the line on use of technology? That appears to be the big question as we enter a new era for the motoring industry.
Speed control technology gets drivers' approval
"Why are cars built to be able to reach speeds that are unsafe?" It's a question that has been uttered for some time now, and for good reason. However, experts will tell you that limiting speed will ultimately limit power, which in itself could cause safety issues.
Road safety charity Brake believe that intelligent speed adaptation (ISA) is the answer, which uses GPS in combination with a digital map of speed limits to prevent vehicles from going faster than they are legally allowed.
Drivers appear to be on-board with it too, with two-thirds of Brake's respondents saying they would be willing to let technology restrict the speed they are able to drive.
Brake cites trials which show that even voluntary ISA could cut roads deaths by 21%, while mandatory ISA could reduce deaths by 46%.
Gary Rae, director of campaigns at Brake, called ISA a "game-changer for road safety", given that speed is at least an aggravating factor in almost all road crashes.
Police use telematics to prosecute hit-and-run driver
Another game-changing technology is telematics, which gives the ability to track the exact movements and speed of a vehicle.
As evidence of how crucial telematics data can prove to be, we look to an incident in Billericay, Essex, which saw a vehicle collide with a pedestrian, only for the driver to take off from the scene then dump his courtesy car, seemingly prepared to forget about the whole thing.
The family of Giuseppe Tocco, who was left with a traumatic brain injury, had feared that the driver responsible for incident would never be found — but telematics ensured otherwise.
Nicholas Regan, 24, from Basildon, initially claimed that the courtesy car involved in the incident had been stolen and he had nothing to do with the hit-and-run, heard Basildon Crown Court.
However, ten months down the line, anti-motor fraud unit APU, having trawled through the data provided by the BMW's telematics system, was able to provide police with evidence that it was in fact Regan who was driving the car in question.
This prompted Regan to admitting to hitting Tocco, as well as perverting the course of justice after he failed to stop after the incident and later denied responsibility.
He received 200 hours of unpaid work and an 18-month driving ban alongside his nine-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.
Mobile phone prosecutions plummet
Technology has a proven record of being able to catch road offenders. The RAC believe it is time that its use is extended to catching motorists who use their mobile phone when behind the wheel.
That's because the number of motorists prosecuted for the offence has almost halved in the space of five years, which the RAC claims is the result of an increasing lack of roads policing.
The motoring organisation highlighted two bits of research to back up its point. Firstly, a recent study which found that 1.6% of all drivers in England — more than half a million people — were observed using a mobile phone at the wheel last year.
Secondly, its own Report on Motoring from this year, which found over a third of motorists (34%) rank the dangers of drivers using a phone to talk, text or use the internet as one of their top concerns — unchanged from 2014 figures.
RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams commented: "There is still an enormous gulf between what the law states — that handheld mobile phones should not be used behind the wheel — and what motorists see happening on our roads. Drivers are routinely using their phones at red traffic lights, or even while on the move."
Drivers inciting thieves with cluttered cars
Will be ever get to the point where technology prevents thieves from stealing valuables from vehicles? It's not something that's being given much thought currently, so for the time being motorists have to do all they can to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of this particular crime.
However, a new study from Carfused suggests drivers are doing themselves no favours in this respect. The average British driver keeps £217 worth of belongings and valuables stored in their vehicle, according to the research.
Of course, drivers shouldn't feel like they have to check their cars are free of valuables before parking up, but until technology ensures otherwise, it's necessary for peace of mind.
As things stand, however, 17% of drivers said they have had sleepless nights worrying about what has been left in the car. Carfused's study suggests that we all know it's wise to take our belongings out of the car before we lock it up, but both forgetfulness and general tardiness mean that doesn't always happen.
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