Motorists in rural Scotland are less likely than those in any other part of Britain to fail their MOT as a result of simple, easy-to-fix, issues such as blown bulbs, worn tyres and cracked windscreens.
The research, conducted by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders, indicates that around 1.5 million MOT failures each year could be avoided if motorists carried out simple visual checks of their vehicles and forewarned their dealer of any issues, before the annual test of roadworthiness.
The Orkney Islands had the lowest number of avoidable fails, with only 13% of issues being of the type that an owner could have identified in advance of the MOT. In joint second place were the Hebrides and Shetland, with a 13.6% ‘fixable’ failure rate.
At the other end of the spectrum was Central London with a figure of 46%. The national average was 22%.
Most avoidable MOT failures
1 Central London 46.4%
2 South West London 35.4%
3 Bromley 34.3%
4 Ilford 33.9%
5 North West London 33.3%
6 Kingston 32.7%
7 Sutton 32.3%
8 Harrow 31.0%
9 East London 30.8%
10 Croydon 30.6%
Fewest avoidable MOT failures
1 Orkney 13.0%
2= Hebrides 13.6%
2= Shetland 13.6%
4 Berwick-on-Tweed 14.0%
5 Kirkcaldy 15.1%
6 Bradford 15.3%
7 Sunderland 15.4%
8 Inverness 15.5%
9 Aberdeen 15.8%
10= Hull 15.9%
10= Stoke-on-Trent 15.9%
% of all MOT fails considered 'avoidable'
The findings were highlighted as part of the motor industry's ‘Minute Or Two’ campaign, which encourages motorists to carry out ten visual checks of their vehicle prior to the MOT test.
“The aim of the ‘Minute Or Two’ campaign is to give motorists the knowledge and confidence to check their own vehicles and eliminate the possibility of simple problems, such as lights and fluid levels, causing a fail at the vehicle’s next MOT test,” Mike Baunton of the SMMT said.
The full ‘Minute Or Two’ checklist, which can be viewed at www.passmymot.co.uk, includes checks of headlights, tyres, windscreen wipers and fluid levels. The website also features a video guide to the checks.
The campaign is also backed by every major car maker, and technicians at 5,545 manufacturer main dealerships across the UK are ready and able to assist customers who might be unsure about doing the checks themselves.
Despite some supermarkets dropping fuel prices at the pumps, new research from British Car Auctions indicates that fuel costs remain a major concern for motorists.
In a BCA poll of used car buyers, three quarters of those who took part said the price of fuel was their biggest worry when it comes to motoring costs. Their top five concerns were:
1. The price of fuel
2. Cost of road tax
3. Insurance costs
4. Vehicle maintenance and servicing
Many are concerned about the rising costs of motoring because they rely on their car for their work. Over a quarter of survey participants said they now buy only the amount of fuel they need, rather than filling up the tank every time. One in four now also search online for the cheapest petrol station before heading out to fill up.
Changing to a more fuel-efficient model appears to be a growing trend too, with 15% saying they have already taken this step. Nearly one in five has changed from a petrol car to diesel, to cut motoring costs.
“It’s clear from our survey that motorists are continuing to feel the financial pinch,” Tim Naylor of BCA said. “While the price of fuel still tops the list of concerns regarding motoring costs, 31% said that maintenance and servicing costs were a key issue. A quarter have delayed repairs to their car to save money, and 23% have avoided recommended service intervals.”
That could prove short-sighted, Tim Naylor said. “Motorists should remember, when they decide to sell their car, that buyers place a significant value on service history.” BCA estimates that a full service history is worth up to £500 for the typical five-year/60,000-mile car valued around £7,000. “Saving now may cost you more in the future,” Tim said.
A recent survey has revealed that women feel they get a better deal than men when buying a used car.
The study, by HPI, the vehicle history checking firm, found that 43% of men were not completely satisfied with their last used car deal as opposed to only 35% of women, which suggests that female motorists might be making better buying decisions.
It also found that 51% of women consult a family member or friend who has some knowledge of cars before they enter the showroom, whereas men are reluctant to ask for advice, with only 27% taking along a knowledgeable friend.
“The survey suggests that men are more difficult to please, when it comes to used car buying and that they won’t take advice,” HPI’s Nicola Johnson said. “In contrast, women are eager to take advice and prepare before checking out their options. This helps them make measured decisions and as a result, they are happy with their purchase.”
A record 94% of car shoppers now start their buying journey online.
That’s according to a new industry report by the Capgemini consultancy. While vehicle manufacturers’ websites, dealer websites and search engines are the top sources of information, social media has gained more influence over purchase decisions this year, while family and friends has lost some.
The study surveyed more than 8,000 consumers in Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Russia, the UK and US. Other key findings include:
• Loyalty to brands and dealers is on the rise. Over the past few years, manufacturers and dealers have worked hard to improve the customer experience, and it seems their efforts are paying off.
• Despite the digital transformation that is occurring in the car and other industries, the dealer remains an integral part of car buying. More than ever, shoppers count on them to make sense of everything they’ve read and heard about during their pre-buying research process. Dealers were considered the number one source of information by 56% of customers, an all-time high.
• Shoppers increasingly expect the showroom to be informative, interactive and entertaining.
• ‘Connect me’ technology enhances the ownership experience. Just over half of consumers expect their next car to be internet-connected. They expect their new cars to have all the technology they’re used to everywhere else in their lives – applications for work and recreation delivered via their various devices.
“Consumers expect an exciting and unique experience with seamless integration between the digital and the physical world. They act as a driving force for innovation in this industry,” Markus Winkler, head of automotive, at Capgemini Consulting said.
Over one in four parents of toddlers wrongly believe they should choose a safety seat based on the age of the child, when in fact they should go by height and weight instead, a survey by Which?, the consumer magazine, has found.
For instance, 50% of parents wrongly believe their children are safe to go in a forward-facing seat when they reach the age of nine months old, when in fact the decision depends on the weight of the child.
The survey also found that 50% of parents didn’t know what the right model of safety seat would be right for their car, and more than 50% of seats had been incorrectly fitted.
Which? also warned parents against buying a seat online, from websites that provided little or no advice or offered a fitting service.
Mazda will be showing off the financial and environmental benefits of its emissions-busting SKYACTIV technology-equipped all-new Mazda6 and CX-5 at this month's Fleet World Fleet Show.
To be held at the world famous Silverstone complex in Northamptonshire on Wednesday, 24 April, hundreds of fleet decision-makers will have the opportunity to put models from both Mazda ranges through their paces.
Visitors will be able to test drive the Mazdas on public roads in the immediate area and on both the Grand Prix and Stowe racing circuits, and experience 'hot laps' in the company of qualified racing drivers.
Additionally, in the exhibition area fleet chiefs will be able to discuss their Mazda fleet requirements with the marque's corporate sales team led by Head of Fleet Steve Tomlinson.
More than 80 percent of the manufacturer's fleet sales in 2013 are expected to be accounted for by the recently launched upper medium sector Mazda6 and the compact crossover SUV CX-5. At the event there will be seven Mazda6s and three CX-5s for fleet decision-makers to test with models also displayed in the exhibition area.
Last year's launch of the CX-5 marked the debut of Mazda's SKYACTIV technology, which delivers major total cost of ownership savings for fleet operators and benefit-in-kind tax savings for company car drivers over rival models.
Significant fuel savings and emission reductions as a result of powertrain development are the headline benefits of SKYACTIV technology, but improved aerodynamics, vehicle weight reduction and chassis and transmission enhancements are also delivered.
Tomlinson said: "Fleet operators and company car drivers alike are looking to save money and SKYACTIV technology in the all-new Mazda6 and CX-5 enables them to do just that.
"Our fleet focus over the next 12 months is on raising awareness of the two models in the corporate sector and enabling decision-makers to experience SKYACTIV. Having driven the models back-to-back with rival vehicles at the Show we believe the financial benefits allied to the style and specification of both the all-new Mazda6 and CX-5 mean they will find their way into company car parks in significant numbers."
Fleet decision-makers attending this year's Fleet World Fleet Show have the ideal opportunity to test the models in real world conditions and discuss the whole life cost benefits with the Mazda corporate sales team.
The Mazda6 is the model that put the marque on the fleet map and the arrival of the third generation version has raised the stakes in the sector setting new levels of excellence with its class-leading combination of emissions, MPG and performance.
The key fleet model in the Mazda6 range is the 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D 150ps diesel manual. The saloon returns CO2 emissions of 108g/km with combined cycle MPG of 67.3 (combined cycle) achieving unmatched performance and economy from the available power (Tourer 116g/km and 64.2mpg).
The 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G petrol 145ps is equally potent with CO2 emissions of 129g/km and MPG of 51.4 on the combined cycle putting it among the sector's best performers in terms of environmental friendliness given the available power (Tourer 131g/km and 50.4mpg).
The all-new Mazda6 range in both bodystyles also includes a 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G 165ps petrol engine and a 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D 175ps diesel engine. On-the-road prices start at £19,595 for the 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G petrol 145ps saloon SE and £21,795 for the 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D 150ps diesel saloon SE.
Meanwhile, the Mazda CX-5 offers fleets a choice of 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G 165ps petrol and 2.2-litre SKYACTIV 150ps or 175ps engines with 2WD or all-wheel drive (AWD), manual and automatic transmissions and four equipment levels (SE-L, SE-L Nav, Sport and Sport Nav). CO2 emissions are from 119g/km and fuel economy up to 61.4mpg on the combined cycle.
A third of drivers around the UK have damaged their vehicle by hitting a pothole in the last two years, a new AA survey of motorists has found.
Damaged road surfaces took the greatest toll on drivers in Scotland, by some margin:
Damage in last two years
North West 35%
North East 34%
South East 34%
Yorks & Humberside 34%
South West 33%
West Midlands 31%
East Midlands 30%
Northern Ireland 29%
UK average 33%
The results show that tyres and wheels bear the brunt of the impact, with 13% of respondents reporting a damaged tyre and 6% sustaining damage to both tyre and wheel. An unlucky one in ten has had their steering knocked out of alignment as well as damage to the wheel.
In the worst case, a handful of people said the incident resulted in them losing control and crashing into anther vehicle or object.
Andy Smith, the AA’s patrol of the year award winner, commented: “It’s no surprise that drivers in the north have taken the biggest pothole hit, but AA patrols report that as soon as you get off the main road in many rural areas it’s like being on an Alpine mountain pass – you’re often in first gear traversing huge craters.
“If you see one up ahead, slow down and try to avoid swerving round it as you risk having a more serious accident. Regularly check your tyre pressures and look for any bulges, nicks or unusual tyre wear, which could spell pothole trouble. If in any doubt, get them checked at a garage.”
The AA is encouraging road users to report potholes to local authorities to allow them to repair them. Usually the repair cost won’t justify an insurance claim. However, you might be able to claim for the cost of any repairs from the highway authority if they were aware of the defect.
Government proposals for a new 80mph motorway speed limit are likely to be cancelled, due to the level of concern that it might increase the number of fatal car accidents.
According to the Financial Times, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin is resolved to cancel the plan, although an official announcement may not be made until later in the year.
However, the Department for Transport has said it will be going ahead with trials. A press officer for the DfT said: “Work is continuing to assess the potential economic, safety and environmental impacts of trialling 80mph speed limits across a number of sites on the motorway network.”
Brake, the road safety charity, strongly welcomed news, and urged the government to invest in more variable speed limits on motorways, with a top speed of 70mph, which it says is a proven way to reduce crashes while improving traffic flow.
The Association of Chief Police Officers says it wants to see pilots lasting two years before supporting the policy.
Driving after the sun goes down is a rather different experience to driving in daylight. Speed is harder to judge, distances can be hard to calculate, and facing a wall of headlights can cause distraction and impaired vision.
Britain’s top advanced driver, Peter Rodger of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, offers some tips on driving in the dark on the motorway, to make your journey as safe and enjoyable as possible:
To improve your view as far as possible, keep your lights and windscreen clean. Clean the inside of your windscreen as well as the exterior.
Use main beam to maximise the distance you can see ahead, but when other drivers are approaching dip your lights to avoid dazzling them.
Turn off your interior lights and dim the dashboard if possible to reduce interior reflections on your windows.
Make sure you can stop safely within the distance you can see to be clear. Stopping distances should be increased in hours of darkness, more so if winter weather has made the roads more slippery.
If you’re feeling tired, caffeine alone is not a fix. Take a break and have a 20-minute nap in a safe location. Opening your window to let some cool fresh air in will also perk you up.
Motorway driving can be monotonous, so share the driving if possible.
Look at how the traffic in front behaves for clues to possible problems you can’t see yet. Especially stay on the lookout for brake lights up ahead.
If you break down, pull over on to the hard shoulder and stop as far to the left as you can, pointing your wheels in towards the kerb. Then leave your vehicle and stand behind a crash barrier if there is one.
“Currently there are several stretches of motorway in Britain which have no lighting, making the hours of darkness even more challenging for motorists,” Peter Rodger said. “But this shouldn’t put you off driving. The roads are a lot quieter, making it a suitable time to make continuous progress.”
Short-sighted motorists involved in an accident or caught driving dangerously will now have their licences revoked within hours rather than days, to prevent them posing a risk to other road users.
The move follows a campaign led by Jackie McCord, whose daughter Cassie was killed in 2011 by an 87 year-old driver who had failed a police eye test three days before, and who collected 45,000 signatures petitioning for a change to how licences are removed.
The DVLA and the police have worked closely to greatly streamline the process for revoking a licence when the police identify that a driver’s eyesight is inadequate,” road safety minister Stephen Hammond said. “The decision whether to revoke a driving licence on medical grounds remains with the DVLA, but the process for informing drivers that their licence has been revoked has now been accelerated.”
Under the old scheme, police had to send a letter or fax to have a licence revoked, which could take several days. Under the new ruling, known as ‘Cassie’s Law,’ they can make a phone call or send an email requesting a licence be removed (from the roadside using a smartphone, for example).
The DVLA would then email back a revocation notice to the police station, which could be printed out and delivered to the offending driver the same day. Drivers who continue to drive after being told their license has been withdrawn face a fine of up to £5,000 or possibly six months in prison.