Once they have passed, young drivers could be banned from carrying anyone other than family members as passengers or driving after dark.
At present learner drivers are not allowed onto motorways but can the moment they are qualified, potentially leading to them suddenly finding themselves in the middle of 70mph traffic without any preparation.
The plans have been drawn up to cut the number of road accidents involving under-25s and reduce the cost of providing them with insurance cover.
Ministers are also considering making the driving test more difficult, perhaps by requiring learners to drive independently for longer than at present
A 100-car crash emerged on A1 motorway in Austria west of the country's capital of Vienna
Published on 27 Mar 2013
Traffic wardens have been ordered to stay away from a street – to protect them from the wrath of school-run parents.
METRO NEWS 28 March 2013
They have face verbal abuse from mothers and fathers of pupils at two schools, after issuing tickets at the drop-offs.
The situation has got so bad they have been temporarily withdrawn – despite fears that irresponsible parking is causing a danger for youngsters.
‘It’s quite unbelievable the levels of abuse, considering the job they’re doing there to help protect children,’ said council officer Gerwyn Jones.
‘This is a short-term thing until we meet with the schools and get an agreement in place.’
The wardens had been told to patrol in Aberystwyth, west Wales, because of the concerns over parking near Plascrug and Gymraeg schools.
But Katy Spain, parking services manager at Ceredigion County Council, said: ‘We have had some unnecessary levels of abuse, to the level where we’re unwilling to send officers there.
‘We didn’t think they should be put through that.’
Town councillor Paul Hinge said police should intervene by making an example of an abusive parent. ‘It only takes one person to be clamped down on and it will cease,’ he said
Jade Anderson death: Brutal crime or tragic accident?
Exasperated police and MPs are demanding a change in the law after 14-year-old Jade Anderson was killed by a pack of dogs in a house in Wigan
Tom Peck Thursday 28 March 2013
It was a savage attack that left a teenager dead, a community in shock and campaigners again demanding that urgent and far-reaching action must be taken to tackle the growing menace of dangerous dogs.
Jade Anderson's death, after she was mauled by five dogs while visiting a school friend's house in Atherton, Wigan, was so shocking that it was immediately assumed that criminal sanctions would follow. And yet it is quite possible that no charges will ever be brought.
One police officer could not contain his frustration yesterday that the death may simply be recorded as a "tragic accident" rather than a criminal matter. The dogs appear to have been bred legally– and four of the five have already been destroyed.
"We need to piece together a few things," the officer said. "It doesn't appear on the surface that any overt crime has been committed, as perverse as that sounds when a 14-year-old has been mauled to death."
No one else is thought to have been present when officers went to the house shortly after 2pm on Tuesday following reports that Jade was unconscious and a number of dogs were out of control. Four of the animals, thought to be two bull mastiffs and two Staffordshire bull terriers, were destroyed, while a fifth dog was safely contained.
Jade is believed to be the ninth child killed in a dog attack since 2005. Her death has intensified pressure on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to speed up changes to dog control legislation. An estimated 210,000 dogs attacks involving people take place each year.
Last month, ministers announced that from 2016 every dog will be required to have a chip implanted beneath its skin, from which it can be identified on a central database. They also said that the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act would be amended "as soon as parliamentary time permits" to offer greater protection to people attacked by dogs on private property
Shopkeeper blows the whistle on traffic wardens
When Andy Blackwell decided to take a stand against traffic wardens he became something of a cult hero among motorists around Britain
By Patrick Sawer 9:00PM GMT 09 Mar 2013
Armed with just a megaphone Mr Blackwell, a barber in the Cornish town of Liskeard, began warning shoppers that wardens were on the prowl, giving them enough time to return to their cars and move them elsewhere.
Mr Blackwell, however, was forced to stop his campaign when the council listed him as a threat to its employees.
Now the 51-year-old has taken up the cudgels again on behalf of Liskeard’s harassed drivers, only this time he is using the shrill blast of a whistle rather than the bark of a megaphone.
He has also distributed whistles among shops and businesses in an effort to increase the number of locals on the look out for wardens.
“They’re the ones who blew the whistle on me and it made me think, wouldn’t it be good if everyone had whistles,” he said. “Everyone will know that the wardens are around when the whistles blow.”
Cornwall Council had warned Mr Blackwell earlier this year against using his megaphone to warn of the wardens’ presence and added him to a “cautionary contacts list” of locals deemed to present a security risk to the council’s employees.
He said at the time: “As far as I was concerned I was doing a public service. It’s a little bit of fun, and people have thanked me. I never threatened or cursed or swore or offended anybody. I was just having a bit of fun.”
Neither Cornwall council nor their traffic wardens saw it that way. One of the wardens informed the police and three days later Mr Blackwell received a letter from the council saying he’d been placed on the cautionary contacts list.
He was told he would remain in the files for a year for “verbally abusing” two wardens who suffered “extreme distress”.
Following the incident Mr Blackwell started a petition calling for free parking in the town, before hitting on the idea of the whistle.
A number of shopkeepers in Liskeard are now following Mr Blackwell’s and using whistles.
Andrew Beddow, who runs a grocer’s shop, said: “Unfortunately, the traffic wardens are a bit ambitious. They don’t help us traders.”
Lincolnshire Police will soon be introducing the concept of Volunteer Police Community Support Officers (PCSO).
In anticipation of a future recruitment campaign for this role, if you would like to express an interest in this position, please call the Lincolnshire Police Volunteer Line on click here to see full details
No one is likely to be charged over the death of a 14-year-old girl thought to have been mauled by four dogs, it has emerged.
METRO NEWS 28 Mar 2013
Jade Anderson was found dead at her friend’s house on Tuesday with injuries consistent with a dog attack.
It is understood she was alone in the house after Kimberley Concannon left her while she heated a meat pie.
When the 16-year-old returned to find Jade after the suspected attack she contacted police, who destroyed four dogs when they arrived at the terraced property in Atherston, Greater Manchester, while a fifth was contained.
However, Kimberley’s mother Beverley, the dogs’ owner, is unlikely to face charges as the bull mastiffs and Staffordshire terriers thought to be involved in the attack are not covered by the Dangerous Dogs Act if incidents take place on private property
Northampton motorway service station celebrates nine per cent increase in sales
Northampton Chronicle 28 March 2013
Staff at a motorway service station near Northampton are celebrating winning Burger Company of the Year at Roadchef’s Heroes of the Year awards.
The services at junction 15a of the M1 has run an outlet of The Burger Company, Roadchef’s own brand, since 2010 and its success has led to the brand being introduced at seven other sites.
The 9.4 per cent increase in sales at The Burger Company at the Northampton services were recognised in Roadchef’s recent awards night.
Jo Frade, who runs the Burger Company operation at Northampton North services, said: “We are all delighted to have won the Burger Company of the Year award. The whole team works extremely hard all year round and it’s great that this has been recognised.”
Simon Turl, CEO of Roadchef commented: “Northampton North services fully deserve the award for all of their success over the last year. They increased sales at Burger Company by 9.4 per cent in 2012 – an outstanding achievement.”
Abolish Highways Agency for economic boost
Thomas Bridge 5 March 2013
Greater local authority freedom over the road network would boost economic growth and give 2.5 times the return on current transport investment, council leaders have said.
A Localis report commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA) has recommended the Government abolish the Highways Agency and grant sub-regional bodies power over road projects to boost financial returns on investment.
Launched at an LGA Town Hall Summit, The Road to Growth calls on chancellor George Osborne to amalgamate existing transport funding streams into a single pot for council applications.
Over a quarter of locally led transport and infrastructure schemes provide a return of £5 for every £1 spent, an improvement on the 2:1 return ratio offered by current transport investment business cases, the report finds.
Chair of the LGA’s economy and transport board, Cllr Peter Box, said: ‘At the moment, investment and innovation is being stifled by a burdensome top-down approach by the Department of Transport and Highways Agency and a confusing and wasteful myriad of different funding.
‘Local authorities are already showing they can get far more bang for their buck with transport spending. They’re best placed to manage and invest in roads and integrate buses, trains, trams, cycling schemes and so on to suit the diverse needs of businesses and communities.’
Chief executive of Localis, Alex Thomson, said: ‘With transport being an essential part of stimulating and maintaining thriving local economies, greater local influence over commissioning and new flexibilities around infrastructure finance are needed if the Government
VIDEO: H. A. reveals managed motorway plans
Published on Tuesday 5 February 2013 14:45
The Highways Agency’s plans to turn a long stretch of the M1 into a managed motorway have been met with concern by drivers.
The scheme will see the hard shoulder of the M1 converted into a permanent traffic lane over a 19-mile section between junction 28 at South Normanton and junction 31, near Worksop in Nottinghamshire.
The hard shoulder between the junction slip roads will also be converted to a full-time running lane in both directions to allow more traffic to flow during busy times and variable mandatory speed limits, displayed on overhead and verge-mounted signs, will be in place.
There motorway will also be adapted further north between junctions 32 and 35a, near Sheffield, and junction 39 to 42, near Wakefield, while the scheme follows one already up and running on the M42 in the Midlands, and a scheme which is currently be implemented on the M62 in West Yorkshire.
But drivers say they are concerned that the transformation of the hard shoulder will make it difficult for the emergency services to reach the scenes of accidents.
One driver, Charlotte Deane said: “With no hard shoulder how on earth are people going to get to safety if they breakdown? Drivers sometimes hit cars on the hard shoulder so goodness knows what will happen when there isn’t one.”
Another, Barry Dyke said: “How will emergency services get to accidents in busy times if the hard shoulder is blocked with traffic. They should build a fourth lane instead.”
But Dan Tank, Highways Agency project manager for the M1 J28 to J31 scheme, said the work was needed to increase capacity on the motorway.
“We’ve used our experience of successfully operating managed motorways in the West Midlands to produce an updated design which would see the hard shoulder permanently converted to a running lane, with fewer overhead structures such as gantries,” he said.
“This will provide the additional capacity required without compromising overall safety.
“By being a managed motorway, this section of the M1 will provide much needed additional capacity, easing congestion and making journey times more reliable for the 95,000 road users who depend on the route each day - this in turn will support economic growth.
“We know this will be a totally new concept for many people, so we want to listen to any comments and answer questions that members of the public and local residents may have about the scheme, such as how it will operate, what to do if they break down and how we plan to deliver the improvements.
'Outrage' as driver takes to motorway with 'small hole' to see through snow
ITV NEWS 20 Jan 2013
Northamptonshire Police are reminding motorists to remove snow from their cars before embarking on their journey.
Police tweeted this photograph as a stark reminder of how dangerous it can be to not remove snow from a vehicle before heading onto the roads.
It was taken on the M4 between junctions 28 and 29 just before midday today.
Stephen Sorby took this photograph when he was travelling from London to Wales with his friend. He said he couldn't believe what he had seen:
"We are outraged with what we saw, we couldn't believe anyone would drive like that. So careless to risk the lives of others." Mr Sorby estimates that the car was travelling around 60mph to 70mph.
Motorway screens to stop rubbernecking
New boards will stop other motorists from slowing down to look at crashes
3 Jan 2013 Chris Ebbs
The Government is to roll out 3,000 screens in a bid to stop motorists from slowing down to look at crashes on the opposite carriageway.
Bought by the Highways Agency, the new boards will be placed around serious accidents or deaths on roads in an attempt to reduce traffic jams.
Each set is made up of 30 screens and can reach 75 metres if used end-to-end, with each individual screen measuring in at around 2.1m by 2m high. The total cost for the screens was £2.3m, with each set costing £22,000.
The screens are set to come in to use sometime in the next 12 months, with a Department for Transport (DfT) spokesman claiming that they could be in use by the summer.
The screens will form part of the Government’s CLEAR (Collision, Lead, Evaluate, Act and Reopen) initiative, which began last year and attempts to get roads reopened quicker after accidents and keep other traffic moving. Other measures include 38 DfT/police funded 3D scanners that allow police to capture evidence quicker, and a smart phone app that notifies drivers of any incidents
how main protagonists have been affected by the cyclists TV confession
By Brendan Gallagher 9:28PM GMT 20 Jan 2013
Reaction to the interview – even in the United States – has been hostile. The big decision he must make, having admitted in broad terms to his doping, is whether to offer specific details. That is the only way he will ever be allowed to compete in organised sport and even that would not be for at least eight years. To do that he must end his feud with the US Anti-Doping Agency.
Has strongly supported CEO Travis Tygart in the allegation he made on 60 Minutes that a representative of Armstrong rang the agency in 2004 with an offer of a $250,000 [£157,663] donation. Armstrong denied this allegation in the Oprah Winfrey interview, but Usada has also got to decide whether it is willing to reopen its file on Armstrong and take a full confession under oath and reduce his life ban to the minimum of eight years.
Incensed at Armstrong’s insistence that he rode his two comeback Tours in 2009 and 2010 riding “clean”. None of the International Cycling Union tests on that Tour were positive but the World Anti-Doping Agency insists that the samples they retested and re-evaluated are highly suspicious and there was a “one in a million chance” of them being natural. Wada is also looking to be conciliatory, however. President Johny Fahey has confirmed that if Armstrong offers a full disclosure with specific details of who facilitated the doping, WADA would not appeal a reduction to eight years.
Armstrong’s revelations, such as they were, could hinder his pending legal cases. One, from the insurance company SCA Promotions, has been launched to recover the $7.5 million they paid in bonus money to Armstrong for his Tour de France wins and the $5 million costs that were awarded against them when they queried the payment in court. Armstrong lied outright under oath at that hearing, but his admissions to Winfrey could jeopardise that. The Sunday Times is expected to confirm its attempt to recover the $1.5 million it was ordered to pay in its libel case with Armstrong.
Cycling’s world governing body has escaped any serious damage from Armstrong at this stage, although if he ever makes a full confession under oath that could change. Importantly for the body – and president Pat McQuaid, who has two court cases pending on the subject – Armstrong insisted that the $125,000 donation he made to the UCI in 2002 was not a bribe related to an alleged positive test at the 2001 Tour de Suisse. Armstrong also declined to go anywhere near the allegations that $500,000 was paid to former UCI president Hein Verbruggen to cover up a positive test for cortisone from the 1999 Tour de
DVLA: Seven staff suspended for posting "inappropriate" Facebook comments
2 January 2013, BBC NEWS
Seven office workers at the DVLA in Swansea have been suspended for putting "inappropriate" comments jokes on Facebook.
The staff are facing disciplinary action after being caught writing personal comments on the social networking site.
The driver and vehicle licensing agency employs 5,000 in Swansea.
A DVLA spokesman said: "The staff remain suspended while investigations are ongoing."
The staff at the DVLA hold the records for Britain's 32 million vehicles.
Workers are banned from accessing social networking websites on the computers they use during their shifts.
But the staff are thought to have posted the remarks outside work and were later reported to management.
Comments including lewd jokes are also being investigated
A DVLA spokesman said: "Although instances are extremely rare, any inappropriate postings by staff made outside of work will be investigated and could result in disciplinary action.
"All staff are aware of the guidance in place and are reminded on a regular basis."
The DVLA is currently in the process of closing all 39 of its regional offices to try to to cut costs and drive more customers to use its online services.
Charlie Cooper , Andy McSmith Tuesday 01 January 2013
the spread of the slowdown zones
The Independent disclosed today that millions more motorists will face lower speed limits with the spread of the slowdown zones that already operate in several major cities such as Liverpool, Bristol, York, Newcastle upon Tyne and parts of London.
Despite the popularity of low-speed zones in residential areas, which were backed by 62 per cent of people in a survey for this newspaper, motoring groups warned of a drivers’ backlash.
Keith Peat, spokesman for Alliance of British Drivers and former traffic policeman said: “20mph zones will be counterproductive and create more accidents. What you’ll get is drivers driving to the speedometer. It’s safer that drivers drive to what they’re seeing outside the car and not to what their speed needle is saying.”
Five teenage boys arrested in Waltham Abbey after bricks damage trucks on the M25
3 Jan, 2013 By Dominic Sutton
FIVE 13-year-old boys who were arrested after bricks were thrown at lorries from a motorway bridge have been bailed pending further enquiries.
The boys, all from Waltham Abbey, were arrested on New Year’s Day on suspicion of causing criminal damage with intent to endanger life.
Their arrests came after the drivers of two lorries and a recovery truck told police their windscreens had been smashed as they drove along the M25 at around 6.25pm.
Police say they believe other vehicles may have been hit by bricks thrown near a footbridge off Lodge Lane close to junction 26.
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