Road Safety

Autonomous Vehicles: Is the self-driving car around the corner?

Autonomous Vehicles: Is the self-driving car around the corner? 1000 600 Anthony Anthony

Having a beautiful Tesla Model S at our Windsor showroom has captured the imaginations of our customers, web visitors, attendees at this month’s Thames Valley Expo, and not least: all here at WVL! Excitement was palpable at the new technology in the vehicle, and having this glimpse of the future inspired us to research the topic of Autonomous Vehicles and see what the future holds for drivers… how safe will autonomous vehicles be, is the technology really there yet, or are we trying to run before we can walk?

“Every car in production will now have the capability for full autonomy by 2018”


What is an Autonomous Vehicle?

Used widely these days to describe ‘driverless’ or ‘self-driving’ cars, technically, the term means a vehicle able to sense its environment and navigate without human input – now a coveted goal in the motor industry.

We’re all familiar with the early stages of autonomy: cruise control has been around for some time, and now with lane departure warning and auto parking there’s a stepwise transfer of control to onboard computers. Each new development chalks up a point of difference for manufacturers trying to sell vehicles in a hugely competitive marketplace.

Manufacturers, regulators and insurers all recognise the importance of defining the degrees of autonomy, which are based on the degree of driver attentiveness rather than vehicle capability. Put simply: feet off, hands off, eyes off, brain off. They are more formally defined by SAE International, a US automotive standardisation body, definitions now adopted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and which range from complete driver control to full autonomy as follows:

Level 0 Automated system has no vehicle control, but may issue warnings
Level 1 Function-specific autonomy – Driver must be ready to take control at any time. Automated system may include features such as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Parking Assistance with automated steering, and Lane Keeping Assistance (LKA) Type II
Level 3 Limited self-driving autonomy – Within known, limited environments (such as freeways), the driver can safely turn their attention away from driving tasks, but must still be prepared to take control when needed. e.g. Audi’s piloted driving concept in the A7
Level 4 Fully self-driving autonomy – As level 3, but no driver attention is required. Outside the limited environment the vehicle must be able to enter a safe fallback mode – i.e. park the car – if the driver does not retake control. e.g. Google car, Volvo ‘Drive Me’
Level 5 Fully autonomous in every driving scenario – Other than setting the destination and starting the system, no human intervention is required. The automatic system can drive to any location where it is legal to drive and make its own decisions

Read on to see how these systems are being implemented, the journey to this point, and how the road ahead looks.

Safety First

Tesla claim they could have a fully autonomous vehicle on the road by 2018, and Volvo has announced its Drive Me London programme for next year, but neither of these vanguards have had an unblemished journey so far.

In April of this year, an Uber driverless Volvo carrying two engineers was hit by a vehicle which failed to give way at an intersection in Arizona. Thankfully nobody was hurt, but Uber suspended its driverless fleets in Arizona, California and Florida until the investigation was complete – the Volvo was shown not to have malfunctioned. Confidence is still strong in this partnership, with Volvo announcing a $300m (£226m) investment with Uber.

In May 2016 the driver of a Tesla Model S with ‘Autopilot’ engaged sadly became the first fatality in a self-driving car when its sensors were unable to discern the bright side of an 18-wheel truck & trailer crossing the highway in front of it. The Tesla’s windscreen impacted with the bottom of the trailer and the driver was killed.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigators found that the driver had been watching a movie at the time, with seven seconds to take action, and that Tesla were not to blame. Their investigation also showed that crash rates for Tesla vehicles dropped by 40% after its Autosteer technology was installed. Tesla also pointed out that this was one fatality in 130 million customer miles driven, compared with one fatality in every 94 million miles driven among all US vehicles.

Google’s vehicles have clocked-up over 2m autonomous miles… but they haven’t gone unscathed with around two dozen recorded accidents. Nevertheless, just one – a collision with a bus – was found to be the fault of the self-driving car. Google recently gave data that 1.2 million people die in car accidents each year… with 94% resulting from human error.

The argument for lowering those statistics is strong: McKinsey & Company estimated that widespread use of autonomous vehicles could “eliminate 90% of all auto accidents in the United States, prevent up to US$190 billion in damages and health-costs annually and save thousands of lives.”

Software Giants

Whilst it’s logical for the major manufacturers to add their automation step-by-step, leaders in the software & technology field, Google and Apple, are going all-out for full automation.

Pioneers in driverless vehicles, Google’s self-driving programme began back in 2009 using Toyota’s Prius, and they’ve recently consolidated their work under the new spin-off brand ‘Waymo’. For 2017, and now in partnership with Fiat Chrysler, they’re introducing Chrysler’s Pacifica Minivan to their fleet, equipped with the Waymo hardware/software suite for full autonomy.

Much rumour and speculation has surrounded Apple and whether it will be designing its own autonomous vehicle. An announcement by their director of product integrity (formerly a Ford Motor executive) last December gave little insight, but their project ‘Titan’ now appears to be a software platform for autonomous driving, like Waymo, to be licenced to manufacturers.

Ford has invested $1bn in artificial intelligence company Argo AI to produce the software for its next generation of self-driving cars – indeed, they claim they’ll be mass producing cars without a steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedals in just four years.

Clearly no manufacturer wants to be left behind, and indeed all these additional brands have projects underway, too: BMW, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Landrover, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, PSA (Peugeot-Citroen-DS), Renault-Nissan, Subaru, Toyota and VW group.

Safety in numbers

Autonomous driving is in some respects a misnomer – these vehicles won’t be completely independent as data will pass from vehicle to vehicle forewarning about upcoming hazards and providing information about each other’s status and position on the road.

With upgraded road infrastructure, where traffic signals and status are also communicated to vehicles in advance, the roads will surely be a safer place. Knock-ons will include shortened journey times as faster speeds will be safer, increasing traffic flow since vehicles will be able to drive safely closer together, and easing congestion as a result.

The full benefits of such a system won’t be realised immediately though: The Department for Transport (DfT) predict at the point 1 in 4 cars are driverless, it will cause delays to traffic flow and only once they’ve reached 50-75% of cars will congestion reduce – but potentially by as much as 40%.

“There’s a prize to be had in terms of swifter, safer journeys, but the transition to that world will be challenging.”

Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation

Data Protection

All this, however, requires the sharing of data and the collaboration of  vehicle manufacturers and software giants to talk a common language. Not just on successes and failures during research and development between themselves and regulators, but also on the road, between vehicles and the road infrastructure. It’s this real-time data flow which is an area of significant concern in terms of data security.

The threat of hacking is very real: in 2015 a Jeep Cherokee was paralysed on the highway by a remote hacker gaining access via the vehicle’s internet connection. Chrysler recalled 1.4 million cars as a result and as more vehicle systems become online the potential for causing harm becomes more significant.

USB ports, for example, are easy points for gaining access, and driverless cars used as taxis would mean every passenger could be considered a threat. To date, only Tesla has talked of implementing trusted code signed with cryptographic keys to prevent such overrides. Consider a ransomware attack on Uber, with passengers locked in cars until a ransom was paid for their release. Or terrorist-controlled unmanned vehicles carrying explosives.

One of the original hackers Charlie Miller, formerly of the NSA, then security researcher at Uber, is now at a Chinese competitor, Didi – a move he made due to being able to speak more freely about the real threat of car hacking and the security problems it poses:

“Autonomous vehicles are at the apex of all the terrible things that can go wrong… Cars are already insecure, and you’re adding a bunch of sensors and computers that are controlling them… If a bad guy gets control of that, it’s going to be even worse.”

Charlie Miller, formerly at Uber, now at Didi.

Insurance Assurance

Insurance companies will also need to see vehicle driving data to help determine liability in the event of an accident. They’re proposing access to data covering 30 seconds prior, to 15 seconds after any incident, including vehicle location, driver mode, whether the motorist was in the driver’s seat and had a seatbelt on.

Understandably, drivers will need reassurance that they won’t be blamed in the event of a vehicle malfunction. Major insurers including AXA and Direct Line are collaborating on a new framework for the next generation of motoring, with an option being to extend to cover product liability i.e. if an autopilot fault causes an accident. Volvo however are the first manufacturer to announce they will accept the liability if one of its autonomous cars crashes when driving itself.

A report by consulting firm KPMG predicts the number of car accidents to go down 80% by 2040, the increasing degrees of automation changing the ‘risk profile’ of the car.

“The car becomes safer and safer as it moves towards fully-autonomous driving.”

Jerry Albright, KPMG

Long term, there may be little or no need for motor insurance due to the safety improvements made possible, but the interim could be a time of much confusion, insurance-wise.

To pave the way, recent discussions between the DfT and the BVRLA have confirmed that they’ll use public sector fleets as a test bed for setting out policy for insurance claims. Clear definitions are required to determine whether the driver, the insurer or the manufacturer are liable; whether the vehicle was under manual or autonomous control, and even whether necessary software updates have been applied or modifications made. Transport Minister Chris Grayling has set this for debate later this year in The Modern Transport Bill.

“To properly pave the way for these technologies, we must create an environment where developers can “bring their products to market in a safe way that protects consumers.”

Chris Grayling

We should expect to see changes to The Highway Code, Driving Test and licencing in order to keep pace with the changing road environment. Revisions have already been announced for this coming December to account for satnavs and auto parking.

UK Driving Force

The UK Government has established the University of Cambridge Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) with the DfT to help ensure that the UK remains a world leader in developing and testing connected and autonomous vehicles.

They are also providing funding for an autonomous car cyber security group with suggestions of star ratings for security levels, similar to EuroNCAP’s crash safety ratings.

Driverless car projects are already planned or in progress in a number of UK cities:

The £8m+ Project GATEway will involve 10mph 4-seater driverless shuttle buses around pedestrian public areas using a self-learning system called ‘Selenium’ by UK startup Oxbotica. This system can be added, along with the required cameras and sensors, to a standard vehicle.

“Driverless cars will make our roads safer and help an ageing population remain independent.”

Paul Newman, professor at Oxford University and co-founder of Oxbotica

Milton Keynes
Oxbotica’s technology was also at work as of October 2016 in 2-seater pod cars in a 1km loop around Milton Keynes’ railway station.

Autonomous cars will be reaching speeds of up to 70mph on the roads of Greater Manchester next year as part of a three year research study on roads between Stockport Railway Station and Manchester Airport. There will be a standby driver in each of the three vehicles to take control if required.

Following a pilot programme in Sweden this year, Volvo will begin real-world autonomous vehicle testing in the UK next year under a programme called Drive Me London. The first trials will involve semi-autonomous XC90s, but by 2018 they will be replaced by 100 fully autonomous cars with selected families trying their ‘Unsupervised Driving’ mode on city streets.

‘Transport as a Service’

Clean energy thought-leader, Tony Seba, anticipates that by 2021, autonomous electric vehicles operating under a ‘Transport as a Service’ model (essentially Uber, without a driver) will be 4-10 times cheaper per mile than buying a similar model, and 2-4 times cheaper than running an existing owned vehicle. And considering that cars aren’t used 96% of the time, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, will we still be choosing to have our own private vehicle – especially when initial purchase costs are likely to be high?

“In peak time, 30 per cent of city driving is people looking for parking. That goes away if you have cars that drive themselves and drop you off and go find another passenger.”

Sergey Brin, Google

The Road Ahead

The near future could be a confusing time for motorists: whilst we approach full automation, the car will take some of the strain of driving, whilst the motorist’s hands will be hovering over the wheel, and eyes still on the road. How appealing this technology will be to motorists, and whether they’re prepared to pay for it, remains to be seen.

The roadmap ahead as blogged by AutoExpress looks like the following:

2016 Assisted Driving – e.g. AEB and lane departure technology
2018 ‘Hands-off’ self-driving – for motorways, with the driver expected to remain responsible and take control if required, though able to remove hands from the steering wheels for 3 minutes at a time
2021 Automated Driving – with the next decade will come full autonomy in defined sections of motorway where the car can take full control
2025 Fully autonomous cars – it’s predicted that in ten years our cars will be able to drive us door to door without us needing to touch the wheel, with onboard technology to communicate with other vehicles as well as the road infrastructure. There may even be vehicles with no driver controls

“In 2019 you will be able to buy a car with an autopilot system where you can take your hands off the wheel for up to three minutes. But that will only work on a motorway.”

Matthew Avery, Thatcham

For this technology to develop a system able to interpret its surrounding filled with obstructions, hazards and other vehicles as quickly as a human brain, not to mention clearer road markings and weather-proofing to the sensors.

Come the Revolution

It’s perhaps no surprise that with its Silicon Valley and warm dry weather, California is paving the way in the development race. Momentously, as of 13th April 2017, Google, Apple (using modified Lexus Hybrids) and Tesla along with 27 other brands including Ford, GM, VW and BMW have been granted permission by the California Department of Motor Vehicles to allow them to test their technology on the roads. This is a landmark ruling.

“It’s a race towards a brave new world, it’ll be life changing.”

Jayne Waydo, head of systems engineering at Waymo (Google)

“The technology itself will perform a lot better than we perform now as humans… We needed to provide a clear path to completely driverless vehicles, because of the safety benefits.”

Bernard Soriano, deputy director of the Department of Motor Vehicles


Crucially, manufacturers are required to ‘self certify’ that their vehicles are safe to operate without a human driver. How they actually prove this hasn’t yet been determined and is considered “a very big leap” by Ryan Call, law professor at University of Washington.

The recent California ruling is a big step towards autonomy. Beverly Hill has already approved plans for a driverless car programme to replace the public transport system there, and in accord it’s likely that public transport systems worldwide will see driverless vehicles made mainstream before private vehicles. This has the double positive of making public transport cheaper, and potentially reducing the number of cars on the road too.

Pros and Cons

The benefits are clear to see. In 2015 a blind man ‘drove’ unaccompanied on a public road in Austin, Texas, for the first time thanks to a Google car, and a study by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) found that six out ten people with limited mobility will benefit from an autonomous car. Of those who agreed their lives would be improved, almost half said they would be able to pursue hobbies outside their home or go out to places like restaurants more often. A further 39% said they would have better access to healthcare as a result of an autonomous car.

Further benefits include:

  • A significant reduction in traffic collision, the resultant injuries, and motor insurance costs
  • major increases to traffic flow, higher speed limits, smoother rides
  • automated mass transit would reduce the need for vehicle – and thus roads and parking spaces – in cities
  • enhanced mobility for children, the elderly, disabled people, and the poor
  • relieving travellers of the chores of driving and navigation
  • reduced fuel consumption and emissions
  • reduced car theft due to the vehicles’ self-awareness
  • more comfortable cabins, with the removal of steering wheel and controls
  • plus being able to pick up passengers or go for maintenance without a driver present.

Potential downsides include:

  • Software reliability
  • breaches of vehicle software security, plus the security of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications networks, with potential for terrorism.
  • susceptibility of sensing equipment to adverse weather or deliberate interference
  • digital mapping will need resolution upgrading in many areas
  • current road infrastructure will need changes for systems to work optimally
  • drivers risk becoming ‘complacent’ – the conclusion reached by a House Of Commons report showed drivers in autonomous cars react on average 6x slower when having to intervene in emergency braking situations compared to driving manually
  • the loss of driving-related jobs across a wide range of industries, from haulage to insurance. That said, new industries will emerge around providing ‘Transport as a Service’, or TaaS, creating new employment opportunities, and success in the field here in the UK could create 320,000 jobs.

Eyes Forward

Progress is happening fast: autonomous trucks are already working hard in ports, mines and terminals for short repetitive trips, and with governments already onboard with city-based vehicle trials and significant investment. Latest opinion, however, may suggest we’re trying to run before we can walk.

AutoExpress have just reported back from a conference on the subject just last week, organised by the Financial Times. The leader of Nissan’s research centre in Silicon Valley, Maarten Sierhuis, who once wrote software for NASA, is a strong proponent for still having the human element.

Their Leaf prototype uses their Seamless Autonomous Mobility system and should it encounter an unknown obstacle, Sierrhuis’ vision entails it beaming images back to base for a human to examine and advise on a course of action which can be sent to other vehicles in the area. Despite them having autonomous prototypes in testing since 2015, and promising a fully autonomous car in its line-up by 2020, Sierhuis’ salient message was “It’ll be impossible to have autonomous vehicles driving around without them ever needing help.”

Around the Corner?

Waymo Autonomous CarWill this futuristic vision become reality? According to Tesla, it’s just around the corner, recently claiming we’re just two years away from sleeping in the car.

Advancing technology is not only big business, it’s unavoidable, so change will certainly come… particularly when its benefits are so far reaching in terms of safety, and mobility for those who currently struggle. But will the coming revolution see us still as a 1+ car-per-family society, or will the savings of switching to a TaaS, super-Uber system to pick us up and drop us off cause an even greater shift than anticipated?

The motoring world is moving forward into new territory, a journey which will bring much change to the industry, to our lifestyles, and no doubt to the way we view, use and rely on our motor vehicles.  Whether or not you’re comfortable with handing control to a computer, ultimately, with greater levels of safety being a key driver behind this change, our roads are set to be a far safer place, and we can all agree that’s a destination worth reaching.
Tesla Model S for lease

Tread with Care: proposed change to minimum tyre tread depth

Tread with Care: proposed change to minimum tyre tread depth 1000 600 Anthony Anthony

Calls by the tyre industry for increasing the minimum tread depth to 3mm, or even 4mm, have been met with strong resistance – surprisingly, by Michelin. They argue that their tyres are made to guarantee effectiveness right down to 1.6mm, and that premature replacement is a waste of money, harmful to the environment and potentially reduces its overall safety performance.

Keeping track

The legal limit remains at 1.6mm across the central 75% of the tyre (a threshold set by motoring experts some 25 years ago), with a recommendation by RoSPA in 2005 to replace tyres at 3mm due to their diminished performance particularly in wet conditions – as the depth decreases stopping distance in wet weather will increase.

Recent research reported by tyre retailer KwikFit has shown that 73% of our blue light services (police, fire & ambulance) change their vehicles’ tyres at a tread depth between 2.6 to 3mm, some 10% in fact change them as early as 3.1 to 4mm. This is of course encouraging, understanding how greater tread depth can reduce stopping distances in wet conditions – and KwikFit’s view was that motorists should follow their example.

Michelin however, are challenging this move with their own new research: they are in favour of not replacing tyres at 3mm, but rather waiting until they are close to the 1.6mm limit. Their study has shown no link between tread depths of 1.6mm and accident rate, and perhaps surprisingly that a premium tyre worn to this limit can perform as well as a brand new lower-performing tyre. Changing a tyre early therefore doesn’t guarantee safety and they are advising against premature replacement.

All new tyres are not equal, nor do they wear or perform in service at the same levels. Differences in casing design, tread pattern, materials and rubber compounds all affect wear and performance. Lower quality tyres which may perform well and meet standards when new, in tests, can slide 30% in performance when tread reduces to below 3 or 4mm. Higher quality tyres can perform well through to the legal limit.

They are promoting wider testing of tyres as a guide to in-life performance, rather than going by a blanket rule which may waste tyres with many more safe miles left in them.

The cost of change

Michelin commissioned Ernst & Young to investigate consumer costs and they determined that replacement at 3mm would cost EU drivers almost an extra €7bn in purchase costs and fuel consumption. It would also require an extra 128 million tyres in Europe per year, with 9m tonnes of additional CO2 released.

Furthermore, new tyres with greater tread depth are less fuel efficient than those with lower depth: ‘rolling resistance’ reduces with depth, so fuel economy will improve with wear.

They also found that a worn tyre is capable of stopping more quickly than a new tyre in dry conditions – in fact becoming safer with wear.

All Weather

Critically, when we think of tyre safety, we think of driving – and stopping – in wet weather. Michelin’s tests showed that some worn tyres can perform as well as new tyres in wet conditions.

The original MIRA (Motoring Industry Research Association) data from 2003 showed that wet stopping distances start to increase dramatically at tread depths of below 3mm. At the legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, the wet stopping distance increased by 36.8% on asphalt vs 44.6% on concrete. Tyres with a 3mm tread had a 25 per cent better stopping performance than those at 1.6mm in the wet.

stopping distance vs tread depth

Michelin’s stand is one of balancing the tyre’s performance in all conditions, not just the wet, and their data clearly supports extended wear beyond the 3mm limit can be beneficial in terms of cost, fuel consumption, and safety on dry roads. That said, given the levels of rainfall we can see here in the UK, and how wet conditions are better handled with more tread depth, whether this view will stand its ground remains to be seen.

“I just can’t agree with Michelin’s stance. I’ve conducted exhaustive tests, measuring cars’ braking distances in the wet on tyres with 8, 3, and 1.6mm tread depths. The 1.6mm tyres took much longer to stop… Admittedly I wasn’t using Michelin tyres – but they were from a premium rival.”

Kim Adams, Auto Express products editor

Losing Grip

Only 1 in 8 drivers check their tyre tread depths regularly according to a KwikFit survey, showing that the majority of points issued in 2015 were to drivers with tread levels below 1.6mm. Road safety charity TyreSafe’s research found that one third of all UK tyres were illegal – either below 1.6mm tread or with other defects. Bristol’s tyres fared worse with over 46% found to be illegal, with Greater London faring best at 13.8%.

“Well maintained tyres significantly reduce the risk of being involved in an accident.”

Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman

N.B. This video is dated 2011, prior to Michelin’s recent study.


Until new guidelines are published, the 1.6mm minimum, and 3mm advisory limit will remain. The key point is to check your tyres regularly; not only is it one of the top three MOT fail items, risking 3 points and fine up to £10,000 is surely an incentive to keep a watch. The AA recommends checking more frequently when tread depth reaches 3mm, and consider replacing the tyre when it approaches 2mm. Always allow extra room for braking in wet conditions, and don’t forget to check your pressures too. Most importantly, maintaining your tyres could prevent you losing grip on the road surface or suffering a blowout – the consequences of either being potentially catastrophic.

Tyres are included with WVL’s Full Maintenance Packages!

No need to worry about the cost of replacement tyres when you lease your vehicle from WVL with a maintenance package – tyres are covered! Whilst it’s still your responsibility to monitor their wear and condition between scheduled services, the cost of replacement is fully included in the deal. Click here for details:

See our current lease deals here or call us on 01753 851561 for more information.

Changes to the Highway Code to for Autonomous Vehicle technology

The Highway Re-Code: Changes to the Rulebook for Autonomous Vehicle Technology

The Highway Re-Code: Changes to the Rulebook for Autonomous Vehicle Technology 660 300 Anthony Anthony

Changes were made to the Highway Code on 30th November 2018 which included rules for new advanced driver assistance systems and automated vehicle technologies.

With many of us already familiar with levels of automation ranging from simple cruise control to advanced auto-parking and even ‘remote summoning’, this technology is not only advancing at great speed, it’s becoming more widespread across makes and models as manufacturers strive to compete for today’s tech savvy customers. No doubt this is the first of many such updates to keep the roadway rulebook relevant.

As drivers, it’s our own responsibility to ensure we’re up to date with the Highway Code, so read on. The amendments to rules 149, 150, 160 and 239 cover the use (and mis-use) of in-vehicle technology, automated parking aids, and adherence to manufacturers’ instructions. They’re shown in full below, and here’s the link to read all the recent Highway Code updates.

Mobile phones and in-vehicle technology

Rule 149
You MUST exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times. You MUST NOT use a hand-held mobile phone, or similar device, when driving or when supervising a learner driver, except to call 999 or 112 in a genuine emergency when it is unsafe or impractical to stop. Never use a hand-held microphone when driving. Using hands-free equipment is also likely to distract your attention from the road. It is far safer not to use any telephone while you are driving or riding – find a safe place to stop first or use the voicemail facility and listen to messages later.

You may park your vehicle using a hand-held remote control app or device. The app or device MUST be legal, and you should not put other people in danger when you use it.

Rule 150
There is a danger of driver distraction being caused by in-vehicle systems such as satellite navigation systems, congestion warning systems, PCs, multi-media, etc. You MUST exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times. Do not rely on driver assistance systems such as motorway assist, lane departure warnings, or remote control parking. They are available to assist but you should not reduce your concentration levels. Do not be distracted by maps or screen-based information (such as navigation or vehicle management systems) while driving or riding. If necessary find a safe place to stop.

As the driver, you are still responsible for the vehicle if you use a driver assistance system (like motorway assist). This is also the case if you use a hand-held remote control parking app or device. You MUST have full control over these systems at all times.

General Rules

Rule 160 includes:
Once moving you should drive with both hands on the wheel where possible. This will help you to remain in full control of the vehicle at all times. You may use driver assistance systems while you are driving. Make sure you use any system according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Rule 239 includes:
Before using a hand-held device to help you to park, you MUST make sure it is safe to do so. Then, you should move the vehicle into the parking space in the safest way, and by the shortest route possible.

When you use a hand-held device to help you to park, you MUST remain in control of the vehicle at all times. Do not use the hand-held device for anything else while you are using it to help you park, and do not put anyone in danger. Use the hand-held device according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Moving Forward

This is a timely update given that the first self-driving cars — without a human in the driving seat — could be on our roads before the year is out in test vehicles. Road testing criteria previously required a human operator inside the car… it now requires a human to merely have the capability to take control remotely. The Department for Transport call these updated regulations “a strong signal of support from the UK automotive and technology industries.” Such fully autonomous ‘level 5’ vehicles aren’t yet available in the UK, though it’s expected that Level 4 autonomy (‘hands off’ and ‘eyes off’) will be available here soon.

Whether the path to full autonomy will be smooth and swift, or bumpy with barriers to progress remains to be seen. Indeed, many of the benefits lauded such as reduced congestion and faster travel times will only be realised when the majority of vehicles on our roads are fully autonomous – and that remains some way off.

Until then, this comes as a great reminder to use technology wisely… and whatever the level of automation in your vehicle, we recommend always keeping your eyes firmly on the road ahead!

If you’re interested in leasing a vehicle with autonomous technologies such as auto-parking, lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, or even Tesla’s autopilot – call us on 01753 851561 or email [email protected] and we can help advise on the perfect vehicle and deal for you.

WVL's Bodyshop is BSI Kitemarks accredited

Our Bodyshop passes another BSI Kitemark™ Spot Check!

Our Bodyshop passes another BSI Kitemark™ Spot Check! 660 300 Anthony Anthony

You may not realise, but WVL also has an in-house bodyshop, fully equipped and in the very capable hands of a team of experts to undertake your vehicle’s repair to the highest of standards. We put this expertise to the test back in 2014 when we invited British Standards to inspect. We were thrilled to pass, becoming PAS125- and now BS 10125-accredited and have proudly held and displayed the BSI Kitemark™ for Vehicle Damage Repair ever since.

BSI Spot Checks

Once achieved, a Kitemark™ – like the high standards it represents – must be maintained through an unwavering commitment to quality, tested twice-yearly in unannounced BSI spot checks.

We are delighted to announce that the WVL Bodyshop has passed yet another BSI spot check – with flying colours – continuing our track record for excellence!

It’s worth mentioning that these inspectors really do give no notice… they turn up at 9am and are here for the entire day. To say the inspections are thorough is very much an understatement!

The inspectors check:

  • all the vehicles currently in the workshop to ensure we’re using and following the correct repair procedures;
  • all our training records to ensure all our staff have the necessary, and up-to-date, qualifications;
  • all our equipment to ensure it’s on live maintenance contracts and has been correctly maintained and calibrated.

Man, Method, Material & Machine are all scrutinised!

What does this mean for our customers?

The Kitemark™ is a renowned badge of quality, reliability, safety and integrity. In holding this accreditation, our customers are assured that any repairs to their vehicle will be undertaken to the industry standard, or better, and that customer satisfaction and safety is delivered every time.

84% of drivers said they would feel more comfortable if the car body repair centre had the BSI Kitemark™ for Vehicle Damage Repair*, and the Kitemark™ scheme is also recognised by most major insurers too. WVL also have our own recovery vehicle so we can collect your vehicle no matter how bad the damage.

WVL's bodyshop is BSI Kitemark accreditedWVL's bodyshop is BSI Kitemark accredited

“From vehicle graphics to resprays and accident repairs, our BSI 10125 Kitemark accredited bodyshop complements our showroom here in Windsor, Berkshire.”

Martin Ryan, Bodyshop Operations Manager

An industry-leading all-round service

…From our showroom and expert team to help you select the very best vehicle and the very best deal… to our ongoing customer service, fleet management, vehicle servicing & maintenance… through to our on-site BSI Kitemark™ accredited bodyshop covering every eventuality.
We’re the one-stop-shop for your motoring needs.

Learn more about our Servicing and Bodyshop here.
Bodyshop Hotline: 01753 801904 Leasing Hotline: 01753 851561

* An independent study conducted in Great Britain via OnLineBus, an internet omnibus survey, for BSI in 2012.

Increased fines for motorists

Increased Fines for Motorists this Spring 2017

Increased Fines for Motorists this Spring 2017 660 300 Anthony Anthony

This spring sees two revisions to the penalties given to the most common of motoring offences. The Sentencing Council have increased the fine for excessive speeding by 50%, and the penalties for mobile phone usage have now doubled. Read on to learn when and how these deterrents are coming into force.

Mobile Phone use whilst driving

As of 1st March 2017 it is illegal to use a hand-held phone whilst driving or riding a motorcycle – even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic. This tougher clampdown sees the fine doubled to £200 and licence penalty points doubled to six, with no ‘driver education’ course alternative to avoid points.

Take note, as drivers with existing endorsements have an increased risk of being stripped of their licence, and any car or van driver clocking up six points for any offences within two years of gaining their licence faces an automatic disqualification and having their licence rescinded. For cases that reach Court, the maximum fine rises to £1,000 and drivers of buses or goods vehicles could be fined up to £2,500.

This revision is a move to ensuring drivers remain in full control of their vehicle at all times. The police can also stop you if they think you’re distracted e.g. by using your sat nav or audio device.

During a week-long crackdown in November 2016, over 8,000 drivers were caught, with police issuing 40 fines per hour during the operation.

See the official GOV.UK and Sentencing Council pages.

Increased Fines for Excessive Speeding

Due to come into force April 24th across England and Wales, updates to the way speeding fines are calculated will present a ‘clear increase in penalty’ with the severity of the offence: fines for drivers speeding excessively will be 50% higher.

The current system employs Band A, and Band B fines of 50% and 100% of the convicted motorist’s weekly pay, capped at £1,000 and at £2,500 on motorways (this is in addition to licence points or temporary disqualification – or a complete ban in very serious cases).

From April 24th, drivers caught speeding excessively above the limit will face a Band C fine equating to 150% of their weekly pay. This would apply to driving over 101mph in a 70mph zone, over 66mph in a 40mph zone and over 51mph in a 30mph zone (see table below for all zones and fine thresholds). The change is to recognise that the previous system did not take into account the increase in potential harm that could be caused with increasing speed above a limit.

The news is welcomed by the RAC: “Anyone who breaks the limit excessively is a danger to every other road user and is unnecessarily putting lives at risk.”

Speeding (Revised 2017) – Determining the offence seriousness
Speed limit (mph) Recorded speed (mph)
20 21 – 30 31 – 40 41 and above
30 31 – 40 41 – 50 51 and above
40 41 – 55 56 – 65 66 and above
50 51 – 65 66 – 75 76 and above
60 61 – 80 81 – 90 91 and above
70 71 – 90 91 – 100 101 and above
Sentencing range Band A fine Band B fine Band C fine
Points / disqualification 3 points Disqualify 7 – 28 days OR 4 – 6 points Disqualify 7 – 56 days OR 6 points
Band ranges
  Starting point Range
Fine Band A 50% of relevant weekly income 25 – 75% of relevant weekly income
Fine Band B 100% of relevant weekly income 75 – 125% of relevant weekly income
Fine Band C 150% of relevant weekly income 125 – 175% of relevant weekly income

Full details can be found on the Sentencing Council’s website.


Whilst fines and other sanctions should be deterrent enough, Fleet managers are encouraged to implement procedures to reduce the incidence of speeding among their drivers via education and technology. Technologies such as GPS-based vehicle tracking systems – of which a range of solutions are widely available – would enable managers to identify those drivers who do break the limit and who would benefit from further education and training.

“Safety should always be a number one priority for businesses with fleets.”

Scott Chesworth, RAM Tracking

Prevention is of course better than cure, given the potential ramifications of speeding. Data from a leading law firm showed that last year, breaking the speed limit was the single most flouted law across the UK, and that less than a third of people regretted the offence.

Education, technology, and increased deterrents will hopefully encourage safer driving, and ultimately make our roads safer for all users.

Scotland has a lower legal alcohol limit than the rest of the UK

Drink Driving: Did you know Scotland has a lower legal limit?

Drink Driving: Did you know Scotland has a lower legal limit? 660 300 Anthony Anthony

On 5th December 2014 the drink driving laws in Scotland were revised to lower the legal limit from 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood, to 50mg. This significant reduction brings Scotland in line with most other European countries, leaving England, Wales and Northern Ireland sharing the highest legal limit with Malta, and was a decisive step towards saving lives and making Scotland’s roads safer.

Level of alcohol England, Wales, Northern Ireland Scotland
Micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath 35 22
Milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood 80 50

Has it worked?

Data since the change has been very positive. The prediction was that without any change in behaviour, convictions would increase by a third. But remarkably, there was no peak in convictions (showing drivers’ drinking behaviours to have changed) and the number of drink driving offences in fact fell during the first quarter after the change.

The change wasn’t met with widespread approval though as the Bank of Scotland reported the country’s modified drinking habits to be partly responsible for an observed economic downturn – bar sales dropping by up to 60 per cent in the two months following the introduction of the new limit, with some likening it to prohibition. Awareness campaigns stated that the only way to be sure of being under the limit was not to drink at all if you were driving, and the nation evidently took the message to heart.

Will England follow?

Whether England will follow suit is another matter: the Department For Transport said this February that they have no plans to bring the limit down to 50mg. Brake, the charity for road safety, are in favour of a limit as low as 20mg – as close to a total ban as is practicable without penalising those with trace amounts in their blood – also stating the only safe amount to drink being ‘no drink’. But on Radio 4’s Today programme, a representative for the pub trade made the point that the majority of fatalities are caused by drivers well over the limit – a ‘hardcore minority’ – and that lowering the limit would penalise everyday motorists and raise issues of personal liberty.

Historically, imposing a limit has saved lives. Since the introduction of the breathalyser in the 60s and the 1967 Road Safety Act, where the 80mg limit was originally set there has been an improvement in road safety and reduction in the number of drink-drive related deaths: 1,640 deaths in 1979 down to 230 in 2012, the new data showing that lowering it helps build on that success.

In real terms

What do the levels mean in real terms? For the average man, a 50mg limit would mean they could consume just under a pint of beer or a large glass of wine and for women, half a pint of beer or a small glass of wine according to forensic toxicologist Dr Hazel Torrance. In fact, there have been two recent cases where drivers claiming to have drunk only a single pint were each fined £450 and banned from driving for a year.

“Just one drink can put you over, it’s as tight as that,” said Dumfries Sheriff, Scott Pattinson.

Data shows that exceeding the 50mg limit puts you six times more likely to die in a road accident. And given it takes an average body an hour to process 1 unit, after a night out, you could still be over the limit the next morning. Sleep, coffee and cold showers don’t help you sober up – it’s all down to time.


Should you be caught and convicted, the penalties, costs and impacts can be life-changing, from imprisonment, unlimited fines, a driving ban, plus the everyday effects such as increased insurance costs, having to declare your conviction to employers, and even having restrictions on traveling to countries such as the USA.

Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink can result in 14 years’ imprisonment, and multiple offences can place you on a high risk offenders scheme.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists calculate that a drink drive conviction could cost between £20,000 – £50,000 as a result of fines, solicitors fees, increase in car insurance and loss of job.

Parliament, and public, opinion

In spite of the data from the Scottish changes, the English government seems confident with the deterrents currently in place here with ministers ruling out introducing any change in the short or medium term:

“Britain continues to have some of the safest roads in the world because we crack down on those who break the law, and the government believes rigorous enforcement and serious penalties for drink-drivers are a more effective deterrent than changing the drink-driving limit,” said Andrew Jones, transport minister.

“We continue to look at the best ways to improve road safety but the drink-driving limit for England and Wales strikes an important balance between safety and personal freedom.”

Wherever you stand on the issue, the fact remains that any amount of alcohol impairs our ability to drive and the safest option is simply not to drink – an opinion held by the majority in a recent survey:

Business Driving

If you’re setting an alcohol limit for your employees as part of an alcohol policy, many european countries set their professional drivers’ limit to 9 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml breath – a level recommended by manufacturers of in-car breathalysers – an essential piece of kit for anyone who drives with work. (Also worth noting that it’s compulsory to carry one in your vehicle when in France.)

Be mindful

Whilst English law relies on its deterrent penalties, it puts its trust in us all to drink responsibly and to make careful judgement calls when driving may be involved. If positive data continues to come from countries like Scotland with lower legal limits, it’s likely English law will eventually change. Until then, be mindful: if you’re heading north, a legal pint south of the border will likely tip you over the new limit as soon as you cross over onto Scottish soil.

Drink responsibly, drive safely.

Autonomous Emergency Braking

AEB – safely the best innovation since the seat belt

AEB – safely the best innovation since the seat belt 660 300 Anthony Anthony

Buzzwords at the moment in the autotrade, and top of the savvy motorist’s wishlist, AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) is claimed to be the most significant development in car safety since the invention of the seatbelt. Read on to learn more about this remarkable new technology, its projected impacts, and the new award which every manufacturer now wants to win.

What is AEB?

AEB is a new technology using sensors, radar, lasers or cameras to detect objects ahead of the vehicle to help prevent collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians or hazards. It’s designed to alert the driver to an impending crash, and if required, to apply the brakes autonomously to bring the vehicle to a stop before impact.

Safety first and foremost

With the potential to save 1,100 lives and 122,860 casualties over the next ten years, according to Thatcham Research, this technology is not only here to stay, it could revolutionise motoring. In fact, Thatcham recommend that consumers and fleet operators should only consider new cars fitted with AEB as standard – it really is a game-changer.

How does it work?

autonomous emergency braking

  1. Detectors monitor the road ahead
  2. Distance to object is constantly calculated
  3. If the time-to-object falls below safe limits…
  4. …Audio/visual warnings try to alert the driver
  5. If warnings go unheeded, the vehicle will brake itself in order to stop before collision or minimise impact, depending on speed and conditions.

The different systems

There are a number of variants of the system currently in place, based on the speed of travel with different marques & models offering just one, or a combination of them:

Low Speed City – the system works at lower speeds, generally 20mph or less, to avoid or mitigate accidents such as one car running into the back of another in typical urban driving. Over three quarters of collisions occur in this speed range, with whiplash a common result. Sensitive to other vehicles’ reflectivity, pedestrians or other objects are unlikely to be detected.
Advanced Higher Speed System – using radar to scan further ahead enables the system to work at higher speeds and audio/visual warning systems may also be integrated.
Pedestrian Detection – aided by a camera, these systems can detect pedestrians and cyclists.

For a full list of which models carry which systems, see here.

WhatCar?’s new Safety Award

WhatCar Car Of The Year Safety Award 2016New for 2015, WhatCar? introduced the ‘Safety’ category to their much-respected Car Of The Year awards to reward manufacturers for their efforts in helping improve road safety. It’s also a reflection on how many of us are including safety features as a key factor when choosing a new vehicle.

WhatCar? appointed Thatcham Research to help with the judging. Experts at evaluating vehicles for safety, security and crash repairability, Thatcham are the UK’s only accredited Euro NCAP crash test centre.

They based their rankings on three main categories:
Protection: All must have a 5-star Euro NCAP rating;
Technology: AEB should be standard fit on at least one trim level across the range, and the finer points of the car’s features and innovations were assessed;
Availability: Safety shouldn’t come at a premium, and a weighting was applied to reward good value for money.

The Safety Award has fast become the ‘one to win’ – so how did the contenders fare in the 2016 line-up…

The 2016 Winners

1st place: Volvo XC90
2nd place: Honda Jazz
3rd place: Toyota Avensis

Our Pick

From a business/fleet perspective, this year’s Safety Award winners include a clear winner for us here at WVL: the fantastic Toyota Avensis. Packed with the very latest safety innovations – including AEB across the range and lane departure warning, it received high praise by WhatCar? for its very high level of protection at reasonable price. This fantastic vehicle is our first choice for the business motorist.

Plus, scoring a full 5 stars in the EuroNCAP ratings rivalling the Jaguar XF and EX, the Avensis is a real all-rounder in performance, style, value for money and safety.

“People who regularly drive long distances as part of their work are exposed a greater risk of being involved in an accident. Therefore, those who are responsible for choosing company or fleet cars need to ensure that, as well as being comfortable, economical and reliable, the cars being driven by their employees also provide high levels of safety.”

Thatcham Research

Try for yourself

WVL have Saloon and Estate Business Editions in stock now – perfect for your fleet – call 01753 851561 to book your test drive in one of the safest vehicles on the road!

Avensis Business Edition Touring Sports for leaseAvensis Business Edition Saloon for lease

New Interactive Collision Map from Transport for London

London’s Roads are Getting Safer: New Online Collision Map

London’s Roads are Getting Safer: New Online Collision Map 660 300 Anthony Anthony

With the number of road users on the rise, particularly in cities despite measures to limit the vehicular traffic, accidents are, sadly, an inevitability. That said, significant positive results have been seen in our capital and Transport for London have launched an interactive online map showing every recorded collision since 2005 as part of its strategy for making ‘safe streets for London’. 

Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: Main Results 2014Recently published Government data shows a nationwide increase in casualties and fatalities from road traffic accidents (RTAs) in 2013-2014, corresponding to a marked increase in motor traffic after an encouraging downward trend in RTAs since 2005.

London’s roads, conversely, have continued to get safer. Transport for London’s (TfL) latest Annual Road Safety Report shows the number of people Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) in 2014 fell by 7% to the lowest level since records began and has paved the way for the launch of their new interactive London Collision Map to highlight accident-prone locations around our capital.

The website is part of ‘Safe Streets for London‘ – a road safety plan working towards roads free from death and serious injury: TfL have collated Police data on London’s road accidents from 2005 to 2014 and made them available online for the public, as well as planners, academics and researchers, to access.

The Collision Map has filters for the vehicle type, type of casualty, age of casualty, and whether the result involved a fatality, serious injury, or slight injuries. It gives a vital and instructive insight into accident hotspots across the capital, informing road users about locations with high collision histories, and steering modernisation efforts towards them to reduce the risks.


The Mayor’s new target is to halve the number of KSIs by 2020 compared to the government baseline, and tools such as this are key not only to helping provide the data for analysis, but also for demonstrating the results in a commitment to improve transparency for customers and stakeholders alike.

Raising awareness, it’s hoped, will encourage roads users to take extra care at blackspots, forming part of TfL’s ongoing work to improve road safety, including overhauling key roads and junctions across London.

If you drive in London, check out the map at and see if there are any collision blackspots along your usual routes. If you manage a fleet, please share this with your drivers. Extra vigilance through knowing about these dangerous junctions could save lives.

Smoking in Vehicles – new rules from 1st October 2015

Smoking in Vehicles – new rules from 1st October 2015 660 300 Anthony Anthony

From the 1st October 2015 it will be illegal to smoke in a private vehicle when there are children present. This is new legislation to protect children and young people from the dangers of secondhand smoke (SHS).

The law will apply initially to England and Wales, but the governments of Scotland and Northern Ireland may soon implement similar regulations. If a driver or another passenger is caught smoking alongside an under-18-year-old, both the driver and the smoker are liable for a £50 fine. (The law doesn’t apply if the driver is 17 years old and alone in the car, or in a convertible with the roof fully down.)

Business Drivers

It has been illegal to smoke in vehicles used for paid or voluntary work purposes that more than one person uses since 2007 and mandatory to display a ‘No Smoking’ sign inside. The responsibility of ensuring the vehicle is smoke-free rests on the driver, or any person with management responsibilities for the vehicle.

The signage must display:

  • wording that the vehicle is no-smoking and that it is an offence to smoke there or knowingly permit smoking;
  • the international ‘No Smoking’ symbol;
  • whom to complain to if smoking is observed.

Failure to display adequate signage will result in a £200 fine, and failure to prevent smoking in a smoke-free vehicle will result in a £2,500 fine.

English law does not apply to company vehicles with a sole driver and no other employees permitted to use it – i.e. a ‘perk’ vehicle, even for business use providing your employer agrees – but remember that the new under-18 law does still apply.

If you are in any doubt as to your requirements and liabilities regarding smoking in your business lease vehicle, please contact us for advice specific to your situation.

Background to the new law

The risks of smoking whilst driving are well recognised: smokers having an increased risk of being involved in a crash – one study even showing that smoking almost doubled car death risk; it’s a clear hazard. Combine this with the long established health risks of exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS), or passive smoking, and how children are particularly susceptible, this new ruling takes all these factors into account to protect the interests of minors in cars, and is supported by some particularly sobering statistics.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) give four key reasons why smoking in cars can cause harm:
• direct harm to the smoker from inhaling
• harm to the vehicle occupants from inhaling SHS
• potential harm that children may perceive smoking to be normal adult behaviour
• potential harm to driver, passengers and other road users from the driver’s temporary loss of control when lighting up or extinguishing.

Smoke in the Cabin

Levels of SHS in cars can be extremely high due to the enclosed space of a vehicle’s cabin, with levels reaching far higher than those found in buildings.

Smoking a single cigarette in a car with the windows closed can produce a level of SHS 11 times higher than in an average (smoking-permitted) bar, according to a Canadian study, who also found the levels of smoke-derived ‘fine respiratory particles’ to be 15 times the US Environment Protection Agency’s ‘hazardous’ rating.

You’d think that opening a window would help, but across a range of ventilation conditions, including with the fan on high, the level of SHS still exceeded that found in any other small, enclosed space. Even driving with the window open and the cigarette held at the opening when the driver is not puffing creates a SHS level two-thirds that of a smoky bar.

Health risks

Due to the levels of carcinogens in smoke, there is no safe level of exposure. SHS’s immediate effects include eye and throat irritation, headache, cough, dizziness, nausea, decline in lung function in asthmatics, even triggering heart attacks in those with cardio-vascular disease, through to longer-term increased risk of stroke, lung cancer, lung disease and coronary heart disease.

Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of SHS. Exposure increases the risk of cot death, glue ear, asthma, and meningitis. It can cause wheezing and increased risk of respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, asthma and pneumonia, and of course, cancer. The British Medical Association’s Board of Science concluded there was no safe level of exposure for children, with adverse effects felt at low levels of exposure. Many have argued that, not being fully autonomous, children are unable to act to protect their own interests, hence the law is now stepping in.

Public opinion

There has been growing public support for a ban on smoking in cars with children present – in 2014 a YouGov poll of over 12,000 adults in Great Britain found 77% were in favour of a ban in cars carrying children under 18 years of age… and 63% of those in agreement were themselves smokers. 46% in fact were in favour of banning smoking in all cars.

So, whilst it’s already against the law to smoke in a work vehicle, as from 1st October 2015 please be aware that it will also be illegal to smoke in a vehicle where children under 18 are present (unless you’re a 17-year-old lone driver or in a roof-down convertible).

Full details of the studies and statistics mentioned above can be found in the ASH factsheet: Smoking in cars, February 2015. – the roadside insurance check on your smartphone – the roadside insurance check on your smartphone 660 300 Anthony Anthony

A new service recently launched by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) will help millions of people unlucky enough to be involved in a road traffic accident: using your smartphone you can now check another vehicle’s insurance details at the roadside.

The service will not only help remove some of the stress involved in taking down important insurance details at the scene, it will also let you know immediately if any of the other motorists involved are not insured.

Using your smartphone, you simply visit where you’ll then be asked to enter:

  • Your email address
  • Your vehicle’s registration number
  • The third party vehicle’s registration number

And for a fee of £4, you’ll then receive confirmation of insurer and contact details both on screen, as well as by email.

If any of the details given to you by the third party at the scene don’t match those in the MIB database, or the third party isn’t insured, you can inform the police or your insurers straight away.

The MIB still recommend that you note down all the addresses and contact details from all involved parties including witnesses, plus the vehicle registrations and insurance details; they suggest you may also want to take photographs of any damage.

Uninsured Losses

You may be thinking that people surely aren’t foolish enough to drive without insurance. Not so – whilst the number of uninsured drivers caught has decreased by 34% since 2011, still nearly half a million UK motorists have received penalty points for driving without insurance over the past three years. Uninsured driving remains a UK-wide problem.

And if that statistic isn’t enough, it is estimated that uninsured and untraced drivers kill 130 people and injure 26,500 every year. Research shows that uninsured drivers are also five times more likely to be involved in road collisions, and will fail to comply with other road traffic requirements.

Our advice is to bookmark the MIB website in your smartphone’s browser, and should the unthinkable happen, be sure to log on to and make use of this invaluable service.

[Data from The Churchill report and the Motor Insurers Bureau.]