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The Gloucestershire Group of Advanced Motorists

NEWSLETTER Summer 2012

Disclaimer All copy submitted for inclusion in this newsletter is on the understanding that it may be edited. Views expressed may not be those of the Editor, Committee or the Institute of Advanced Motorists. Please send all items for publication to the Editor by email. We offer a warm welcome to new members, associates and friends to the Group. Associate Karen Mercer Rachel Abbott Arabella Risbey Ted Jackson Robert Treasure-Jones Alaster McGrigor Andrew Siddons

Observer Sylvia Martin Peter Davies Nigel Garbutt IAM member moved from Cornwall Patrick Ward Peter Davies Peter Davies

We wish you well with your Skill for Life training programme and your preparation for the advanced driving test. We also hope that associates will take up full membership of the Group on becoming an Advanced Driver. Congratulations to the following associates who recently passed their Advanced driving test and are now full members. Candidate Anthony Higgs Peter Wood Robert Mills Nicholas Lane


Observer Peter Davies Peter Davies Peter Davies Peter Davies

The F1RST Register F1RST membership is attained by taking the advanced test for car, motorcycle or commercial vehicle and achieving a score of 1 in every* category. Existing IAM members can take a Member's Assessment in order to try and achieve the all 1s score*. Existing members who previously passed the test with the qualifying score within the last two years can be added to the Register retrospectively.

 Our Examiners have the discretion to recommend a candidate

even if they score a '2' in no more than three categories ( Note: Legality and Slow Manoeuvring must score a '1')

It is with some pleasure that I announce that Robert Mills, who was prepared by the Gloucestershire Group (see the recent passes list), achieved a F1RST in the results of his Advanced Driving Test on 23 rd April. Robert is now listed on the IAM F1RST Register. This is no mean achievement – Well-Done Robert and Congratulations from Peter and the Group. ********************************** ‘Eve’ I know that most of you will know John Smith who was Chairman of the Group before me. In 2001 John and his wife Eve were involved in part of a serious multiple motorway collision, where a careless driver collided with the back of a queue of waiting vehicles. John’s wife sustained quite serious injuries as did her mother who was in the back of the car. Eve’s mother died from her injuries some days later and Eve was in hospital receiving intensive and special care for many months afterwards. Even though she was eventually able to return home, recovery was never absolutely complete and John has spent much of his time during the last eleven years dealing with the aftermath of that terrible event. P4

Some time ago Eve’s medical condition worsened in so many ways and it is with some sadness that I tell you that she died just a few weeks ago on 21st April. Of course our thoughts are with John and his sadness over this recent event and the adjustments he will now need to consider after being an almost full-time carer for such a long period. It must be said that over the many years of an enormous amount of medical treatment of all sorts, Eve could not have had a more loving, reliable and capable carer in John, whose consideration and management of such a difficult situation has been second to none. In the Service at Cheltenham Crematorium Chapel to celebrate the life of Evelyn Marie Smith (‘Eve’), she was described as the kindest of ladies one would hope to meet. I will endorse that in every way. Peter Peter Writes I have been looking back through Chairman’s old copies of committee meeting minutes, which I inherited a long time ago, and note continuous concern for the wish for more support at evening meetings. I remember attending, as a visitor, my first Group evening meeting where, including the Chairman who introduced the speaker so very well, there were just six attendees. That wasn’t unusual in those days. The article from Jean Whitehouse which follows this item does make interesting reading about the days, long before those that I have just mentioned, when the level of Group support was, by comparison, enormous, even so when compared with the situation we have today. In those days Jean was Group Secretary and Anthony Whitehouse, who became a Gloucestershire IAM Examiner and is now a joint Vice President, was Chairman. Nowadays we do attract much better support, at both our evening meetings and Saturday Courses, than the period when attendance was just six or so, but we could do better. P5

You may note that, for our evening meetings we have one arranged every other month throughout the year for which we try to obtain good people to speak about interesting subjects, usually on or related to driving and motoring matters. Likewise, our Saturday Theory DrivingCourse days have been reasonably attended but, considering just how fortunate we are to have the very special presentation talents of IAM Examiner and Group Member, Mike Addis, again we could do better. Over years of experience with professional business, other clubs and societies, I am aware that the very best way of obtaining good levels of support are via advertising through word-of-mouth. The personal recommendation is better, is more reliable and more effective than any other. If you have not been to one of our evening meetings or one of our Saturday Driving Courses ever before or not for some time, then please think about it now. If you are one of our regulars, valued as are all who support us, then thank-you and please get the word around to others who may not know. Next time you plan to be with us, please bring another or others with you and remember, all are welcome and everyone is considered a friend. ******************************** A word from our Vice Presidents The recent item on who might be our oldest or youngest members has triggered quite a reaction over the past couple of issues. The following item came from our Vice President Jean Whitehouse. She writes...... We thought you might be interested how your Vice Presidents became involved in the I.A.M. Back in 1973 when Anthony was a Traffic Officer with Glos Police and I became fed up of his criticism of my driving (he would say ‘constructive’ criticism of course) I enrolled for a two term Advanced Driving course at Monkscroft School evening classes. The instructor was the late Ron Harley who was the then Chairman of the Severn Vale Group I.A.M. later to become the Gloucestershire Group. P6

Anthony was not aware that I was doing the course in fact he thought I was doing ‘Dressmaking’ I had to eventually own up when a nice young man called David called to take me out on observed drives. I passed my test in Sept. 1974 in a Triumph Dolomite with Mr Bevan the Examiner. Ron Harley persuaded me to join the Group Committee initially as Social Secretary. In those days we had Dinner dances, skittles evenings, Treasure Hunts etc. as well as the monthly meetings. We also organised Road Safety Rallies with teams participating from as far as the Midlands and the South. It became the format for organising such events nationally. After a while it leaked out that Anthony was a Traffic Officer. Ron had been trying for some time to get more cooperation with the Police and as a result Anthony joined the Committee, in the role of Newsletter Editor which he did for many years and was instrumental in getting Chief Constables to become our Presidents. I became Secretary and remained in that role as well as being elected to the National Council as a Divisional Council member for approx. 18 years, representing the views of over thirty groups in the South of England and Wales and became a sort of trouble-shooter in effect. A few years later Anthony became Chairman. He was also an Examiner for the I.A.M. and RO.S.P.A as well as League of Safe Drivers/Diamond for 25 years. He organised and was also the first person to take the I.A.M motorcycle test in Gloucestershire when it was launched. He trained as a motorcyclist in the R.A.F. Police. As a result we formed a motorcycle section. The Group was highly successful in the 1980s and our proudest moment was when our membership topped 600 and our Group generated more tests in a year than any other group in the country. Anthony did the Better Driving courses for the Police in Cheltenham and Cirencester and at times at Gloucester and Tewkesbury and a couple of times in the Forest of Dean. He did most of these courses in his own time when the funding from the Police ceased. Obviously this P7

was where most of our recruits came from. Although the courses theoretically were restricted to thirty due to their popularity most of the courses had as many as 60 people on them, hence the large group membership. Anthony, under the direction of the National Groups Council was instrumental in devising the first Observer Training schemes. We travelled extensively around the country talking to other groups, to introduce the Scheme which is largely as it is today. At the time I was the first Woman to be elected to the National Council and became the first female Fellow of the Institute as I still remain to this day. We both retired from the Group Committee about 15 years ago as a result of my ill health. Anthony continued as an Examiner until 2005 and he was awarded the M.B.E. for his services to Road Safety in 2004. We are still very supportive of the Group but as we now live in the Forest of Dean we do not get to meetings but we are always on the end of the phone if we can help in anyway. Jean and Anthony Whitehouse ***************************** Roll-On Summer There are lots of ideas for combating soaring fuel prices, some of which include changing driving habits, to reduce financial pain when visiting the pumps. It seems, though, that ten million drivers are practising one measure that could actually lead to increased fuel consumption instead of the reduction intended. A study by the Company, Kwik Fit has revealed that turning off air conditioning and opening a window instead is a false economy because the drag created by the open window can affect the vehicles aerodynamics and, in turn, fuel consumption. In warm weather it may be a better option for fuel-saving motorists to open a window in stopstart traffic conditions but once moving freely it is advisable to make use of the air conditioning system. Analysis completed by Kwik Fit reveals that with just an average drop in 5% in fuel efficiency, on a single warm day, drivers opting for a ‘windows down’ approach could P8

be increasing the nations’ fuel bill by more than £650,000. Peter adds that using air conditioning is safer, provides more pleasant conditions and security than opening a window, whether driving on the open road or waiting in traffic. Peter The following item on headlamp bulbs came from Phil Currently there are three types of legal headlamp bulbs readily available for cars in the UK 1. Tungsten Most new cars are fitted with this type of bulb. Single headlamp units are usually fitted with H4 twin-filament bulbs where the dip beam is 60 watt and the high beam is 55 watt. The dip beam is extinguished when high beam is selected. Twin headlamp units have a separate single-filament bulb for dip and main beams which are 55 watt each. The dip beams usually remain on when high beam is selected. There are a number of bulb types including H1, H3, H7, etc. The bulb manufacturers recommend that bulbs should be replaced after two years, even if not ‘blown’, as the light output reduces with age. 2. Xenon Sold as replacements for Tungsten bulbs. Using Xenon gas to fill the bulb allows the filament to burn at a higher temperature and increases the light output as well as giving out a whiter light. These bulbs are often marketed as +30%, +50%, +80% and even +100% as a reference to the increase in light output claimed over ‘standard’ Tungsten bulbs. I would not recommend the bulbs with a blue tint as the blue coating reduces the light output and is just a ‘fashion accessory’. Main manufacturers are Phillips, Osram and Ring. Some new cars are now fitted with these ‘up rated’ bulbs. P9

I have used Ring replacement H1 and H3 Xenon bulbs in the 4-beam headlamps in my wife’s 2000 Renault Megane with a noticeable improvement in the vision given by the headlights on both dip and main beams. Osram Xenon H1 and HB3 bulbs fitted to my 2005 Honda Civic have been particularly effective in the ‘projector’ style dip beam although an improvement is also discernible with the main beam. The disadvantage of Xenon bulbs is their higher cost over the standard Tungsten bulbs. Also, do remember that the light output of Tungsten (and Xenon) bulbs diminishes with age so replacement bulbs (regardless of type) will often seem brighter than the original bulbs. 3. HID (High Intensity Discharge) Fitted as standard to many up-market cars and optional on others. These bulbs give a much more powerful beam than either the Tungsten or Xenon bulbs. The bulbs are normally rated at 35watts each. Does not use a filament but a carbon arc to produce the light. Usually used in dip beam only as the light does not extinguish immediately on being switched off. However, some cars use an electrically controlled moveable shutter to change the aim and shape of the beam as a means of switching between high beam and dip. Due to the higher light output it is a legal requirement that cars sold with this type of headlamp must have a means of stabilising the aim of the beam and of washing the headlamps so as to minimise dazzle to other drivers. Also on sale higher wattage Tungsten or Xenon bulbs It is illegal, in the UK, to fit single-filament headlamp bulbs with a higher wattage than 55 watts for use on the public road. There are bulbs of 80W and 100W on sale and usually marked ‘For off-road use only’ or ‘For show use only’. These bulbs do give a more powerful beam, but they do have two disadvantages to take into consideration. P10

a) Do not carry the ‘CE’ mark and are therefore illegal in a car used on the road and also contravene the ‘Construction and Use Regulations’ due to the fact that they are over 55W. b) Draw a higher current that can overload a car’s wiring harness. Could cause electrical systems to malfunction or, in extreme cases, cause a fire. The future LED lights Currently very expensive and only available in relatively low wattage, but they do promise low power consumption and long life. Can already be bought as replacements for parking (often referred to as ‘side’) lights, brake lights, indicators and interior lights. A very few cars, e.g., Audi R8, are already available with LED headlamps but currently their performance is inferior to HID headlamps. For headlamp (and other automotive) bulbs I can recommend and Both offer a large range of bulbs, competitive prices and free delivery. Consult your car handbook to check the type of headlamp bulbs required for your car. Although many web-sites and shops provide guidance of which bulbs are used by a particular car there can be mistakes. My own 2005 Honda Civic is often listed as requiring 2 x H4 bulbs when in fact it has 2x H1 + 2xHB3. Thanks Phil. ****************************** You may recall an item in the last newsletter from Peter Wood on how to implement the IPSGA system when overtaking an elephant. Here’s more from Woody. Here are his observations on Road Safety ramblings in Nepal. P11

The wearing of motorcycle safety helmets (by the riders, but not the pillion riders) appears to be mandatory. Away from the towns, it is not quite as mandatory. Male riders don't have to bother with securing their helmet straps but the female riders do. Could it be that the female of the species has more common sense than the male? Black Full Face helmets with very dark visors are certainly the most popular and absolutely no high viz at all is worn. Pillion riders (and other hangers on, literally other hangers on) don't have to wear helmets. It used to be the law, made by an ex-King. Since the King was deposed by the Maoists they rescinded all of his laws in one sweep. The last King was deposed but the one before him was murdered by his son - the Crown Prince. I'm told it was the latest deposed King's law. Every gap in the traffic is immediately filled with ten small motorcycles, all pushing and shoving to get going in the constant traffic jams in Kathmandu. In fact small motorcycles out number cars around 100:1

In general my advice is not to breakdown on the roads in Nepal. There is no Green Flag of course, nor AA or RAC. If one does have to stop, then outline the vehicle first of all with large rocks and chunks of vegetation torn from the roadside. P12

This is to try and stop other drivers crashing into your stationary vehicle that is almost certainly causing an obstruction because of narrowness of the roads there.

Next tip, don't leave the vehicle unattended while you go/walk for help, otherwise the re-cyclers will quickly turn your vehicle in to a skeleton. The broken down vehicle either gets repaired exactly where it broke down or recycled. So, one sees engine sumps dropped for bearing replacements or rear axles stripped and half shafts repaired, all on what we would consider quite dangerous narrow mountain roads (see Ice Road Truckers). Shredded tyres seem quite high on the list, especially with very large trucks carrying huge loads of oil and bottled gas up narrow grotty mountain pass type roads from India. These overloaded monster trucks smoke like over fed dragons, belching black smoke from burning the cheaper kerosene rather than diesel fuel envisaged by the engine's designers. P13

Of course we may think that a good maintenance schedule would help but it appears the locals chose to go with the more short-sighted break-fix approach so endemic in Nepal. Having what we used to call a "running mechanic" on board who can also double a relief driver is almost indispensable. None of the roads are lit at night and often rivers flash flood during the monsoon season washing away anything from the top 18" to 4ft of the road surface exposing underlying boulders as well as craters that would destroy most front suspensions. The damage caused to the roads by flash floods is a real menace.

Thanks to Woody for this item. His adventure continues in India in the next issue. P14

In the last issue of the newsletter, I was very pleased to introduce two new members of our Committee. In that issue, our new secretary, Rod Harrison wrote a short piece introducing himself. It is now the turn of the other new member, Jean Sheraton. She writes‌ My name is Jean Sheraton and I am one of the latest members to join your committee. I come from a nursing background having done my general nursing training in Bath, and midwifery in Bristol. I opened the GP maternity unit in Gloucester (no longer there) and delivered the first baby there. I left after I married as my husband was offered work as a geologist in Canberra, Australia. We ended up staying for almost 30 years. During that time I was responsible for managing the Blood Transfusion Service run by the Australian Red Cross. It was a wonderful chapter in life but we decided to return to England for our retirement. The UK is so much smaller for travelling and walking and the close proximity of Europe easier for travel opportunities. We now live in St Briavels in the Forest of Dean. Having been encouraged, 48 years ago, to take the advanced driving test by my first driving instructor (who was an IAM member), I finally got around to doing something about it and passed my advanced test in 2011. It concerns me that in spite of the high accident rate in the country, few people see a need to improve their driving skills. I have agreed to make IAM better known within the Forest area. **************************** Personalized number plates. I am indebted to IAM member Hazel Wrighton for her research and conclusions regarding personalized number plates. She writes‌.. P15

…all the plated mentioned below are genuine, although, needless to say we sometimes have to be able to see numbers/letters used to substitute each other. E.g.A/4, E/3, Z/2, L or I/1, B/8 etc. Sometimes a plate-fixing screw cover is in the wrong place or is the wrong colour so that an F may become E etc. ORV 1L BOS 5Y



GLO5 is a plate much seen around our county. GL05 DOC, GL05 SAM, etc. (or my favourite, for which I am still looking - GL05 MUS, although I understand that MUS 1C is being driven around in Scotland – Ed) Other plates may also give a clue as to occupations or hobbies. Jazz enthusiasts may display JA55 and jazz playing doublebassists could be identified by BA55 ACE I know a number of employees of ‘Forever Living Products’ carry the letters FLP in their number plate. Do you display a personalized number plate? Would you care to share it with us? Drop me a line and let me know. ********************************** Items on various aspects of motor insurance keep coming in. Here are a few more. Uninsured drivers faced a new crackdown. New powers to tackle uninsured driving came into force last year. Under the new powers it is now an offence to keep an uninsured vehicle, rather than just to drive when uninsured. Formerly, every responsible motorist paid an average £30 each year within their premiums to cover crashes involving uninsured and untraced drivers. P16

It was also estimated that uninsured and untraced drivers kill 160 people and injure 23,000 every year. ‘’Uninsured drivers push up premiums for other motorists and often drive with no regard for other road users, so it is vital that we do everything we can to keep them off the roads. “More than 400 uninsured vehicles are already being seized by the police every day but it is simply not possible to catch every uninsured driver in this way. That is why we are bringing in these new powers which will help us to take targeted action while freeing up police time to deal with the hard core of offenders.” Ashton West, Chief Executive at the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, said: This is a significant step forward in the fight against uninsured driving. This means that as enforcement can take place for both keeping and driving a vehicle without insurance there will be no place for illegal motorists to hide. “Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) will complement and run alongside existing police roadside enforcement, which has already reduced uninsured driving by 20 per cent.” Vehicles with a valid Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN) will not be required to be insured. The Department for Transport made the Commencement Order to make it an offence to be the registered keeper of a vehicle which does not have insurance, as well as regulations to support this. Further regulations will be made shortly, allowing the scheme to come into force in the Spring." and from Phil..... I have read that a number of insurance companies are charging an additional premium (and sometimes an administration fee) to drivers who fit winter tyres. They also warn that drivers who fit winter tyres and do not inform their insurance company may be considered uninsured in the event of an accident. P17

These insurance companies say that the fitting of winter types is a deviation from the car’s original specification. Only in the UK could insurance companies be so stupid. In some countries the fitting of winter tyres between certain dates is a condition of the insurance policy. And more...... In the past car insurance companies have levied an excess if the windscreen was damaged and needed replacement, but the excess was not applied if the windscreen could be repaired. However, many companies are now charging the excess even if the screen is repaired. Note : The IAM (Adelaide) insurance scheme still allows windscreen repairs without charging the excess. And as we are talking about motor insurance, here are a few more items from insurance claim forms. Every one of them is genuine! I pulled into a lay-by with smoke coming from under the bonnet. I realised the car was on fire so took my dog and smothered it with a blanket." "I had one eye on a parked car, another on approaching lorries, and another on the woman behind". "My car was legally parked as it backed into the other vehicle." Q: Could either driver have done anything to avoid the accident? A: Travelled by bus? "A pedestrian hit me and went under my car" "In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole." P18

Useful Information Drivers may know, or should know, that when looking at a cluster of traffic lights the red light is always at the top and the green aspect at the bottom. I suppose the reasoning being that we normally read from top to bottom so the red aspect may be noted first. Multiple road signs mounted on a single pole should also be read ‘top to bottom’. When driving a on the railway, however, this is the other way round. Indeed, whether three aspect - (a red, two yellows and a green), or two aspect – (red and green but only one yellow), the red light is always at the bottom of the cluster and the green at the top. This reasoning being that the lower lenses will be protected from being blanked by snow by the lights above. The red lens may therefore be protected by one or two yellow lights above and a green above that. However, a new type of railway signal has now been developed and is in use in some places where there is only one single lens which changes colour according to the required operation. The system uses very high visibility light omitting diodes, (LEDs), of such intensity that the colour cannot be mistaken. It is of course necessary to provide alternative snow protection for these new signals. This information is of more interest only if you are intending to drive a train. However, did you fully realise that on the roads the red light is expected to be at the top or have you never really thought about it? I wonder if we will eventually get one single lens which will change colour. This may be considered safer because we will be looking at only one lens instead of two or three and we will see only one colour. Peter P19

Kenneth Norman There are lots of IAM members who know our Gloucestershire member Ken Norman because he was their allocated Observer and it was he that advised them, encouraged them, scolded them and led them by the hand in training them to become better, safer and more secure, IAM Advanced Drivers. As I put this article together, in a hurry as usual to make the deadline for Newsletter contributions, I don’t know whether Ken would mind if I tell you his age, but you can always ask him. I will just say that he is much older than when we first met and when we prepared him for his IAM test. Upon which, after becoming a member, he jumped straightin at the deep end and started practising as an Observer. Since then he has never stopped and he keeps going and has often prepared more than one candidate at a time. Well-done Ken, and in appreciation for his untiring work for the Group it has been agreed to offer Ken Honorary Life Membership of the Gloucestershire Group. You will like to know that Ken’s daughter is an Observer with another IAM Group, outside our Region 1 and it was she who encouraged Ken in the first place all those years ago. I bet she is proud of her dad. Peter. May I add my congratulations, as well. I had the great pleasure of being prepared for my test by Ken, who was as immaculate in his preparation of this particular associate as he is in his own driving. He was polite and yet insistent on the highest standards. Nothing was too much trouble. There were some weaknesses of which I was aware in my driving, and Ken spent much time working with me on them, as well as weaknesses of which I was not aware. David. Thanks and congratulations, Ken. P20

Young New Drivers In the March newsletter there was much written about the enormous costs of insurance for young drivers, particularly new young drivers. There is, quite rightly, real concerns about this issue and we heard from Ribston Hall High School students, Charlotte, Laura and Muhammad and about Phil’s daughter, who has now achieved a reasonable No Claims Bonus, (I hope she still has this), and there was information about Insurance Fronting and Under Insured Drivers. However, there is one thing missing from all of this, about which, the reason I can understand, but nevertheless it is something which is very important regarding all drivers or riders. Will Charlotte, Laura and Muhammad and Phil’s daughter and any young driver consider spending some time and concentration in becoming better drivers? I didn’t mention money, only time and concentration a moment ago, because ‘IAM a better driver’, the Skill for Life training programme is a pittance in cost compared to the amounts mentioned for higher rate insurance policies and indeed Phil is right in suspecting that insurance companies will take little notice until there is are substantial statistics to show that young IAM members are providing a reduced risk. But we need to start somewhere and it needs a little dedication to time and concentration, a very small amount of time compared to the prospect of the entirety of a young person’s life. Regarding cost, the Gloucestershire Group has, for a long time, offered a cash-back of £25 to SFL candidates who are less than 26 years of age. That is, after they have “offered some time” in preparing for and taking the IAM test. Our offer is still there. Very recently, since the last newsletter, the Gloucestershire Group has issued a challenge to some new young drivers, in conjunction with the Gloucestershire Motor Show at Highnam Court on 9 th and 10th June, it will be announced that we will sponsor a total of three such candidates by paying all of their costs in becoming IAM better drivers if they will offer their time. If we are successful with this project we intend to find P21

ways of continuing. In so doing we are spending our time and I ask all you young drivers out there, will you give your time too. Peter ********************************** The Group Management Committee In the March Spring edition a table of Committee members was published following the results of the AGM elections and reappointments. The Committee has the power to co-opt additional committee members and it is intended to assist the management of the Group where it is thought that another person may usefully fulfil that role. At the last Committee meeting, member Tony Higgs was appointed to serve with the committee by co-option. Tony has already taken-on some very useful work on behalf of the Group and I declare a warm welcome to Tony from all of us. Earlier in this newsletter, Jean Sheraton wrote an item, introducing herself. Perhaps Tony will tell us something about himself in the next newsletter, and we look forward to that. **************************** Penalty Points for Speeding Recently a member asked me if it was necessary to inform ones motor insurer of a speeding penalty. I have already purposely forgotten who the member is but although I replied “no” I have recently read differently. A study conducted by Road Pilot has found that incurring a single three-point penalty can incur a premium increase of up to 25%. Once a three-point conviction was taken into account, research of ten leading insurers has revealed that premiums for a male driver rose by an average of £85 (14%). P22

In individual cases the increase can, however, be much higher, with some insurers applying increases as much as £158 (24%). It seem that female drivers fair slightly better, where on average they may see a premium increase of £69 per year (13%), which still equates to £276 across a four-year period. Drivers with six endorsement points could see premiums, for men and women, rise by as much as 40%. A speeding endorsement will remain on a drivers licence for four years, during this period, in which the driver is obliged to declare the conviction; it can cost as much as £692. I now assume that one would be required to declare such a conviction when either completing an application for a new insurance policy or an annual policy renewal. Does anyone know differently about this? Peter **************************** The DoT has instructed that local Councils and the police publish data about speed cameras. The data can include accident rates at speed camera sites, vehicle speeds and the number of drivers prosecuted or offered training after driving offences have been recorded on camera, Data on local speed enforcement and/or road casualty figures are available at the following web-sites Avon & Somerset ( Bath & NE Somerset, Bristol , North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Local authority Police al_justice_department /safety_camera_unit.aspx P23

Map, photo, data and collision history 1999 to 2009. Gloucestershire Collision data back to 1998 published – further data published October 2011. Thanks for that Phil. *********************************** The following item was sent in by Mike Addis. A study by researchers at Royal Holloway, University of London reveals that primary school children cannot accurately judge the speed of vehicles travelling faster than 20 mph. The researchers measured the perceptual acuity of more than 100 children in primary schools, and calculated the speed of approach that they could reliably detect. The results suggest that while adult pedestrians can make accurate judgments for vehicles travelling up to 50mph, children of primary school age become unreliable once the approach speed goes above 20mph, if the car is five seconds away. Professor John Wann, from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, who led the research, says: “This is not a matter of children not paying attention, but a problem related to low-level visual detection mechanisms, so even when children are paying very close attention they may fail to detect a fast approaching vehicle.” The researchers are now looking at the potential for using virtual reality systems to make children more aware of the errors that may occur, but Professor Wann stresses that the simplest solution lies in traffic regulation: “These findings provide strong evidence that children may make risky crossing judgements when vehicles are travelling at 30 or 40mph and in addition the vehicles that they are more likely to step in front of are the faster vehicles that are more likely to result in a fatality. P24

Travelling one mile through a residential area at 20mph versus 30mph will only add 60 seconds to your journey time - we encourage drivers to take a minute and save a child’s life”. The study, which is published in the international journal Psychological Science, is part of a larger project sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), in order to understand the perceptual factors than can lead to pedestrian accidents. The research group has recently published brain imaging research in the Proceedings of the Royal Society to show that some of the key components for detecting collision events lie at the brain-stem level, which is a low-level early detection system, similar to that found in other animals, such as pigeons. Royal Holloway’s research group ran demonstrations of their research studies in the London Science Museum over the summer where 500 visitors tried their tests. Related ongoing projects include a study sponsored by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) looking at the judgments of older drivers at road junctions, as well as a study looking at why motorcycles have a higher risk of being involved in accidents classified as ‘looked but failed to see’ Thanks Mike Dates for your Diary Evening meetings are in the Purple Room at Churchdown Community Centre in Parton Road. They begin at 7.30pm; entry is free to anyone as is tea, coffee and cakes served during the evening. The doors will be open at 7pm, bring a friend or friends. Remember all are welcome. Speakers have been arranged for the following dates. Details will follow; Evening meetings 19 July Electronic aids in cars. 17 September (Monday) at 8pm 15 November P25

1 September and 3 November

The theory course days are at Churchown Community Centre, in the Purple room. Starting at 10am, there will be a mid-morning break for coffee, tea and cakes and lunch break is between 1pm and 2pm. We normally close between 3.30 and 4pm. The course is designed for advanced drivers, associates, observers and anyone else, interested in improving their driving skills. Entry is free. Why not come along and bring a friend or friends! All dates, starting times and other details are correct at the time of going to press. Please visit the Group Website at for confirmation of these details. Attendance is free, but please let us know you are coming. Directions to the Community Centre: From Cheltenham take the B4063, Cheltenham Road, turn left at traffic lights after Staverton Airfield and the factories into Parton Road. Follow the road for about half a mile where the Centre will be on the right. Churchdown can also be approached from the A46 by turning into Badgeworth Lane at Shurdington. After that, follow the road signs to Churchdown. From Gloucester take the B4063 at Elbridge Court roundabout, turn right at the second set of lights into Parton Road and follow the road for about half a mile where the Centre will be on the right. Many thanks to all contributors to this issue. Please continue to send any thoughts, ideas, photographs, suggestions, opinions, or other items to David at Please mark them ‘for publication’ See you next time. David.

Summer 2012  

Gloucestershire Group of Advanced Motorists - Summer 2012 Newsletter