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Transport

Lockdown driving habits revealed: 46% spike in driving without due care, and hitting parked cars named the most common accident of 2020

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The latest investigation from Admiral car insurance into driving behaviours in 2020, has revealed that hitting a parked and unattended car accounted for 26% of all accident claims last year, an increase of more than 2% compared to 2019.

The findings, which form part of a wider study of motorist behaviour in 2020, reveal that while the UK was in a national lockdown for most of the year, accident claims involving drivers hitting parked cars overtook rear end shunts as the most common type of claim. In fact, claims for being hit in the rear or hitting another driver in the rear accounted for 24% of
accidental damage claims over the year, a fall of 3%.

Breaking the rules of the road

As well as looking closely at their own internal accident claims data, the insurer also investigated whether motorists’ driving behaviour changed last year.

Admiral submitted an FOI request to police forces across the UK to find out if more motorists were caught breaking the rules of the road in 2020, compared to 2019.

The insurer found that, of the police forces who responded to the request, 70% saw an increase in the number of motorists that were either caught speeding, driving without due care and attention, or driving furiously.

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Driving without due care

In total, 60% of the police forces reported an increase in the number of motorists charged for driving without due care and consideration. Of those, on average, police forces reported a 46% increase in the number of motorists charged for the offence.

On average, February was the month with the highest increase in motorists caught driving without due care and consideration, with a 150% increase reported in February 2020 compared to February 2019.

Driving without due care and consideration is a charge given for motorists who have caused an accident by not paying attention to the road, and instead let themselves get distracted by a passenger, their sat nav or radio. It can also be issued to drivers caught trying to do other things, like their hair and make-up, while behind the wheel.

Admiral’s FOI request also uncovered that of the police forces who responded, Surrey had the highest increase for motorists convicted of driving without due care and consideration with a 188% rise last year, compared to 2019.

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Speeding up in lockdown

Meanwhile, 30% of the police forces who responded to Admiral’s FOI request reported an increase in drivers caught exceeding the statutory speed limit. On average, September was the month with the highest rise in this type of offence.
Of those, on average, police forces reported a 51% increase in the number of motorists charged for speeding.

The FOI data also revealed that of the police forces who responded, West Mercia had the greatest spike in the number of motorists caught breaking the speed limit with a 162% last year, compared to 2019.

Further analysis of Admiral’s own data from 2020 revealed that speeding was the most common driving conviction code added to a policy at renewal. Drivers caught exceeding the speed limit on public roads accounted for 69% of all convictions added at renewal, while 16% of convictions added to a policy were for speeding on a motorway.

Frustrations behind the wheel

Admiral’s FOI request also uncovered an increase in motorists caught driving furiously in 2020, with 13% of police forces reporting an increase in the number of people caught committing the offence.

Driving furiously is the charge given to motorists caught driving in a way that endangers either the passenger or a person expected to be on the road. Whether that’s putting their life at risk or causing them physical harm.

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Clare Egan, Head of Motor Product at Admiral, said: “Despite national lockdown restrictions meaning fewer cars on the roads last year, our internal data and the data collected from police forces across the UK shows that the number of people caught speeding and hitting parked cars actually increased in 2020.

“With the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions starting to come into play across the UK, we’re reminding motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike that traffic will probably increase, and as it does the risks of accidents will also rise. Regardless of how you plan to travel around after lockdown, it’s important that all road users take care and abide by the rules of the road to keep themselves and others safe.

“Drivers caught and charged with a motoring offence, like speeding or driving without due care and attention, may notice a difference in the price of their insurance premium. In some of the more serious instances, insurers may not be able to provide cover for drivers, if the motoring conviction they’ve received means they could endanger themselves and other road
users.”

Admiral has created a handy guide to help drivers understand how motoring conviction codes can affect their car insurance premium and driving licence.


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Cadw

Welsh Government announces free bus travel for Ukrainian refugees

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A new Welcome Ticket will provide refugees and people from Ukraine with free bus travel and they will also receive free entry to Cadw sites across Wales.

The two schemes, which are announced today, underline Wales’ commitment to be a Nation of Sanctuary to people fleeing conflict and abuse around the world.

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The Welcome Ticket, which will be available to refugees and people arriving from Ukraine, will cover the majority of bus services running in Wales and builds on the free six-month rail travel pilot, which was announced a few weeks ago.

It provides all eligible people free, unlimited travel on local bus services, including those operating into England where the journey starts or finishes in Wales. The Welcome Ticket scheme will run for six months ending on 30 September 2022

Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters said: “This free bus scheme – called Welcome Ticket – will be available to all refugees who are already here or are arriving in Wales and will allow unlimited free travel on the majority of local bus services across Wales and those operating to England, if they start or finish in Wales.

“This is a major step forward in ensuring refugees and people from Ukraine can travel freely across Wales – it will help them to integrate into Wales and make a positive contribution to our nation.

“I want to pay tribute to all those bus companies across Wales for taking part in this scheme – it demonstrates their commitment to making Wales a real nation of sanctuary.”

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The Welcome Ticket is a voluntary scheme in which bus companies across Wales can choose to take part in. People will need to show evidence of their eligibility for the scheme, which maybe their passport, visa or biometric residence permit when boarding. They will then be given a Welcome Ticket by the bus driver.

Cadw have also announced their scheme to offer free individual or family entry to all Cadw sites for refugees and those seeking sanctuary in Wales. Visitors to Cadw sites who are refugees, asylum seekers or people from Ukraine will need to show appropriate documentation from the Home Office.

Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport Dawn Bowden said: “I’m delighted to see Cadw playing its part in showing what being a Nation of Sanctuary means.

“This offer will be in place until 25 October, ensuring all those who come to Wales seeking sanctuary will have the opportunity to view and visit Welsh cultural and heritage sites across the country free of charge.”

Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said: “We’ve made great strides in delivering on our promise to be a Nation of Sanctuary in Wales. These announcements show this commitment in action.

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“Being a Nation of Sanctuary means welcoming people to Wales and providing them with help and support to settle into their lives in Wales. We’re very proud we can extend these fantastic schemes to people from Ukraine.”

“We firmly believe the skills, experience and resilience of refugees and asylum seekers are an asset to Wales – that’s why we’re proud to extend the welcome and support their ambitions to thrive in Wales. This is what being a Nation of Sanctuary is all about.

“We want to ensure that these individuals are supported to rebuild their lives and make a full contribution to Welsh society.”

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Motoring

New study from leading safety charity RoSPA finds e-scooters five times safer than bicycles

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A new study into the safety of e-scooters has been published today by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), which found that e-scooters are significantly less risky than many other forms of transport on Britain’s roads.

The report recorded an incident rate of 0.66 collisions for every million miles travelled on an e-scooter – five times lower than bicycles with 3.33 collisions per million miles travelled and nine times lower than the figure of 5.88 for motorcycles.

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The study was carried out by the UK’s leading accident prevention charity RoSPA, with technical assistance from safety-focused e-scooter operator Neuron Mobility. It assessed the scale and nature of injury risk associated with e-scooters in comparison to other modes of transport. It covers data gathered by the Department for Transport (DfT) and provided by Neuron for the 2020 period.

With the numbers of e-scooters in the UK increasing sharply since 2020, both as part of the Government’s ongoing trials and often illegal use of private e-scooters, there is a pressing requirement for further research into how the safety of these devices shapes up against other vehicles.

In fact, of the incidents that did occur on e-scooters, figures showed that the overwhelming majority of them (94 per cent) took place in local authority areas that were not operating an e-scooter trial as opposed to areas with shared e-scooters available, further highlighting that so far, the UK’s shared e-scooter trials have proven to be remarkably safe.

Shared e-scooter schemes tend to feature a range of safety innovations and stricter rules and regulations when compared to privately owned e-scooters which are currently illegal for use on public land.

For example, Neuron’s rental e-scooters, which have been approved by the DfT, are fitted with GPS and geofencing which controls where they can be ridden and parked and their speed in different areas.

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With this technology, Neuron is able to set riding area boundaries, slow-zones, no-parking zones, and no-ride zones. Every trip is logged and all e-scooters have insurance, integrated safety helmets, identification plates, topple detection, and with daily safety checks and regular servicing, they are widely regarded as a safer option than private e-scooters.

Almost all incidents analysed as part of the study were confirmed to have taken place on the roads (94 per cent), mostly on unsegregated single carriageways.

The vast majority involved a collision between an e-scooter and a larger powered vehicle like a car, truck or lorry, highlighting the need for improved infrastructure and protection for riders.

The data also shone light onto the types of riders involved and the time of day incidents were most likely to take place, with the majority of collisions happening during daylight hours, between 2pm and 7pm, with peaks at 3pm and 6pm. Men (77 per cent) were far more likely to be involved than women.

Based on these findings, the report makes a set of recommendations to improve the safety of e-scooters further, including:

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  • Given the rate of crashes that take place on single carriageways, further investment in road design improvements, including segregated bike and e-scooter lanes, would be beneficial.
  • Safety standards should be applied to improve the visibility of e-scooters on the road, including those that relate to indication, lighting and braking.
  • Providing mandatory training on the Highway Code and the practical operation of e-scooters would be beneficial for all users.
  • Awareness and training on e-scooter behaviour for other road users, in particular car drivers, would be beneficial.
  • e-scooter users should be encouraged to wear helmets when riding

Nathan Davies, Executive Head of Policy and Portfolio at RoSPA said: “e-scooters are clearly set to be a long-term feature of our transport mix and it’s of pressing importance that we understand their impact on road safety and how they can be made safe for everyone to use.

This report shows that e-scooters compare favourably to other kinds of vehicles and do not represent any greater safety risk to other road users and pedestrians. However, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to ensure they are integrated on our highways and make sure both e-scooter riders and cyclists are offered greater protections from motor vehicles, which were the source of the vast majority of incidents.”

RentaleE-scooter operators, like Neuron, taking part in the Department for Transport’s trial schemes have demonstrated a strong commitment to safety and rider education. However, we need to see these initiatives filter across to private sale models, where the majority of incidents occur, to ensure any wider rollout is done with safety as a priority.”

George Symes, UK Regional Manager at Neuron Mobility said: “As a relatively new mode of transport there is often a misperception that e-scooters present a greater risk than some other forms of transport, but the data shows this simply isn’t true. We welcome RoSPA’s report which shows that e-scooters – particularly rental e-scooters – compare very favourably to bikes and motorcycles when it comes to the number of incidents.

“Neuron’s number one focus is safety. We evaluate every incident that takes place in our cities to assess how we can reduce the risk of it happening again. Across the UK we have implemented a range of initiatives to make our operations safer, including an online safety course developed with RoSPA, regular ScootSafe events in city centres and universities and incentives for helmet use and safe parking.”

“We know that with the right investment in technology, education and infrastructure, e-scooters can be made even safer and more accessible.“

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(Lead image: Dirk Vorderstraße / Creative Commons)

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British Transport Police

Police want to speak with this man after a teenage girl was sexually assaulted on train to Llanelli

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British Transport Police have released a photo of a man they want to speak with after a teenage girl was reportedly sexually assaulted in a “prolonged” attack.

The attack took place on a Heart of Wales line train between Llandovery and Llanelli.

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A spokesperson from British Transport Police said: “At 4.40pm on Saturday 26 March, a teenage girl boarded the train and sat opposite a man on a table seat. The man then proceeded to sexually assault her.

“Officers believe the man in the image may have information which could help their investigation.

“If you recognise him, or have any information, please contact BTP by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 538 of 26/03/22.

“Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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