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Potholes: NI motorists receive £495k compensation
The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) paid out nearly £500,000 in compensation payments to motorists whose vehicles were damaged by potholes and other road defects in the past two years. The figures were released under the Freedom of Information Act. They confirm that between 1 January, 2016 and 30 November, 2017, a total of 1,935 vehicle damage claims concluded. Compensation payments totalled £495,358.04. DfI also released figures highlighting that in 2017 more than 78,000 surface defects were recorded on nearly 16,400 stretches of road across Northern Ireland.
UK growth upgrade could ‘dwarf’ Brexit hit
Britain should prepare for a much more economically optimistic 2018 because global growth is better than predicted. That’s the argument of Lord Jim O’Neill, the former Conservative Treasury minister and Remain supporter. He said Britain’s growth forecasts are likely to be upgraded as China, the US and Europe show increased activity. The gloomy predictions of the possible effects of Brexit are likely to be “dwarfed” by the more positive figures, Lord O’Neill added.
CBI calls for UK to remain in a customs union with EU
Time is running out on Brexit, and the UK should remain in a customs union with the EU, the CBI has warned. Carolyn Fairbairn, head of the UK business group, said there was a “lack of clarity” surrounding ongoing talks about the future of UK-EU trade. Speaking on ITV’s Peston on Sunday, she also said a customs union would be best for UK economic growth and prosperity. The UK’s Department for Exiting the EU said Brussels had an “ambitious free trade approach” to exit discussions.
Blue badge may be granted to people with dementia and autism
People with hidden disabilities such as dementia and autism may be entitled to blue badge parking permits under plans being considered by the Department for Transport. The move, which would be the biggest change to the blue badge scheme since its introduction in 1970, would help more people to travel to work, shop and socialise, said Jesse Norman, the transport minister. The change would also contribute to creating parity in the treatment of physical and mental health. Blue badge assessments would be carried out by a greater variety of healthcare professionals who can spot if mental health problems were causing mobility issues.
Police cuts give motorists licence to ignore rules
Police shortages are leading to a big rise in anti-social behaviour on the road such as tailgating, middle-lane hogging and undertaking. A study found that motorists believed they could break the rules with impunity because they were never caught. It was claimed that cameras were increasingly being seen as a cheap substitute for police officers, although they could only be used to crack down on a small number of offences such as speeding and driving in bus lanes. The study by the AA found that two thirds of drivers thought they could get away with careless driving offences, which can be punished with £100 fines and three penalty points.
Audi recalls 125,000 cars over diesel emissions ‘cheating’
The car industry was hit by fresh controversy over diesel emissions yesterday after it was revealed that Audi had been forced to recall 127,000 vehicles over suspected cheating software. The recall follows the detection by the German motoring watchdog of an illicit emission-control system in its latest Euro-6 diesel models. Almost two thirds of the affected vehicles are believed to be in Germany. It is not yet known how many have British owners. The technology turns off emissions-reducing measures while being driven on the road to protect the engine, it was reported, while allowing it work during lab conditions when pollution tests are carried out.
New cars are ‘safer than ever’ because of driver assistance systems, motor industry claims
New cars rolling off the UK’s production lines today are safer than ever before, the industry’s largest trade body has said. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) , technology that reduces driver errors and prevents accidents is now available in a majority of cars. It said that nearly seven out of 10 new cars now have driver assistance systems that help improve safety. Those cars – data compiled by the SMMT and intelligence firm JATO Dynamics shows – are offered with at least one self-activating safety system as standard or as an optional extra. The research also showed that nearly 1.8 million new vehicles a year are available with collision warning systems – which marks a 20 per cent increase on the previous year’s figure. Citing figures from the Department of Transport, Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said that improvements in car safety technology has led to 10 per cent fall in accidents in the last five years.
New York unveils plans for first congestion charge for drivers who want to enter busy parts of Manhattan
New York has unveiled plans for its first congestion charge under which drivers will pay $11.52 (£8.31) to enter busy parts of Manhattan. Cars will have to pay the fee if they enter midtown or downtown at peak times on a weekday. Trucks and commercial vehicles would pay $25.34 (£18.28) and there would be a surcharge of between $2 (£1.44) and $5 (£3.61) per trip on for-hire vehicles like yellow cabs and Ubers. If the plans are implemented they will be the first pay to drive scheme in the whole of the US.
Insurance firms who charge drivers called Mohammed nearly £1,000 MORE than motorists with names like John Smith are branded ‘unlawful’
Drivers called Mohammed are being charged almost £1,000 more to insure their vehicles than motorists with traditional British names. Huge insurance companies such as Admiral, Diamond, Bell, Elephant and Marks & Spencer were found to charge less when a driver has the name ‘John Smith’. A John Smith living in Leicester was offered a quote of £1,333 to insure an 11-year-old Ford Focus with fully comprehensive cover. However, by just changing the name to ‘Mohammed Ali’ the figure rocketed to £2,252 – almost £1,000 more. The newspaper received 60 quotes after entering details into comparison websites including Go Compare, which show results from each specific insurance company.
Amazon delivery drivers win payout over working conditions – and it could help 15,000 workers claim back pay
DRIVERS working for a company which delivers parcels for Amazon have won a payout over claims of poor working conditions. This could now see 15,000 workers look to get back cash, unions say, after UK Express drivers complained about their status as “self-employed” – which they argued means they do not get paid rest breaks, holiday and sick pay.UK Express has reached an out-of-court settlement with four former drivers – keeping claims of their working conditions secret. The firm is understood to have given the four complainants nearly £80,000 between them. It also denied allegations of mistreatment towards the drivers.