TOPS NEWS May 2009
- Drivers of expensive cars are more likely to have an affair, according to a new poll from the illicitencounters.com website, which describes itself as the UK's largest extra-marital dating site, found that 20.9% of its members drove a high-ranking executive car. This included 16 Bentley owners, 31 Porsche owners, 5 Aston Martin owners and 135 BMW owners. A spokesman said "Many of those actively seeking an affair tend to be go-getters, which is reflected in their choice of car and their chosen profession. They are often conspicuous consumers."
- Ministers are considering whether to use the ‘e-borders’ tracking system to stop motorists with unpaid parking fines leaving the country.
- The British International Motor Show has been cancelled because of the crisis in the car industry. The biennial event, which was due to be staged in London next summer, has been running since 1903 and has taken place ever since, apart from during the two world wars.
- Charade circuit is having more problems with locals who recently bought houses and do not like the noise!
- Police used two police cars to guide a woman driver off a roundabout in Germany after fellow motorists said she'd done at least 50 circuits.
- 4128 motorists had their speeding convictions quashed after speeding on the A5117 in Cheshire when it emerged that an order to enforce a 40 mph speed limit in road works had run out.
- Police in southwest China are serving drivers with raw chili in a bid to stop them falling asleep at the wheel. China's roads are among the most dangerous in the world due to overloaded and speeding trucks and drivers who switch lanes without signaling and often ignore traffic lights.
According to the police, 112 Land Rovers were stolen last year from homes in Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire by a gang who sell them in Africa.
- A Hungarian bank lost more than £20,000 in cash after a security van was rammed - by a prison van full of bank robbers.
- A new satellite navigation system can pinpoint the position of a car to within one yard. However, the technology is already causing controversy because it will also allow authorities to 'track' a car's movements and its speed, bringing the possibility of automatic speeding fines.
- An amphibious bus has been launched which will carry 50 passengers. The bus's wheels retract into a hull, made from marine-grade aluminium, allowing it to reach speeds of up to 8 knots,(75 mph on the road) powered by a jet-drive unit. The Amphicoach is able to operate day and night, in both fresh and salt water, which is highly unusual. (Sounds rather like the 1960s Amphicar Ed)
- The management of the Skoda car museum have said it has to be self-financing so instead of restoring the mass of their own cars in need of work they are working for other people.
- A 69 year-old German woman was involved in three car accidents on the Baltic resort island of Usedom, in less than an hour. First she crashed into 3 cars while trying to pull out of a supermarket then she pressed the accelerator and sped across a lawn before crashing into a nearby house. She was taken to hospital in an ambulance but it was then hit by a truck.
- Boris Johnson is hoping to speed up traffic flow in London by using pedestrian ‘count down’ signs. These are successfully used in several other countries. And the government hopes to slow down traffic by imposing a 50 mph speed limit on most of Britain’s roads, enforced by the average speed cameras which are already installed at 43 locations.
- The government has plans to give police the power to issue fixed-penalty notices for minor offences (careless driving) – the evidence for careless driving is not clear-cut and often an officer’s opinion. Drivers would pay an automatic £60 fine with 3 penalty points. If they insist of a court hearing the fine could rise to £5,000 and 9 points. Police may be issued with ‘drugalyzers’ to screen motorists of driving with illegal drugs in their bloodstream. “It beggars belief that police are still asking drugged up motorists to walk down the white line” said a Tory road spokesman.
- Foreign drivers are expected to have to pay on-the-spot fines of up to £900 for flouting traffic laws. Three million foreign-registered vehicles enter Britain each year and are involved in apx 9,000 accidents p.a. The worst culprits are from Poland, then Czech Republic, Lithuania and Hungary.
- David Kirkwood drove behind his 10-year-old son who has to walk to school down a country lane without pavements. He has been told he could be arrested for obstructing the road.
- Wokingham Borough Council is facing claims for £500,000 after cars were flooded at a park-and-ride site.
- Car sales in Germany surged 40% after a £2,500 bonus was offered for scrapping old cars for newer, greener models. However the scheme back-fired as Asian cars are outselling the local German product.
- Countryside campaigners claim that rural roads are being choked with a 46% rise in traffic over the past few years.
- Scientists in the USA have invented a battery which can charge in under 20 seconds. By coating particles of lithium iron phosphate in a glassy material called lithium pyrophosphate, ions can move much more quickly to charge the battery.
- The Home Office wants to set a maximum clamping penalty charge of £135 to stop the cowboy clampers.
- Warwickshire Council is in talks with the police and CPS about removing the need for advance warning signs of speed cameras.
- Swiss officials say they are powerless to act against identical twins who have run-up hundreds of parking tickets and blamed each other for the offences, as it is impossible to rely on visual evidence to prove who was driving the car when they got the ticket.
- Dog-crazy Americans will soon be able to buy a pet-friendly Honda car with a cushioned dog bed in the boot, fitted with a built-in water bowl and fan and a ramp to help less agile dogs climb in. Americans spend $41 billion a year on their pets, a figure forecast to rise to $52 billion in two years, indicating a big market for the car.
- Donington Park has been granted more time to try to find the money to complete the track arrangements necessary for the British GP next year
- Guatemala has banned motorcyclists from carrying passengers in an attempt to crack down on drive-by murders by gunmen perched on the back of moving bikes.
- Motorists are having to get down on their knees to collect tickets from Britain's smallest car park ticket machine. The 3ft machine dispenses pay-and-display tickets just 18” above the ground at the North Norfolk Council car park in Sheringham.
- A team from Warwick University has made the world's first environmentally-friendly racing car, from vegetables. It will be powered by chocolate. The 145 mph ecoF3 has a steering wheel made of carrots, a body made of potatoes and a seat made of soybeans. Vegetable fibres are mixed with resins to produce the car parts and the oils in the chocolate are refined to produce fuel.
- Tom Riall, head of the company which installed Gatso speed cameras at 4,500 sites around Britain since 1992, was banned from driving for 6 months after admitting speeding at more than 100 mph on the A14.
- Since it went on sale last month over 203,000 orders have been placed for the Tata Nano, which sells in India for apx £1,340.
- The Mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno wants to stage a Formula 1 race in the streets of the Esposizione Universale Roma district of the city. This area was developed from 1935 onwards by Benito Mussolini to celebrate twenty years of Fascist rule in 1942 with an international Expo.
Compiled an edited by Trisha Pilkington - an abridged verseion