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Thursday, 23 March 2017

Japanese firm offers cheap funerals for elderly motorists who give up driving

An undertaker in Japan is offering elderly motorists cheap funerals if they can prove they have given up driving.

According to The Times, the Heiankaku Co chain in Aichi prefecture is offering a 15 per cent discount at any of its 89 funeral homes if there is documentary evidence that the driver has handed over their licence. 

The newspaper claims this is the second business in the area to offer a discount, after a restaurant chain offered discounted food for those who had surrendered their licences.

In Japan, elderly drivers are two and-a-half times more likely to be involved in an accident than younger drivers, and they are deemed responsible for one in every eight of the country's accidents.

Last November the country's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, called an emergency meeting after an 87-year-old man crashed his vehicle into a line of school children, killing a boy of six. The man had apparently been driving around aimlessly for 24 hours and could not remember the incident.

In the same month, a married couple were killed when an 83-year-old ran them over in Tokyo, while another elderly driver crashed into a bus stop, and yet another smashed through the front of a shop.

Monday, 20 March 2017

No Cake in sight...

Chairman Lida Davies, Robyn D’Albertanson, Valerie Prior and Lois Bellenie

Three ladies for the East Kent Women's Institute recently became advanced motorists by completing the IAM Roadsmart Course. Robyn D’Albertanson, Valerie Prior and Lois Bellenie all passed their tests together and were presented with their pass certificate by a very proud Chairman Linda Davies. 

Speaking to the ladies we asked if their was one piece of advice they would give to other women about joining up to become an Advanced Motorists all unanimously said to "just do it" with Lois adding that it's not scary at all and she enjoyed her time learning new skills and improving her driving. Valerie also adding that all the Observers were very friendly and good at what they do.

What's the plan now for the three amigos from the WI? Skid pan training... of course! 

Congratulations to Robyn D’Albertanson, Valerie Prior and Lois Bellenie

Weekends Presentations

Last weekends certificate presentations were at our Kingston area where chairman Linda Davies proudly hands out IAM Roadsmart test pass certificate to Patrick Simmonds.

 He added that the course was ‘well worth doing’ giving Patrick a boost in his driving skills. He also added that all his observers were very good and he enjoyed the experience.

 Congratulations to Patrick.

National Observer Pass

Our observers go through various assessment and tests to keep stands up on behalf of Kent Group of Advanced Motorists and the IAM.

Nigel Holden up graded his skills from an Observer to a National Observer after passing his test recently. 

A big congratulation to Nigal.

Friday, 10 March 2017

DVLA in sexism row over driving licences

Women have to choose a title on their licences, while men don't need to

DVLA in sexism row over driving licences

Two female scientists accused the DVLA of sexism for using 'Miss' or 'Mrs' on their driving licences when men's don't need a title.

Ashley Kent, 35, said she requested to have no title when she registered for a new licence, but when it arrived it said 'Mrs'.

Her colleague, Elin Roberts, also encountered the same issue. In a tweet conversation with the DVLA, she asked why she had to have the title.

She wrote: "Just received my new licence and it is wrong. I asked for no title on but it has come back with one on it. Can this be changed?"

The DVLA replied: "Hi, the purpose of the title is to allow the system to determine the male or female format of the driver number. I'm afraid it can't be removed."

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Last Weekend Presentations

Last weekends certificate presentations by Chairman Linda Davies for passing the IAM Roadsmart course goes to David Smith, Tina Tindell, Sheila Cousins, Ian Wilson (Rear Left) and John Allison (Rear Right)

Sheila Cousins not only thanked the group and the Observers who gave up their time to see Sheila through the test but also explained to the group's new associates that the course is worth while and it has increased her observations and safety behind the wheel. 

Ian Wilson, achieved a F1rst pass. He commented on the fact that even when you pass the learning doesn't stop. Tina Tindell's family attended the presentation and Tina, in an emotional speech thanked all the Observers and her family for their support and explained that her motivation to take the course was spurred on after a traffic accident a few years back. 

Our congratulations to David, Tina, Sheila, Ian and John on passing the IAM Roadsmart test and taking some of the biggest steps to improve their own driving ability and safety.

If you want to join David, Tina, Sheila, Ian, John and many others to become better drivers, and live in the county of Kent - why not take the IAM Roadsmart challenge. Visit our website, kentiam.org.uk for more details.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Driving with technology: tips from IAM RoadSmart

Mobile communications and GPS systems used as sat-navs are becoming very common in cars. Whether you are connecting your Bluetooth to blast tunes or looking for the nearest Waitrose, these have become a fundamental part of the daily drive for many of us.

This week's tips give advice on using technology to complement your driving, from IAM RoadSmart's head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman.

  • Whilst a sat-nav aids in getting you from A to B try to not become reliant on it. It is important to pay attention to road signs and the road ahead, in case there's a diversion sign that the device may not have picked up


  • Get to know your sat-nav before you set off and always programme it when stationary. Many people trust their sat-navs not to get them lost but you also need to know about roadworks, diversions and places to stop. Keep an old fashioned map to ensure that you limit the chances of going completely off track


  • Create your playlist before you start your journey. Taking your eyes of the wheel to look or adjust your music can often prove to be hazardous. It only takes a few seconds distraction to cause an accident. Remember to also keep your music down in some circumstances; your hearing can keep you safe, so be prepared to turn the music off


  • Don't make or take calls when driving and never text or engage with social media on your smartphone. Through extensive research it has been shown that making calls, even  hands-free affects concentration and slows reactions when driving


  • Some vehicles have the ability to create a Wi-Fi zone allowing internet access. This should be used as a luxury for passengers whilst ensuring they do not distract you as the driver. For instance a computer screen reflecting in the dark is a dangerous distraction

Richard said: "The latest driver assistance systems can be the perfect back-up to cover our occasional human failings but are no substitutes for concentration. The driver must always remain connected to what is going on around them.  Multi-tasking is a myth and all too often that glance away can become a complete switch-off to an emerging risk.  No text, tweet, check in or status update is worth crashing for."

Fatal distraction - using a hand-held mobile phone can kill, says IAM RoadSmart

Using a hand-held mobile phone while on the move is a fatal distraction – that's the view of leading independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart, as the increase in the punishment for drivers comes into force today (1 March).

Last November the Government announced that anyone caught using a hand-held mobile phone while at the wheel of a car would be fined £200 and receive six points on their licence – a doubling of the existing penalty.

The issue was brought into sharp focus last November when lorry driver Tomasz Kroker was jailed for 10 years when he killed a family of four in a crash caused by searching for music on his smartphone.

Those surveyed last year by IAM RoadSmart are becoming increasingly concerned by the issue. In the charity's Driving Safety Culture Survey (reference 1) over 86% of UK motorists thought distraction caused by mobile phones had become worse in the last three years.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy and Research, said: "Addressing the growing problem of smartphone use whilst driving will require a combination of enforcement and education as well as drivers, passengers, companies and individuals taking more responsibility.

"IAM RoadSmart is disappointed that the government did not support our calls for first time offenders to be sent automatically on a re-education course specifically tailored to breaking our apparent addiction to being constantly connected. We also want to see car companies, mobile phone makers and social media providers working together to develop technical solutions to hand held mobile phone use in vehicles."

Neil added: "It is essential that drivers get the clear message that if you are on the phone and have a fatal crash you can expect to go to prison for a long time. There is a lot of support among the driving public for stronger penalties and more enforcement focus on mobile phones, but also a feeling that this is not always reflected in sentencing.