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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 221

Date:- 03 October 2005

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PUTTING A STOP TO HIGHWAY ROBBERY... THE NEW WAY TO AVOID SPEEDING TICKETS?

DID you know that... A survey by Radar24.co.uk found 67% of people believe speed cameras are ‘cash machines’ simply designed to raise revenue?

Did you know that... A survey by Radar24 found that motorists paid almost £114 million in speeding fines last year, up 500 per cent on the previous two years?

Did you know that... A new service from Radar24 provides information about police mobile speed cameras direct to your mobile?

Did you know that... It is illegal to use your mobile phone when driving?

Radar24.co.uk, last week, have started a new SMS text message service that informs subscribers, in "real time", where the police have mobile speeding controls or temporary road blocks. There is no membership fee; subscribers to the service simply pay for the texts they receive.

Research commissioned by Radar24 found that people no longer believe speed cameras are being used to encourage safer driving.

Radar24 said that last year motorists paid almost £144 million in speeding fines, up 500 per cent over the previous two  years. But is it correct to start such a system that alerts drivers by phone?

In a press statement sent to us, the group says:- "The service allows subscribers to anticipate the actions of other road users and avoid accidents. It is known that drivers often brake unexpectedly and sharply if they spot a mobile speed camera, which can cause an accident."

We decided to put the press release to a local driving examiner who does not want to be named. He took a look, and then we asked this simple question... "What do you think about this service's claims about anticipating the actions of other road users and avoiding accidents?"

He responded by saying:- "We have speed controls on British roads for safety reasons. If you keep within the limit you are not going to be fined!

Radar24's service does remind people that we have speed limits and that the police regularly check to ensure that drivers are keeping within these limits, but is this reminder in the press release itself a way of increasing sales?

What happens when the TXT comes in?"


We pointed out a statement by Stephen Juul Jensen of Radar24.co.uk in the release that said:- "The police claim speed cameras are used at accident black spots and we feel drivers should know where these are for safety reasons. Many police forces release information about the location of speed cameras, via CD ROMs or through the local press announcements. Radar24 gives users access to the latest information via their mobile phones in real time."

Asked what is so wrong with a TXT message? "You have to take your eyes off the road to read the text message. The other forms of information mention by Stephen Juul Jensen of Radar24.co.uk give you information that keeps your eyes on the road. Even some SAT NAVE systems that have this information on, give you verbal information, again this also allows you to keep your eyes on the road. Sadly TXT messages do not allow this.

TXT  messaging is distracting, especially when they come in, and drivers who often use this type of messaging look at the messages on their
phones when driving.

The use of mobiles when driving ban was introduced in the UK in December 2003.  I think that this type of service will only encourage drivers to use phones when driving, just to avoid speeding fines. It will not slow them down overall, just as the cameras don’t.

In fact use of such a device may only increase the chance of them being fined... The funny thing is that, if caught using the phone they can be hit with fixed penalty, on-the-spot fine. Drivers if court using a phone when driving can even face prosecution. Taking your eyes off the road is just as bad as speeding, if not worse!

Are people who use this type of system going to think about that as they speed along a road?"
What was the response we got from the driving examiner.

According to Radar24, its service is already the most successful SMS service in Scandinavia, where police recognise the potential benefits of the service. Mr Mogens Wilbert, chief inspector in the Danish national police’s traffic department:-
"When an SMS is sent out drivers will lower their speed. If we look at it from this point of view then it has a positive impact on traffic safety."


As it is against the law in the UK to use your mobile phone when driving, should services like this be allowed? What do you think about this type of service? Email your views and feelings to us at:- news24@southportreporter.com 

Fact File:-

The top ten regions earning the most from speed camera fines 2003-4 according to Radar24.

Rank Region Fines paid
1 South Wales £7.281 million
2 Thames Valley £6.698 million
3 London £6.497 million
4 Avon & Somerset £5.949 million
5 Essex £5.137 million
6 Lancashire £5.073 million
7 Dorset £3.959 million
8 Sussex £3.772 million
9 Bedfordshire £3.655 million
10 West Yorkshire £3.625 million

SMS = Short Message Service. It is a service sending short text messages to mobile phones. Also known as TXT.

LIVERPOOL BIKERS CHALLENGED TO SHOW THEY’RE THE MOST DEDICATED BENNETT'S BRITISH SUPER BIKE FAN

BENNETT'S, official sponsor of the Bennett's British Super bike Championship, has launched a search to find the most committed and fanatical supporter of the Championship this season and is calling on Liverpool’s bikers to demonstrate they are worthy of the title.

Thousands of bike fans have attended and followed the 2005 Bennett's British Super bike Championship, and ahead of the last round at Brands Hatch on the 9 October 2005, with the Championship set to go right to the wire, Bennett's is looking for stories of unquestionable devotion from the nation’s bikers.

So whether you’re a fan who’s travelled the length and breadth of the UK and attended all twelve rounds of the Championship so far, never miss a minute of all the qualifying sessions or have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure you haven’t missed any of the rip-roaring action to cheer on your favourite rider, Bennett's wants to hear from you!

Whatever your story, if you think you should be a winner, Bennett's want to hear your tales of fanatical devotion.

The overall winner will be crowned the ‘Bennetts Most Dedicated Fan’ and will be rewarded with a pair of entry passes to attend every round of next year’s Championship for free! What better way to reward the country’s top Bennett's BSB nut!

Kal Samra, Bennett's Director said:- “The Bennett's British Super bike Championship has seen over 300,000 fans travelling the length and breadth of England, Scotland and Ireland to cheer on their favourite riders this season and they’ve helped ensure the Championship has been a great success.

We are delighted with how the title sponsorship has gone in our first season and initiatives such as this give us the chance to say thanks to the fans for their continued support of the Championship.”


If you think you have what it takes to be named ‘Bennetts Most Dedicated Fan’, simply jot down your reasons why, along with your full contact details and email them to:- robert@ptarmiganpr.co.uk

Deadline for entries is 31 October 2005. terms and conditions apply and are available at:-  www.bennetts.co.uk/dedicatedfan.

Survey of British gripes and grievances

STARTLING new research reveals the extent to which people in the North West feel their communities are plagued by yob culture, binge drinking and dog mess. The National Crime and Grime Survey conducted by ICM and commissioned by CSV Make a Difference Day and Barclays, reveals what people would most like to change in their local communities regarding crime/anti-social behaviour and the environment, and how they can make changes through ‘people power’.

People from the North West were asked to rank the top 3 things they would most like to change in their local communities. On issues regarding crime and anti-social behaviour the results reveal:-

• 64% want street crime reduced
• 63% want to see yob culture tackled
• 59% want to see local drug problems cleaned up
• 53% want binge drinking reduced
• 28% want to see a reduction in gun crime
• 26% want to stop people urinating in public

Gun crime was the biggest concern for young people, with 42% saying it was one of the top 3 things they want to change, compared to just 19% of 45 to 54 year olds. They were also least concerned with binge drinking, only 43% of 18 to 24 year olds say it is one of the top 3 things they want to change, compared with 61% of 45 to 54 years.

The same sample of people was also asked to rank the top 3 things they would most like to change in their local communities regarding the environment. The results reveal:-

• 70% want to see dog mess cleaned up
• 69% want to see litter cleaned up
• 52% want to see fly-tipping tackled

Other environmental concerns include:-

• 37% want to see graffiti cleaned up
• 27% want to see a reduction in air pollution
• 26% want to see a reduction in noise pollution

The group most concerned with environmental problems were 18 to 24 year olds with 46% of them saying that air pollution is one of the top 3 things they want to change, compared to just 30% of over 65s. Graffiti also scored high with 18 to 24 year olds, with 44% who say it is one of the top 3 things they want to change, compared to 33% of 55 to 64 year olds.

“This survey shows the scale of people’s discontent with the state of their local communities.

But people are not powerless to make changes. Through volunteering they can get involved and make a difference. For example someone concerned about street crime could become a special constable or a mentor for a young person at risk of offending, while those with environmental concerns could organise a litter pick or walk-to-work scheme to help reduce air pollution, the possibilities are endless.”
said Anna Gilmour, CSV Make a Difference Day Campaign Co-ordinator.

Rachel Barber, Head of Community Affairs at Barclays said:- “Last year over 11,500 members of our staff took part in CSV Make a Difference Day. They remove graffiti, clean streets, parks and beaches and work in schools providing positive role models for young people. It’s amazing what an impact you can have in one day, our staff will also tell you how hugely rewarding it is and how many continue to volunteer once they have a taste.”

CSV Make a Difference Day is a flagship event during the Year of the Volunteer and is an opportunity for people to try volunteering to see if they enjoy it. It is the biggest single day of volunteering, with around 100,000 people taking part in activities the 2 weeks either side of Saturday 29 October 2005. To find out more call

FREEPHONE 0800 284533 or visit the website:– www.csv.org.uk/difference.

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