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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 21 May 2007

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YOUNGER drivers the most dangerous, women drivers voted themselves the safest.  American Express Motor Insurance polled 10,000 customers asking them what action they would take to improve driving if they were Prime Minister.

The top 3 answers were:-

1. Increase police patrols
2. Improve public transport to reduce traffic
3. Improve more severe penalties for uninsured/ unlicensed/untaxed motorists

The number of untaxed vehicles on the road has increased by 76% in the last 2 years, whilst 1 in 20 cars is driven without insurance. Uninsured drivers cost every insured motorist an extra £25 to £30 on their annual premium.

Joanne Field, Marketing Manager, American Express Motor Insurance:- “The uninsured driver poses a risk to every insured driver – not only is there the extra premium cost, but there is the risk of being involved in an accident with them.  Those with fully comprehensive insurance should be covered for repairs to the car. However, no claims discount could be lost and other costs like medical and legal bills may not be covered. Whilst many of our respondents felt that more severe penalties would help tackle the problem others suggested increasing fuel costs to include insurance coverage.”

The survey also asked who were the safest and most dangerous drivers on the road. Both men and women thought younger drivers were the most dangerous - but when it came to the safest drivers - the men voted for older drivers, the women voted for themselves!

Male drivers’ views:-

Position Safest Most Dangerous
1 Older Drivers Younger Drivers
2 Bus Drivers Van Drivers
3 Lorry Drivers Women with children in car

Female drivers’ views:-

Position Safest Most Dangerous
1 Women Drivers Younger Drivers
2 Bus Drivers Van Drivers
3 Taxi cab drivers Older Drivers

However, when asked simply who were the “best” drivers on the road - men or women - whilst 28% of men thought women drivers were, only 26% of women drivers thought that male drivers were.

However, all parties confessed to some bad driving habits, the top 5 were -

Driving when:-

1. Weather is bad – (90%)
2. When tired (81%)
3. Low on petrol (77%)
4. Eating (59%)
5. Using a mobile phone (47%)

Do you want to borrow my toothbrush? You could catch ANYTHING…

MOST Britons would be happy to lend their toothbrush to somebody else according to a new UK-wide dental survey.  The National Smile Month Survey, commissioned by the British Dental Health Foundation in association with Healthplan provider HSA, found that over 60% of people would be willing to let their partners, children, friends and even celebrities borrow their toothbrush.  Interestingly, men were far more protective of their brushes than women with almost half saying they wouldn’t lend their brush to anyone, as opposed to only a 3rd of women.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Foundation, commented:- “Sharing a toothbrush leaves people susceptible to all sorts of oral and general health problems.  There are many hundreds of different bacteria and viruses in our mouths and people sharing a toothbrush could be passing these on to others. Whilst this might be something relatively harmless, such as a common cold or cold sore, if the person you are sharing with is infected with hepatitis B or HIV these could also be passed on via the toothbrush with life threatening consequences.  People need to take good care of their toothbrush, changing it once every 3 months, and not letting anyone else borrow it.  You should brush twice-a-day with fluoride toothpaste, cut down how often you have sugary foods and drinks and visit the dentist regularly as often as they recommend for a good oral healthcare routine.”

The survey was commissioned to mark the 31st National Smile Month. The campaign will run until June 12 under the tagline ‘Two Minutes Twice a Day’.

“It’s worrying that so many people either aren’t aware, or don’t care, that by sharing a toothbrush they could be running the risk of catching a serious infection. Especially those in London, who are most likely to share their brush with their favourite celebrity!  It’s important for individuals and families to look after their oral health and we would encourage regular trips to the dentist. And, if you’re are worried about the cost, a range of funding options are available.” commented Abby Bowman from HSA.

A Million Move to Escape Neighbour Noise and more raucous revelry

ACCORDING to a new Ipsos MORI survey, 2% of people say they have moved house to escape noisy neighbours. The report also found that noise from cars and motorbikes is now the most common cause of annoyance in our neighbourhoods, affecting 1 in 5 people, and 70% are bothered by noise in their neighbourhood.

"This new research shows that noise continues to have a major impact - as for 45% of our sample, (compared to 35% in 2006) it affects their quality of life to some extent at home.  Many neighbourhood noise problems are the result of inconsiderate behaviour, and can be solved by the common sense, practical solutions being promoted at local level during Noise Action Week." said Philip Mulligan, NSCA Acting Chief Executive.

In addition, the survey results indicate that noise from pubs, clubs and entertainment venues is a source of increasing bother, particularly for those living in Scotland, with increasing outdoor revelry since the indoor smoking ban.  We also asked people about outdoor areas they consider quiet and 59% are lucky enough to have quiet gardens, with 38% considering their street quiet. However, for an unlucky 1%, there are no quiet areas, rising to 5% among Londoners.

During Noise Action Week professionals involved in managing neighbour noise, local authorities, housing providers and mediation services, are raising awareness of noise issues at local level, providing advice and information on reducing noise, on realistic expectation of noise and legislation to manage noise.
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