Tag Archive | "radar"

The Good News And The Bad


You know those nasty and invidious speed cameras dotted around the countryside? Well, fear them no longer – help is at hand. You may use radar detectors with impunity, for now. Remember, don’t take our word for it, we’re not lawyers – check the facts for yourself; but it seems that following a change of law in 2006 ministers were allowed to ban radar detectors without recourse to Parliament. Nobody has actually done it and, according to the present government, they don’t intend to.

This means that the devices may be sold openly in shops. Gatso’s and mobile cameras apparently emit radar or laser signals which can be scanned for and picked up by these gadgets, unlike sat-nav’s that work from a database of recorded sites, making them accurate at all times. The latest incumbent minister – they change so often – at the Department for Transport has formally declared that these legal powers will not be used as they want to be seen to be open and fair about speed enforcement.

This is likely to see the devices back in the retailers ASAP, although some commentators believe that it might make drivers more confident when speeding through accident black spots. A fair point. The fact remains though that most drivers feel persecuted by the present rules and will appreciate the heads-up when approaching a speed trap and will still, in any case, slow down. That’s the good news.

Were you aware of the fact that if you break down and request the police to arrange recovery, they’ll charge you a fee? You’d think, wouldn’t you, that they would want to see to it as a priority to make the road safe and not to use it as a cash enterprise.

Well, it appears that a fee is being charged to cover – don‘t laugh -‘administration costs’. This is not a set figure, curiously, but will depend on the force in question, presumably based on how much they think they can get away with. This fee is payable to the recovery firm who pass it on to the police, possibly in a plain, brown envelope. The cost may or may not be picked up by your insurer, depending upon how lucky you are.

The Association of Chief Police Officers have stated that the recovery fee has been agreed by the insurance industry. Why is it then that the insurance companies are wondering why the fee is so high? Something’s not right. Anyway, the outcome is that, last year, the boys in blue trousered a not insignificant £3.7 million! How naïve we must all be to think that we have already paid through taxation for a police service. It seems that, in Britain today, just about everybody is at it.

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Cheaper Car Insurance Through Technology


As with most of the technology in our 21st Century lives, there are good things and bad things. Cars are no different. The reasons for fitting complicated and expensive to repair electronic parking brakes have never been fully explained. With vehicles that warm up quickly, is there any real call for heavy electric seats? Whatever, they’re with us now and some people obviously like them.

Sometimes though, technology turns up a really good idea. It was one Heinrich Hertz who, in the closing years of the 19th Century found that radio waves bounced off metal objects (strangely, he then went on to invent car rentals). The idea of radar (radio detection and ranging for the purists) was developed over the years with events speeding up rapidly during the 2nd World War. All this science and engineering was building up to one thing – the front end of the new Mazda CX-5.

Although by no means alone in this field of development, Mazda have been actively investing in this technology to help reduce the severity of collisions and the excellent and highly driveable CX-5 is the first in the Japanese company’s range to feature radar across this 18 model SUV range.

It’s called ‘Smart City Brake Support’ and it’s one of products to feature in Mazda’s SKYACTIV range of technologies. This is an automatic emergency braking system that uses sensors in the front of the CX-5 to monitor speed and distance to the vehicle in front. If the system decides that it’s all getting a bit leary and a shunt is imminent, the brakes are applied. For now, the technology works best at speeds below nineteen mph. This doesn’t sound a lot but in reality there are many slow speed crunches that often cause a disproportionate amount of damage.

Even the most hardened of technophobes should be impressed by this. As research and development continues, there is much that could be achieved with this science.

The really, really good news is that, from the 20th October, the Association of British Insurers have lowered this car’s insurance rating by two groups. This could make as much as fifty pounds difference on the average premium. It is said that if this technology were adopted on all cars then the occurrence of accidents would drop by 27% across Europe. Obviously there’s no way of proving this claim but what is sure is the fact that the CX-5 is a very impressive car indeed. A class act.

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