Monday 26 September 2016

Tougher phone-drive penalties? Take a seat. Dacia updates. BMW 8 for 2018. Civic matters

Shortcuts with Eddie

Published 21/09/2016 | 02:30

At the moment if you're caught driving while on the phone you get three penalty points and a minimum £100 fine. Picture posed
At the moment if you're caught driving while on the phone you get three penalty points and a minimum £100 fine. Picture posed

I WAS in Scotland last week and I've never seen so many people driving while on the phone. Little wonder the UK government wants to double the punishment for the offence. At the moment if you're caught you get three penalty points and a minimum £100 fine.

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Under new plans that could be increased to six points. It would mean new drivers losing their licence the first time they are caught - and a minimum £200 fine.

AA president Edmund King says: "This is radical. One text and you're out. But if we are to change the attitudes of young drivers maybe it has to be that harsh."

Disqualified new drivers would have to pay for a new provisional and re-take theory and practical tests to regain their full licence.

UK Department of Transport research shows phone distraction was a factor in 492 accidents in 2014 (21 fatal).

We have had many surveys over the past few years indicating how big a role distraction has played in accidents. So how severe do we need it to become in yet another clampdown?

UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling says the tougher sentences will be introduced as soon as possible. "It may seem harmless when you are replying to a text, answering a call or using an app, but the truth is your actions could kill and cause untold misery to others."

Would you favour a tougher regime here? Contact: ecunningham@ independent.ie @ecunninghamcars

* Still on phones: Toyota is working with others on an app called Driving Barista aimed at reducing the number of traffic accidents caused by people yapping at the wheel.

The safety initiative is being jointly carried out by Toyota, a communication company, and a food and beverage company.

* Lexus will show us an eye-catching - and one expects extremely comfortable - new Kinetic Seat Concept at next week's Paris Show. It is made from synthetic spider silk.

* As already hinted, Dacia is to update its Sandero, Sandero Stepway and Logan MCV, but they are not giving too much away pre-Paris. However, I understand you can expect new lights front/rear, restyling of bumpers and grilles and better quality materials.

* First spy images of BMW's new 8-series flagship coupé have emerged from Germany. The rival for the likes of the S-Class Coupe is expected to go on sale in 2018.

* And speaking of the S-Class. Even though it only seems like yesterday since it was unveiled, they are planning a raft of changes for later this year/early next. There is no standing still is there? There are reports of a seriously hot AMG versions by next summer.

* When you look at the employment and investment Honda has put into their Swindon plant in the UK, you wonder how a country could vote for Brexit.

I'm not saying there is a question mark over the enterprise - far from it as they seem to be heavily ramping it up. But why would you vote to ignore such a level of commitment? It's beyond me. The Focus-rivalling Civic is due to go on sale here relatively early next year.

* Give us your thoughts and opinions:

Email: ecunningham@independent.ie

Twitter: @ecunninghamcars

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