Tuesday 22 May 2018

We have a big problem with mobile phones and here's why; €1.25 'parking fuel'; NOx levels

Out of control: drivers talking on mobile phones.
Out of control: drivers talking on mobile phones.

It's dead simple. We have a problem. Last Saturday I asked readers of my weekly car review in the Irish Independent Review section to tell me if I was imagining that the use of phones at the wheel had becoming alarmingly worse.

There was a flood of responses. Each and every one, without exception, said things had not only become worse but that in some areas it has nearly gone out of control.

What struck me most forcibly were the emails from female drivers who said they didn't feel safe on the road with others using the phone in such an unscrupulous manner.

I get a steady stream of correspondence each week as you'd expect but this was major. And the instances that people outlined were frightening.

The only conclusion to be drawn is: we have a deepening problem. So let's face the facts. More people seem to be breaking the law than obeying it.

And that can be so dangerous because as our Road Safety Authority expert points out on Page 2, driver distraction can be responsible for up to 30pc of road crashes.

I make no apologies for raising it here - and again on Saturday. Something has to be done.

* I don't buy this, do you? Bosch says the average motorist wastes around €1.25 on every journey looking for a parking space.

They are producing that figure in advance of a new piece of technology that will let cars immediately find their own parking space.

They say "vehicles will soon be able to park themselves with no driver input".

All well and good, but they still have to find the space don't they - even with the technology.

And my logic, for what it is worth goes like this. If the car 'drops' you at a function, for example, it still has to track down a parking space that could be a good bit away. So does it matter if it's you or a piece of technology that is 'wasting' the fuel? In my book it doesn't.


They may have been slow starters but Hyundai and Kia are planning on becoming big, big players in the whole area of hybrid and electric cars, according to reports.

They are expected to roll out 26 hybrids, plug-ins, electric and fuel cell vehicles by 2020. That's a lot of cars.

* Not a lot of attention has been paid to something Renault has undertaken to do recently.

It is to equip its diesel cars with a new exhaust gas recirculation (ECR) system from July.

This is to reduce the level of nitrogen oxide (NOx) by as much as 50pc.

The extended ECR system will be fitted to all new Euro 6b-compliant diesels and they insist there will be no effect on performance or fuel economy.

The other important bit is that current owners of vehicles with Euro 6b engines will also be able to have the new ECR fitted free from October.

With the addition of a special trap, they say they have halved the NOx emissions of models in some circumstances.

* From rugby to women's cricket, Toyota have certainly stretched the sponsorship parameters. I see they are now to sponsor the flagship women's cricket domestic competition 'The Super 3s Series' as part of a four-year deal. Maybe we'll see the day when reviewing a car won't be complete without saying there's plenty of room in the boot for the bats and stump?

Indo Motoring

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