Weekly round-up: dangerous driving, fast fines, toxin tax, Suzuki Swift and… kool keys?
In a week of political mudslinging, football-related arrests and big fight buzz, the automotive world has seemed relatively stoic by comparison. Not that we’ve been able to stay entirely clear of political mudslinging and legislation…
First and foremost the week started with the long-awaited implementation of new speeding fines, meaning a higher penalty for the most serious speeding offenders.
As of Monday 24 April, fines for the top band of serious speeding will start at 150% of weekly income, rather than the current 100%, up to an upper limit of £2,500.
This could see a driver caught doing 41mph in a 20mph zone, or 101mph on a motorway, being fined one-and-a-half times their weekly income, according to new Sentencing Council guidelines.
The guidelines apply to anyone who is sentenced on or after 24 April 2017, regardless of the date of the actual speeding offence.
For an in-depth breakdown on costs and bands, please see our comprehensive guide.
One driver who obviously didn’t get the message was Marc Hyland.
The 25-year-old was caught on dashcam performing an “irresponsible” and “incredibly dangerous” overtake in his Vauxhall Insignia on a single carriageway.
The downright dangerous manoeuvre saw him cross solid white lines and veer onto the wrong side of the road, passing stationary cars that were waiting to turn right as he went.
The footage was then passed to North Yorkshire Police as part of ‘Operation Spartan’ – a scheme set up to encourage drivers to improve driving standards and increase road safety by shopping fellow motorists for dangerous driving.
The result for Hyland was a 12-week suspended prison sentence and a 20-month driving ban. He also had to pay court costs of £157 and was given 250 hours of unpaid work.
Good or bad, we’ll leave you to make your own mind up about the ethics and implications of this scheme.
One of the biggest stories to break this week has been a High Court ruling regarding the government’s potential plans for a diesel scrappage scheme and ‘toxin tax’.
The Department for Environment had been given a 24 April deadline to deliver an Air Quality plan to reduce illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution in the UK, but requested an extension following Theresa May’s election announcement.
However, it has been ruled that the consultation document must now be published sooner, after the local elections on 7 May and ahead of the general election on 8 June.
The news comes following a landmark ruling in November which found that the government was not doing enough to meet air pollution targets, with 37 out of 43 zones across the UK in breach of legal limits and claims the government had done “the bare minimum hoping the problem would disappear by 2020.”
While it’s not exactly clear what the proposals will consist of, what is certain is that the government must improve local air quality levels following reports that Nitrogen Oxide levels (NOx is a harmful gas produced by diesel cars) were at an unprecedented high in many urban areas.
Whatever sort of scheme the government implements to tackle the issue, it’s likely to be restricted to certain drivers to keep costs down and won’t be as wide-reaching as the 2009 Scrappage Scheme.
It’s not all doom and gloom this week though, as we got to drive the new Suzuki Swift!
By taking everything that was good about the old Swift and making it better, Suzuki has produced a supermini that is a very compelling option for lessees indeed.
With a stated MPG of 65 and a 0-62 of just over 10 seconds, the Swift has the benefit of being one of the lightest cars in the segment meaning the car dives around corners with enthusiasm and accelerates away from lights with a zestiness that belies the diminutive 1.0 engine size.
You’ll have a longer wait for the new Jaguar XF Sportbrake though, which we had our first glimpse of this week.
The top-down teaser reveals the new XF Sportbrake will arrive with a full-length panoramic glass roof, ensuring the cabin remains light and airy to soak up those summer rays when it is launched.
The teaser picture gives no insight into the interior, but changes over the XF saloon are expected to be minimal while boot space is expected to grow.
But will you have to keep its keys in the fridge?
That’s one piece of advice being given to owners of high-end cars with keyless fobs after a recent robbery.
Paige Foster of Grays, Essex, said that after noticing her car was missing she proceeded to look through the CCTV footage as she called police and was shocked when she spotted two men walk onto her driveway.
One hooded figure could be seen holding a leather case, believed to contain a laptop loaded with military software, up against the wall.
Within minutes the car door had been opened and her £35,000 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C220 driven away despite the fact the keys remained in the kitchen.
One potential solution offered by security experts has been to store your keyless fobs in a fridge or microwave as the metal in the devices actively prevents thieves from hacking the signals emitted by fobs, precisely what happened to Paige Foster.
Just don’t get them mixed up with the cheese slices when you’re making some burgers on the barbeque this bank holiday weekend!