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News digest 4 August 2017

Don’t miss the week’s industry headlines with Fluid Thinking’s round-up of news from the world of fleet.

Condition of UK’s road ‘getting worse’ say RAC

The quality of the UK’s roads may be worsening despite a mild winter, according to new data.

The RAC’s Pothole Index shows a 31% increase in pothole-related faults attended by its patrols in the second quarter of 2017 compared to the same period last year.

Between April and June RAC patrols were called out to 3,565 motorists whose vehicles had suffered broken suspension springs, damaged shock absorbers or distorted wheels – issues that can be largely attributable to poor road surfaces.

In the same three-month period in 2016, there were 2,725 similar breakdowns.

The RAC Pothole Index, a 12-month rolling average of pothole-related, also indicates a worsening picture after five successive quarters of improvement.

In the context of all RAC breakdowns, the share of pothole-related call-outs in the second quarter of 2017 equated to 1.6% of all RAC jobs – the fourth highest Q2 figure seen over the since the start of the analysis in 2006.

Driving trumps public transport in commute

Over 80% of people would choose to commute by car than tube, according to a new survey.

Research from fleet management, vehicle finance and mobility company LeasePlan UK, revealed that 84% would choose to drive their own car to-and-from work compared to less than 1% who would opt to take the tube.

The study of 1,000 respondents found 46% of middle-aged drivers admitting to using their car for ‘me time’.

Forty five per cent said they enjoyed having their own space, while a further 38% of respondents said freedom was a main factor in their love of driving.

The survey revealed 35% of drivers prefer to drive on motorways, while 29% of drivers like to take the scenic route.

UK insurers raise concerns over ‘autonomous ambiguity’

UK insurance companies have raised concerns over self-driving ‘grey areas’ around the various degrees of autonomy in cars.

A white paper released this week by Thatcham Research and insurance body the Automated Driving Insurer Group (ADIG) warns ambiguity about autonomous vehicle classification could led to a short-term increase in collisions.

With wide-reaching changes being defined by international regulators on what assisted and automated systems can and can’t do, there are real concerns about driver confusion caused by so-called intermediate automated systems.

UK insurers are in support of vehicle automation overall as they believe the new technology will led to a significant reduction in accidents, but are concerned the newest self-driving systems – which would force the driver to take back control in some circumstances – could make motorists think the vehicle is more capable than it is.

The paper suggests that a clear distinction between assisted and automated systems should be made by international regulators considering design standards for these vehicles.

James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the ABI, said: “The insurance industry strongly supports the development of automated driving technology – which we see as the logical conclusion to work over several decades to reduce the numbers of people killed or seriously injured on the roads.

“However, we know all too well from conventional vehicles that drivers often misunderstand what their vehicles can and can’t do. Therefore, consistent standards are needed so that those taking up automated driving technology can do so with confidence.”

Next: News digest 28 July 2017

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