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News digest: charity urges drivers to get eye tests

A round-up of this week’s news from the world of fleet and motoring

Poor eyesight to blame for 3,000 road casualties a year, says charity

Poor eyesight is linked to approximately 3,000 road casualties a year, according to road safety charity Brake.

The charity also said 1.8 million drivers have vision below the minimum standard.

By law, road users must be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away, wearing glasses or contact lenses if necessary.

Brake is urging drivers to get an eyesight check to make sure they meet the necessary requirements for driving.

Budget 2017: electric cars get funding boost

Electric cars received a funding boost from the chancellor in his November Budget.

Philip Hammond earmarked £340 million for a UK-wide charging network and subsidies for vehicle purchases.

New diesel cars that fail to meet rigorous emissions standards will be liable to a small rise in vehicle excise duty.

The government will contribute £200m to a £400m fund to upgrade the electric car-charging infrastructure. In addition, Hammond announced a further £40m will be set aside for research and development into charging technology.

The chancellor committed a further £100m to maintain a car-buying subsidy until 2020. This scheme contributes up to £4,500 towards the cost of buying an electric vehicle.

Announcing the electric car funding, Hammond said: “Our future vehicles will be driverless, but they’ll be electric first. And that’s a change that needs to come as soon as possible.”

Tesla unveil first electric truck

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has unveiled the first electric truck.

He revealed the semi-truck alongside a new Tesla sports car at an event in Los Angeles on Thursday.

The presentation was largely focused on the economic and performance needs of truck drivers, with the Roadster sports car making a surprise appearance out of the back of one of the trucks on show.

Musk had earlier claimed on Twitter the new truck “will blow your mind clear out of your skull and into an alternate dimension”. He later wrote that the truck “can transform into a robot, fight aliens and make one hell of a latte”.

During the presentation, Musk claimed the overall cost of ownership would be 20% less per mile compared with diesel trucks. The benefits included: faster acceleration, better uphill performance, a 500-mile (805km) range at maximum weight at highway speed, and “thermonuclear explosion-proof glass” in the windshield.

Safety features include enhanced autopilot, lane-keeping technology, and a design that makes jackknifing “impossible”, Musk said.

 

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