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News digest: drivers warned to prepare for cold snap 

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

RAC issues warning to drivers as cold snap arrives

The RAC issued a warning to drivers to prepare for a bout of wintry weather across the UK from Friday. The company warned the number of incidents attended by its orange patrols this coming weekend is expected to be up significantly on what is normal for early December.

The worst of the weather is expected for Sunday, with the RAC planning for around 7,200 – or five vehicles every minute – breakdowns, up nearly 9% on what is usually anticipated at this time of year.

Between Friday and the end of Monday, the RAC is expected to attend some 33,000 breakdowns in total compared to the 29,000 that are normal for the second weekend of December.

Drivers stopped for illegally using handheld phone falls by 11%

Fewer drivers were stopped for illegally using a mobile phone at the wheel in the three months since the introduction of tougher penalties.

A total of 14,160 drivers were caught for using a handheld phone while driving – an offence that now carries a penalty of six points and a £200 fine – between March and May 2017.

This figure is down from 15,861 who were stopped between December 2016 and February 2017.

The data was collected by the RAC after making a Freedom of Information request to UK police forces, of which 38 responded.

The sharpest fall was in the City of London police force area with just 41 drivers stopped after the new penalties came in, down from 124 who were caught in the three months prior (a 67% fall).

Durham Constabulary stopped 73 drivers, down from 149 (a 51% fall) while Surrey Police recorded a 51% fall, with the numbers of drivers caught down from 564 to 279.

Diesel sales take another hit as new car sales fall for eight months in a row

New car registrations were down 11.2 % in November as diesel sales continued to decline, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Business registrations saw a large decline, falling by 33.6% in November, while fleet sales also dropped by 14.4%. Private registrations saw the smallest drop at 5.1%.

In November, 163,541 vehicles were registered, with year-to-date registrations reaching 2,388,144 down 5% from last year’s record high.

Alternative fuel registrations saw an upward trend in November with 33.1% rise in registrations. Alternative fuel vehicles now represent 4.7% of the new car market in the UK.

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