Cycling event to raise cash for road safety campaign

The Johannesburg Telkom 947 cycling event is aimed at raising sponsorship to fund improvements in road safety for protecting South African children.

Over 30,000 cyclists will participate in the 20th edition of Johannesburg’s biggest cycling event, the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge, which will be held on Sunday 20th November.

As part of its effort to raise funds for the much needed children in road safety initiative, Xperien has invited other corporates to ‘Ride for a purpose’ and join the cycle team from local company, Xperien at the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge. The campaign aims to raise R300,000 (around £17,000) for Wheel Well.

Xperien’s Urban Mining initiative aims at assisting non-profit organisations that provide education and assistance for disadvantaged children in South Africa. It is an ambassador for Wheel Well, a non-profit organisations that focuses on safety for children.

Xperien CEO Wale Arewa says Wheel Well is the only not for profit organisation that focuses exclusively on children in road safety. “It is a small organisation with a huge task at hand.”

The Xperien Cycling team was established specifically to raise awareness for this non-profit organisation. The team and its supporters network at key cycling events to create exposure for sponsors in return for their contribution.

“With car crash death and injury remaining unacceptably high, our work is more urgent than ever. The exposure that we will enjoy during an event such as the 947 Cycle Challenge is immensely valuable and funding will give us wings to fly,” says Peggie Mars from Wheel Well.

A sponsorship of R1650 (£95) will secure entry to the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge and includes registration fee and cycling shirt. Alternatively, to support this initiative, there is the ability to ‘Challenge a rider’ by sponsoring a rider per kilometre with a minimum of R1 (£0.06) per kilometre.

“We are deeply honoured that Xperien partnered with us in this challenge and grateful that we will be enabled to do what we do best, road safety for our dearly beloved children,” Mars concludes.

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Automotive research company gains MoD award

HORIBA MIRA gains recognition from the MoD for its support of ex-military personnel in returning to civilian employment.

Former corporal employed at HORIBA MIRAThe UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has recognised vehicle advanced engineering specialist company, HORIBA MIRA with its Employer Recognitioin Scheme (ERS) Silver Award.

The award is given to employers that that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant, something which HORIBA MIRA signed earlier this year.

Alongside its civilian staff, HORIBA MIRA has a long history of also employing ex-services personnel and reservists, making use of the unique capabilities and skills that such people acquire through working in the armed forces. This is particularly the case in terms of expertise in technology areas that are yet to enter the civilian domain.

In keeping with their pledge to support the armed forces community, HORIBA MIRA has also implemented a ‘Reserve Forces Training and Mobilisation Policy’, which supports reservist employees throughout their training and deployment. The policy provides up to 10 days leave for the reservists’ annual camp, as well as flexible leave for staff impacted by a partner’s deployment.

Andy Marriott is a Research Technician for HORIBA MIRA. Having joined the company in 2013 shortly after leaving the Regular Army, Andy currently serves as a Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineer Army Reservist. He said: “Prior to working for MIRA, I served in the Army as a Vehicle Mechanical Engineer, servicing and maintaining armoured military vehicles.  My experience with heavy goods and armoured vehicles has been recognised by HORIBA MIRA and I am currently working on a number of military contracts for the company and for companies based within the MIRA Technology Park.”

Marriott continued to explain that the support he receives as a Reservist is second to none with the ability to take some time off from work for Force training and exercises.

In addition to employing ex-armed forces personnel, HORIBA MIRA also works closely with the defence industry through testing and engineering consultancy.  This includes supporting the MoD and its suppliers on programmes such as Panama and the HORIBA MIRA Modular Autonomous Control Equipment (MACE) route proving and clearing system. The technology allows intelligent UGVs to be operated in both tele-op and autonomous modes up to 2km away in the detection of Improvised Explosive Devices.

Dr George Gillespie OBE, CEO at HORIBA MIRA, said: “We are very honoured to have won this award in recognition of MIRA’s continued support for those who have served and are currently serving in the military.  Armed Forces veterans and reservists have a unique understanding of the challenges facing the transport sector and being able to harness this talent by supporting them as they move into civilian life is hugely beneficial for both parties.”

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Mobile enforcement takes to the streets in Southampton

ANPR equipped vehicle now forms part of enforcement system for roads in Southampton with emphasis on school parking violations.

Southampton City Council mobile enforcement vehicleVidealert has supplied Southampton City Council with a mobile enforcement vehicle, which supports multiple traffic enforcement and community safety applications simultaneously and will be used in conjunction with Videalert’s recently installed hosted Digital Video Platform.

The council’s Highway Manager, John Harvey commented on the ease and cost-effectiveness of its deployment, stating that it integrates with the Videalert enforcement systems that are already in existence within the city including extensive bus lane enforcement cameras.

Commenting on the areas in which the mobile enforcement vehicle will be used, Harvey stated, “It will be used strategically across the city to enforce a range of parking contraventions and to enhance community safety”.

Community safety is at the focal point of keep clear zones outside schools, where cars are often unlawfully parked at school drop-off and pick-up times causing danger to children. Responding to complaints made by school staff as well as parents, the mobile enforcement vehicle will be looking for vehicles that contravene the keep clear areas.

The heart of the enforcement technology on the vehicle is made up of three roof-mounted cameras. These include one PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) camera, an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera and a colour image capture device.

The combined images and data from the cameras form the evidence pack, which can be used to make prosecutions, once they’ve been downloaded onto a USB device and reviewed to confirm that offences have taken place.

The download, review and PCN production process has been made as simple as possible by Videalert and can be achieved in three clicks. The packs include still images and video footage comprising contextual information and close-ups of appropriate signage in the vicinity of the offence.  Operators just have to validate number plates before exporting complete evidence packs to the back office PCN processing system.

According to Tim Daniels of Videalert, the Digital Video Platform from the company can offer significant benefits in terms of extended enforcement options without additional IT infrastructure investment.

Commenting on the range of enforcement options now available to councils, Daniels added, “With the introduction of this new vehicle, Videalert is now able to provide the full suite of CCTV traffic and parking enforcement systems comprising attended, unattended and mobile using the same intelligent platform.”

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More progress required on US teenage driver safety

Report from Ford and the GHSA shows that older teenagers are still over represented in fatal accident statistics in the USA.

Ahead of the USA’s “National Teen Driver Safety Week”, which takes place from October 16th to 22nd, a new report shows that teenage drivers in the country are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than their adult counterparts and teenage-involved fatal crashes increased by 10% in 2015.

The report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) was funded by a grant from the Ford Motor Company fund and demonstrated that this latest trend is a set-back as progress has undoubtedly been made during the last decade in reducing traffic accidents involving teenage drivers in the USA.

In America, youngsters can begin their driving career as early as 15 and much of the progress in the last decade has related to the younger end of the teenage bracket whilst those aged 18 and 19 are still involved in larger numbers of accidents.

Commenting on the report, Jim Graham, Global Manager for the Ford Driving Skills for Life programme said, “This data shows that smart programmes like Driving Skills for Life focus on teenage driving behaviour and have been very successful in helping novice and younger drivers be safer on the roads.”

Ford and the GHSA were involved in creating the Driving Skills for Life programme 13 years ago and was designed to teach newly licensed teenagers and parents the necessary skills for safe driving beyond what they learn in standard driving lessons. The basic premise behind Ford Driving Skills for Life is to provide a step in the learning process.

The programme has trained more than one million individuals in safe driving practices and is offered in 35 countries with hands-on driving clinics having been conducted in all 50 American states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

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Low US driver awareness of lighting maintenance

Osram responds to survey results with advice to American drivers on how to optimise lighting for safer night driving.

Automotive lighting surveyResearch performed by Osram America’s Sylvania Automotive Lighting division revealed that seven out of ten drivers are increasingly concerned about driving at night in the USA.

Conducted online in June 2016 by KRC Research on behalf of Sylvania Automotive Lighting, the findings indicate that the majority (62%) of approximately 1000 American motorists surveyed occasionally avoid driving during evening hours due, in part, to difficulty seeing hazards and other drivers (28%), discomfort with other vehicles’ headlights and brake lights (26%) and decreased trust in other drivers‘ abilities at night (25%).

“Do you want to see better when driving at night? Most people answer yes but do not know there are choices and don’t act on it if they do know,” said Brian Noble, marketing manager at Sylvania Automotive Lighting. “Headlights are an active safety item and the first line of defence on a vehicle, especially during evening hours when roads are dark and dangerous. If drivers cannot see objects on the road, they cannot react. Every second counts and can make all the difference. If you can see an object sooner, you can make a better decision.”

When it comes to headlight maintenance, the survey found that a third of drivers have never changed their headlight bulbs. As a comparison, these motorists have replaced their vehicle’s oil (95%) and windscreen wipers (87%), indicating that headlights are an overlooked component during vehicle maintenance. Making matters worse, 63% of respondents admitted they would only plan to replace one burned out headlight instead of both at the same time, a common mistake among drivers on the road today.

Noble advises: “Always try to swap headlight bulbs in pairs, they are on the same amount of time, and don’t wait until they burn out for a replacement. Headlights dim over time, so if you can’t remember the last time they were changed, now is probably a good time to consider a replacement. This in turn will help drivers feel safer and more confident when driving at night.”

The majority (83%) of drivers agree that better performing headlights are definitely connected to increased vehicle safety, and 63% admit changing their headlight bulbs is a very important precautionary measure. Additionally, just under half of drivers would be likely to change to better headlights if they knew it would improve the safety of their passengers, yet noticeably more would do the same for their brakes (61%) or tyres (55%).

For premium safety during nighttime driving, the Sylvania SilverStar family of automotive lighting includes a variety of high performance headlight bulbs to suit individual needs and driving styles. Sylvania SilverStar ULTRA is the farthest downroad headlight bulb in the company’s product suite. It is also designed with a whiter light which improves contrast of items on or near the road. Together, these features enable motorists to see farther down the road with increased side road and peripheral visibility.

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Smartphone app rewards good driving with coffee

Toyota Driving Barista app trialled in Japan to reduce distracted driving amongst young people in the country.

A campaign has been running in Japan in which three major companies have teamed together to reward drivers for not using their mobile phones behind the wheel.

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota teamed up with Komeda and KDDI to deploy the “Driving Barista” smartphone app. The app records trips that the driver makes and the instances where the smartphone is being used in some way.

The pilot project was launced in the Aichi Prefecture of Japan and 37,000 drivers downloaded the app between 20th September and 6th October before making trips with a cumulative distance of 2.6 million kilometres.

Throughout that distance, the drivers using the app travelled without distraction from their mobile phones and contributed to improved safety on the Prefecture’s road network.

Apart from providing a fun way of increasing awareness levels of road safety and reducing accidents caused by distraction, the drivers were rewarded with coupons that could be redeemed in Komeda coffee shops based on the accumulated distance travelled without being distracted by smartphones.

Those who took part in the campaign have until the end of this month to redeem their coupons after which Toyota will investigate other awareness methods targetted towards reducing driver distraction.

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Survey shows main in-car distractions

Distractions caused by occupants, mobile phones and music have been cited as the main causes of accidents and near misses in Britain.

New research has uncovered the dangerous driving habits which are causing accidents on UK roads, with in-car distractions, mobile phones and music voted the biggest dangers. Of drivers who have had accidents, the most common music to be listening to at the time was revealed as Adele, Justin Bieber and Sia.

The research was conducted as part of an ongoing study into attitudes and behaviours of British drivers. 2,186 Britons took part in the survey, all of whom were aged 18 and over and had held a full driving licence for a minimum of two years. All respondents had stated that they had caused at least one car accident when behind the wheel.

Initially all respondents were asked ‘How many car accidents have you had in the past two years?’ to which the average response was two accidents. They were then asked how many near-misses they estimated that they had experienced over the same period, to which the average answer was fourteen.

All drivers were asked to state any distractions they had at the time of their accidents or near-misses, to which the following were revealed as the top things distracting British drivers on the roads; ‘in-car distractions e.g. children, partner’ (31%), ‘my mobile phone’ (25%) and ‘the music I was playing’ (20%).

All respondents were then asked what musicians they had been listening to when they had been involved in a car accident, or come close to having a car accident. When provided with a list of possible responses and told to select all that applied, the top 10 musicians were revealed as Adele (18%), Justin Bieber (17%), Sia (15%), Slip Knot (14%) and others.

According to the poll, when asked why the music had been such a distraction, the relevant respondents cited reasons such as ‘I was singing and dancing when I should have been focusing on the road’ (43%) and ‘I was adjusting the channel or volume’ (39%).

According to George Charles, a spokesman for the company carrying out the research, “If music is going to be that much of a distraction that you might have a near-miss or actually have an accident, you need to rethink your options. Maybe create a playlist of songs that you enjoy, but that aren’t going to pull on your heartstrings and take your focus off the road, or songs that you’re not going to want to dance along to whilst you need to keep your hands and legs in certain places, like on the floor and on the steering wheel. Celebrities aren’t to blame – we are.”

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Modular self-learning brake control for commercial vehicles

Adaptive brake control system provides commercial vehicle manufacturers with a modular architecture to meet increasing vehicle autonomy.

Knorr-Bremse’s Global Scalable Brake Control (GSBC) is an innovative brake control system that makes full use of the scope offered by modern software architecture.

With harmonised components and more closely integrated functions, the new control system reduces development and assembly costs for vehicle builders and facilitates intelligent networking with various different vehicle systems.

As Bernd Spies, Chairman of the Management Board of Knorr-Bremse Commerical Vehicle Systems, explains: “GSBC offers an ideal platform for driver assistance functions by providing the central element in the kind of efficient redundancy architecture required for tomorrow’s highly-automated driving. A key role is played by its open software architecture and powerful, highly scalable processor family. Improved self-learning functions for the brake control system and a harmonised component portfolio also offer vehicle manufacturers potential cost savings.”

GSBC’s modular design enables components to be combined and configured according to the required functions and equipment level. Installation positions, routing of cables and compressed air lines and the positioning of connection points have all been radically simplified, as have the individual components themselves. This significantly reduces manufacturers’ adaptation costs across the entire spectrum of vehicles, whether an ABS system in a standard tractor unit is involved, or an EBS system with multiple additional functions in a four-axle special-purpose vehicle.

Cost-optimised system layout

Knorr-Bremse has also opened up new possibilities in terms of system layout. This increases the cost-effectiveness of a high-volume standard vehicle like a two-axle tractor unit, as a complex electro-pneumatic component found in conventional brake control systems is no longer required. The heart of the system – the central control unit – has also been standardised, with added acceleration and yaw sensors providing data to all the other applications in the vehicle. The software, too, is modular in design, enabling easy integration of customers’ own functional modules.
Further self-learning software functions and pre-defined parameter sets reduce manufacturers’ application costs for different vehicle variants: For example, the system automatically recognises and adapts to wheel spacing and steering geometry. For manufacturers, operators and workshops, the modular system and extended diagnostic functions for maintenance and repair mean shorter downtimes, improved spare parts logistics and reduced staff training requirements.

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Campaign group urges correct use of child seats

The Toyota Buckle Up For Life campaign is using Child Passenger Safety week in the USA to spread the word on correct child safety seat use.

Correct use of restraints keep children saferWith 75% of child car seats in the USA not being used correctly, a national car seat education programme from Toyota and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital is sharing its top safety tips, just in time for Child Passenger Safety Week which is taking place from September 18th to 24th.

“An alarming three out of four car seats are not installed properly. We can and must do better for our children,” said Gloria Del Castillo, child passenger safety expert at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and specialist of community engagement for the campaign. “We know that proper use of car seats and booster seats can help prevent many child injuries and deaths. That’s why the Buckle Up for Life campaign teaches parents, care providers and children about the proper use of car seats and provides free seats to families in need.”

To help parents make the right choices, the campaign advises:

1 Vintage isn’t always a good look: purchase your own new car seat.

When it comes to car seats, safety experts agree that it’s best to purchase a new seat. This lets you know the seat’s full history. For example, if it has been through a crash, its ability to protect your child may be compromised. Additionally, the plastic can degrade over time. If you do have a used car seat, check its expiry date, which can usually be found on a sticker affixed to the seat.

2 Measure twice: check for fit and wrinkles in car seat straps.

After you’ve strapped your child in, pinch the car seat strap near their shoulders. If you can pinch a wrinkle in the fabric, tighten the strap until it is snug. Then grab the car seat at the bottom where it is attached to the car and tug from side to side and front to back. If the seat moves more than an inch in either direction, tighten it.

3 Give them a boost: Shorter children need booster seats.

Little ones can be eager to sit like big kids. However, seat belts often don’t fit young children properly and can ride up around their waists or necks, potentially causing injury during a crash. Such children should sit in booster seats, which elevate them so that seat belts can fit properly.

“Cincinnati Children’s has been a fantastic partner for more than a dozen years now. Together, we’ve made a real difference in improving child passenger safety across the country – one family at a time,” said Mike Goss, General Manager, Social Innovation, Toyota Motor North America. “We look forward to helping even more children get places safely with Buckle Up for Life.”

Since 2004, Buckle Up for Life has reached thousands of people with critical passenger safety information. Organisations that offered the programme observed a marked improvement in members’ auto safety behaviour, including:

* The average rate of children unrestrained in cars (i.e., not in a car seat or booster seat or fastened in a seat belt) decreased from one in four to fewer than one in 20;
* The average rate of children in car seats increased from roughly one in four to one in two; and
* The use of seat belts by adults increased by an average of 13 percent, from 68 percent to 81 percent.

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IAM tips on driving in the rain

With rain on the way, the UK IAM is providing advice to drivers on how to cope with the deluge.

With torrential downpours in some parts of the UK having already been witnessed this September, IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman explains how you can stay safe when travelling in wet weather.

* Be sure to check your local weather forecast beforehand so you can plan your journey accordingly. If you have no choice but to travel, use main roads where possible which are less likely to get flooded.

* Don’t forget to check your windscreen wiper blades and lights are working properly. You’ll need to use your dipped headlights if visibility is significantly reduced so give them a check too.

* On flooded roads, think before driving through deep water, don’t stop in standing water and drive through the highest section of the road slowly. If there is any doubt don’t enter it. Once you have managed to drive through, check your brakes and dry them out as quickly as possible – a light touch of the brakes whilst still moving should do the trick.

* Roads will be more slippery than usual in wet weather – be sure to give yourself more time to react when approaching a hazard. Increase your following gap to at least four seconds from the moving traffic in front.

* Keep your eyes peeled on the road at all times as spray from other vehicles can suddenly reduce your visibility. Remember it affects others too, so anticipate their actions and be prepared.

Richard said: “If your tyres begin to lose traction, ease off the accelerator, avoid braking and allow the speed to naturally decrease until you have full control of your car again.

“Driving in wet weather can be challenging, and with delays and increased concentration needed it can be more tiring too. By allowing increased time to stop and extending your following distance you can remain safe.”

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