DNA Insurance

Archive: Nov 2015

  1. 82% Increase in Pothole Related Breakdowns

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    Cast your mind back to the winter of 2013 and, as well as the freezing conditions, you may also remember the terrible state that bitterly cold weather left many of our roads in.

    And yet despite two mild winters since, earlier this year, the RAC reported a staggering 82% increase in suspension spring related call-outs. In fact, by February the RAC had attended 7,500 breakdowns of this nature, compared to just 4,000 in 2014 and 5,600 in 2013.

    This type of damage to a car is almost always the result of poor road surfaces and as such related breakdown callouts make for a good measure of road surface quality. Potholes can also wreak havoc not only on your car’s suspension springs but also on shock absorbers and even tyres and wheels.

    Such is the state of the problem that the RAC has teamed up with the pothole reporting site Street Repairs to create a new app to help people report potholes. The app will also allow reporting of other highway problems and uses GPS to send the data back to the RAC, where it is then forwarded onto the relevant local authority. The hope is that potholes will be identified and fixed before they get much worse and start damaging car’s suspension.

    It might be a small gesture but it’s initiatives like this that could help save UK drivers money as potholes continue to be a problem. Clearly the public perception is that the problem isn’t going away either, with RAC research finding 41% of motorists surveyed were worried about the state of the roads.

    So what does the future hold? Well, there’s no doubt that the suspension of modern cars is far better equipped to deal with these unexpected bumps in the road but that may not be enough if potholes get too severe.

    The two factors at play here are weather and funding. With the effects of climate change being linked to more extreme weather events, like flooding and cold snaps, and continuing cuts to council budgets in the immediate future, this problem could get a lot worse before it gets better.

    For more information on adding breakdown cover to your DNA insurance policy, call one of our friendly team today on 08445 732 400.

  2. Boris Johnson Weighs into Uber Debate

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    Links:

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/oct/05/boris-johnson-accuses-uber-of-systematically-breaking-the-law

    Currently Uber has 18,000 drivers (or registered partners as Uber likes to refer to them) in London alone. By offering cheaper fares and the ability for customers to effectively hail cabs via GPS and an app, traditional black cab drivers have accused Uber of undermining their business by flouting the law and allowing unlicensed drivers. In May they took to the streets to protest about it, bringing traffic to a standstill in parts of central London.

    Into this debate has weighed Boris Johnson, caught between proponents of Uber, who say it is offering customers reasonable taxi fares in the capital and creating thousands of jobs, and those who say it is destroying the black cab profession and pushing drivers into poverty.

    Transport for London (TfL) are currently in a high court row with Uber over whether its app acts as a meter, something which would make it illegal in the capital, as only licensed cabs are allowed to operate meters. Uber has retaliated, claiming that TfL is just trying to protect black car drivers by curtailing its business.

    TfL has also launched a consultation to consider proposal to force Uber drivers to wait at least 5 minutes before picking up a booked fare (the average time is 3 minutes).

    It’s worth noting at this point that, as well as being Mayor of London, Boris Johnson is also chair of TfL. This clearly puts him between a rock and a hard place, with some accusing him of supporting a black cab ‘cartel’.

    The fine line Johnson is walking can be seen in his Telegraph column, where he starts by defending ‘rampant, frothing, free-market Conservatives’ who ‘hate cartels’, referring to the TfL’s attempts to curb Uber practices and protect London cabbies.

    He goes on, however, to talk passionately about the professional black cab industry, by pointing out the distinction between private hire vehicles and hackney carriages, whose drivers must pass ‘the Knowledge’ before they are allowed to drive. Johnson then goes onto openly accuse Uber’s technology as facilitating law breaking:

    “You only have to consider the habits of many Uber minicabs – not all, but many – to see that this law is systematically broken; and that is because technology makes it so easy for it to be broken.”

    The ability for technological progress to constantly disrupt traditional industry is a historical fact not lost on Johnson. His calls seem to be for a balanced approach, where both parties can coexist; Uber as a convenient and cheap service and black cabs as a highly professionalised institution. Whether this is true intention is another question entirely.