We all like to have a good time on New Year’s eve and for many of us it signals the end of an enjoyable holiday period. For a lot of us that can mean a glass of wine or a beer or two and, often, a difficult conversation about who is driving home. Every year there are those who don’t have that conversation and New Year’s Even is a particular hotspot for motorhome insurance claims relating to drink driving.
Of course, this increased risk of drivers taking to the roads over the limit is counteracted by an increased police presence and, inevitably, a higher risk of being caught. The authorities will take seriously any driver taking to the road under the influence of alcohol and the penalties can range from fines to license points and complete loss of license. This can have real consequences for motorhome insurance firms, whether that’s covering the costs of ongoing court battles or simply loss of business because the policyholder is no longer eligible to drive.
It is also the case that motorhome insurance firms are needed to adjust their premiums for convicted drink-drivers. Points on any license will increase the premiums for drivers and could affect their ability to take out cover in the future.
Motorhome drivers sometimes assume that because they require a separate license to drive a motorhome that any points accumulated on the ‘motorhome’ element of the license won’t apply when they return to a car. This simply isn’t the case and a ban from the roads is a ban from all vehicles. A short journey under the influence in a motorhome could prevent you getting to work by car for the rest of the year.
It’s inevitable that there will be drink-driving cases for insurers to deal with this evening, but government campaigns and severer penalties for offending drivers have considerably reduced rates of offenders over the last few years. It’s a trend we hope will continue tonight.
Motorhome insurance firms throughout the United Kingdom will be delighted to hear that the police’s summer drink driving campaign, which ran for the duration of June, has shown that the number of drivers who tested positive after they either refused or failed a breath test has gone down slightly to 5.8%.
Overall 83,500 were tested and although few of the failures were motorhome owners it does mean that there are dangers out there for all those exploring the UK in a mobile home. The percentage is down 0.2% on last year’s 6% but the police are still unhappy, as indeed are all drivers who are involved in an accident with someone who is over the limit. Although there has been a reduction in 2012, it is not big enough. There were still close to 5,000 drivers found to be driving under the influence who have not got the message about how dangerous a risk they are taking.
Campaign statistics show there has been a small fall in the number of under 25s drinking, however, there are still more under 25s drink driving than those over 25, 6.7% compared to 5.5%. Drivers under 25 make up just 6 million of the almost 45 million drivers in the United Kingdom. Many motorhome owners are stopped during the year through the annual Christmas and summer campaigns and even though it can be frustrating at times most drivers appreciate the police are exercising their duty on behalf of all law abiding motorists.
Motorhome owners recently listed having an accident that was not their own fault as one of the most annoying aspects of touring the country but if drink driving campaigns make the roads safer then the delay of taking a test when you are a clean driver is worth it in the long run.
Police also tested motorists for drug taking, and for those stopped on suspicion of drug driving, just under a quarter (24%) were arrested. This figure is also down on last year’s 26% but there is still a way to go to get drink and drug drivers off the road.
Despite promises that summer is due to arrive in the United Kingdom shortly, many motorhome owners are still deciding to head to the warmer climes of France in July and August.
However, driving abroad brings with it many new dangers, and research has shown that one in three drivers will knowingly take risks with the law which they would not do when driving on the roads of the UK. The research also revealed that many mobile home owners have a worrying lack of knowledge when it comes to driving on foreign roads and will also inadvertently break the law. Just under a third (32%) were much less worried about flouting speed restrictions in France, but thankfully 96% take a dimmer view on drink driving while on holiday in France. The results point to a combination of inexperience and disregard for the laws of driving abroad which is a recipe for disaster for British drivers. Motorhome insurance providers are quite rightly shocked to see so many drivers willing to take risks that they wouldn’t take in the UK.
While a driving holiday on the other side of the English Channel may seem an attractive proposition, there are certain rules and regulations that motorhome owners need to know before hopping across the water to France. For instance, from July 1st, every driver must be equipped with a breathalyser kit that contains two devices which are up to the standard set by the country. Brits also need to be aware of the drink driving laws as France’s alcohol level is much lower than the United Kingdom with it standing at 50mg per 100ml of blood, a level that Scotland will be matching in the coming months. Always carry an accident report form somewhere in the vehicle just in case there is an accident. The form is not obligatory, but it makes any legal proceedings or insurance payments a lot quicker.
The list of required items seems to get bigger each year but for a long time now UK drivers in France must display a GB plate and have their headlights adjusted to the right. The vehicle must be equipped with a warning triangle and a luminous safety vest must be kept inside the motorhome. Finally it is important to remember to drive on the right-hand side of the road. If there are two drivers it is a good idea to agree to remind each other during the journey and when swapping over after a break.
Motorhome insurance providers will look in dismay at a survey published by the RAC this week, and wonder what on earth the powers that be can do to make young drivers become more responsible drivers.
At a time when leaders of the motor insurance industry, the UK Government and motor manufacturers come together to discuss ways of making roads safer and motor insurance cheaper, the survey by the RAC suggests the message is just not getting across to young drivers. The results from interviewing over 1000 drivers showed that 17-24 year-olds are more likely to take drugs before driving now than they were 12 months ago, the figures increasing from 5% to 9%. In the same period 1 in 8 of the same age group had been in a vehicle knowing the driver was under the influence of drugs and were seemingly not too concerned.
The situation for usage of mobile devices was equally depressing with 20% of young drivers admitting they access Facebook and Twitter while driving. In 2011 the figure was just 10%! Studies by motorhome insurance providers show that drivers using hand held phones are twice more likely to have a crash, while evidence from other industry experts suggest that using a mobile phone while driving is in fact more dangerous than drink driving. So where do we go from here? The RAC believe that the Government is at least partly to blame pointing out that using a mobile phone or taking drugs while driving is not widely held to be socially unacceptable in the same way as drink driving is. The reason they believe is because the Government have not funded a national hard hitting campaign to outlaw the modern curses in the way that drink driving was targeted for many years.
Of course later this year the new offence of drug driving will arrive on the statute book and maybe that will help, but many in the industry now believe only an out and out ban will stop youngsters from being tempted to reach for their mobile phones when behind the wheel of a car.
Motorhome owners heading for France this summer will have to include one extra piece of equipment in their camper this year as French authorities crack down on drink driving.
Under a new French law motorists will have to carry a portable breath testing kit in their vehicles at all times. Anyone caught without carrying one facing an on the spot fine. The kits will not be too expensive with some experts saying they will be under £5 but they must comply with French safety standards.
The kits will be set at France’s 50mg per 100ml of blood limit which is almost half the limit in the UK so motorhome owners must be aware that though they may have a drink in the UK before they get on a ferry and be under the limit they could well be over the limit when they step on French soil. It is expect that the kits will be available on ferries and in many other places in the channel ports.
The breath testing kit will be another addition to the number of items motorhome owners must have with them when they travel over the English Channel. They also need a copy of their motorhome insurance certificate, a warning triangle, a fluorescent jacket, spare bulb kit and GB plates. Andrew Howard, head of the AA’s road safety team was not impressed with the new addition, saying “They are not a good idea, because a driver’s metabolism means that the alcohol level doesn’t peak until 45 minutes after drinking. You could pass a test in the car park after an agreeable lunch and then fail when stopped by the police three-quarters of an hour later. The only sensible advice remains if you drink don’t drive and if you drive, don’t drink.”