August 2018: News Roundup

It may be hard to believe, but we’ve reached the end of August! Yep, our long, hot summer is drawing to a close. Many of us will spend the next few months pining for those sunny days, while others will secretly be jumping for joy that cooler weather is here (not to mention the #pumpkinspicelatte season).

Here at PassMeFast, though, we’re all driving, all the time. With this in mind, it would be remiss of us to wave goodbye to August without taking a look at some of the top motoring stories from the month. Let’s take a trip down (short-term) memory lane!


Teaching your kids to drive? Don’t do what Kerry Katona did

Look, we get it. As a parent, you’re probably keen to give your kids as much help as possible when it comes to learning to drive. Not only will you feel that rush of pride when you finally see them get that shiny, pink licence, but you can also close down Mum and Dad’s Taxi Service for good.

However, while practising with your children is perfectly acceptable, there are some big no-nos you should watch out for. This month, Kerry Katona provided us with a good example of what not to do.

First up, Kerry’s daughter Mollie was only 16—and the legal driving age is 17. (Her birthday was only a week away, so you think the lesson could really have waited!)

Taking Mollie out on a public road illegally probably wasn’t the smartest move either. Perhaps the worst element of it all, though, is that Kerry live-streamed the lesson via Snapchat.

As we all know, using your mobile phone while driving is illegal, and can result in 6 points on your licence and a £200 fine. However, some (including, apparently, Kerry) may not realise that this same rule applies to anyone supervising a learner, too. This is because a supervisor is responsible for the car—and also ensures that they set a good example for those they teach.

So, a word to the wise from THINK: make the glove compartment the phone compartment, and don’t touch your mobile during a lesson—in either the driver or passenger seat.


Driving test hopeful arrested for drugs and gun in car

Reginald Wooding and gun
Image source: Maryland State Police

Here at the PassMeFast Blog, we’re happy to give learner drivers a few pointers when it comes to their test. Whether it’s explaining driving test faults or giving you tips on how to impress your driving examiner, we’re always ready to lend a helping hand. However, one thing we really shouldn’t need to tell you is to not turn up to your test in a car full of drugs.

Unfortunately, one driver who really should have been told this is Reginald Wooding from Baltimore. He arrived at his local testing centre in his mother’s car, which just so happened to have 1lb of marijuana, a scale, a handgun and loaded magazine, and $15,000 in cash inside. (We mostly feel sorry for his poor mum in all of this.)

Unsurprisingly, there was a strong smell coming from the vehicle, which gave the examiner reason to suspect something was amiss. A state trooper searched the car under probable cause, finding the stash. Wooding was charged with a number of offences, including possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.


Another driver crashes through the window of their test centre

If you’re a regular reader of our monthly news roundup, you may remember the unlucky Minnesota driver who crashed through the window of her test centre. It was such a shocking way to fail that we couldn’t possibly imagine anyone else doing the same. Oh, how wrong we were.

A few states over to the west in Colorado, hopeful driver Tran Nguyen was on the way to his driving test. However, things didn’t go exactly to plan. In what ADIs sometimes call a ‘foot placement error’, Nguyen hit the gas instead of the brake. The result: crashing straight into the test centre. Yikes.

Thankfully, no one was hurt in the incident, though Nguyen did receive a ticket for careless driving. Interestingly, it’s not clear whether or not he was allowed to take his test. (One suspects, though, that he may have a few issues with his driving to sort out first.)


Will eye contact help us to trust self-driving cars?

Aurrigo pod with eyes
Image source: Jaguar Land Rover

While many people still predict that driverless cars will dominate our roads in the years to come, it would be fair to say they have a bit of an image problem at the moment. Incidents such as the death of Elaine Herzberg in March 2018 mean that manufacturers need to rebuild public trust in the vehicles.

A collaboration between Aurrigo and Jaguar Land Rover thinks it has just the answer: eye contact. The companies are experimenting with adding giant ‘eyes’ to an Aurrigo PodZero pod, a last mile solution intended to take people from transport hubs to final destinations.

These ‘eyes’ are not, themselves, sensors. Instead, their whole purpose is to reassure people that the vehicle’s sensors have detected them, that the pod is stopping, and that it is safe to cross.

The companies hope that, when the ‘eyes’ fix upon a pedestrian, they’ll feel confident about crossing the road, instead of being unsure as to whether the pod’s sensors have detected them. The study is also aiming to work out how much information self-driving cars will need to share with users or pedestrians to build trust.

With Jaguar Land Rover noting that “as many as 63% of pedestrians and cyclists say they’d feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle”, this project is an important one to build trust if these vehicles ever do hit public roads. (Even if they do look a bit silly.)


Can Confused.com settle the battle of the sexes?

Male and female symbols
Since time immemorial, men and women have argued over which gender produces the better drivers. Both have some evidence on their side: men have higher driving test pass rates, while women have lower collision rates. The battle needed an arbiter. Enter Confused.com, a site so adept at comparison that it’s taken on the mammoth (and controversial) task of comparing the two sexes.

Their verdict is unequivocal: women are the better drivers.

In their comprehensive (and snazzy) Gender Gap in 100 Drivers graphic, they examine the wealth of statistics that exist on the differences between male and female drivers. Men start out stronger, making up a larger proportion of those who pass their test, despite more women actually taking it. Most of those who pass first time are men, too.

Nonetheless, once that full UK driving licence is in hand, women start to speed ahead. They are only responsible for around one-fifth of motoring offences, with men committing the most of each major type of offence, from speeding to drink-driving.

Men also make around two thirds of all claims, even though they make up just over half of the total number of drivers. They’re also more likely to be at fault when making those claims—which tend to be slightly more expensive than those made by women.

So, guys: up your game. Let the ladies show you how it’s done.

And that’s not all that happened in August! We’ve seen the closure of test centres in Liverpool and we’ve had a wide variety of learners pass with flying colours. Don’t just take our word for it, read our top customer reviews in August

By Andy Boardman

Andy fell in love with driving while road tripping around Iceland. He'll provide you with plenty of useful motoring advice, helping you to get the most out of every trip. When he's not writing here, you're most likely to find Andy on his way to the next destination.