The Government’s THINK! Campaign claims that a pint of beer could cost more than £50,000. Why? Because this – according to the Institute of Advanced Motorists – is the potential total of the expenses incurred by someone convicted of drink-driving for the first time. This includes the £5,000 fine, the £4,800 typical legal costs associated with pleading ‘not guilty’ in court, and the £8,000 rise of insurance cover. This is based on the average premium for a male aged between twenty and twenty four over the eleven years a conviction stays on the licence. There is also a loss of earnings if someone loses their job because they cannot drive. This has been calculated at £33,000, assuming an average salary and typical driving ban of 15 months.

Clearly, motorists should not drive with any alcohol in their system as even small amounts can impede driving. However, the legal limit in the UK is 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millimetres of breath. This can be assessed via hand-held devices. The entry level AlcoSense ONE, for example, retails for £24.99. This phone sized machine records findings to one decimal place and has been recommended by Dr. Chris Steele on ITV’s This Morning.


Changes to the MOT for cars and large vehicles has now come into force as new European requirements on roadworthiness take effect. As of March 20th 2013, revised European legislation will introduce new requirements to annual vehicle tests to reflect advances in technology. The changes include additional checks for some of the vehicle systems already examined such as brakes, steering, suspension and lighting.

These changes will not affect the basic cost of a test.

Vehicle and Operator Services Agency Chief Executive Alastair Peoples said: “The MOT test is designed to make sure that a vehicle is fit to be on the road and so it needs to be updated to reflect new vehicle technology. We at VOSA have worked closely with the industry to make sure they are prepared for the changes; and testers have been letting customers know about the new items at the MOT test for more than a year to make sure they are ready for the changes.”

There will be new checks on a number of items including:

  • Electronic power steering malfunction indicator lamp
  • Brake fluid warning lamp illuminated or inoperative
  • Engine mountings
  •  Speedometer


The DVLA must be notified if you suffer from conditions such as depression, anxiety, diabetes, heart problems and high/low blood pressure. Interestingly enough, if you are deaf you don’t have to notify them at all! However, if you have an eye condition such as glaucoma or cataracts, you only need to notify the DVLA if it is affecting both eyes. If you suffer from ADHD, or have a drug or alcohol problem, this is also cause to inform the DVLA.

I’m not sure many alcoholics or people with drug problems would notify the DVLA and run the risk of having their licences withdrawn, but the DVLA states clearly that they must be informed so it can be satisfied they are physically and mentally capable of driving safely. As such, failure to report health issues could lead to a £1,000 fine and/or prosecution if they are unlucky enough to have a crash. There are completely different rules for bus, coach and lorry drivers. Anyone who drives larger vehicles for a profession will find their rules are much stricter.

So, you must tell the DVLA if:

  • you have a notifiable medical condition or disability (
  • your medical condition or disability has got worse since you first got your licence
  • you develop a new medical condition or disability.

The DVLA – after being notified of your condition – will consider the case. This typically takes three weeks but it can take up to ninety days. After the decision you will either:

  • keep your old licence or get a new one
  • be issued with a shorter period licence
  • need to adapt your car by fitting special controls
  • be told to stop driving and your licence taken away.



Why regulate tyres?

Tyres make an important contribution to road safety and to the environmental impact of road transport. However, all tyres don’t offer the same performance. The regulation will enable consumers to make more informed choices when buying tyres. The EU’s targeted outcome is that road safety will improve and that the environmental impact of road transport will be reduced.

What does the regulation introduce?

Tyres will be graded according to wet grip, fuel efficiency and external noise. The presentation of this information will be based on the familiar EU energy efficiency label.

When does the regulation come into force?

From the 1st November 2012 retailers in the EU will have to start providing customers with information regarding the performance of tyres offered for sale that were manufactured from 1st July 2012.

Please ask Nigel or Louis for more information on our tyres available.



With over 30 years experience working on Saab’s, with the majority of that period as a franchise dealer, we are now in a position to share our knowledge and expertise with you once again!

Visit our Saab Specialist page for more information on the services we can offer for your Saab.

Preparing your car for winter is not only essential but easier than you think…

One of the most important steps is to check the tyres. Why? Only a small part of each tyre touches the road at one time and these small parts help you  steer, accelerate and stop. This is quite a task even in perfect conditions so imagine the strain it puts on your car in icy, wet weather. Check for splits, tears and that the pressures are correct. Too much or too little air affects braking and stability, and causes premature wear. Furthermore, check the tread depth is adequate as this is all that clears rain water and slush. The legal minimum is 1.6mm across the central 75% of the tyre, and around its entire circumference. For superior performance, change tyres once their tread hits 3mm.

One of the most frequent challenges for winter drivers is poor visibility. So check your windscreen wipers are effective and also clean the windows, mirrors and lights. Check the bulbs too. Furthermore, concentrated screen wash in the vehicle’s reservoir needs to be a strong mix to prevent it freezing. Aim for 50% wash and 50% water if possible. It is also worth protecting your gleaming paintwork with a coat of wax, as salt from gritting lorries makes cars deteriorate quicker in winter.

These steps can be taken with very little mechanical knowledge, but some require a specialist. As such, it is worth popping your car into us for a winter check to look over the battery, anti-freeze, filters, belts, hoses and brakes. A winter check costs £19.99 but that is preferable to breaking down on Christmas day with a car full of excited kids!

It is also wise to carry a ‘supply kit’ in your car through the cold winter months. Windscreen de-icer is essential, as is a decent scraper. Warm clothing, fluorescent jackets and refreshments come in handy too – and it is sensible to have a tyre pump, warning triangle and shovel.

To discuss your winter motoring needs further, please call Nigel or Louis and they will make sure that you are all ready for the festivities!