■ Drivers aged over 90 number more than 100,000 for the first time
THERE are now more than 100,000 motorists over the age of 90 in the UK, according to figures released by the DVLA.
This marks the first time in British history that this many nonagenarians have held driving licences. The total figure of 108,777 is comprised of 74,564 males and 34,213 females.
Greater London was the area with the highest number of drivers aged over 90, with 8,345. This was followed by Hampshire, with 4,457 and the West Midlands with 3,729.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor of insurance comparison site Confused.com, said the company had noticed an increase in quotes for drivers over 90.
‘We have seen more and more quotes run by drivers aged over 90 throughout the past six years, with the level increasing by 60 per cent since 2011, so this trend reflects the figures released by the DVLA,’ she said.
Stretton also pointed out that although the law requires older drivers to complete a self-assessment every three years declaring they are medically fit to drive, 49 per cent of 2,000 drivers surveyed believe these motorists should be forced to retake their driving tests every three years.
‘Despite this, drivers over the age of 71 only pay around £522 on average for their car insurance, which is on the lower end of the scale, and this suggests they have fewer and lower value claims than drivers in other age groups,’ Stretton added.
‘So this could be interpreted that they are actually safer drivers than, for example, 18 year olds who pay £2,334 for their premiums — more than any other age.’
However, according to the British Insurance Brokers’ Association, elderly drivers were more vulnerable in terms of road safety.
A spokesperson said: ‘Older people sometimes have difficulty finding insurance because actuarial statistics show that as a driver gets older — especially those over 75 — the number and severity of road traffic accidents increases.
‘This worsening experience continues with age. Not only do some older drivers have poorer eyesight and slower reaction times, they can be more susceptible to serious injury which can be a problem if they are also carrying older passengers. All of these factors combine to make the market for insurance for older drivers smaller.’
■ Rolls-Royce unveils new Phantom — the ‘world’s most silent car’
ROLLS-ROYCE has pulled the covers off the new eight-generation model of its iconic Phanton luxury saloon, claiming it is the ‘most silent car in the world’.
The opulent motor car is based on a new all-aluminium ‘Architecture of Luxury’, which lends the Phantom a greater level of ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ owing to it being ‘lighter, stiffer, quieter and more technologically advanced’, according to the British brand.
Power comes from a newly developed 6.75-litre, twin-turbocharged V12 engine. Producing 563bhp and 900Nm of torque, it is coupled with an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox.
The Rolls-Royce Phantom has 6mm two-layer glazing all over the car and more than 130kg of sound insulation to achieve its silent claims.
The latest Phantom is also pitted as the ‘most-technologically advanced Rolls-Royce ever’, thanks to a wide range of assistance systems. These include a four-camera system with panoramic view, night vision, collision warning, cross-traffic warning, a wi-fi hotspot and the latest BMW Group navigation and entertainment systems.
As far as the Phantom’s exterior is concerned, it bears all the hallmarks of a classic Rolls-Royce. There’s the iconic Pantheon grille, which has been integrated into the car’s bodywork for the first time, large 22-inch wheels, and of course the Spirit of Ecstasy statuette.
Inside, the new Phantom is the pinnacle of luxury. There’s the Starlight Headliner, which gives the roof the appearance of stars in the night sky, swathes of leather, and even a drinks cabinet with whisky glasses and decanter in the the centre console.
Rolls-Royce has also developed what it calls ‘The Embrace’. This means as the owner or passenger settles into the car, and an assistant or valet touches the sensor on the door handle, the door automatically whispers closed of its own accord, says the British brand.
Commenting on the new Phantom, Torsten Muller-Otvos, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said: ‘From its debut in 1925, a Rolls-Royce Phantom has been the choice of the world’s most influential and powerful men and women, and as a result, a constant presence at history’s most defining moments.
‘As this next chapter in the Rolls-Royce story opens, the New Phantom points the way forward for the global luxury industry. It is a creation of great beauty and power, a dominant symbol of wealth and human achievement. It is an icon and an artwork that embraces the personal desires of each of our individual customers.’
The new Phantom is expected to cost from around £400,000.
■ Traffic cop numbers cut by 30 per cent in a decade
THE number of dedicated traffic police officers has fallen by nearly a third in 10 years, an investigation has revealed.
Experts have questioned how new laws such as the ban on using mobiles while driving can be enforced with 30 per cent fewer officers dedicated to policing roads.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request to all 45 territorial forces asking how many dedicated traffic officers they have compared with five and 10 years ago reveals that cuts have accelerated in the past five years with numbers falling 24 per cent since 2012, while overall the number is down 30 per cent since 2007.
In 2007 there were 3,766 traffic officers in the forces which responded. In 2012 that figure stood at 3,472. By 2017 it had dropped to 2,643.
A number of forces increased the number of traffic officers between 2007 and 2012, however as budget cuts bit these numbers were reduced between 2012 and today.
The AA said the decline could see more drivers getting away with crimes.
A spokesman said: ‘We need more cops in cars, not fewer.
‘The UK has among the safest roads in Europe, although the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads has started to rise after many years of steady decline. Maybe there is a link?’
He added: ‘Even senior officers have publicly expressed concern at the falling number of their colleagues.’