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20 July 2017

Could Listening To Music While Driving Be Banned?

University College London has published a study which indicates that listening to music while driving causes low level distraction that leads to slower reaction times and a reduced awareness of road conditions around you while driving.

The creator of the study, Dr Ulrich Pomper, admits that in normal driving conditions for normal drivers the impact is low level. However, he says that for the elderly, hearing impaired, or drivers who are tired, stressed, or trying to perform complex navigation tasks, the impact can be significant and dangerous.

Mobile phone use while driving has already been proven to be a leading cause of driver distraction and serious accidents. Could this study be the start of road safety experts pushing to ban music in cars as well, on the grounds that it could lead to driver distraction and cause accidents?

Outline of the study

In the study, scientists measured the brain activity of a group of volunteers while listening to sounds coming from speakers. People listening to music were found to have slower reaction times and higher mental stress when looking away from the source of the audio.

The people behind the study also think the effect could be worse when we are tired or under stress, as well as for people with hearing issues and older people. The researchers, from the University College London (UCL) Ear Institute, found that moving the gaze just a few degrees away from the source of a sound can have a profound effect on brain activity.

They believe this is because our brains expect the direction of our gaze to be aligned with what we hear. While we believe we can listen to sounds attentively without looking towards them, the findings indicate that this isn’t the case.

Everyday listening impact

In the test, the researchers aimed to recreate everyday listening situations, attempting to follow a single sound from a range of competing noises ones, under controlled lab conditions. A group of 19 participants each sat facing three loudspeakers and were told to follow the sounds from one while ignoring the other two.

They were also told to look at either the speaker they were following or one of the others. The researchers found that when people looked away from the loudspeaker they were following, their reaction times were slower than when they were looking at the source of the sound.

The effect was also coupled with increased brain activity, meaning people had to concentrate harder on the tasks when they weren’t looking at the loudspeaker they were listening to. People with hearing problems and older people experienced a greater degree of difficulty with the task.

Distracted driving solutions

According to researchers, listening to music or even talking to someone who is to the side of you or behind you could result in you being distracted while driving. Even navigating in traffic, for example by looking right while you listen to a sat nav system, can result in distraction.

  • Listening to music, sat nav instructions, or people talking in a car is virtually impossible to police or ban. 
  • However, a ban on mobile phone use was once thought virtually impossible to police too. 
  • There is currently a major clampdown on people using mobile phones while driving, due to their distracting possibilities and risk of causing accidents.

Scientists at Nissan have recently announced a signal blocker that prevents mobile users being distracted while at the wheel. Aimed at ‘compulsive checkers’ who can’t resist checking their phones, the technology brings a 19th-century solution to a 21st-century problem, using the principle of a “Faraday Cage,” developed over 180 years ago. 

Nissan has introduced a compartment in the armrest of its cars that not only stores the device but acts as a signal blocker, preventing any WiFi and mobile signals from connecting with the smartphone.

Experts said only a few years ago that mobile phone use in cars would be impossible to enforce; now it’s law. If health and safety campaigners or the Police think that listening to music causes distraction and creates accidents, we could be sitting in silence on Britain’s roads in the future.

What do you think about this UCL research? 
Do you agree that music can be a source of driver distraction? 
Do you think the authorities would consider banning music in cars if it was proven to cause accidents? 

Let us know your views in the comments section below.

from Taxi Leaks

19 July 2017

Badge And Bill Checks : CO's Authority, Finally Made Clear By TfLTPH.... By Jim Thomas

Taxi Leaks Late Extra News Exclusive 

That should now clear this issue up, straight from the horses mouth (so to speak) 

If a CO wants to check your Badge/ Bill/Insurance, they must first show their ID (not badge). It is a card that authorises them to carry out the document examination. 

from Taxi Leaks

Tony Casey Gives Advice On Badge And Bill Checks In Letter To Taxi Leaks

Never show your badge/bill to any compliance officer who says he is from Transport for London, showing you only their deputy badge -which are available on ebay almost the same for less than a fiver including a leather wallet.

Don't be intimidated:
EVERY compliance officer has a warrant type card, the same type as carried by all policeman.

ASK to see it clearly and use your phone to make a clear photo of it, the full name of the TFL staff member,only then comply with their request but never sign anything.

If possibly -remembering to switch off your engine first- film the whole compliance check on your phone for your own reference. The law allows this.

Remember eighteen months ago, the Head of the compliance training team made a false complaint to the City Police at the Sugar Quay (Shine Charity walk event ) saying that I'd been drinking.
I am teetotal and stopped drinking over 40 years ago.

His boss Garret Emmerson had to apologise in writing to me after a letter was sent from Grant Davis of the LCDC on my behalf making an official complaint. 

Tony Casey

Editorial Comment :
Don't forget, if you're asked to sign a blank screen on their PDA after being Badge and Billed, don't!

It's just for their performance figures, so they can say what a great job they are doing and how much we appreciate it.

From my own experience of confrontation with COs, asking them why they are concerntrating on Taxis and ignoring PH, they all have given the same answer "That's what we've been told to do".

It's clear by their statements theyve been ordered to turn a blind eye to PH touting. They concentrate on harassing Licensed Taxi drivers simply because that's what they've been told TL do by senior staff

from Taxi Leaks

18 July 2017

It's Official, Uber Driver Sexual Attacks On Passengers Have Risen By 50% According To MPS FOI Request.

It's been almost 3 weeks since the MET release the Uber driver sexual assaults on customers FOI. We were promised that this report would feature in the Daily Mail. It now appears the Mail has changed their mind and the story looks like it's been shelved. 

But not all is lost, Taxi Leaks has acquired the relevant facts and will today publish the full story.

On the 7th of April 2017, a request was made to the Metropolitan Police service (MPS) under the Freedom of Information Act asking simply for the number of reported sexual assaults, by private hire drivers working for the operatorUber, or have had the operator Uber stated as part of the witness statement. 

Quite straightforward, the MPS should be Impartial, have nothing to hide or cover up. It was felt that the answer would be returned in the legislated time frame. 

But this was not to be. 
On the 10th of April we were given a reference number of 2017040000271, and informed that the request would be considered in accordance with the freedom of information act 2000 and that we could expect a response within the statutory timescale of 20working days, as defined in the act. 

By the 11th of May, we still hadn't had a reply so a reminder was sent. This was acknowledged by the MPS later that day.

A week later (18th May) we still hadn't had a reply so another reminder was sent.

We heard nothing until the 26th May.
We were now informed that a reply had been drafted but was waiting approval (from whom they never said!).

We then sent another reminder on the 9th of June, that the request was long overdue and that by law we should of had a response back by this time.

3days later, we were informed that an internal review would now take place and there was a caveat saying that under the code of practise, there was no time limit in relation to the completion of said review.

On the 13th, just one day later we were reminded by the MPS that the request was still in the approval stage.

On the 28th of June, we were informed that in regards to our request, no information had been provided and also no refusal notice had been given, therefore the MPS had not complied with the requirement of section 10 of the act.

Inquiries were made by the information manager and we were now informed that a reply was currently being drafted.....even though we had already been told a draft had been completed but was waiting for approval.

Then on the 29th June...we finally get a reply. 

It stated that from Feb 16 to Feb 17 there had been 48 sexual offences recorded were Uber was referenced in a crime report for a private hire journey-related sexual offence- in London. 


So now we can positively say that the truth is Uber related serious sexual assaults including rapes, has this year increased by 50% going up from last years 32, to this years 48.

What you also have to remember is that according to the Mets own statistics backed up by reports from the Haven Rape Crisis centre and Susie Lamplugh trust, only 10% of all sexual attacks get officially reported to the police. This would point to the fact that there could be approximately 12 serious sexual assaults on a weekly basis in London Uber PHVs alone. 

What we also need to remember here is the way statistics are massaged. 
If a driver has the app turned of and has touted the victim, then this is not added to the list.
If the journey finishes outside the Met, this attack would not be added to the London statistics even though the journey started in central London.

We are still awaiting TfL's statistics on Uber sexual attacks promised in May. 

from Taxi Leaks

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