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Archive Monthly Archives: August 2019

UK laws on drug driving explained

Until 2015, drug driving was the ‘safe’ option by some motorists. That doesn’t mean they necessarily thought they were in a fit state to get behind the wheel, it just means that perhaps thought they wouldn’t get caught.

While the dangers and consequences of drink-driving have been well-publicised, drug driving was clouded by complicated laws and difficulties for police testing at the roadside. Making it difficult to detect when a driver was under the influence and easier to get away with.

Research conducted by road-safety group THINK! revealed that around 20 per cent of people know someone who has driven after taking illegal drugs.

Of those who admitted to driving under the influence of illegal drugs, 55 per cent said they did so because they felt safe to drive as it gave them a false sense of confidence.

In 2015, new laws were put into place, and there are now strict “zero tolerance” rules around drug driving and technology to catch the motorists at the roadside. In fact, even the smallest amount of narcotic consumption could result in a positive roadside test and a driving ban, along with a fine and criminal record.

Since these new laws came into effect, an average of four UK motorists every day are found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs, and drivers are now as likely to be found guilty as those who drink and drive.

But it’s not just the ‘recreational’ (and illegal) narcotics which can cause drivers issues. Prescription medication can also restrict your ability to drive, and it is crucial to know what the legal limits are and how soon you can get behind the wheel after taking them.

For illegal drugs, the rules are simple. If you have taken drugs, you shouldn’t drive. Unlike the guidelines for alcohol which suggest safe limits for driving, the government guidelines only allow for the merest trace. Even after a few days you may still have traces of the drug in your system which could be detected by a roadside saliva test.

To help with detection, police use ‘drugalyser’ kits, which take a sample of saliva to test for common recreational drugs such as cannabis and cocaine at the roadside. The check takes around 10 minutes to deliver a result, and a positive test will end in your arrest and a further blood sample being taken at a Police station.

Since the new laws were introduced, they can also run blood tests at police stations for drugs such as ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and heroin without having to gather evidence that the driver seemed to have impaired driving ability, as was previously required.

The results of those blood tests will decide if you will be charged. Apart from very small amounts, which are deemed as ‘accidental exposure’ (such as passively breathing in cannabis smoke in a room at a party, for example) you are likely to fall foul of the law. 

Even these small amounts are likely to attract questions from the police, regardless of the quantities involved, as they are simply illegal.

Driving while on prescription medication

The question of ‘legal’, medicinal drugs is more complicated. Many prescription medications can leave you unfit to drive, and the best advice is to seek the guidance of your doctor, pharmacist and to read the packaging carefully before taking them to see if they will affect your ability to drive. If you fail to do so and get caught or have an accident, don’t expect the law to be on your side.

The government does publish the legal levels for ‘medicinal’ drug driving limits (below), but there is no way of a driver knowing what these levels mean. It is impossible to provide a rule of thumb for what dosage equates to the threshold levels as it differs from person to person and is affected by variables such as diet, water intake and exercise.

As always, the rule is that if you are in any doubt at all, do not drive a vehicle.

Punishments for drug driving

The laws and punishments for drug driving run along the same lines as those for drink driving. Risk it, and you are likely to lose your licence, face a stiff fine of up to £5,000 and be given a criminal record. 

In addition, users of illegal drugs will face other charges for possession and are likely to be asked some awkward questions too.


International alert as listeria cases hit 150 in Spain

Spain’s health ministry issued an international alert over the country’s biggest ever listeriosis outbreak on Wednesday as the number of people affected rose to 150, including one fatality.

Amid concerns over possible infection among the more than 80 million tourists who visit Spain annually, the ministry said it was checking another 523 suspected cases.

Most confirmed cases have been recorded in the southern region of Andalusia, where the packaged pork plant linked to the outbreak is situated. But there have been others as far away as Catalonia in the northeast and more around 50 people remain in hospital.

Listeria is an illness caused by eating foods contaminated by the bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria infection (also known as listeriosis) is uncommon but it can cause death in at-risk people,

such as the elderly and people whose immune systems are not working properly.  Listeria, usually causes mild illness but can be dangerous to pregnant women, 23 of whom are among those still hospitalised, and those with weakened immune systems.

The ministry said it had issued alerts to EU authorities and the World Health Organization over the outbreak, which was on Tuesday confirmed to have killed a 90-year-old woman.

The plant in question, owned by Seville-based Magrudis, was inspected by health authorities after lab tests showed the presence of listeria in one of its products, the ministry said. All products manufactured in the plant since May 1 have been recalled.

The company has not responded to requests for comment.

“Obviously there was a failure to follow the established procedures,” acting health minister Maria Luisa Carcedo told reporters. “Now we need to carry out the inspections and investigations to figure out exactly where this failure took place.”

Listeria high-risk foods

The following high-risk foods should be avoided:

  • Ready-to-eat seafood such as smoked fish or mussels, oysters or raw seafood such as sashimi or sushi
  • Pre-prepared or pre-packaged fruit and vegetable salads including those available from buffets, salad bars and sandwich bars
  • Drinks made from fresh fruit and vegetables where washing procedures are unknown (excluding pasteurised or canned juices)
  • Deli meats which are eaten without further cooking or heating, such as pate, ham, Strasbourg (Stras) and salami and cooked and diced chicken (as used in sandwich shops)
  • Any unpasteurised milk or foods made from unpasteurised milk
  • Soft-serve icecreams
  • Soft cheeses, such as brie, camembert, ricotta and feta (these are safe if cooked and served hot)
  • Ready-to-eat foods, including leftover meats, which have been refrigerated for more than one day
  • Dips and salad dressings in which vegetables may have been dipped
  • Raw vegetable garnishes.

Animals can carry the bacteria and infect meat and dairy products. The bacteria can also come in contact with other foods while in a processing facility and is capable of living there for years.

Listeria symptoms range from mild to severe

Early symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Aches and pain.

These can lead to more serious problems, including:

  • Meningitis (brain infection)
  • Septicaemia (blood poisoning).

Symptoms generally occur about 3 weeks after coming into contact with Listeria bacteria, but symptoms may occur as quickly as 3 days or as long as 2 months.

Listeria is dangerous for pregnant women

Pregnant women with listeriosis may experience only mild flu-like illness, but the unborn child suffers the serious effects of the infection.

Even a mild infection can cause:

  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Premature birth
  • A baby who is very ill when born.

Other people who are at high risk of listeria

People at high risk include:

  • The elderly
  • People whose immune system is weakened by illnesses like cancer, liver or kidney disease and diabetes
  • People on medications like prednisone or cortisone. This includes organ transplant patients.

What is the treatment for listeriosis? 

There are several antibiotics that are effective against this bacterium. However, Listeria infection affecting the central nervous system can be fatal even if the patient is treated with antibiotics. 

This is particularly likely in the elderly and in people with other serious medical problems. Early diagnosis and rapid use of antibiotics are critical for a successful recovery. When infection occurs during pregnancy, antibiotics given promptly to the pregnant woman can often prevent infection of the fetus or newborn.

Babies with listeriosis receive the same antibiotics as adults, although a combination of antibiotics is often used until physicians are certain of the diagnosis. (NOTE- it is very important to finish your antibiotics, even if you begin to feel better, unless otherwise directed by your health care provider.)


The Listeria bacterium has a Jekyll and Hyde personality and  it is well adapted as a organism which gets its energy from dead and decaying organic matter (saprophyte) for peaceful survival in soil and decaying vegetation (Dr. Jekyll) 

However, it has a second life as a bacterial pathogen capable of causing serious infection in humans and in many animal species (Mr. Hyde)

In its Mr. Hyde phase, the bacterium is a significant public health hazard, responsible for an estimated 28% of deaths attributable to known food-borne pathogens.

How a humble soil-grown bacterium transform into a deadly invader.

The transformation appears to be mediated through complex regulatory pathways that produce virulence factors in response to environmental cues.

Once the bacteria are ingested by a human, the increase in temperature and exposure to acid in the stomach stimulates increased production of stress response proteins that kick starts the bacterium into its virulence state.

People at risk can prevent Listeria infection by avoiding certain high-risk foods and by handling food properly.

The bacteria are able to live in a wide range of conditions and environments—they can tolerate both acidic and salty conditions, both high and low temperatures, and a fairly low moisture content.

These characteristics allow the Bacterium to survive a long time in a variety of food products and food processing plants.

Because the bacteria can multiply and persist in food processing plants for years—even more than 10 years in one documented case—Listeria is especially hard to control and can result in intermittent contamination of food.  Unlike most bacteria, it can grow and multiply at low temperatures, making the bacteria a potential problem even in properly refrigerated food.

This information is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a health care professional. 

The Health Benefits of Sleep

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that sleep is beneficial for the body. After an uninterrupted sleep session, you feel refreshed, full of energy and ready to take on the day.

The importance of sleep goes beyond boosting your mood and energy levels. In recent years, scientists have gone to great lengths to understand the health benefits that sleep brings. In this article we’ll be looking at exactly how sleep enhances your health.

1 – Better Memory

Numerous studies have shown that sleep has a positive effect on your memory and allows the brain to become much better at remembering things.

Researchers believe this is the result of a process known as memory consolidation whereby the brain recalls skills learned while you are awake.

2 – Enhanced Concentration

Sleep is like nutrition for the brain. When you get enough of it, the chances of losing concentration during the day are much less.

This makes you much more alert while you complete your daily tasks and has a direct positive impact on your effectiveness, productivity and performance.

3 – Faster Muscle Growth

The body releases growth hormone and builds new muscle cells while you are sleeping. Not only does it renew and revitalize your cells, but it also repairs any tissue damage.

This is particularly beneficial if you perform weightlifting workouts, as the intense exercises that make up these workouts tear your muscles slightly so that they can grow back bigger and stronger.

Sleep provides your body with the platform it needs to fully repair these torn muscles and maximize your muscle size and strength.

4 – Increased Fat Loss

Researchers have found that getting enough sleep can help you eat less and even accelerate the rate at which your body burns fat.

Sleeping helps to regulate the levels of ghrelin and leptin in your body – 2 hormones that control hunger and appetite.

It also stimulates the production of human growth hormone – a hormone which supports and speeds up your body’s fat burning processes.

5 – Improved Physical Performance

If you’re an athlete who wants to improve your performance, getting good quality sleep every day can help you achieve this goal.

Researchers at Stanford University ran a study on college football players who slept for at least 10 hours daily over several weeks.

They found that not only did the well-rested athletes increase their average sprint times but also felt less tired and had more stamina during the day.

6 – Reduced Stress Levels

When your body is sleep deprived, it goes into stress mode. Its functions remain on high alert which causes a spike in blood pressure and cortisol – the stress hormone.

High blood pressure increases your risk of heart attacks and stroke while being stressed has a negative impact on your mood and increase your risk of falling into depression.

By ensuring that you get enough sleep on a regular basis, you can keep your body out of stress mode and stay in a calm, relaxed state.


As you can see, there are so many reasons to enjoy quality sleep. So, if you’re not currently getting at least 6 hours every night, make some changes to your lifestyle right now, set aside the time for quality sleep and start enjoying all these benefits.

Basic Operating Skills Test for Pallet & Stacker Trucks

The Accrediting Bodies Association for Workplace Transport (ABA) has released its newly developed Basic Operating Skills Test for Rider & Pedestrian Operated Pallet/Stacker Trucks (‘A’ category trucks).

The new testing standards cover the following ABA truck categories: A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6 and A7.

You can use the new test straight away if you wish, but is mandatory from 1st December 2019.

We strongly encourage you to read the new test in detail to ensure you are aware of the changes ahead of 1st December 2019.

As part of the new development, the ABA has removed category A8 and created a new category – D3. As a result, the ABA has released an update to the ABA Workplace Transport Groupings, which you can download here.

If you deliver training and testing on a D3 category truck, this will be covered by our LTG2 Reach Truck Trainers Guide.

In light of the above category change, we have also updated out RTITB Trainers Guides and ABA Equivalent Codes list.

How to avoid being a victim of road rage

Road rage is a common problem on UK roads. A recent poll of 3,000 people found that nearly one in five road users are threatened with physical violence each year.

In a separate study, 22 percent of motorists claimed to have got out of their car to argue with another driver in a road rage incident.

Dangerous overtaking is said to be the main trigger for road rage, prompting 28 percent of drivers to engage in an argument with a fellow motorist. Tailgating, using a mobile phone at the wheel and breaking the speed limit were the other sparks of anger named in the study.

Read more: M25 road rage killer released from prison (Sky News)

Ahead of the end of the summer holiday period, road safety and breakdown company GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging drivers to spot the signs of road rage. Tens of thousands of motorists will hit the road over the bank holiday weekend, with Highways England removing roadworks to relieve stress.

“Most of us will have some experience of being on the receiving end of someone else’s aggression,” said Neil Worth, road safety officer at GEM.

“Thankfully, violent and unprovoked attacks are rare, but it pays to be observant and if possible to recognise signs of trouble at their earliest stages.

GEM has identified a few steps that it says will reduce the risk of a driver being the target of someone else’s aggression. These are:

  • Keep calm and show restraint: every journey brings the risk of frustration and conflict, so be patient and avoid using your horn. Hand gestures should be avoided, too.
  • Avoid the desire to ‘get even’: don’t attempt to educate or rebuke a driver who you believe is in the wrong.
  • Don’t push into traffic queues: wait for a signal from a fellow motorist.
  • Say thank you, say sorry: if you make a mistake, offer an apology to defuse any anger.
  • Move away from trouble: if you feel threatened, lock the doors and drive to the nearest police station. Alternatively, move to a busy area, such as a petrol station. Contact the police and/or press the horn repeatedly to deter an attacker.
  • Neil Worth added: “We encourage drivers to leave plenty of time for their journeys, which means they can feel calm and in control at the wheel. Stress can lead to risk taking, and this in turn increases the likelihood of aggressive incidents.

“We also urge drivers to avoid becoming involved in situations they recognise as dangerous or risky. If you’re worried about another driver who may be in danger, then stop and call the police.”

Olympic gold medal winning cyclist and jockey Victoria Pendleton has backed a campaign aimed at encouraging a constructive debate on ‘road equality.” She said everyone has “an equal right to be on the road”.

“So let’s be more compassionate and considerate to others and see what change we can drive.”

USA Road Rage Study May Help You Drive Safer

Road rage has become a way of life, both on and off the track. And more and more, in cities across America, people are acting out their frustrations on our roadways with dangerous results. It’s bad for professional and everyday drivers alike.In a new study sponsored by the Affinion Group and its AutoVantage automobile membership club, drivers from 20 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. were surveyed to learn more about consumer views on road rage.”This new study focuses on important attitudes and habits of drivers on the open road nationwide,” said Brad Eggleston, vice president of AutoVantage. “This groundbreaking research is an important tool to help educate and influence safer driving habits throughout the United States.”The study showed the cities with the worst road rage were Miami, Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles and Boston. Most courteous cities were Minneapolis, Nashville, St. Louis, Seattle and Atlanta.When asked the major causes of road rage in the survey, the most frequent theme was people being in a hurry, running late, being impatient and/or speeding, with stress, frustration and bad moods also contributing.Behaviors by other drivers that cause stress for commuters, and that can lead to road rage, include driving too fast (57 percent observe this happening every day), tailgating (50 percent see this every day) and cutting over without notice (44 percent see this every day).Commuters reported that other drivers frequently talk on their cell phones (98 percent observe this at least once a week), run red lights (59 percent observe this at least once a week) and slam on the brakes (54 percent see this happening at least once a week).As a reaction to rude or bad driving by others, people surveyed reported that they honked their horn at the offending driver (40 percent), cursed at the other driver (32 percent), waved their fist or arms (9 percent), made an obscene gesture (8 percent) or called the police to report the driver (5 percent).Overall, 30 percent said they see drivers doing other things like putting on makeup, shaving or reading while driving. Los Angeles (43 percent) emerged as the city where this is most likely to be seen, while Seattle (18 percent) emerged as the place where this behavior is least likely.The most courteous cities within the USA are Minneapolis, Nashville and St. Louis. Least courteous: Miami, Phoenix and New York.

Roadway rage is getting worse, says RAC study

Roadside rage is getting worse, says RAC annual report discloses road rage is a loosing concern, with some motorists detailing it as their leading worry behind the wheel.

Generally, road rage was up from 28 percent a year ago. But the number who called it their biggest concern has actually soared from 4 percent to 8 percent. That puts it 4th in the leading 20 for 2019.

One in three said they would certainly observed physical run-ins in between vehicle drivers over the past year. As well as the majority stated they have  seen road  side abuse.Just as, 60 percent of chauffeurs stated they were seeing more road rage these days than a year earlier. and three-quarters believe that the public  have actually come to be much less patient.Why are British drivers getting angrier?The RAC reckons stressful modern-day lives as well as raising road traffic are fueling this enhanced stress.”All the anxieties associated with the behavior of various other drivers on the road have never featured as highly in our research study as leading motoring worries as they have this year,” stated Simon Williams, RAC roadway safety, and security agent.

“One of the most likely description must definitely be a mix of variables, including the stress of modern-day life, dependence on the car for many trips and increase traffic, and congestion was leading to never before seen frustration at the wheel.

“Perhaps it is also the case that our tolerance of other people who make mistakes while driving is falling. A quick ‘sorry’ in the form of an apologetic wave could go a long way to taking the heat out of a situation, but unfortunately all too often it is a hand gesture of another sort that leads to an unpleasant car confrontation.”

Other motoring concerns

So, road rage came 4th overall.

What was judged even worse?Drivers using cell phones, the expense of petroleum and the problem and maintenance of regional roads all scored more than 30 percent on respondents’ lists of problems. 

Fret about the expense of fuel have likewise increased over the previous 12 months

Learner drivers are also harassed on the roads

Up and down the country, learner drivers are having to deal with road rage aimed at them when they’re on the roads. 

Whether it’s in driving lessons or private practice, as soon as those L-plates hit the car, many fully qualified road users take this as a sign to hurl abuse at the learners. 

From tailgating to dangerously overtaking, we recently conducted a survey of 610 Driving Instructors*, to see how bad the issue really is.

Abuse learners are experiencing

  • 77% of UK driving instructors have said they regularly experience abuse and intimidation from other road users when teaching students
  • 31% experience it on a daily basis!
  • 91% of learners have been subjected to overtaking
  • 90% witness tailgating
  • Two thirds (66%) of learners have been subject to abusive hand gestures
  • Half (49%) have experienced verbal abuse on the roads

These shocking and worrying statistics are leading to learner drivers to lose their confidence and make mistakes out on the road, which can lead to potentially fatal consequences.

How’s it affecting learners

Driving Instructors have reported that:

  • 85% of learners who are trying to deal with this abuse become more nervous and start making more mistakes.
  • Almost a quarter (22%) of UK learners have cried as a result
  • A third have had to pull over to compose themselves
  • 8% have become too scared to carry on learning to drive entirely.
  • 1.5% have been involved in an accident as a result

It’s easy to forget that at one point, everyone was a learner driver. No one jumps behind the wheel and is instantly Lewis Hamilton, so why are drivers not giving learners the time and space they need to become confident drivers to pass their test? Here at Marmalade, we want to encourage learner drivers to become confident and skilled behind the wheel, so we’re taking a stance against this abuse that you all too often face.

Is it because of how they drive?

Some of you may be thinking that learner drivers are treated this way because of their driving ability. We can all get a little frustrated from time to time – so perhaps that’s where the abuse is coming from?

Wrong. Almost all of the driving instructors we surveyed (93%) claimed they were treated differently when they had L-Plates on the car, despite them being fully qualified drivers, and there being no change in their driving ability to when they drive without an L-Plate, where they don’t get abused.

It seems that drivers are seeing L-Plates, assuming the person behind the wheel is incapable of driving and reacting in dangerous ways around them – which needs to stop! Learner drivers need more time, space and patience from other road users when they’re learning.

They’re more likely to make mistakes, but we need to give them the opportunity to learn from these, not add additional pressures. We’ve all in the situation when you stall one too many times at a junction – it’s all a part of learning! We need to give them time and let them try again, not hurl abuse their way.

So what are we going to do about it?

We want there to be consequences for this kind of behaviour, so we’ve launched a petition to call on the government to impose penalties on road users who act dangerously towards learners. If you would like to sign this petition, you can do so here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/276599

Using hands-free mobile phones while driving could be banned under new plans

Drivers could be banned from using hands-free mobile phones under plans outlined by MPs today.

Stiffer penalties, more enforcement by police and better education are needed to tackle motorists using devices behind the wheel, according to the Commons Transport Committee.

The Government should act to prevent the “entirely avoidable” tragedy of deaths and serious injuries from crashes caused by irresponsible drivers on the phone, it says in a 25-page report published today.

The study calls on ministers to launch a public consultation on banning hands-free calls in cars.  “The law currently only proscribes using a hand-held mobile phone or other device while driving,” says the report.

“A hands-free device can be used lawfully, creating the misleading impression that hands-free use is safe.

“The evidence shows that using a hands-free device creates the same risks of a collision as using a hand-held device, and it is therefore inappropriate for the law to condone it by omission.”

The committee recommends the “Government explore options for extending the ban on driving while using a hand-held mobile phone or other device to hands-free devices”.

Calling for a public consultation before the end of the year, it adds: “This should consider the evidence of the risks involved, the consequences of a ban, and the practicalities of enforcing it.”

Some critics of a fresh crackdown say hands-free calls or no different from talking with passengers.

But road safety campaigners backed demands for ministers to consider banning such calls behind the wheel.

Brake’s director of campaigns Joshua Harris said: “The Government must clarify the law on using hand-held mobile devices while driving and close loopholes which treat sending or receiving data differently.

“The current law also provides a dangerous false impression that it is safe to use a mobile phone with a hands-free kit – it is not.

“All phone use behind the wheel is dangerous, and we need the law to reflect this by banning the use of hands-free devices.

“We echo MPs’ call for the Government to work with the police to boost enforcement and ensure there is a true deterrent to the menace of mobile phone use behind the wheel.”

But motoring organisations were sceptical banning hands-free calls would boost safety.

AA President Edmund King said: “Drivers should avoid making or receiving calls where possible.

“However a short, sharp, voice activated call can be beneficial to road safety.

“For example, a very short call saying that you are going to be late will stop people from speeding or driving in a dangerous manner.”

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Before outlawing hands-free phone use at the wheel we believe the Government should focus all its attention on enforcing the current law which has been in place since 2003 yet is still flouted on a daily basis by thousands of drivers.

“The falling number of roads police officers has clearly not helped the enforcement situation.

“This is why we feel the time has come to look at new technology capable of photographing offenders using their handheld phones while driving.

“If hands-free use were to be banned then it could arguably be even harder to catch drivers in the act than it is now.”

In 2017, there were 773 casualties, including 43 deaths and 135 serious injuries, in crashes where a driver using a mobile phone was a contributory factor.

The number of people killed or seriously injured has risen steadily since 2011. 

At the same time, the rate of enforcement has plunged by more than two thirds over the past eight years.

The fixed penalties for driving while using a hand-held mobile phone were hiked from three penalty points and a £100 fine to six penalty points and a £200 fine in March 2017.

Committee chairwoman and Labour MP Lilian Greenwood said: “Despite the real risk of catastrophic consequences for themselves, their passengers and other road users, far too many drivers continue to break the law by using hand-held mobile phones. 

“If mobile phone use while driving is to become as socially unacceptable as drink driving much more effort needs to go into educating drivers about the risks and consequences of using a phone behind the wheel.

“Offenders also need to know there is a credible risk of being caught, and that there are serious consequences for being caught. 

“There is also a misleading impression that hands-free use is safe. The reality is that any use of a phone distracts from a driver’s ability to pay full attention and the Government should consider extending the ban to reflect this.”

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “While mobile phones are a vital part of modern life and business, drivers must always use them safely and responsibly.

“Being distracted by a mobile phone while driving is dangerous and puts people’s lives at risk. The law is clear that anyone driving dangerously is committing a criminal offence.”



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