Wednesday, 7 September 2011

COLUMN - September 2011

This is my introductory column from The Local Herald, published in the September edition...

First of all let me say a big hello to all. This is a new column and so I shall start by telling you a bit about me. I grew up with a love for things with engines. Noise, looks, power and adrenaline to satisfy the senses. Most of all I have a great love for cars, but I am not completely biased, with interests in motorbikes, trains, planes and boats also.

I have always spoken my mind and have developed my own opinions. Having travelled all over the UK on many roads, I have witnessed the very extremes of human behaviour; from the funny and bizarre to the downright idiotic and dangerous.

You can expect motoring news and reviews mixed in with my opinions and experiences. I must also stress that the contents are to be taken light-heartedly and are meant as exaggerated illustrations to provide some entertaining reading.

My column should contain something for the majority of people, whether they have a strong interest in motors or not. Anyone who has been on or near the roads (as motorists or pedestrians) will have seen some of the things I talk about and should be able to relate to what I am saying. Hopefully I can provide some humorous insight into motoring issues.

Coming up in future columns, I will talk about many different aspects of the motoring world. Some of the topics I will look at are the driving test and its usefulness, the behaviour seen on motorways, what leads people to road rage, the ignorance of driving laws and some of the useless scrap metal which clogs up Britain’s roads.

So to begin this month’s column, and September 1st saw the introduction of the new ‘61’ plates. It feels like it hasn’t been long since people were running around in confused panics trying to figure out how the new registration system worked.

 In 1998 the old-style ‘S’ reg became the first to run for 6 months. This shorter turnaround was beneficial to car dealers as peak sales occur at the new registration date, and thus a new system was needed. The current system, “AB11 XYZ”,  will last until 2050 and identifies the vehicle with ‘AB’ being the place of registration and ‘11’ being the year (50 is added on for the second registration of the year i.e. September 2011 is ‘61’).

This leads on to the topic of personalised registration plates. People can buy registrations in advance of them being released if they have a personal meaning and on the DVLA website there are currently over 35 million registrations for sale. 35 million. How this market came about I have no idea, as I find the idea of having a personalised registration plate odd.

I don’t need a personalised registration plate to indicate that the car I am driving is mine. It sits on my driveway. I can be seen to drive it. People don’t all walk around in clothes with their name on the front and back, and so I fail to see why they do so with their cars.

Furthermore, the money they sometimes sell for is ludicrous. Roman Abramovic, the Russian billionaire, reportedly paid £285,000 for the registration ‘VIP 1’. That’s more than a lot of people’s houses, and it is of no use but to showboat his wealth. Even some of the ‘cheaper’ ones come in at several thousand pounds and it just seems like this is money wasted.

That’s all I have room for this month. For more on motors, watch this space…Dan

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