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Round-Up: Drink-drive deaths highest since 2010, Criminals plan thefts via WhatsApp, Audi E-Tron WhatsApp channel

Drink-drive deaths at highest level since 2010

drink-driving

Fatal and serious drink-drive casualties have reached their highest level since 2010, according to an analysis of Department for Transport figures.

The spike in drink-drive casualties coincides with a 17% drop in police numbers over the same time period, and a 55% reduction in the number of roadside breath tests, Vantage Leasing said.

The figures show in 2017 there were 250 road users killed in drink-drive accidents, the highest number on record since 2010. Across the same time period, the number of serious drink-drive accidents rose from 1,240 to 1,380.

Meanwhile, 2010 police forces across the UK have experienced a 17% cut in full-time officer numbers and this decline has coincided with a 55% reduction in the number of roadside breath tests, the company claimed. In 2010, police across the UK conducted 737,000 roadside tests, with 11% recorded as positive for alcohol, whereas in 2017, 326,000 roadside breath tests took place, with 16% of all drivers recording a positive sample.

Vantage Leasing managing director, Rob Walker, said: “Drink-driving remains a serious issue for UK road safety. Since 2010, we’ve seen a 17% drop in full-time police numbers. At the same time, drink drive fatalities and serious accidents have gone up. While having more officers won’t solve the problem of drink-driving entirely, they will undoubtedly help reduce the issue.”

Criminals ‘use WhatsApp to plan thefts’

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Criminals are using WhatsApp groups to plan and execute car thefts as the UK vehicle crime wave continues, according to vehicle protection company AX.

Criminals draw up and share ‘shopping lists’ of makes and models so that vehicles can be stolen to order, the firm added, saying a wave of thefts has been intensified by the vulnerability of ‘keyless’ systems which criminals are able to exploit using key signal amplifiers and decoders costing thousands.

“The highly organised criminal networks are constantly looking for more secure ways to carry on their ‘businesses’ online and use social media with encrypted messaging capabilities or even online games to covertly communicate with each other,” said AX’s Director of Investigative Services, Neil Thomas. “The sheer volume of thefts is practically a car theft epidemic and is enabling criminals to purchase costly technology which then fuels even more car crime.”

Audi launches E-Tron WhatsApp channel

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Audi has launched a WhatsApp channel for its E-tron customers.

The firm said customers can pose questions and expect to receive a response to their message within minutes from a specially trained EV expert between the hours of 8am and 9pm, seven days a week via the channel and photos, voice recordings and videos can also be added to the chat to accompany the queries.

Director of Audi UK Andrew Doyle said: “We fully understand that making the transition to a fully electric car can potentially give rise to new questions that may not have been considered before, and therefore an appropriately user-focused option was required. We also know that our E-Tron customers are always switched on and appreciate the added convenience its many digital services such as Amazon Alexa, natural language voice control and the MyAudi app already offer, which is why the e-tron Concierge is an ideal extension of that hassle-free approach to communication outside of the car.”