TOPS NEWS May 2007

Michelin tried to sue the FIA due to irregularities in the tender process over their granting of exclusive tyre supply to Pirelli for 3 years World Rally Championships, but the courts have refused permission.
Fraudsters are making £300m p.a. by staging crashes in which they ram cars and then claim on insurance. The worst area for bogus crashes is Blackburn with 1,710 in 7 years.
Traffic officials in Bern, Switzerland, are hoping to stop men using parking spaces reserved for women drivers by painting them pink and adding flowers.
The Volkswagen Golf which belonged to Pope Benedict XVI failed to meet the reserve when offered again on ebay.
French police are targeting cars which have sat-navs pre-loaded with speed camera locations. They have the right to confiscate the car. Several British motorists have been fined £1,000. It is legal to carry a listing of fixed camera locations in France.
The AA has said that 20% of drivers are now opting for eco-friendly cars.
A report states that 63% of motorists have their headrests at the wrong position resulting in 125,000 whiplash injuries being avoidable.
Ken Livingstone is planning to spend £12m on a space satellite which could monitor London motorists.
A German decided to settle his imminent divorce by chain-sawing a family home in two and making off with his half on a forklift truck.
The smallest yellow line in the UK is in Highbury Crescent in Highbury.
The FFSA has decided that France (Magny-Cours) should have an F1 race in 2008. There are rumours that Disneyland Paris is being considered as a new F1 location. Bernie Ecclestone has stated that he will only deal with a ‘promoter’ over the British GP and not with the BRDC. There is a contractual clause in his deal with the FIA which insists that the historical races must be retained - this includes the British and French GP.
Bulgaria's cash strapped health ministry is using a World Bank loan to buy a fleet of luxury Porsche Cayennes to serve as ambulances.
Police discovered an illegal cannabis farm in Leeds when part of a road collapsed. Cannabis growers had tunneled under the road to connect to a mains electricity supply.
Thieves who stole a JCB led 5 police cars and a helicopter on a 20mph chase for 13 miles along the A1 and then on to country lanes near Darlington. Two men were arrested.
A German lorry driver was caught watching a portable TV while he drove on the A1.
8 million parking tickets were issued in 2005 (1 for every 3 cars) 5 million were issued in London and nationally £1.2 billion was raised in parking fines. Two-thirds of appeals are successful.
A parking warden smashed the windscreen, back window and mirrors on a Rover 75 with her ticketing machine after having a row with the owner who tore up the ticket.
Council spending on repairing potholes on the UK’s roads is only one tenth of the estimated yearly cost of damage to vehicles.
Romanian police who were given a confiscated Porsche 911 for undercover work found 60kg of heroin hidden under the back seat.
Bulgaria has admitted hardly anybody bothers to pay traffic fines because there is no-one to collect the money. Last year only £690,000 out of a total of £11m was paid, mostly by foreigners unaware that they could avoid the fine.
Andrew Jack, a Scottish farmer, dyed his sheep red in an effort to cheer up drivers sitting in motorway tailbacks on the M8.
The owner of a car crushed by a tree during a storm returned to find a parking ticket on it.

Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb is being completely re-surfaced.
Driving examiners are to get panic alarms after a sharp rise in attacks by learners who fail their tests. 348 examiners were assaulted last year. Examiners will be trained in how to handle aggressive candidates and get psychological counselling.
Polluting lorries are to pay £200 p.d. to enter London from next year and owners who fail to pay will be fined £1,000 each time.
The Lambeth Council has refused to compensate the owner of a Bristol 411 which was improperly seized and destroyed. Parking attendants assumed it was not properly taxed but the Bristol displayed an exemption notice on the windshield.
Parliament is considering legislation which would authorize bailiffs to break into the homes of motorists accused of not paying parking tickets. Any homeowner attempting to stop the bailiff would face up to a year in prison. Various amendments have been offered, one would forbid bailiffs from seizing household pets.

A Texas resident is fighting a photo penalty ticket 265 miles from where he was and in a car he has never owned. The computer misread a letter and the authorities say he must appear in court to prove he never owned the car – 530 mile round trip. How do you prove you never owned something?
Drivers in the UK must pay £105 if they want police to investigate theft of their car. The new fingerprinting tax is designed to raise £10m p.a. No similar tax is levied on victims of other crimes.
PIPS Technology, a company making speed cameras and number plate recognition systems, has been put up for sale - £75m.
The old Bus Stop at Spa has now been re-vamped and re-surfaced for the F1 circus.
Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone have been demoted to 20th in the Sunday Times Rich List with a modest £2250m and Paddy McNally is 117th with £623m.
A Romanian man who was woken up by a loud bang found a car had landed in his bed.

Prosecutors in Brussels, overwhelmed by the number of speeding fines imposed since fixed radar traps were installed, have asked police to let off all but the worst offenders.
There were 1,100 crashes involving foreign lorries in the UK in 2005 and half the 34,500 foreign lorries tested were found to be dangerous.
The Gumball rally was banned from Turkey but welcomed in Albania where some roads and bridges were upgraded for them. Unfortunately someone was killed in a collision.
A plumber, caught speeding at 7 mph over the limit by a tripod-mounted laser mobile camera, was let off in court when he contacted the manufacturers who said their cameras were only accurate up to 100m.
There is a ban on heavy vehicles (7.5 tonnes) overtaking on the A14 in Northamptonshire between M1 J19 and A14 J1 eastbound and J2 and J1 westbound. Trial for 1 year.
Private equity firm Cerberus is to buy the majority of DaimlerChrysler's struggling Chrysler Group for $7.4bn.

This is an abridged version of TOPS NEWS which is sent to members