The Steer | A roundup on February's motoring news and talking points

In this month’s motoring catch-up, we cover the sad news of John Haynes’ death, compulsory speed limiters in the UK and orders opening on the final Mk7 Golf GTI.

John Haynes, the man behind the iconic Haynes Manual, dies aged 80

February saw the passing of John Haynes, founder of the Haynes Manual car repair books.


Image from Sunday Times Driving

Since the first manual appeared in 1966, more than 200 million copies have been published, and with that success he opened the Haynes International Motor Museum in 1985.

Haynes was awarded an OBE for services to publishing in 1995. His family said he’ll be “greatly missed not only by his family, friends and colleagues but also by the many people that use his manuals”.

UK cars could feature speed limiters in the next three years

Mandatory speed limiters could be fitted to all new cars by 2022, after Members of the European Parliament supported plans to get more safety features included as standard.



The proposal was put forward by the European Transport Safety Council, who reckon the limiters will reduce traffic collisions by 30 per cent and could save 25,000 lives in the first 15 years of operation.

Intelligent speed assistance (ISA) tech will spot local speed limits using road sign recognition and GPS data, and limit vehicle speed in line with those. The systems could be overridden by applying more force to the accelerator, but this might result in audio and visual warnings.

And this could be reality even after Brexit, as the Vehicle Certification Agency has plans to copy the EU’s rules.

Ford might’ve come up with the next big delivery service

The number of hi-vis, helmeted couriers on UK roads seems to have tripled in the past few years, with the majority delivering hot food and little else.

But Ford might’ve found a solution, with a new “warehouse on wheels” concept that they’re trialling with Gnewt.

The digital delivery service will use Ford’s logistics software MoDe:Link to organise several modes of transport at once, including vans, pedestrians and eventually bicycle couriers. And they’ll ferry more than a Big Mac and Nando’s chips.

It’s hoped the service will improve efficiency by reducing delivery times, costs and traffic.

Toast could be more toxic than traffic fumes

The smoke from toasting bread could be more toxic than traffic fumes, according to research by the University of Texas.



Air containing more than 25 micrograms per cubic metre of fine particulates is deemed too much by the World Health Organisation, but apparently burning toast can create 4,000 micrograms per cubic metre.

Fireplaces, air fresheners and spray cleaners were also mentioned as pollutants that can affect indoor air quality.

Build-up to Formula 1 and MotoGP 2019 is underway

February gave motorsport fans a first look at the new teams and machines, ahead of the 2019 Formula 1 and MotoGP seasons.


Image from Sky Sports

Ferrari’s new car is named SF90, in recognition of the Scuderia’s 90th anniversary, and Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha has swapped its main sponsor to Monster Energy.

F1’s pre-season testing began in Barcelona on February 18th, ahead of Melbourne’s season opener on March 17th. Meanwhile, MotoGP kicked off its first test of the year at Sepang on February 1st, before the first GP is set for March 10th.

Four in ten motorists don’t want elderly drivers on the road

Analysis carried out by found that just over 40 per cent of garage customers think there should be an age restriction on driving.



Over a third of the one million respondents believe the limit should be 70 years of age, while a fifth of those went even lower to 65 or 60. In addition, 83 per cent think elderly drivers should be subject to yearly safety checks if they’re to hold on to their licence.

The research was commissioned following Prince Philip’s car accident in January, in response to the national debate it sparked.

And from the world of Lookers…

The Lookers Conference 2019

Lookers’ annual conference took place in Belfast at the end of February, celebrating the diversity of talent within the company.



More than 700 senior colleagues attended the event at the ICC in Northern Ireland’s capital, where our Charles Hurst division is based. The main announcements centred around our recent acquisition of Jennings Group and last year’s fundraising journey around the UK, the Lookers Electric Charge.

Also speaking at the conference was Sarah Stirk, Sky Sports presenter, and Damian Hughes, author of ‘The Barcelona Way’, who both shone light on their experiences with people management.

Orders open on the last of the Mk7 Golf GTIs

In one of the more exciting upcoming releases from our car brands, Volkswagen have announced the Golf GTI TCR – the tricked-up swansong for the current-gen GTI.


Image from CAR Magazine

It’s inspired by the Golf’s touring car racer and has a number of upgrades on the standard GTI, including brakes, TCR seats and bodykit. Power has also been boosted by 45bhp, taking its total output to 286bhp.

Orders are now open for the TCR, with prices starting just under £35,000 and deliveries expected sometime in March. This is one we’d like to see in our online car review series, The Shortcut.

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