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The unsung heroes guiding Vale youngsters safely across our roads twice a day have been given the recognition they deserve.

At the recent Vale Road Safety Awards, an annual event held at the Council’s Dock Offices, those working on school crossing patrols throughout the county were recognised and rewarded for their contribution to road safety.

The co-ordinators and volunteers of the Kerbcraft Child Pedestrian Training Scheme were also thanked during this year’s presentation.

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Don’t Put Your Licence at Risk, Turn Off Your Phone

On 1 March 2017 the penalties for using a hand held mobile phone whilst behind the wheel of a car will be increasing to 6 points and a £200 fine.

This increase in points means that if you are a driver who has held their licence for less than two years, being caught on your phone JUST ONCE will result in your licence being revoked by the DVLA. To get your licence back you will need to retake and pass both parts of the driving test, resulting in considerable expense, and time off the road. Additionally your new licence will still show the 6 points, which will have an impact on the insurance premium you have to pay.

Experienced drivers are not immune to the consequences of the change in the law either. Most insurance companies request details of any driving convictions that you've received in the past five years, and it's illegal to withhold any such information.

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Managing Winter Road Risk

Road Safety Wales is reminding employers to review their driving for work risk management policy and ensure that winter driving is properly covered.

Susan Storch, Chair of Road Safety Wales said: "Employees who drive for work purposes should be fully aware of what is expected of them during periods of severe weather and plans should be in place for identifying and preparing for essential journeys."

Employers have a duty to take all reasonably practicable measures to manage risk and companies should ensure that their drivers take heed of any warnings, either from official external sources or from within the firm, not to continue their journeys when advised.

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Free Guide to Winter Driving

At this time of year, it’s important to keep in mind the change in road conditions and the effect this will have on the way we drive. Preparing your car ahead of time can cut down on future maintenance costs and more importantly, prevent an accident from happening.

Sainsbury’s Bank has created a guide to driving in winter, highlighting steps you can take to help keep safe on the roads. It’s full of information about essential winter driving equipment you should carry and tips on when and how to use it. Simple things, such as making sure your washer fluid is topped up, can save you trouble in the long run and ensure that you’re fully prepared for poor weather and road conditions.

You can find the guide here:

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2017 FirstCar Young Driver Road Safety Awards

The nomination process for the 2017 FirstCar Young Driver Road Safety Awards has now opened, with entries invited in five different categories.

Now in their third year, the awards are sponsored by Road Safety Support (RSS) and will once again be presented at the Young Driver Focus event in London in April 2017.

FirstCar conceived and launched the awards scheme in 2015 to recognise the work of road safety professionals in seeking to reduce casualties among young drivers.

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Backless Booster Seat Confusion

Many parents may be confused by the news that booster cushion regulations may change soon - possibly this March.

Susan Storch, Chair of Road Safety Wales, explains the current situation: "Any changes will only apply to new backless booster seats (booster cushions) entering the market, not ones which are already in use and meet existing safety standards."

“Parents, carers and professionals working with children, who currently use a booster cushion that complies with the existing regulations will not be breaking the law if they continue to use them after the rule change. You will not be required to buy a replacement booster seat to meet this change.”

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Prize Winners Invest in Their Future

Pembrokeshire College interactive media students and their Lecturer used some of their Multimedia Competition prize money to visit Cardiff for the day.

Visits to the Artes Mundi exhibition at Cardiff Museum and also to the Award Winning S3 Advertising Agency led to a lot of thought provoking issues being discussed throughout the day. A glass was raised at lunchtime to Joel and Shannon for their winning work, and the whole group were thanked for all their hard work in devising entries for the competition.

Course Tutor Denys Bassett-Jones said “Thanks to the recognition by Road Safety Wales of the students’ efforts we have been able to arrange this inspirational trip for them. As well as being thoroughly enjoyable, it will help them to develop their creativity and enable them to make informed choices about their future career path. The balance of the prize money will be invested in equipment which will assist in producing even better animations for future competitions.”

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Winning Ideas for Road Safety Campaign

A competition searching for videos and poster designs for a national road safety campaign has awarded two Torfaen artists for their creations. Earlier this year, Road Safety Wales appealed for designs to be used in their campaign to warn drivers of the dangers of drinking and taking drugs.

Molly Jones, 11, from West Monmouth School and April Bryant, 20, of Coleg Gwent, were recognised for their efforts, winning £50 each and receiving a certificate from Mayor for Torfaen, Cllr Veronica Crick.

Miss Jones won a prize in the campaign’s Christmas poster competition and came up with a number of different designs highlighting the damage that drinking and driving can do, merging them into one to create her winning entry. Art and design student Ms Bryant won the multimedia competition, using the classic Russian animation ‘The Hedgehog in the Fog’ as inspiration for her short stop-motion animation film.

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Mamas & Papas Car Seats are Recalled over Crash Fears

Mamas & Papas have recalled certain car seats amid fears they could crack in an accident. However, Mamas & Papas said there have been no incidents of children being hurt as a result of using the car seats at the centre of the recall.

The seats affected are Mamas & Papas Nembus, Mamas & Papas Aureus, Mamas & Papas Group 123, and the Mamas & Papas Altair.

Thousands were sold through Asda, Tesco, Shop Direct, some independent retailers as well as the brand's own website and factory stores.

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Visit Wales’s Year of Adventure

There is still time to take part in Visit Wales’s Year of Adventure and enjoy the Welsh countryside whilst walking or cycling. Wales has some of the best walking and cycling routes, from the Taff Trail to the Llangollen Canal, through breath-taking scenery and nature.

Sustrans Cymru have listed their top ten best routes in Wales which showcase what Wales has to offer walkers and cyclists of all abilities. Take a look through their list here.

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