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Volkswagen have announced that the unveiling of the fourth generation Caddy van will take place in February 2015.

Not much is known about the upcoming model although it is rumoured to have a more productive load space.

The Volkswagen Caddy was released back in the early 80s and has built up a reputation as a hard wearing, reliable van.

It is rumoured that the new 2015 model will have similar styling to the 2015 VW Polo, featuring a similar frontend to the vehicle.

While the current generation of Caddy vans has proven to be immensely popular the small van’s shortfalls are becoming increasingly more apparent. When compared with competitive models like the Ford Transit Connect and Fiat Doblo the loading characteristics don’t sit as prettily.

Currently the maximum payload is 800kg, less than the one tonne for the Connect and Doblo. Also, most modern day vans feature wheel arch separation greater than 1,200mm - to accommodate a Europallet lengthways. The third generation Caddy features only 1,170mm.

We believe that the fourth generation Caddy van will feature improved loading characteristics to help ensure that it can remain on par with the competition and a firm favourite for years to come.

Roadworks.org was launched back in 2003 as a way for the local authorities to make upcoming road works information publicly available to motorists, thus helping them to better arrange and adapt future journeys based on the information given.

The website was released to comply with the upcoming Traffic Management Act (2004). This act was an initiative to help tackle congestion and disruption on the road network.

This legislation placed responsibilities on the local traffic authorities to make sure that traffic could move quickly and freely, both on their roads and those of nearby authorities.

Towards the end of 2014 the Roadworks.org website was relaunched and can now access data supplied by several authorities; Google, the Highways Agency, regional traffic authorities in London and Manchester plus 169 of the 175 highway authorities in England – thus helping the site to become a national integrated traffic information hub.

The new redesign has given the website a more mobile-friendly user interface and presents live data on traffic, congestion, diversions, traffic incidents and public events in an easy to digest manner – all of this is available for free at Roadworks.org.

January is to see the start of a new van safety campaign launched by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in an attempt to improve van safety.

The DVSA is taking a look at the way that they approach prohibitive fines and notices, and is focusing on the relationship between van operator and driver education. Instead of coming down on people like a sword of Damocles issuing fines and penalties, they are hoping to encourage a ‘self-help’ attitude towards vehicular safety compliance.

Instead the DVSA is suggesting that fleet operators and drivers could go some way towards compliance themselves by taking a short 10 minute walk around the vehicle before undertaking journeys. This vehicle check should primarily focus on bodywork condition, breaks and tyres.

Gordon MacDonald, Head of Enforcement Policy at VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) has said, “That would solve a multitude of problems”, he also went on to explain how vehicle mechanical condition and vehicle overloading were key DVSA concerns, alongside a 50% MoT van failure rate.

MacDonald also stated that, “We want to encourage operators not to think about the sheer volume, but the weight and distribution of the goods and materials being carried. It is easy to sort out.” Having the vehicle loaded heavily in an incorrect fashion can lead to unnecessary wear-and-tear on certain parts of the vehicle; these can all be factors that attribute towards the vehicle failing it's MoT, or not being compliant with safety standards.

The DVSA have also released a van walk around checklist that fleet operators and drivers can use to give their vehicles a once over, thus helping to ensure that their vans are somewhat geared towards the vehicular safety compliance.

Of course this won’t replace proper maintenance undertaken by a trained professional but it will go towards familiarising the driver with the vehicle and can act as an early warning system towards any potential issues that the vehicle may have in the future.

Also, making sure that you have the correct van insurance policy for your vehicle will go a long way to making sure that everything is up to code.

From the 8th June 2015 the UK paper counterpart driving licence will no longer be issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Can I throw my paper driving licence away?

When the DVLA stops issuing the paper counterpart it is advisable for you to destroy your paper copy, you will still need to keep your current photocard driving licence however.

If your driving licence was issued before 1998 and you only have a paper driving licence you should keep hold of it as these will remain valid and, in this situation, should not be destroyed.

Why is this happening?

It’s a scheme that has been thought up by Government motoring agencies with the aim of removing ‘red tape’. By moving to an online system there will be a saving of £8 million.

A joint venture by the DVLA and Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) has resulted in the creation of Mylicence. This is a service where drivers can check their details online.

Changing my driving licence address

You can still make use of your counterpart driving licence if you need to change your address details with the DVLA. This can be done online. If you do own a paper driving licence, the next time you update details with the DVLA you may be issued with a photocard to replace the paper counterpart.

Anything else?

There are other improvements being made to the online system in regards to car hire and insurance and we have no doubt that these details will be released before too long.

In addition to a valid UK driver’s licence there are a few other prerequisites that need to be adhered to when driving in the UK;

  1. The vehicle must have passed an MOT and be within the MOT expiration date,
  2. Drivers of cars, vans, motorcycles and other vehicles must pay road tax
  3. All drivers within the UK must have valid insurance

It is a criminal offence to drive without any of above. Luckily we can help you with your van insurance by helping you to secure insurance for your commercial vehicles at a great price.

Volkswagen van owners can take their commercial vehicles to VW’s van service centres for a free winter health check.
Up until 28th February 2015 owners of the VW Caddy, Crafter and Transporter vehicles are eligible for a 29-point check involving the battery, lights, wipers and tyres – plus a number of visual checks.

Kevin Rendell, Head of Service and Parts at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles UK says, "Ensuring your vehicle is safe for the roads throughout winter is extremely important to prevent accidents and breakdowns.

"We are providing these free checks as a preventative measure as minimising downtime is crucial for our customers."

According to a survey undertaken by Auto Express more than 30 per cent of British drivers do nothing to prepare their vehicle for winter. This figure is verified by breakdown cover providers, who typically see an increase in callouts over the winter months.

So, thanks to Volkswagen, if you own one of their commercial vehicles you can get a free winter health check-up to ensure that your vehicle is in tip-top condition for the colder months.

Consider it an early Christmas present!