Speed limiters were developed primarily to improve safety. But controlling the top speed of commercial vehicles has not only helped reduce accidents but has also cut the amount of fuel used which is both financially and environmently beneficial.
Although it’s clear to see the positive aspects of fitting speed limiters, there are drawbacks to consider.
In our service-driven business climate, drivers feel pressure to speed in order to ‘get the job done’.
By limiting the top speed of their commercial fleet vehicles, corporations can reduce their liability and risk.
So should fleet managers be looking to fit speed limiters to their vans as standard, or is there another way?
Is it right to fit speed limiters to all fleet vans?
Ian Leonard, group fleet services manager, Speedy Services: Speed limiting is the very least we should be doing. Young drivers are being employed on the premise that they are cheap labour and are being placed in situations where they are expected to be able to drive a fully-loaded 3.5t van with no experience whatsoever.
Tim Bright, group transport manager, Paragon Laundry: It would certainly improve the public perception of the white van man cliché as well as saving on fuel.
Andrew Smith, managing director, Cobra UK: In the majority of cases, yes. However, we don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach. We’d recommend fleets that regularly use A or B roads and motorways utilise speed limiters.
Vehicles based in a purely urban environment, where they rarely go above 40mph, probably don’t require speed limiters.
Paul Boulds, head of transport/fleet, Daniel Contractors: Yes and no. We decided, as part of our fleet renewal policy, to fit rev limiters rather than speed limiters to each of our 600 light commercial vehicles.
What issues can you foresee by introducing such a plan?
Ian Leonard There will be comments about drivability and vehicles being too slow to overtake safely: this is nonsense: you simply change your driving style and take a bit more care and consideration.
Tim Bright Initially, there will be driver resistance. The usual reason given is that employers give them too much work to do so they have to put their foot down to get the job done.
Andrew Smith If companies are to utilise speed limiters across their fleets, driver training and education is paramount.
Communication of the benefits to both company and driver needs to be very transparent and companies need to fully support their drivers during the transition period.
Paul Boulds One major factor to consider is where your vans are driven. If they operate totally on a motorway, then perhaps a speed limiter is right.
But, if they operate on a mixture of urban and rural roads with limited distance travelled on motorways, the rev limiter system may be more suitable.