Fleet News

Fleets face cost penalty worries over time limit guidelines

ROADSIDE rescue organisations are in talks with fleet operators over guidelines issued to police forces around the country this week, setting tight time limits for removing vehicles from the motorway. The new guidelines, agreed by the Association of Chief Police Officers, recommend a standard half-hour time limit for stranded vehicles to be taken off the hard shoulder. If the breakdown service takes too long, private contractors will be called out and the driver charged a standard removal cost despite being covered by a motoring organisation.

With costs for each removal averaging more than £100 under fees recommended by the police for private contractors, fleet drivers who receive a slow response from their breakdown organisation could find themselves heavily out of pocket. While motorists who are not covered have to pay the cost anyway, much of the reason for taking out breakdown cover is to avoid the unexpected cost of removing a vehicle from the motorway.

The unwritten rule had previously been to ensure that vehicles were cleared in two to four hours, leaving plenty of time for breakdown services to reach members. However, amid health and safety concerns over stranded motorists remaining on the hard shoulder where they are at risk of being hit by fast-moving traffic, the ACPO traffic committee decided to act. The recommendations are not enforceable by law and are open to interpretation by each Chief Constable.

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