Fleet News

Warning over call for lower speed limits

CALLS for lower speed limits would dramatically impact on UK plc's fleet costs and create problems for employers, according to fleet experts.

While recognising the importance of road safety, consultancy Fleet Logistics claims that the needs of British business were not considered in the recommendations of the House of Commons Select Committee on Transport to reduce speed limits on certain roads.

The Committee believes speed limits should be lowered to:

  • 20mph in many residential areas
  • 30mph on urban main roads
  • 40mph on major outer urban roads
  • 50mph on poorer quality A and B roads in rural areas.

    Graham Rees, Fleet Logistics UK business development director, said: 'I'm all for increasing penalties as a deterrent. However the impact that lowering speed limits could have on business could be catastrophic.

    'British businesses have made a commitment to their customers and these commitments don't change. The same workload will still have to be done in the same time. It may not seem like much but reducing speed limits by 10 miles an hour could increase the time it takes an employee to do his rounds by 50%.'

    This would require more staff and more company cars to complete the same volume of work, and the additional costs would have to be passed on to the consumer, according to Rees.

    'The alternative of course would be to increase the working day for anyone driving on business to allow for slower journeys, but fatigue from too many hours driving is a major cause of traffic accidents,' he said.

    Rees advocates that employers should revise work schedules and educate drivers on the best routes, placing more emphasis on 'driving safely and responsibly within the current speed limits rather than slowing everything down to accommodate the incompetence of a few.'

    The proliferation of speed cameras to enforce speed limits will also pose problems for employers, according to Nigel Rolfe, head of sales and marketing at ARVAL PHH Accident Management.

    'If speed limits are lowered and penalties raised, fleets can expect lots more speeding tickets. This is expensive for drivers and will eat into fleet department time for other duties in order to deal with the administration. Fleet managers will also have to keep a close eye on their drivers' penalty points,' he said.

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