FLEETS have been encouraged to 'name and shame' drivers who regularly rack up penalties and fines for parking and congestion charges in a bid to curb the spiralling cost burden they face.
Such a move would force drivers into realising the high levels of cost and administration involved, claims John Lewis, director general of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA).
He suggests two strategies fleets could adopt to combat the problem – either praising competent drivers or shaming those in the wrong.
Lewis said: 'The way out of this is to look at ways of educating drivers either by cajoling or by penalties. Name and shame bad drivers or give prizes to the best drivers. The problem won't go away unless we take positive action.'
Speaking at an Arval PHH Business Outlook briefing held in London, Lewis highlighted the importance of driver education as a means of cost-cutting.
Statistics from Fleet News' FN50 revealed that 388 company car drivers a day were incurring a £40 fine for entering the London congestion zone without paying and employers had already paid out £3 million in fines since the charge was introduced (Fleet NewsNet, October 30). Fleets wanting to slash costs and reduce administration should take a back-to-basic approach, educating drivers on the importance of avoiding fines when out on the road, Lewis said.
He added: 'We need to educate drivers to drive lawfully, not to incur speeding fines and pay charges such as the congestion charge up front. If they do this it will be cheaper and it would reduce administration across fleets.
'Fines are a sheer waste of money. Congestion charges, parking fines, bus lane penalties and camera police offences all add up.'
Telematics systems could also play a large part in avoiding fines, Lewis added. He believes that fleets could use the systems to track drivers and pre-pay any charges due.
He said: 'The future is to assist and provide new products to manage drivers. I welcome the day where we can manage and pinpoint drivers and see where they are and pay their fines for them.
'I think telematics will pick up over the next few years as a result.'
Stay-at-home plan to cut transport bills
FLEET drivers should spend less time on the road and more time working from home in order to slash company transport costs, the former minister and candidate for Mayor of London, Steven Norris, says.
Norris believes that in the future more businesses will need to look at alternative working practices for employees in a bid to reduce costs associated with being out on the road, especially when congestion charges and road tolls make an impact.
Speaking at an Arval PHH Business Outlook briefing, he called on the Government to look at alternative means of addressing congestion, taking heed of international models.
He said: 'Companies will look harder at home-working and video-conferencing. If we can take 40% of occupancy costs out from home-working, it will save business costs.
In Singapore, they use a system where they charge drivers at peak morning and evening times. This moves the flow of traffic to different times of the day and works well.'
Norris re-affirmed his pledge to scrap the congestion charge and abandon plans to extend the scheme to other parts of London, adding: 'There is a big difference between congestion charging in cities and road charging. In cities, there are physical constraints and the impact on businesses of congestion charging has not been taken into account.
'You find that at any level of charging there is a potential deterrent effect as it pushes people on to the roads we are trying to keep them off. It is easy to look at a road-charging model but can be difficult to implement, however.'