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Wrong-fuel alert plea

Sir – Once upon a time most cars in the UK ran on petrol. When we pulled up at the pump, we didn’t have to think before we put the nozzle in our tanks. If we chose the wrong grade of petrol, it wasn’t the end of the world. The problem is the diesel pump. It was once located right out of the way and only really used by truckers. Now it is so popular that it is housed right next to the unleaded pump. Many companies run both diesel and unleaded vehicles on their fleets. Is it any wonder then that so many company car drivers fill up with the wrong fuel? It must be costing the industry millions of pounds and it shouldn’t be. How often do you see cars being pushed off garage forecourts when drivers suddenly realise they have filled up with the wrong fuel? How many breakdown call-outs are associated with this? There are so many losers through this and the only winners are the garages, as some charge extortionate prices to drain and clean the fuel system after a wrong fill-up. Very often, we don’t think when we fill up our cars. It’s such a simple task we do it on auto pilot. If only as you select the nozzle from its holder a voice announcement system would say ‘you have selected diesel’ or ‘you have selected unleaded’. I believe it is up to the fuel industry to earn some brownie points with motorists by putting this right.

Alan Phillips
Morris Vermaport, Nottingham

Red tape that riles most

Sir – Completing P11d tax forms and handling motor insurance are the biggest red tape worries faced by smaller fleets. According to our research in the sub-50 fleet market, a few managers are very well informed – but the majority have an understanding of the tax and legal side of fleet management that is often no better than poor and sometimes can only be described as non-existent. They are often secretaries, facilities managers, accountants and others who have been given the fleet as an additional responsibility. We have conducted research of this type for a number of years and the answers we have received have been very consistent. For the vast majority that don’t use any form of fleet software, P11d forms are seen as a nuisance and any change in the layout of the forms or the information needed causes a lot of confusion. Motor insurance causes similar levels of consternation, especially dealing with the Motor Insurance Database. When we ask fleets which aspects of red tape cause them the most consternation, the answer for almost all should be duty of care but the majority of them remain unaware of their responsibilities in this area. Basic tasks such as licence checks and the new requirements for eyesight checks are simply not known about. In fact, companies that do become more informed about this subject often buy software because it provides an easy framework to track key risk management points like service and maintenance of fleet vehicles.

Andy Leech
Business development director, cfc solutions

Drink-drive rule is a simple one

Sir – I realise that as a newspaper you have to recognise both sides of the spectrum. However, your contributor’s letter ‘I learned the alcohol level rules the hard way: now learn from me...’ (Fleet NewsNet, September 30) is appalling. I note that he lost his company car as well as receiving a ban and a fine. Well done to the magistrates and his employer. I hope any car drivers who had chanced to read this letter will realise that this driver has not learned anything. There is only one rule to learn and that is not to drink and drive – there is no other rule. His employer should take note for the risk assessment files as this surely represents a bad risk to the company.

Lyn Peperell
SMR Fleetcare, High Wycombe

Why women react differently to alcohol

Sir – I would like to clarify a comment from your anonymous DfT Drink-Drive Rehab attendee’s letter (Fleet NewsNet, September 30) in respect of women’s alcohol levels. It is a popular myth that women metabolise alcohol differently to men but there is no evidence to support this. However, a woman’s BAC (Breath Alcohol Concentration) will be higher than the equivalent man’s after a similar amount of alcohol – a difference of 10%-12% would be expected.

Roger Singer
Avoidd – Training & Education

I’m in Accord with fuel economy figure

Sir – With regard to your latest update on the long-term Honda Accord 2.2 diesel (Fleet NewsNet, September 2), I drive the same model and I regularly get more than 600 miles between fill-ups. As John Maslen said, you keep the air conditioning off. On my 100-mile daily commute, I usually end up stuck in traffic for up to 45 minutes per day – so overall economy is very good. Moreover, when the fuel light comes on and I go to fill up, I find I can only put in about 54 litres, which means there is more than 10 litres left in the tank. That should mean the car is good for another 100 miles – ie more than 700 miles to the tank.

Stuart Baird
Nordan UK

Easy way to check licences

Sir – Your article (Fleet NewsNet, September 23) asks where companies can check the validity of foreign driving licences, especially where those licences are not conveniently written in English. The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association provides two checking guides to international licences – one for the USA and Canada (where every state or province issues its own, slightly different licences) and one for virtually every other country in the world from Albania to Zambia. The guides contain sample photographs of licences as well as a description, licence term and validity including some security checks.
For details, call 01494 434747 or e-mail info@bvrla.co.uk

Robin Mackonochie
Head of Communications, BVRLA

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