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Letters to Fleet News editor John Maslen

Highway hogging issue

SIR – The problem of middle lane hogging is a complex one and to a large degree, whether one driver is seen as a hogger depends upon the other driver’s standard of driving.
I would like to start by playing devil’s advocate. Is a driver a middle-lane hogger if he/she is driving at 70mph? Yes, the advice in the Highway Code states that drivers should keep left unless overtaking but the law states that drivers ‘must not’ exceed 70mph on the motorway. So are those complaining of middle-lane hoggers the drivers who want to maximise progress within the rules of the road? Or are they those who simply want to drive as fast as they can get away with and are thus annoyed when they are prevented from doing so.
Am I a middle-lane hogger if I stay away from the left lane in between the deceleration and acceleration lanes at junctions in anticipation of traffic joining the motorway? Some drivers obviously think I am.
Am I a middle-lane hogger if I see a lorry about 400 yards ahead and I know full well that if I go into the left lane to let traffic go past, I will not be able to go out again because they are all too close (heard of the two-second rule, anyone?) and breaking the speed limit?
So before we start talking in terms of following advice, why don’t we first ensure that drivers are following the law.
And if we think the law is wrong, let’s change it and protect the rest of us, because as it stands at the moment, the whole thing is a farce.

Salvatore Cassar
Managing director, Ceaser’s Road Training, Cardiff

Think before flashing and consider the Highway Code

SIR – I’ve refrained from entering the current debate on lane hogging, but now feel urged to speak out.
While agreeing with the principles of the Department for Transport’s campaign which, after all, form part of the Highway Code, many drivers who think others are hogging the middle lane often have no concept of a safe braking distance and flash their lights for them to move over when it is unsafe and inappropriate for them to do so.
This is particularly frustrating for those who adhere to the speed limit and who seem to be in the minority, despite the rash of ‘safety’ cameras adorning our roads. According to the Highway Code, at 70mph in dry conditions a safe braking distance of at least 96 metres is needed, double that in the wet – consider that next time you feel the urge to flash your headlights at the car in front. As decision-makers in the fleet industry, it is our responsibility to ensure our drivers behave in a safe and courteous manner.
Drivers in lanes two and three also need to give a thought to those who do pull over to allow others to pass when they in turn need to overtake. We’ve all experienced being boxed in by others who won’t let you out. This is particularly frustrating, as if all traffic kept to the speed limits pulling out would be a less hazardous manoeuvre than at present.

Michael Hutchings
Managing director, United Fleet Distribution, Birmingham

Lane tax a novel solution for middle-lane huggers

SIR – I’ve just read your article on middle-lane hoggers and the suggestions put forward as solutions by some of the Fleet Panel (‘Fleets back call to banish middle lane hoggers’, Fleet News, October 28).
If, as is anticipated, the Government introduces a ‘tax as you drive’ scheme to reduce congestion, why not consider charging different tax levels for using different lanes. This might encourage drivers to use the appropriate lane as it would hit them in the pocket.
It would mean that the heavy goods sector, which constantly complains about high transport costs, would pay the least as it would mainly be using the inside lane (and encourage the drivers to consider their overtaking manoeuvres). The prestige and executive cars exceeding the speed limit in the outside lane will pay the most, but they can afford it anyway. Combine this with educating drivers and including motorway driving in the driving test, and we might have a solution.

Graham Hine
Facilities manager, Adult Learning Inspectorate, Coventry

State the facts, not this rubbish

SIR – Never have I been more disgusted than when I read your headline ‘Complacent drivers cause crime boom’ (Fleet NewsNet, October 28).
To state that victims cause crime is quite disgusting. The lack of effective policing, the lack of effective deterrents, the lack of effective government and – oh yes, let’s not forget ‘criminals’. The above all cause crime, not the victims. Why don’t you set a precedent and state the real facts rather than the rubbish I have just read. Your justification will make interesting reading.

A Disgusted Reader

  • Ed – Many thanks for your letter. I would like to make two points: Firstly, this is not our opinion. As a newspaper, we have to impartially report what is being said in the industry. The story was based on a report from Autoglass that identified a serious problem in the industry. The issues of policing, deterrents, Government and criminals are all covered in this report.
    Secondly, taking simple steps to avoid becoming a victim of crime must be seen as part of the solution. Autoglass has created a one-minute checklist that every driver could follow to avoid ever becoming a target for criminals in the first place. We would never suggest drivers deserve to be targeted by criminals and we will always campaign for better policing, but that doesn’t mean drivers can be left out of the equation of crime reduction.

    Fleet News is delighted to receive readers’ letters. Email fleetnews@emap.com or write to: The Editor, Fleet News, Emap Automotive, Lynchwood, Peterborough Business Park, Peterborough PE2 6EA. Please ensure that e-mails include name, job title, company and company address

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