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Speeding review call prompts differing responses

SIR – Your headline article in Fleet News, December 16, 2004 features the North Wales Chief Constable, Richard Brunstrom demanding a ‘root and branch reform’ of speed limits. You then ask for opinion from readers. The answers are all contained within the very same edition of Fleet News.

I agree with everything Richard Brunstrom said. There is now a ‘war’ between drivers and police enforcing the speed limits. We need an education programme and we need to encourage better standards of driving. But how on earth can we (i.e every driver on the road) achieve that?

Recently, I was involved in a pile-up on the M1. It was dark, early morning, pouring with rain and traffic was very heavy. The average speed? About 50mph. The average distance between each vehicle? About six feet! Three vans were in the outside lane, all close to each other, travelling at about 50mph, and they smashed into each other.

I managed to stop, but one van rolled back into me. I suffered no damage, so after exchanging details I left. I was shaken but my overwhelming thought was that something must be done to improve the quite appalling standards of driving.

Speed is not the entire issue. The real problem was outlined on page two of the same edition by Ford chief Gary Whittam and that is the distance between vehicles. There has to be a technological way of stopping this menace on our roads and I think I have the solution.

Commonly known as park distance control and now also found on some of the more sophisticated cruise control systems, this front bumper mounted distance controller should be fitted as standard to every new vehicle. It could work by activating at speeds above 30mph, so not causing issues in traffic jams. Such a system would force drivers to leave greater distance from the vehicle in front, but manufacturers must fit them as standard and charge more for the vehicle. I am sure that the motor industry would pay the price, if the numbers of incidents were reduced and driving made safer.

Other articles raised in the same edition included a fleet driver that received 30 points in a week (absolutely no excuse), a crash blamed on cruise control, the Nissan Primera road test, where Nissan must be applauded for including more safety related ‘gadgets’ than most other manufacturers and the flashback to 2001 with the RAC call for better headrests. Manufacturers are undoubtedly making cars much safer these days, but in my view this contributes to the appalling standards of driving on the roads, making drivers feel ‘immortal’. So a fascinating read, all very cleverly linked throughout the paper. Now, where is that contact number for the executive jet to avoid the M1 next week?

David J Woods
XBG Fleet Remarketing

SIR – I have never been prosecuted for any motoring offence in over 30 years of driving but I am quite convinced that Richard Brunstrom is a deluded, self-serving menace to law and order in this country.

I have written to him on a number of occasions asking him questions relating to his destructive attitude but have never received a response. Instead I have been fobbed off by his staff officer answering the questions. Incidentally this is the same officer we paid to travel at our expense to study speed control in Australia – nice work if you can get it!

My principal issue with Mr Brunstrom is that he is rapidly antagonising the last section of the population which still supports the police, namely middle-aged, middle-class, law-abiding people.

This is the group of motorists who have the fewest accidents, are intelligent and can use their own judgement. This is an anathema to control freaks such as Mr Brunstrom. These people are now frequently having their lives ruined for a handful of extremely trivial traffic offences and their attitude is becoming highly antagonistic towards the police.

We need the police to return to their role of servants of the people rather than as agents of an increasingly oppressive state.

We are powerless to do very much although I have instructed my employees to avoid travel to North Wales and not to do any business with any organisation there.

Max Falconer
Claremont House Enterprises

Stressed out? Then join ACFO

SIR – I read with interest your feature on stressed fleet managers (Fleet News, November 25, 2004). As part of our role in supporting customers who use our software, we periodically encounter fleet managers who are suffering unduly from the pressures of their job.

Our advice in this situation, and it is guidance that seems to often work, is to tell them to get in touch with one of the excellent industry bodies that exist in fleet, notably the Association of Car Fleet Operators.

The old adage that a problem shared is one halved is often true, and simply by providing an outlet where fleet managers can turn for impartial and friendly advice, ACFO often helps to reduce stress levels.

Andrew Leech
Sales and marketing director, cfc solutions

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