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LETTERS to Fleet News’ acting editor Steve Moody.

Big cars, small spaces – what drivers can do to avoid damage

SIR – Your article in Fleet NewsNet (September 29) regarding the size of parking spaces is more about driving skills than parking problems.

Many years ago, in my days with British Gas, we had a driving campaign called ‘BIDO’, which stands for ‘Back In Drive Out’.

From research, we found that by far the majority of small claims ‘incidents’ were caused by backing out of parking spaces, usually in car parks.

If drivers adopted this practice as standard there would be far fewer claims caused by damage in car parks, as reversing into a space has several advantages:

  • Being able to position the car properly in a space
  • Avoiding the ‘dumping’ of the car by driving quickly into the space (so prevalent today)
  • Being able to drive out safely, often around poorly parked cars that arrived after you had left your car
  • Avoiding damage to the often very low front spoiler on modern cars when hitting the kerb at the front of a parking space.

    One further feature that would prevent many incidents from happening in conjunction with BIDO mentioned above – if every driver positioned their car so that it sat ON the drivers’ side white line, there would be ample room for everyone to get in and out of their car without damaging others.

    It is the lazy and haphazard way in which drivers just dump cars in spaces that causes the problems.

    DAVE WOODS
    Director, XBG Fleet Remarketing

    SIR – Previous to your article in Fleet NewsNet (September 29) highlighting the increased size of vehicles now being manufactured while car park spaces remain the same, I had the misfortune of receiving a standard charge ticket in a car park in Marlow, Bucks for the offence of ‘parked beyond the bay markings’ of which the fee was £60.

    I have since written to the local council involved, Wycombe District Council, explaining that due to the vehicles parked in the row which included several large 4x4s, a Mercedes-Benz S-class, Lexus GS and other large saloons, the bays simply couldn’t handle all of these large cars and allow safe access in and out of the vehicles without damage.

    This resulted in me having no other option than to slightly straddle two bays which all the other vehicles had done previously.

    I am still awaiting a response.

    So thank you for highlighting the potential cost implication of minor incidents in car parks but, with vehicle sizes increasing and car parking bays seemingly remaining the same size, I can only assume I am not alone in receiving this type of charge. And with the fee of £60 going to the local councils, what incentive do they have to widen the bays? If you were in a company vehicle, how could you explain a charge like this to an employer?

    GREG FORD
    D&S Events

    Camera review a waste of time

    SIR – So the never-ending debate over the subject of speed cameras continues as shadow transport secretary Alan Duncan has called for a review.

    It shouldn’t really take an official review to identify that static cameras and officers sat in vans are not the best way of policing the roads or improving safety, but the idea of a review is irrelevant anyway.

    Even if a review revealed that cameras do absolutely nothing to reduce accidents and that the cameras themselves are contributing to global warming, we’re still not going to see them removed. Why would they be removed when they are making the Government tens of millions of pounds each year?

    Yet still we’re told that speed cameras save lives – even though no-one really believes this.

    Perhaps it would be easier to believe that speed cameras are installed with the best of intentions if the profits made from fines were actually used to further improve road safety, such as better road surfaces or hiring more police to check for drink-drivers.

    Instead we hear that the number of people killed by drink-driving actually increased last year.

    This is, of course, no surprise. After all, speed cameras can’t tell how much alcohol a person has consumed. Nor can they tell if someone is driving too fast for the current road conditions. They can’t tell if someone has a driving licence or insurance either.

    However, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the number of speed cameras doubles again over the next five years. Aren’t you glad Labour won a third term?

    LEE BAKER
    Faccenda Group

    Help recognise one of fleet’s unsung heroes

    SIR – Every year, business awards are won by entrepreneurs and enterprising companies across the UK.

    But shouldn’t we be doing more to recognise the contribution of the UK’s unsung heroes? Behind many a successful entrepreneur there stands a mentor – perhaps a college professor, a professional adviser, a business acquaintance or a friend.

    These are people who give their time and skills to encourage enterprise in others. It is now possible to make a public show of appreciation to someone who has been your enterprise champion by nominating him or her for a new Royal Award – a Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion.

    Up to 10 special awards will be presented by the Queen annually to people doing most to encourage enterprise in others – in whatever field of business. Time is running out to nominate someone for the 2006 awards.

    All nominations must be received by midnight on October 31, 2005. For more information, visit www.queensawards.org.uk and find out how to give these individuals the recognition they deserve.

    STEPHEN BRICE
    Secretary, The Queen’s Awards Office, London

  • Fleet NewsNet 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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