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LETTERS to Fleet News editor John Maslen.

Go by the ‘feet per second’ rule for complete road safety

SIR – For some time I have read in the ‘Letters to the Editor’ section of Fleet News articles on speed cameras. It would appear that none of the authors have got the gist of the subject. Here is my view based on ‘feet per second’.
The basic cause of road accidents is widespread ignorance of ground speed, not only on the part of pedestrians but also motorcyclists and virtually every driver of a motor vehicle.
If this widespread ignorance on the part of road users could be cured – and it is curable – then there would follow a great reduction in the toll of road accidents and deaths.
A speedometer does not tell anyone their ground speed.
It does nothing of the kind. And it is because most motorists delude themselves into believing that a speedometer tells them how fast they are covering the ground that the danger of road accidents is increased.
A speedometer gives a rider/driver speed in miles per hour. But have you any mental picture of the length of any hour or the length of a mile?
I doubt it.
The only measure that gives one an overall picture of speed at which a vehicle covers the ground is feet per second. At 60mph a vehicle covers 87.9 feet per second. To make it easier to understand, call it 90 feet per second.
All you have to do is to add one half to the figure of your speed in miles per hour and you will have your speed in feet per second (ie 60mph x 1.5 = 90f/s).
Now if all riders/drivers think of feet per second instead of miles per hour, look, scan and plan farther ahead, drive at a safe speed for the road and prevailing conditions and road surface and be in a position to stop safely, then they will be on the correct course to becoming better and safer drivers.
Another aspect of risk management/road safety is whenever driving a motor vehicle touches what is called kinetic energy, which can be best described as weight in motion.
For example, a vehicle weighing one tonne and moving at a speed of 30mph will strike an object with a 30-ton impact.
So at 60mph, the moving force would strike an object with a 60-ton impact. Feet per second and kinetic energy do not occur to many drivers until after the accident. The cost of injury, pain and suffering and death cannot be evaluated. The purpose of speed cameras is a deterrent to inconsiderate drivers who are not complying with the law for the prevailing road and traffic conditions and speed limits at that time or place.
Most self opinionated so-called competent drivers or riders have not read, let alone studied the contents of the Highway Code.
If they did and complied with the information/advice given at all times, concentrated on their driving, looked and planned well ahead and allowed adequate time to complete their journey, they would not be moaning about how unfair speed cameras are.
Comply with the law. It is safer and cheaper to do so for everyone. Gordon Cole
Director of Training, Fleet Driver Services

Risk factor tips the balance

SIR - I read with interest your piece on contract hire versus outright purchase recently (Fleet NewsNet February 3).
There are however a couple of important issues that were not really highlighted within the comparison that I feel swings the balance a little more towards contract hire. The first is risk. While it was mentioned within cost savings, I believe that this should have had greater emphasis.
There is virtually no risk attached to the contract hire option especially if the driver covers higher mileage and there is a maintenance agreement included. As we know, resale values fluctuate greatly between makes and models, even the date of disposal affects the value adding to the risk involved in outright purchase and reducing the risk in contract hire. The lessee knows exactly what his exposure is from day one.
The second is part of ‘cost savings’ but wasn’t mentioned. In many instances the contract hire companies are able to buy cars and commercial vehicles for less than most businesses can purely because of turnover of vehicles.
This buying power translates into very low monthly rentals as most, if not all, the additional support provided by the manufacturers by way of bonus is passed on to contract hire customers through very low monthly rentals.

Graham Hill
by email

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