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LETTERS to Fleet News’ editor John Maslen

Distraction a bigger risk to rental users

SIR – Your survey on the risks of distraction while behind the wheel (‘Shock findings in distraction study’, Fleet NewsNet April 28) highlighted an area that is of great concern to us.
Your findings showed that fiddling with dashboard controls worsens reaction times by 93%, so imagine how much worse still they would be if a driver is in a rental car.
Dashboards are becoming ever more complex, with satellite navigation systems etc. Even the location of simple controls like lights and wipers varies between marques.
If drivers have their rental car delivered and left at their home or office, they might well drive off before checking out the controls.
It adds another dimension of risk when they try to turn on the radio or heater and waste time and attention in finding them – particularly if they take their eyes off the road.
If fleets are going to examine in-car distractions as part of their risk management programmes, it’s vital they include reference to their rental vehicles, ensure drivers check the cars before using them and feel comfortable with the controls.

Don Moore
Vice-president of sales, UK & Ireland, Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Safety should be paramount

SIR – A fleet operation should not suffer because of the occasional requirement to concentrate on one particular aspect (‘Fleets suffer over focus on safety’, Fleet NewsNet, April 7).
Safety is of paramount importance in any area of business or private life. If a fleet manager is spending an inordinate amount of time dealing with safety issues, it is probably reflective of the organisation and demonstrates a lack of policy or commitment to safety in general.
For example, if a sound safety policy is in place there should be no need to spend time administering speeding fines from safety cameras.

Brian Middleton
Fleet manager, Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service

Speed capping sensors needed

SIR – IF the speed of drivers is a major concern, especially in built up areas, surely the technology is available to take the responsibility away from the driver?
For example, in the future, as a driver passes a speed limit sign, sensors could trigger something in the vehicle that caps its speed.
Speed limiters and cruise control are already available. If additional speed is required in an emergency, the speed limiter would be overridden in a similar way to devices such as traction control. This would save millions of pounds on traffic cops chasing speeding vehicles, leaving them more time to focus on bad driving habits such as lane-hogging and tailgating as well as focusing more on illegal vehicles. The money saved could then be used to improve roads and public transport.

David Mair
The Cranleigh Group

Dwindling sights

SIR – I understand that 800-plus petrol station sites shut down in the UK last year, often leaving unsightly, desolate canopies and stanchions. With just under 10,000 sites left, it’s forecast that this will reduce to 7,500 within the next five to 10 years.
Think of the good old butcher, green grocer, local banks etc. How many of them are still around today?
Details supplied

No room for invoice errors

SIR – I read with interest Colin Tourick’s piece on ‘Buying and running cars successfully’ (Fleet NewsNet, April 7).
Of special interest to us was his assertion that ‘a surprisingly high percentage of invoices received by contract hire companies have to be rejected because they do not reflect the work that was authorised’.
This is a view we believe to be out of date. The situation no longer exists in most contract hire companies who use electronic systems such as 1link.
He is correct in stating that, for some fleets not using the systems, pre and post-event control of billing and invoices from service and maintenance suppliers such as franchise dealers, independent garages and fast fits, is very difficult. Our research shows that between 10% and 20% of invoices submitted are incorrect. For some fleets, this figure is as high as 30%.
Each rejected invoice costs the fleet and supplier around £25-£30 in administrative costs. It is a huge waste of resources.

Ken Trinder Head of business development, epyx

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