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Letters to Fleet News' editor John Maslen

Ignore risk and see insurance bills rise

SIR - Roger Bibbings of RoSPA (Letters, April 28) appears to play down the likelihood that the proposed law on Corporate Manslaughter will push up fleets’ insurance costs.
As he says, it is illegal to insure oneself against criminal prosecution but companies and directors do insure themselves against legal cost and liabilities. Successful criminal prosecutions for corporate manslaughter or breaches of health and safety laws open the way for civil actions to succeed – and for employees or third parties to win greater damages.
Companies that do not bother to manage occupational road risk (MORR) put themselves at risk from this criminal and civil domino effect. They can reasonably expect insurers to charge them higher premiums because they present a greater risk.
Conversely, companies that can prove they actively comply with recognised MORR practice may be able to reduce their premiums. Essential Risk consultancy guarantees that companies dealing with us will get a reduction using our partnership with ERA Insurance.
In fact, I am happy to wager Mr Bibbings £100 – proceeds to BEN – that companies that ignore occupational road risk will see their premiums rise in the next 12 months.
Jeremy Hay, Managing director, Essential Risk Consultancy

Election propaganda does not reflect state of UK roads

SIR – Regarding the comment by the then Minister for Roads, David Jamieson: ‘Transport needs to be safe and reliable’ (Fleet NewsNet, April 28). What planet does he live on? Where has he been?
His election comment in Fleet News was just propaganda and does not reflect anything that is actually happening. The only reason fuel duty has not gone up recently is because the Goverment is scared of backlash and demonstrations.
They have put off raising the fuel tax several times as the UK is already one of the most taxed countries for fuel in Europe and the Government cannot see that if they actually reduced the cost of fuel (especially diesel) it would have an immediate effect on the economy for the better.
Where is the good transport he reckons is vital for the economy? Good transport for them means they get a large percentage of taxes from the motorist. They have multiplied fines on motorists for speeding, parking, congestion, bus lanes etc to ensure the motoring public shores up the coffers of the Chancellor.
The roads are now less safe than they were before the big increase in ‘safety cameras’, with deaths up on British roads due to less traffic police and therefore dangerous drivers not being caught.
The Government and police authorities would rather dish out fines for minor traffic offences as this does not require the barrow-loads of paperwork they have made necessary to actually take a real culprit to court.
If all the money the transport industry and the motoring public give the Government every year went back into the betterment of the transport system, we would have the best in the world.
Unfortunately, only a fraction goes back in to transport; the Government wastes it and we pay for corruption in the EU, which bombards us with unnecessary legislation that only the UK seems to adhere to.
Accident clearing off the roads in this country seems to take forever and is one of the main reasons for congestion. Do something to reduce that time and traffic will flow better. One accident on a motorway seems to last all day with all lanes blocked. Push the wreckage to the side and open up as many lanes as possible, rather than build tents on the motorway to hide the carnage.
Road-pricing systems will just be another way to increase taxation through the back door as professional working people on the road will have to pay considerably more, again with adverse results on our economy.

Les Tasker, Director Auto Keys (Nationwide)

BIK tax system penalises business drivers unfairly

SIR – I am writing regarding the current taxing system for fleet cars.
Currently I drive a 2.0-litre Vauxhall Vectra diesel estate registered in December 2000.
My taxable benefit varies considerably throughout the year and is currently £3,463, which is paid at 40%. My job role is that of an area supervisor and the car is required to enable me to carryout my job requirements.
My base is at home so I incur very little, if any, private mileage per month and incur approximately 30,000 miles per year business mileage.
People in my position who drive more than 18,000-plus business mileage have seen their tax increase considerably over the past five years, while others who do not require a vehicle for their job role but purely for private use have had a large reduction in the tax they pay.

Via email

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