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LETTERS to Fleet News’ editor John Maslen.

RIDDOR is fine – but what about own-car fleet drivers?

SIR – Regarding the RIDDOR proposals (‘Fleets face fresh crash clampdown’, FNN, April 28), I receive some incident reports from company car drivers but have also had drivers who fail to submit a report until I have an insurance claim against them and threaten them with disciplinary action.
Thankfully this has been rare in the past nine-and-a-half years I have been a fleet administrator.
The RIDDOR proposals are good in principle, but there is a serious drawback for us in that we now only have three cars, as most of our 300-plus drivers use their own vehicles and don’t want the tax burden of a company car.
They have absolutely no incentive to tell us of any incident they have. We could ask them to sign a statement each year saying whether or not they have had incidents and expect them to give us details where relevant, but there is no way of knowing whether they are telling the truth or not.
They might be subject to disciplinary action if they were found out, but the vast majority would get away with it I am sure.
To get it to work there has to be an element of WIIFM – ‘what’s in it for me’ – to persuade them to give us the information without any penalty to be incurred as well. In principle it’s a good idea, but I think it is fraught with ways to escape reporting incidents, either own fault where they may be penalised directly, or indirectly or third party fault, where they should not be penalised at all.

Brian Steer
Via email

SIR – Recent issues of Fleet News have quite rightly offered readers in-depth coverage of the Government’s plans to introduce even tougher corporate manslaughter legislation.
The prospect of companies being prosecuted for accidents involving their drivers is now very real and cannot be ignored. While the proposed legislation might appear daunting, many of the safeguards and solutions are already in place for companies operating both large scale and small vehicle fleets.
It is important to highlight the fact that current vehicle tracking tech-nology has a far wider application than simply keeping vehicles secure from theft or driving down operating costs.
An increasing number of Quartix customers (we support nearly 600 UK businesses) use the system’s real time technology and reporting functions to help employees drive more responsibly.
Whether it’s making sure drivers take agreed and regular breaks or that they conform to speed limits, tracking systems are already making a significant contribution.
Encouragingly, many of our new customers are installing the Quartix system to ensure they fulfil their own duty of care obligations.
As I wish to be truly objective, it is only fair to state that other tracking system suppliers are also offering their own solutions.
The vehicle tracking industry has undoubtedly enabled companies to keep their property secure and reduce operating costs, but perhaps it is time to grasp the real benefits of this technology – even safer drivers and the opportunity for companies to demonstrate they have taken every possible precaution and are looking after their employees’ best interests every time they get behind the wheel.

Andy Kirk
Director, Quartix

Wardens are on a bonus!

SIR – We as a company have been suffering a great deal of parking fines in the London area recently. The last couple of months has seen one land on my desk on most days, and I couldn’t help feeling that as a company our vans were being ‘bonnet-hunted’ by the traffic wardens.
The reason has been revealed – and I know we are not alone. However, that’s small comfort given the amount it is costing both the drivers and our company. In a couple of publications, including The Sunday Times, I have seen it reported that NCP wardens are being given the incentive of Argos vouchers if they ‘increase revenue’!
The article I read stated: ‘The proposed incentive scheme is designed to motivate employees by rewarding those who make a difference by achieving particular targets or agreed standards.’
The article then went on to say: ‘It is about rewarding people for working well and has never been to do with the number of tickets issued.’ Excuse me – how do they get rewarded for working well and increasing revenue if not by issuing more tickets?
Bear in mind all the fines we are receiving are £100 each.
There must be loads of other companies suffering this, which when added to the fact that we have to pay the congestion charge on top, makes you look at the true cost of carrying out any work in the London area.
Any comments from fellow sufferers?

Ann Dukanovic
Fleet manager, Kaba Door Systems, Telford

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