Fleet News

Fleet experts set agenda for action

A THINK tank of some of Britain’s leading fleet managers has revealed an agenda for action for the Government during its next four years in power.

Its wish list fell under common themes of education, enforcement, clarity, consistency, commitment and congestion during a Fleet News Round Table meeting, held in association with National Car Rental.

Key areas tackled during the in-depth debate included the desperate need for better driving standards on the roads.

This would be brought about either through education or enforcement, ranging from better training for new drivers, including motorway assessments, to clamping down on motorists who continue to use hand-held mobile phones while driving.

Diane Miller, European fleet manager for NextiraOne, said: ‘You can’t travel from A to B without seeing people with one hand on their mobile phones. The law must be enforced.’

And Sally Woods, head of fleet services for the Royal Mail, said: ‘The response from the Government should be to educate people. The impact of using a mobile phone on the road can be as bad as drinking and driving.’

Fleets are also suffering because of the growing menace of uninsured drivers. Phillippa Caine, company secretary for Corgi, said: ‘I am desperate to see stronger sentencing for uninsured drivers.

‘Drivers know that if they get caught they will walk away with eight points and probably a £30 fine, compared to £3,500 premiums for buying insurance.

‘They take the gamble, but that doesn’t help the family where the bread-winner is killed or maimed in a crash.’

Many of the fleet executives who gathered at the Hanbury Manor Hotel in Hertfordshire last week said greater efforts to educate drivers would make a real difference, backed by proper enforcement of laws when they are passed.

Alan Miles, administration and data protection manager for the Royal National Institute for the Blind, called for a return to a consistent and constant advertising campaign to educate drivers.

Anita Gray, fleet contracts and administration manager for Computacentre, said action had to be taken and Sara Cook, fleet manager for BSkyB, added: ‘We need education and enforcement and we need the Government to communicate with us while it is doing it.’

Clear thinking over policies was a central theme. Sara Cook, fleet manager for BSkyB, said: ‘We need clarity on the fuel scale charge and benefit-in-kind tax. Most people are committing to a car for three or four years so they need certainty over tax issues.’

All the fleet managers attending the meeting agreed that dealing with congestion was vital and that current plans that would not come into force for more than a decade were not enough (Fleet NewsNet, June 9).

But they also agreed that one of the most important issues was for the Government to listen to what the industry had to say.

Key issues for action

  • More awareness and education campaigns
  • Get tough on uninsured drivers
  • Enforce ban on hand-held mobile phones while driving
  • Consistency on taxation
  • Consistency on alternative fuel policy
  • Immediate initiatives to tackle congestion
  • Listen to the fleet industry
  • Communicate with the fleet industry
  • Clear national standards for penalty points schemes
  • Clear national standards for tolls and congestion charge schemes
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