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LETTERS to Fleet News’ editor John Maslen.

Speed cameras: the complaints carry on

SIR – I have been driving as a sales representative for 30 years, doing about 40,000 miles a year.

During that time, as you would expect, I have been caught speeding – more so since the cameras came in – but never for dangerous driving.

If the cameras are here to stay then I think they should not punish you with three points on your licence for minor offences. That should be for dangerous driving only. Your article on speed cameras (Fleet NewsNet, July 28) does question their effectiveness and I don’t see them doing a good job.

You can’t be looking down and be watching the road as well. As long as you are in the rough speed limit – 30s, 40s, 50s – that should be good enough.

As for motorways – well that’s a joke. I believe in driving to the prevailing conditions. If you have the road to yourself, go at 80mph or 90mph. If it is raining hard, then 70mph would be stupid.

I believe there should be more focus for the police on dangerous driving and not on minor infringements of speed limits.

These limits are always so inconsistent. Who decides them?

I would dread to think how many speed restrictions I would go through in one working day and I would defy anybody to say they would never be on the wrong side of a limit during that time.

So life gets harder out on the road. It is no fun any more. We are just keeping the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and these agents who run the speed cameras, in business.

A tired man of the road
Details supplied

Road layout causes crashes

SIR – I read your article on the link between speed cameras and fatal crash increases with fascination, but not much surprise (Fleet NewsNet, July 28).

I have been wondering for some time now about one specific issue related to speed camera sites.

As I understand it, the current guidelines state that a camera may be sited at a location where there have been four (or more) fatal accidents within the previous three years (whether that is four separate accidents involving fatalities, or simply four fatalities in total, I am unsure).

Very often, although inappropriate speed may be a contributory factor, it is my firm belief that the underlying cause is frequently poorly designed or engineered roads or road layouts.

I have long suspected that the use of speed cameras is simply a cheap way for the local authority to be seen, in the eyes of the public (and lawyers), to be doing something about the apparent problem, without fundamentally addressing the underlying causes, not to mention an effective way to raise revenue.

It would provide a fascinating insight to analyse those speed cameras located under these guidelines, to see if the fatality rate at those specific sites had been affected in any way by the installation of a camera.

I strongly suspect that the use of a speed camera at such blackspots would have little or no impact on the fatality rate and may even be detrimental to road safety, as your article suggests, by distracting drivers’ attention when it is most needed.

Crispin Driver
By email

We need proper traffic measures

SIR – Having recently been catching up with past issues of Fleet News, I feel I could not let two letters pass without comment (Fleet NewsNet, July 21).

Usually, your columns seem filled with articles by people wanting more legislation and generally making life and business more complicated, so the letter from Alan Ries of Kodak was a welcome relief.

He said: ‘The management of traffic needs to be improved with the aim of improving the flow of traffic rather than restricting vehicle movements’. Well said.

For the past 20 years we have witnessed what is called ‘traffic calming’ reducing the flow of traffic until most towns and cities suffer the gridlock that we all have to endure now on a daily basis.

When we are free of this self- inflicted congestion and find a clear road, we end up like the writer of your second letter on that page, the poor chap who, after 27 years and nearly a million miles, has got his first speeding ticket for being over the limit on a near-deserted motorway.

Somebody has timed him over a few metres of road and decided that he is not fit to drive and taken the first steps to remove his licence.

If the Government does not want drivers with proven safe driving records on the road, who does it want?

Terry Hudson
Association of British Drivers

Surcharge on diesel cars is a real disgrace

SIR – I have been surprised that there has been no reaction from the fleet industry concerning the re-imposition of the 3% diesel surcharge on all diesel cars now that pretty well all diesel cars are Euro IV-compliant.

This seems to be a highly cynical (although typical) move by our glorious Chancellor of the Exchequer to apply the 3% tax only on pre-Euro IV cars as an incentive to the industry to move to lower particulate emission systems and then, once this has been fully achieved, to reimpose it. What is this Government’s problem with new diesels? I know that it has created a huge public sector debt due to irresponsible spending, which we’re all going to have to pay for, but must the diesel car driver carry yet more of this burden?

Jorg Beasley
Vapormatic

Tax-efficient fleet cars are a must

SIR – While understanding the issues facing fleets refusing to change cars early to beat Euro IV diesel tax changes, and the fear of fleet managers losing control, I feel the whole aspect of staff attraction and retention is being overlooked.

Quite simply, if you do not offer tax-efficient company cars then somebody else will. The cost and difficulty of getting the right people may well prove more costly than biting the bullet and changing cars early and suffering the loss on disposal or early termination costs.

I suspect this is a decision that will be made by others and not fleet managers, but it has little to do with losing control.

Mick Donovan
Bowmer and Kirkland

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