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LETTERS to Fleet News’ acting editor Steve Moody.

Autobahns have got it right

SIR – I’m used to driving a lot of miles throughout Europe for my job. I drive about 30,000 miles per year through Spain, Andorra, France, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland.

I agree with having speed limits in built-up areas, or in some dangerous areas outside, but I think having speed limits on motorways (especially as low as in the UK – 70mph) is mocking people.

The UK should make motorways as in Germany: no speed limit when not dangerous (only an advised speed, which is 81mph). Sometimes, when the emergency lane is too small or the Asphalt is not so good, there is a speed limit (130km/h, 120km/h or 100km/h).

In the rest of the countries, it’s the same speed limit whether you’re on a three-lane motorway with a very good Asphalt and a big emergency lane or on a two-lane motorway with holes in the surface and a little emergency lane. The same speed limit all the time makes your journey monotonous and it’s very easy to fall asleep.

In France, there are very good motorways.

The emergency lane is sufficiently big so you can stop your car and get out of it with your children without taking any risk.

However, you have to be very careful of gendarmes, who love catching you for speeding on motorways. This kind of behaviour from the authorities makes your journey so monotonous that you have to stop every 60 miles to rest because you’re concentrating so hard to see if the police are ahead.

Germany is the ideal in terms of motorways. You only see speed limits in places where they should be. It means when they put a speed limit on the motorway, people respect it, because there may be a real danger ahead.

I wonder what other readers think about these differing methods of speed enforcement?

Jerry Meijer
Via email

Risk management needs to be proactive too

SIR – We agree with Marcus Puddy’s Guest Opinion (Fleet NewsNet, December 15), particularly his recommendation that accurate and regular recording is essential if fleet managers are to gain a more precise understanding of how their fleets are working.

Puddy focused on how recording driver mileage can help manage costs and touched on how telematics technology can now provide an automatic submission of mileage data straight from the vehicle.

Clearly, managing costs through mileage is an important day-to-day requirement but at Cybit we are already helping fleets to go beyond this and use telematics to adopt a more proactive risk management approach – particularly given the growing requirement for duty of care and legislative compliance.

Telematics offers an ideal way of providing businesses with the key information and exception reports they need to meet duty-of-care requirements.

However, it’s not enough just to record mileage – businesses need to know about all journeys over a certain time or distance. They need to be aware of the current status of all driving licences and have an immediate overview of their fleet servicing records as well as a view of the training records for all drivers.

That’s a lot of information to keep a handle on, but organisations need to do this if they are to manage their requirements under the latest Working Time Directive legislation.

However, it’s important to remember that it’s not the data that is important, but what you do with it. That’s why we always recommend that organisations still look closely at their own requirements and, where applicable, work with specialists to develop reporting solutions that support their own duty-of-care policies and procedures.

John Wisdom
Group sales and marketing director, Cybit

Underhand tax hike a disgrace

SIR – I have just read in The Cost about the proposed disgraceful tax hike by virtue of the removal of the 3% tax concession on Euro lV compliant diesel engines.

It’s such an underhand move: the industry has conformed – quite rightly – with improved emission standards and the approach is typical of our mean-minded Chancellor.

Euro lV diesel engines in many respects produce lower emissions than petrol engines – largely because they just use less fuel to achieve the same output – and as their main problem of higher levels of particulate emissions is now much lower than previously, I don’t see any case for diesel car drivers being taxed at higher levels than their petrol car driver colleagues.

No doubt what Gordon Brown is really after is to make up for the lower tax take in fuel duties from the diesel driver due to lower fuel consumption – but what does this indicate about his alleged encouragement for more fuel-efficient cars?

J F Beasley
Export territory manager, The Vapormatic Co, Exeter

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