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LETTERS to the Fleet News editor, Martyn Moore.

Daytime lights are safer...

I’M writing in reference to the article ‘EC claims lighting up is good for you’ (Fleet News, October 19).

My wife and I ride motorcycles with our headlamps on during daylight hours. I would certainly be of the opinion that, were all vehicles compelled to have lights on at all times, we would lose our conspicuity and consequently be in more danger from other road-users failing to recognise an approaching motorcycle.

Even at present it is all too easy for a car driver, wishing to join the main road from a side street, to fail to see you. No, leave things as they are. At least we stand a chance at the moment. 

Alistair White
Vehicle workshop manager Eastleigh Borough Council

...or are they?

IT is vital that UK follows the EU demand for daytime headlights, ‘EC claims lighting up is good for you’ (Fleet News, October 19), as it is an excellent primary safety device.

As a road safety practitioner, I have been driving during daytime with my headlights on for about 25 years, and it has certainly assisted me in avoiding many collisions by being more visible to others drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Almost daily I see an emerging driver pause until I pass, when he may not have seen me and pulled out into my path.

It does not mean cyclists or pedestrians will be masked and motorcyclists with lights on remain equally visible.The major comment I have is that daytime running lights should be a frosted unfocused lens, not dipped headlights, because dipped headlights may give the illusion of flashing when the vehicle crosses any lateral ridges on the road.

Daytime running lights should be brighter than sidelights; a brightness equivalent to 60 watts frosted and unfocused would be ideal.

Keith Lane
By email

Country-relative spec creates price difference

I WRITE in response to the letter ‘How can car prices vary so?’ (Fleet News, October 12) which expresses concern over the price of the European Mazda CX-7, compared to the US market. With a year still to go until we launch the Mazda CX-7 in the UK we are unable to confirm the price except to say it will be compelling.

With regard to the difference in price between the US and the European versions I would like to point out that there will be many differences between the European and US vehicles. The CX-7 has been engineered differently for the European market to account for the types of road encountered across Europe and our different driving expectations. 

To achieve the required level of handling expected of a Mazda the suspension has been tuned for European roads and the engine will have the full 256bhp power output rather than the 242bhp in the US market. 

The CX-7 will also have a different specification to the US version and in the US there is a two-wheel drivedrive entry level version that will not be introduced in the European market. This model allows Mazda in the US to publish a lower entry cost.

Jeff Edgar
Mazda Motors UK

Avoiding wholelife ignorance is key

I AM flabbergasted following a conversation I had with a client and hope other fleets are not making the same basic mistake.

The client told me they allocate cars to drivers in bands according to the list price of the car. He then asked if they should allocate cars based on contract hire rentals instead. If he did, this would ignore fuel consumption, insurance premiums, discounted cash flow, the employer’s tax position, the employee’s tax position and the fact that different financial products have different costs.

It is a fact that by choosing the right financial product for a vehicle and by taking all of these other elements into account a fleet can run some luxury marque vehicles for the same cost as some bread-and-butter models.

Many contract hire companies now have some excellent software that allows fleet managers to select a fleet list based on all these factors. I wonder how many fleet managers are aware of this?

Colin Tourick
Director, Colin Tourick & Associates

Is younger-driver policy an act of discrimination?
WHAT are other fleet managers doing, if anything, regarding their car policies for young drivers in the light of the age discrimination legislation?

I mention this as it is the area I am working on at the moment. The Age Discrimination Regulations now make it unlawful on the grounds of age to discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone unless it is objectively justified. It is legitimate on the grounds of health and safety of the individual but my problem concerns younger drivers and the implication for car policies.

The fleet industry as a whole is aware that young drivers are a higher risk. This was clearly highlighted only a couple of weeks ago by the flurry of news articles around ideas to limit the engine size of vehicles for new drivers and to make the Pass Plus driving test compulsory.

With this in mind would a car policy that limits the size of engine for younger drivers be considered appropriate on the grounds of safety or would it fall foul of the age discrimination legislation?

Claire Walker, compensation and benefits manager, The Caudwell Group

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