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LETTERS to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Travel policy is essential

THE survey in last week’s issue ‘Speeding drivers blame employers’ suggests that more needs to be done to ensure that the risks associated with work-related driving are being managed effectively.

It’s not just about creating a travel policy – that policy needs to be enforced and supported by the business from the top down.

Limiting the number of miles driven is surely one of the most basic requirements of any travel policy. However, in a recent survey of over 300 businesses across the UK, we found that 84% of employers do not limit the number of miles employees can drive per week for business.

Many would argue that time is money, but businesses need to consider the fact that the consequences of accidents as a result of speeding could cost their staff and themselves dearly.

For a number of years now we have been working with our customers to ensure that they – not their employees – are in control of the rental vehicles being booked and used.

This has been made possible through the development of systems that automatically mandate reservations in line with company transport policies.

In fact, National has recently implemented a new work-flow capability in carhirebooker.com to give fleet and travel managers overriding authorisation of a vehicle booked by an employee.

This gives more flexibility in terms of selecting the right vehicle but the travel or fleet manager still has the control/sign -off.

LORRAINE FARNON
UK sales director and divisional vice-president, National Car Rental

Flagrant flouting

HOW are the police going to enforce a ban on smoking in company vehicles and the fitting of the correct child safety seats when they cannot enforce the policy on mobile phones?

The majority of lorry, van and car drivers seem oblivious to this law and the policy of farming out duties to civilian organisations such as the Highways Agency is doing nothing to reduce this flagrant flouting of the law.

DAVE WOOD
Protec Fire Detection

The hazards of too much information

THERE is no doubt that telematics are the in thing and can provide invaluable information in a number of different areas for fleet managers ‘Talking Telematics’ (Fleet NewsNet, September 14).

There are even on-board camera kits such as SmartDrive systems that capture events inside the cabin as well as outside.

These are triggered by excessive G-forces which are then transmitted back to a central management point for analysis.

However, black box technology has been around for a few years and I have experience in working with a number of companies that have bought these devices but within a couple of years got rid of them.

Why? Because they can generate too much information and the companies concerned did not allocate the resource to manage the information, let alone enable solutions to identified problems.

These devices are great for real-time information such as location tracking and navigation, undoubtedly saving time and improving safety in terms of drivers not getting stressed out looking at maps or getting lost.

However, additional information such as harsh braking, speeding or revving can be invaluable in enabling pre-emptive action to avoid crashes and non-essential maintenance costs – provided someone has the time to analyse the information, identify the cause and come up with an effective remedial programme for targeted drivers.

In my experience, drivers exceeding acceptable parameters, knowing the device is present require coaching in modifying their technique.

This approach, combined with effective policing, will achieve the desired effect. Companies investing in on-board technology must also allocate sufficient resources and have the will to follow it through if they are going to get their money’s worth.

Your training provider should be familiar with the system and the parameters and demonstrate their ability to provide appropriate coaching to remedy problems highlighted by the system.

STUART GEMMELL
Motor fleet risk manager, Driving Services UK

Simple fuel savings

THE article ‘Switch to diesel may cut fuel costs by 25%’ (Fleet News, September 21) was interesting.

Statistically, it may be correct. However, just buying and using fuel wisely cuts the fuel cost of every mile, whether it’s driven on business or privately.

Employers who operate sound fleet fuel management policies stand to make savings from the steps employees take to cut their private fuel bills.

For instance, by buying from lower-priced outlets, driving economically and avoiding unnecessary mileage, drivers could save hundreds of pounds a year.

In addition to this, simple alterations to driving techniques like avoiding over-revving, hard or sudden braking and allowing extra time for journeys can make a difference too.

Under-inflated tyres can raise fuel consumption by 10% and by driving at high speed you could be using up to 25% more fuel. Simple procedures, simple remedies.

I endorse the fact that we should be making drivers aware of the savings they can create by being astute about the way they buy fuel and use their cars. So, whether it’s a move to diesel or not, there are plenty of cost-saving techniques for employers to be paying attention to.

RICHARD SCHOOLING
Commercial director, Alphabet (GB)

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