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LETTERS to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Sat-nav is safer than drivers getting lost

WITH the explosion of satellite navigation systems in recent years, people have said they are a danger to other road users (‘Call for action on driver distraction’ Fleet News, July 20) I personally disagree.

We run a fleet of drivers which multi-drop deliveries all over the UK and some drivers have purchased their own system while others have chosen to use maps and the built up knowledge they have acquired. No driver will ever have 100% knowledge of his area and sometimes needs to look at the maps – especially agency drivers and new starters.

Although discouraged, drivers will often read maps while driving and still get lost but with the satellite navigation system the driver can concentrate on the road while they get voice instructions from this magic box.

Reducing the time he or she is on the road and the amount of fuel used in a day, you can even argue it is helping the environment cutting congestion and improving a driver’s working day with less stress. Home life also improves as often they arrive home earlier. I agree drivers should never punch in instructions to their satellite navigation system when they are moving but basic training and an awareness course in-house should help stop this.

Eddie Brennan, The Wine Society

Hands-free car kit concern

I AM increasingly worried by the use of hands-free car kits by our sales representatives, managers and directors.

We have a policy which states that using a mobile phone while driving is prohibited and even if fitted in a hands-free kit, it is not encouraged.

If used in a hands-free kit by the driver, it is entirely at the risk of the driver.

We also state that where we, the company, fit a hands-free kit in a vehicle, it is for ease of use when the vehicle is stationary with the engine turned off.

I hear and read of many scenarios and examples of where the driver can be left without any insurance cover at all if they are involved in an accident (their fault or not) while making or receiving a call. I feel that I have given the company’s policy and have given our advice to drivers, but in terms of insurance and the police, I wonder what would happen in the following scenario:

A driver is making or receiving a call when their vehicle is hit by another driver.

Our driver was not at fault of the accident but the other driver informs the police that our driver was making a call at the time.

This could have caused a distraction and prevented our driver from swerving to avoid the collision. The police then confirm from the mobile network that a call was in progress at the stated time.

Peter Sibson, Finance director, Time Products

Mobile phone law is being ignored

I TRAVEL about 10,000 miles per year on motorways and I’m sick and tired of seeing driver after driver merrily chatting away on hand-held mobile phones. The law against hand-held mobiles just isn’t working as no-one seems to take a blind bit of notice. We need a real blitz by the police.

John Sanders, Luton

Praise for DVLA help

Having read the reader letter ‘DVLA mandate: good idea, wrong on timing’ (Fleet News, July 13), I became a little anxious as I too have recently set up an account with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), to supply data relating to business drivers for the Peverel Group.

When I called the DVLA I was told that the account that I had set up was based on each mandate being active for three years. The three-month mandate is applicable to third parties like an insurance company who just require there and then information.

If you make it very clear at the outset when setting up an account that you are a fleet manager and require the three-year mandate facility there should be no problem.

I have always found the contacts at the DVLA both friendly and helpful.

To contact them write to: DVLA, Data Subject Enquiries, Driver Customer Services, D5, Longview Road, Swansea, SA6 7JL, or call 01792 310075.

Ian G Green, Company car co-ordinator Peverel Group

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