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Motorway jams are worst fuel-burners
I READ with dismay talk of reducing the maximum permitted motorway speed from 70mph (‘Green campaigners take up the carbon challenge’, Fleet News, July 27). On the odd occasion I use cruise control, in sixth gear at 2,000rpm while doing 70mph. This must be the most efficient rpm for road speed and to do less I would have to change down a gear.

What makes the authorities think they could enforce it when people regularly steam past at what I would guess to be approaching 100mph?

The worst fuel-burner is surely the stationary traffic on the M6 and M25 at the regular hold-up spots. What does this cost in spent fuel and people time?

The junction where the M6 Toll Road south joins the M42 is a recipe for road rage and a major pile-up during morning rush hours. There is three-quarters of a mile of broken-line road marking segregating the M42 southbound traffic from that going on to the old M6.

Every weekday morning the M42 traffic is stop-start. Inconsiderate queue jumpers steam down the M6 lane and then at the last moment indicate left and push in at the front of the queue.

If there is nobody willing to let them in, they sit stationary in the M6 lane with M6-bound HGVs having to swerve into the fast lane to avoid ploughing into them at 60mph.

Another issue is the number of Continental HGVs. Why can’t these be transported from the docks by rail on carriages, the same as those used on the tunnel service? They could have a terminal at all major cities right up to Glasgow and disembark at the one nearest to their final destination or loading point.

These views are my own and do not represent those of my employer.
Norman Beech, Comau Estil

Repairers aren’t all bad
THE article ‘Fleet operators slate bodyshops’ (Fleet News, August 17) highlights the need to transform relationships throughout the industry to ensure that focus is always on the customer.

Although there are flaws within the repair industry, the full responsibility can’t be laid at the repairers’ door.

The fleet industry is progressing and there is a gap widening between those repairers who are raising their game and those who aren’t.

There are many repairers who do want to improve their own performance but require support to achieve this.

Work in partnership with them to agree key performance indicators, improve administration and advance technology capabilities. Help them to understand the impact of cumulative repair costs, replacement hire charges and vehicle downtime can also improve satisfaction levels. It also helps repairers develop their own businesses.

Strained and disjointed relationships within the industry have also contributed. There has been mutual distrust between insurers and repairers and poor communication between leasing companies and accident management companies has meant that sometimes the customer may have slipped out of view.

As an accident management provider, we realise that taking a joint approach is key by working closely with both repairers and leasing companies to ensure that repair standards are of the highest quality.

Change lies in recognising that everyone has the same goal – the customer. Working in partnership and sharing best practice with other support services such as leasing companies, repairers and insurers means that performance is much more open and effective as it is centred around one common purpose.

By doing so, customers will see an improvement in the standard of their repairs without having to compromise on time or cost.
MICHAEL HUTHART, head of group network FMG Support

Tax discs: DVLA’s systems must be improved
I AM sure the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), and through them the Government, would be delighted if we all started to renew our tax discs a full month before they expired (‘Web warning over road tax’, Fleet News, August 17). All the more income for them.

Instead of penalising the victims in this way the DVLA and police forces need to accept their responsibilities for this unacceptable situation and improve their systems and procedures.

Police officers should be reminded that it is still a basic tenet of British law that people are innocent until proven guilty, and in a case where a computer record differs with a hard copy record the driver should be given the benefit of the doubt until it can be proved that the hard copy record is not genuine.
Lynn Fortin, Thermo Electron

Yet another driver tax
‘PAY-as-you-go road tolls set for 2007 start’ (Fleet News, August 10) is another caning for the motorist and an extra expense for companies.

Prices for goods and services will have to rise to cover this extra tax. If it is implemented, then the road fund tax should be abolished completely and fuel tax reduced dramatically.

As for black boxes in vehicles – who will pay for the box and its installation and what happens if it fails?

To make it work there will have to be only one national system of charging. Will the motoring organisations, companies and, most importantly, the road users be consulted at any time and their opinions requested?

Full consultation is needed and this plan should not be steam-rollered through.

The opinions expressed in this email are entirely personal and not necessarily those of Midland Counties Heating Services.
Phil Bramwell, Midland Counties Heating Services

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