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LETTERS to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Risk management dilemma

DUTY of care is an issue regularly covered by Fleet News but as a fleet manager the boundaries of what should and should not be covered under this umbrella are constantly changing.

The Risk Management helpline (Fleet News, September 7) discusses the frequency with which driving licences should be checked. However, this seems to be a minor part of risk management, especially for opt-out employees.

My company has a number of employees who have opted out of the company car scheme. I know we have a duty of care towards essential drivers – they complete an annual questionnaire and declaration regarding age/mileage/servicing/insurance of the car, their driving history, and forward it to us along with a current copy of their driving licences.

We also have several status drivers who receive a car allowance (mainly directors) – they are head office based and seldom if at all use their car for business purposes apart from commuting – should these all fit under the duty-of-care umbrella? Knowing what to include in risk policies is one of the difficulties of fleet management, as I’m sure others would agree.

By email

  • AN employer’s duty-of-care responsibilities towards its employees and others who may be affected by its work activities are wide-ranging and have been refined over time, sadly often following tragic accidents.

    The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued guidance to employers in its publication ‘Driving at work Managing work-related road safety’.

    In it, the HSE makes it quite clear that the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 apply equally to on-the-road work activities as they do to all other work activities.

    Therefore the risks associated with work-related driving and riding of both motorcycles and bicycles on the road have to be effectively managed within a company’s health and safety management system.

    Irrespective of who provides the vehicle for an employee to travel on business – the company, a daily rental firm or the employee – the company remains responsible for the effective management of occupational road risk. As the HSE publication points out, this means assessing and evaluating the risks associated with three key areas – the driver, the vehicle and the journey.

    ROBERT CONSTANT
    Constant Consultancy Services

    Pretty girls are the biggest distraction

    I HAD to smile when I read your article (‘Danger of the North?’ Fleet News, August 31), which suggested that British landmarks such as the Angel of the North and the Lake District caused a distraction to one in four drivers.

    My drivers are predominantly male and I can tell you that they wouldn’t bat an eyelid by driving past Lake Windermere.

    What distracts them the most is the sight of a tight-fitting pair of shorts on a long-legged blonde – a sight which seems to have been particularly prevalent in the recent spell of hot weather we have been experiencing.

    A couple of weeks ago one of my drivers ran straight into the back of another car in a busy High Street and claimed that his brakes had failed.

    I decided to interview him and explained that it was a serious accusation to make, especially as the car he was driving was a BMW – and the Germans are not renowned for building cars that have dodgy brakes.

    He finally admitted that he had in fact been eyeing up a bit of totty who happened to be walking along the pavement next to his car.

    While your article mentioned all sorts of other distractions, girls did not even get a mention. Was it maybe that the people who put together the report felt it my be a bit ‘unPC’?

    Come on – let’s bring a bit of reality back into this world.

    BEN CARLTON
    Oxford

    Beware of duplicate licences

    I NOTICE that in a reply to your reader helpline (Risk Management – driving licence checks, Fleet News, September 7) there is no reference to the possibility that any licence presented for inspection or checking could have been revoked by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) or even be a duplicate.

    On our fleet we have chosen to use a system that checks all licences directly with the DVLA without the administrative problems of physically checking licences at 46 different locations.

    BRIAN MIDDLETON
    Fleet manager, Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service

    My Mazda frustrations

    MY wife runs a 2006 Mazda6 and I am also frustrated with the local dealers (‘Playing the waiting game’, Fleet NewsNet, August 10).

    I have complained of a knock from the suspension from day one. I returned it for inspection twice to be told it was OK, but after inspecting it last week I found the shock absorber had emptied out.

    Also while on the subject of dealers nobody has been able to explain the yellow message on the engine about the X level on the dipstick. Does anyone know the answer to this?

    I TAYLOR, S and T Motor Repairs

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