Finances better spent on educating drivers
The possibility of speed limiters being fitted to cars is an interesting one (“Speed limiter plan to make roads safer”, Fleet News, September 20) and I wait to see what the reaction will be from fleet managers and drivers.
While Commission for Integrated Transport spokesperson Peter Hendy seems sure that businesses will want to fit limiters to stop their employees breaking the law, I suspect the issue will be more complicated.
The result of most traffic collisions is not so much high speed, but driving at inappropriate speeds for the conditions at that time, which can be influenced by weather, other drivers and the local environment.
A fatal crash can be caused at 20mph just as it can at 90mph if the conditions lead to 20mph being inappropriate.
More needs to be known about the type of technology the commission has in mind.
This type of technology has existed with commercial vehicles for some time and is being extended to LCVs – this might provide lessons as to the best solution, as selecting the right technology will be important.
If limiters are linked to the speed limits for a type of road, then this may cut down on speeding fines, but might not have the impact on road safety that the commission hopes for.
Limiters will allow vehicles to travel at 40mph even if the conditions make this speed inappropriate.
With control taken away from the driver we must also question whether limiters could result in less concentration on the speed limit.
Can we expect speeding fines to be questioned in the event of speed limits being broken?
What will be the outcome in the event of a collision if limiter technology is deemed to have been an influence?
Manufacturers will have to have absolute conviction in their technology to avoid being challenged by drivers in the event of a collision or unexpected speeding fine.
Manufacturers may be reluctant to see it in their vehicles for understandable reasons of guarantee and the risks to reputations of the technology failing.
In an increasingly litigious society, I suggest questions such as these must be scrutinised before the widespread application of this type of technology becomes a reality.
The ultimate aim of reducing accidents and making roads safer is one we should all be working towards.
This should focus as much on driver attitude and ability as it does on speed limits.
With so many questions unanswered on controlling speed, finances may be better invested on educational campaigns and improving driving standards to achieve road safety goals.
Head of market analysis, Arval
Car version of tachograph would make more sense than limiters
I read the report about limiters being fitted to company vehicles (Speed limiter plan to make roads safer, Fleet News, September 20).
Would it not make more sense for fleet users to pressure manufacturers to install in each vehicle a DVD drive (small black box in the engine bay) that would write on to a DVD what the car had been doing (not dissimilar to a tachograph).
I’m sure that it’s not beyond possibility that information stored on the vehicle’s computer could not be recorded on to a DVD and then read on a desktop computer when the phone rang or when engine oil was topped up or even when tyre pressures changed, for certain models.
The disc could be changed every service interval or so, or by fleet management companies using their service, maintenance and repair networks.
It wouldn’t be impossible to do it in the field using a mobile service, with the DVD being sealed away with a special seal or requiring a specific tool to access.
Drivers may feel they are being watched but it’s probably preferable to the limiters and won’t necessarily make drivers turn to the cash option.
It also assists with the duty-of-care issue as drivers who drive six or seven hours at a time, for example, can be recommended to change their working structure, maybe working from home on certain days.
Training is available
As Steve Johnson rightly says “education is the only way forward” (Fleet News, September 27).
When young convicted drivers complete our Department for Transport (DfT) approved course they get better insurance quotes but doing our training before conviction does not attract the same reduction. Where is the incentive?
We want to meet more groups of new/young drivers to help them avoid drink, and increasingly, drug-driving.
Our training is fun and empowering and gets young drivers to consider all aspects of driving (or riding) when impaired through drink or drugs.
We are happy to meet older drivers too. Please get in touch at www.drinkdrive.org.uk – it’s all free.
DDE+ the Drug and Alcohol Road Safety Charity
Change is possible
With reference to Chris Eldred’s letter (Fleet News, October 4), the loophole that meant MP3 to FM broadcast devices were illegal was closed by Ofcom earlier this year.
If Ofcom can do it for entertainment gadgets, then surely it can look at changing the law when it comes to safety innovations, as sugg-ested by Stephan Presland.