Fleet News

Your opinion

Letters to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Following on from the article “Research shows vehicle design adds to dangers” (Fleet News, October 25), new research presented to a Society for Neuroscience conference may suggest that drivers’ vision is reduced when listening to music and complex sounds.

A US study by researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Centre and the University of North Carolina used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, which measured changes in brain activity based on the blood flow to different areas of the brains of 20 non-musicians and 20 musical conductors.

Previous research identified different parts of the brain are involved in vision and hearing.

When given listening tasks to perform, both groups showed a rise in the auditory part of the brain as expected, but at the same time – perhaps more surprisingly – activity also decreased in the visual part of the brain.

As the task was made progressively harder, the non-musicians diverted more and more activity away from the visual parts of the brain to the auditory ones.

However, after a certain point, the conductors did not suppress the visual part further, possibly indicating that their training and experience meant they were accustomed to not allowing the visual activity to drop below a certain point.

However, the study did not relate to driving and far more work is needed to explore the relationship.

The initial results are certainly interesting.

It takes us closer towards explaining more of the science of why mobile phone calls or listening to music are so distracting, particularly in complex visually demanding traffic situations.

It also reinforces the need to have robust policies in the use of all in-car technology from phones to mobile data terminals.

Director, Transafe Network

Confusion over benefit-in-kind tax changes

I was recently reading an article indicating the Chancellor’s intention to introduce a lower rate of benefit-in-kind tax of 10% – however, there seems to be a variety of different interpretations to this.

Should it be based on emissions of “less than 120g/km CO2”, or subtly “120g/km or less” – so in other words does a vehicle with 120g/km emissions qualify?

And would this then be subject to the 3% diesel surcharge?

It is difficult to interpret and as a result could make a significant difference to individuals’ tax liabilities and therefore their vehicle choice.

Clarification of this would be appreciated.

Group fleet manager, CliniMed Holdings

Buy British and support UK industry

Having just read your piece on buying British, “MPs urge fleets to buy British” (Fleet News, October 25), I feel I must respond to the negative views offered by Steve Botham and Roy Burke who both seem to be burying their head in the sand over this matter.

What a kick in the face for all the workers who build vehicles in this country.

Whether the manufacturers which have plants in the UK are foreign-owned is not a concern, as their British operatives earn their salaries and pay taxes into the common purse.

And, additionally, the foreign owners will pay corporation tax into the same common purse.

If we bought more British-manufactured vehicles we would create more jobs that in turn would pay more taxes.

I find it quite strange the attitude of most public sector buyers who seem to hide behind the European law dictat that we must go out to tender.

I know with having travelled extensively through Europe that Germany, France and Italy seem to circumnavigate the law in favour of their own country’s manufactured vehicles.

Why can’t we?

Of course, we do not build all the equipment necessary to enable our public sector to function, but when we can, we should.

Group corporate sales manager, The Hatfields Group

Congestion just moved from place to place

For many years now the large Dartford A2/M25 interchange has suffered massive congestion problems caused by high volumes of traffic, unreliable traffic light synchronisation and frequent accidents.

In addition, traffic using the Dartford Crossing creates long tailbacks from the toll booths back to the M25 in both directions and the QE2 Bridge.

Long, extensive and well-publicised roadworks are in place to overcome the problem of the congestion surrounding this interchange.

Additional lanes on the A2 to filter vehicles without traffic signals have been built and are shortly due to be opened.

This is not the end of the work but just part of a much bigger plan.

However, I see no end to the problem of congestion in this area because once all new roads are open it will allow traffic a smoother, uninterrupted approach to the Dartford Crossing tolls.

These will still be there.

They will still be a cause of stacking traffic up waiting to pay and I can only see the tailbacks growing even larger and more quickly.

It seems to me that road strategy of this Government fails in efforts to reduce congestion – it just moves it from one place to another.

Transport manager, University of Greenwich

Leave a comment for your chance to win £20 of John Lewis vouchers.

Every issue of Fleet News the editor picks his favourite comment from the past two weeks – get involved for your chance to appear in print and win!

Login to comment


No comments have been made yet.

Compare costs of your company cars

Looking to acquire new vehicles? Check how much they'll cost to run with our Car Running Cost calculator.

What is your BIK car tax liability?

The Fleet News car tax calculator lets you work out tax costs for both employer and employee