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Letters to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Hidden danger of mobile calls

In reference to the comments made by Fred Macdonald – “Let’s target idiot mobile users” (Fleet News, December 6) – he states “taking a call on a fixed mobile, where I can accept the call by pushing any key, can be no more dangerous than talking to someone next to me or even in the back seat”.

This sounds like perfect common sense, but in reality is just not true.

Passengers in your car have empathy.

You can be chatting away quite happily, and driving safely, but when you come to a situation that requires a greater level of concentration, the driver automatically stops talking, and so do the passengers, until the hazard has been successfully negotiated, whereupon the conversation starts up again.

This happens constantly, without anyone in the car even noticing that they are doing it.

This is, of course, lacking in a mobile phone call, when the driver will stop talking but the person at the other end of the phone has no idea why it has suddenly gone quiet and is shouting “hello, hello, are you still there, can you hear me? Hello, hello”.

Anyone who doesn’t believe this should conduct their own experiment. Try reversing into a tight parking spot.

Then do it again while reciting the alphabet backwards. You’ll see that doing two relatively simple things at once is harder that it looks.

Len Benson, motor fleet insurance broker, Peter Lole & Co

Poll did not give a fair reflection

I am pleased you asked a pertinent question in your online poll – Do you think drivers using five-year-old AMAP rates to reclaim expenses should resort to strike action to hasten a review? (Fleet News, December 6).

However, you are actually asking two separate questions, and this would affect the results.

While I agree that AMAP rates need increasing to keep pace with the real cost of motoring, I actually don’t agree with strike action.

This meant my vote was “no”, which isn’t a fair reflection of my views.

You could start the vote again with a clarified question – “Given the recent increase in Advisory Fuel Rates in recognition of the high cost of fuel, do you think that the five-year-old AMAP rates should also now be raised?”

That would give you a clearer picture of what people think.

Nick Sutton, chairman, Provecta Car Plan

Policy plan is just a joke

“Fleets may foot bill for new policy” (Fleet News, December 13) – is this a joke?

Since January this year, I have returned 31 vehicles at the end of contract with an average mileage of 90,000 and have spent an average of £180 on each vehicle to bring it up to British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) standards.

If this plan to charge an insurance premium to end-users comes in, the same 31 vehicles would have cost me £16,740 instead of the £5,580 I actually paid.

As for the comments of Reassure director John McLean, all I have to say is that fleets already have fixed costs and we know what condition vehicles need to be in on return. It’s up to fleet managers to manage the end of term process.

Emmanuel Lewis, fleet manager, Vista Retail Support

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