Fleet News

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LETTERS to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Simple ideas are the best

I KEEP reading about the millions of pounds that are lost every year by motorists filling their cars with the wrong type of fuel and am amazed that the petrol and diesel firms don’t seem to be able to come up with an answer.

I recently visited New Zealand and they have a solution which is so blindingly simple that I don’t understand why it hasn’t been copied here.

While the petrol pumps are the same as ours, the diesel pump nozzles have a big metal clip across them with the words ‘WARNING DIESEL’ on them in big, yellow letters.

To remove the pump nozzle from its housing, you have to pull the clip back, so only a complete fool would end up with diesel in a petrol engine. It’s an effective answer to the problem and one that costs hardly anything.

So what are the petrol companies waiting for? TREVOR GELKEN Editor, Fleet Van

Disposal strategy sparking more interest

IT is interesting to note the results of the report ‘Disposal strategies need more attention’ (Fleet News, January 25), compared to a report The Fleet Auction Group (FLAG) published some 18 months ago which addressed similar concerns.

The current report on used vehicle disposal, produced by Professor Peter Cooke and published by BCA Vehicle Remarketing, finds that 46% of companies only discussed the issues at board level intermittently – virtually the same as it was 18 months ago (47%).

It is reassuring to see, however, that the percentage which never discusses the subject at board level is down from 24% when we published Corporate Responsibility for Used Vehicle Disposal – A Boardroom Briefing, to 12% now.

Obviously the message has been getting through over the last year-and-a-half.

However, there seems to be a discrepancy in the willingness of director-level involvement in disposal decisions.

A shift seems to have occurred towards vehicle disposal strategies being solely the remit of the fleet manger (25% now, 14% then) but the reduced director-led involvement claims to be substantially down (34% now 58% then).

The conclusion must be that while the issues are being discussed more, directors are not following this up with proactive contribution.

It is also heartening to see that fears are being raised once again about the impact on corporate reputation from a lack of disposal strategies.

This is something FLAG has long been advising. ANDREW WALKER
CEO, The Fleet Auction Group

Smoking laws left us dumbfounded

I HAVE just read the article ‘Clearing the smokescreen’ (Fleet News, January 25) and I am dumbfounded.

By your account:

  • Where a vehicle is used by more than one person regardless of whether they are in the vehicle at the same time, it will have to be smoke-free at all times.
  • Smoking will be allowed in vehicles that are for sole use of the driver and are not used by anyone else.
  • Drivers of convertibles will be exempt as long as the roof is down.
  • Failing to display no smoking signs in smoke-free premises and vehicles could result in a fixed penalty notice of £200, with a fine of up to £1,000.
  • Failing to prevent smoking in a smoke-free premises or vehicle is a fine up to £2,500.

    But the regulations do not extend to private vehicles used for business purposes – why?

    We have spent the last several years developing a risk management system and educating our staff who use a mix of company and registered private vehicles for business travel that the Health & Safety at Work Act and our duty of care applies to all vehicles used for business purposes regardless of ownership.

    Our fleet of vehicles used for business is around 50/50 company/private and staff, while resentful of the intrusion, now understand and abide by the procedures.

    This legislation drives a coach and horses through this premise.

    I can see the lawyers having a field day when a staff member complains of exposure to second-hand smoke after travelling in an exempt business use registered private vehicle. How are we supposed to manage this? How will it be enforced? And will it be enforced? Of course we will have to find a way as we always do, but what a mess.

    Facilities manager, CGGVeritas

    There’s no reason to panic

    AS a supervisor at our local NHS trust in Scotland we have had a smoking ban in place for approximately a year now, and there has been no chaos.

    So come on England. Instead of trying things out in Scotland first to see if they work, just go with the flow – after all we are supposed to be Great Britain.

    Transport supervisor, NHS Dumfries and Galloway

    Ban could just escalate

    I, TOO, have read the blurb on the Smokefree England website (‘Fleet Chaos on smoking ban’, Fleet News, February 1).

    I rang to ask the question relating to private vehicles used for work where the employee is carrying passengers (colleagues or clients). A Smokefree England employee said the government had not identified this as an issue, but they will let me know as and when a decision has been made.

    This is not very helpful, as our car leasing scheme ended last July and I am maintaining our few remaining contracts, which will all be returned by July 2009, so the majority of our drivers will be using their private vehicles.

    As a local authority, a high number of staff drive as part of their job and many are required to transport clients as well as other colleagues. What is the effect of the residual smoke on the clients/colleagues carried in the smoker’s private vehicle?

    Although we have actively promoted a no-smoking-in-the workplace campaign, will we now come up against a human rights issue? Will this smoking ban be introduced to home workers? I can see this escalating out of all proportion.

    Car leasing officer, Thurrock Borough Council

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