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Letters to Fleet News editor Martyn Moore

Tax disc time-saver still here

I read with interest your front page lead story “Time-saving relicensing scheme axed” (Fleet News, June 28).

It would be possible to read this and believe that the fleet industry is denied access to any kind of electronic relicensing by the DVLA. In fact, epyx has offered this through its 1link Relicensing product since 2004.

1link Vehicle Relicensing goes into action when an electronic “relicensing due” notification file is received from the DVLA. The 1link system then compares the DVLA file with the fleet user’s own vehicle database to verify the information. Once this is agreed, a signatory from the fleet authorises payment online, the DVLA arranges for a new licence to be issued and the discs are despatched to arrive by post.

The product has been adopted by a number of major fleets, including Zenith, Masterlease and Lombard, totalling something like one million company vehicles.

The value of a product like this can be seen in the fact that one of our users, Alphabet, estimates that adopting 1link Relicensing has allowed them to reduce the time they spend on dealing with its new licences every month from two days to two hours.

KEN TRINDER, head of business development, epyx

Axed scheme will increase fines

With regard to the article “Time-saving relicensing scheme axed” (Fleet News, June 28), excuse me for being cynical, but I don’t suppose the DVLA realises that this will probably cut down on the number of fines it would be able to levy on vehicles not displaying a current tax disc due to some of them getting lost in the post or suchlike, has it?

It is difficult not to take such a view when you consider the millions of pounds the DVLA makes out of selling personalised plates along with the ongoing money in transfer fees, while ignoring the administrative burden it places on the leasing industry.

Also the fact it takes no responsibility for its own actions preferring to fine people because they have made their systems so user-unfriendly, and making themselves so un-accountable. Which is understandable really bearing in mind the “quality” of service we receive from them.

ROBERT CHISHOLM, Managing director, Applewood Vehicle Finance

Double-cab limits

Yesterday, I spoke to a surveyor who proudly showed me his new Nissan Navara double-cab. We then started to discuss the problems of keeping a clean licence and he said that he protected his licence by sticking to the limits or just over them.

This seems to be a reasonable approach. However, he then said that on his daily grind on the A14 and the A11, he was happy to set his cruise control at 78mph (allowing for speedometer error). I asked him if he really thought that his licence was safe while he was routinely breaking the limit by up to 18mph and he looked at me blankly.

How many people happily driving around in double-cabs do not realise that they are actually commercial vehicles and as such, where the national speed limit applies, their speed limit is 50mph on single carriageways and 60mph on dual carriageways?

Until the advent of number plate recognition speed cameras, this was not so much of an issue, but on the assumption that prosecution software will soon be able to cross reference the vehicle’s number plate with its permitted speed.

We must conclude that there may be a growth in the number of prosecutions of the drivers of such vehicles if they are not made aware very rapidly of the speed limits that actually apply to them.

MARCEL COOPER, project engineer, James Development Co

Road-pricing alternative

The government has asked for opinions/suggestions for alternatives to road pricing.

As ever, its suggestions to date all balance on charging the motorist to use their car.

This approach did not work on cigarettes, it did not work on alcohol and it has not worked on petrol.

The solution should appear to be anything but an additional form of taxation on the motorist. The government has always stated that the solution will not be a tax but is a necessary evil to reduce our reliance on the car and encourage the use of public transport.

A trial could be conducted on the business motorist but I’m sure it could be adapted to include motorists in general. I would suggest a scheme similar to the successful air miles scheme. My proposal would involve the issue of a type of credit card to company car and van drivers and the installation of card readers at all park-and-ride sites across the country. The driver would insert his/her card on entering the site and then re-enter the card on leaving.

The duration of the stay would be transferred onto the card as a credit. Employers and tax offices would also install card readers that would translate the credits on the card into a discount on company car tax. I am sure this would be a far better way of encouraging a reduction in the use of cars in cities, and increasing the use of public transport.

If successful, the scheme could be rolled out to include card readers on buses and trains.

CLIFFORD SHERWOOD, by email

Our experience of unions

I strongly refute the statement by ING Car Lease in the article “Unions deny hindering fleet safety” (Fleet News, July 12).

We have dealt for over seven years with a wide range of unions and in every circumstance have had our solutions, which benefit the employees, embraced and positively supported. The wrong approach is where driver behaviour is being measured, not as part of the risk process.

Most important is the health and safety of their members. The “off-the-shelf” solutions that many leasing companies use simply do not address that issue.

JEREMY HAY, Director, Essential Risk Consultancy

There is no need for Martyn Moore’s wife to feel bad about misfuelling (Editor’s Blog, www.fleetnews.co.uk). According to a senior motor insurance professional speaking at a meeting at Thatcham recently, it is a huge problem, running into a figure in excess of 100,000 a year. He should know the numbers because insurers are picking up the tab. Apparently, there are some inexpensive aftermarket devices that can be fitted to prevent this happening.

CHRIS OLIVER, by email

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