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Letters to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Driving standards at an all-time low

I agree with Ian Coleman “Don’t blame lorries for traffic hold-ups” (Fleet News, June 28).

The standard of driving is at an all-time low and is deteriorating every year. Without doubt the truckers and the PSV drivers are among the best on the road.

They have to be: their tests are more stringent and their vehicles much bigger. Is it time the car test was made more exacting?

People drive around without lights in the fog and rain. Surely this is more dangerous than having a 90mph speed limit on the motorways?

There is a lack of lane discipline on motorways. The contrast between UK and Europe drivers is startling.

Our European cousins recognise that outside lanes are for overtaking and once the manoeuvre is complete they return to the nearside lane.

This courtesy is lacking in this country and is the biggest single cause of hold-ups on our roads. Maybe it is time to follow the US example and allow undertaking?

I would also welcome answers to two questions. Much has been made about the fitting of black boxes into vehicles to record journeys for a road pricing policy.

Why is this technology not be used to ensure all vehicles are taxed and insured? No doubt speed cameras could be adapted to record any vehicle that passes by without a black box.

Possibly then the cameras would be recognised as a legitimate tool for road safety rather than a cash cow for the police and local authorities.

Finally, I cannot be the only one who feels intense frustration at how long roads remain closed after an accident. My understanding of the much-vaunted Highways Agency patrols was that they would deal with most non-emergency situations.

Their remit was to clear the carriageway as quickly as possible and help restore the flow of traffic. To use an old cliché: is it me, or have they made it worse? And of course we all know who pays for this service.

ANDY MACDONALD
Accountant, National Holiday

Speed governors must be accurate

I read with great interest Ian Coleman’s response to my letter “Don’t blame lorries for traffic hold-ups” (Fleet News, June 28).

I understand Mr Coleman’s complaint that often when a lorry passes a car, the car will speed up and leave the lorry stranded. I have seen this happen.

However, on my regular commute, I cannot remember the last time I saw it occur.

Contrast this with the fact that I cannot remember the last time that I drove the length of the M11 without waiting for one lorry to painfully inch past another.

Now consider, for example, that at 11:45am on Monday, June 25, I sat behind an articulated lorry on the M11 as it passed an almost identical articulated lorry.

The distance covered on my odometer to accomplish this feat was 3.8 miles and I can conclude that since both vehicles were travelling at their governed maximum, the difference in tyre wear was approximately 4mm.

Since this is a real problem that occurs regularly, we must either make speed governors absolutely accurate by relating them to onboard GPS, make speed governors illegal or ban lorries from the outside lane on two-lane carriageways.

I do not want a bandwagon demanding that lorries are banned from the outside lane on two-lane carriageways. I would like a bandwagon demanding that if speed governors are fitted, then they must be accurate.

MARCEL COOPER
Project engineer, James Development Co

Get freight off roads and on to trains

The letter from Ian Coleman “Don’t blame lorries for traffic hold-ups” (Fleet News, June 28) is nonsense.

Marcel Cooper made some very valid observations but one thing he failed to mention in his article is the damage that these, often overloaded lorries cause to the road surface.

I am sure every driver who has driven in the nearside lane of a motorway will give testament to the ridges caused by these vehicles pressing grooves into the road surface.

The grooves cause vehicles to wobble and also hold an incredible amount of water when it rains. Do we really want to allow that condition to be spread on to the lanes of faster-moving traffic? It is frustrating for a lorry driver to be behind a slow-moving car travelling at 40mph in a 70mph limit.

However, this is good evidence of driving without due care and attention, so report them.

Is the answer to restrict them to the nearside lane correct? I say yes but only until we pass a law that gets these huge slow-moving vehicles off the road completely and the goods they carry on to trains.

DAVID TAYLOR
Procurement manager, Xansa UK

Still confusion over ban

I would like to respond to letter writer Bob McGibbon’s request for guidance on the imminent smoking ban in vehicles (Fleet News, June 21).

Firstly, I fully share your reader’s frustration with the poor manner in which the legislation has been drafted.

Unfortunately, we are once again finding ourselves having to make the best of a poor situation.

Your reader will nevertheless be encouraged to note that advice provided by Smokefree England is incorrect.

The Smokefree (Exemptions and Vehicles) Regulations 2007 imposes a new duty on employers towards their own employees only. This duty does not extend to employees of external third party companies collecting/delivering a vehicle following a service or repair.

So as long as the employee is using the vehicle for his/her private use and not for other work-related passengers, then a smoking sign will not be required.

For further information, leasing or rental customers of British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) members should contact their supplier and ask for access to the BVRLA databank via the Customer Information Portal.

JAY PARMAR
Head of legal services, British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association

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