Fleet News

Speed limiter plan to make roads safer

Fleets are being urged to make their feelings known over a suggestion that fitting speed limiters to company cars could mean cheaper tax and insurance.

The idea, from the government-appointed Commission for Integrated Transport, is set to be discussed over the coming months, and the commission wants to know what fleets think.

In a report – Transport and Climate Change, the commission says it is keen to investigate the effects that the voluntary introduction of speed limiters – known as Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) systems – would have in reducing deaths and injuries on UK roads and in reducing carbon emissions, other pollutants and raising fuel consumption.

A spokesman for the commission said: “We haven’t looked properly at this but we’re very happy to take views on it, including those from the fleet industry.”

Speaking to The Times last week, commission chairman Peter Hendy said a report would be published next year that would set out the benefits of speed limiters.

“Companies will want to fit them because why would any business want to allow its employees to break the law?” he said. “Consumer pressure will also play a role in persuading companies to have them on all their vehicles.”

Mr Hendy, who is also head of Transport for London (TfL), would like to see all TfL vehicles fitted with the devices, and plans to run a test on some of his fleet in the next few months.

He said the devices could be effective in enforcing 20mph speed limits in residential areas, where it would be too expensive to install speed cameras.

“It reduces overall traffic speed even if only a small number of vehicles have it because it’s quite hard to overtake,” he said.

TfL has commissioned research from Leeds University, which suggested that road deaths could fall by 37% if all vehicles were equipped with the limiters.

Phil Redman, a director of fleet operators’ association ACFO, said he expected a cautious reception from the fleet industry.

“I think fleet managers would like it – it would mean fewer speeding tickets and reduced fuel bills, but company car drivers would initially treat it as taking their freedom away.”

Mr Redman said the concept of reduced insurance and tax would need to be looked at, and said a pilot scheme would be a good idea to evaluate the effects.

“To mandate it would be difficult, but to pilot it would be sensible,” he said.

David Brennan, managing director of LeasePlan, had concerns that such a scheme could be counter-productive.

“Introducing a scheme of this nature may discourage drivers from selecting company cars and lead to them instead opting for a cash alternative,” he said.

“This cash allowance could then be used to purchase an older and possibly higher polluting vehicle with no limiter restrictions.

“If more drivers opt for cash, there will be greater duty of care implications in terms of ensuring drivers have the right training, insurance and maintenance checks on their vehicles.

“Businesses need to retain control over what cars their employees drive and how they drive them.”

Also in the Transport and Climate Change report was a recommendation that the 3% company car tax penalty on diesel cars be lifted.

To combat concerns that increased diesel use could affect air quality, the commission recommended that the move be made after the introduction of the Euro V emissions standard in 2009.

Additionally, it believes that eco-driving principles should be more widely taught through subsidised training, and be included in the driving test.

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