Fleet News

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Letters to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Good idea has become pointless

When the government first started introducing those light-up digital signs on main roads that warn of hazards, etc ahead, I thought what a good idea it was.

However, most of them have turned out to be completely pointless as you just can’t rely on the information they give.

Several times on the M25 I have been warned of dangers ahead which don’t exist and at other times when they have been blank, I’ve ended up in a huge stationary queue for some reason or other.

My frustration at these signs came to a head the other day when I was travelling along the A127 from Southend towards the M25.

I passed an information sign which advised me: “Don’t drink and drive” while failing to notify me that the entire road ahead was blocked by an accident.

Had I known this, I could have veered off on to the A130 but as the sign didn’t do its job, I ended up in a queue of traffic for more than one-and-a-half hours.

Now apparently, we are going to be told how many minutes it takes to get us from point A to point B.

Am I missing something here or does it not depend entirely on how fast you are travelling? More useless information ahead, I fear.


Digital photos not admissible

I’m writing in response to the helpline on disposable cameras (Fleet News, August 30).

Our fleet insurers recently carried out an audit on our fleet policies and procedures. The auditor advised us to purchase accident camera kits for our drivers as digital photographs cannot be used as evidence due to the fact that they can be tampered with.

Fleet administrator, ACO Technologies

Sitting comfortably

I have been mentioned several times in the long-term road tests of the Audi A3 written by my husband (editor Martyn Moore).

In the latest episode he criticises me for not moving the seat back after driving it.

I will start doing this when he starts putting the toilet seat down after using it.


Phone use drivers are on their own

In response to the article “Phone use may end in jail term” (Fleet News, September 13), the simple answer is don’t do it.

Talking on a mobile phone while driving, whether using a hands-free unit or not, is potentially one of the most dangerous things you can do because it requires concentration and interaction with the party on the other end of the line.

And, as most people know, men are useless at multi-tasking and women drivers, well, enough said (sorry).

It is far more dangerous than smoking, eating, drinking, listening to the radio, changing a CD, or even looking at a map.

We tell our drivers not to do it.

Where we pay for hands-free units to be fitted they are for use while parked and stationary, with the engine turned off. Should drivers decide to use hands-free units while their vehicle is in motion, then they do it of their own free will with no compulsion by the company to do so.

They do it with full knowledge of the dangers and that in the event of an accident, where it is proven that talking on the phone was a contributory factor, they are on their own. The company will not support them at all.

The government should stop pussyfooting around and make talking on a phone an offence that carries a ban, with a right of appeal costing a minimum of £500. A one-month ban for the first offence, rising very sharply thereafter.

For business drivers, a condition of the ban should be for the employing company to be informed and there to be a very significant fine imposed if any company allows a banned driver to continue to drive on business while the ban is in place.

Unless the company and the government are serious about this, then the police cannot be expected to take it seriously, nor can the individual.

However, I have no doubt that this one will just run and run.

Finance director, Time Products

Fines are not working

Introducing a fine for using a handheld phone hasn’t stopped the practice, neither has adding three points to the fine (“Phone use may end in jail term” Fleet News, September 13).

Raising the penalty even further may help, but police forces need to target those drivers who continue to flout the law and make the use of mobile phones as unacceptable as drink-driving.

It never ceases to amaze me how often I see drivers using them while on the move and it’s not just one group of drivers, it’s all types. Lorry drivers, coach drivers, van drivers, car drivers – they are all at it.

Anyone who says their driving is not affected while engaged in a phone conversation is mistaken. It doesn’t matter if you are on hands-free or handheld, your concentration is away from driving.

I see it on a daily basis. The vehicle you’re following starts to slow down for no reason, then begins to wander around the lane and when you pass, the driver is either talking to the dashboard or has a phone clamped to their ear.

If you have to take a call while driving, keep it short and use a high-quality hands-free kit, or put your phone on voicemail and stop somewhere safe to retrieve messages.

Fleet manager, Vista Retail Support

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