Fleet News

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Letters to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Who d’you suggest, Stef?

While the obstacles smaller fleets need to overcome to remain efficient and profitable are much publicised (“Smaller fleets in need of help”, Fleet News, August 28), there is less talk of solutions that are readily available.

More emphasis must be put on ensuring smaller fleets are equipped with the best knowledge and techniques to manage their fleet effectively if the industry is to move forward.

Fleet services companies should adopt a personal approach that caters to all business needs and builds a consultative relationship to ensure the highest possible customer service levels are achieved.

Incident management should be addressed by providing a structured and measured approach at a fair rate.

Minimising costs for fault and non-fault claims is key to providing a fair and honest service that works alongside the business to maintain a safe and efficient fleet that fulfils legislation criteria.

Fault and non-fault claims services must also focus on providing a practical, speedy solution for all parties, as the impact of downtime on the smooth running of a business affects all organisations, regardless of size.

If the fleet industry is to continue to advance and strive to develop a more positive reputation, the presence of smaller fleets in the market and the integral role they play needs to be addressed to ensure they can access the same management benefits as larger organisations.

STEFAN RODGERS
Head of marketing and product development, FMG Support

Speed limiters can bring savings

Having read the article on fitting speed limiters on vehicles, I completely agree that this needs to be addressed (“Speed limiter plan to make roads safer”, Fleet News, September 20).

I am currently having all my Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans programmed so they will not exceed 77mph.

This is because the speed limit on motorways is 70mph, so I wanted to give my drivers a chance to overtake.

This is a simple 15-minute process where the garage plugs on a Star machine and re-programs the ECU (the vans’ computer brain) to limit the revs to reduce top speed.

I have had some objections from my drivers, but they get used to them very quickly.

One of my drivers refused to bring his van in to be speed limited, even when the van seriously needed the garage to replace the grinding front brake pads and discs.

Eventually, he saw the error of his ways and is now going about his work, with the occasional whine about the lack of speed.

We are constantly replacing brake pads as a lot of our guys seem to drive fast and brake late.

This should lead to further savings of money and time. We are also protecting our investment, as our Sprinter vans cost about £18,000 each, and there is the increase in fuel economy.

IAN PARRIS
Transport and resources manager, West Anglia Insulation

Call-blocking device is a simple solution

I have just been reading the articles sent in to your letters page about using mobile phones (“Phone use drivers are on their own” and “Fines are not working”, Fleet News, September 20).

An idea popped into my head to stop the use of using mobile phones while driving.

Why can’t car manufacturers fit a phone signal blocking device that only activates when the car’s gears are engaged.

The same principal as the reversing light – it only comes on when reverse is engaged. It only needs to generate a localised signal so would not need to be high powered.

Originally, I thought it would then force people to pull over to answer or use the phone but I suppose it would stop any incoming calls – how good would that be? It would no doubt cut out lots of accidents and near misses.

I can’t see the cost being prohibitive. I have seen on sale little radio transmitters that you plug your MP3 player into and then tune your car radio into it. They cost less than £20.

It’s got to be possible and just think of the lives it could save and the reduced cost to fleet accident damage repairs.

STEPHAN PRESLAND
Project officer, Derbyshire County Council

When one phone is just not enough...

Having read the letters online regarding drivers using mobile phones while driving (“Phone use drivers are on their own” and “Fines are not working”, Fleet News, September 20), I thought I’d tell you of the chap we saw on the M25 .

Amazingly, we weren’t stationary but going along at a steady 70mph. The other chap’s driving was somewhat erratic and my husband decided to go past and get out of the way.

As we passed, I looked over and saw him with mobile phones clamped to both ears –what he was using to drive the car I wouldn’t like to guess.

Scary or what?

SHIRLEY COLMAN
Fleet co-ordinator, Futures Resourcing

Phone call distraction leads to speeding fine

Should the use of mobile telephones in cars, even with hands-free, be discouraged or even banned (“Phone use may end in jail term”, Fleet News, September 13)?

I know of a driver who is expecting a speeding fine. He had been talking on his mobile phone and had to slow down.

As he built up speed, he did not reset his cruise control and it was only when he passed the speed camera that he realised his speed had crept up over the limit.

The conclusion here – concentration was centred on the telephone call, not on the dangerous job of driving the car. How many time does this happen without us realising or we are involved in an incident?

Fleet manager, via email

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