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Letters to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Online service is a big step forward

The Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) values the contribution made by companies that offer a Driver Entitlement Checking Service (DECS) to employers and transport organisations throughout the UK – “DVLA driver checks to go online in 2008” (Fleet News, July 26).

Now more than ever, there is a heightened awareness of employer responsibilities for ensuring a duty of care is maintained when employing drivers.

This issue has recently been raised through the government’s intended legislation on corporate manslaughter and corporate homicide.

The organisations providing the service engage with employers and offer risk management services to businesses ranging from a handful of commercial drivers to large pools of company car drivers.

They aggregate the requests and receive up-to-date data electronically from the DVLA, to support driver risk profiling and monitoring.

This service makes a considerable contribution to road safety, with many organisations checking entitlements for blue chip companies, and as a result of automatic periodic checking and specialist driver training it can often add value to DVLA data.

Additionally, it should ensure that examples of staff working as professional drivers with only a provisional licence, or drivers who have been banned and had convictions for driving while being banned, will be eradicated.

LINDA WEAVER
DVLA press office

Sticker solution

I am a driver of a fleet vehicle leased from LeasePlan. The company I work for issued us with stickers, which I and lots of others refused to display in the car.

If I read the legislation correctly, it states that if passengers are regularly carried in a company vehicle, then the no-smoking sign must be displayed. I work alone as a field service engineer and never carry business passengers so does that mean I do not have to display one?

I did in the end stick one on the end of the dashboard at the passenger side, so anyone getting in that side sees it but it is not visible unless the passenger door is open. By email

Obey the new law

I am responding to the letter “No-smoking signs are pointless exercise” (Fleet News, August 9).

I too have been asked the same question from some of my drivers – why do I need to put a sticker in my car when I would never dream of letting anyone light up in it?

My answer is very simple – it is the law.

We, as a nation, cannot choose to disregard some laws and not others. We are a democracy and elect a government. If we don’t like its laws, we have the opportunity to do something about it at the next election.

SHELAGH SWIFT
Fleet manager, Forticrete

It is important to stay open-minded

I would like reply to the letter “Unfortunate incident still an accident in English” (Fleet News, August 16).

This is not a whim of political correctness but a fundamental principle upon how the police respond and investigate these occurrences.

By treating them as collisions you are open-minded that something has initiated or caused it, rather than it was just unfortunate. This allows for factors to be considered including the driver, road surfaces, vehicle design and road layout.

I disagree with the comment “Simply because an accident is caused by human error, even if that human should have known better, it’s still an accident”. If a driver should have known better then it intimates they should be aware of what they were doing or even foresaw the result, which means it then ceases to be unforeseen or unexpected.

The term collision encompasses all crashes, not just the ones that could be considered accidents. But how many crashes are really unexpected or chance? Collision data from across the country would suggest very few.

I have been involved in the investigation of serious road collisions for six years, and in that time 300 people have died and many thousands injured.

The majority of these collisions involve an element of “pilot” error and many are “drivers who should have known better”, such as the tired driver who understood the consequences of fatigue or the driver in a hurry in the rain.

By treating crashes as purely accidental we reduce their importance, many are preventable by education, enforcement or engineering, yet thousands of people are affected by them every year.

Driving is an extremely serious act and must be treated as such.

Every time a driver has a crash they should review what happened and set an action plan to prevent reoccurrence. This same ethos should be applied by fleet managers to review what has happened and assist staff to promote safe driving.

This is not just morally correct, it makes economic sense.

All vehicle crashes by definition are collisions but not necessarily accidents.

ANDY CARMICHAEL
Road Policing Support, Derbyshire Constabulary

Being open is best policy

I listened, with some relief, to the call to regulate the rental industries add-on policies.

All too often customers must feel aggrieved having paid, on some occasions, twice what they expected. The practice of quoting just the net rental to make the price seem attractive must stop.

I’ve been in the industry for more than 20 years and work for a company that has always had a no hidden extra policy in place. It makes the job a lot easier and keeps customers coming back.

JON OXBURY
1car1

Disappointed by caption

As the parent of a dyslexic student, I was interested to read your article on dyslexic staff “New code should help dyslexic staff” (Fleet News, August 23).

I find it encouraging that a new code of practice is being launched by the BDA.

However, I was dismayed by the illustration’s caption which read “dyslexia is becoming more of a problem in the workplace”. I feel that this statement when read at a glance is completely misleading.

LYNN YOUNG Technical administrator, CALA Homes (East)

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