Letters to Fleet News editor Martyn Moore.
We can’t operate outside the law
I read with interest your article “Driver texting still a problem” (March 6).
The comments from chief constable Steve Green, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ head of road policing, cause some concern.
I agree that any action which distracts a driver from keeping their concentration on the road is to be avoided.
However, I don’t think that fleet managers should be the ones to enforce this rule.
Recently we reviewed our company car policy and decided we couldn’t force rules on drivers that were over and above those set out by law.
This left us no choice but to allow drivers to use a mobile phone where it is legal to do so by fitting a hands-free kit, or more commonly where vehicles have such systems built in.
Surely it is the role of the traffic police to monitor whether the law is being broken and act accordingly against the driver.
I believe that, if Mr Green feels strongly that even hands-free kits shouldn’t be used while driving, he should lobby the Government to introduce such legislation and ban the practice.
I assume that he would believe the emergency services have to be exempt from such legislation, but that leaves him open to accusations that practicalities over-rule safety in their case.
I think his comments open a very useful debate regarding the use of hands-free kits and I would be willing to discuss with him in more detail and support any campaign to get the law changed, but until the law is changed I feel he has no right to ask companies to implement his private views, however valid they are.
Fleet manager, by email
Give us the concessions we deserve
As a van fleet operator, I’ve been reading with mounting concern about all the plans to ease congestion.
I have a problem with the plans for more local road tolls and charging extra for vehicles with one occupant to use a ‘faster’ outside lane.
Not once have I heard mention of special deals for vans. I don’t think it is unreasonable to suggest that vans should be exempt from local road charging and exempt from extra charges to use ‘fast’ lanes.
Take away vans from the UK’s roads and I think you would find UK plc rapidly grinding to a halt.
So come on, give us van operators the respect and the concessions we deserve.
Newmarket, by email
Design change could cut fuel thefts
I have just read your article “Rising fuel costs leads to thefts” (March 13).
Surely the answer is very simple – manufacturers simply revert to fitting cars with a fuel gauge that returns to zero once the engine is switched off.
Too many cars currently show the level of fuel in a car even when the engine is off, automatically making it easier to target cars with a full fuel tank.
Perhaps the police should investigate the type of cars that have been targeted as a result of the theft to see whether the cars are of a similar make, and whether their fuel gauge shows this information while it is turned off.
Then the carmakers could be targeted to change the design.
With the increase in fuel prices, it is no wonder that theft is at its peak.
But without confirmation of the amount of fuel in a car, a thief may be less inclined to risk getting caught for a meagre amount of fuel.
Comments from our website users on the latest articles:
So, chancellor Alistair Darling abolishes the fuel duty differential for biofuels in the Budget and, at a stroke, ensures there is no ability to report the progress towards the 5% biofuel content target as no separate biofuels reporting is needed (despite three warnings that this would happen).
The industry needs specific B30 and E85 duty rates to help the Government meet the 2020 target of 10% (by energy) biofuels inclusion.
Let’s stop the nonsense and help the motor industry deliver vehicles that help the environmental cause, rather than changing the rules each time new technology comes to market.
Crummy, March 14
Good to see the Ford Focus getting ESP as standard.
It’s only a matter of time before it becomes like airbags, where we wouldn’t dream of getting a new car that didn’t have the feature as standard.
Saul Jeavons, March 8
The new Renault Laguna may be up on quality compared to the model it replaces, but regretfully it is a really uninspiring car to look at. The competition have moved the game forward as far as visual appeal is concerned, whereas the Renault appears to have been designed by a committee in which most of its members have lost their flair.
LemonHop, February 27