Written on October 22, 2014
From the 1st October, motorists no longer have to display a paper tax disc. The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) is already highlighting the potential benefits to arise as a result of the change.
It’s estimated that the BVRLA are responsible for one in every 10 cars and one in every seven vans driving on UK roads, so the impact of the change will be substantial.
As registered keepers for that many vehicles, the BVRLA had to process and distribute hundreds of thousands of the paper discs each year. As a result, the change in policy could end up saving members millions of pounds in administrative costs. Indeed, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) estimated that tax disc abolition could end up saving at least £7m every year.
BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said:
“We campaigned long and hard to have the paper tax disc abolished. We’ve also been working with the DVLA for months to ensure that our sector is perfectly poised to help businesses and consumers get to grips with the changes.”
To help the UK’s drivers better understand the changes to vehicle excise duty (VED) the BVRLA has published new guidance and material on their website.
VED does still need to be paid, and will be payable in the same ways such as telephone, online or at the Post Office. Fleets are still able to reassure drivers that VED has been paid – drivers are able to check the vehicle tax status of any vehicle online at www.vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk
The DVLA will still send a reminder when vehicle tax is due to expire, even though there is not a physical reminder of a vehicle’s tax expiry date.
Vehicle tax is no longer transferable, meaning that fleets cannot now sell vehicles with ‘remaining tax’. It is the responsibility of the buyer to tax the vehicle before it’s used on the road. As soon at the tax period runs out, the owner must re-tax it immediately. The age-old ‘it’s in the post’ excuse is no longer applicable, as the grace period has been abolished.
Fleets will now automatically receive a refund when selling or declaring a vehicle off the road. The DVLA will issue the refund to the registered keeper from the date of receipt for any time remaining.
Vehicle owners will now be able to pay VED via direct debit. From November 1st, direct debit will be permissible on any vehicle with valid MOT. There will be a 5per cent surcharge if fleets choose to pay on a bi-annual or monthly basis. The direct debit scheme will require a separate mandate for each vehicle.
Failure to tax a vehicle will now result in a £1,000 fine. Vehicle number plates will now be checked by camera and registrations run through a database.
You can still check the cost of tax by visiting www.vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk
The use of trade plates will not change drastically. Leasing companies are responsible for more than one million vehicle disposals each year, so it’s good to report that as long as an operator has paid for a trade licence, it will no longer be necessary to display physical evidence for the vehicle.
Written on October 20, 2014
A new report from the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) investigation of police forces has reported that car crime is being far less stringently dealt with than before, with more and more crime-reporting and administrative functions being out-sourced.
The report found that victims of car crime were being asked questions by call-handlers in order to assess the likelihood of their crime being solved.
The UK vehicle rental industry currently suffers an estimated 1,500 vehicle thefts each year. The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has even developed its own Stolen Vehicle Reporting Guidelines to try and help members report thefts and ensure that the police are provided with accurate evidence and information.
The Association of Chief Police Officers and forces up and down the country have been made aware of the new information, but it continues to slip through the cracks.
Gerry Keaney, the BVRLA chief executive, said:
“Vehicle theft or fraud is one of the biggest problems facing the rental industry, but our members are largely being left to fend for themselves,”
“We need police forces to take cases of vehicle crime seriously and adopt a much more ‘joined-up’ approach to working with other constabularies.”
“Rental companies are not time-wasters – they know when a vehicle has been stolen and are prepared to work closely with police to solve these crimes.”
Written on October 15, 2014
More than 11,000 tyre-related incidents took place last winter on the motorways and major roads, according to new statistics.
Punctures and blow outs were amongst the hazards that put motorists at risk in the months between October and December according to a new report from the Highways Agency who are working alongside not-for-profit safety organisation Tyre Safe to promote Tyre Safety Month through October. Drivers are urged to be aware of the dangers that arise from worn, unsafe and defective tyres.
Stuart Jackson, the chair of Tyre Safe, presented Highways Agency Traffic Officers in the North West with special tyre safety gauges to hand out to drivers in order to provide practical information on the right levels.
The focus of Tyre Safety Month is urging drivers to ensure tyres are ready for wet weather by checking that they have enough tread. This can easily be looked at by inserting a 20 pence piece; if you can see the outer rim of the coin when it’s been inserted into the main grooves, then the tyre needs to be checked by a professional.
Simon Sheldon-Wilson, the director of customer operations for the Highways Agency, said:
“It’s important to ensure that your tyres are ready for winter and that includes the kind of wet weather we saw last year.
“By checking your tyres at least once a month, you can make sure you have enough tread to control your vehicle in wet conditions and avoid aquaplaning at high speeds which could lead to disastrous consequences.
“There were 11,057 tyre related incidents on motorways and major A roads in England last winter – don’t become a statistic and check your tyres are safe today.”
“Last year was the wettest winter on record. Ahead of any wet weather we may encounter this winter, we’re reminding drivers to check that their tyres’ tread depth is deep enough to manage driving in wet conditions.
“Having adequate tread depth means the tyres will be able to handle wet weather much better, remaining in control and reducing the real risk of aquaplaning.”
Written on October 13, 2014
Vauxhall has announced that it is to discontinue its 100,000 mile lifetime warranty programme, and will be returning to a three-year, 60,000 mile offering in January.
Tim Tozer, the chairman and managing director, has cited the changing ownership landscape and increased investment in new technology as key reasons for the change. Mr Tozer said:
“In today’s market, 65% of retail sales are supported by a finance package and within that, over 60% are PCPs. This has dramatically changed ownership patterns resulting in fewer customers retaining their cars beyond three years.
“Couple this with a €4 billion investment in high technology powertrains and state of the art new products and it no longer makes business sense to invest in 100,000-mile warranty cover.
“We will continue to focus our investment on providing our customers with a high quality and satisfying experience, both at dealer and company level, throughout their purchase and ownership period.”
Existing Vauxhall vehicles that have the lifetime warranty will still be covered up to 100,000 miles whilst the vehicle remains with the initial owner, though this will be subject to annual validation.
The new three-year/60,000 mile transferable warranty is fully competitive with bench-marked competition according to the manufacturer, and will include AA roadside assistance, Homestart and full European cover within the first year. Cost effective extension options will be available up to four and five years.
Written on October 10, 2014
The Energy Saving Trust (EST) is to host a series of new events focusing on electric vehicles during the next few months, with the majority of events taking place in Scotland. The aim is to try and highlight the potential benefits that could come from integrating EVs into transport operations.
In a recent survey of EV drivers, EST established that the average saving on fuel each year for an electric vehicle is £1,400, and that 85 per cent of drivers who’ve made the jump to an electric vehicle wouldn’t consider switching back to a petrol or diesel.
Scottish businesses are apparently considering the integration of EVs into their fleets in order to access the many financial, environmental and Corporate Social Responsibility benefits that can come from doing so.
Anyone who purchases an electric or plug-in car can benefit from a grant of 25 per cent off the vehicle’s price, up to a maximum value of £5,000 and up to £8,000 for a van.
Organisations are also eligible to apply for a grant of up to £10,000 to install a publicly available charging point through the ChargePlace Scotland project, as funded by Transport Scotland.
Speakers at the events will try and provide information about what support is available locally, including both funding and financial incentives. Test drives will also be included as a part of the event, and businesses will be made aware of how EVs can help cut down on fleet fuel costs.
Written on September 30, 2014
A new poll from Fleet News has shown that nearly three quarters of fleets questioned are against the idea of driverless cars. 72 per cent of respondents to the poll said that they would not run driverless or autonomous cars in their fleet.
In a similar poll by Smart Witness, nearly nine out of ten road users said that they would expect autonomous vehicles to have forward facing video incident cameras to show whether or not they were at fault in the event of a collision.
Business Secretary Vince Cable announced the move last month (July 2014) for a new £10m trial for driverless cars to go ahead in three cities, including on certain roads such as motorways and in specified lanes.
Managing director for Smart Witness Simon Marsh said:
“Two thirds of motorists said that the Government was premature in allowing driverless cars on UK roads and that more tests were needed to ensure the safety of the new technology.
“Also there were concerns raised about liability and whether these vehicles could be insured because computer error could easily be called into question on any accident involving a driverless car. As a result nearly nine out of ten motorists called for incident cameras to be compulsory in these so-called Robo Cars so that there would be clear evidence of which vehicle was at fault in the event of a collision.”
According to the Smart Witness survey around 80 per cent of motorists felt there would probably be complications to resolving insurance disputes in the event of an accident involving an autonomous cars, and the computer error would nearly always be suspected as the cause of the crash. As a result, insurance premiums for the vehicles would likely be much higher.
The Coalition Government has fast-tracked measures for driver-free cars to be allowed on certain British roads by January 2015. The technology for the vehicles boasts that it is able to give complete control to an on-board computer, the car itself being guided by radar, laser sensors, cameras and sat nav.
Mr Marsh added;
“There will be serious issues surrounding the insurance on driverless cars unless they use incident cameras that provide court admissible data.”
Written on September 28, 2014
Transport for London (TfL) and the Energy Saving Trust have announced a new initiative designed to help identify potential locations for electric vehicle infrastructure in the capital, with one of the main aims for the scheme being to expand the use of cleaner vans and light lorries in the Greater London region.
As part of the scheme, both bodies are inviting businesses to contribute through helping to map out where future chargepoints in London could best be located in order to best support the increase in electric freight vehicles.
The Energy Saving Trust, in partnership with vehicle scheduling firm Route Monkey, will be responsible for analysing fleet telematics and scheduling data in order to recommend potential locations for the chargepoints that best serve the capital’s various business fleets.
Isuzu and Paneltex will be providing data on mid-sized commercial vehicles (i.e, those up to 12.5 tonnes) to help model how organisations can best manage the switch from diesel to electric.
Each participating fleet in the “Rapid Chargepoints” project will receive a tailored report indicating when there is a business case for adding electric vehicles to their fleets.
The project is designed to build on the work done by the Energy Saving Trust’s Plugged-in Fleets initiative, which was itself funded by both the TfL and the Department for Transport (DfL). The initiative helped more than 100 organisations understand more about the potential benefits that plug-in vehicles could introduce.
Philip Sellwood, the chief executive for the Energy Saving Trust, said:
“There is a strong business case for the adoption of electric vehicles and this has been shown through our previous work with business fleets.
“These benefits are particularly prevalent in London, with TfL recognising the potential for electric vehicles supported by rapid charging infrastructure.
“We are confident that our work through the ‘Rapid Chargepoint Mapping’ project will provide the information needed to facilitate new electric vehicle infrastructure throughout London.”
The Energy Saving Trust’s fleet analysis revealed potential fuel savings of up to 75 per cent for businesses prepared to go electric.
There is also the opportunity for additional savings for firms based in London, with 100 per cent capital allowances allowed on zero emission goods vehicles.
Colin Ferguson, CEO at Route Monkey, said:
“The role of telematics and scheduling data from business fleets in mapping potential rapid chargepoints will be vital to ensure that electric vehicles are a cost-effective alternative for business fleets.”
Ian Wainwright, meanwhile, heads up the freight and fleet programmes at TfL, adding:
“Ensuring the most suitable locations are selected for charging points will vastly improve the efficiency of electric vehicles, helping to make them the economical alternative for fleets.
“With vans and other lightweight goods vehicles accounting for over three-quarters of the freight miles in London, this project has the opportunity to make a significant contribution to reduced emissions in the capital.”
Firms looking to participate in the ‘Rapid Chargepoint Mapping’ project can get in touch with Fergus Worthy directly on 020 7654 2613, send an e-mail to Fergus.Worthy@est.org.uk or apply online here.
Written on September 25, 2014
Results from a new public survey have indicated that British motorists would consider converting to LPG if it meant being able to avoid the increasing costs of petrol and diesel.
Latest figures estimate that over the next six years, the cost of petrol and diesel will rise by around 10.4 per cent.
The government recently announced a new 10-year tax trajectory which will support low prices for gaseous fuels such as LPG Autogas. As a result, small car drivers could end up saving an average of five hundred pounds a year for at least the next six years by switching to LPG. Drivers of larger vehicles, meanwhile, could end up saving thousands of pounds per year.
Linda Gomersall, the general manager for Autogas, said:
“The survey results show that the rising cost of fuel is a considerable financial concern for families and it is likely to become a bigger worry as the cost of petrol and diesel is predicted to rise significantly over the next six years.
“The cost of living is at an all-time high at the moment and families are looking for ways to ease the burden. Converting to LPG presents a real opportunity to save significant amounts of money over the next few years.
“Currently LPG Autogas is around half the price of unleaded and diesel and available at 1400 refuelling sites across the UK. More needs to be done to end the duopoly of these fuels and give people more cost-effective and cleaner alternatives.”
“Following the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s introduction of a 10 year duty trajectory, there is now a plan that for the next 10 years that LPG autogas remains significantly more cost effective to consumers and small businesses when compared to petrol and diesel. Therefore, there is a clear case for consumers being able to make decent savings and we are urging the Government to consider how this can be encouraged further including looking at ways to reintroduce ready-to-drive LPG Autogas cars into the UK which are already commonplace in Europe.”
Written on September 25, 2014
A very good day to you all.
In support of the Breast Cancer Campaign, IT Fleet will be fundraising for this very important charity from the 20th to the 24th October. This will involve various events including the “Look Good Sweepstake”; a “Pink Day”; cake sale & a “Grand Raffle” with prizes donated from both our suppliers & valued customers within the automotive industry.
Now in its 13th year, wear it pink raises over £2 million every year for world-class breast cancer research that saves and improves lives, giving women quicker diagnosis and more effective treatments. Every year 50,000 mothers, daughters, sisters and wives will be newly diagnosed with breast cancer and 12,000 women still die, with millions continuing to live with its long term impact. – See more at: http://www.breastcancercampaign.org/support-us/wear-it-pink#sthash.2zxCqLt4.dpuf
We would be forever grateful if you could help us to support this fantastic charity by either making a donation, purchase raffle tickets, or donate a prize for the raffle on behalf of your company. This can range from a box of biscuits to a free hire of a rental vehicle, a bottle of bubbly to an Extreme Day Out. All donations will assist us in selling as many tickets as possible & raising much needed funds for this great cause.
Local, & if possible, national media will be involved in our fund raising week & we will ensure any companies donating prizes will be “suitably advertised” for their generous donations. I trust you will agree with me that this is a great cause & hope you can help us make a difference.
The raffle tickets will go on sale as from the 1st October so If you are able to contribute in any way please let us know by the Monday 22nd September in order to promote your prizes.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
wear it pink on 24 October!
Written on September 22, 2014
Road safety campaigners have warned that mobile phone distraction will be the biggest killer on Britain’s roads by 2015, even over-taking drunk driving.
The amount of motorists using their phone to text, make phone-calls and visit social media sites whilst driving has risen substantially, with distracted drivers likely to cause more and more accidents as a result.
Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin last week floated the idea of doubling the current penalty for mobile phone use to six points on a motorist’s licence. However, the new law wouldn’t come into effect until the next Parliament at the earliest, and safety campaigners are still pressing for a more severe penalty of a one-year ban.
Department for Transport figures show that 378 accidents involving mobile phones were reported in 2012, which was higher than any year on record. Those accidents led to 548 casualties, including 17 deaths.
Interestingly, motoring experts have said that this figure represents a false impression of the true scale of the problem, with many cases involving phones instead being classed as an ‘in-vehicle distraction’. In-vehicle distractions led to 9,012 accidents and 196 deaths between 2010 and 2012.
If the two sets of figures are combined, the death toll reaches 213, only 27 less than for drunk driving. With the current steep decline of drink drive deaths, mobile phone distraction is expected to become the biggest cause of death on the roads by sometime in 2015.
Simon Marsh, the managing director of SmartWitness, an incident video camera firm, said:
“The problem is far more widespread than Department of Transport believes and driver distraction due to mobiles will soon be the biggest single cause of death on the roads.
“We believe a large number of serious and fatal accidents are wrongly classed as in-vehicle distraction when the specific cause of the accident was down to mobile phone use.”
He added: “The only real deterrent is a one-year ban from driving for anyone caught texting at the wheel. It’s clear that the current legislation isn’t working and an increase to six points for mobile offenders will not be enough to stop the death toll.
“Lives are being ruined just for the reason that someone wants to send a text message whilst driving. The only message that should be sent is from government to motorists that this is not acceptable.”
The number of offenders using a mobile phone whilst driving has shot up in recent years. Recent research showed that between 2009 and 2012, the number of motorists caught using their mobile whilst driving rose from 1.2 per cent to 2.6.
In 2012, 583,686 drivers were fined £60 and given three points on their licence, more than ten times higher than convictions for drink driving in the same period (which were measured 55,300).