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News digest: fleet drivers want training

A round-up of this week’s news from the world of fleet and motoring

Fleets missing out on road risk training

Fleets drivers are missing out on road risk training opportunities that could help companies ensure the safety of their drivers and other road users, new research has found.

A survey by ALD automotive found 62% of drivers have had no formal road training despite 34% of that figure saying they would welcome the chance.

Of the 38% who had received training, the vast majority (84%) said they would recommend it.

The survey, conducted on over 500 drivers over an 18-month period, also found that less than half of drivers (43%) had been asked to complete a health check to ensure that they are fit to drive for work purposes.

Of those questioned, 81% said they would support making health checks a legal requirement.

Number of untaxed vehicles in UK trebles after tax disc abolition

Over two million vehicles in the UK are untaxed according to figures from the Department of Transport.

The number of untaxed vehicles on Britain’s roads is three times the level it was before the paper tax disc was abolished three years ago, the new figures show.

Department for Transport figures show that 1.8% of vehicles – almost 700,000, mostly cars and light goods vehicles – are not taxed.

The numbers mean the Treasury could be losing up to £107m a year in unpaid tax, according to government estimates.

A 2013 survey showed there were around 210,000 untaxed vehicles on the road in the last full year before the paper disc was abolished.

The Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), collected £5.87bn in duty in 2016-17, more than £200m less than it collected in 2013-14 before the changes. The fall is attributed in part to cleaner cars that are liable for lower tax.

DVLA data this year showed more than twice as many vehicles were being clamped for unpaid tax than in the year before paper discs were abolished.

The highest rates of vehicle tax evasion were found in the West Midlands, at 2.1% and the north-west (2.0%). Almost 6% of motorbikes were untaxed.

Motorists urged to avoid unnecessary risks this winter

UK motorists have been urged to avoid using the hard shoulder to undertake gritters this winter.

In a statement, Highways England asked drivers not to take unnecessary risks this winter and only pass a gritter when it is safe to do so.

Highways England’s national winter and severe weather team leader Paul Furlong said: “We care about people getting to their destinations safely and during any severe weather our teams will be working around the clock to keep traffic moving.

“We’re asking drivers to make sure they and their vehicles are also prepared. Before you set out, check your vehicle, the road conditions and the weather forecast.

“If conditions are poor, and journeys are not essential, consider waiting until the weather gets better – this should improve journeys, and give our gritters a chance to treat the roads.”

Highways England has a team of 1,300 specially trained gritter drivers based across the country.

The company responsible for the country’s motorways and main A roads has more than 280,000 tonnes of salt and over 500 salt spreading vehicles that are ready to respond to bad winter weather.

 

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