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Fleet driver errors 'prove costly'

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Avoidable errors by fleet drivers are resulting in long periods of downtime and costly repair bills for businesses, according to a study.

The latest Vehicle Fault Analysis by RAC has found that although the number of breakdowns caused by driver-induced faults has fallen, their severity is causing longer downtime periods.

There were 100,000 call outs over fleet driver errors in 2009, and the top five of these were responsible for downtime of at least 14,818 working days, or around 40 years.

The report says simple problems like the driver's lack of familiarity with the vehicle or failure to conduct basic maintenance checks are causing heavy damage in terms of time and expenses.

Wheel-related troubles including punctures, general tyre faults and lack of replacement tyres were the top three reasons for a call-out.

Other problems included filling in the wrong fuel, running out of petrol or diesel, and flat batteries caused by internal or external lights being left on.

Deterring or pre-empting were also turning out to be common among drivers of fleet vehicles.

Sean Connolly, repair improvement manager at RAC, said: "Our data on fleet customer call-outs shows 30% of all fleet breakdowns are due to potentially avoidable faults.

"This results in fleet downtime, as well as extra costs for replacement or hire cars, missed appointments and, potentially, business interruption. There can be no doubt that the financial impact of losing fleet vehicles to businesses can be significant."

© Press Association 2010