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Fleet vehicles being driven with illegal faults

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Recent research has revealed that the amount of fleet vehicles being driven with illegal faults, such as defective tyres or defective lights, has more than doubled in the past year.

The research, carried out by the RAC during their Duty of Care Inspection checks, found that more vehicles are breaking the law regarding roadworthiness, and more and more companies are risking coming into contact with the Corporate Manslaughter legislation.

In quarter 1 in 2011, 36% of fleet vehicles failed the Duty of Care Inspection for tyre maintenance, whilst 20% failed on not having road legal lights.

Although not considered illegal faults, 2011 saw an increase of 26% of vehicles that did not have the correct fluid levels, 37% of fleet vehicles failing the inspection. The fluid levels can lead to further deterioration of vehicles if not correct and can lead to costly repairs.

The inspections are carried out over a range of criteria’s, and the most notable failure rates were:

·         Vehicle service history: 48%

·         External damage: 10%

·         Abnormal noises: 2.5%

With newer vehicles being more reliable than ever before, motoring experts feel that it has had the detrimental effect of motorists being less attentive to their vehicles, resulting in un-roadworthy cars and vans.

Industry experts feel that it is possible that a lack of communication between managers responsible for the fleets of vehicles and drivers may also breakdown, meaning internal checks are going undone, or not being carried out sufficiently.

Experts also believe that due to the current economic climate, companies may be reluctant to pay for their fleets of vehicles to be checked by professionals. However, this leaves them exposed to potential Corporate Manslaughter charges if the lack of maintenance on a car or van leads to a death on the road.

A spokesman for the RAC said, “It always amazes me that of the thousands of fleet vehicles out on the road daily under the responsibility of particular individuals, those people are not checking their own vehicle on a regular basis and are rendering them illegal on the road. 

Ian Donaldson, Managing Director of Autonet Insurance, said, “Carrying out maintenance checks on all vehicles in a business is extremely important. Businesses have a duty of care not only to their customers, but to their staff also, and hopefully these figures will prove to be the catalyst that see’s checks being carried out effectively in future.”

By Ben Malkin

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