Company Car Today

Warning over fleets buying cars with reduced safety kit

The Association of Fleet Professionals has warned companies against taking on cars that have had safety equipment removed as a result of the worldwide semiconductor shortage and its impact on car production, highlighting ethical consideration, as well as duty of care and future risk management concerns.

Coffee with - Paul Hollick - Chairman - Association of Fleet Professionals - Second ImageCar manufacturers have been changing the specification of some models in order to keep production running, deleting equipment or limiting supply of certain models.

“We appreciate that the semiconductor shortage is leaving manufacturers with some tough production decisions to make and some have decided to delete what might be described as non-core safety equipment such as lane departure warning and rear parking sensors,” said AFP chair Paul Hollick. “Our view is that fleets should think carefully before buying these vehicles. From a risk management point of view, there is a moral and potentially also a legal issue in terms of operating some vehicles that are known to be potentially less safe than would normally be the case.”

“The trade will know that these are ‘decontented’ cars and are likely to price them according in three or four years at disposal time,” Hollick continued “The impact on overall operating costs is difficult to assess.”

EV workplace charging scheme launched by Mitie

Facilities management company Mitie has launched a new series of Plan Zero BoltOn packages to help businesses on their net-zero carbon journey, including assistance with EV charging point.

The business will cover the initial cost of equipment, charging customers a monthly fee once work is complete, as one part of four areas, along with remote building management, solar power and lighting optimisation.

“Mitie will purchase the solar panels, EV chargers and lighting systems, so that organisations aren’t encumbered by large upfront capital investments,” said the company’s announcement. “This will help ensure that even companies with small budgets can implement the solutions they need to kickstart their journey to net zero.”

Changes to rules on towing trailers and caravans

The Government is changing the licencing rules around the towing of trailers or caravans for drivers that passed their driving tests from the beginning of 1997.

Although the date is nothing firmer than “later in 2021”, all drivers will be allowed to tow a trailer of up to 3500kg Maximum Authorised Mass.

Previously, those with licences issued between 1 January 1997 and 18 January 2013 could drive a car or van with a 3500kg MAM towing a trailer of up to 750kg MAM, or a trailer over 750kg MAM, as long as it is no more than the unladen weight of the towing vehicle. Licences issued from 19 January 2013 had the further stipulation of the combined MAM of trailer and towing vehicle be no more than 3500kg.

There will be a slight gap, as the previously required car and trailer driving test are stopping on 20 September despite the law not changing until after that date, so anyone that hasn’t taken the test will have to wait for the alteration to the rules before towing.

Drivers won’t need to apply for a new licence, but the photocard will be updated at its 10-year renewal.