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How Many Miles in a Day ?

18th April 1958, Page 56
18th April 1958
Page 56
Page 56, 18th April 1958 — How Many Miles in a Day ?
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

IN a recent case before a Traffic Court, it was submitted I that on occasion a haulier had collected produce in Hull at 6.30 p.m. and delivered in Glasgow by 6 a.m. the next day. The Licensing Authority remarked:—" If this were true, the haulier must be using jets. There was the queszion of speed and drivers' hours." If this referred to straight driving time between Hull and Glasgow, it appears to have created a precedent, for since the introduction of the 30-m.p.h. limit for heavy goods vehicles, there has been no information, official or otherwise, as to what really constitutes a maximum mileage for a day's driving of 11 hours, or a maximum average speed.

A similar state of affairs existed under the old 20-m.p.h. limit. Whilst there was a reasonably consistent yardstick of 16-17 m.p.h., and 180 miles for a day's straight driving accepted by all, the figures had no real basis. It was frequently argued among drivers that 220 miles could be clocked and entered on a log sheet for 11 hours' driving, and that the record could not be used against the driver as evidence of exceeding the speed limit, as in practice it must have been.

Nor could such an entry be used against the licence holder as evidence that he was breaking licence conditions by exceeding any maximum, as none was laid down in law, or. by official directive. It was maintained that before either could be charged on any count, the driver would have to be caught on the road in the act of speeding.

Today, tinder the 30-m.p.h. limit, the figure of 220 automatically alters to 330 miles and assumes considerable importance. The Commercial Motor set an example in a road-test report with an " artic " under ,winter conditions, which returned an average of 22 m.p.h. over a long distance.

In the case quoted above the time from 6.30 p.m. to 6 a.m. Is 11 hours with the half-hour break, which is all that is required to conform to regulation, provided it is taken from midnight to 12.30 a.m. With one hour off, more in line with practice than theory, driving time is still 104hours. The mileage from Hull to Glasgow is about 250 and in the first instance the average speed is 22.7 m.p.h., and in the second 23.8 m.p.h. Both averages are well within the capabilities of modern vehicles carrying rated loads, without at any time exceeding the speed limit. Certainly the stated times do not allow for the driver doing any loading or unloading of his vehicle, but presumably the vehicle would be loaded for him at Hull, whilst a shunter would be employed at Glasgow, allowing facilities for the statutory rest between two periods of driving.

Part of the blame for failure to reach "stated figures on mileage maximums and averages rests with the operators' associations and the unions, with the unions having nothing to lose and possibly adopting a "laissez faire" attitude. Agreement would probably require approval by the Ministry, but the outcome would be a half-way mark in line with current practice, and fair to both sides. As such, approval would be a matter of form.

If no agreement is forthcoming, then some operators may find themselves in difficulties through increasing enforcement. I am not seeking to split hairs or condone breakage of the law on this point, those who take the risk knowingly must accept the penalties, but with no figures of possible maxima laid down, different enforcement officers and different courts may have varying views of what constitutes law breaking. Before that occurs vehicle operators have a right to ask the Minister of Transport to state clearly what can be accomplished within an 11-hour day.

It is generally understood that at 22.7 m.p.h. and, say, four hours occupied in loading and/or unloading, then the maximum mileage attainable can be only 188, and pro rata with different times spent in connection with vehicle or load. Failure to establish a yardstick will make many operators afraid to approach within reasonable distance of the dividing line between right and wrong, and cancel out. any possible benefits from the increase to 30 m.p.h.

There is another aspect on unduly restricted road speeds which bears a close relation to the export trade. Reading a paper on "Road Transport" to the Scottish Centre of the institute representing furniture removers, I expressed the opinion that when the Scotland to London motorways were completed, it should be possible for a householder to rise in the morning in Glasgow or Edinburgh, and go to the same bed in his new house in I.ondon that night, all within existing legal requirements. That did not suppose an average speed of much more than 50 m.p.h. I now go further and say that if the motorways do not play an effective part in cheapening transport costs -of goods and services by permitting much higher average speeds, then 'their huge cost will be wasted.

The demand from overseas, where in many cases road mileages are vast in comparison with this country, appears to be for faster and large vehicles: Yet those types cannot run and be proved here in the hands of operators, because of under development of the road systeni. Vehicle design remains stunted, when a compromise between home and overseas operations has to be reached.

History shows that attempts at artificial repression of new and improved methods have eventually failed.

Glasgow. W.4. ARTRUR R. WILSON, M.I.R.T.E.

Work-study in Transport

I HAVE read with interest the letter from " Trunkie " in I your issue of March 21, and feel, like him, that the introduction of. work-study techniques into the transport industry will undoubtedly produce economies.

However, this does appear to be a fairly long-term possibility, whereas there is relatively simple action that can be taken now by all transport operators to reduce costs.

The oil engine, which is now common to a great many commercial vehicles operates at full efficiency only if the fuel pump and injectors, which form the heart of the engine, are regularly serviced.

The major fleet owners and the public transport companies have long recognized this fact, and arrange for regular inspection and adjustment of the fuel-metering system on all their vehicles. Thousands of the smaller and medium-sized operators, however, have still to be persuaded that regular servicing pays dividends. Our experience shows that it can often make a considerable increase in profits to the small operator, especially if pumps have been phased electronically.

The number of garages able to carry out oil fuel line servicing is steadily increasing and we suggest that this is a more immediate avenue for exploration that the somewhat-more-distant one of work-study techniques.

London, S.W.I. E. H. ROBINSON, Director, Leslie Hartridge, Ltd.

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