Opinions and Queries
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License Clearing Houses
THE letter from Mr. C. It 1Beekes (July 6) on the A subject of rate-cutting encourages me to point out that in its effort to stabilize the road haulage industry,
the Tory Party has done as much harm to it as anyone else.
Reassignment of special-A-licence vehicles should never have been made possible. It has provided an undesirable element, which has no intention of remaining in the industry five minutes longer than it takes to find a mug, with pennies from heaven in the form of a quick and undeclared profit. It is also responsible for the entry to the industry by this back door of a large number of irresponsible, unrestricted operators who, in their anxiety to get going and keep going, are easy victims for clearing houses of questionable ethics which have sprung up like weeds.
The remedy for the first situation is to amend the 1953 Act and for the second is to control clearing houses, as related to transport, by licence. These licences should be renewable annually, subject to a clean slate and no justifiable opposition. A clearing house should not be allowed to offer bargain rates at the expense of those it employs. Whilst ready to serve its customers, it should be just as willing to employ any medium, including that provided by the British Transport Commission.
Incidentally, evidence of a clearing house in support of applications for additional vehicles is of limited value and can be shot at from every angle.
London, S.W.11. E. H. B. PALMER.
Can Wetting Oil Cause Reverse Running ?
IN the discussion between members of the .Institute of I Road Transport Engineers and executives of Simms Motor Units, Ltd. (The Commercial Motor, July 6); it was suggested that it was sometimes possible for the wetting oil from an air filter to be drawn into the engine and cause reverse running. How this can actually cause an engine to run in reverse is difficult to understand, because the suction required to draw the oil into the engine cylinders exists only when the engine is rotating in the correct direction. In the event of an engine being made to rotate in the reverse direction, the oil in the air filter is rapidly ejected by the exhaust gases, which then escape through the inlet manifold.
London, W.7. JOHN SAVAGE.
Famous Last Words
T WAS sorry to observe (The Commercial Motor, July 6) 1 that your representative had been faulted during an advanced driving test by the Rootes Driving School "for failing to give hand signals when no other vehicles could be seen either ahead or in the mirror." According to• your report, " the tester believed that the habit of giving signals at all times should be formed." I offer the tester these thoughts:
(1) All habits in driving are bad. When any action becomes a habit it is automatic and the brain has ceased to be aware of it. There are already too many drivers in a state of coma without encouraging intelligent drivers to follow their example.
(2) The logical extension of the habit of giving signals unthinkingly is to act on them without thought. This is a fruitful cause of accidents. "Well, I signalled " ranks high in the sorry volume of famous last words.
(3) The skilful driver gives a minimum of signals. When he does so, he gives them in good time after using the mirror, and their meaning is plain for all to see.
I am surprised that the Rootes Driving School should seek to breed a race of semi-comatose arm-wavers who merely succeed in confusing everyone. I hope your representative will ignore the tester's advice.
Potters Bar. H.E.G. [He has.—ED.]
Makers Breaking Export Records
up. J. W. MORRIS (The Commercial Motor, July 6) i" has made me extremely angry. So far as commercial vehicles are concerned, this country can point to an excellent record and the S.M.M.T. figures so far this year are 9 per cent. higher than the record set up during the comparable period in 1955. None of our competitors, and least of all Germany, has achieved similar results for commercial-vehicle exports.
British manufacturers are doing an excellent job of work. I particularly object to Mr. Morris' implication that journeys abroad are not worth while. As one who, in a small way, has taken the trouble to go overseas and obtain orders for commercial vehicles, I can assure Mr. Morris that, unless such visits are made in increasing numbers, there will be no export business. This can be obtained only by personal travel, which'cleserves every possible encouragement and appreciation. H. W. HEYMAN, Managing Director, Smith's
Gateshead-on-Tyne, 11. Delivery Vehicles, Ltd.
Exonerating the Oil Engine
To condemn oil engines because of their occasional discharge of smoke is nonsense. Actually, the fumes from a petrol engine can be far more deadly, as many people have learned to their cost by running these units in poorly ventilated places, such as private garages. Reading the various remarks concerning oil engines and their excellent economy, I think that one of their biggest assets has been overlooked, particularly in respect of passenger vehicles, that is, the reduction of the fire risk.
I have had an oiler on fire, close to the fuel tank, as the result of an electrical fault, and although the flames were round the base of the tank, 1 was able to get the fire under control rapidly with a foam extinguisher and little damage occurred.
Apart from the matter of ,testing the exhaust fumes, would it not be advantageous if the Medical Research Council analysed some of the carbon deposits from the cylinders and silencers of oil engines? If this failed to show any poisonous substances, the oil engine might well be given a completely clean bill of health.
What is the Answer ?
IN a popular section of your journal an advertiser 1 asks for a "fleet engineer (working)." Is there, then, another kind?