Answers to Queries.
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Our readers will be informed by the Editor on any points connected with the construction or use of commercial motors. Where a direct reply is desired, a stamped and addressed envelope should be enclosed : if a request for privacy is not specially made, any query and answer may be published. Some replies, owing to pressure on our space, are held several weeks. Numerous requests re.ich us for lists of motorcab and commercial-vehicle owners ; these we never supply. Our adverti. intent columns are open to those who desire to make announcements to owners for the purposes of trade
Contract for Hire.
[19801r " LAUNDIMIAN " writes :—" Can you give me any information with regard to the general form of contract for the hiring of motorvans I wish to loan, at the cost of £90 per quarter, up to a total of 3000 miles ; for each mile in excess of this I should charge Id. This is for a 30-cwt. van. Can contractors protect themselves against great rises in price of supplies, such as petrol ? Is petrol at about lid, per gallon safe to estimate on ? Is the present price for fuel likely to last ?" ANSWER.—We know of no standard or usual form of contract other than the contract for the Government mail services, which would scarcely apply to your work. Many contractors appear to be more easily pleased to agree merely to a rate per mile, per day, or per week, and to imply, by their omission of various terms with regard to emergencies, the idea of a certain amount of give and take in the matter of the actual discharge of the conveyance work. You, of course, must protect yourself against any overloading, and you must provide for damage by overloading without your consent. You can only protect yourself against increases in the price of consumable stores by making purchases ahead for a year or so. It would certainly be a good plan to contract for your
petrol just now for, say, a year, as prices will assuredly not go down ; lid, per gallon for petrol is too low just now, unless you buy. it in barrels. The price is likely to go up, in our opinion.
A Case Against a Council,
(1961] " WAREHOUSEMAN writes :—" I shall be glad if you would advise me on the following matter. On 24th April, 1912, we had occasion to go to Hawes, North Yorks, with a five-ton steam wagon and trailer. These were both loaded in the usual manner with furniture, etc. The loads we had on the wagon and trailer were about 31 tons and 2i tons respectively, so we were far below the maximum carrying capacity of these vehicles. The road we took was from Bradford to Settle, Ripplehead and Hawes. The road, as far as Ripplehead, was in good condition, but on reaching a point about seven miles from Hawes the road gave way absolutely, letting the engine in up to the axles. The road was in the same condition nearly as far as Hawes, so after spending three days getting the engine and wagon out, we turned round and made a detour of about 16 miles. We eventually reached our destination four days late. On summing up, we estimate to have lost about £20 in delay, damage to vehicle, etc. We have now received an account from the Settle District Council for damage to road, etc. Do you consider they can enforce their claim against us? The road in question is supposed to be a main one ; in fact, it is the only way of reaching Hawes without going considerably out of the way. The road up to the point where the engine sank was thick and rolled, but after this point the surface consisted only of stones thrown on the soft peat, and left for carts to roll them in. There are no warning boards as to the state of the road, and anyone may fall into the same trap at a future date. We heard that we were not the first. There was a machine sank there before, and this had to be unloaded and the goods put on rail with horses and wagon. Would you advise us to resist this claim, or to claim compensation from them for delay, damage, etc., caused by their negligence in not making the road strong enough?" ANswEa.—We are quite sure that the Settle District Council cannot make good its claim against you. If you belong to the Commercial Motor -Users Association that body will no doubt support you. A payment of two guineas will cover the entrance fee and the first annual subscription. We are inclined to think you would have a good claim against the Council, and it would not be a bad plan to claim against them for misfeasance in neglecting to keep the road in proper repair.