Although initially developed to improve safety and reduce the chances of being involved in an accident, speed limiters have been proven to deliver additional advantages too. By controlling the top speed of a commercial vehicle, fleet operators can enjoy a significantly cheaper fuel bill, which also affords environmental benefits too.
But in spite of these plus points, there are some drawbacks to consider as well. Some drivers feel as though they need to speed in order to get the job done, while others believe it is unsafe to have a limiter when overtaking. So, is speed limiter removal worth it for fleets?
Reasons to keep speed limiters on your fleet
Did you know that a van travelling at 80mph uses 20 per cent more fuel than one travelling at 70mph? To put this in perspective, a van driving 1,000 miles a week doing 30mpg will cost an additional £1,561 per year. This does not even take into account higher maintenance bills for extra servicing and repairs caused by foot-heavy drivers.
Then you have got to consider what would happen if any of your drivers are involved in an accident caused by illegal or dangerous driving. They could suffer an injury and be unable to work, cause damage to the vehicle that will need to be fixed, and possibly involve other parties too, which might require compensation. Along with the financial implications, speeding has the potential to damage your reputation too.
Possible resistance to keeping speed limiters
Fleet operators that choose to keep speed limiters could face a backlash from drivers who believe the nature of their job means they have to drive fast in certain situations. But according to Andrew Smith, managing director of Cobra UK, driver training and education is crucial. “Communication of the benefits to both company and driver needs to be very transparent,” he says.
But for fleet operators that feel speed limiters prevent drivers from carrying out their daily responsibilities, alternatives are available. Telematics systems can measure and improve driver behaviour by identifying bad or inefficient habits such as heavy acceleration or harsh breaking. The track and trace capabilities of this technology can also find out whether drivers are exaggerating overtime claims or using work vehicles out of hours.
So, in many respects, the decision to remove a speed limiter will depend on your type of business and fleet.