Dear [owner of family-run business supplying fresh fruit and veg to central London restaurants]
I have had to have words with one of your delivery drivers this morning and am writing to let you know about it in case you would like to have words with him yourself.
This driver looks quite young, wearing a blue and white striped short sleeve shirt today. His delivery was in Windmill Street but he left the van on the corner in Charlotte Street. The time was approximately 9.15am.
Firstly, he reversed into a place to leave his van to make a delivery, but the space he reversed into was not a parking bay, although he managed to get the rear bumper and possibly rear axle of the van over the line into the end of the parking bay behind his van, in which a small car was already parked. In reversing alongside the kerb, he very nearly knocked me (standing on the pavement to lock up my bicycle) over with his side mirror. I moved out of the way so wasn’t hit, but then he brought the van to a stop, the mirror was exactly next to my bike with no space in between, so I could not get in next to my bike to lock it. I had to wait for the driver to make his delivery and return to the van. When he did, I told him I wasn’t happy with what he had done, having caused me to jump out of his way to avoid being hit, then parking illegally and preventing me from going about my own business. He replied to the effect that he was “over the line” in the parking bay – I pointed out the van was not in the parking bay, only the rear of it!
He then put his mobile phone to his ear, turned on the engine and began to pull away. I shouted at him through his closed window “Put that phone down!” He rolled his window down. I told him that, his parking transgressions aside, driving while using a mobile is illegal. He said he “wasn’t on a call”. I said “It doesn’t matter, you have a phone to your ear and cannot be in full control of your vehicle…. And, you have not put your seat belt on. Also illegal.”.
He did then put the phone down and put his seatbelt on, and drove away.
To be fair, he was calm and co-operative (and in those respects a credit to his parents) but I am not his mother or the police and shouldn’t have to tell him how to behave. You however as his employer should, I think, have a word with him to ensure he takes care in future not to endanger other people, to use his seatbelt NOT his phone when behind the wheel, and generally to behave like a trained and skilled professional driver. There is also your insurance liability to consider, should he be involved in any incident while on the phone or driving without wearing his seatbelt.
It is so rare to get the chance to have a conversation with a driver – any driver, whether he’s cut you up or not, whether he 'communicates' only with a rude gesture or not – that I felt this worth sharing.
My main ‘take away’: Sadly, this low standard of behaviour behind the wheel is so prevalent and pervasive, drivers simply do not have any understanding that they are failing, much less how or why.
P.S. I did actually send this e-mail to the business concerned. It bounced back from all three contact e-mail addresses on its website.