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Get the complete picture with RAC Advanced Telematics

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It goes without saying that one of the biggest assets for a company is its fleet, keeping your business on the move day-in day-out.

But while you trust your colleagues to adhere to all the rules and regulations governing commercial vehicles, how can you measure and improve driver behaviour?

At RAC this is something we researched comprehensively with the Transport Research Laboratory before launching our RAC Advanced Telematics box.

Our driving behaviour scores are based on real risk measures including braking levels, acceleration rates, speeding, night time driving and urban environment driving.

The algorithms we’ve developed for the RAC Advance system have been trusted and endorsed by six of the top insurers who utilise our RAC Black Box insurance for certain high risk groups such as young drivers.

The RAC methodology has excellent correlation between scoring and behaviour and immediately shows where driving style can be improved.

For us it’s key that the data being gathered by the device in-car, can be quickly and clearly presented to the user, in order to provide real insight and value to the fleet managers. So drivers are able to monitor and benchmark their scores on an easy-to-use driver app and absorb hints and tips to better improve their driving score.

At the same time fleet managers are able to track these scores within the Management Information System accessible on a 24/7/365 portal to assist them to intervene with bad driving behaviours or reward good driving behaviours.

Research into the benefits of utilising telematics to impact driver behaviour suggests:

  • 43% Decrease in accidents
  • 55% Less fuel usage
  • 31% Reduction in maintenance spend
  • 49% Reduction in speeding incidents

Interested to hear more? Get in touch for a system demonstration and to find out about our six months free offer.

For more information, contact Tracey Speke.

T: 07773 035055

E: tspeke@rac.co.uk

Understanding Vehicle Procurement: Why Cheaper Doesn’t Equal Better

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By AssetWorks

Often, vehicle replacement and procurement processes cause a slew of headaches for fleet managers and analysts. Many fleet organisations struggle with vehicle procurement, especially when deciding whether to purchase a more expensive vehicle, or the lower cost option. 

In most cases, cheaper does not equal better. While the cheapest option maybe the best option in one given scenario, that is a dangerous principle to apply to every circumstance. Instead, your organisation should shift its focus from cost to value. Gather all of your fleet data and evaluate which is most important to help make a decision, including: historical maintenance data, needs analysis and cost comparisons. These important items will help guarantee that you make the right choice.

Take an outdoor painting project, for example. If you wanted to repaint the railing by your front door, and you chose the cheapest standard paint, it may look good for a few weeks or even months, if you’re lucky. When the weather takes a turn, the paint won’t hold up, however. It will chip, peel and leave the unprotected metal underneath exposed. On the other hand, investing in an outdoor-designed paint would have protected your railing for a significantly longer time period, despite the greater initial cost. Think about vehicle purchasing is the same way. If you go with the cheapest option and must replace it in half the time of the other option, you end up using more of your resources. 

With thorough life cycle cost analysis, fleet managers can evaluate vehicle procurement benefits and drawbacks using their existing fleet data, like maintenance data, usage data, labour rates and fuel consumption. 

RAC Connected offers fleets proactive service and early intervention to prevent breakdown

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Unplanned downtime and vehicles off the road due to preventable breakdown issues, could be a thing of the past for fleets. 

RAC Connected now offers a proactive service to prevent small issues becoming roadside breakdowns, thanks to RAC telematics units at the heart of a more advanced diagnostic system.

The unit, developed by the RAC, links into the OBD Port picking up DTC fault codes from the engine management system. It can identify a developing issue and enable RAC to proactively call the driver if the DTC detected is a problem. If the customer has RAC Breakdown cover for business as well as telematics, the issue can then be dealt with by one of the RAC’s 1,600 expert patrol technicians as an early intervention. 

The RAC Connected service can also link to RAC Accident Services enabling intervention much earlier in the event of an accident as well as breakdown.

Benefits to customers include:

  • Proactive monitoring of DTC Codes
  • Patrol sent to your driver in the event of likely breakdown
  • Early intervention to prevent problems escalating by booking vehicle in for maintenance
  • Reduced costs and downtime 

For more information contact Tracey Speke 

Tel – 07773 035055

Email – tspeke@rac.co.uk

RAC Advance, now with integrated dashcam

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By RAC

RAC Advance combines market-leading technology with a level of service that provides complete peace of mind for the driver and fleet manager.

The telematics unit includes patented crash detection technology, tested by the Transport Research Laboratory, giving a 92% accuracy result, eliminating false positives even at low speed.

By monitoring both acceleration and vibration signatures at the point of an incident, RAC Advance is able to identify whether a crash has, or hasn’t, taken place with a 92% certainty.

Our highly accurate crash detection certainty is market leading, especially when compared to the industry standard of 50%. It also means you’ll receive an accurate FNOL (first notification of loss) report of an incident within minutes, detailing the speed, location, impact and severity.

The RAC is now making this an even more powerful fleet tool with the introduction of the integrated dashcam. Footage from the dashcam synced with the telematics unit provides a 100 per cent accurate report enabling speedy liability decisions.

Benefits to fleets include:

  • Clear visibility of the incident
  • Speedy liability decisions 
  • Early intervention
  • Driver behaviour training 
  • Reduced costs due to efficient claim process

Once you receive the FNOL report, you’ll be in complete control of the insurance claim, helping to speed up the claims process with the other insured party.

You’ll also be able to provide support to your driver quickly, especially if they are on their own when the incident occurs, improving your duty of care responsibilities. 

For businesses running a number of vehicles, RAC Advance will help you reduce business costs, boost driver safety, support the need to provide duty of care and improve customer service. All by installing a small box in your vehicles.

For more information contact Tracey Speke:

Mobile: 07773 035055

Email: tspeke@rac.co.uk

Or go to: https://www.rac.co.uk/business/telematics

Checklist for optimising a fleet’s capital and operational costs

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By Nick Bridle, Sr. Fleet Consultant, AssetWorks 

In order to truly optimise a fleet’s capital and operational costs, fleet managers need a certain level of information. Does the fleet team have the systems and data to provide the right answers to the following questions?

How much capital do I need to optimise and run my fleet over the next 3, 5 or 10 years?

  • Am I able to accurately represent and request this funding from the board, the public or upper management?
  • How can I identify and smooth any peaks in the capital funding requirements over the next 3-5 years?
  • Are we operating the right business depreciation policy?
  • How much funding am I likely to be provided with, and what funding is actually needed?
  • What impact does legislation have on our operations? Are we green enough?
  • Can I assess the impacts on similar specifications by manufacturer to support my decisions?

What is the impact on my team in terms of costs quality and time for this function?

  • Do I have the systems to capture all the important data correctly?
  • How many systems/databases/spreadsheets are we using across the organisation?
  • What do I use to pull and analyse the data?
  • Who is responsible for this? Just one person (single point of failure) or a dedicated team?
  • How many stakeholders across the business are involved?
  • Who verifies and signs off on the data as being accurate and correct?

How much operational history by vehicle, category and specification do I have to feed my replacement planning models?

  • How much vehicle history by year, category, specification and vehicle do I have to help me make the right decisions on life-cycles?
  • Do I know the specifications and model decisions for the next life-cycle?
  • Do I know fuel volume and costs?
  • Can I access odometer readings and annual mileage by category, specification and vehicle?
  • Do you know maintenance labour rates, charges and parts costs?
  • Are you aware of your vehicle downtime?
  • What are your average hire costs?
  • Am I able to score and weigh certain operational factors to help identify and optimise the replacement plan?

While these questions may leave a fleet manager feeling overwhelmed, with the right processes in place for data input and cleanup, the challenges will seem much more manageable. 

The key to streamlining this process is automation. With AssetWorks Capital Asset Management (CAM), fleet and asset managers can automate life cycle cost analysis in order to improve data practices and save on capital and operational costs.

To learn more about CAM, visit https://www.assetworks.com/uk/cam/.

eDriving to showcase award-winning fleet driver risk solution at UK Fleet Services Management Summit

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eDriving will meet with fleet industry professionals to discuss the company’s validated techniques for managing and reducing driver risk at the upcoming Fleet Services Management Summit. 

Taking place 11-12 November 2019 at Whittlebury Park, Northampton, the event is specifically organised to connect senior professionals responsible for managing fleet requirements with organisations providing fleet management solutions. 

eDriving’s Managing Director Europe, Andy Cuerden and Customer Success Director Europe, Nick List will attend a series of pre-arranged one-to-one meetings over the two-day event with industry professionals interested in eDriving’s award-winning driver risk management program, Mentor by eDriving

Mentor combines eDriving’s patented, continuous improvement methodology for driver risk reduction with a unique smartphone app that not only identifies risky driving behaviour, but also remediates it with in-app micro-training.

“Nick and I are looking forward to attending this event to showcase Mentor’s proven capabilities in identifying driver risk levels, predicting future crash involvement and remediating driver behaviour to effectively reduce risk,” said Cuerden. “We encourage any fleet professionals attending the event who have concerns regarding driver safety to request a meeting with us so we can demonstrate how Mentor can help them reduce collisions, injuries, licence endorsements and total cost of fleet ownership.”

In addition to the pre-arranged meetings, Fleet Services Management Summit incorporates a tailored programme of seminars. 

About eDriving 
eDriving helps organisations to reduce collisions, injuries, licence endorsements and total cost of fleet ownership through a patented driver risk management programme. Mentor by eDriving’s comprehensive solution provides actionable behavioural insights to help organisations build a total view of driver risk within a company-wide crash-free culture® to ensure all drivers return home safely to their loved ones at the end of each day. 

eDriving is the global risk management partner of choice for many of the world’s largest organisations, supporting over 1,000,000 drivers in 96 countries. Over its 23-year history, eDriving’s programmes have been recognised with 75+ awards around the world. For more, visit www.edriving.com.

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Wilsons Auctions

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Wilsons Auctions is the largest independent auction company in the UK and Ireland, having been in business for 83 years, it has the expertise to realise and remarket any asset.

It has seen significant growth over recent years, expanding its offering both geographically, acquiring new branches and digitally with an innovative new online auction platform as well as investment into current branches.

Growing from a single auction house in Northern Ireland it now offers clients national coverage with 18 sites located across the UK and Ireland, allowing vendors to benefit from assets being placed in the best suited auctions, ultimately offering to the best market.

As a result, the company can collect assets regardless of their destination and place them in the best location in order to achieve the greater returns. Our reporting capabilities are also a valued service to vendors including providing performance reports on demand.

Wilsons Auctions is the only UK-wide auction company to have a presence in the Republic of Ireland, opening us into the European market and beyond with global bidders, along with our website being in the top 1% most visited websites in the world with 28 million visits annually.

The company manages the remarketing of assets on behalf of a number of fleet companies and in recent years has seen significant growth across its fleet vehicle offering. Working with numerous vehicle manufacturers and leasing companies including Motability, Volkswagen and ALD, Wilsons Auctions has seen a combined increase of 38.5% across the group year on year.

The most significant improvement to the fleet operation over the past two years has been the new innovative market leading bespoke online web platform. This allows buyers to purchase assets from the simple click of a button as this is the most cost effective, efficient and streamlined method of asset disposal compared to traditional methods. Having seen a substantial increase over this time, to date it has achieved a £62 million turnover in vehicles.

Not only is this new platform innovative for its clients but it has a positive environmental impact. As a result of Wilsons Auctions national coverage, the vehicles are remarketed at the closest available branch rather than transported to one specific branch which is ultimately reducing Wilsons Auctions carbon footprint. This new platform has resulted in further contract success.

Continually improving its offering to both clients and customers, the expansion of the remarketing of fleet vehicles has been supported by almost £3 million invested into Wilsons Auctions dedicated auction houses, improving the experience for the customer and clients by expanding the auction facilities and allowing for a higher turnover of vehicles.

Wilsons Auctions Business Development Manager, Hannah Moore will be attending the Fleet Services Management Summit. Hannah holds over 10 years of experience within the Fleet industry and will be happy to discuss further what Wilsons Auctions can do for your company.

You can contact Hannah ahead of the summit by emailing hannahmoore@wilsonsauctions.com or for further information on Wilsons Auctions go to www.wilsonsauctions.com.

UK university fleets leading the way for EV uptake

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By Will Craig, Managing Director, LeaseFetcher

On 15th February 2013, nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah died in hospital after suffering an asthma-induced seizure. She lived just off the South Circular in Lewisham, a notoriously polluted stretch of road. 

Five years after her death, a report from Professor Stephen Holgate, an expert on air quality, highlighted a “striking association” between Ella’s many emergency hospitalisations and recorded instances of illegally high levels of air pollution. Professor Holgate’s report concluded with a chilling prediction: there was a “real prospect that without unlawful levels of air pollution, Ella would not have died.”

While Ella’s death is tragic, it is sadly not unique. Earlier this year, a new study from German researchers suggested 64,000 people a year die prematurely as a result of air pollution in the UK.

Despite strict regulations and testing, internal combustion engines (ICE) are still the main cause of air pollution. Even the newest ICE vehicles still pump out huge amounts of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter into the air.

Battery-powered electric vehicles, which produce no tailpipe emissions, are often hailed as the solution to our air pollution crisis. However, electric vehicle uptake is slow. Last year, just 2.53 percent of the cars on our roads were electric.

As hotbeds of innovation, many people expect universities to be early adopters of electric vehicle technology and drive progress from the front. And around the world, universities are taking great strides to clean up their fleets.

In April, the University of Georgia invested in 20 electric buses, eliminating 4.5 million pounds of carbon emissions annually. Florida State University is following suit, transitioning to a purely electric bus fleet. And late last year, Duke University announced its updated Climate Action Plan, which includes electrifying its buses and vehicles.

But how are UK institutions performing? Are our universities driving an all-electric revolution or persisting with ICE vehicles?

Over the past six months, we have compiled data on the fuel composition of the fleets of 110 UK universities obtained through Freedom of Information requests. 

In this report, we have highlighted five interesting findings from our research. While some points seem disheartening, others have sparked hope for positive change.

Diesel still reigns supreme.

The UK government has banned the sale of petrol and diesel cars after 2040 and there is substantial pressure to pull the date forward to 2035 or even 2030. Time is ticking to make the switch to an alternative fuel vehicle.

Most industry experts are agreed that electricity is the fuel of the future. Consequently, car manufacturers are investing heavily in electric and hybrid technology.

Volkswagen is determined to have 30 new EVs by 2025. Volvo announced it won’t sell pure-ICE cars after 2019. Ford recently invested $500M in Rivian, an electric truck-maker, who will help them develop future models. And by 2020, all new smart cars in Europe will be fully electric.

While EV adoption in the UK is increasing, diesel remains the dominant fuel type in most fleets. Across all universities investigates, diesel cars made up 69.9 percent of the fleets in 2018/19, down 1.6 percent from 2017/18.

For both 2017/18 and 2018/19, we discovered that nine percent of universities only had diesel cars in their fleets.

Our data shows that diesel is still the clear favourite fuel choice for university fleets but there are signs of a slow decrease.

Key Statistics:

  • Diesel powers 69.9% of UK university fleet vehicles.
  • 9% of the universities have an entirely diesel fleet.
  • The number of universities with no diesel cars increased by 1% since 2017.

Confidence in diesel is falling.

Our data shows that diesel is slowly falling out of favour with UK universities and the same can be said for the UK public as a whole. In fact, sales of diesel cars plummeted by 37 percent between March 2017 and March 2018, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

We carried out a supplementary survey on UK motorists to investigate public opinion on electric and diesel cars. Over 60 percent agreed that diesel cars are harmful to the environment and 60 percent feel that diesel cars also have a negative impact to the public’s health in terms of air pollution. Over half of our respondents said they are now less likely to purchase a diesel car than they were five years ago.

A similar pattern follows when we turn our attention to the university data. We can see that the number of new diesel cars bought by universities is falling.

Between 2017/18 and 2018/19, the number of diesel cars as a percentage of all fleet cars decreased by 1.4 percent.

Key Statistics:

  • Since 2017, the number of diesel cars in university fleets decreased by 1.4%.
  • 63% of people believe diesel cars are harming the environment.
  • 56% of people said they’re less likely to buy a diesel car now than they were five years ago.

Electric car uptake is growing — and fast!

While electric vehicles still make up a very small part of the UK market, uptake is accelerating.

Of our surveyed motorists, 60% said they were either likely or highly likely to purchase an electric vehicle as their next car. Over 60 said they believe electric vehicles are necessary to combat air pollution and 78 percent said that electric vehicles are better for our health.

Since 2017, there was a 6.5 percent increase in the number of electric cars in university fleets. Moreover, the number of electric cars as a percentage of the whole fleet increased from 14 percent to 14.9 percent.

While electric vehicle adoption is rising, some universities are dragging their heels. More than one-quarter of universities possessed no electric cars in any of the years examined.

The progress towards electrified fleets is slow and steady but it is progress nevertheless.

Key Statistics:

  • Since 2017, the number of electric cars in university fleets increased by 6.5%.
  • 26.3% of universities possessed no electric cars.
  • 60% of respondents are likely to purchase an electric vehicle as their next car.
  • 65% of people believe electric cars are needed to combat air pollution.
  • 78% of respondents feel that electric vehicles are better for our health.

Universities are more willing to buy electric than individuals

Our data shows that universities are far more willing to adopt electric cars than the UK public as a whole.

In 2018, the electric cars made up just 2.53 percent of the UK automotive market. For universities, however, 14.9 percent of the entire fleet was electric. Universities are speeding ahead of general UK EV adoption by a staggering 12.37 percent.

But why the divergent figures?

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee examined the roadblocks in the way of consumers transitioning to electric vehicles.

Vehicle cost is the primary stumbling block. Unlike nations like Norway, where the government invests heavily in subsidies, the UK’s plug-in car grant was slashed in November 2018. It formerly covered 35 percent of the cost of the car.

In our opinion poll, over 70 percent of respondents said electric vehicles were only accessible to wealthy individuals. Nearly 80 percent said they would be more likely to purchase an electric vehicle if subsidies lowered ownership costs. In comparison, universities have dedicated fleet budgets and can justify higher up-front costs with long-term savings.

Battery capacity and an underdeveloped charging infrastructure are also key concerns for individuals. This investigation into charging infrastructure maps out the distance needed to travel to charging points. In rural regions in particular, consumers are generally not within a comfortable distance from charging points. 

Universities, on the other hand, are predominantly based in urban areas, which have access to public charging points. Additionally, most universities also own land or buildings, which allows them to install their own charging stations.

Key Statistics:

  • Electric cars comprised 2.53% of the UK automotive market in 2018.
  • 14.9% of university fleet vehicles were electric in 2018.
  • University electric vehicle adoption exceeds general UK consumer adoption by 12.37 percent.
  • 73% of people believe electric vehicles are only accessible by wealthier individuals.
  • 77% of respondents would purchase an electric vehicle if subsidies lowered the costs.
  • 73% of respondents believe that electric cars are best suited to urban areas.

Leading the way to electrification

In our survey, 78 percent of respondents said they think that universities should lead the way in the adoption of electric cars. But which institutions are making the greatest progress?

Based on a minimum of a 10-car fleet, we have identified the top five universities for electric vehicle adoption.

  • Kingston University: 64.3% of 14 cars.
  • Bournemouth University: 53.3% of 15 cars.
  • Manchester Metropolitan University: 51.9% of 27 cars.
  • University of Sunderland: 47.1% of 17 cars.
  • University of Kent: 44.1% of 68 cars.

These leaders demonstrate that with the right approach, UK universities can keep up the pace with their international counterparts when electrifying their fleets.

We also examined EV adoption by country. Based on having a minimum of a 20% electric fleet, we found that:

  • 49% of English universities were above the cut off.
  • 45% of Scottish universities were above the cut off.
  • No Welsh universities were above the cut off.
  • No Northern Irish universities were above the cut off.

English and Scottish Universities are clearly leading the way, with English Universities pulling slightly further ahead. These findings make sense when compared with the chargepoint distance data mentioned earlier as it highlights a significant lack of charging points in Wales.

Key Statistics:

  • Kingston University, Bournemouth University, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Sunderland, and the University of Kent have the top 5 electric vehicle adoption rates out of all 110 Universities examined.
  • English Universities have the highest EV adoption rates, with 49% of institutions with rates above 20% cut off.

Final Thoughts

Whilst the proportion of electric cars in university fleets is growing faster than diesel—and at a faster rate than the UK average—these fleets have a long way before they are fully green.

As other international institutions press forward with electrification, UK universities need to commit more firmly to switching if they are to keep up the pace.

Survey Methods and Data

Results for this poll are based on online survey responses collected on 30th April 2019 with a random sample of 100 adults, aged 18 and older, living in the UK, who drive a vehicle 3 or more times per week. The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Pollfish’s network of 570M consumers.

The data on UK university fleets was gathered by use of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. All data was gathered by our in- house team of marketers and can be obtained upon request. 

Access to Data

To request a copy of our full report or a copy of the survey data, please email contact@leasefetcher.co.uk.

GUEST BLOG: Are we all driving Teslas now?

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You may have seen figures in the press recently that suggest that, after a lengthy period of relative consistency, the nation’s favourite car brands are changing. Yes, it would seem that the dawn of the electric car is finally upon us, with the Tesla Model 3 recording the third biggest number of UK registrations in August. 

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that the model muscled its way into the top 3 with 2,082 units registered in that month.

Well, it’s fair to say that more than a pinch of salt is required when assessing the reasons behind such a sudden ascent.

On the face of it, the model’s growing popularity surpassed that of household models including the Ford Focus, the Vauxhall Corsa and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, with only the Ford Fiesta and the Volkswagen Golf having more registrations in the month.

For a car that only began production in 2017, it’s an impressive effort. Furthermore, it would seem that the rise of the Model 3 has had an impressive impact on EV registrations overall, with sales of battery electric cars almost doubling year on year in the 12 months to August, from 9,000 in 2018 to 17,393 this year.

So, has the electric dream finally been realised and are we all now considering EVs for our next car? Have you got that salt handy?

As ever, it’s all about context. The current trials and tribulations faced by the motor sector have been well documented and it’s perhaps here where the real reasons for the Model 3’s impressive August SMMT figures lie.

The numbers show that the market as a whole saw new registrations dip by 1.6% to 92,573 in August. However, the context to bear in mind here is that August is traditionally a quiet month for registrations as the market’s emphasis shifts to the new September number plate. However, that doesn’t account for the 1,500 fewer registrations in August compared to the same month last year.

So how is Tesla bucking the trend? Has the EV manufacturer weathered the choppy seas of negative PR, only to be welcomed onto dry land to a cacophony of positive headlines?

Not quite. Those journalists perceptive enough to understand how registrations work and the delays that have dogged the production of the Tesla Model 3 have a slightly different take. 

The model is perhaps making up for lost time. James Baggot, founder of Car Dealer Magazine, put it best when he said:

“It’s worth noting that the SMMT registration figures relate to cars registered, not sold, in the month. Most Tesla Model 3 buyers put down their deposits years ago, so this is simply Tesla finally delivering a car they promised back in 2016.

“This was effectively the first full month of deliveries for the Model 3 in the UK. It has also caused an abnormal blip in the SMMT stats – electric cars are up considerably, but it’s unlikely to be something that will continue.”

So, with current market conditions perhaps flattering the Model 3’s perceived popularity in August, we may have to wait a little longer until the electric revolution is truly upon us. And, of-course, while pure-electric sales are on the up, they only represent a tiny 1.1% minority of annual car sales. 

However, it can be said that the industry has made huge strides in 2019. Car makers are now beginning to catch up as the pressure to move away from fossil fuels continues to mount, suggesting that prices for electric cars could also begin to fall.

Jaguar’s I-Pace sports utility vehicle won the world car of the year award this year, Nissan is finally beginning to talk about its new EV cross-over following the huge success of the Leaf, BMW has high hopes for its new electric Mini, while Volkswagen has been spotted testing its all-electric ID 4 SUV, one of the first EV’s in its much talked about ID series.

With Government emission targets not going away, the pressure on the industry remains. It will be interesting to see whether Tesla can stay in the headlines, for the right reasons.  

To discover our full range of electric vehicles from Motability Dealers, Lookers, visit lookers.co.uk.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

GUEST BLOG: Incorporating smartphone-based telematics into fleet duty of care

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By Nick List, Customer Success Director, Europe, eDriving

Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 all UK companies have a legal obligation to ensure their employees do not suffer any unreasonable or foreseeable harm or loss in the workplace and, as such, fleet operators have a duty to not only ensure that company-owned vehicles are safe to drive but that any work-related risks for drivers are minimised.  

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) states that: “Health and safety law applies to work activities on the road in the same way as it does to all other work activities and you should manage the risks to drivers as part of your health and safety arrangements”.

In its Driving at work: Managing work-related road safety document, the HSE defines that health and safety law applies to any employer with employees who drive, ride a motorcycle or bicycle at work, as well as self-employed people. It also applies to those using their own vehicle for a work-related journey. 

For an increasing number of fleet operators, telematics is becoming part of their risk management strategy and here Nick List, eDriving’s Customer Success Director, Europe, highlights some of the benefits of smartphone-based telematics in helping to manage driver risks and explains how this technology can help fleet operators fulfil their duty of care obligations, including among the grey fleet…

In terms of managing driver risk, what’s expected of the fleet operator? 

The HSE outlines three main requirements of managing road safety effectively: safe driver, safe vehicle and safe journey. Safe driver starts with ensuring drivers are competent and capable of doing their work in a way that is safe and also incorporates other requirements such as checking the validity of driving licences on recruitment and periodically, ensuring drivers are adequately trained, providing refresher training if needed, and ensuring drivers are aware of various risk factors, including fatigue. 

Safe vehicle means vehicles are fit for purpose, maintained in a safe and fit condition and also includes ergonomic considerations such as seating position and driving posture. Remember, this will extend to all vehicles being used for company business, not just those within the organisation’s fleet. 

Safe journey includes planning routes thoroughly, setting realistic work schedules with regular breaks, allowing drivers enough time to complete journeys safely and considering weather conditions when planning journeys. 

How can smartphone-based telematics be incorporated into driver risk management? 

A comprehensive driver risk management programme will be based around a solid safety culture that puts safety before anything else. This safety culture will have the support of senior leadership and will be reinforced at every opportunity. 

Smartphone-based telematics can enhance a safety culture by providing visibility to managers and drivers about actual on-road performance, enabling risk intervention to be targeted accordingly. Smartphone-based telematics programmes can help to reinforce an organisation’s safety messaging through gamification features that engage and encourage drivers, keep informal safety conversations going and, crucially, provide the actual training that drivers require based upon their own individual driving style.  

What are the advantages of smartphone-based telematics over traditional in-vehicle telematics? 

Telematics can identify harsh manoeuvres such as harsh acceleration, braking and cornering; as well as speeding by posted speed limit. And while traditional, in-vehicle “black box” style telematics cannot measure driver distraction, smartphone-based telematics can. This can include any type of phone use including calls, texts, internet use and even moving the phone to view a notification. For organisations that have a “no phone usage” policy, smartphone telematics can therefore be used as an effective audit tool. 

Because smartphone-based telematics uses smartphone technology, there is no end to the features available. eDriving’s programme, Mentor by eDrivingSM, not only measures driver risk and helps to remedy it via in-app training but it also incorporates additional features to help fleet operators manage their duty of care including First Notice of Loss (FNOL), which allows drivers to report an “event” (Collision, Incident, Crash or Licence Endorsement) from within the app. It also offers vehicle inspection reports, guiding drivers through their daily walk-around vehicle checks, with key fault alerts being automatically notified to the leasing company.

How can driver strengths/ weaknesses be identified? 

Smartphone-based telematics can help both drivers and managers see how a driver performs on each and every “at-work” journey. Going a little further, driver scoring provides an at-a-glance measure of how a driver’s performance changes over time; helping both drivers and managers to measure improvement and promptly identify areas for intervention. 

How can smartphone-based telematics help fleet operators to manage driver risk in the grey fleet? 

A unique feature of smartphone-based telematics is that it requires no installation and moves with the driver and their mobile phone. It therefore works in exactly the same way whether the driver is in a company-owned vehicle or a personal vehicle, facilitating a standard measure of driver risk across an organisation’s whole fleet, regardless of vehicle type, ownership or location. 

What action can managers take based on telematics insights/ driver scores? 

One of the mistakes commonly made by fleet operators is to provide driver training when someone begins employment and then pretty much leave the driver to it after that. Some organisations may go a little further and provide refresher training, but this is often only on an annual basis and not always risk-based for the driver. Without the need to encroach on a driver’s privacy in terms of where they are driving, smartphone-based telematics and driver scoring can give managers an almost real-time insight into a driver’s level of risk and helps managers see which drivers require additional training, and of what nature. 

Driver training can then be tailored specifically to address a driver’s specific development needs, and this can be delivered in numerous ways. One method we use at eDriving – via our Mentor programme – is to deliver interactive micro-training modules directly to the smartphone app, based on the behaviours identified. So, for example, if a driver’s braking is identified as an issue, the driver will receive a short in-app video training module to encourage smoother braking.

Managers have complete visibility of training assignments and completions; and drivers that continue to under-perform are identified to the manager for further support and intervention, which might include in-car training or professional coaching. 

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