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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. 

The key innovations driving today’s mobile workforce into the future

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By Derek Bryan (pictured), Vice President EMEA, Verizon Connect

In a hyper competitive market, enterprises across every sector are looking for any advantage to get ahead of the competition and meet customers’ expectations. Innovation has become central to success, particularly for enterprises that rely on a mobile workforce. 

Mobile workforce management has come a long way since the days of simply tracking location over GPS, now it can be used to help connect organisational silos, boost operational efficiency, improve safety and deliver better customer service. In this piece, I will look at the technologies that are driving the mobile workforce into the future and how will they help operations and fleet managers.

Data processing enables further automation

Computer processing through algorithms or machine learning, and data storage advances have opened up possibilities that seemed unimaginable even just a few years ago. For example, an autonomous vehicle collects and analyses more than a terabyte of data in real time, each day. This ability to collect, analyse and process reams of data has spawned on demand services enable us to watch TV, stream music, order a taxi, or book a hotel room on our phones or online almost instantly – and it has increased expectations of what should be possible for both consumers and mobile workers.

With additional processing power, managers can look at multiple data sources to gain bigger samples or correlate different data sets to provide more detailed information. At the same time, greater processing creates new ways to make extra data easier for people to understand and even automate tasks. This will advance even further as the industry harnesses the ability to collect more contextually relevant data from a combination of devices such as vehicle, mobile devices and other internet enabled sensors. 

Mobile workers could soon expect a frictionless experience, where they no longer need to manually input data or provide an update a manager while performing a task, while managers will automatically gain valuable insights to improve decision making. For example, imagine you had a worker in the field who was installing a satellite dish for a customer. If the installation was taking longer than expected, contextual data collection and analysis would be able to determine this automatically and assign their next job to another field service worker or communicate an accurate expected arrival time to the next customer – all without intervention from the worker, or manager.

Vehicles gain more computing power

Much has been made of potential of the autonomous vehicle. While their widespread adoption may be some time off, the computing power of non-autonomous vehicles is growing significantly. Vehicles are now capable of reporting more information to managers than ever before. From engine diagnostic details such as temperature, oil or fuel levels, and wear and tear on parts, to things inside the vehicle such as seatbelt use, number of passengers to even what was on the radio. 

This enables more effective management of vehicles. Managers can foresee any potential engine troubles, and schedule vehicle maintenance before they occur. Or they could gain other insights that could help employee safety or wellbeing and improve customer satisfaction. For example, if a vehicle’s engine is not switched on it’s a fairly safe bet, the driver may be delayed – which can be automatically communicated to customers or other workers. Or if the vehicle’s heater is constantly on, managers could provide better uniforms to help drivers stay warm, avoid getting sick and reduce fuel consumption.

The power of voice

The rapid take-up of voice recognition technology shows how far the software has come. While it used to be rather unreliable, voice dictation is beginning to replace typing in online queries. Twenty percent of mobile queries were made via voice in 2016, while accuracy is now about 95 percent. Improved voice recognition is a powerful tool for the mobile worker, enabling hands free input of data, activation of tasks and communication with managers. It means that mobile workers can do their job more effectively, without having to take their eyes of the task at hand. This is especially useful in the fleet space – creating a better, safer field working experience.

Communication from field to office becomes more visual

Years ago, the concept of streaming films, TV or live sporting events in high definition over the internet didn’t seem possible. But through improved connectivity and video compression technology, we can create more visually led communications between mobile workers and the office. Visual sensors between the office and the mobile worker can enable more effective service – enabling remote diagnostic detection or instruction from a manager. For example, an engineer working on a site could use video to remotely consult with someone office to find an appropriate solution, rather than having to leave the site or send another worker out.

Concluding thoughts

Mobile and field-working will continue to be improved by the technology. The best deployment of tech will reduce the burden on staff, rather than adding to the workload. For workers technology will make life easier, requiring less intervention and creating a frictionless process for reporting back to the office. For managers, technology will give increased visibility on how their field workers are performing. There is seemingly no limit to what data can be collected correlated and analysed to help to improve how the organisation is run, making it safer, more profitable and more enjoyable.

GUEST BLOG: 5 ways to ensure a fleet stays safe on the roads

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By Rebecca, Technician at Dronsfields

If you manage numerous vehicles as a part of your business, you’ll understand the importance of ensuring their functionality and safety – as well as the safety of their drivers!

Here, I’ll explain how to easily keep your fleet safe and running as it should by offering up a few choice tips. By employing these practices, you’ll also keep your costs down and save yourself a lot of hassle.

  1. Make Sure Your Whole Fleet is Regularly Serviced

This sounds a lot more difficult than it actually is. There’s no need to arrange to have every single vehicle checked and tweaked separately – this is very time consuming and can really rack up the costs. 

A better approach is to invest in fleet servicing – something offered by some specialist garages and mechanics which means that all of your vehicles are managed in one group. This only requires one set of paperwork (making life much easier for you!). All units will be checked together, so you won’t have to worry about remembering when each one is due in for a service.

2. Invest in Visibility and Communication Methods

There are systems available that will allow you to track your vehicles’ locations, check for hazards such as roadworks and poor traffic conditions and to see how far each vehicle has to travel for the next job (on the off chance that you can assign it to someone a little closer to reduce wear and tear or fuel consumption).

This method will also help you to stay updated if any of your drivers get into any difficulty, so you can arrange for them to be assisted.

3. Use Telematics to Track Performance and Maintenance

The above features and more can be obtained as part of a telematics system. This is software that can be automated to whatever extent you require in order to help you manage the running of your vehicles.

An additional benefit of telematics is that you can log when your vehicles have last been serviced, and they’ll also tell you when they need maintaining in order to avoid breakdowns and elements of wear and tear becoming exacerbated.

4. Ensure Your Drivers are Fully Trained

It’s a good idea to make sure that your drivers are as knowledgeable about safe driving practices as possible. The software mentioned above can help you to keep an eye on the speeds at which they tend to drive, their fuel consumption and much more besides. However, speaking to them directly about how they as a team can improve their performance will also go a long way towards keeping them safe and ensuring that your fleet stays in good condition.

5. Make Sure Your Fleet is Properly Insured

Fully comprehensive cover is always the best choice for your vehicles – but it’s also possible to arrange fleet cover to ensure that all of your vehicles are insured as a group. Whatever combination of sizes, types and makes you utilise, insuring them all under one plan means there’s no danger of forgetting to renew – plus, it makes the process much more efficient.

So, in conclusion, you should opt for fleet maintenance and fleet insurance as a priority. Furthermore, it’s important to keep on top of driver training – plus, you may wish to invest in telematics and advanced communication software for a little something extra.

Image by Santa3 from Pixabay

What does the future of electric vehicles look like?

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What can we expect from our electric automobiles? Well, the concept of the electric car may have been around for over 100 years, but it’s only now that it is becoming a driving force in the car industry. With so many technological advances, cars are rapidly changing, with fully autonomous cars set to be rolled out by 2020. Lookers, who provide Mercedes Benz Serviceplans, take a further look… 

How possible is an all – electric future?

Last year, there was an 27% increase in purchasing electric cars compared to the previous year.  However, if the government is to reach its target of three out of five cars being electric in just over 10 years, it’s argued that more must be done to make this a reality. 

An all-electric future is likely to happen in the near future. Ministers were informed earlier this year that most new cars would have to be electric by 2030

In fact, the buzzword was ‘electrification’ at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. This meant that every car of a certain brand will be available in an electric version. While there are currently models, such as the smart caravailable under its umbrella, Mercedes, parent company, Daimler, announced at the German event that they too would have electric versions of its own fleet by 2022. There’s plenty available! 

However, this didn’t necessarily mean that they would be a fully electric battery-powered vehicle, as the term could also refer to hybrid models. 

Why are electric cars so popular?

Electric cars need a lot less maintenance care, as they have 10-times fewer moving parts to cars powered by diesel or petrol. Also, the prices are steadily coming down, making the initial outlay a lot less hefty. Another perk is that since electricity is a renewable energy, there will always be power available to utilise.

Why is an electric future becoming increasingly likely to happen? 

Protecting the environment has become a worldwide issue – and rightly so. Whether it’s cutting back on unnecessary plastic usage, or cutting back on emissions, creating a greener environment is at the forefront of our plans. 

Electric motors are widely seen as a way for us to improve the quality of our air and meet climate goals, and the production of new diesel and petrol cars is planned to cease by 2040. It has been proposed that these vehicles will be off the roads altogether 10 years later. With emission charges already in place in London, other major motorways, including the M4 and M32, are expected to start holding pollution taxes by 2020, meaning that you’ll need to switch to electric cars to avoid these costs.

Purchasing an electric car can personally save you money in the long term and Go Ultra Low also claims that a full charge could cost as little as £3, meaning it may cost approximately 3p per mile. 

What is being done to help with this?

It was reported in February last year that there were approximately 12,000 electric car charging points across the UK. By July this year, that figure had risen to over 17,000 across 6,000 locations, according to ZapMap

Worldwide, there are over two million ports, but for the public to go fully electric, this number will have to dramatically increase. Not only that, but there will have to be a lot more batteries produced, and the power to charge them would have to be generated somewhere.This highlights that EV charger installationis now a big part of the action plans for power companies as they bid to provide a low-carbon connection gateway.

It’s clear that, one day, there will be an all-electric future. Whether it happens in the time frame proposed, we will just have to wait and see!

Sources

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41268513

http://uk.businessinsider.com/google-apple-tesla-race-to-develop-driverless-cars-by-2020-2016-7?r=US&IR=T

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-42709763

www.alphr.com/cars/1008121/electric-and-hybrid-car-sales-hit-record-numbers-in-2017

https://www.goultralow.com/category/ownership/savings/

https://news.sky.com/story/petrol-and-diesel-cars-banned-from-uk-roads-by-2040-10962075

GUEST BLOG: Effectively managing driver risk by making safety part of every day

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By Andy Cuerden, Managing Director, Europe, eDriving

What do you do if a customer calls your company employee while they are driving?

An eDriving client recently shared a story about a customer calling their customer services department from a mobile phone while driving.

The customer services representative politely informed the customer: “I’m sorry, it is against our company policy to talk to customers when they are driving. Please call back when you’re not driving.” 

For eDriving, a risk management company with over 23 years of experience of working with fleets on a global scale, this story is an excellent real-world example of a safety culture successfully becoming part of an organisation’s DNA. Especially when you consider that, with a non-driving role, a customer services rep would not typically be part of a company’s road safety programme or subject to their mobile phone while driving/ distracted driving policies.

It clearly demonstrates that safe driving is top of the company’s agenda, across the whole organisation. And, despite the customer not being too impressed, the employee was fully supported by her line manager and leadership. 

The reason for sharing this story is to demonstrate that, while risk management might officially be the responsibility of your company’s health and safety, risk or fleet management departments; safety is in fact everyone’s responsibility. And that includes leadership. Regardless of job title, everyone wants to make it home safely at the end of every day and everyone therefore has a shared responsibility for your organisation’s safety mission. 

At eDriving we talk about working towards a crash-free culture®. That’s a culture in which risk  reduction efforts are at the forefront of your organisation’s activities and one that does not accept crashes as an inevitable part of driving for work. 

Making safety part of every day

Safety should be part of daily discussions, activities and meetings. It should also form part of performance reviews, annual conferences, etc. Any opportunity to bring safety to the table should be taken, so that it’s never seen as a “campaign”, or “tick-box” exercise. It must become a way of life. 

Driver policies, risk assessment and routine training should be standard, but these should be supplemented and supported by ongoing safety messaging that maintains or guides safer driving behaviours and quickly addresses risky behaviours before they become habits. In the digital age it’s relatively straightforward to communicate your safety goals, missions and objectives regularly. Think of different ways to engage employees; from email signatures to prizes for best performance, it all helps to keep the focus firmly fixed on driver safety. 

Start at the top

If creating a crash-free culture was easy, everyone would be doing it. It does take effort, but it’s worth it. Securing leadership backing is crucial for the messaging and commitment to work its way down – and across – your organisation’s hierarchy. 

Make sure all managers are on board and engaged, and give them the tools they need to communicate with their teams. Involve your customers and employees’ families wherever possible, who might include authorised drivers of company vehicles. Set goals, targets and produce analytics to measure progress. In-house attitude surveys will keep you on track, as well as informal discussions wherever possible.

It goes without saying that dialling into conference calls, sales or product development meetings while driving needs to become a thing of the past for ALL employees – yes you might experience pushback on this but if it’s company policy it’s important for everyone, at all levels, to live and breathe it.

And, interestingly, many of our clients report an increase in productivity, wellbeing, creativity and profitability when they prohibit the use of mobile phones while driving. 

Make use of actionable intelligence

While telematics data alone will not change driver behaviour, telematics data can provide helpful insights into how your crash-free culture and wider risk management programme is performing.

Acceleration, braking, cornering, speed vs. speed limit of the road, and distraction events data, combined with your drivers’ crash and licence endorsement history can help you to identify your most “at-risk” drivers for further support and coaching.

Similarly, this combination of data helps you to review the progress of your risk management programme and ensure that driver safety remains where it should be on your list of company priorities: right at the top, every day. 

About eDriving
eDriving helps organisations to reduce collisions, injuries, licence endorsements and total cost of ownership through a patented closed-loop driver behaviour-based safety programme that reduces collisions by up to 67% and provides ROI of 20-40%. 

Mentor by eDriving’s comprehensive systemprovides behavioural insights and actionable intelligence to help organisations build a total view of driver risk within a company-wide crash-free culture to ensure that all drivers return home safely to their loved ones at the end of each day. 

eDriving is the risk management partner of choice for many of the world’s largest and safest fleets, having served over 1 million drivers in 45 languages and 96 countries over its 23 years in the industry. eDriving’s programme has been recognised through 70+ client and partner awards around the world.