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Redstone Rail enhances driver safety

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Real-time audible feedback proves incredibly effective in changing driver behaviour in less than two weeks. Redstone Rail Ltd, a market leader in the supply of specialist engineering resource to the Rail industry, has announced that it has installed Lightfoot’s award-winning in-cab technology across its fleet of 30 commercial vehicles.

Introduced to ensure enhanced safety, Lightfoot’s driver behaviour technology has seen an immediate improvement in driver awareness and performance, while increasing MPG by 5.3%. 

Redstone Rail enhances driver safety.

Roger Bullivant Ltd gains massive benefit from Lightfoot

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Using Lightfoot’s industry-leading driver rewards platform, Roger Bullivant Ltd  has vastly reduced instances of poor or dangerous driving, significantly reduced vehicle idling by 7% and increased MPG by 8%, directly resulting in fuel savings worth thousands of pounds per month. 

Impressed by the impact that the in-cab device, app and rewards platform has had on its drivers, Roger Bullivant Ltd recommended that the technology was installed to commercial vehicles used by other Soletanche Freyssinet Group companies including Bachy Soletanche, Sixense Limited and Vibro Menard.

To read more about the partnership and how Lightfoot can help your fleet, click here.

SEAT experimenting with driver fatigue detection tech

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SEAT is experimenting with technology that studies a driver’s eyes and head movement to detect if they’re falling asleep, as part of its Xplora innovation hub initiative and ongoing partnerships with Israeli start ups.

The manufacturer has partnered with Eyesight Technologies, which uses advanced computer vision and artificial intelligence to improve road safety.

The firm, based in Tel Aviv, has developed an algorithm which analyses the eye openness, angle of vision, blink rate and head position of the driver, along with other visual attributes.

In the event it detects that the driver is drowsy, asleep or perhaps distracted by their mobile phone, it will trigger an alert.

The technology can also identify the driver from previous trips and adjust the seats, mirrors, heating settings and other cabin features according to their personal preferences.

SEAT says that eventually the software will be able to detect pedestrians and analyse whether the driver has spotted them as well.

Stefan Ilijevic, the Head of Product Innovation at SEAT, said: “In total more than 90 per cent of the road accidents in Europe are caused by human factor.

“The main reasons include distraction and tiredness, excessive speed and alcohol and drugs.

“At SEAT we are working on solutions to prevent negligence behind the steering wheel and significantly reduce road accidents.

“We partner with some of the world’s brightest companies on important technology to save lives, since our long-term vision is a world with zero accidents.”

Eyesight Technologies is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, with the Mediterranean city a hotspot for tech companies – boasting 6,600 startups, 800 of which are dedicated to the car industry.

Another firm working with SEAT is Gauzy, which has developed an active glazing technology that adapts to the weather conditions.

SEAT say it could give the driver the ability to darken windows, within legal limits, to avoid being dazzled by the sun, and lighten the windows in darker environments and weather conditions.

Gauzy was started in the kitchen of one of its founders, who was looking for a way to make windows more private.

In fact, it seems Israel is a bit of a hot spot for automotive innovation – there are currently 6,600 startups in Israel, 800 of which are dedicated to the automotive industry.

SEAT launched Xplora with Champion Motors, which is the Volkswagen Group’s brand importer in Israel, and in two years has worked with more than 200 emerging Israeli businesses.

Their team is responsible for finding solutions that enhance well-being and safety, cybersecurity, sustainability and artificial intelligence.

The aim is to carry out at least 10 proofs of concept every year to test how selected innovations would adapt in vehicles and services.

Aitor Aizkorreta, the Head of Scouting for SEAT in Israel, said: “This concentration of emerging companies makes Tel Aviv one of the easiest global innovation hubs to explore for solutions that improve our cars and services.”

Ilijevic added: “If you want to be a leader of the disruption in the car industry instead of a spectator, then not only do you have to be in Tel Aviv, but in the world’s other major technology hubs as well.

“If we want to shape the future, we have to be in the most innovative ecosystems.

“It not only enables you to be the first and apply new technologies, but you can also attract the best talent, as they want to work in companies that are spearheading change.”

Coach your drivers to safety and success with a managed service video-based safety programme

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Hundreds of thousands of drivers are coached every day, (by thousands of driver trainers/coaches), using the SmartDrive® video-based safety programme. As experts on the impact of reducing risk through coaching and the resulting improvement of a fleet’s safety metrics, SmartDrive provides insights on how to put the power of coaching to use in commercial fleets, helping businesses to save lives, save jobs and save money.

The SmartDrive video-based safety programme 

SmartDrive’s experience with thousands of fleets globally, and its analysis of more than 250 million video events from commercial fleets, gives it specific insights into:

  • The shifting attitudes of drivers to safety initiatives before and after the implementation of video-based safety systems
  • The matrix of contextual data which gives fleets a genuine and detailed analysis of risk
  • The safety, financial, cultural and staff development benefits of safety interventions.

The SmartDrive programme is centred on triggered video events, which are caused by specific vehicle actions, such as harsh braking, sudden course corrections, high impact shocks, etc. Triggered video is 20-seconds in length, typically 10 seconds either side of the event.  This is uploaded automatically via the cellular network, along with GPS positioning and base telematics data, to SmartDrive’s own review centre, where it is reviewed by its highly trained safety team.  There is also an extended recording option to put greater context around an event. 

The footage is analysed against dozens of pre-determined ‘observations’ or driver behaviours and assigned a risk-score, personalised to the individual fleets’ corporate policies. This is then fed back to the customer via a dedicated, secure on-line portal, for use in driver coaching, as well as providing an extensive suite of KPI reporting, that can be drilled up or down, from company, to depot or division, to driver.  

Critical events, such as high-impact collisions can be set to trigger an immediate alert to relevant parties. Drivers can also manually trigger footage capture if necessary.

The riskiest video events, in line with the fleets’ own operating policies, are added automatically to the coaching workflow in the on-line portal.  This provides a focussed coaching workflow to guide the trainer in objective discussions with the driver. All this without the need to review hundreds of videos first – SmartDrive does all the ‘heavy lifting’ for you. 

To find out more download our free eBook, ‘The Importance of a Managed Service to an Effective Coaching Programme’ from the resource centre on our website. 

DriveTech adds to training portfolio with new “Driving Stress” workshop

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The stress of everyday life, both work and personal, can often contribute to feeling tense on the road too.

Plenty of time is spent analysing fuel efficiencies and maintenance of vehicles but we often forget the most important element, the driver.

Driving stress is doing much more harm than you think. Commuting by car while stressed can increase the risk of being involved in an accident.

But it gets worse – driving itself can further contribute to stress, causing a detrimental effect on personal health, as well as lowering job and life satisfaction.

Most of us can relate to the feeling of being stuck in traffic and the inability to do anything – even after the traffic light in front of you changes to green. This scenario can hugely elevate stress levels.

2-Hour Driving Stress Workshop by DriveTech

The newest addition to DriveTech’s fleet risk management and driver training portfolio of courses is designed to help overcome stressful driving situations by encouraging problem solving, planning and positive reframing of stressors.

DriveTech, part of the AA, is a leading provider of fleet and driver risk management services and offers a range from licence checking to fleet risk health checks to online and on road assessments and training – all helped to support the business to provide a duty of care, conform to Health & Safety legislation, and keep their drivers safe whilst reducing costs.

It is appreciated that personnel responsible for fleet and the driving community itself have busy schedules. This workshop to last just 2 hours – hopefully not adding to much additional burden and stress onto the participants!

With a recommended 20 people per session, fleet operators could potentially arrange for 60 company drivers to attend this course in one day.

As part of the course deliverables, at the end of the course, participants will be able to:

– describe why driving can be stressful

– identify the main elements that can cause stress in driving

– understand how stress can have a negative effect on their abilities to drive safely

– list common issues which can make them feel stressed

– describe some physical symptoms of stress

– recognise how driving stress can escalate into potential conflict with over road users

– acknowledge the fact everyone will experience stress at times

– explain how sometimes driving stress can be good

– list how to avoid stress on the road both from their perspective and that of other road users

Find out more on the DriveTech website – here: 

https://www.drivetech.co.uk/news-and-resources/take-the-stress-free-road

or call 01256 610907 or email tellmemore@drivetech.co.uk.

Reducing collisions and increasing driver safety

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A video-based safety programme cuts incidents and helps with fast and efficient management when they happen.

Commercial fleets and drivers have a tough job on the road and around the vehicle. Balancing legislative compliance, safety requirements and collision avoidance is not only challenging, it can also drain financial resources and increase operating costs. 

SmartDrive enables fleets to reduce the frequency, severity and financial impact of collisions. With the combination of video, driving intelligence, vehicle data and personalised performance profiles, SmartDrive’s video-based driver risk management programme gives fleets a comprehensive view of risky driving. It provides the right tools to reduce preventable collisions and exonerate not-at-fault drivers – all through an easy-to-use, fully-managed service. 

When collisions do occur, SmartDrive gives management, safety personnel and drivers a true understanding of what really happened. This helps determine causality, reduces liability and minimises fraudulent claims. The captured and analysed video also guides constructive feedback to drivers to help them operate their vehicles as safety and efficiently as possible.

Prevention is real and proven

Research shows that, on average, for every 300 unsafe driving acts, a fleet will experience 29 minor collisions and one major one. The key to eliminating collisions is in tackling the unsafe behaviours. Video-based safety provides a cost-effective, approach to identify and coach risky driving behaviour out of your fleet. In addition to reducing collision frequency, it helps fleets reduce ‘bad costs’ in terms of decreased liability and vehicle damage. It also helps improve claims accuracy and speeds resolution. Implemented properly, driver safety and security are quickly improved and drivers feel more secure in the knowledge that the system will help exonerate them when they’re not at fault. Furthermore, by focussing on developing safer and more anticipative driving across the fleet, operators can see savings in both maintenance and fuel expenses. SmartDrive provides expert analysis, with a prioritised coaching queue, that is specific to a fleet’s compliance and operating practices. It is accessible via a secure and dedicated online portal, so fleet managers and driver trainers/coaches can access a full suite of management and KPI reports to enable them to work proactively with their drivers.

To find out more email info@smartdrive.net, visit the Resource Centre on our website or give us a call on 01442 345180. 

Dangerous driving: 5 risk factors at the wheel

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Road accidents are the leading work-related fatality and a crucial issue for businesses that manage a fleet. At Masternaut, a Michelin Group company we have conducted a study based on over four million driving hours to identify and help you avoid the most common dangers behind the wheel.

Take a look at some of our key findings in the Dangerous driving: the biggest risk factors whitepaper or get in touch for more information on how you can manage the safety of your fleet.

The data collected:

  • > 50 000 vehicles observed
  • 4M hours of driving analysed
  • 192,5M km travelled
  • 15 variables studied
  • > 9M datapoints collected

Download the whitepaper

At Masternaut, a Michelin Group company, our purpose is to provide sustainable mobility through connected vehicle technology. As one of Europe’s largest fleet management service providers, with leading positions in the UK and France, we provide connected solutions for fleet tracking and optimisation, jobs management, driver safety and behaviour improvement, and CO2 emission reduction.

We believe every business is sitting on unrealised potential. Hidden in your data are insights that have the power to transform your fleet – and possibly even your business. We specialise in revealing these transformative insights so you can turn them to your advantage, helping you save money, boost your productivity, improve safety and security, delight your customers and ensure the sustainability of your business. 

GUEST BLOG: A momentary lapse in concentration

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By Colin Paterson, Head of Marketing, DriveTech (UK) Limited

I’m not entirely sure how I got there but on one of my frequent (and repetitive) motorway drives to and from work I got sandwiched between two larger vehicles on a stretch of ‘SMART’ motorway with four lanes running  – one HGV in lane 1, a van in lane 3 and me between them in lane 2.

It was busy and the van in lane 3 was suddenly slowing unpredictably (maybe the driver was immediately distracted by something – a mobile phone for instance). I was keen to go past and make progress but I sensed I was not at 100% concentration level for such a driving task in hand and of course needed to slow, move out to the fourth lane and then accelerate past the van to observe highway code laws and achieve this passing manoeuvre safely.

All of a sudden there was a sense of intimidation with these larger vehicles either side. But what was happening in terms of my concentration (never mind those other road users)? Pressure of some imminent deadlines at work (this article included!), the remote chance of my football team returning to glory and winning the Premiership title once at last, and with four children, there’s always some form of family challenge in the background too!

I’d somehow found myself in a position on road I wanted to change. How and when did that circumstance emerge, why didn’t I appreciate it sooner, why hadn’t I been more observant and planned? And why was the lorry driver distracted? He or she should have known better! I could feel a change in mood. Those vehicles are big, intimidating and frighteningly heavier than my passenger car. Do they even have clear and all-round visibility to see me?

A momentary lapse in concentration – I guess we all do it – car drivers, van drivers, truck drivers, bus and coach drivers – and other more vulnerable road users too – cyclists, motorcyclists. 

Maybe there’s an even greater likelihood of being in that state if I was in control of an autonomous vehicle when suddenly jolted back into the urgent need to take back direct control from the road equivalent of ‘auto-pilot’? But that’s for another piece some other future time!

Back to basics – good competent and regular driver training is good for you!

At DriveTech we use C.O.A.S.T. (Concentration, Observation, Anticipation, Speed, Time) as one mnemonic to support our professional driver training and for drivers of cars, trucks, vans, 4x4s and more – in fact anyone driving for or on business – these memory prompts are really useful to keep focus and do what is important – to make progress but safely, reducing risk wherever feasible. 

It’s just really important to instil these, and other, driving skills and behaviours so they become habitual, and remind those that are higher risk of best practice (or those that just slip into bad habits). Regular assessments and driver coaching interventions are incredibly valuable and can prove so on the bottom line as well as on immediate safety performance and in demonstrating a real duty of care to driving staff.

DriveTech offer a wide range of driver risk profiling, driver assessment, driver training and driver risk management services and we’re proud of what we do to help our business customers and improve road safety. 

We’ve currently got some mobile adverts roving the country to promote DriveTech and spread the road safety word – so how’s YOUR Driving?

Find out more: www.drivetech.co.uk,  tel 01256 610907, email: tellmemore@drivetech.co.uk

Brits want electric cars to sound like… cars

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A new survey has revealed that British road users want electric cars to sound like cars to ensure safety for pedestrians and other road users.

The survey, conducted by Venson Automotive Solutions, found that 43 percent of drivers would prefer a noise that mimics the sound of a conventional petrol or diesel engine on an electric vehicle, particularly when driven at low speed, while 23 percent would prefer a continuous low decibel sound. 

The findings come as manufacturers work to meet new legal requirements for all new hybrid and EVs to incorporate an acoustic vehicle alert system (AVAS) – From July 1, 2019, all new electric cars sold in the EU have to be fitted with AVAS and all existing models by July 2021.

70 percent of those polled also preferred a horn sound similar to that made by a conventional petrol or diesel engine, along with 72 percent admitting they felt that all electric vehicle sounds should be standardised.

Under EU law, from 2021, EV drivers will be able to manually trigger a warning sound, as in a horn but less urgent, to alert pedestrians and road users of their presence. 70 percent surveyed said they would like to hear a horn sound similar to that made by a petrol or diesel engine vehicle. 

Just 13 percent wanted to hear a phrase such as ‘EV approaching’, however, 6 percent would prefer an animal sound like a roar, bark or quack instead of a traditional vehicle horn.

Alison Bell, Marketing Director for Venson Automotive Solutions, said: “The integration of AVAS into hybrid and electric vehicles is a very positive move.  Almost silent electric and hybrid cars put vulnerable road users at risk, especially children, the partially sighted and blind. As more fleet drivers opt for emission-free electric models, with the introduction of zero BIK tax from April 2020, they will be relieved to know that with the introduction of AVAS their choice will no longer put road users at risk.

“With over 100 years of petrol and diesel engine sounding vehicles on our roads, people naturally react to the sound of an approaching vehicle or a horn being sounded. Keeping sounds we are used to hearing on UK roads makes the most sense when it comes to road safety and saving lives.”

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

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