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Corporate manslaughter: firm charged with this offence in Lancashire

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 31, 2015 9:00:00 AM

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Baldwins Crane Hire has been charged with corporate manslaughter due to the death on the road of one of their drivers. It is the first firm to be charged with the new offence (enacted in 2008) where a company driver is killed. The driver, Lindsay Easton, was driving in Scout Moor, Lancashire, when his vehicle, a heavy crane, crashed and fell from the road, apparently due to a brake failure.
 
The firm has been charged with corporate manslaughter and offences under section 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974.
 
Since the introduction of corporate manslaughter legislation in 2008, only eight companies have been convicted under the law, of which two have been acquitted and four are awaiting trial.
 
According to the report, published 27th July on Fleet News, and to some experts’ view on the same, there have been few convictions under the act and only one of those resulted in the minimum £500,000 fine recommended by the guidelines.
 
Recent cases have seen fines ranging from £20,000 to £200,000, while publicity orders—where an organisation must advertise its failings through a public notice in the press—have only been ordered in just two cases.
 
Julia Messervy-Whiting, of  Shakespeare Martineau law firm, stated: “Prosecutors have faced quite a lot of criticism for failing to make more of what was considered to be landmark legislation.”
 
The CPS, responding to this pressure, are now looking to pursue more yearly cases, she suggested.
Furthermore, “It’s in this context that companies and their insurers shouldn’t dismiss the risk of prosecution,” she said.
 
New sentencing guidelines are also expected to be introduced in coming weeks seeking to impose much harder sanctions for corporate manslaughter and serious breaches of health and safety legislation.
 
 
 
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Topics: Safety, corporate manslaughter

Fleet Management Tips from the experts: boost safety and maintenance

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 29, 2015 9:00:00 AM

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As explained in previous blogs, fleet safety and maintenance should be a top priority, but in reality these activities are too frequently ignored for as long as possible, or put off, in a misguided attempt to cut costs.
 
If you manage a fleet, you need to prioritise these twin aspects and stop treating them as separate entities: what some managers fail to understand, is that if you regulate the maintenance system of your fleet and adopt a risk management programme into it, costs will automatically decrease, while safety for employees and other road users will increase.
 
So, are you looking for some sound fleet management tips with regards to setting up a risk management programme for your fleet? Do you need some advice on how it should be effectively implemented?
We recently hosted two webinars focussing on both these question; even if you had not signed up for (or missed) them, you can still watch the recording!  Want to know what you missed? Let’s take a look!
 
1 - Safety video
 
In this video, Deirdre Sinnott McFeat from the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland, in a discussion with our CEO Andrew Fleury, is detailing best practices for Risk Management in driving-for-work activities. In the video she covers legal imperatives for companies that drive for work, such as employer and employee’s duty of care; she explains how costs deriving from incidents can be reduced with a Risk Management Programme and where costs, in terms of incidents, originate.
2 - Maintenance video

In this video, Richard Cahill, fleet manager from Cork County Council, is interviewed by Andrew Fleury. The discussion covers the top challenges for fleet managers in terms of maintenance, how these challenges can be overcome, what is necessary in order to be law compliant (in terms of maintenance) and what are the most effective solutions when recording fleet maintenance and setting up a maintenance system and schedule.
 
 
 
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Topics: Fleet Management, Safety, fleet safety, fleet maintenance, maintenance

3 strategies for an efficient tyre management program

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 27, 2015 9:00:00 AM

When dealing with expenses related to vehicle maintenance, tyres usually count for around 20% of the total costs; it goes without saying that having a proper tyre management program in place is essential for an efficiently run fleet.
 
There are three strategies we want to share with you today on how to adequately maintain tyres and how, as a consequence, the costs of your fleet can be reduced—let’s have a look at them!
 
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#1 - Carefully select vehicle tyres
You should never choose the cheapest tyres—this should definitely not be the criterion that governs your selection. Purchasing cheap tyres does not necessarily mean cutting costs. All too often it is quite the opposite!
 
When selecting tyres for your fleet, consider the activity in which your vehicles are most likely to be engaged; the estimated mileage they are expected to travel; the weight of load your vehicles are likely to transport and the climatic conditions of the areas which they will be traveling. These are the most important criteria to bear in mind in order to choose the right product. If they are more expensive than expected, then remind yourself that these tyres will be longer lasting and better suited to the activity/journeys required.
 
#2 - Check tyre pressure
This aspect is extremely important—tyre manufacturers recommend a value regarding tyre pressure which you should always observe. The actual pressure will also depend on the load the vehicles are going to carry; it is necessary to double-check the pressure before travelling and verify it is correct. If the pressure is incorrect, fuel consumption will increase. Investing in all the tools necessary to maintain correct and accurate tyres pressure is crucial for the safety and efficiency of your fleet.
 
#3 - Verify wheel alignment
It is important that the vehicle’s wheels are correctly aligned, i.e. the wheels are parallel, this is necessary for safety both in regards to handling as well as preventing undue wear and tear on the tyres. Wheels have to be properly positioned—if you need to replace/change your tyres and after the change notice something amiss, verify the problem and, if necessary, request a service. Never take risks.
 
 
 
  How to effectively manage risks in drivingfor work activities - get the video!
 
 
 
 
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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet maintenance

This Saturday identified as the most dangerous day on the road

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 24, 2015 9:00:00 AM

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This year, Saturday July 25th, has been identified as the most dangerous day on the road. Saturday is predicted to be the busiest day on the road, as the first weekend of the schools’ summer break happens to coincide with most workers’ end of month pay-day.
 
Saturdays, according to research, are the worst days for accidents in the summertime, when distracted or impaired driving is most likely to happen. Furthermore, the busiest time on Saturday July 25th—the “accident hotspot”—will be 11.00 am.
 
Summer months have the highest rate of road accidents—families are more likely to travel at the same time, with their cars fully packed with children and luggage, and drivers will be even more stressed and distracted due to the higher number of equally stressed and distracted motorists they are expected to encounter on the road.
 
Despite the fact that winter months naturally present some challenging driving conditions (icy roads, fog, poor visibility and snow in some cases), higher numbers of accidents actually occur in the summer: around 27.5% more than in the winter season, according to data published by Fleet News.
 
Motorists should take extra care when starting their summer holidays and minimise dangerous driving habits such as distracted driving, road rage and failure to take appropriate rests. The most common cause of accidents is not adverse road conditions or lack of vehicle maintenance, but poor driving conduct.
 
 
 
 
 
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Topics: Road Safety, Safety

Why fleet safety has to be your top priority

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 22, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Management, including both corporate management as well as fleet managers of companies that have driving as one of their primary activities, do not consistently see safety as a top priority. While most appreciate that fleet safety should indeed be a top concern and some managers actually appear genuinely concerned and engaged, how often do words translate into action?

 

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More and more fleets are seeing increasing accident rates where the primary cause seems to be distraction; and accidents incur significant fleet costs, notwithstanding the most important costs in human terms: the potential fatalities, injuries and complications to drivers and other road users... The rate of fleet accidents is definitely controllable; and this is also an opportune area in which to cut costs. Companies’ liability is certainly getting increasing exposure; this is precisely why safety is starting to demand greater attention.
 
Are you really doing everything you can to make safety a priority in your business? Have a look at these points and see if there is room for improvement:
 
1 - Focus on drivers’ safety and not on the incidents
There are a number of accident management programs that mainly focus on reducing repair costs rather than the probability of vehicles collisions or other related incidents. Such programs are very effective at allocating resources/increasing savings, but not in improving drivers and employees’ safety. Are you doing enough to train your drivers to operate vehicles safely? Does safety have precedence over costs? In order to have an effective safety programme you need to focus on the drivers and not on the events.
 
2 - Do the right thing
Making fleet safety THE priority is simply the right thing to do. You have a duty to ensure the safety of not only your employees, but also the public with whom they interact. Your action (or inaction) can be the difference between preventing or contributing to a family tragedy—other than simply a moral imperative, it is also a legal one!
 
3 - Set up an accident reviews committee
Reviewing each accident in order to determine the possibility of imposing company penalties for violations, as well as implementing post-incident training for drivers, is surely something to consider as well as incorporating a risk management program. Make sure the committee includes human resources, a representative from the drivers, and somebody who oversees the company’s legal aspects.
 
4 - Make sure communication is efficient
Ensure the safety program is made public throughout the company and you set up rules on exactly how it will be communicated to drivers, their managers, and senior managers within the drivers' department. The safety message must be repeated often enough by the fleet manager as well as drivers' managers.
 
5 - Make use of technology for tracking data and reporting events and driving behaviour
The implementation of telematics is an excellent boost for your fleet safety, as you can not only detect dangerous driving habits but also secure insurance discounts and decrease the costs in injuries and downtime… Want to know more? Just let us know and schedule a free demo...
 
 
  How to effectively manage risks in drivingfor work activities - get the video!
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Topics: Safety

4 ways of reducing fuel costs with fleet management software

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 20, 2015 9:00:00 AM

It’s probably not the first time we mention this, and it probably won’t be the last, but it’s important to reinforce the concept: reducing fuel costs or fleet costs in general does not necessarily mean seeking a reduction in the price we pay for a service or on any purchases pertaining to a business whose principle activity involves driving.
 
Reducing fuel costs is one of the main targets for a fleet manager, but it is often a challenging one as fuel prices are constantly changing and it is something that doesn't easily lend itself to the allocation of a fixed budget.
 
So, if we have reached a dead end as regards to reducing the price of fuel, we shall have to look into alternative ways of cutting fuel costs. Fleet management solutions provide the technology to support the implementation of best practices, and is, therefore, capable of dramatically impacting your overall fuel consumption and costs.
 
You’ll probably want to know how...

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#1 - Reduce idling time

You might not notice, or overly care, how much idling can affect the fuel economy on your personal vehicle, but think about a fleet of even a few vehicles—every second of idling time translates to fuel costs, and simply has to be avoided! With a proper fleet management system you can get alerts on idling and let your drivers know that this practice should be avoided. They also might think, as individuals, that it’s not a big deal to leave the vehicle running for a few minutes, but collectively it significantly impacts on overall fuel consumption.   

#2 - Reduce out-of-route mileage

Do you plan your drivers’ routes appropriately? Are your drivers making any diversions when they travel? If you eliminate all unnecessary mileage you will surely notice the benefits in terms of fuel expenses. A complete fleet management solution would be your ideal companion in achieving this objective. With the driving history facility you will be able to identify the most effective route for your drivers, and prevent vehicle misuse.

#3 - Locate nearest vehicle option

If you need to send one of your drivers to a place and want to do it in a way that does not have an impact on your overall fuel consumption, how is it achieved? You could of course spend some time calling your drivers to check their position… or you could use this convenient software option in order to quickly assess which driver is best to send according to their geographical proximity.

#4 - Driving style monitoring

Safe driving does not only help fuel economy, it has a dramatic impact on it! If you are able to monitor the driving style of your team and detect dangerous driving habits such as harsh braking, speeding and rapid acceleration, thanks to a fleet management system, you will then be able to correct your driver’s style, not only making it safer but you will also notice the drop in fuel costs.

 

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

How data can help you operate a successful fleet

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 17, 2015 9:00:00 AM

In a former blog post we dealt with data and its importance in creating options from which a fleet manager is able to choose the best ones as part of the decision-making process.
 
Today we concentrate on how to make concrete use of the fleet data at your disposal (the optimal solution would be having real, updated data from the whole fleet—something that only a complete fleet management tool like SynX can provide) in order to operate a successful fleet.
 

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1 - Data helps you improve your fleet’s safety
 
Real data can make your fleet more secure: fleet management software monitors dangerous driving, idling events, vehicle misuse and can also prevent theft. The data provided by the system can help fleet managers identify trends or patterns that need to be corrected or even avoided in order to improve fleet safety.
 
2 - Data helps you address problems before they become major issues
 
Even the smallest issue, if not dealt with, can quickly turn into a big one. If issues are left unchecked or defects are not repaired, they can easily become a costly problem. The same is true for driving style or habits—which can be nipped in the bud before becoming a serious risk and/or translating into costs. A system of alerts, like the one a fleet management solution provides you, can help guarantee problems are dealt with quickly—preventing them from growing.
 
3 - Data ensures assets are optimised in their use
 
If you manage a fleet, you might easily lose track of how vehicles are used and how much they are costing. But if you get complete data you can ensure assets are used to their full potential: some vehicles may be used less than you actually realise and in need of reassigning—all vehicles can be monitored in this way—or the maintenance of some vehicles could be unexpectedly expensive; if you can actually see what is going on, you are better placed to decide whether or not to replace them.
 
4 - Data helps in good decision-making
 
If you have comprehensive data on fuel consumption, safety and vehicle usage as well as maintenance costs, this can help you when planning for new vehicle purchases—choosing the right type of vehicle for your fleet without wasting money.
 
 
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Topics: Fleet Management

Sharing the road with cyclists: summer road safety tips

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 15, 2015 9:00:00 AM

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Summer is here: that might not necessarily mean we are experiencing continuous sunshine or the warmest of weather, but it is definitely the season when kids enjoy their longest school break. As a consequence this is generally a busy time on the roads as people are either driving to their holiday destination or around the local area once they arrive; there is also a marked increase in the number of cyclists.
 
We need to attune our driving habits to the “summer scenario”, so here are some general summer road safety tips, some for drivers and some more specific to cyclists (who are particularly active during this time of year). Many accidents occur in the summer so it is never a bad thing to remind ourselves to pay particular attention to the road during this period.
 
As the driver you alone are responsible for practising safe driving habits and guaranteeing not only your safety but that of your passengers and other road users as well, so make sure you follow these basic road safety rules:
 
1 - Drive at a safe speed—speed is one of the primary causes of incidents.
2 - Respect distances by leaving yourself at least three seconds behind vehicles you may be following.
3 - Pay special attention to other road users such as:
  • Kids who are on summer vacation.
  • Motorcyclists and cyclists who can be easily hidden among other vehicles.
  • Workers operating in construction zones and on the public highway.
  • Other drivers that may be driving erratically.
4 - Eliminate distractions—we often talk about drivers’ distraction as a contributing factor in the occurrence of accidents.
 
Cycling: cyclists are entitled to road space as much as cars, vans, goods vehicles or indeed any other vehicle on the road. Drivers should share the roads safely with cyclists, who are especially vulnerable road users.
 
Drivers need to properly observe the road at all times and alert to the presence of cyclists, be they commuters, shoppers, families or racing groups.
 
Some pointers to remember:
• anticipate cyclists at junctions and check the various driver blind spots;
• also check mirrors and blind spots when getting out of a parked vehicle to avoid the risk of ‘dooring’ a cyclist who might be passing by;
• allow plenty of space when overtaking a cyclist, particularly when they are cycling in groups or two abreast;
• be respectful of cyclists and mindful of how they use the road. We all share the road, and if we are considerate to each other, we’ll see fewer needless accidents and deaths.
 
 
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Topics: Road Safety

What if the Fleet Manager is not the decision-maker...

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 13, 2015 9:00:00 AM

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We cannot emphasise enough just how stressful the challenges are that fleet managers have to face every day. The fleet manager’s daily responsibilities not only include dealing with drivers, HR and Health and Safety staff, but also Head Management.
 
Managers, of course, are likely to have the greatest input into decision-making when it comes to funding, or governing the structure of big fleets, or instigating global changes that have an effect on the whole company.
 
Their presence can assist fleet managers, but they can also be guilty of interfering. At the end of the day fleet managers are specialists, experts in what they do, and sometimes the requests of an intervening manager can lead to frustration.
 
Here are a few tips that might help you as a fleet manager deal successfully with Head Management:
 
1 - Deal with management conscientiously. Make time to prepare yourself properly before you deal with directors: schedule meetings and develop relationships, keeping everyone informed on major decisions, and your reasons behind them.
 
2 - Have data prepared and an analysis of your fleet during the previous years, also have information on vehicle selections to hand and fleet policies, especially if the manager is new. Make sure, in any case, that you have the numbers ready.
 
3 - Be sure you know exactly who belongs to the management committee and that you are familiar with the sensitive areas in which they are most likely to intervene in the decision-making process.
 
With all the preparation done properly, you will hopefully find that management is just another part of the team with whom you have to collaborate from time to time.
Fleet Maintenance Guide
 
 
 
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Topics: Fleet Management

Choosing the right fleet vehicle and keeping everybody happy

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 10, 2015 9:00:00 AM

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The process of choosing which vehicles you should use for your fleet can be anything but simple. Part of the process of selecting vehicles is making choices based on good cost/benefits ratio, efficiency, safety, and so on… but another important aspect of the decision making process, without sounding too flaky, is all about keeping everyone in the company happy.
 
Fleet managers are already multitasking individuals who need, especially in this field, to apply a little diplomacy and psychology to many of the situations they will have to face.
 
As we explained in our former articles concerning fleet managers’ responsibilities, it is necessary to cope with the requirements of senior managers as well as winning the approval of their own team, especially the drivers. On one side, management has its own preferences regarding fleet vehicle make, model and, of course, in determining a budget (that could easily be based on subjective personal experience rather than from metrics). On the other side, drivers also have their biases and are generally none too shy of letting you know which kind of vehicle they prefer.
 
Vehicles themselves have to be chosen carefully, the potential for mechanical problems needs to be considered, as does fuel efficiency, the scope of the vehicle and the possible routes that the vehicle will be expected to undertake.
 
So how could you actually choose what is best for everyone?
 
Don’t follow personal biases; always strive to choose what is best for the company. If you have to submit a proposal to management, provide numbers in order to negate their personal preferences, as well. Think about drivers’ preferences in extreme cases—if drivers are very tall or of a significant weight and actually would need a bigger vehicle to work.
 
If you have demonstrated your experience and skills and documented your analysis carefully, senior management will respect your proposals and are, therefore, likely to back off.
 
If, in the fleet, you use different types of vehicles, you could provide drivers with multiple options in order to reduce possible complaints (so far as it is compatible with the broader demands of the fleet and doesn’t affect overall efficiency).
 
We know choosing the right vehicle is not the easiest thing, as well as keeping it roadworthy and maintained or understanding if it is still efficient or not. That’s why we created SynX – to provide you with the real numbers in order to make informed decisions. Contact us and see how SynX can point your fleet in the right direction!

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

About this blog

Welcome to the SynX blog!

Here is where we post all our latest and greatest tips and info on best practices for fleet management. Everything you need to know on fuel, safety, maintenance plus news and reviews. Subscribe to get the latest news and feel free to comment on any of our posts or give your feedback!

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