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Protect your vehicle and belongings: some tips for drivers and fleet managers

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 18, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Protect your vehicle and belongings some tips for drivers and fleet managers

From the smallest to the biggest fleets, getting a vehicle stolen is something that can have a dramatic impact on your budget and workload. Just as a vehicle is taken off the road due to a maintenance problem or after an accident, when a vehicle is stolen we unfortunately cannot only worry about its market value, but are forced to assess all of the financial implications associated with losing such an asset: the need for a replacement (whether permanent or transitional), the need for a quick solution right after the crisis to securing a replacement and, in some cases, having to worry about the items that were inside the vehicle.

Vehicle theft is still a significant issue. In Ireland, it has been calculated that in 2015 the vehicle theft rate amounted to an average of 137.6 cases for every 100,000 of the population. According to data shared covering the period 2017/2018, there were over 106,000 vehicle thefts in England and Wales, showing an increase of almost 15,000 cases when compared with the previous year—an eight year high for this type of crime. The number of motor theft claims paid by insurers in the first quarter of this year in the UK were at their highest for any quarter since 2012.

We’d like to share ten top tips to minimise the risks connected with vehicle theft.

#1 – Nothing is too obvious. Lock the vehicle’s doors, windows and then double-check. Precautions are never too fussy. You would be surprised at just how many times negligence or inattention can lead to theft.

#2 – Maintain your vehicles. Locking systems are part of the maintenance of a vehicle. If you regularly take care of your assets, you can minimise the possibility of a theft.

#3 – Do not leave any belongings in the vehicle. Electronic devices (laptops and tablets) top the ranking of the most robbed items from a vehicle. The simple fact of leaving something visibly in your company car might tempt opportunistic thieves.

#4 – Do the same for your working tools whenever possible. If this isn’t practical, ensure that the method you use for storing tools in your vehicle is some kind of secure locker with a number combination that is sturdy enough to discourage all but the most determined thieves.

#5 – Use some permanent marking on your belongings. You should consider using an invisible identifiable marker on your tools and equipment that is visible under ultra-violet light—it can make them much easier to trace and their ownership indisputable, should they be stolen.

#6 – Consider investing in an alarm. Particularly noisy and sensitive alarms can be a great deterrent to thieves.

#7 – Low budget? Maybe even just an alarm sticker is worth a try. Display that on your vehicles; it might surprise you how effective it can be...

#8 – Look into installing a dashcam. They not only offer a viewpoint of the external environment so you can easily check for any suspicious activity around your vehicle by prospective thieves, but they could also help in the event of an accident and also help improve safety for your drivers.

#9 – Check out telematics. If you haven’t already done so—and you might be one of the very last ones!— check out the installation of vehicle tracking and telematics to locate your vehicles at any given time, 365 days a year. You can even get started with our free trial.

#10 – Park your vehicles in a secure area (assuming they aren’t in the depot) that is busy during the day and preferably well-lit and as busy as possible at night.

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Costs, Fleet Management

FTA Logistics Report 2019: insights on the status of logistics in the UK

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 13, 2019 9:00:00 AM

FTA Logistics Report 2019 insights on the status of logistics in the UK

The Freight and Transport Association (FTA) has recently launched the 2019 Logistics Report, a work born out of a partnership between Santander Corporate and Commercial, which collects the opinions of more than 500 freight and logistics businesses operating in the UK and internationally, to provide industry insight into the latest political and economic developments.

The Report is particularly significant as the UK finds itself in challenging times, where technology is expanding on different levels in the logistics sector, but on the other hand the shadow of Brexit creates huge uncertainty on the future of businesses within the transport sector.

The report, downloadable at https://fta.co.uk/logisticsreport, is divided into sections covering the different aspects of logistics, from which we reveal some of the insights in this article:

The sector as a whole

According to the FTA report, the logistics industry has added around 200,000 jobs, particularly in storage and warehousing, with the latter registering huge growth. On the other hand, both HGV and LGV registrations fell again for the second year in a row.

Competitiveness

The report reveals the importance of the logistics sector in the UK being ranked the eighth most competitive nation in the world out of 140 countries, falling from sixth place.

International trade

An interesting result from the report, especially in light of Brexit, was that the EU accounts for 54.4% of UK goods imported and 48.8% of UK goods exported in 2018.

Labour and skills

Despite the growth in the global number of people working in the sector, the shortage in key roles continues. The report anticipates 15% of current vacancies for HGV drivers will not be filled; and for a further 36% of current vacancies, they anticipate a long delay to find the right candidate. There is also a global shortage of van drivers, warehouse staff, fitters, technicians and mechanics. And, according to respondents, more than half (52.7%) of vacancies for vehicle mechanics, technicians and fitters will not be filled in the near future.

The report also recorded a significant fall of 37% in the number of new logistics apprenticeships, as young people have been attracted to other industries.

Sustainability

With regards to sustainability, despite the creation of clean air zones and the obligations to respect emission targets, according to the forecasts of the report, 24 out of 28 UK urban areas will exceed legal limits for nitrogen dioxide.

Of the respondents in the 2018/2019 FTA survey, 30% indicated they were considering using alternative fuel sources for their van or HGV fleets in 2019.

Safety and innovation

Together with the continuous accent on IoT (Internet of Things) and autonomous vehicles, the sector has seen a continuation in the downward trend of fatal accidents per vehicle km for both HGVs and vans. The total economic cost of workplace injury and new cases of work-related ill health in transportation and storage was £866m (€ 973m), with injury costing £444m (€498m) and illness accounting for £422m (€474m).

 

 

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Topics: News, Stats & Facts

The A-Z series of fleet management: O for Odometer—a key piece of the puzzle

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 11, 2019 9:01:00 AM

The A-Z series of fleet management O for Odometer a key piece of the puzzle

Our A-Z series today focusses on something we all take for granted as it is an essential component of any vehicle—the odometer. This instrument, integral in every vehicle, continually logs the distances that a vehicle travels and displays it digitally. But rather than just functioning as a basic mile/km counter, the humble odometer can provide you with the all the data necessary to better manage your vehicles.

#1 – Age and value of your vehicle. The odometer reading and particularly the number of kilometres travelled is key to establishing the value of a vehicle and whether it is still a suitable asset for your business but possibly requiring rotation within your company, for example. Getting odometer information and supporting it with other types of vehicle data related to its performance might help you succeed in the remarketing process or, if you are buying, complete a successful purchase as you have plenty of reliable information upon which to base your decision.

#2 – Maintenance milestones. When we think about odometer readings and vehicle manuals, we immediately think about regular checks that need to be completed once a specific distance is covered. In order to remember when these checks have to be done, it is essential to check the odometer or set up alerts so you can schedule them at the appropriate time. The odometer information in this case is paramount to keeping your vehicle maintained and roadworthy.

#3 – Fuel consumption. It is no easy task keeping an eye on everything, but you should definitely make sure your odometer reading is noted every time your vehicles are filled at the pump and see how much the purchased fuel is lasting and how much your vehicle is consuming. From there you can actually check if there is any action you can take towards saving more fuel.

#4 – Starting and finishing a job. When your drivers are heading to a specific site to carry out a job to completion, it would doubtless be of benefit to record the odometer reading for efficiency purposes. But it can get complicated and prone to errors if done manually. On the other hand, extracting the same data from a vehicle onsite or offsite can be done without your drivers wasting time on tedious admin tasks.

The odometer value is extremely important of course, and delivers instant data in key fields; but if you multiply the time spent on checking each odometer reading by the number of vehicles and drivers you have, things can easily get out of hand.

If you have an automated system able to capture vehicle data and cross-check it with your odometer, you will be in best possible position to take full advantage of all the relevant information without having to worry about getting accurate data manually. There are systems that can be set up and can do the work for you. Contact us if you have any questions and if you wish to learn more from your vehicles and their odometers...

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, GPS & Tracking

Impaired driving summer crackdown: drink driving and drug driving in the crosshairs

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 6, 2019 9:03:00 AM

Impaired driving summer crackdown: drink driving and drug driving in the crosshairs

A drink driving crackdown this summer has kicked off in the UK this June as it can be a bad month for such offenses: according to data by AlcoSense Laboratories and shared by Fleet News, 1 in 10 motorists tested positive in June 2017 during a similar operation carried out in England and Wales, when around 36,000 drivers were tested (average number tested per month is around 24,000, excluding the Christmas period).

Statistics indicate a spike in drink driving during the month of June that coincides with warmer weather—motorists seem more inclined to drink drive and place themselves at risk during this period. Of the drink driving convictions recorded in June 2017, 17.8% of them fall under the definition of ‘morning after’. The record for most stopped belongs to Merseyside (3010 breathalysed drivers) and the number of people killed in road accidents where the driver was over the drink drive limit has risen by an alarming 45% in only two years. Figures released by the Department for Transport in February suggested there were 290 such deaths in 2017, compared with 200 in 2015.

As for impaired driving, in Ireland the RSA is continuing the drug driving awareness campaign launched in 2017 (as driving under the influence of drugs has been a statutory offence since 1961, but it was not until April 2017 that an effective drug testing method was introduced roadside and in Garda stations), focussing particularly on the beginning of June (and on the bank holiday weekend just gone). The Irish Medical Bureau of Road Safety has reported a rise of approximately 43% in the number of blood and urine specimens received for alcohol and drugs testing in the first four months of the year when compared to the same period in 2018. Data shared by An Garda Síochána show that the number of arrests for ‘Driving Under the Influence’ (DUI), which includes alcohol or drugs or a combination of both, is up 15%. There were 2,694 arrests for DUI from Jan-April 2019, versus 2,343 for Jan-April 2018.

Impaired driving has been detected as the cause of more than half of all car crashes. This means operating a motor vehicle while you are affected by alcohol, drugs (legal or illegal), drowsiness and sleepiness, distractions or relevant medical conditions. All of these are killer behaviours that can pose serious risks for you, your drivers, your company and other road users.

 

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Topics: Road Safety, News, Stats & Facts, fleet safety

Grey fleet management is the topic of the next HSA seminars

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 4, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Grey fleet management is the topic of the next HSA seminars

The HSA of Ireland recently made public the topic of the next Driving for Work seminars, which will take place in October, with booking details to be available towards the end of the summer on their website.

Grey fleet management is going to be the focus of the Driving for Work seminars, where experts will inform on the legislation and provide guidelines on how to manage grey fleets while staying compliant and practising safety.

 

These are going to be the scheduled seminars for October 2019:

Clayton Hotel, Galway - Wednesday, 9th October 2019

Crowne Plaza, Blanchardstown, North Dublin - Thursday, 10th October 2019

Fota Island Hotel, Cork - Wednesday, 23rd October 2019

Leopardstown Pavilion, Leopardstown Racecourse, South Dublin - Thursday 24th October 2019

 

If you wish to learn more about the challenges of managing grey fleets and the best approaches to fleet management related to them, you can have a look at these articles to get ready for the seminars:

Grey fleet policy: is this really necessary

Grey fleet management: how to meet legal requirements

Managing a grey fleet: a quick guide to a great approach

 

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Topics: News, Stats & Facts, driving for work, grey fleet

Fleet compliance: 33.5% increase in revoked driving licences over the last 4 years

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 30, 2019 9:03:00 AM

Fleet compliance: 33.5% increase in revoked driving licences over the last 4 years

Following on from the alarming results of the Slow Down Day in Ireland, some worrying data about driving licences being revoked has been released by the DVLA.

According to the figures recently released, there has been a 33.5% increase in the number of licences revoked over the last four years under the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995 and also in the number of drivers who have exceeded the 12 penalty points disqualification limit.

It is imperative for businesses that depend on driving to continually ensure their drivers are legally compliant and have not exceeded the 12 penalty points limit or have already had their licence revoked in the previous year. Companies have to stay vigilant at all times as there are a substantial amount of drivers who work and drive in the UK on foreign licences that have agreements with the UK whose penalty points or qualifications may not be immediately identified.

Other than that, it is essential that companies properly manage risks related to work and to driving as a working activity.

The data, shared under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, revealed that the number of car and motorcycle drivers who have had their driving entitlement revoked or refused for medical reasons was 61,482, an increase of 4% over 2017, and up 29% when compared with 2015.

The number of lorry or bus drivers who have also had their driving entitlement refused for medical reasons also increased from 11,213 in 2017 to 12,242 in 2018, a rise of 9.2%.

As previously quoted, the number of drivers with 12 or more penalty points on their licences has risen as well. In July last year, there were 10,978 drivers with 12 or more penalty points recorded on their current driver record.  By the end of March this year, that figure had grown to 11,150, a 1.6% rise in less than six months.

The alarming statistics shared by the DVLA prove once again that companies need to continue focusing on essential operations like driving licence checking and the assessment of drivers’ compliance and the various risks associated with the driving profession. Verifications such as these are of paramount importance for the safety and security of a company which has to operate according to its duty of care to their whole team, to drivers and all road users.

 

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Ireland celebrates Slow Down Day, but drivers are caught 50% over speed limit

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 28, 2019 9:02:00 AM

Ireland celebrates Slow Down Day, but drivers are caught 50 over speed limit

An Garda Síochána launched the annual 'National Slow Down Day' for a 24 hour period from 07.00 am on Friday 24th May to 07.00 am on Saturday 25th May 2019. The event is intended to reduce the number of speed related collisions, save lives and reduce injuries on the roads.

In terms of road safety, 2018 was the lowest on record with 146 road deaths; however, that doesn’t automatically mean there is no room for improvement. The trend has in fact altered in 2019 according to the data analysed so far. There was a 46% increase in the number of drivers detected speeding on the roads in the first three months of this year, compared to the same period last year. More than 36,000 people have been caught speeding between January and March 2019.

According to the first reports released last Saturday, four drivers who were caught speeding during the initiative (and despite it) were travelling more than 50% above the speed limit. In total, An Garda Síochána and GoSafe had checked 195,768 vehicles and detected 304 travelling in excess of the speed limit on the Saturday.

Excessive and unsuitable speed is a primary cause of road traffic accidents. This is borne out by an RSA report on fatal accidents between 2008 and 2012, which confirmed that excessive speed was a major factor in almost one third of all fatalities during the period. 

The greater the speed, the higher probability of an accident and, as you might expect, the more serious the resulting damage. As a general rule, a 1% reduction in average speed will bring about a 4% reduction in fatal collisions; and this is why reducing drivers’ speed for both commercial and other road users is essential to improving road safety.

If you need to get started with speeding prevention and want to promote safe, better driving within your fleet, contact us.

 

 

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Topics: Road Safety, News, Stats & Facts, fleet safety

Battery and tyres top the ranking of breakdown call-outs for SME fleets

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 23, 2019 9:02:00 AM

Battery and tyres top the ranking of breakdown call-outs for SME fleets

The RAC has recently shared some data about small and medium enterprise fleets and the main issues involved in their breakdown call-outs.

According to the data shared, the chances of a vehicle belonging to an SME experiencing a breakdown in any given year is 3-in-10. The number of callouts for the first quarter of 2019 suggest that 31% of fleet and business vehicles belonging to SMEs will suffer a breakdown this year.

The data seems quite worrying and may come as a shock to some, especially as small and medium businesses have limited resources in terms of budget and fleets and breakdowns can seriously compromise business activity and productivity. Lost business, wasted time, missed appointments and delays are some of the consequences that small and medium enterprises, which make up around 99% of businesses in the UK, can suffer; and all that without taking into consideration the immediate consequences strictly related to a breakdown: the cost of the repairs, of vehicle inactivity and its temporary replacement, to name but a few.

Regarding the most common call-outs, the RAC has shared a ranking of the most popular breakdown causes for SMEs: the topper most is battery failure, accounting for 18% of all callouts, followed by tyres at 13%, clutch at 5%, alternator at 4%, engine mechanical cause, starter motor and fuel-diesel contamination at 3%, and ECU engine management, road traffic accidents and manual gearbox are the lowest cause at 2%.

According to Nicky Brown, of the RAC’s small business team, “Our analysis of the types of breakdowns our small business customers experience shows vehicles are breaking down all too frequently, no doubt at some very inconvenient times and in some very inconvenient places.”

Despite breakdowns being partly unpredictable, it is fair to say that something can normally be done in order to minimise their occurrence. Vehicle daily inspections and walkaround checks, together with a reliable maintenance calendar, can detect issues that might potentially trigger a breakdown before it happens. Making sure drivers are able to do their daily checks pre-trip and post-trip can definitely make a difference, especially if these are no longer treated as something tedious and time consuming  with the aid of paperless checks carried out by an app. Our walkaround checks app can help you in this task and reduce the risks related to your budget, vehicles and resources, whatever the size of your business—contact us to learn more.

 

 

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Topics: fleet maintenance, fleet compliance

Idling law: is global legislation needed?

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 21, 2019 8:59:00 AM

Idling law: is global legislation needed?

If you are serious about saving fuel and cutting your operating costs, you must have at least considered how your fleet drivers can avoid idling on the roads. Despite it looking like a trivial strategy at first glance, the upside is it is actually something very positive to achieve at literally zero cost. You can do something as simple as communicating to your drivers the necessity of avoiding idling or draft an ad-hoc idling policy, and, if they fully commit to the proposals, you will see the results for yourself soon enough.

But what may very well be on the horizon is the prospect of an idling law, or, in other words, because of environmental concerns and emissions targets at a European and global level, idling may soon be sanctioned by police and local authorities with costly financial penalties. The UK environment secretary Michael Gove recently said he supported calls from some councils to introduce stronger measures to tackle idling engines, which can cause even more pollution than a moving car. The government, as a consequence, is evaluating proposals to give more power to police and local authorities to impose penalties on drivers who idle. As is stands, the only penalties in force are a £20 or £80 fine, which is triggered only if drivers ignore their initial warning and idle for an additional minute.

As Fleet News revealed, attitudes toward idling seems to vary according to county in the UK: the Westminster Council leader thinks authorities need to send a strong message in the event of persistent idling, and considers a successful deterrent for company vehicles caught idling ought to be somewhere in the region of a four-figure fine. Camden Council warned a total of 400 drivers for idling, but issued no fines despite enforcement officers invested with the power to do so in March last year. Eighteen local authorities in London have allegedly noted idling incidents and have engaged with drivers in order to ask them to switch their engine off when stationary. Islington council have also been taking anti-idling action, too, stating that 80% of drivers asked to switch off their engine actually did so if requested to in a friendly way.

Environment secretary Michael Gove told The Times that instant fines for repeated offenders should be considered a viable solution to the problem and this involves increasing the power of enforcement for local authorities so long as it is applied correctly.

This action taken by the Government is certainly going to have an impact and help ensure drivers turn off their engine when it is not necessary to keep them running, such as when parked, for example. Some of the fines proposed for repeat offenders, of around £1000, will become a major concern for companies and couriers.

If you haven’t looked into eliminating idling yet, you probably need to start. Not only because it is likely to become a legal requirement fairly soon, but for the sake of the environment and for the difference it can make to your fuel bills. If you don’t know where to start or do not have an effective and coherent strategy, contact us and we will show you how idling can become one less headache.

 

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Topics: Fleet Costs, Fleet Management, News, Stats & Facts

29% of fleet managers don’t know how many drivers they employ

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 16, 2019 9:01:00 AM

29% of fleet managers don’t know how many drivers they employ

Driving for Better Business—a UK initiative to assist employers in the commercial and public sector minimise the risks associated with work-related driving, reduce costs and keep up-to-date with current legislation—have shared some results directly from its online risk assessment database.

The data shared focussed on what you might expect to be a straightforward question for fleet operators to answer: “Do you know how many drivers you have?” Despite the question seeming simple enough, only 71% answered, “yes”, but that left 29%, almost a third, who didn’t know.

To be fair, answering this question is easier if a specific company vehicle is assigned to a single driver, which might be the case for some fleets. Though in other instances the same vehicle is used for multiple shifts and many drivers have access to the same van, for example. In companies using the so-called grey fleets or with staff utilising their own cars, the answer is anything but simple.

This apparently easy-to-answer question is a very important one. If companies do not know the number of drivers with exactitude, they cannot demonstrate that drivers are managed efficiently or are familiar with fleet policy, and not all of the drivers’ licences will have probably been checked, meaning companies are ultimately not 100% sure that their drivers are eligible to do the job.

When asked how many have checked licences directly with the DVLA, the answer was, again, 71% —probably roughly the same 71% that were confident how many drivers are in their employ. As most will know, checking licences highlights a number of potential issues, including the eligibility of drivers to drive different types of vehicles as well as any potential health problems.

It might surprise people to learn that only half (50%) of those answering bother to check any medical issues that could compromise driving ability, which would indicate that most of the checks are cursory and focussed primarily on penalty points.

Still less, just over a third of companies (38%), carry out any formal assessment of driver competency prior to engaging them in work-related driving, with 14% looking to do so at some point. This is quite astonishing if we were to consider this statistic applied to staff who were expected to operate machinery in a factory environment or operate in an industry involving a degree of risk—in other words, why should operating commercially on public highways, in whatever capacity, be considered less hazardous than the aforementioned activities.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet compliance

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