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Why the best fleet management software and human beings are complementary

by Eleonora Malacarne on Apr 27, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Why the best fleet management software and human beings are complementary.jpeg


It can sometimes seem like a genuine concern for those responsible for fleet operations (and others involved at different levels…) whether the best fleet management software on the market is going to replace them one day. The evolution of technology and the use of it in our daily lives and at work often raises doubts regarding the job security of certain professions, and whether certain roles for professionals will still be necessary if technology develops further. People might even wonder if technology will end up replacing them completely.

This can be a source of anxiety for people, but it can actually be an opportunity of development (both personal and for the company) if we consider using the best available fleet management software for vehicle operations. Fleet management software and its most innovative solutions are able to provide a real analysis of the fleet performance by monitoring it at any given time. They are a very effective tool in order to collect valuable information, enabling fleet managers to plan operations much more effectively, limiting excessive costs or unnecessary ones and avoiding waste, concentrating on providing a safe environment for staff and other road users.

Those responsible for fleets will find, thanks to these solutions, a new platform from which they can use their talent to cope with different situations. The best fleet management software not only provides data to improve the service of a company and decrease the impact on finances, but also offers the ideal complement to somebody who is able to make best use of the data to solve critical situations and learn how to formulate effective fleet management strategies with the help of these tools. Technical reports and data can then be used to achieve the maximum efficiency and provide deeper insight into the different aspects of business, from planning to administration, from safety to compliance: whoever uses fleet management software has the opportunity of not only running a better and more efficient fleet but also to improve his/her background and acquire new skills.

This is an added value for companies that rely on vehicles. Investing in technology and innovation guarantees a professional growth for employees, who constitute a real tangible value for a company and a greater chance of creating success.

So, no more concerns about what the best fleet management software could do and if it could really replace you—but rather, now’s the time to find out what it can do for your professional growth.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet technology, GPS & Tracking

3 fleet management aspects to tackle while coping with changing demands

by Eleonora Malacarne on Apr 25, 2017 9:00:00 AM

3 fleet management aspects to tackle while coping with changing demands.jpeg

In companies of different sectors and scopes, fleet management aspects such as cost control or vehicle availability have become more and more subject to changing demands and situations. Sometimes strategies prove not to be effective long term and frequently need to be reassessed or even deeply modified.

Over the last few years, if not decades, there has been a general wave of disruption upon continuity and tradition, leading to job uncertainty and even affecting our everyday life. Mix that with the need to comply with increasingly stringent requirements, along with the unpredictable elements every work/profession has, and it might finish up as quite a shock for you and your fleet being forced to rearrange everything in some cases.

In particular, there are three variables we need to consider if our fleet management strategy needs to be modified in the event of changing demands—they need to be kept under control and never underestimated. What are we talking about? Let’s have a look.

 

1. Whichever strategy you decide to pick, costs should always be budgeted (as low as is practical)!

Cost control is always the top priority for fleet managers. If fleets or companies suffer any particular change because of seasonality or even customer changes, new products or even items that go out of production, global costs do not have to suffer. The challenge today is rather to find opportunities to divert wasted funds into good investments, but this can be done only if you are able to properly track all sources of costs. If, due to seasonality or product/customer requirements, cash flow is heading in one direction and you have proof of this, you are able to react, rebudget and concentrate on more productive activities.

 
2. Vehicles always have to be on the road

If vehicles are what you rely on in order to develop your business, their time on the road needs to be maximised whether the demands of public and business change or not. If you think about vehicles on the road, this involves many aspects:


  • Safety is key for vehicles to run as much as possible, so drivers need to avoid incidents and collisions

  • Maintenance is important as vehicles which are regularly maintained suffer less breakdowns or other complications

  • Asset utilisation rate also has to be maximised, so vehicles have to be suitable for jobs specs and not sit redundant in the depot

  • Compliance and working hours cannot be sacrificed, so a good combo of all these aspects should lead to maximise vehicle time on the road.

Once again, if you have the tools to measure safety, streamline maintenance and guarantee compliance as well as a high utilisation rate, you can make the most out of your vehicles as conditions demand.


3. Customer satisfaction needs to be a priority as well

There are a lot of businesses that have differing attitudes toward a high request and a low request. Sometimes they tend to struggle with a high volume of demand due to difficulty managing multiple tasks, while during a dip they are not as responsive due to there being less pressure or maybe a reduced workforce. In any case and in any demand, customer satisfaction needs to be a priority, and even the scheduling of jobs or allocation of resources has to be properly predicted and planned.

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

How to get better fuel economy through driving style: new data revealed

by Eleonora Malacarne on Apr 20, 2017 9:00:00 AM

How to get better fuel economy through driving style new data revealed.jpeg


The focus of media, companies and, no doubt, fleet managers, is often concentrated on how to get better fuel economy and make the most out of their vehicles. Fuel spend in fact constitutes the highest proportion of global fleet costs. While looking into different ways of saving fuel costs rather than just seeking out lower prices is becoming the most popular strategy, it seems clear that companies still do not understand how much they could potentially save if they explore a variety of options.

 

Different ways of saving fuel costs could, for example, include

 

  • Checking driver behaviour and subsequently training drivers to adopt a safer driving style, one which is also more efficient
  • Carefully set the fuel card options excluding items that are not fuel, avoiding extra expenses accrued by drivers
  • Use a fuel card connected to fleet management software, with a fuel management suite, which is able to control purchases made
  • Carefully check routes and use the most efficient choices in terms of traffic, distance and thus fuel spend
  • Initiate a no idling policy
  • Updating the company fuel/fuel card policy to make sure waste is minimised and emphasising the consequences of not respecting such a policy.

 

Actually, the first point is the one that is especially popular as actions carried out by charities and the EU itself indicate a decreasing number of incidents. A safer driving style is also a fuel efficient one and training is a vital element, but some companies still do not realise the importance.

 

In a recent study on fuel economy conducted by The Miles Consultancy (TMC) on different company car models, made public in the last month of March through Fleet News, it came to light that different drivers obtained different MPG results even on the same vehicle make and model. In the overall research, it revealed that a low percentage of drivers (around 7%) could actually obtain better results in fuel economy than the official ones published by the manufacturers, while a much bigger percentage, around 45%, could not even match the official numbers.

 

While modern vehicles now offer better and better opportunities to save fuel and be cleaner thanks to an ever-improving technology, companies still miss the opportunities offered by more efficient vehicles just because they do not ensure drivers know how to drive efficiently and safely.

 

Monitoring driver behaviour is the perfect opportunity to implement a long-term strategy and save on fuel costs. If you know how your drivers perform, you can implement corrective actions that not only offer a better return on your investment, but also protect employees from risks. If you need to know how to get started with driver behaviour monitoring, just let us know!

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Costs, Fleet Management, Fuel Economy, Fuel, driving safely

Dashboard camera footage used to save insurance claim worth £16,000/€18,000

by Eleonora Malacarne on Apr 18, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Dashboard camera footage used to save insurance claim worth £16,000€18,000.jpeg

Dashboard camera footage has been used as evidence to save a fleet from a £16,000 (€18,000) insurance claim by proving a van driver was the innocent victim of a collision when a motorist coming the other way jumped a red light.

The incident occurred last month: a dash camera helped the insurance companies determine which party was liable after a collision between two vehicles in Sydenham, South London. The van involved in the collision went through a green light and collided with a car which had jumped a red light from the opposite direction. The car driver denied responsibility and requested £16,206 (€18,000) in damages from the van’s insurance as compensation for the three occupants of the car who were injured.

However, the van was equipped with a dash camera in his vehicle so the footage was used to counter the claim. The footage showed the van going through a green light; the insurers were compelled to admit full liability and withdrew their claim against the van.

Thanks to the dash-cam footage, the van driver was proved innocent, allowing him to save a £16,000 (€18,000) claim against the fleet’s insurance, and therefore a likely hike in premiums. The dash camera was a critical element in this case and helped to settle the issue quickly!

About a third of all drivers admit to driving through a red light because they are in a rush, but this is no justification to break traffic laws and put other people’s life in danger. In the event of something like this happening, a dash camera can really be helpful as we noticed earlier.

A dash-cam can help your fleet with insurance costs by offering proof of what happened on the road. With video recording and telematics (the perfect complement to video footage), you can cover yourself from other companies’ spurious claims or scams and save money on insurance premiums.

A dash-cam can also help you to

·  promote a safe driving behaviour among your fleet;

·  identify dangerous drivers;

·  give extra context to the data recorded by a fleet management system—for example, what made that car driver accelerate at that precise moment?

·  increase drivers’ security—a dash camera gives extra context if an unusual situation occurs;

·  with the GPS software working in tandem with the dash-cam, you can figure out if a driver needs help, whether the vehicle has been stolen or if it is not located in its usual site;

·  reduce incidents and collision risks—capturing journeys and incidents through the camera helps the fleet manager to better understand what happened on the road, and the driver can be trained to a safer driving style.

 

A dash cam can provide invaluable proof of what happened on the road. Request a call from our dashboard camera experts and get instant benefits.

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Costs, insurance, fleet safety

Would it still be Easter with a GPS tracker egg hunt?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Apr 13, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Would it still be Easter with a GPS tracker egg hunt.jpg

 

While business never stops, even at Easter (depending on the sector, fleet managers might be busier than ever), some people have actually found a fun use for GPS trackers other than that of coordinating vehicles and using the data received for business purposes.

 

The world has gone totally hi-tech it seems; and if you were struggling to keep up, it might surprise you to know that the first GPS tracker egg-hunts date back to 2010, when a couple of egg-hunt events actually were organised with the precise scope of using GPS, combining geocaching outdoor activity (a game where people use GPS coordinates to hide items and post their locations online) and the use of technology.

 

The first egg-hunt event was held in Boulder Junction Winter Park (in the state of Wisconsin, USA), where 12 large buckets of eggs were hidden in order to arrange an Easter variation of geocaching.

 

The second egg-hunt we are aware of was organised in Brodhead Park, located outside of Stroudsburg (in Pennsylvania, USA). The aim of the latter was to actually launch three permanent “caches”—this is what the containers that are the objective of the hunt at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world are called. One of them, on that occasion, was a giant Easter egg covered in camouflage-coloured, waterproof tape.

 

Though these couple of events were pioneering back then, today there are actually annual GPS egg-hunts and even apps that have been created with similar objectives. With a bit of creative thinking (and probably a lot of time!) you could even arrange one yourself for your fleet team! You could think about GPS trackers to find single, pinpointed locations where to hide eggs or even plan for precise routes to be followed, with eggs to be found at the end of them—the best measurement of drivers’ performance in terms of safety and fuel consumption would decide the winner.

 

But Easter is not only a time for celebrations, egg hunts, welcoming in spring and so on, for some fleet managers it is actually time to work as well as for those who drive; and due to the break it can become hectic as roads will probably be quite busy over the Easter weekend. This is the occasion once again to remind those on the road to practice safe driving.

 

In any case, whether you are a fan of egg-hunts or not, if you are a fleet manager there is probably only one way you can fully enjoy your Easter—by having the peace of mind that vehicles and staff are under control with fleet management software.

 

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Topics: fleet technology, GPS & Tracking, News, Stats & Facts

Transpoco at the FTAI Transport Manager event 2017: 3 things we learned

by Eleonora Malacarne on Apr 11, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Transpoco at the FTAI Transport Manager event 2017 3 things we learned_1-1.jpg

 

At the end of March 2017, Transpoco attended the FTAI Transport Manager conference in Ireland, where operators are informed by industry leading speakers of all the latest trends and requirements for the transport sector. The event, hosted by Johnstown House Hotel, Enfield, Dublin, started with a brief presentation of the agenda by FTAI General Manager Aidan Flynn. The conference focussed on 3 topics specifically on which we could be updated by the speakers. Here is a brief overview of what we learned during the event:

 

1 - Insurance costs and the importance of risk management

Despite driving being such a risky activity not only in terms of the potential human cost to workers and road users but also for companies who might suffer serious economic consequences in the event of an accident, some transport operators still seem partly reluctant to acquire risk-management tools or address underlying issues. Driver selection processes lack documentation and checks and complicate the driver shortage situation making selections even harder.

According to recent data, we still find that among the main causes for accidents are defective brakes or tyres, yet companies have a very superficial perception of accident costs and consequences (“tip of the iceberg” as shown in our first image taken from the presentation). Having regular risk assessment processes as well as maintenance procedures leads to higher safety, fewer claims, more responsible employees and satisfied customers. Eoghan Murphy, Minister of State at the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, also spoke about insurance practices in Ireland.

 

Transpoco at the FTAI Transport Manager event 2017 3 things we learned_2.jpg


2 - Brexit, confidence and cooperation

Research carried out around one year ago on business conditions and the future of the sector, according to logistics operators, was repeated recently and showed less confidence in the future due to world events and the potential impact of Brexit. During the event, a presentation on the potential impact of Brexit was delivered, underlining the timeline for the process with the potential start of UK-EU negotiations in May, stressing the importance that trade continues unhindered. Main issues relate to borders, traffic and customs. It is absolutely vital that there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, and it’s good to see that both the Irish and UK governments are committed to this.

 

Transpoco at the FTAI Transport Manager event 2017 3 things we learned_3.jpeg

 

3 - Compliance helps safety

The HSA of Ireland has carried out an interesting presentation on the business case for fleet safety, following up with some significant stats: we still see a variable percentage of businesses, from 60% to 20% not taking actions aimed at improving safety (such as the use of H&S policies, fleet policies, driver induction and training, claim reporting systems and community involvement tools). It is important to sensitize companies on how these tools can really make a difference.

 

Transpoco at the FTAI Transport Manager event 2017 3 things we learned_4.jpg

 

The Transpoco team followed the debates and also promoted fleet management solutions to improve on safety, efficiency and compliance. There was even a draw—one of our stand visitors had the chance to win a dashcam.

 

Pictures: (1) - FTAI presentation on accidents cost; (2) Intervention of Minister of State Eoghan Murphy; (3) Left to right, Juliette Pernet and Hannah Watters from our sales team at Transpoco stand; (4) Left to right, our CEO Andrew Fleury with the dashcam winner, Conor Curran, National Fleet Executive at Bridgestone Ireland Ltd.

 

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Topics: News, Stats & Facts, fleet managament

Hopeman residents take unorthodox measures to kerb speeding and aggressive driving

by Eleonora Malacarne on Apr 6, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Hopeman_citizens_take_measures_against_speeding_and_aggressive_driving.jpeg

Last February, the small seaside town of Hopeman, Scotland, became instantly famous due to a safety matter, and primarily because of how local residents chose to address the dangerous issue. Speeding and aggressive driving are a real problem: even though the main road (the B9040 passes right through the village) has a 30 mph speed limit, cars regularly hit speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. That's why the townspeople decided enough was enough and to take measures into their own hands.

 

That February, inhabitants including parents, children, and even local councillor Dennis Slater, went out dressed in fluorescent jackets in a bid to reduce motorists speeding through town. They even brought hairdryers and pointed them at cars as if they were police officers deploying speed guns.

 

Hopeman residents take unorthodox measures to kerb speeding and aggressive driving.jpgPhoto Credit: ©BBC, source http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-39063797

 

Residents are railing against the recklessness of fast drivers; the situation is particularly alarming as the speed of the cars can very easily cause serious injury or even death. Things are so bad that parents, fearing for their children’s safety, have installed ladders against walls to provide their schoolkids a safe passage between gardens instead of letting them cross the dangerous road.

 

This “desperate strike” is supposed to bring attention to the matter and slow the traffic down.  “We are working closely with the police and the local authority to achieve our goal,” declared Councillor Dennis Slater. However, even if the police are aware of the situation, warnings and fixed penalties seem to be the only really effective way to prevent motorists speeding.

 

According to the Department of Transport of Great Britain, in a statistical report on road casualties, fatal accidents on minor roads increased by 3% on roads with a speed limit of up to and including 40 mph in September 2016.

 

Even though road safety is a priority for councils and towns, it is also the main priority for fleet managers! If you are a fleet manager, you probably trust your employees; nevertheless, some of your drivers may be exceeding the speed limit and you might not even suspect it. In that case, have you ever considered investing in a fleet management system?

 

This type of custom software is an excellent means to monitor your fleet’s driving style and keep track of itineraries completed and distances covered. If you want to manage driving style, fleet management software is the solution: speeding, idling, harsh braking, all the valuable data is provided by the software. Moreover, speeding is not only a threat to safety but also to finances due to the related problems and costs associated with any collision such as vehicle reparation, vehicle replacement, staff replacement etc., notwithstanding all the additional costs of speeding fines, increased wear and tear and fuel consumption, insurance premium hikes, just to mention a few.

 

Thanks to our software SynX, you can monitor driver behaviour, set up safety alerts and train drivers to practice safer and more responsible driving styles. Schedule a demo and see for yourself!

 

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Topics: Road Safety, fleet safety

Delayed delivery of Crit'Air emissions stickers fret drivers to France

by Eleonora Malacarne on Apr 4, 2017 9:00:00 AM

The Crit’Air emissions sticker scheme, set up in order to tackle pollution, has been active in France since last January and requires all vehicles to display a sticker according to the pollution level category they belong to. But what comes as a concern to motorists and fleet operators in the UK and Ireland is the delay in the delivery of the Crit’Air stickers experienced by the RAC who tested the speed of the order.

 

Delayed delivery of Crit'Air emissions stickers fret drivers to France.pngThe Crit'Air emissions stickers. Photo Credit: © Vignette Crit'Air - www.green-zones.eu/en

 

The RAC took it upon themselves to test the procedure for obtaining the stickers which are now a legal requirement for any motorist travelling to certain cities of France. The RAC ordered a vignette from the official Crit’Air website on February 6, but it only reached them six weeks later on March 16, despite the letter being dated March 2. According to the Crit’Air website, stickers should be delivered within 30 days, but they actually took around six weeks to turn up at the RAC’s address.

The RAC’s feedback is especially worrying as Easter is fast approaching. Those who have ordered stickers might not receive them on time and may incur an inspection by the French police and a fine even though it is understood that the police should exercise leniency regarding the new law because it has not been long in force, and there have been delivery issues.

The main advice from the RAC to all motorists and fleets travelling to France in the future is to

The Crit’Air emission stickers, which cost €4.80 or £3.60 each including postage, come in six categories and cover the very cleanest electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles (Crit’Air green sticker) to the dirtiest (Crit’Air 5 grey sticker). These relate to the six European Union emission standards for cars dating back to 1992 when Euro 1 was introduced.  

The stickers are currently in use in Paris, Lyon and Grenoble, and fines of between €68 and €135 (between £59 and £117) are in place for those who do not comply with this new regulation.

The new Crit’Air system is used on high pollution days to prevent the worst polluting vehicles from driving in the affected cities. In addition, some vehicles have not been assigned a category and are therefore unable to drive in Paris between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday (typically older models, such as cars registered before 1997, motorbikes and scooters from before June 2000, and trucks and buses from before 2001).

 

 

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Topics: Fuel, fleet compliance, CO2 emissions

Managing fleet fines and violations: what’s your strategy?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Mar 30, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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Managing fleet fines and violations is just one of the multiple costs involved in running a fleet. We will probably never be short of topics related to fleet costs due to the nature of fleet management, but are fleet fines your first consideration when thinking about costs?

Whether they are or not, they can account for a sizeable chunk of global costs, not only because of the actual money initially shelled out for the offence, but also for the back office work that they inevitably require.

We have recently come across this question and answer thread published in the popular website “Honest John”, in which a van driver has apparently been wrongfully named for a speeding offence:

Managing fleet fines and violations what’s your strategy 2.png© Honest John - http://vans.honestjohn.co.uk/askhj/answer/74574/i-was-wrongfully-named-as-the-driver-for-a-speeding-offence---what-do-i-do-

The immediate action fleets usually take regarding the problem of fines is, as we have discussed in the past, to try and limit their number. According to some statistics published by Automotive Fleet, tolls, parking, and photo enforcement account for more than 95 percent of the vehicle-issued violation volume impacting fleets. And the majority (56%) of these infractions come in the form of tolls, 22% in parking violations, 12% from red-light cameras, and 8% from speeding cameras.

Traffic violations—and this is connected with the aggrieved employee writing to “Honest John”—are not issued to the driver, but to the vehicle registrant (usually a company in most cases). This can lead to complications: the fleet or fleet management company that actually owns the vehicle is liable for the violation, and they will in most cases pay the violation to avoid further penalties. The process of determining who was responsible is then postponed as in most cases it is a time-consuming process that often doesn’t lead to success or rather to mismanagement like in the case of the person writing to Honest John.

Sometimes, when managing fleet fines and violations, the process of actually linking a violation to the driver responsible can become a real challenge, especially for fleets working with a lot of vehicles or having drivers sharing different vehicles. Some fleets do not have a process in place for this or do not track down the driver and end up absorbing the cost of this. By doing so, fleets are not aware of a driver’s violation record, or of their drivers most at risk and are, for precisely these reasons, unable to educate employees on the consequences of fines, to implement disciplinary actions for excessive fines or establish a proper fines policy.

Monitoring driver behaviour using technology that is able to record vehicle activity 24/7 or using driver identification technology (if you have different drivers using different vehicles) are all solutions you can consider if you want to start setting up a process that identifies driving styles that can incur fines and quickly establish who exactly is responsible for them; not to mention avoiding time wasted on back-office practices.

 

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Topics: Fleet Costs, Fleet Management, fleet safety

Fleet safety policies needed: video of careless driver causing accident goes public

by Eleonora Malacarne on Mar 28, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Fleet safety policies needed video of careless driver causing accident goes public.jpeg

Fleet safety policies are needed: this is not just a hollow statement—a serious appeal was made this February after footage from a dash-cam camera of a van driver responsible for an accident in which an elderly couple died has been made public.

The event dates back to January 2016. On that occasion, a van driver, Michael Boothman, had entered a right-hand bend too fast in Lincolnshire and veered onto the opposite carriageway, killing an elderly couple who were approaching in an oncoming car. Boothman and his passenger were seriously injured.

The in-cab footage of the delivery van was released in December after Boothman was sentenced and made public by press outlets in February such as Fleet News, notably. The footage does not show the actual moment of impact so as to spare the family of the victims any further unnecessary grief, but the video does highlight the irresponsible behaviour of the driver: eating, smoking, driving one-handed in treacherous road conditions, no proper control over the steering wheel, and in some cases even speeding. The driver is also not wearing his seat belt.

 

 

The attitude of the driver involved in the accident—borne out by the footage—shows he had no regard for either the risks he was taking or for the law. Boothman suffered significant injuries in the crash and has since had to have a total hip replacement. He also lost his job for breaching company rules regarding smoking behind the wheel.

The video of the footage was promoted by the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership in an attempt to provide a sobering reminder to other businesses of the vital importance of effective on-road risk management.

Some companies—especially the smaller ones where there are fewer drivers— are incredibly busy, and often there is nobody specifically covering policies or risk assessments, or it is carried out by somebody with other responsibilities as well, do not have a proper fleet policy in place, or are pushed too hard by commercial pressures to complete the more ‘productive’ jobs, and therefore often disregard the health and safety aspect.

The risks for fleets not complying are too high; it is only a matter of time before companies not having specific policies, not training drivers in fleet safety and not having a risk assessment process end up being prosecuted if they do not take appropriate health and safety measures.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, fleet safety

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