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Can advanced driver assistance systems be a source of distracted driving?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Mar 5, 2019 9:02:00 AM

  Can advanced driver assistance systems be a source of distracted driving

Advanced driver assistance systems have been created to make vehicles safer and enhance human driving. ADAS, as they are known, were developed to reduce road fatalities by minimising human error. Some of them include adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance systems and driver drowsiness detection systems. There have often been discussions as to whether some of these continually modified applications are really necessary, with current research only fuelling the debate.

IAM RoadSmart, a UK charity that educates drivers and creates greater sensitivity to the importance of road safety, recently issued a whitepaper on the challenges and solutions of distracted driving, examining the following factors: the wandering minds of drivers (making them more prone to inattention), the trend of “nomophobia” (the fear of being out of mobile phone contact) is common among business drivers and the four forms of driver distraction —mental, visual, manual and audible.

According to the IAM publication, ADAS might tempt us into inattention while driving and take back control at a later point. The increased sophistication of this type of technology was obviously meant to improve safety, but an unexpected consequence is this lack of vigilance and the added attention required for drivers to address ADAS technology alerts or features while driving.

In 2017, according to the UK department of transport, 4639 casualties were attributed to in-vehicle distractions. Autonomous vehicles are still far from the finished article that is supposed to make our lives safer and easier.

According to IAM, fleet policies and correct training might help drivers adequately prepare for the use of ADAS technologies so they can fully realise all the advantages in a way that makes sense and is legal. A robust company structure able to educate drivers and detect risky behaviour can definitely help leverage advanced safety technology. If you wish to furnish your team with a sound fleet policy, have a look at our sample. You can use it to update your team’s current policy or contact us if you want to get started with a comprehensive system able to detect risks within your fleet.

 

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Driving at night: help your drivers to stay safe in the dark

by Eleonora Malacarne on Feb 28, 2019 9:03:00 AM

Driving at night: help your drivers to stay safe in the dark

When we think about fleets and staff who are expected to drive as part of a night shift, we automatically assume they are the only drivers working in the hours of darkness; but the truth is that during the winter, many drivers working regular hours will be operating, at least in part, at night or in darkness.

If driving already represents a risky activity, night driving increases the risks for a number of reasons: there is not only the darkness to contend with and decreased visibility of course, but also the fact that at night we are more likely to feel drowsy or sleepy. This isn’t just because some drivers might have worked during the day, but also because the body never completely adapts to the nocturnal pattern even if sleep is taken during the day.

It has been estimated that driving at night is three times riskier than driving during the day. Despite night shift drivers accounting for 3% of the workforce, driving at night or in the dark is dangerous for everyone as 40% of crashes happen at night despite less drivers being on the road.

What then can drivers do to minimise the risks and have a safer journey if they have to drive in the dark or at night?

Here we summarised four points you might want to share with your driving team.

  1. Everyone else’s day is your night time. If you are working on night shifts, it is important you get at least eight hours of sleep before you start working. Getting proper rest is important; while it might take some time to adjust if it is your first time working a night shift, it helps to sleep in a dark room and avoid people coming in or any other type of interruptions.

  2. Make sure you see and are seen—essential during the day and especially at night. Make sure your vehicle can be seen and lights are working properly when driving during the hours of darkness to ensure full visibility; but this also applies when stationary or parking by the road. Make sure you don’t skip eye tests (something you should do if you are a driver, even if you do not usually work at night).

  3. Increase your safety distance. Around 90% of a driver’s reaction ability relies on vision, and visibility decreases dramatically when operating at night. Not only that, it also seems harder to judge the distance between vehicles at night, plus people tend to drive more erratically. If you increase your safety distance, you have an increased margin in which to react if anything unpredictable happens.

  4. Adapt for changing weather. Winter weather can further reduce visibility and make things more challenging. Ensure vehicles are adequately prepared and tyres are at the optimal pressure to guarantee the best grip on the road surface. Your vehicle should be clean, both on the inside and the outside; with worse road conditions, and even snow in some areas, a windscreen gets dirty quickly and reduces your visibility.

 

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New fleet safety and sustainable fleet management campaign: Global Fleet Champions

by Eleonora Malacarne on Feb 21, 2019 9:02:00 PM

New fleet safety and sustainable fleet management campaign: Global Fleet Champions

A considerable percentage of the 1.3 million yearly road deaths involve vehicles driven for work. Sustainable driving—with the emissions targets that have to be met and the focus of world governments on reducing pollution—is somewhere all drivers, including those driving professionally and their employers, should be heading.

Global Fleet Champions, a new campaign cantered on fleet safety and sustainable fleet management, has recently kicked off to sensitise the relevant parties to the importance of safety when driving for work and also the environmental impact. The thrust of the campaign, promoted by Brake, a road safety charity based in the UK, is to help reduce road incidents and pollution through the promotion of best practices, that will eventually not only help the efficiency of professional drivers and their companies but also improve road safety overall. Becoming a Global Fleet Champion is a matter of calling for safe and healthy fleet policies that can benefit businesses and all other road users. Responsible organisations put these concepts into practice to secure continuous improvements for their businesses and communities.

According to the Global Fleet Champions initiative, there are five pillars around which fleets should focus:

  1. Vehicle procurement and maintenance: Global Fleet Champions should make sure this important area becomes a focal point—properly and regularly maintained vehicles have a positive impact on drivers, fleets and road users’ safety and reduces environmental damage.

  2. Community outreach: Global Fleet Champions should work at a local level to promote safe and eco-friendly driving, both at company level and beyond.

  3. Incident analysis and intervention: Global Fleet Champions should focus on post-incident management prioritising safety and trying to analyse the causes leading to such incidents, in order to establish corrective actions and prevent similar eventualities.

  4. Journey routing and modal choice: routing as an integral part of work practices held by Global Fleet Champions can help reduce risks along with the carbon footprint.

  5. Driver behaviourKeeping tabs on driving style helps fleet drivers and other road users stay safe on the road.

The Global Fleet Champions website is offering a collection of resources that help fleets promote safe and eco-friendly driving, concluding with a section dedicated to online and offline events on fleet safety and fleet management essentials.

 

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Coventry bus-crash company failed to address telematics risk management alerts

by Eleonora Malacarne on Feb 7, 2019 9:01:00 AM

Coventry bus-crash company failed to address telematics risk management alerts

Midland Red South, a division of Stagecoach, admitted last year breaching health and safety standards and was consequently sentenced alongside their driver, 80 year old Kailash Chander, in the prominent Coventry bus crash case. The risky behaviour and poor driving of Chander, who had been working an inappropriate number of hours for his age (he was well past retirement age but still working as a casual driver for the same company), meant the company was later fined £2.3 million (€2.6 million)  for failing to act on telematics risk management alerts that allegedly led up to the fatal collision.

The telematics system that was used by the bus company at that time had in fact consistently made a number of alerts regarding the driving behaviour of Chander, though none of them had been properly addressed by the company and Chander was allowed to continue driving and working for them right up until the Coventry crash.

What happened to Midland Red South with regards to their telematics system could easily apply to other companies, which often have non-realistic expectations about telematics systems, or either do not carry out proper onboarding of the tool where company requirements are not shared with the telematics staff or whoever is responsible for doing the necessary follow-up once the technology is implemented.

The telematics tool employed had actually worked well, providing a good number of timely alerts to the company management (it has been stated that after the system had flagged poor driving, eight warning letters had been sent to the driver), which to be fair was acted upon. But despite this, nothing had changed and Chander missed a one-to-one meeting with his manager as the company needed him to be out and driving, and the meeting had not yet taken place when the fatality happened.

While driver hours were respected and the company was compliant on other levels, telematics activity was not supervised as closely as it should have been, and it seems rather that the company was not motivated enough to fully install the technology or did not adequately examine the needs of the business before choosing their provider.

According to Ian Hesselden, a partner at Jardine Lloyd Thompson, an insurance broker, "Technology provides an invaluable aid to fleets that wish to increase safety and reduce operational costs, but data obtained through telematics needs to be properly assessed and the system needs to be user-friendly for fleet operators and managers in order to capitalise on the opportunities to make improvements or neutralise threats."

If you are looking for a reliable telematics provider who can ensure you a smooth onboarding and help you with an easy-to-use system, talk to us or sign up for a free trial.

 

 

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WHO Road Safety Report 2018: the fight against deaths on the road continues

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jan 24, 2019 9:01:00 AM

WHO Road Safety Report 2018 the fight against deaths on the road continues

At the tail end of 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) published a detailed report on the perennial issue of road safety.

This year’s edition of the report, available online, has focussed in particular on the wholly unacceptable number of deaths on the roads worldwide as this is a trend that is not decreasing globally (though it is in some individual countries). Huge steps have been made with regards to motor vehicle legislation in various countries of the world to try and minimise the problem as much as possible; which suggests that, without similar regulations, we would be dealing with even more depressing statistics than we are stuck with already. What’s more, it is also true that, despite low-income countries causing the most concern when it comes to tackling road safety, the problem is stubbornly persistent and has not improved even in some middle-income and high-income countries, as the chart suggests:

 WHO Road Safety Report 2018 the fight against deaths on the road continues2


The number of road traffic deaths is far from evenly distributed throughout the world, with the highest fatalities recorded in Africa (26.6/100,000 people) and South-East Asia (20.7/100,000 people); and all in all, it has been estimated that an unbelievable 1.35 million people are dying each year on the road. We are therefore very far from the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3: target 3.6, which aims at halving the number of road traffic related deaths by year 2020. Road traffic accidents account for 13% of all deaths in low-income countries and 7% of all deaths in high income countries—the 8th most common cause of death in the world,

According to the numbers published, every 24 seconds somebody dies on the road. To sensitize the public to the issue, the WHO has created a report data visualization page where we can actually see just how frequently a road users dies in the world as it ominously countdowns the average time between fatalities and adds it to the growing total.

There are actually five areas of particular risk where the WHO recommends being extra vigilant when it comes to road safety, with three of them possibly applying to professional drivers. Managing them can definitely make a difference to on-going safety—so we recommend you follow suit in applying them to your fleet:

  1. Effective speed management is, as such, central to most road safety intervention strategies. Regarding the WHO report, some countries still need to focus on the best practices when it comes to setting appropriate national speed limits. In your fleet make sure speed limits are respected to reduce the possibility of collisions and that you manage a responsible pool of drivers.

 

  1. Drink-driving. The best advice is never ever drink and drive, even if there is a BAC limit provided. 5–35% of all road deaths are reported to be alcohol-related. Make sure you have a drink driving policy or set frequent reminders, particularly during sensitive periods.

 

  1. Seat-belt use. Wearing a seat-belt reduces the risk of death among drivers and front seat occupants by 45–50%, and the risk of death and serious injuries among rear seat occupants by 25%. Make sure your drivers use seat belts.

The other two areas of safety focus, not particularly applying to fleets but to road users generally, are the use of motorcycle helmets and of child restraints.

Considering the uncomfortable statistics regarding global road safety, it is extremely important to act now or the SDG target will not be reached by the 2020 deadline.

 

 

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Transport Safety Seminars 2019 by the HSA of Ireland: save the date

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jan 22, 2019 9:02:00 AM

Transport Safety Seminars by the HSA of Ireland save the date

The Health and Safety Authority of Ireland has recently published the dates of the next Transport Safety Seminars, which will take place in early May 2019.

The HSA will be hosting a series of free half-day morning seminars. The objective of these seminars is to inform and educate employers about how to implement safe driving for work practices and key transport and vehicle risk topics. The seminars will be of particular interest and benefit to employers, self-employed, transport, safety and fleet managers who operate vehicles in all work sectors. At the seminars, delegates will hear examples from companies who effectively manage driving for work.

The provisional dates of the seminars are as follows:

May 1st, 2019 – Cork

May 2nd, 2019 – Kilkenny

May 8th, 2019 – Galway

May 9th, 2019 – Dublin

Don’t forget to save the dates.

Booking details will follow soon at hsa.ie, but if you wish to get a taste of the presentations and the case studies included in the seminars, you can have a look at the detailed presentations of the 2018 seminars edition in this HSA list or in this Driving for Work events and seminars page.

 

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Festive season drink driving campaigns: the key is never ever drink and drive

by Eleonora Malacarne on Dec 26, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Festive season drink driving campaigns: the key is never ever drink and drive

Christmas time, as we all know, is a festive period that concludes with New Year’s celebrations. So while we want to wish you a great 2019 and realise that the general mood at this time of year is typically jolly, there is something rather serious that should never be forgotten: never ever drink and drive.

A research published by the Telegraph during the summer, found out that, unfortunately, not only do fuels power fleets, but drug and alcohol consumption is to some extent fuelling a percentage of drivers within the industry. According to Alere Toxicology (a company who specialises in drug testing), one in every thirty (3.3%) of employees is likely to have drugs in their system at any time; and the data shared by The Institute of Alcohol Studies state that each day in the UK, 200,000 people turn up to work nursing a hangover.

The data provided has obvious consequences on road safety: the UK Government states that 9,050 people have been killed or injured when one driver involved was over the drink drive limit, with a total number of 6,080 collisions, some of those behind the wheel were employees engaged in work related activities.

Festive season drink driving campaigns the key is never ever drink and drive2

As the festive period is once more upon us, the tendency to celebrate and drink more increases markedly and drivers might become more complacent—companies need to be alerted to the risks and have a solid policy in place dealing with the use of drugs and alcohol behind the wheel.

In some countries, the legal limit or the penalties have changed in an attempt by the authorities to make the roads safer: in Ireland, in October of this year, The Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018 was put into force, and drink drivers detected with a blood alcohol concentration between 50mg and 80mg will be disqualified from driving for three months and fined €200. In this case, the amendment increases the penalties so that drink drivers will now lose their license for three months based on a blood alcohol content that was lower than the law allowed previously.

Drink driving campaigns are in force all over the world, with Ireland focusing particularly on the ‘morning after’ drivers still likely to be affected by the alcohol consumed from the night before. According to data shared by An Garda Siochana and the Road Safety Authority, some 11 per cent of fatal collisions in which a driver had consumed alcohol took place between 7am and 11am.

Festive season drink driving campaigns the key is never ever drink and drive3

Past campaigns also covered the importance of not encouraging friends to drink, like this “Think” one from last year, known as “Mates matter” and “A mate doesn’t let a mate drink drive”. The central theme can be also be found in the different designated driver campaigns running in other countries (here we are looking at the Irish campaign) but all concentrate on the importance of appointing a designated driver for a night of celebrations (who can benefit from the free non-alcoholic drinks on offer as an incentive offered by pubs in various locations that are participating in the Coca Cola campaign, where the driver will ‘give the gift of a lift’).

If a member of your staff is on the road with alcohol, it means unsafe roads, a higher possibility of injury and collision and liability of the company for any accident that a drunk driver can cause. Make sure you have drink driving monitoring in place if you want to run a safe fleet this Christmas.

 

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The A-Z series: H for Health and Safety, essential or forgotten?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Nov 29, 2018 9:00:00 AM

The A-Z series: H for Health and Safety, essential or forgotten?

Our latest article from the A to Z of fleet management series is directed at some of the more inconspicuous stakeholders. And as such, we are pretty sure we will catch the attention of those who often work in this important area, but are usually “behind the scenes”. Yes, health and safety officers, we are talking about you!

Health and safety, or, in other words, occupational health and safety, or again workplace health and safety, is concerned with the effect that the specific workplace environment and the tasks required in the day-to-day running of a business has upon anyone with which it comes into contact, and this applies wherever it is operating in a commercial capacity: this includes employees, possibly family members, customers or a more extended group of people. Take a moment to consider how this applies for businesses that operate vehicles.

Dealing with the protection of employees and other categories of people does not only involve a series of preventive actions to be implemented in order to prevent the health and safety of those involved being compromised, but those actions also need to be informed by the regulations that specifically apply to that particular sector, task, category of worker and, of course, depends on the country where the business is operating. This is why when we consider health and safety we are also considering legal compliance.

But what’s the story with health and safety officers? It seems in a lot of cases, as happens with fleet managers, when it comes to smaller businesses, health and safety officers with specific workplace health and safety responsibilities do not in fact exist. Conversely, for larger companies that have a greater pool of vehicles, there is usually a dedicated health and safety officer who is also partly sharing responsibilities with a fleet director. Particularly in these cases, the health and safety officer is a sort of a legal reference for the company and can best advise when new regulations come into effect or when different processes are being adopted by a company and they are expected to oversee whether they adhere to local/global law and health and safety at work regulations. In smaller companies, the person responsible for the role in absence of a dedicated health and safety officer is often the owner, the fleet director in some cases or the human resources department.

When it comes to decision-making about health and safety, it is very unlikely that health and safety officers alone implement processes that involve risk assessment, training or best practices that should be integrated into work practices. There is generally cooperation within all departments, so the contribution of the health and safety officer is key to understanding what can legally be done in some cases, but in others management might want to prevail over some choices, even though their directives might not be fully compliant.

Running vehicles at work should instead be regarded with the utmost importance as it continues to be one of the most frequent causes of injuries or fatalities. About half of the incidents reported to happen in transport in the workplaces every year still make up an extremely significant percentage and seems to indicate that the role and advice of the health and safety officer is still not taken seriously enough. Sites and workplace, drivers and vehicles need to be managed in the safest way possible while complying with the existing legislation. As usual, if you are not clear how this can be realised, don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

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Dash cam users: insurance provider starts to offer discounted premium

by Eleonora Malacarne on Nov 27, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Dash cam users: insurance provider starts to offer discounted premium

Dashboard cameras are becoming more and more commonplace and companies who aim at improving the safety of their employees and want an extra level of precaution are starting to implement them within their fleets. Up until now, insurance companies had not openly supported the use of dash cams, but that is all about to change.

According to an online article published in the Independent on the 18th of November, the insurance company Axa has offered a 10% discount on premiums for customers who install a dash cam. Axa Ireland has partnered up with the camera manufacturer Nextbase who will provide the necessary dash cams, also for a discount, when bought through high-street retailers such as Halfords. It is extremely likely that other insurance companies will now follow suit with similar offers to encourage drivers and fleets to install dash cams on their vehicles.

This development was reported in Ireland, where it seems to be strongly connected to a series of joint strategies by the Gardaí, the Irish police force, which shares responsibilities in road safety with the RSA (Road Safety Authority) of Ireland. Recently, the road safety team has coordinated a series of actions aimed at tackling the issue of uninsured drivers in Ireland, which is currently calculated to be 150,000 cases. In order to solve the issue, a special system has been setup so that Gardaí will be able to immediately see if a vehicle is insured or not by means of special handheld devices. The system will depend upon a national database of cars and insurance cover and is expected to be up and running by the end of 2018.

In the UK, the first insurance company to establish some sort of favourable terms for customers who have dash cams fitted seems to have come from Swiftcover back in 2014, and some other insurance companies have subsequently followed their example.

But what about the other benefits of dash cams? Notwithstanding the discounts, fitting a vehicle with a dash cam can make a huge difference for both end users and companies who rely on drivers: according to studies held in the UK by the RAC, 25% of the interviewed on the matter claim that dash cam footage would be extremely helpful in improving driving style. Dash cams are also pretty useful when it comes to establishing the ultimate responsibility for a collision or an incident, as you can often get conclusive evidence of how an incident plays out over time. Moreover, if you are entitled to a no-claims discount, a dash cam could help you retain it if the responsibility of the other drivers is proved via the footage.

According to the AA’s director of Consumer Affairs, Conor Faughnan (interviewed in April by the Independent): “Where they are useful [dash cams], though, is in settling liability after the fact. They can be very useful in resolving disputes or establishing exactly how a crash occurred and in reducing fake crashes or insurance scams”. The move by Axa seems also to be part of the wider plan to eliminate fraudulent injury claims.

Dash cams can definitely help your driving team and fleet to improve their global safety and reduce the costs to your business (not necessarily only those related to insurance). If you want to learn more, we are here to help.

 

 

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Telematics helps organisations to be proactive with fleet safety, says ETSC

by Eleonora Malacarne on Nov 6, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Telematics helps organisations to be proactive with fleet safety, says ETSC

The ETSC (European Transport Safety Council) has recently issued a new report focussing on the role of fleet telematics in the improvement of risk assessment for companies whose commercial activity depends on vehicles. The study, entitled “Using Telematics In Professional Vehicle Fleets” was published October, 2018 and focusses on the positive role of this technology for companies dependent on vehicles.

According to numbers published by the ETSC, more than 25,000 people lost their lives during the whole of 2017 on European roads and around 135,000 suffered injuries deriving from collisions. All in all, it has been estimated that around 40% of the people involved in those accidents were driving for work: 40% of the fatal collisions were in fact work-related.

Governments have taken different measures towards safer roads, adapting their legislation and helping road safety organisations to implement new schemes and programmes with the common aim of reducing those numbers. In this environment, the use of fleet telematics as systems able to capture vehicle data is no longer seen as a tool providing evidence only in the event of a collision, because of its ability to reconstruct what happened leading up to it, but is increasingly being used to monitor driver behaviour. Telematics offers a wide array of data that can potentially be used not only as a risk management tool, but also to identify fleet-wide issues or to improve the sales side of a business.

According to the ETSC, this powerful tool can minimise risks within a fleet by adopting different types of approaches:

  • Some road safety issues can in fact be global, such as speeding, which has an impact on both professional drivers and any other road user.
  • Then there are driver-specific issues that relate to a particular member of staff and can be monitored in real time. Strengths, weaknesses and areas of concern can be worked on for all drivers, and the publication makes the specific example of drivers particularly prone to speeding or less than perfect driving which might be attributed to poor eyesight.
  • Finally, some issues highlighted within the fleet might actually be related to the wider company and help with the organisation of business practices through policies or the implementation of superior processes; for example, in the loading and unloading of vehicles, the prevention of idling and fatigue and in order to identify risky patterns.

To make the best use of telematics data, the ETSC publication offers a number of suggestions:

  • Collecting data should be carried out correctly and regularly. The data obtained thanks to the technology available might be converted into a more relevant format for drivers, and such collections should be done on a regular basis over a reasonable length of time so as to fully realise the benefits of the system. The continuous collection of data and its analysis will not only help implement positive improvements but also assess behaviours and eventually modify them if inappropriate.
  • It is important to have a risk assessment programme that focusses on the most important issues and that does not let the benefits go due to the abundance of data available.

  • Regarding data protection, it is important that the implementation of telematics follows the legal guidelines of the country where it is implemented and pays special attention to the drivers. Staff need to be informed about the data collected, the potential use of it and should be in a position to discuss this usage.

  • It is fundamental that everyone in the business is involved in the telematics process and shares joint responsibility for its success, as a team.

 

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