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The ‘white van man’: do any of your staff resemble the classic UK stereotype of the inconsiderate driver?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jul 2, 2019 9:02:00 AM

The ‘white van man’: do any of your staff resemble the classic UK stereotype of the inconsiderate driver?

Image credits: Sven Storbeck, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mercedes_sprinter_2_v_sst.jpg

 

With many of the fleets we are regularly dealing with comprising mainly of light commercial vehicles, sooner or later we invariably wonder if any of them fit the classic ‘white van man’ stereotype and whether fleet managers ever wonder the same thing.

The ‘white van man’ stereotype, a term coined circa 1997, claimed, due to an article in The Sunday Times published at that time, that drivers of battered LCVs were often selfish, inconsiderate and aggressive. Even Wikipedia has a dedicated page on the ‘white van man’, which conjures up an unfortunate image of a discourteous oaf who is a menace to road safety. But is this fair—and is it really the case?

A couple of recent articles have tried to dispel the myth and show us that things have changed in step with other antisocial attitudes over the years. According to an article from The Independent in 2018, the so-called ‘white van man’ stereotype, usually associated with an overweight, junk-food lover, is actually a bit dated:  your average ‘white van man’ is more likely these days to be a health conscious individual preferring salads and fruit or packing his own lunch and even keeping fit and working out at least twice a week. Another study covered by the same article actually proved that many drivers claim to be more polite, patient and understanding on the road than the old ‘white van man’ stereotype would have you believe.

Another source of information trying to debunk the stereotype comes in the form of an interesting infographic produced by LeaseVan, which actually provides data on the type of work carried out by ‘white van man’, the percentage of total traffic on the road they account for compared to other vehicle types and the, actually quite positive, record they have when it comes to  insurance claims, indicating a lower accident rate on average, contrary to what the stereotype suggests!). See for yourselves:

  • Vans account for 44.9% of all traffic in the UK.
  • The most popular white van profession is the contractor (typically, builder, electrician, handyman) but also delivery drivers and shopkeepers.
  • Vans account for 45 billion miles driven in the UK out of a total of 61 billion miles driven by commercial vehicles every year.
  • 68% of white van drivers have no insurance claims.
  • If all the UK’s van drivers went on strike, there would be significant delays in deliveries, important medicines would be delayed in hospitals, breakdown cover would grind to a halt and moving house would be significantly more difficult.

Whatever you may think of these drivers, vans really do own the roads. But they are no longer the outdated vans belching black smoke you were all too familiar with back in the 90s. Companies know how important it is to not only to teach their drivers how to practise safety on the road and to have well maintained vans that contribute to the image of a company; they consider their vehicles and staff to be a brilliant advertising opportunity. The era of the old ‘white man van’ is, thankfully, at an end.

 

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Topics: fiato doblo cargo, News, Stats & Facts

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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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

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

1.7 million drivers admit to speeding: what about your drivers?

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

1.7 million drivers admit to speeding: what about your drivers?

It has been proved that there is a strong correlation between speeding and collisions. This, according to the WHO: in high-income countries, speed contributes to about 30% of deaths on the road; while in some low-income and middle-income countries, speed is estimated to be the main contributory factor in about half of all road crashes. This knowledge has surely created a social stigma with regard to speeding, meaning that, apart from the immediate dangers involved and the potential sanctions, the awareness of speeding as inherently antisocial should be an added incentive for drivers to refrain from doing it. But according to the latest research data shared by HPI Ltd on Fleet News, this actually might not be the case.

According to the study, more than 1.7 million drivers actually admit that they do practice speeding on every journey they undertake—accounting for a worrying 5% of all motorists. Two thirds of the interviewed (68%) admit that they speed during some of their journeys and a quarter of the total admits that they speed on at least half of them.

In addition, a general lack of knowledge regarding the Highway Code has been revealed by the survey: 72% of the respondents did in fact answer, “I don’t know” when asked about the speed limit of a single carriageway road—possibly another contributory factor to speeding.

Other findings of the study carried out by HPI concern the hours when drivers mostly tend to speed. It seems that it is between 4.00-5.00am that drivers are most likely to speed, while the least likely period is between 4.00-5.00 pm. The morning rush hour also seems to attract more speeders than the evening rush hour, by a small margin: 50.1% of the interviewed are morning rush hour speeders, versus 46.7% who speed in the evening. In addition, 65% of those who speed are caught in most cases by a speeding camera.

The HPI team has disclosed some surprising and worrying results from their research. With so many drivers and vehicles on the road nowadays, it is not easy to accept that people do not abide by the rules governing speed limits and that their conduct also contributes to such increased risks. Ignoring speed limits, either deliberately or through ignorance, should not happen and reducing speed should be a top priority.

 

 

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

Stay safe on the road this Easter: some tips and forecasts

by Eleonora Malacarne on Apr 11, 2019 8:59:00 AM

  Stay safe on the road this Easter: some tips and forecasts2

Easter is nearly upon us and with it comes a period of celebration where people typically gather together or take advantage of the upcoming bank holidays to travel. Unfortunately, experience indicates that the intensification of road traffic this time of year inevitably leads to an increase in collisions, some of which have proven fatal in the past.

In line with the international targets of reducing incidents globally, some of the road safety authorities have already shared data referring to forecasts for the Easter break as well as recommendations to be followed. This obviously does not apply only to those who travel for pleasure, as there will still be professional drivers on the road fulfilling their obligations and providing services.

The Road Safety Authority of Ireland shared some data on collisions and fatalities in 2018, revealing a total of 140 fatal collisions resulting in 147 fatalities on Irish roads. The months of April, June and November were particularly dangerous—the spike in April and its connection with the Easter break is immediately apparent—and there is a general appeal to reduce speed and follow the warnings from An Garda Síochána, the Road Safety Authority and their partner organisations.

As far as the UK is concerned, the expectations, according to the RAC, are 14 million road users taking leisure trips during the Easter break; this is aside from the usual commuter and commercial traffic. As temperatures appear to be dropping again, the RAC are making extra recommendations to drivers; they urge motorists to check over their vehicles before they set out. This is especially valid for those who are planning to drive long distances. Professional drivers are reminded to do their usual walkaround checks and to pay special attention during this time.

There are three essential reminders for those planning to drive over Easter, whether for pleasure or work:

  • The importance of planning ahead. Make sure your planned route allows for a realistic timeframe in order to complete and also takes into account the likely traffic conditions. If you are a professional, follow the recommendations of your fleet manager and pay attention to the hints your gps tracking system makes with regards to traffic and efficient choice of route.
  • Slow down. Do not succumb to the temptation of speeding if you have been caught up in traffic during an earlier stage of your journey; your speeding may be a contributory factor in a potential collision and might very well decide its outcome.
  • Drive defensively. Try to predict what is going to happen on the road and be attentive to it. Avoid distractions. Stay alert, leave enough space between your vehicle and others, and adjust accordingly to any dangerous situations.

 

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

Vehicle theft: 2018 marks 82% growth in keyless van thefts

by Eleonora Malacarne on Apr 2, 2019 9:06:00 AM

Vehicle theft: 2018 marks 82% growth in keyless van thefts

According to data recently shared by Fleet News, there has been a rise in the keyless thefts of commercial vehicles in 2018 compared with the previous year.  Out of the total number of stolen vehicles in 2018, 89% were taken without their keys, representing an 82% increase from 2017. The Ford Transit is the most stolen van, followed by the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Despite the implementation of technology to prevent vans from being stolen, thieves are constantly finding cunning new ways to exploit weaknesses in modern security systems, which is leading to a rise in the phenomenon.

Vans are obviously not the only type of working vehicle likely to be stolen. Construction equipment theft appears to be a major dilemma for many business owners for a number of reasons. Sites where construction work is carried out often lack adequate security, providing relatively easy access to construction equipment or other vehicles.

There are some factors that most likely contribute to the rise in thefts:

  • In some cases (especially for construction vehicles) the high value of the equipment
  • Poor security of sites or depots
  • Easy opportunities to sell equipment, components or vehicles in the used market
  • Low risks connected with detection and arrest, or lenient penalties

 

Some of the trends are highlighted in the US publication Annual Theft Report, and recovery of stolen equipment is proving particularly challenging: according to the stats, only 21% of stolen equipment was recovered in 2016, with obvious consequences in terms of loss and costs.

Vehicles are important assets for companies and fleets and require a level of extra protection other than that which comes as standard. Companies should really consider reinforcing their premises and security systems if they do not want the possibility of theft impacting their bottom line.

And one such example of an extra level of protection against vehicle theft is the use of GPS trackers, which will not stop vehicles from being stolen, but will maximise the chances of locating the vehicle to recover it, thus minimising its impact.


In what ways can GPS trackers help you increase vehicle security?

There are essentially two ways in which GPS tracking systems can help you keep tabs on vehicles:

 

  1. With their alerts systems. GPS trackers and their associated software come with a multitude of options, some of which are alert systems that you can customise and set up. You can set off-limits areas vehicles cannot enter or exit, so that when a vehicle approaches them, an alert is triggered. You can therefore use alerts as a form of preventative measure.
  2. Round the clock monitoring, 365 days a year. GPS trackers and fleet management systems work all the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, throughout the whole year, whether you are working or not, wherever you happen to be. Business owners can have access to the tracking system even if they are some distance from their workplace or the operating area of the vehicle. They can get location and vehicle status information in real time.

 

In such a challenging time for business, companies need to plan for effective ways not only to run vehicles efficiently but also to protect them. Once the decision is made, then it’s just a matter of installing the technology with the help of Transpoco and we can also take care of the rest.

 

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