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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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Topics: News, Stats & Facts

Distracted driving facts: is music a risk for driver safety?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Mar 28, 2019 9:01:00 AM

Distracted driving facts is music a risk for driver safety

As a prelude to the celebration of the Distracted Driving Awareness Month coming up in April, we would like to share with you some curious research published in the last issue of the Fleet Transport magazine, revealing the songs drivers love to play in order to raise morale.

According to the research, a survey carried out on a selection of around 2000 drivers found that listening to music while driving appears irresistible to most drivers:  90% of them describe this activity as something that makes them feel happy. Scientists agree that listening to music helps release dopamine. And if the music playing is a favourite track for the listener, or at least an enjoyable one, they can experience a bonus increase of 9% in dopamine released. So exactly how do drivers get the feel-good atmosphere while driving? According to the same research, the adage ‘old is gold’ might well apply. We don’t mean to offend anyone, of course, but it seems classic songs dominate the top 20 list revealed by the research, and only two out of the top ten tracks drivers love to play are from the new millennium.

The top spot goes to—not to mention the Oscar—‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen: the song was also the title of the Academy Award winning Freddy Mercury biopic, and a top choice for drivers. ABBA‘s ‘Dancing Queen’ claimed second place and Bon Jovi ‘s ‘Livin’on a Prayer’ came third.

With around 84% of respondents claiming they listen to music while driving, should that be alarming and is listening to music putting safety at risk?

According to a driver distraction publication issued by the ERSO, operating a music device while driving and listening to music are classified as sources of distraction. According to the same publication, though, while choosing your music via radio dial or selecting tracks from a music player seems to be a proven physical distraction, the actual degree of impairment also depends on the type of music drivers listen to. Loud, high paced or emotional music seem to have a negative impact on drivers, but some other types of music can also be used effectively to calm drivers during challenging driving situations. Evidence suggests that positive music can prevent anger increasing during aggravating driving conditions.

According to Professor Nick Reed, academy director at the UK Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), interviewed on the topic in the past, music can actually help concentration. ‘Music is used by world-class athletes to help with motivation and focus,’ he says. ‘Therefore, in a driving context it’s possible that the right music could help drivers to maintain alertness.’

What is the perfect driving soundtrack then? The advice is classical or sweet music at reasonable volume, and planning your playlists ahead of time. If you want to dance and let go, save those tracks for your parties and not for driving.

 

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Topics: News, Stats & Facts, logistique

Driving after Brexit and deadline update: latest news and useful resources

by Eleonora Malacarne on Mar 26, 2019 9:02:00 AM

Driving after Brexit and deadline update latest news and useful resources

As it stands now, April 12th will probably be Brexit day in the event of a no-deal scenario; but if a deal is agreed, Brexit will take place on May 22nd. In the face of such unpredictability it is proving extremely challenging to prepare for all the eventualities, as even the prospect of a second referendum or an alternative plan is a possibility. But if Brexit is still going to be a reality, as it is looking like now, there is quite a sensitive topic that hauliers might now need to engage with: driving after Brexit.

With this short post we would like to summarise three important points you might wish to consider accompanied by a list of relevant resources.

What will happen with driving licences?                                                                           

If a no-deal Brexit comes into effect, a UK licence will no longer be recognised within the EU. The advice is to exchange a UK driving licence for an EU/EEA driving licence. After Brexit, and in the event of a no-deal, a UK licence might not be recognised as valid in order to drive in the EU and drivers might be required to pass a driving test.

If you need to exchange your driving licence, have a look at these resources:

Exchanging a UK driving licence into a EU/EEA one
Exchanging a UK driving licence into an Irish driving licence (through the NDLS)

Will my CPC still be effective?

After Brexit, CPC qualifications issued in the UK will no longer be recognised in the EU. You should be able to complete international journeys if you have an ECMT permit.

Drivers with a UK licence and CPC card who are resident in Ireland or working there are recommended to exchange both licence and CPC card for Irish ones before Brexit. 

What happens with digital tachographs?

If you hold a UK or Northern Ireland driving licence for a truck or bus, are a resident of Ireland, and obtained your digital tachograph driving card from the Road Safety Authority (RSA), it is important to understand that in the event of a no-deal Brexit you are advised to exchange your UK driving licence for an Irish one. In order to qualify for an Irish Digital Tachograph card you must hold an Irish/EU driving licence and have a PPS number as Irish resident.

Once you have exchanged your UK or Northern Ireland licence, then, you need to apply online for a new/first time digital Tachograph Driver card.

More resources

For additional driving after Brexit information, you can consult the following resources:

The RSA’s detailed FAQs on Brexit and Digital Tachograph

The NDLS’FAQ on Driving Licences

The GOV.UK special section “Prepare to drive in the EU after Brexit”

 

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

Brexit consequences for Irish hauliers: insights from 2019 Transport Manager

by Eleonora Malacarne on Mar 12, 2019 9:01:00 AM

Brexit consequences for Irish hauliers insights from 2019 Transport Manager

With the clock ticking remorsefully toward the 29th of March, experts start to figure out the consequences of a no-deal Brexit for the transport and logistics sector in both the UK and Ireland and also the remaining EU member states. The pressing concerns of the eventual withdrawal have prompted intense discussions, and hypotheses have been proffered by experts as to the possible areas of pain for the transport and logistics sector in the forthcoming weeks.

Looking at it from the Irish point of view, the most recent Transport Manager event held on March 5th of last year and traditionally organised by the FTAI in Enfield was dominated by Brexit. After greeting various operators, the FTAI general manager, Aidan Flynn, began the event by advising them to keep planning for a no-deal eventuality, to work with their peers and customers and enhance collaborative relationships, as there are still so many unknowns and unpredictable outcomes.

Two main concerns, as the deadline looms ever closer, are the possible delays and the possible consequences deriving from them, such as road blockages or tailbacks. When it comes to border delays under the current arrangement, transporting goods is relatively straightforward, but once Brexit kicks in, deliveries that were taking from one to three days could take from four to five. According to data shared by the FTAI, custom documents could soar from the current average of 1.7 million per year to the astounding figure of 20 million. Revenue officers might not be in significant force during the first few weeks following the 29th, and it will be very difficult for those in the haulage industry to be ready and compliant with this aspect. Helen McEntee TD., Minister for EU Affairs, who intervened at the event, offered some comforting words to assure operators that the Irish Government is working around the clock in preparation of the consequences and ensuring that the relevant information is readily available.

With regards to possible delays, Flynn has also called upon the government to provide more details of plans for facilities and parking that might serve drivers caught up in tailbacks generated by Brexit and argued that, because the UK is a distribution centre for food and retail in Ireland, if checks are reinforced in anticipation of the ‘third country’ border arrangements that will inevitably happen between Ireland and the UK, there will be serious difficulties and congestion. There is no rapid solution.

Meanwhile, in the UK new research published last week has suggested that the UK’s logistic sector itself will suffer a £6.7 billion reduction in economic output (around 7.8 billion euros).

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, News, Stats & Facts

Van/LCV market in 2019: what is the current status?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Mar 7, 2019 9:05:00 AM

Van/LCV market in 2019: what is the current status

The light commercial vehicle market had its ups and downs in 2018, especially towards the end of the year: during some months sales rose, while in others they fell, which led the used LCV market to enjoy great success.

Regarding the UK market, the fluctuating trend can be attributed to a number of reasons: the uncertainty as to whether there will be a no-deal Brexit is affecting the confidence of buyers, the introduction of the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) for light commercial vehicles in 2019 is another, and the introduction of Ultra-low emission zone and clean air zones throughout UK is also a factor.

The LCV market in Ireland followed a similar trend in 2018, with positive sales in some months and negative in others, compared with the previous year. According to the official statistics of the Irish Motor Industry, the months of September, November and December registered a decrease in new LCV registrations of 12.53%, 1.72% and 9.72% respectively.

So how has the LCV market performed during the first months of 2019 in Ireland and the UK?

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the new van market in the UK has seen an 8.6% uptick in January 2019 based on figures released in mid-February. More than 22,000 new vans and pickups were introduced to UK roads in the first month of the year, an increase of 1,761 compared with January 2018. The positive result was not a complete surprise as something of a bounce-back was half expected after such a poor sales performance in the previous month of December.

In Ireland, according to numbers made public by the IMS, LCV registrations in January totalled 5,647, a decrease of 16.38% when compared to January 2018 (6,753).

According to Mike Hawes, the chief executive of SMMT, so long as the post-Brexit future remains uncertain, we should expect trends to fluctuate over the coming months as the EU negotiations pan out and the UK parliament votes on the various proposals. Political and economic stability is generally necessary for businesses to invest in new vehicles, and a big part of this stability resides in the ability of the UK government and the EU to formulate a deal before the Brexit deadline.

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Topics: News, Stats & Facts

Brexit for transport, logistics and hauliers: what does the future hold?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Feb 5, 2019 9:03:00 AM

Brexit for transport, logistics and hauliers what does the future hold

With the clock ticking inexorably toward the March 29 deadline, the question everywhere seems to concern the future of the UK and Europe with regards to Brexit. Almost two years have passed since the June 2016 referendum in which 16,788,672 leave votes secured a small majority and technically cleared the way for the UK to leave the European Union, but since then the actual outcome is anything but clear.

The possibility of a no-deal Brexit seems at the time of writing the most likely outcome as the UK and the EU have so far been unable to reach an agreement, and everyone is starting to imagine some of the possible post-Brexit scenarios as the eleventh hour approaches. What would be the consequences of a no-deal Brexit for the transport, logistics and hauliers sector?

Back in the beginning of January, some influential transport and logistics trade associations such as the FTA and the FTAI have urged companies and hauliers to start preparing for the no-deal eventuality. The FTAI in particular has advised hauliers to take immediate action and advance their preparations, or expect delays, red tape and costs after March 29.

The General Manager of FTAI, Aidan Flynn, has stated that "Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations—deal or no deal—it will have a seismic impact on the UK's trading environment and in turn, the freight distribution and logistics sector on both sides of the Irish Sea. By leaving the Customs Union and the Single Market, the UK will trigger notable friction in the supply chain. There will inevitably be multi-agency checks at ports and the administrative burden placed on the logistics industry—particularly road haulage—will hinder business development and, in some cases, cripple the small to medium enterprise sector.”

If a no-deal Brexit is reached, the island of Ireland will be particularly impacted by the reinstatement of a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland—the Irish land border would become a frontier of the EU and there would be pressure to enforce similar customs and immigration controls to those that exist between the EU and any non-EU country.

Trade and immigration are two other major influences on the transport and logistics sectors. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK would have to revert to World Trade Organisation rules on trade; it wouldn’t be bound by EU rules but would be subject to the EU’s external tariffs. The price of goods in shops for Britons could rise sharply as businesses would have to have to pass on the cost of tariffs on goods imported from the EU. With regards to free movement, the UK would be free to set its own controls on immigration from EU countries. However, the EU could respond in kind for Britons and this could lead to delays at borders not only for expats but the situation for workers in the logistics and transport sector is also unclear.

The Loadstar, an online news resource for the logistics industry, makes two uncomfortable observations on what could happen after a no-deal Brexit: the time EU trucks spend in the UK on average is 1.9 days; a timescale that would inevitably change in the event of a no-deal Brexit. This could force hauliers to look for business opportunities outside of the UK when it becomes a much less efficient, more expensive and time-consuming country with which to trade. Another potential problem, is the massive presence of EU vehicles on the Dover-Calais route—it has been estimated that 85% of the trucks there are from the EU, posing considerable logistical challenges for both exporters and importers.

The anxiety concerning potentially huge delays at the border has already been considered by many businesses, but let’s focus on the healthcare sector for a moment: in the news just a few days ago, was a pharmaceutical company that saw fit to stockpile vital emergency equipment as the more stringent custom checks possible after a no-deal Brexit could potentially delay the delivery to patients in emergency situations. The head of NHS England, Simon Stevens, has admitted that getting logistics right is crucial to guaranteeing the flow of medical supplies.

 



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Topics: Fleet Costs, Fleet Management, News, Stats & Facts, transport and logistics

Fleet Year End Budget: what are the trends?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Dec 12, 2018 9:00:00 AM

  Fleet Year End Budget: what are the trends?

‘Tis the season to be jolly’—but also to be busy! At this time of the year you should typically be some way into next year’s planning—you’d be a little on the late side if you haven’t started already. We know everyone is extremely busy as this time of the year, but in order for a business to plan ahead for 2019, they should be sure to make the most out of what is left of the 2018 budget.

If you are like the majority of businesses operating fleets, you will probably have some leftovers in the budget that are subject to the old ‘use it or lose it’ rule. But what happens for lots of companies is that they either do not have time (or feel they do not have time) to decide on an intelligent spend for this, or they just squander it on irrelevancies, just for the sake of not losing it. If you are among those who, luckily enough, can decide what to do with the leftovers after your holidays and it is available through to 2019, you can weigh up your best investment options and get ready for the final toasts. But if not using that budget means having a lower budget for 2019, then you might be urged to spend.

First of all, how have you been able to establish how much is left of your fleet management budget? Like in every other sector, the idea is that everything applying to the expenses of your fleet is tracked carefully and all items accounted for when calculating your remaining budget. If you are still using multiple systems to get your fleet expenses on a digital file, chances are that your estimate is inaccurate and you might actually waste budget that you don’t have or either cannot take advantage of what is left for the year. Are you sure that you or your organisation is actually keeping track of all the factors that make up the fleet spend and that your budget estimate is accurate?

If the answer is ‘no’, you should definitely consider the acquisition of a system able to record all of your expenses in order to get a realistic view of how much you can potentially spend or how much you should keep on saving. Even better if that same system is able to offer other options at the same time, such as a complete maintenance module or other tools able to make your office paperless. With time, you should not only be able to check out on remaining budget, but also to have a realistic forecast on next year’s spending, a regular review of your spend which will allow you to set your fleet strategy in a more intelligent way.

If you already have a system able to do so, maybe you can check out what the next trend is: dashcams have started to become more and more important for both drivers and fleets, and insurance companies have started to offer discounts to those interested in this product. If you need more information, make sure to let us know: we have quite a few ideas to make your season jolly and your budget spend wiser!

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, News, Stats & Facts, fleet management technology

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