With the increasing use of in-car toys among fleet drivers, Tony Meredith discovers there is a darker side to this new technology
The company car driver is the king of the gadget. Most fleet drivers possess some kind of in-car technical toy; a sat nav system, speed camera detector or a PDA harnessed to the dash. But there is a downside to all this electronic wizardry… their driving could be getting more dangerous! Sales of iPods and portable satellite navigation systems rocketed last Christmas, marking the emergence of the in-car gadget. Although there have been a wealth of ‘must have’ car gadgets in the past, today’s latest technological marvels have really captured the imagination of drivers. But the alarming fact is that these same gadgets can divert the driver’s attention away from the road.
OTHER software companies can provide similar services and these include Wiltshire-based Exentra Transport Solutions, which offers its smartanalysis system. It has similarities with VDO-Siemens TIS-WEB in that it is a web-based system. Smartanalysis was developed using Microsoft .NET technology and provides operators with software for their office-based computers. ‘It is estimated that only 20-25% of all operators currently undertake detailed analysis of tachograph charts,’ comments Steve Fisher, a director of Exentra Transport Solutions. ‘The days of paying scant attention to complying with regulations is coming to an end as the advent of digital makes enforcement by VOSA and the police much easier and faster.’
YOU might be surprised to learn that there is no specific legislation stating that the licences of those who drive for work must to be checked. The issue needs to be addressed though, as failure to do so could result in court proceedings further down the line, under wider road traffic or health and safety laws.
The main reasons for checking licences are to comply with duty of care guidelines, recommended by groups such as the Health & Safety Executive, and to meet the terms of company car insurance policies. And it helps to cover your back in the event of any driver misdeeds. If an unlicensed driver has an accident in a company car, the police will ask what procedures are in place for checking licences. If these are evident, the onus will be on the driver.
According to Jason Francis, managing director of fleet software and occupational road safety experts Jaama. Key2 Vehicle Management software is instrumental in ensuring that companies put safety first. In the event of a serious and perhaps fatal crash involving an occupational driver, police officers will be looking for evidence of why the vehicle was at […]
FLEET software company Jaama has announced details of a further three health and safety seminars. The company says the events are aimed at small and medium-sized companies who want help in co-ordinating and implementing occupational road risk strategies. The paid-for seminars are being held at Brands Hatch on May 16, Bristol, on May 17 and […]
Fleet management software boosts efficiency, saves time and money for the busy fleet manager, but some still prefer their old paper-based system. John Mahoney reports
For many fleets. Microsoft Excel remains the most widely used fleet management tool. It’s familiar, meets most finance departments’ needs and is loaded on most PCs already. But is it a good fleet management tool?” A resounding ‘no’, says Gavin Clark from software provider Chevin. “One firm we’re trying to sell to relies on Excel to manage 900 cranes. Currently, the fleet manager uses 27 Excel spreadsheets and is quite happy to continue- doing so if it avoids an outlay of perhaps £1500, making it -a tough sell, despite the long list of benefits. “Excel is fantastic at storing information, but unless you’re an expert, it’s difficult to extract and represent data in a form of any value to the fleet manager.”
Claire Walker is the perfect advert for the efficiencies modern fleet management software bring. Working as a compensations and benefits manager for the Caudwell Group, she part-time manages a fleet of over 1300 as well as 300 cash allowances. Assisting her are five full-timers and 10 part-time administrators, but even this workforce could not prevent Walkers department becoming snowed under by vast piles of paperwork.
“Each year, we have 4700 car handovers, or from an administrative point of view, 4700 P11 D’s to process, the bane of my life.” says Walker.
AS OPERATORS READY themselves for when digital tachographs become law in May, new technology from Jaama should allay concerns over how the data will be downloaded.
While printouts can be obtained directly from digital tachographs such an outdated routine does not allow for detailed analysis of driver and vehicle activity to be undertaken effectively and it means record keeping is inefficient.
Instead, Jaama says commercial vehicle operators should download all digital tachograph information to carry out, for example, checks on drivers’ hours and rostering as required by the legislation, and to maintain records in accordance with Operator Licence regulations.
THE VAST MAJORITY of small fleets are failing to meet the most basic of Duty of Care guidelines, according to one of the largest ever road safety surveys.
Fleet software and occupational road safety expert Jaama conducted a survey of 2200 companies operating fleets of more than five vehicles throughout 2005. Participants included MDs, finance directors and HR managers as well as fleet operators. Although the survey showed an increase in awareness of Duty of Care issues among smaller fleets over the year, one in five (21 %) of those businesses surveyed were unaware of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ‘Driving at work: Managing work-related road safety’ guide by the end of the year.