MPs Want Hands-Free Mobile Phones to be Banned While Driving

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MPs have called on the Government to extend the ban on the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving to include the use of hands-free mobile phones.

In a new report, the House of Commons Transport Committee says “the evidence is clear: using a mobile phone while driving is dangerous, with potentially catastrophic consequences”, irrespective of whether it is hand-held or hands-free.

The Committee was told that the distraction caused by using a mobile phone - hand-held or hands-free - meant a driver was four times more likely to be involved in a collision. That is a similar risk to drink-driving.

The MPs also want “stricter enforcement of the law to prevent the ‘entirely avoidable’ tragedy of deaths and serious injuries from related crashes on the roads”; an overhaul of the current laws on using hand-held mobile devices while driving, to cover use irrespective of whether it involves sending or receiving data, for example filming; and consideration as to whether the current penalties for illegal use of a hand-held mobile phone should be increased.

What’s more, the MPs want the Government to “lead by example” and “encourage behaviour change across the public sector and Government supply chain” so that drivers do not use any mobile phone, or other device, while driving.

Committee chairman Lilian Greenwood said in publishing the report, ‘Road Safety: Driving While Using a Mobile Phone’: “Despite the real risk of catastrophic consequences for themselves, their passengers and other road users, far too many drivers continue to break the law by using hand-held mobile phones.

“There is also a misleading impression that hands-free use is safe. The reality is that any use of a phone distracts from a driver’s ability to pay full attention and the Government should consider extending the ban to reflect this.”

Spotlight: Richard Evans, Head of Business Development Jaama

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The Great British Fleet Event interviews Jaama’s head of business development, Richard Evans, about the company’s exciting Maintenance Exchange solution for fleets, as well as offering his perception of the past and future of fleet.

How did you get into the fleet sector?

After leaving college, I was offered two jobs in a short space of time… one was a bar on a greek party island, and another was working for a fleet management software company in Birmingham… The rest is history. Who needs sun, sea and souvlaki anyway!?

What is your current role and what are your responsibilities?

Head of business development, which means every day is different. My week generally consists of nurturing and guiding a great team of people and engaging with clients looking for innovative technology solutions. There is still nothing better than signing a new client after months, sometimes years of effort – seeing the way in which we can help improve their operation through our Key2 software suite is still so satisfying after 8 years.

What do you think has been the most influential fleet car ever?

This is still yet to come – a pure EV with 400+ mile range will take this title. For now, a 1980’s BMW 3 Series “e30” will have to do. The first ever premium fleet car (despite BMW claiming they didn’t make fleet cars at the time)!

What one fleet industry-relevant thing would you change if you were able to go back in time?

Government taxation. Freight, logistics, transport and fleet do so much for our economy and to keep our country moving – yet countless governments choose to come up with new tariffs, taxes and supplements and don’t reinvest anywhere near enough back into the transport infrastructure.

What is your company’s focus for 2019?

To further improve our customers’ experience and to launch new products and services that support that aim.

Fleet Fuel Costs May Be Set to Rise

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Fleet fuel costs may be set to rise significantly amid a ‘perfect storm’ that could send the price of petrol and diesel to 2019 record levels.

A "nasty combination" of rising oil prices, notably due to rising tensions in the Middle East, and a falling pound means that August could prove to be a very “costly month on the UK’s roads”, according to the RAC.

Consequently, the motoring organisation is warning that the price of a litre of unleaded petrol could “easily” go above the 2019 high of an average 130.67p seen at the start of June and diesel exceeding the year’s high point of an average 135.54p at the end of May. At the end of July the average price of a litre of unleaded petrol was 129.21p and that of a litre of diesel was 131.95p.

Oil is traded in dollars and last month the pound lost 3% on the dollar, a downward trend that has continued in August with sterling reaching a 31-month low. Experts say it is due to both sterling weakness as a result of Brexit and the dollar’s strength.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “July saw a return to rising pump prices. While there were only relatively small rises in both petrol and diesel, the situation might have been far worse if the drop in the value of the pound had combined with the higher mid-month oil prices. And, of course this could still very easily prove to be the case if the pound doesn’t recover in the next few weeks. Drivers can only hope we don’t see the nasty combination of a rising oil price and a falling pound.”