STAMPING OUT MOBILE PHONE USAGE BEHIND THE WHEEL
Peter Millichap, Director of UK Marketing at Teletrac Navman, discusses the impact this year’s police crackdown on drivers using mobile phones will have on the logistics industry
It’s been widely reported this year that that the number of motorists caught using mobile phones is massively on the rise, as police try and tackle the driving offence.
Under new rule expected to come in the next 6 months, drivers will get 6 points on their licence and could face a £200 fine. Newly qualified drivers could actually be made to retake their test the first time they are caught.
This massive crackdown on drivers using phones behind the wheel will inevitably impact fleet operators, and they need to consider what they can do to deter their employees from breaking the law. First and foremost, we advise them to invest in technology that can directly and indirectly impact on reducing the risk.
Telematics generally lessens the need for mobile communication, as managers don’t need to contact drivers by phone to check where their vehicles are, or to discuss job allocations or route planning – it’s a great solution for communicating safely.
Telematics also highlights driver behaviour – for example, if a driver is braking harshly regularly, then this may be an indication of them being distracted, which might be because they are using their phone. This behaviour can then be addressed in training – education is essential to enhancing road safety, and the onus is on the employers to make sure their fleet is up to speed with relevant road safety policies. General training around improving driver behaviour has many other added benefits too, such as reducing fuel and vehicle maintenance costs.
In-cab cameras are also a very powerful deterrent for drivers. Being monitored with front facing cameras naturally improves driver behaviour, as it makes them more self-aware. The chances of drivers brazenly using their phone, with the knowledge of being filmed by their employer, is highly unlikely. We understand that drivers might not necessarily be keen on being filmed at work, but there’s no doubt it will have a positive impact on performance and keep them safe.
Another bonus of In-cab dash cams is that they can contribute to reducing insurance claims in the long term. When the settlement figures for accidents involving HGVs are reviewed, they equate to £11,000 on average, which can be a considerable blow to businesses – this is why the logistics industry is really embracing the technology.
It’s also important for fleet managers to adopt a tough and firm policy themselves in relation to mobile phone usage themselves. If enforced properly, a strict policy and clear consequences, applied to all levels of the organisation, will raise awareness of how using phones whilst driving will not be tolerated. Drivers must be made aware that if they breach policies, they will be held accountable for the transgression.
Telematics is also increasingly going mobile, with more and more apps being used by fleet managers to acquire data. Apps which can track mobile phone usage can give managers an idea of when these handsets are being used, making it easier to identify those in breach of the law. However, technology that would completely prevent mobile usage, or provide misuse reporting to businesses, seem likely to become more available in the future.
For more information on risk management issues please visit: http://bit.do/risk-management-PDF
About Teletrac Navman:
Teletrac Navman is a multinational telematics company leveraging 25 years of experience to help fleets boost revenue and lower operating costs. We equip businesses with advanced data tools for location tracking, fuel monitoring, reporting, safety and compliance, all via one powerful, user-friendly platform.
We're devoted to providing accurate and precise data secured by the strongest protection and controls. These tools and methods improve business’ bottom line and help them stay competitive. Teletrac Navman currently tracks nearly 500,000 vehicles owned by over 40,000 organisations on six continents, making us one of the world's largest fleet management providers.
Teletrac Navman’s ever-evolving fleet management technologies offer a unique combination of features, functionality, compliance and workflow solutions paired with unparalleled platform reliability.