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Fleets must stop over reliance on sat nav

Automated systems and electronic delivery have changed our lives and lifestyles out of all recognition to those of just a few generations ago. The convenience and time savings they bring have freed us from much of the unloved hard work and laborious processes of the now distant analogue age.

There is a general consensus that their emergence has been a positive thing. A force for good.

However, there have been legitimate concerns about the use of such technology behind the wheel; for example, the distractions of mobile phones and other hand-held devices when driving.

Another stark warning for commercial motorists was sounded recently, when shocking new research revealed that they concentrate on the road for just one third of journey times.

And satellite navigation systems are, it seems one of the main culprits for this lack of attention and absentmindedness, as they tempt drivers to rely solely on the automated directions they deliver, paying no attention to road signs.

While sat nav has been a huge benefit for commercial drivers, the evidence compiled by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) that they give the road their full attention just 66 percent of the time is a huge concern – and one that must be tackled by fleet companies head on.

While communication devices are essential for every business driver and the satellite navigation systems in particular have revolutionised our fleet operations, we are developing a worrying over-reliance on the technology, which is all too often overriding common sense and undermining road safety.

It is the responsibility of fleet managers to issue sensible guidelines on correct, appropriate use, which includes warnings about sat nav’s limitations.

Drivers should never follow their systems blindly and always pay attention to road signs that communicate vital, up-to-date safety warnings that can not be picked up by satellite navigation devices. These might include road or lane closures, warnings about obstructions or accidents ahead and the adverse results of severe weather conditions.

And should anyone still harbour any doubts about the need for sensible precautions, then The Daily Telegraph’s top ten worst sat-nav blunders makes hair raising reading.

They include a group of British tourists who were stranded for four days when their electronic friend directed them down a road that had been closed because of heavy rain.

Another unfortunate incident involved a group of schoolchildren missing out on a school trip to see the palace of King Henry VIII in Surrey when their bus driver dropped them off in Islington, north London, courtesy of the technology’s earnest advice.

As with most things in life, excessive consumption can be damaging, so please ensure common sense and moderation!

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