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7 Jun 2011

It really is shocking how much reckless driving you see on the UK’s roads, but this week the fleet sector was able to declare how much it is already making strides in reducing dangerous driving among its drivers.

Monitoring, evaluating, improving – this is all possible for fleets due to the widespread use of telematics and other tracking technologies, that are either commonly-used or mandatory in fleet vehicles, and other reporting processes fleet drivers need to go through, such as using fuel cards to pay for and record fuel usage.

The Fuelcard Company welcomed news this week that the Government is proposing tough new penalties for reckless drivers, such as on-the-spot fines, but has pointed out that the problem has already been severely reduced among commercial motorists due to these every day technologies.

Car and lorry drivers are monitored constantly behind the wheel in a variety of ways, including Sat Navs, tachometers and purchasing activity, which allow managers to know where they are, how they are driving and how fast.

With the data readily examined in real time or historically, there has been a steep reduction in dangerous driving, accidents, insurance claims and fines for individuals and companies, reducing casualties and bringing cost savings to commercial fleets.

Fuel management reports can also help identify risky drivers before an accident occurs, allowing fleet managers to provide additional training and guidance in driving efficiencies for those who drive erratically, brake and accelerate hard and rev the engine while stationery.

Monthly reports flag up excessive fuel consumption caused by speeding, reckless or impatient driving, which would place responsibility for the incident with the driver. Were private motorists armed with the same information, they would be able to target the fuel savings that come with safe, steady driving – where veering sharply and sudden braking and acceleration are absent – knowing that as fuel consumption declines, safety thresholds rise.

According to The Fuelcard Company Sales and Marketing Director, Jakes de Kock, examining where they have been and the travel times between points might identify other causes of poor driving.  “For example, where speeding is due to poor scheduling of appointments and other commitments, people can bring more realistic timetabling to their work and domestic lives.”

Now it would be far from practical to encourage, let alone insist, that regular private drivers start setting up tachometers or other technologies in their vehicles to monitor their driving, but we’re sure they can learn a lot  from commercial vehicle drivers all the same.

It’s all about having self-awareness, the same kind of self-awareness we all had when we first learnt to drive, when we learnt from our mistakes and tried to be a better driver.

Where did it all go wrong with experienced drivers?
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