17th May 2017
Telematics can play a key role in reversing the sharp increase in motoring fines among business drivers
Lex Autolease, the UK’s largest vehicle leasing and fleet management company, regularly publishes insightful research relating to many different aspects of business motoring – and its latest findings1 will be of concern to some fleet managers.
Following a study involving over 350,000 business vehicles throughout the UK, Lex has identified that company car and van drivers racked up 26% more motoring fines and penalties during 2016 compared to the previous year, leaving them with £14million of charges to pay. Putting this headline figure in further context, penalty charges among business drivers have exactly doubled in the four years since 2012 alone.
Tim Porter, Lex Autolease’s Managing Director, unambiguously attributes the rise in fines to “the local government clamping down on ‘minor’ motoring offences […], UK businesses footing the bill”. The types of penalties he is referring to include bus lane infringements which rose 26.65% in 2016, illegal parking which increased by 34.14%, Congestion Charge fines where a 12.81% rise was recorded, and a wave of Dart Charge receipts being paid in the wake of ANPR replacing the antiquated payment booth setup.
As a company that places driver safety at the heart of our solutions, products and activities, an example being our Carrot Insurance brand’s i-box, which was recognised with the ‘Safer Road Users’ accolade by the Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards2, our eyes gravitated to the more serious fines, though.
Speeding, along with other more major and endorsable offences including dangerous driving and using a mobile phone behind a wheel, saw a smaller volume increase during 2016 at 4.86%, with 45,865 fines dished out to company car and van drivers. While this may seem relatively encouraging in numeric terms, it still means that the number of business motorists disregarding various driving laws is increasing, potentially putting themselves, other road users and pedestrians in danger, not to mention risking losing their licences with a detrimental effect on employers.
Unlike the comparatively minor offences, which Lex and other voices may be justified in pinning on local authorities taking an over-zealous attitude, the circa 5% rise in speeding and dangerous driving can only really be attributed to drivers themselves, along with fleet managers who unarguably also have a role to play.
Lex’s Tim Porter recognises this, saying: “There is now a greater need to take action to change driver behaviours, such as providing additional education and training”. Touching on possible remedial actions, he identifies how organisations can combat the trend “by benchmarking their data against similar fleets” with businesses instigating “straight-forward driver policies and procedures to help reduce the risk and bring down the bill.”
With a quarter of all vehicle miles travelled in Britain each year covered by at-work drivers, including a large proportion in grey fleet cars, Trak Global Group’s smartphone app-based fleet telematics solution, Appy Fleet, can significantly contribute to discouraging speeding and dangerous driving. The results not only include reducing the number of motoring penalties and fees incurred but also making roads safer for all users and inadvertently boosting fuel savings by as much as 20%.
Incorporating live tracking in conjunction with Google Street View, Appy Fleet’s portal helps those responsible for company-driven vehicles to meet their duty of care by, for example, viewing each journey and pinpointing where speed limits have been exceeded. Drivers are automatically ranked according to their behaviour behind the wheel, aiding the identification of those who will clearly benefit from additional driver training or even rewards-based incentives. Drivers who flagrantly ignore the app’s automated breach-of-speed-limit notifications are also highlighted within Appy Fleet’s portal.
Gamification is increasingly being used in a number of industries, especially so in the motoring field, Appy Fleet’s scoring and ranking business drivers against their colleagues helping to encourage behavioural change, increasing both safety and vehicle efficiency as a result.
By adopting fleet telematics solutions, whether hardware or phone-based, alongside refining and actively enforcing HR policies, businesses of all sizes along with public sector and other organisations will hopefully be rewarded by a reduction in speeding and dangerous driving fines when the next set of statistics is released.
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