Image of a row of commercial vehicles

Top tips for fleet managers during COVID-19

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been far-reaching this year. Businesses across the UK have endured forced closures, limited trading opportunities and lots of uncertainty. As a result, fleet managers have faced a lot of stress during COVID-19.

With the situation unlikely to be resolved anytime soon, there’s a need to consider how businesses can successfully operate within the ‘new normal’ of COVID-19. Here we offer some simple advice on vehicle safety and how to manage your fleet against this challenging  backdrop.

Minimising the impact for your business

Effective fleet management during COVID-19 needs to take into account the disruption the pandemic has caused. This means fleets need to be more flexible in the way they operate.

Planning is crucial to success. With more people making use of online deliveries, that means more traffic and longer queues or delays when filling up vehicles. It can therefore pay dividends to plan journeys in advance to avoid congested areas. Our Pump Locator service, available through our free Drivers Club mobile app, can also help managers plan ahead to ensure they are getting the best deals to save money on fuel.

Meanwhile, clear communication is also essential between managers and drivers. Fleet managers need to be able to inform drivers quickly and easily. This could be about changes in delivery schedules or procedures for visiting clients. It’s also important to know who has been using each vehicle and when.

Vehicle maintenance during COVID-19

Managing your fleet in an efficient and cost-effective way is essential at the best of times, but even more so when faced with the uncertainty of COVID-19. Essentials to remember include:

  • Step up cleaning schedules: Vehicles should be deep cleaned after every use. This is especially important if they are to be used by more than one driver.
  • Inspecting tyres: Tyre laws haven’t changed in recent months. Vehicles must still comply with all measures of roadworthiness. This includes maintaining minimum tread depth of 1.6 mm for all tyres.
  • Carry out daily checks: Vehicles should undergo a thorough inspection every time they are used. This should include things like checking lights, brakes, mirrors and oil levels. A full vehicle checklist can be found at Gov.uk.

The use of tools like our MyDriveSafe app can make completing daily vehicle checks easy. It gives clear visibility for managers and drivers alike that the right checks are being carried out.

Government advice on MOTs

Significant support for businesses has been offered throughout the pandemic so far. One area where this has been apparent is MOTs.

For smaller vehicles, a six-month MOT deferral was put in place for vehicles with MOTs expiring between 30th March and 31st July 2020. For HGVs, trailers and other large commercial vehicles, the government has extended MOTs by 12 months.

Keeping drivers safe during COVID-19

It’s not just vehicles that businesses should be looking after in these difficult times, but drivers as well. All companies have a duty of care to their staff and, against the backdrop of a global pandemic, this is perhaps now more important than ever.

A key element of driver safety is to remind individuals about the basics of social distancing, regularly washing hands and disinfecting their vehicles to reduce the risk of infection. Here are some key pointers that can help to boost hygiene for staff:

  • Disinfect high-touch areas: Focus on door handles, steering wheels, gear sticks and other high-touch areas of your vehicle.
  • Wash/disinfect hands: Keep antibacterial wipes or gel in your vehicle to allow you to disinfect your hands quickly and easily. Remember to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, when possible.
  • Keep apart from others: Maintain a two-metre distance from others when possible.
  • Reduce vehicle occupancy: Limit the number of people within a vehicle. Close proximity to others will increase the chances of passing on infection.
  • Wear a mask/disposable gloves: When leaving your vehicle, wear a mask covering your nose and mouth and cover your hands.
  • Promote contactless payments: You can reduce their risk of passing on or contracting coronavirus by using contactless payments when making payments. Access to a fuel card account can also ensure you’re not handing over cash when filling up vehicles.

Finally, fleet managers must remember to educate drivers on any changing guidelines. It’s essential that people know what is best-policy behaviour in order to protect themselves and others.

How to control fuel costs

Uncertainty for businesses due to the impact of COVID-19 remains extremely high. As a result, it’s important to keep a close eye on expenses. One way to reduce your monthly costs is to take advantage of discount fuel.

Signing up for a fuel card account can offer significant savings every time your drivers fill up. Use our handy guide to compare fuel cards to determine the product that’s right for you. At Fuel Card Services, we provide a wide range of fuel cards – including all of the biggest brands, Shell, Esso, BP, etc. We provide flexibility and cost reductions for our customers.

You can save up to 10p per litre on the cost of fuel with us. Meanwhile, complementary services like vehicle and asset tracking through our Tele-Gence service and accurate reporting of your mileage expenses through MileageCount can further streamline your fleet.

 

BP network

New sites added to BP network

Three new fuel sites have joined the BP network:

Whinmoor Service Station

York Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS14 2AA

  • Non-bunker site
  • Wild Bean Café in the service shop
  • The site is on the A64 on the east side of Leeds

All Saints Service Station

Commercial Road, Portsmouth, PO1 4BY

  • Non-bunker site
  • The location of the site is on the A3 in Portsmouth after the end of the M275

Herringthorpe Station

Herringthorpe Valley Road, Rotherham, S65 2UQ

  • Non-bunker site
  • The location of the site is on the north east side of Rotherham on the A6123 off the A630

Sign up to our pump locator to save time and easily find your nearest petrol station on the BP network. You may also find our pump locator on our Drivers Club app, as well as access premium services, big brand offers, and receive the latest driving trends and essential announcements.

face masks are now compulsory on forecourts

Face coverings will be mandatory in all refuelling site shops from 24th July

The recent announcement from the health secretary Matt Hancock states that wearing a face covering or mask will be compulsory in all shops from Friday 24th July.

Alongside shops in England, the new announcement will also be mandatory in all shops at filling stations. Here are a few top tips for drivers and passengers to stay safe when visiting site stores and forecourts.

Face coverings

In line with the new rule, drivers and any passengers planning to visit filling stations need to wear a face mask when entering stores.

Social distancing

When visiting sites, follow guidelines both in-store and on forecourts to remain safe for drivers and staff. Be aware of store-specific guidelines for social distancing when on site.

Clean hands

We encourage you to wash your hands more frequently following the recommended guidelines.

Cyle Lane For FCS

Drivers reminded of new fines for misusing cycle lanes

Drivers are being reminded that councils now have the power to identify and fine them if they are spotted misusing cycle lanes.

In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, the government has been redistributing road space to make roads more attractive to pedestrians and cyclists and reduce the use of public transport.

Cameras now permitted to issue fines

Rules on enforcement were changed this week (June 22nd), meaning English councils are now able to use CCTV devices to ensure motorists stick to the law when it comes to using and parking in bike-only lanes.

The Department for Transport said it hopes this will reduce the number of cases of cyclists being forced into oncoming traffic because there are cars blocking cycle lanes.

Drivers will face fines of up to £70 – or £130 in London – if they are spotted by CCTV cameras flouting the law on lanes marked by unbroken white lines.

Cycling minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “These new measures also build on our recent £2 billion investment to create a green, healthier legacy and see more people travelling by bicycle or on foot.”

However, fleet organisations have criticised the move because it fails to take into account the needs of the service industry and others who must drive for business.

The Road Haulage Association’s chief executive Richard Burnett has written to transport minister Baroness Vere to criticise how much highway space is being taken away to favour a small minority, with access to properties for deliveries “already difficult” in urban areas.

Fleet drivers may notice more cyclists on the roads over the next few days, with Cycling UK currently promoting Bike Week.

Tom Cosway, brand representative at Fuel Card Services, comments: “It is commendable that the government wants to build on the environmental progress seen during the pandemic, but this should not come at the expense of fleet drivers. Perhaps there could be some exemption going forward for those who drive for commercial reasons.”

Take care with hay fever medicines, drivers warned

The hay fever season is upon us once more and with grass pollen levels rising, many sufferers will be reaching for the antihistamines to calm their symptoms.

However, one motoring organisation has warned anyone who also needs to drive to check their medication before taking it in case it causes drowsiness.

Common medicines may impair driving

GEM Motoring Assist said some common hay fever remedies can have a sedative effect, potentially making drivers groggy and unable to react to hazards in time.

Chief executive Neil Worth added: “It’s important to check with your GP or pharmacist, and to read those warnings contained on the labels of the medicines you plan to take.”

He also pointed out that the same laws cover over-the-counter remedies as apply to illicit drugs when it comes to impacting driving, meaning those caught ‘under the influence’ of antihistamines could face heavy penalties.

GEM has published a new leaflet called Medicine, Drugs and Driving to help anyone unsure about where they stand on taking particular remedies, which is available now.

Meanwhile, IAM RoadSmart also suggests that people who usually suffer from hay fever might want to take extra precautions before getting behind the wheel, including regularly changing the pollen filter of their vehicle and wiping down dashboards and other fixtures.

According to the NHS, 20 per cent of us suffer from hay fever, with the UK and Sweden having the world’s highest number of sufferers.

Tom Cosway, brand representative at Fuel Card Services, comments: “Hay fever is a very common ailment, but it can be really serious for drivers. We recommend that everyone should heed this advice – and we hope the ‘season of sneezing’ proves short for those of you currently suffering.”