Van drivers warned of heavy load dangers

Fleet operators across the UK should be focused on safety. As a result, they should highlight to staff who carry heavy loads in their vehicles to remember this fact and amend their behaviour behind the wheel.

Heavy loads add stopping distance

New research published by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VCV) has revealed how carrying a half-tonne of equipment in a standard van can increase its braking distance by up to 36 per cent. This equates to an extra five metres of stopping distance travelled when a vehicle brakes from 60 mph.

Testing was carried out by the company at the MIRA Proving Grounds in Nuneaton using the manufacturer’s range of Caddy, Transporter and Crafter vans. It simulated realistic stopping distances for the vehicles when carrying a range of different loads.

Be ready to brake

Responding to the research, VCV director Carl zu Dohna said: “Braking distances in the Highway Code are based on an advised standard and don’t take into account the loads that many van drivers carry. Our research highlights an important safety message that van drivers could really benefit from.”

Mr zu Dohna went on to add that adapting your driving style to take into account the additional braking distance required when transporting heavy loads can therefore be crucial in helping to save lives and to better avoid costly, and potentially serious, accidents.

Jenny Smith, product manager for Tele-Gence, comments: “Anyone transporting a heavy load should appreciate the change in driving style that this requires. Failing to do so not only places themselves in danger, but also other road users and innocent parties.”

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Govt support delivers £86m boost to low-emission automotive sector

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) is a collaborative non-profit set up by the government and industry. The APC has helped to provide in excess of £86 million in investment for the nation’s low-emission automotive sector.

A total of 87 small-to-medium-sized enterprises have so far been supported by the body, helping to cement the UK’s position as a leading light in the development of new technologies to promote low-emission driving and enhanced efficiency.

The work and support offered by the APC is designed to lower the barriers to market for companies with innovative ideas and technologies. One such business to have received great benefit from their work with the APC has been Sunderland-based battery technology firm Hyperdrive.

Indeed, Hyperdrive commercial director Stephen Irish commented: “The APC has been a genuine catalyst for change. We have averaged an 80 per cent staff increase each year since we began.”

He added that the APC project has been “absolutely critical” to supporting this growth, as has the company’s ongoing collaboration with binding partners.

Jenny Smith, general manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “Genuine and ongoing government support for more new businesses to operate in the low-emission automotive sector can only be a good thing, not only for companies themselves, but for the environment, for drivers and the nation as a whole.”

Your business can benefit from affordable telematics with no hidden start-up fees or long-term commitments. Find out how at

Car insurance premiums up for first time in nearly two years

Car insurance premiums had been falling over the past two years, but the AA has revealed that trend has come to an end.

Its data for the final quarter of 2018 showed that the typical cost of an annual comprehensive car insurance policy increased by 32.7 per cent in the last three months of the year, to £609.93.

This was the highest figure since the second quarter of 2017, when prices reached an all-time high of £693.

Overall, the figure remained down 5.9 per cent on a year before.

The AA suggests the fall in premiums was brought about by the signing into law of the Civil Liability Bill. The bill restricts the ability of people to make frivolous whiplash claims. However, the fact this will not come into effect until 2020 may have taken the momentum out of this factor.

AA’s director of insurance Janet Connor said this and the higher cost of repairing cars had pushed premiums up. Repair costs have increased due to the increased technological sophistication of vehicles.


However, Ms Connor noted, the big issue on everyone’s minds just now has also become a factor.

She remarked: “Underlying all of this of course are concerns surrounding Brexit.

“Regardless of what the final deal looks like, the market has continued to battle with the value of sterling.

“This has led to the rising cost of imported car parts, further adding costs to the car repair industry which ultimately finds its way to the premiums we pay.”

With these costs being pushed up, drivers may look to use other means to bring premiums down.

The use of telematics is one way to of this, as it can track driver behaviour. This enables motorists to show they are not driving for too long, too fast, recklessly or too late at night.

Many motorists, both fleet and private car drivers, have made large savings on their insurance this way, particularly when renewing policies after a year of demonstrating good driving habits.

Jenny Smith, product manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “The downward trend for car insurance premiums was welcome, but it seems those days are at an end, and fleet managers and drivers need to think about what else they can do to keep this cost down.”

Your business can benefit from affordable telematics with no hidden start-up fees or long-term commitments. Find out how at

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Euro NCAP names 2018’s safest new cars

Road safety has arguably never been such a major issue. Every year, Road Safety Week grows in size and exposure, whilst car makers are constantly looking at how technology can improve the safety of their models.

It’s just as well because each year, vehicle safety assessment group Euro NCAP introduces increasingly stricter crash test protocol.

Businesses want the safest cars possible in their fleets too, in a bid to improve their duty of care and protect their drivers as much as they can.

Euro NCAP’s star-based safety ratings provide an accurate indication to which cars are the safest, but it went even further this week by publishing its best in class for 2018, which runs down the safest cars to arrive in the last 12 months.

This time, the list was led by the Lexus ES, which topped not just the large family car category but also the hybrid and electric group too.

Mercedes-Benz’s A‑Class [pictured] won out in the small family car segment, not surprising considering it achieved this year’s strongest result.

Finally, the Hyundai NEXO was considered to be the safest large off-roader around. All three cars secured five-star safety ratings during crash tests.

Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general at Euro NCAP, said: “The three best in class award winners this year all clearly demonstrate that car makers are striving for the highest levels of protection and that Euro NCAP’s assessments are a catalyst for these crucial safety improvements.”

2018 saw Euro NCAP put automated driving technology to the test for the first time to try and clarify confusion amongst motorists.

“Assisted driving systems can bring safety and convenience benefits, but full automation is a long way off,” added Mr van Ratingen.

“We will follow and assess these developments closely and ensure that consumers have all the information they need when considering these new driver technologies.”

In 2017, Volkswagen dominated proceedings with three models making up half of the list: the Arteon, T-Roc and Polo. Subaru outdid itself with two cars in the mix (XV, Impreza), while Volvo completed the rundown with the XC60.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, comments: “The A-Class was always going to be a tempting model to user-choosers and its supreme crash test rating means that fleet bosses won’t mind that one bit.”

Your business can benefit from affordable telematics with no hidden start-up fees or long-term commitments. Find out how at

Revealed: Why motorists choose telematics insurance

Revealed: Why motorists choose telematics insurance

Revealed: Why motorists choose telematics insurance

Telematics insurance has been on a steady rise for years now, and new research has revealed that the biggest reason why is … cost.

Almost half (47 per cent) of the 1,500 UK drivers that took part in a recent survey said cheaper car insurance was the main factor behind their decision to have a telematics-based insurance policy.

More than a third (36 per cent) said they opted for telematics insurance in case it helped track their car if it was stolen, while three in ten (31 per cent) hoped it would help with claim management after a car accident.

Over a quarter of the survey sample reckoned telematics insurance provided a financial incentive to drive safely (29 per cent) and help to increase self-awareness of their own driving style (27 per cent).

Separate research by BIBA (British Insurance Brokers’ Association) revealed there are now nearly one million telematics policies live in the UK – up by nearly 30 per cent on 2016’s figure.

Despite these obvious incentives, it seems the insurance sector still has work to do in terms of convincing UK drivers of telematics’ benefits – nearly 30 per cent of those surveyed stated they could think of no reasons to change from traditional motor insurance policies.

Dr Colin Smithers, chief executive of Redtail Telematics – which commissioned the survey, believes developments in the car insurance market have the potential to revolutionise the way we drive and how we guard against the risks of poor driver behaviour.

He commented: “The increased use of telematics has important implications for anyone who might consider taking up a a telematics-based insurance policy, policymakers and for society as a whole.

“Widespread use of telematics is also likely to lead to better driving and fewer fatalities.”

Jez Strong, general manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “The benefits of telematics are well documented, but it’s interesting to see why people are keen to include the tech in their insurance policy.”

Your business can benefit from affordable telematics with no hidden start-up fees or long-term commitments. Find out how at

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