Van drivers urged to be safe and use hands-free technology

Fleet drivers have been urged to put safety first after a poll showed a worryingly high number are still using mobile phones behind the wheel.

The survey, carried out by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VCV), found the average worker makes seven calls a day while driving and typically spends 37 minutes on the phone.


Less than half use hands-free

However, just 41 per cent reported using hands-free or Bluetooth technology on a frequent basis to make the calls safely.

Furthermore, 17 per cent of those polled admitted they also send texts, check their emails or post on social media while driving, providing additional and perhaps even more dangerous distractions.

Van drivers in London and Yorkshire and the Humber were most likely to use hands-free technology to make and receive calls. Those in Scotland were twice as likely as any other region to pick up their phone during a journey.

“Mobile phone use behind the wheel is a topic that we’ve been monitoring for the past couple of years … it is still a huge safety problem on UK roads. Despite carrying a hefty punishment, it lacks the taboo of other offences such as drink-driving and this needs to change,” said VCV’s Claire English.

Since March 2017, any motorist caught using their phone while driving faces an on-the-spot fine of £200 and six points on their driving licence.

However, with a poll by Driving for Better Business recently finding 49 per cent of business leaders expect their employees to answer their phones at all times, the message may not be getting through to fleet owners sufficiently.

Ellie Baker, Brand Manager at Fuel Card Services, comments: “With so much technology available for those who must be available to contact at all times, there really is no excuse for these shocking new figures. No conversation is worth risking someone’s life over, so put that phone out of reach if you haven’t got hands-free.”

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Tracking your route to success with Tele-Gence

Tracking your route to success with Tele-Gence

Today’s fleets are under tremendous pressure to deliver reliable, efficient and legal operations. The reality of being able to see drivers and the performance of each vehicle in real-time – all on one screen – is here.

At Fuel Card Services, we take the responsibility of fleet management seriously, which is why we offer our affordable telematics system called Tele-Gence. Our solution delivers intelligent fuel management by integrating fuel card and live tracking data, resulting in MPG improvement by 20%. It is intuitive and alert-driven, it offers in-depth reporting on pump pricing, driver behaviour, fuel fraud, vehicle tracking and more – with no long-term commitment and no start-up fee.

Tom Cosway, Head of Commercial Business at Fuel Card Services, adds, “Tele-Gence’s visibility enables organisations to provide better service for their customers – it’s no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘have to have’ solution.”

Tele-Gence is all about smart, affordable telematics made simple. Our range of user-friendly services is fully customisable with bespoke options scalable to your specific needs, with frictionless access from anywhere in the Cloud, and support from a UK-based customer service team.

Tele-Gence gives you full access to fuel data, with accurate MPG reporting to eliminate fraud. Our device is tamper-secure and small and easy to hide. The software is industry agnostic allowing us to select the right solutions based on the exact requirements for your business. This bespoke service allows you the choice of an intelligent fuel management tracking solution by integrating your fuel card data. It works by giving you greater visibility of your fleet, using the creation of multi-shaped geo-fences or zones around fuel stations or work sites, for example, to pinpoint, alert, report and manage your fleet efficiently.

Tele-Gence offers dash cams and live camera feed, which is an incredibly useful tool for fleet managers, providing insight into driver behaviour, fuel consumption, and many other valuable areas. Use it to monitor, evaluate, advise and improve driver behaviour, route planning, and sustainability.

Tele-Gence is part of our integrated services for Fuel Card Service cardholders which you can register for support for free at My Fleet Hub a one-stop solution for all your drivers and vehicles.

Book a free demo today – you’ve nothing to lose except the cost and hassle of not using it!

One-third of drivers 'don't know how to use in-car tech'

One-third of drivers ‘don’t know how to use in-car tech’

New cars are packed full of the latest technology and gadgets, with everything from in-car entertainment to satellite navigation, connected telematics and much more.

That said, the plethora of tech within the latest models can be confusing for some of us, so it’s perhaps unsurprising to learn that more than a third of UK drivers do not know how to use all the features of their own vehicles.


Lack of training leaving many in the dark

Research carried out ahead of this year’s British Motor Show has revealed that 35 per cent of UK car owners admit to being unable to effectively use a host of systems that come built-in to their vehicle.

Indeed, 20 per cent of respondents stated they understand how to use less than half of the technology at their disposal, while ten per cent said they use only a fifth of the technological capabilities of their car and instead “just drive it”.

Andy Entwistle, CEO of the British Motor Show, commented: “Our industry should be extremely proud of the technology it has and the show is the perfect opportunity to show it off, but it’s clear that consumers need greater understanding about just how technologically advanced cars are.”

The study revealed that one of the biggest hindrances to usability of many of the latest in-car systems is not enough information being shared by dealers when the vehicle is being purchased. This was a complaint by 71 per cent of drivers.

Overall, 25 per cent of respondents claimed they were given no information whatsoever on how to use the features of their car when they bought it, or even which features it had to offer.

That said, motorists wishing to learn more can always do so by simply reviewing their vehicle’s user manual.


Cutting edge technology for a new decade

All in all, many of the newest cars are a dream come true for your typical technophile, and this year’s Motor Show aims to put the very latest gadgets, gizmos and automotive aids at the centre of its offering.

“Pioneering tech will play a huge part at the British Motor Show 2020,” Mr Entwistle argued.

“We’ll have the innovators of the past, present and future all together in one location and provide show visitors with the opportunity to immerse themselves in all of the latest and greatest tech that the car industry has to offer.

“The show will also give those who feel less confident with the technology or who simply don’t understand it the chance to find out more without the pressure of a hard sales environment.”

Running from August 20th to 23rd at Farnborough International in north-east Hampshire, this year’s Motor Show is expected to attract crowds of more than 50,000 visitors and tickets are now on sale.

Jenny Smith, general manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “Getting to grips with the huge increase in built-in technologies can be a challenge for today’s drivers, but with so many hidden features not being utilised to the full, it might pay for many people to do a bit of research – you never know what essential driver aids you could be missing out on.”


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

Connected cars 'could improve driver and pedestrian safety'

Connected cars ‘could improve driver and pedestrian safety’

Safety should always be a top priority for motorists, so the advent of new technology that could help to reduce the likelihood of accidents is always to be applauded.

Now, a new system is in development by Hyundai and its partners that could enable vehicles to communicate more closely with each other and alert the driver to potential hazards coming up on the road.


Communication is key to improved safety

The system works by transmitting a signal from a built-in microchip to all other connected vehicles nearby. It transmits the speed, direction and location of each vehicle up to ten times per second to give a more accurate depiction of travel conditions.

Should a connected vehicle be forced to make a sudden manoeuvre, all other drivers in the vicinity receive a dashboard warning, allowing them to take early action.

Changhan Lee, coordinator of Hyundai Motor Company‘s CRADLE office in Tel Aviv, said: “Safety is one of the most important factors that consumers consider when they are buying a car.

“There will always be human error, whether drivers are distracted, or pedestrians aren’t paying attention and the consequences can be devastating.”

However, Mr Lee added that the advent of connected vehicles could provide a considerable boost to safety and ensure safer roads for all in the years ahead.

Jenny Smith, general manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “Connected vehicles have the potential to give an early warning to motorists of any upcoming hazards. Preventing potential accidents, injuries and loss of life on the UK’s roads can only be good.”


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


people who drive for work warned over fatigue

People who drive for work warned over fatigue

GEM Motoring Assist has underlined the safety threat posed by people who drive when they’re exhausted, stressing how important it is for motorists to be aware of the issue and to always be alert when they’re behind the wheel.

The breakdown recovery firm said this is a particularly common problem among people who drive for work, meaning it’s something that fleet managers need to be aware of.

Introducing vehicle telematics is one action that supervisors can take to boost their understanding of driver behaviour and improve safety.


The dangers of fatigue

GEM cited research by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents showing that fatigue is a contributing factor in around 20 per cent of crashes, particularly in the early hours of the morning.

Tiredness makes drivers less able to respond quickly and safely if a dangerous situation arises on the road, increasing the risk of collisions, particularly on long and monotonous stretches of motorway.

Shift workers, truck drivers and company car drivers are among those most at-risk of a fatigue-related accident. A clear majority (85 per cent) of motorists who cause fatigue-related crashes are male, and more than one third of those are under the age of 30, according to Brake, the road safety charity.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “Think about situations where you may be at increased risk of a collision because you’re tired. It may be the length of the journey you’re making that puts you at risk, but it could be your general state of alertness before you get behind the wheel.

“Crucially, when you’re driving, you will know when you’re starting to feel sleepy – it won’t just suddenly happen. So don’t ignore the warnings your body is giving you.”


Safety measures

GEM recommended a number of steps that can help drivers reduce the risk of fatigue-related accidents:

  • Be sure to get a good night’s sleep before a long drive, since preventing fatigue is better than having to deal with the effects.
  • Aim to limit driving time to a maximum of eight hours a day.
  • Take regular breaks – at least 15 minutes every two hours or 100 miles is recommended.
  • Avoid driving at times you would usually be sleeping.
  • Consider pulling over somewhere safe and legal to take a 15-minute power nap if you start to feel sleepy behind the wheel.

Where fleet management is concerned, it’s important for businesses to do everything they can to protect their drivers and other road users. That includes educating vehicle operators about the dangers of tiredness, as well as other safe driving techniques and methods.

Introducing telematics technology can strengthen your understanding of driver habits and behaviours, giving you a data-based view of where positive changes can be made.

Jenny Smith, general manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “Being alert and vigilant at all times behind the wheel is absolutely essential, particularly for people whose jobs require them to spend a lot of time on the road.

“As obvious as this message is, it’s always worth repeating and remembering.”


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