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Making The Most Of Technology | Feature

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Despite a large availability of products on the market, it is clear from a recent study by ProVision that commercial vehicle users aren’t taking full advantage of technology. Road safety should be at the top of every operator’s list when it comes to upgrading or purchasing new commercial vehicles, so it is equally as important that dealers are aware of how they can help drivers and fleet managers improve risk compliance.

Dealers are often the first port of call for those needing advice on their vehicle and the various types of technology on the market, so advising operators on how to stay safe when driving can prevent accidents before they happen, keeping both vehicles and operators on the road with limited risk.

Provision Study

ProVision’s recent study has highlighted what forms of safety checks are being used, as well as how procedures could be improved with the introduction of updated technology. Conducted from September 2017 to January 2018, ProVision – who supply cameras and tracking solutions – used their Fleet Risk Assessment Tool to assist fleet operators in evaluating risk exposure and find out how they can improve their own safety, with scams and road rage amongst the risks.

With 64% of 200 respondents having a risk score of over 70%, it’s becoming vital for dealers to advise their customers on how to avoid incidents by investing in sufficient solutions such as cameras. Despite the vast availability of products on the market, ProVision found that only 50% of respondents had cameras installed – just 20% of this number had them in all of their vehicles. A lack of necessary technology can leave drivers exposed to unnecessary risk when an incident does occur, as cameras ensure every moment can be traced back when there is doubt over how it was caused.

Furthermore, 42% of those with cameras were not fully protected as they had a single windscreen-mounted dash-cam that would not cover all angles of the vehicle. A multi-camera system should be recommended to fleet operators to ensure maximum safety by filming every angle and sides of the vehicle rather than the front alone.

Out of those who did have cameras, 52% of respondents reported that their cameras did not alert them in the case of hardware failures or were unsure if their cameras notified them if they occurred, which may mean that accidents or unsafe incidents are missed if the camera stops working without the driver realising.

Crash For Cash Scams

According to the BBC, the Insurance Fraud Bureau has said that ‘crash for cash’ scams cost the UK £340m a year, with motorists deliberately causing an incident and making it appear as if it’s the victim’s fault in order to make a claim against them.

Despite it not being the honest driver’s fault, they are the ones who will end up paying out. Not only can these scams leave you out of pocket, the BBC claims that these are often used to fund gang activity, including illegal firearms and drug dealing.

Dash-cam evidence can prevent the scam from going ahead as they clearly show who is to blame. Following this up with a report detailing damage to the vehicle can also be vital; it is recommended that drivers and managers use a technology-based format to ensure this information is collated correctly and safely.

Despite these risks, 17% of participants in the study carried out no checks at all and 64% only used paper-based reporting. Not only slow and outdated, but there is an increased risk of the report getting lost, causing a delay in getting essential information to the fleet manager. Dealers should recommend the appropriate equipment to assist operators in staying safe while driving; using an electronic method means faults can be reported instantly and that the data can be easily accessed by multiple people.

Accidents are commonplace according to the study, with 62% reported to have more than one accident across their fleet in the previous year and almost one-third reporting five or more accidents in the same time span. Despite how often – and how easily – they can happen, 15% had no accident reporting process whatsoever and 64% used a traditional, paper-based method.

To avoid getting the blame for incidents on the road, operators should be advised to ensure all vehicles are up-to-date with technology – a small price to pay when considering the many risks of the road.