The growth of vans on UK roads, fuelled by the surge in home deliveries, has highlighted the need for flexible road safety systems, according to GreenRoad, provider of driver behaviour solutions.
May was a record-breaking month for the UK's light commercial vehicle sector, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) which reported a 1.9% rise in new LCV registrations compared with May last year.
This comes on top of a year of steady growth, with new registrations rising 2.9% for the year to date, fuelled by a 13.3% growth in heavy vans between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes. There are now more than four million vans on our roads.
However many of these are driven by people who have received no professional driving training before getting behind the wheel, and as such may have poor driving practices that are being left unchecked.
Sharp cornering, sudden acceleration and harsh braking are all risky driving behaviours that can lead to accidents – and the costs of unsafe driving can be enormous.
Damage-only accidents in the UK resulted in more than £4.3 billion worth of damage to vehicles and property in 2012. For a delivery company or small tradesman even a minor accident can result in disruption to business and customer dissatisfaction and a fatal accident could prove ruinous.
Chris Horbowyj, Director of UK Sales for GreenRoad said: "By putting people who lack professional driving training behind the wheel many companies are exposing themselves to the risk of dangerous, costly and reputation-ruining collisions.
"Many van drivers are not professionally trained and, indeed, some may not even realise the extent to which they can improve their driving to adopt a safe, smooth, fuel-efficient approach.
"With their busy schedules, there is always the temptation for drivers to cut corners and rush their journeys. Fleet safety is all too often an afterthought, but it shouldn't be and it doesn't need to be thanks to modern mobile technology."
GreenRoad's award-winning mobile app will help drivers resist the temptation to fall back on bad habits. Ideally suited to van fleets, it requires no hard-wiring and can be equally easily used in vehicles that are company-owned, leased or indeed the property of individual drivers.
All that drivers need to do is download, install and run the app onto a smartphone or tablet then place their mobile device in the cockpit of their vehicle. The GreenRoad app will then continuously monitor the vehicle movement, picking up unsafe driving manoeuvres.
GreenRoad effects long-term, sustainable, positive change in driver behaviour because it allows drivers to take charge of their own improvement by alerting them in real time when they stray from safe, smooth driving, ingraining good driving habits on an on-going basis.
At the same time, it analyses data in order to present easy-to-read reports for fleet managers, enabling them to pinpoint hot-spots for accidents and wasteful vehicle idling, the performance of individual drivers and trends across the whole fleet, via a series of tabs on the app.
A tracking application allows fleet operators to see where and when their drivers are moving or stationary and route replay can help to eliminate any disputes over delays or non-arrivals.
Chris Horbowyj added: "Mobile technology is set to overtake traditional wired-in telematics as the technology advances and its advantages become apparent. It is highly accessible and easy to use – almost every van driver will have a smartphone or mobile device so the GreenRoad app should be simple to install."