Warning: Fleet Managers should revise policies on back of new drug driving law

As the Government introduces a new law to make it easier for police to catch and convict drug drivers, fleet managers and drivers should be warned about the possible ramifications for those using prescription drugs. Under the new legislation, motorists who get behind the wheel after taking illegal drugs face a criminal record, loss of their licence for at least a year and a fine of up to £5000. The legislation makes it illegal to drive with certain drugs – both illegal and prescription – in the body above specified levels. People using prescription drugs within recommended amounts will not be penalised.  

Fleets urged to act now after driving licence counterpart abolition delay

The delay in the date for the abolition of the paper counterpart to the current driving licence is ‘irrelevant’ as the time for fleets to change their processes is now, says the Association for Driving Licence Verification. The association said some corporate fleet users are concerned that even when the current alternative proposed by the DVLA becomes available it might not address all their business compliance and operational requirements for fleets of 20 or more. The ADLV is recommending that fleet managers evaluate available commercial alternatives now to reap immediate and significant efficiency savings as well as data security enhancements. Malcolm Maycock, chairman of the ADLV, said: “The benefits of electronic checking are already available and proven so why wait until someone decides a date for the inevitable? “Organisations seeking to professionally manage and protect their employees’ driver data should make the move to…

Company car remains important employee benefit

Six out of ten (62%) company car drivers state the offer of a similar choice and value of vehicle is an important consideration in any future decisions they make regarding job moves, according to new research from Lex Autolease. Lex Autolease’s Report on Company Motoring, compiled from independent surveys of more than 1,400 businesses, company car drivers and employees who use their own vehicle for work purposes. It found more than two-thirds of businesses (67%) believe the company car is an important employee benefit and one in five (20%) plan to upgrade their car policies in the next two years to help secure, retain and motivate the best employees. When asked to rank the most important factors in choosing a company car, drivers put reliability at the top, followed by fuel efficiency and safety. In contrast the brand of car was ranked as the…

Apple curb driver distraction from smartphones

Apple has patented a system which will lock smartphone and tablet functions such as text messaging if the device is being used by a driver. Originally filed in December 2008 but granted this week, the lock-out function is timely as Apple prepares to launch its CarPlay system starting with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo later this year but soon to be extended to 14 other manufacturers shortly afterwards. CarPlay streams apps from a smartphone to the vehicle’s infotainment display, features intelligent navigation based on recent text and e-mail conversations and allows devices to be controlled via buttons on the steering wheel. The technology giant said its lock-out system addresses the 80% of accidents caused by distractions and the rise of teenagers texting while driving, adding that the latter is hard to police because devices are usually out of sight. Most of the functions are based…

Licence checking and duty of care head fleet system “shopping list”

Licence checking and duty of care head the “shopping list” of new management information systems fleets are planning to adopt, according to the latest quarterly Company Car Trends report from GE Capital Fleet Services. According to the research, 30% of fleets that do not already have a solution in place are planning to adopt a licence checking system while 24% are planning to adopt a solution for duty of care. Continuing the risk management theme, 17% plan to adopt an accident data management system. In-life costs are also a priority, Company Car Trends shows, with 21% of fleets without an existing solution planning to adopt a technology driven approach in cost management next year. Fleet decision makers who took part in the research were asked what systems and technologies to track and manage their fleet are they thinking of adopting in the next 12…

UK passes EU new car emissions landmark two years early

The average new car in the UK now emits 128.3g/km CO2 – 3.6% less than last year and already ahead of the 2015 EU-wide fleet average target of 130g/km CO2. The figures have been reported by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which says the fall in emissions has been driven by increased fuel efficiency of new cars, helped by consumer movement towards more economical cars. Registrations of cars in the Mini segment almost doubled against 2012, while the Supermini segment also showed solid growth. A new car is 20% more efficient than the average car in use, so consumers will notice a real difference when replacing their old car. Meanwhile figures for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) show a threefold increase in the number of plug-in models on the market in the last three years alone. Registrations of AFVs grew 17.6% to…

End of the road for the ‘tax disc’

From October 2014 motorists will no longer have to display their road tax disc in the windscreen of their vehicles. Even though the paper disc is to be scrapped motorists will still be paying Vehicle Excise Duty but the treasury claims that there will also be savings of £20  million for Britain’s hard-pressed motorists as a result of changes to the way car tax can be paid. The number of windscreens checked for tax discs by officers has dropped 75 per cent in the last five years, thanks to the electronic vehicle register that is used by both traffic police and the DVLA. A police source said ‘the tax disc is no longer needed for enforcement purposes, the police use numberplate recognition equipment. If they pull you over they can immediately tap into this database and see whether the car is taxed and insured…

New fuel benefit and van benefit charges announced for 2014/15

The Treasury has announced that fuel and van benefit charges are to see increases for the next tax year. The changes will see the company car fuel benefit charge multiplier rise from £21,100 for 2013/14 to £21,700 for 2014/15, making free private fuel even less worthwhile for fleet drivers. Meanwhile the van fuel benefit charge rises from £564 for the current tax year to £581. In addition, the van benefit charge is to rise from £3,000 for 2013/14 to £3,090 for 2014/15. Commenting on the changes to the company car fuel benefit charge, Jeff Whitcombe of BCF Wessex Consultants Limited pointed out that not only is there an increase of £600 in line with RPI and as announced in the 2013 Budget but also the appropriate BiK percentage for most cars will increase by 1% in April 2014 and fuel prices are at their…

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