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…

Three recalls issued for Toyota vehicles

Toyota has issued a recall affecting 35,124 UK registered RAV4, Hilux, Yaris and Urban Cruiser vehicles. Worldwide, there have been no reports of any accidents or injuries relating to these issues. Toyota is conducting the recalls according to DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, previously known as VOSA, Vehicle Operating Standards Authority) code of practice. Spiral cable assembly – RAV4 and Hilux Toyota has identified a possible issue affecting the spiral cable assembly in the airbag module fitted to some RAV4 and Hilux models. Due to the shape and location of a retainer for the Flexible Flat Cable in the airbag unit, there may be a risk when the steering wheel is turned of damage to certain circuits that provide connectivity to the airbag. If connectivity is lost, the airbag warning light will illuminate on the instrument panel and the driver’s airbag may be…

Lives at risk as flood-hit drivers IGNORE ‘Road Closed’ signs

AA Special Operations are urging a review of road signage around flooding areas and warning drivers of the penalties for ignoring them. The AA have attended around 3,200 flood-stricken vehicles since December, many of which were the result of drivers wilfully ignoring or misunderstanding road closure signs. Studies have shown an estimated 680,000 UK drivers would ignore ‘Road Closed’ warnings, putting themselves at risk of danger, as well as a £50 fine. Darron Burness, Head of the Flood Rescue Team at the AA, said: “While our crews have heard every excuse, it’s become clear that the signage around flooding isn’t as effective as it perhaps should be. “Part of the problem is that the ‘road closed’ sign isn’t always completely understood. “Some people may think it’s just advisory, as it’s a temporary sign just like those often seen at roadworks. “For example, a lady…

Motorway ‘stealth’ cameras receive backing

Highways Agency plans to enforce the 70mph limit on motorways have been welcomed by road safety charity Brake. Under the agency’s plans, the new cameras, which could be grey rather than yellow according to reports, will be used along stretches of “smart” motorways including the M1, M6 and M25 in a move to improve traffic flow and journey times. The move has been greeted by road safety charity Brake, with deputy chief executive Julie Townsend saying: ‘Speed cameras are an extremely well evidenced, cost-effective way to improve safety and reduce deaths and injuries on roads where they are placed, preventing families going through the trauma of a sudden bereavement or life-changing injury. ‘Put simply: speed cameras reduce speeding, which helps to prevent deadly crashes. Breaking the speed limit is risky and illegal, so only drivers who break the law will face fines.’ However, former…

Safe Winter Driving Advice

Fleetdrive would like all drivers to stay safe on the roads this Christmas, so we’d like to share with you some useful winter driving tips: Only drive if the journey is necessary Plan ahead and make sure someone knows of your journey Keep more space than usual between you and the car in front  – in icy conditions, it should be at least 10 seconds When making a right turn into a side road, keep the wheels straight so if you were hit from behind you wouldn’t be sent into oncoming traffic When braking on snow or ice, be sure to change to a low gear and brake gently Watch out for areas in shade, such as behind a building or in the shade of trees, as these can be slippery when the rest of the road is dry Before you set off, remember…

Fleets realise benefits of cold weather tyres

A growing number of firms are turning to cold weather tyres to keep their fleets mobile as winter weather starts to set in. So says ATS Euromaster, which has seen a seven-fold increase in sales of cold weather tyres since the beginning of November 2013 and expects its total cold weather tyre sales to exceed £10m in 2013. The firm says its cold weather tyre sales increased by 14% in 2012 compared with the previous year, and this year is on track for further double-digit growth. Peter Fairlie, ATS Euromaster’s group sales director, puts this down to more businesses seeing the benefits of fitting seasonal tyres in response to the growing trend for prolonged periods of freezing temperatures, ice and snowfall in the UK. He said: ‘Temperatures plummeted in November and the gritters have been kept busy on our roads, but we’ve not seen…

Car insurance premiums rise for many UK businesses

Two-fifths of UK businesses have suffered from rising company car insurance premiums over the past 12 months, new research by TomTom Business Solutions has revealed. Companies could be doing more to address the risk factors affecting premium costs, however, as the survey 71% of companies do not provide regular training for drivers. Only 36% monitor driver performance as a means of assessing and reducing risk, with less than a quarter of those (22%) using technology to do so. Giles Margerison, director UK & Ireland, TomTom Business Solutions, said: “Too often cars are viewed as an employee benefit rather than a place of work, so more can be done by businesses to improve safety, reduce collision rates and drive down the cost of insurance premiums. “Initiatives such as regular staff communications, safety discussions, driver training and schemes for measuring and improving driver performance are powerful…

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