Northern Powergrid has invested in technology to improve driver safety, reduce vehicle accidents and fuel use and help ensure the company, responsible for the network that delivers electricity to 3.9 million homes and businesses in the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, can support and deploy its engineers more effectively to help customers with a power cut.
Britain has voted to leave the EU by a close margin of 51.9% to 48.1%, a decision that has sent shockwaves around the UK and the world. To say that it has been a surprising outcome is an understatement. The only certainty is now the resulting period of uncertainty we now face in the UK. This will impact on the UK’s ability to remain calm, in the uncharted waters we now find ourselves navigating. There are so many ‘what if’ questions that need answering and it seems that the road ahead for the fleet and transport industry in terms of policy and regulatory issues, needs short, medium and long term clarification.
Rochdale coachbuilder poised to enter the fare-stage market with a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-based bus
Developments in state-of-the-art telematics could be the answer to the haulage industry’s driver shortage, with leading providers highlighting the advantages of the latest technology in a bid to recruit new blood behind the wheel.
IAM RoadSmart (formerly The Institute of Advanced Motorists), the UK's leading road safety charity with a focus on improving driving and riding skills, has become an official supporter of TyreSafe, the UK’s not-for-profit tyre safety awareness organisation.
MINI has launched its latest design model, MINI Seven. Taking its name from the very first Mini, the 1959 Austin Seven, MINI Seven has been developed to showcase both the distinctive style inspired by the original Mini and the current modern values of the brand.
Euro Car Parts (ECP), the UK’s number one distributor of car parts, has published a new 84-page Corrosion Repair Guide showcasing its industry-leading range of replacement parts for vehicles suffering from rust.
Volvo Car UK is increasing its popular Twin Engine range with the addition of a new V60 variant that will appeal to business drivers thanks to its highly competitive economic and environmental benefits.
As the UK government begins contemplating the process for leaving the European Union, Brake, the road safety charity, is highlighting the need to make sure life-saving regulations and standards are not just maintained but improved upon.
Road safety and the battle for sustainable transport in the UK is currently assisted by European Commission regulations and requirements in a number of areas. Vehicle crash protection standards, driver working hours and air pollution limits all help keep both our roads and planet safe.
Joanna Killian, head of local government at KPMG in the UK, comments on the impact of the UK’s exit from the European Union on local government
Joanna Killian, head of local government at KPMG in the UK, commented on the impact of the UK’s exit from the European Union on local government:
“As the UK wakes up to a future outside the European Union, those in local government are bracing for a sustained period of uncertainty while the terms of Britain’s exit are agreed. The biggest immediate threat comes from a potential downturn in the financial markets, which would put further pressure on already hard-pressed local authority finances, as well as impacting local government pension scheme deficits.
The European Commission has published a consultation which questions the benefit of lowering the operator licensing threshold below 3.5 tonnes.
The consultation is the first of three which are expected as part of a wider Road Transport Package. This particular consultation follows a 2014 evaluation of the regulations that revealed concerns about the competition hauliers were seeing from large van operators. These included vans found in poor condition and with ad hoc sleeping accommodation. The European Commission is therefore considering whether policy intervention is justified.
The UK Government has previously indicated that it is not supportive of a change to the current weight threshold. The BVRLA has said that it will be responding to the UK Government and through Leaseurope on this consultation to highlight concerns about the potential impact it could have on UK plc and the vehicle rental and leasing industry.
The consultation started on 15 June and will run for 12 weeks until 15 September. For further details and to comment visit:
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has launched two new Truckman hardtops for its Amarok pick-up. Available to order in a wide range of colours, the RS and Utility hardtops offer customers a practical yet stylish storage area, differing from the current ‘luxury’ GLS and Grand hardtops as they have been designed for more commercial use.
Features of the RS hardtop include an integrated spoiler, non-drilling clamp fitting, solid sides for secure storage and cab height to create a sleek finish. With gull wing side access, a wash-clean interior and significant roof strength which allows additional storage, the utility hardtop also has a large capacity with plenty of space for racking and tools.
Road safety professionals, emergency services and
educators are being encouraged to register now for
Road Safety Week 2016 (21-27 November) at
The UK’s biggest road safety event, co-ordinated by charity Brake, is a great opportunity to engage members of the public, especially children, with road safety by using free resources and teaching aides. This year’s theme is encouraging everyone to make the Brake Pledge to be safer on our roads.
Specialist vehicle graphics company Spedian™, renowned for its unique reusable graphics system, has recently put its latest product – Spedian SuperLite through its paces at one of the world’s leading testing grounds, MIRA, to ensure that it meets the stringent quality standards which have become the hallmark of the Spedian™ brand.
The Spedian SuperLite System is adaptable to all shapes and sizes of vehicle and is the only ‘invisible’ vehicle graphics frame system available with no bolts, rivets, screws or aluminium or plastic frame required to fix the advertising panel to the vehicle. It is however the reduced weight which makes Spedian SuperLite a particularly compelling proposition. Typically a 3.5m box van system will weigh just 340g or 15g per linear metre whereas equivalent weight for other systems available in the market are over 19kg.
The Freight Transport Association says effective enforcement of vans must come before new laws following the announcement of three new European Commission consultations.
The EC yesterday released the first of the three consultations about changes to operator licensing which poses a range of questions about the way two key pieces of transport legislation work and how they could be changed.
But James Firth, FTA’s Head of Licensing Policy and Compliance Information, said enough legislation already existed to ensure van operators were safe and compliant. He said: “Rules for vans already exist regarding roadworthiness, overloading, driver licensing and insurance, but no-one is out there enforcing them. Introducing new laws when there’s no enforcement simply means those who play by the rules are stuck with more costs while the cowboys carry on doing what they think they can get away with.”
Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish MP has recently formerly opened a new 20,000 sq ft factory unit at Devon-based manufacturer Trucksmith.
Trucksmith is a UK leader in low-loading Luton van conversions and is an official partner for marques including Renault, Vauxhall and Fiat. Now celebrating its 30th year of production, the firm has expanded its production facility to more than 64,000 sq ft to cope with the demand for its vehicles.
The new facilities will accommodate the production of up to 25 low-floored Luton vans per week and allow Trucksmith to invest further in research and development into manufacturing technologies which has been central to the success of the business.
The number of rural petrol stations is about to be overtaken by electric chargers, with plug-in points replacing pumps in some villages. There are more than 550 charging points across Scotland but fewer than 700 non-supermarket filling stations. There were virtually no chargers five years ago, while petrol forecourts have declined by a quarter over the last decade.The Petrol Retailers Association said one third of independent filling stations, many rural, had closed.
By contrast, the Electric Vehicle Association Scotland (Evas) said the number of rapid chargers, which take around 20 minutes, had doubled in the last year alone to around 150.
Carplus, which promotes car-sharing clubs, said one in five of their vehicles were electric – the highest in the UK. Communications Manager, Beate Kubitz said: “Many rural filling stations have disappeared, so people living in remote areas have to plan and make detours to fill up with petrol and diesel. The charge point network is growing rapidly and makes driving an electric car longer distances possible.”
Scottish Enterprise is supporting the research and development of a ground-breaking app that aims to improve life for the fast-growing number of electric vehicle (EV) users.
Livingston-based Route Monkey is creating an online portal that aims to help EV drivers get the best out of their battery-powered cars, vans and trucks. The software will combine the ability to plan the best routes for an EV, give turn-by-turn directions via a smartphone navigation app, and identify charging points en route.
TomTom (TOM2) has announced that TomTom has been selected by Volvo Cars as the provider of location and navigation content and services for its new infotainment platform. From 2019, Volvo Cars’ customers across the globe, across all carlines on the SPA and CMA platforms, will be able to enjoy an exceptional navigation experience powered by TomTom’s complete suite of components, both embedded and cloud based.
This agreement marks the first-time collaboration between TomTom and Volvo Cars, a premium car manufacturer with a long tradition in innovation. Among the key features and services of the TomTom solution for Volvo Cars are automotive-grade digital NDS Maps, delivering incremental real-time map updates; world-class TomTom navigation software NavKit; and TomTom Traffic and travel-related services.
“We are extremely pleased to announce this collaboration between TomTom and Volvo Cars, one of the most respected car brands in the world,” said Antoine Saucier, Managing Director TomTom Automotive. “Thanks to the trust that Volvo Cars has put into TomTom’s products, we are uniquely positioned in the automotive industry to offer Volvo Cars future-proof systems that meet the rapidly changing market requirements.”
Driving while talking on a hands-free phone can be as distracting as talking on a hand-held mobile, psychologists at the University of Sussex say.
The study, published in the Transportation Research journal, found that drivers having conversations which sparked their visual imagination detected fewer road hazards than those who didn’t. They also focused on a smaller area of the road ahead of them and failed to see hazards, even when they looked directly at them. This shows the risks of even hands-free phone conversations.
The researchers found that conversations may use more of the brain’s visual processing resources than previously understood. Having a conversation which requires the driver to use their visual imagination creates competition for the brain’s processing capacity, which results in drivers missing road hazards that they might otherwise have spotted.
Dr Graham Hole, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sussex, said: “A popular misconception is that using a mobile phone while driving is safe as long as the driver uses a hands-free phone. Our research shows this is not the case. Hands-free can be equally distracting because conversations cause the driver to visually imagine what they’re talking about. This visual imagery competes for processing resources with what the driver sees in front of them on the road.
“Our findings have implications for real-life mobile phone conversations. The person at the other end of the phone might ask “where did you leave the blue file?”, causing the driver to mentally search a remembered room. The driver may also simply imagine the facial expression of the person they’re talking to.
“Clearly this research isn’t a green light to use hand-held mobile phones while driving, however. The use of hand-held phones was made illegal primarily because they interfere with vehicle control; but our study adds to a mounting body of research showing that both hand-held and hands-free phones are dangerously distracting for drivers. The only ‘safe’ phone in a car is one that's switched off."
The study, which tracked eye movements, also found that drivers who were distracted suffered from “visual tunnelling.” They tended to focus their eyes on a small central region directly ahead of them. This led them to miss hazards in their peripheral vision. Undistracted participants’ eye movements ranged over a much wider area.
Dr Hole continued: “Conversations are more visual than we might expect, leading drivers to ignore parts of the outside world in favour of their inner ‘visual world’ – with concerning implications for road safety.”
The Sussex psychologists ran two experiments in which participants performed a video-based hazard-detection task. In the first experiment, participants were either undistracted, or distracted by listening to sentences and deciding whether they were true or false. For half of these distracted participants, the sentences encouraged the use of visual imagery (e.g. “a five pound note is the same size as a ten pound note”) whereas for the other half, the sentences did not (e.g. “Leap years have 366 days”). All of the distracted participants were slower to respond to hazards, detected fewer hazards and made more ‘looked but failed to see’ errors, meaning their eyes focused on a hazard but they didn’t actually see it. These impairments were worse for the participants who were distracted by imagery-inducing statements.
Dr Hole says anything which causes drivers to imagine something visually, including passengers, can interfere with driving performance because the two tasks compete for similar processing resources.
He said: “However, chatty passengers tend to pose less of a risk than mobile phone conversations. They will usually moderate the conversation when road hazards arise. Someone on the other end of a phone is oblivious to the other demands on the driver and so keeps talking. And talking in person involves non-verbal cues which ease the flow of conversation. Phone conversations are more taxing because they lack these cues.”
In the second experiment, the researchers compared undistracted participants to ones who were distracted by a different visual imagery task. This involved mentally moving around an imaginary grid in response to verbal instructions. Distracted participants were more likely to miss hazards in their peripheral vision due to the “visual tunnelling.”
'Imagery-inducing distraction leads to cognitive tunnelling and deteriorated driving performance' is published in in the Transportation Research journal, authored by Gemma F Briggs (now at the Open University but conducted while at the University of Sussex), Graham J Hole and Michael F Land (University of Sussex).
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