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How to ensure your fleet is 100% ready for a productive 2020

lorries convoy sunset

Posted on 5th Feb, 2020 by Charlotte Coop

January is generally known as a great time for taking stock examining what’s working and what’s not, as you prepare yourself for fresh success in the New Year.

That makes it a brilliant time to re-assess your fleet for the year ahead.  That means not just the nuts and bolts, vehicle safety equipment, and other mechanical aspects, but also big-picture thinking about your working practices and company culture, and how you can adapt it to meet the evolving challenges facing businesses today. So, with all that in mind, here are a few things to consider first!

Roadworthiness

We’ll start with the obvious – the very first thing you need to do is ensure that all the vehicles in your fleet are safe, both for the drivers who occupy them and for the road users who share their space. Depending on how many vehicles you operate, this almost certainly isn’t a job that can be done in a single afternoon. Here, we’ve summed up just a few of the most vital aspects you’ll need to cast your eye over:

  • All lights, markings, reflectors and bulbs
  • Tyres, wheel fixings and arches
  • Chassis, exhaust, suspension, engine and transmission
  • Brakes, brake fluid levels, brake pads and discs
  • Bodywork, including the cab exterior and interior
  • Trailer coupling and load
  • Ancillary equipment (including any reversing cameras or other types of safety equipment you may have procured from Vision Techniques or other providers)
  • Fluid levels such as oil and antifreeze

Remember, this is just the bare minimum, should you need any help we can arrange a full assessment and recalibrate any existing Vision Techniques equipment, just one of our team a call.

Fuel efficiency

This has always been an important one for fleet managers, because it has a direct impact on overall operating costs. However, in 2020 it’s set to become even more pivotal due to growing concerns about the climate crisis, and several new laws coming in as a result. For example, London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone is reportedly set to be adopted by several other major UK cities, including Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol, Birmingham and Greater Manchester.

It’s likely that emissions standards will start to gradually tighten across significant areas of the UK in the very near future, which means you’d be wise to take another look at your fleet’s current fuel efficiency and emissions levels, and think about steps you can take to reduce them. It might require some initial investment, but the alternative is having your revenue slowly chipped away by incremental new taxes over the next few years, especially if you operate in major cities.

Direct Vision

You probably know all about the Direct Vision Standard, as we’ve covered it extensively before here on our blog here at Vision Techniques, but we’ll just recap it here quickly. Essentially, the Direct Vision Standard measures how much an HGV driver can see directly through their cab windows, through their own eyes rather than via any relays like mirrors or vehicle cameras. The idea is that this standard will better indicate the level of risk to vulnerable road users, such as people walking or cycling near the HGV.

hgv driver

As you gear up to examine your fleet so that it’s fresh for another year, it’s worth thinking about the DVS star rating system of each HGV (which governs whether the vehicle meets the minimum standard required to operate in Greater London, and possibly eventually other parts of the UK). If any of your fleet doesn’t meet the required safety standard, you can improve it by thinking about your Safe System – which is exactly what our vehicle safety products are designed to help with here at Vision Techniques.

Company safety culture

The attitude of your drivers is just as important as the actual standard of your vehicles – if anything, even more so. After all, an HGV can be fitted with all the latest safety technology, but if the driver is not correctly trained and does not use the equipment properly, they’ll ultimately make a negligible difference to safety. Therefore, the New Year is a great time to review your safety culture and working practices, and possibly even think about extra training or refresher courses.

Driving hours are also a good place to look first, by making sure that everyone’s taking the appropriate rest. It’s a well-known fact by now that driving tired is at least as dangerous as driving after drinking alcohol, and where HGVs are concerned, the consequences can be catastrophic. Fleet monitoring software can be your best friend in this regard, as well as making sure that everyone is clear on what’s required of them – drivers, managers and other employees alike.

And if you’re looking to revitalise your fleet with the latest cutting-edge safety technology, that’s exactly where we can help here at Vision Techniques.

Our award winning radar Banksman and Sensorvision systems, innovative braking systems Stopsafe and Brakesafe and cyclist safety products can all be integrated into our Telematics platform bringing all your operations into one easy to use platform to ensure your fleet is safe, efficient and compliant going into 2020 and beyond.

Feel free to give us a call on 01254 679 717 to find out how we can help