Fleet News

Driver safety pressures mean 'black box' future

BLACK box data recorders are likely to become commonplace in company cars within the next five years as fleet chiefs are placed under increasingly intense pressure by the police and Government to ensure employees are driving safely. But there is also a growing need for greater individual responsibility among drivers to use the roads sensibly and ensure their vehicles are safe, according to members of the north-east branch of the Association of Car Fleet Operators.

Barry Lingard, fleet manager of Leisure Link, in Burton-on-Trent, said the threat of prosecution from the police for company bosses found to have been negligent regarding drivers' working patterns would mean 'audit trials' of the drivers' movements, what advice employees were given regarding the hours they should work and how they should drive,' said Lingard. 'The next targets for legislation introducing data recorders of this kind are LCVs, then taxis and then possibly every fleet vehicle. We could see the same procedures governing tachograph usage applied to fleets in the next five years.'

John Robinson, sales and marketing director of the Fleet Accident Repair Group, and chairman of the ACFO north-west branch, said he was aware of increasing attitude of 'zero tolerance' among the police towards a company suspected of being negligent of driver safety. I don't know whether it would be a good thing or not, but maybe fleet managers will have to eventually have a licence to run a fleet. It would be an element of control over them, but would also give managers a higher profile,' he said Robinson.

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