Fleet News

Government in black box trial

THE Government’s own fleet is to take part in a pioneering trial of black box technology that could shape how the system is used by UK fleets in the future.

Plans are under way to fit telematics devices to record information such as speed and braking, for use in investigations into accidents, to its 260-strong fleet of cars and vans.

Roy Burke, chief executive of the Government Car and Despatch Agency, outlined details of the project at the same time that a report from key motor industry figures recommends that the Government and fleet operators lead the way in black box technology.

Burke said: ‘I haven’t read the report but we have been looking at this for the last two months. It’s something that has been on the Government agenda for some time. We’re at the beginning of a scoping exercise, which will link in with our IT strategy.

‘From our staff’s point of view, they have to be certain that we’re not spying on them, but it will deal with some of the duty of care issues immediately and we will have a much better fleet management tool in place for all our vehicles.’

No timescale for the trial has yet been set.

The Motorists’ Forum report, called Road Safety and Speed Management, examines methods to help meet Government casualty reduction targets.

The report said technology that allows cars to be slowed down if they exceed the speed limit – known as Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) – should be developed and made available to the public, at a cost.

It reads: ‘Government should ensure that its own car fleet is equipped with the ISA technology for providing information on speed limits and prospectively regulating speed.

‘This would send a powerful signal to the outside world that Government supported the use of the new systems.’

As well as using ISA black boxes themselves, the report suggests the Government move towards regulations requiring telematics devices to be fitted to all new cars, and fleet and rental operators should equip their fleets to insure penetration into the used vehicle market.

But despite the fact such systems will be paid for by fleets it is unlikely they could use the information gathered.

The report says: ‘The privacy concerns regarding this proposal are appreciated.

‘To overcome these, we recommend that information should only be made available to the police and enforcement authorities after an accident and that no real time monitoring of the data should be allowed.’

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