Fleet News

Call for action on sat-nav dangers

A LEADING manufacturer of sat-nav systems has admitted that there are safety and security issues with the technology and has asked fleets to help solve the problems.

Blaupunkt suggests that a strict formal policy needs to be introduced by fleets to ensure drivers, including drivers covering business miles in private cars, are not taking risks on the road. A spokesman told members of the Midlands regional meeting of Acfo, the fleet managers’ association, that fleets might even need to specify the type and brand of system to be used.

He said: ‘There is a big issue with company car drivers buying these systems themselves and putting them on the windscreen.

‘In addition, they might also have their mobile phone in a cradle and a PDA device as well.

‘Fleets have to change this. It is down to the fleet manager to have a structured policy and tell fleet drivers how they should be using these units or even supply approved units themselves that are hard-wired into the car, so there aren’t wires hanging everywhere on the dashboard.’

He added that a recent newspaper story revealed how a motorist was prosecuted for driving the wrong way up a one-way street ‘because the sat-nav said so’ and claimed drivers needed training to ensure they did not blindly follow the system’s instructions, as data could be flawed.

The call for action follows a big increase in demand for the systems, particularly over the Christmas period, when they were one of the top-selling items in the stores.

Major areas of concern for fleets include drivers using ‘gooseneck’ holders to attach systems to windscreens and blocking the view of the road ahead, or to the side where they might look for cars pulling out of junctions.

Also, drivers were either leaving holders in place when they parked, or removing them and leaving tell-tale marks on the windscreen, encouraging thieves to break into vehicles in the hope that the system had been left in the glovebox.

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