Fleet News

Gadgets pose increasing safety threat too

THE soaring popularity of in-car information gadgets is prompting concern from a leading fleet safety body about the distraction they could present to drivers.

Items such as sat-nav, traffic monitoring systems and speed camera detectors are widely available and many vehicles have such devices fitted as standard.

Members of the Fleet Safety Association (FSA) are concerned about the risks of using such devices while driving – and, in the case of aftermarket items, where they are positioned.

Association spokesman Steve Johnson said: ‘There is increasing evidence that distraction from in-car information devices is a significant factor in crash situations.

In the case of aftermarket accessories a lot of this is to do with positioning in the vehicle.

‘Few suppliers give proper guidance on this aspect and most people locate them for maximum convenience rather than considering whether the unit is obstructing vision.’

Johnson said drivers often positioned the devices so they were easy to reach while driving.

He said: ‘Position the unit outside your central field of view, preferably at the bottom of the windscreen. If you have to readjust or reprogramme the device during a journey, find a safe place to stop first.’

The FSA says that even with factory-fitted systems, the potential for distraction is high, and that drivers must prioritise the information they are receiving. Fleet managers should advise them to only look at the screen when it is absolutely safe to do so, and even then for the shortest possible time.

The FSA represents suppliers of training and associated services for making business drivers safer.

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