More than half of businesses say they are concerned about their company drivers being distracted by in-car technology with the introduction of connected cars to their fleet, according to new research by RAC Business.
The survey, which highlights employers’ attitudes towards increasing connectivity in business vehicles, found 51% are concerned about their drivers being distracted, rising to 55% for small businesses (100 employees or below).
Although it is widely recognised that Wi-Fi enabled vehicles will lead to increased safety features, at the same time there are worries that access to the internet and email through inbuilt screens on the dashboard, may also lead to an increased level of driver distraction.
More than one in three firms (35%) also say they are worried about driver data being hacked following the introduction of connected cars to their fleet, and almost one-in-five (18%) are concerned that more autonomy through connected services will take too much responsibility away from the individual driver.
The research by RAC Business also investigated what UK firms expect in terms of the benefits of connected car technology. According to the research 83% think it will be used to diagnose engine faults, 72% believe connected technology will increase fuel efficiency and 67% think it will help to reduce wear and tear.
However, RAC Telematics MD Nick Walker suggests the level of insight fleet managers require in order to understand how their vehicles are performing, may not be available without a specialist diagnostic device such as a telematics black box.
He says: “Connected vehicle technology represents an exciting new chapter in motoring but we feel businesses need to be clear about what it means for their vehicles, both in terms of safety and security, but also for vehicle management.
“While connected vehicles will benefit from being able to communicate with each other and with the environment around them to make driving safer, it may not necessarily be the case that it will deliver real insight on engine performance statistics and diagnostics. Fleet managers require consistent data from their fleet to be able to fully manage downtime and risk.
“As connected technology develops further in the transition to autonomous vehicles, telematics will be even more important for businesses needing to understand vehicle and driver behaviour.
“Clearly all these new technologies will complement each other in providing businesses with unprecedented levels of vehicle support. But at the moment, from what our research tells us, there is still work to do in terms of communicating exactly what connected technology means for drivers and fleet managers.”