Company car and van drivers are being urged to step up maintenance checks as the fleet industry adapts to life under lockdown.
Epyx has created a new page to enable fleets to check current availability of service, maintenance and repair (SMR) during the lockdown.
The company’s 1link Service Network is used by businesses operating around four million cars and vans to access and manage SMR, so forms an essential conduit for UK fleets.
Tim Meadows, vice president and commercial director at Epyx, said: “We are dealing with a very fluid situation but, as it stands, although garages are classified as an exempt business by the government, some have understandably decided to close their doors.
“However, there remains a demand for SMR and it is especially important that some form of provision is easily accessible to fleets involved in transporting and supporting key workers.
“What we are trying to do, as quickly as possible, is build a relatively complete picture of where and when people can access the services they need to keep on the road.
“On our web site, we are building a list of businesses that we know to be closed and fleets will be able to cross-reference this to 1link Service Network to check availability.”
Meadows added that any business that was having difficulties accessing the SMR services they required should contact Epyx and the company would do its best to help.
“We very much intend to play our part in helping fleets that need to be mobile to stay mobile,” he said. “The same principle applies to vehicle hire, also an exempt business, and our 1link Hire Network can be used by fleets to source cars and vans needed, especially for key workers.”
All cars, vans and motorcycles which usually would require a MOT test are exempted from needing a test from Monday (March 30) for six months.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) previously announced the suspension of MOTs for all HGVs, trailers and public service vehicles for up to three months from March 21, 2020.
Fleet and asset management software specialist Jaama’s innovative smartphone ‘MyVehicle App’ includes a vehicle defect check list for drivers.
Information recorded is then automatically delivered to Jaama’s Key2 asset management system, which then auto triggers’ processes such as service, maintenance and repair procedures.
In suspending vehicle MOTs, the DVSA underlined the importance of vehicles being kept in a roadworthy condition and warned that drivers and businesses could be prosecuted if unsafe vehicles were found to be on the road.
Jaama managing director Martin Evans said: “Vehicle roadworthiness is business critical and essential for all road users.
“With MOTs being suspended for all types of vehicles, including those subject to Operator Licence conditions, it is vital that drivers are vigilant and undertake daily vehicle checks.
“Tools such as ‘MyVehicle App’ that enable drivers’ to ‘self-service’ are an essential requirement for fleet operators, and save significant back office manual intervention.
“What’s more as the UK copes with the coronavirus pandemic and MOT testing is temporarily suspended, the importance of drivers ensuring their vehicles - particularly those operating in Government-declared essential business sectors - are roadworthy is even more vital.
“A daily walk-around check taking just a few minutes for drivers to check, for example tyre condition, oil, water and screen wash levels and that all lights are working as well as the condition of windscreens and bodywork could be the difference between life and death.”
Meanwhile, the RAC is reassuring customers it is still providing breakdown assistance at home or at the roadside – 24/7.
A spokesman said: “We’re also attending emergency service vehicles, delivery lorries and other critical service vehicles that break down, as normal.
“Our patrols and recovery teams are following Government guidelines to keep customers safe when they break down, staying a distance of two metres away at all times.
“We’ve asked them to use latex protective gloves, hand sanitising gel and wipes to clean surfaces they touch in cars.”
For more information on the service RAC is providing, please visit its coronavirus COVID-19 response page.