Idling Westminster drivers streets behind fleets

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 11:20
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In his latest article for FleetPoint, Steve Towe looks at recent idling legislation introduced in the capital

In recent weeks, it was announced that motorists in Westminster caught idling and refusing to turn off their engine could be hit with a £20 fine in future. A team of ‘traffic marshals’ are set to patrol the borough and ask idlers to switch of their engines.

This isn’t the first instance of such a measure coming in. In November 2011, Camden Council started fining bus and coach operators for allowing their vehicles to idle too long, with operators getting an £80 for idling for more than four minutes. Islington Council similarly started its own idling crackdown focusing on all types of vehicles in July 2014.

The scheme in Westminster has been branded a public relations stunt and a council money raising exercise by The London Taxi Drivers’ Association.

However vehicle idling does have an unsavoury and completely unnecessary impact on the environment, with figures from Oxford Street recording 1,503 breaches of the acceptable limit for air pollution in 2014.

When it comes to vehicle idling, business fleets are leading the way in ensuring they are cutting idling and reducing their impact on the environment.

Applying an intelligent telematics solution gives fleets an in-depth view of a company’s entire fleet estate, helping them to identify key areas in which they can improve or build upon. Vehicle idling is one of these factors.

Having that in-depth visibility can help fleets to not only reduce idling, but also reduce accidents, speeding, harsh braking and vehicle idling. All this coming together has the added benefit of cost savings, in the form of fuel saved as a result of more economical driving.

Providing drivers’ education through driver training, backed up by telematics data, should be central to creating an economical mobile workforce. The benefits are clear for all to see and the intelligent application of telematics is central to giving drivers the best possible feedback and training.

Fleet managers at Arriva Transport Solutions have been able to educate drivers on the negative efficiency impact of idling on the fleet estate, which has dropped by 70% since implementation. This programme helped produce a 92% reduction in negative driving events.

For Smith Construction Group’s fleet of 60 heavy duty vehicles, detailed reports on carbon emissions, driver behaviour and idling helped to reduce vehicle idling by 87%, saving the company an estimated 15% off of its yearly fuel bill.

Thanks for the intelligent application of telematics, fleets are really leading the way when it comes to cutting down on idling reducing their impact on the environment. But telematics offers much more than that, helping fleets to create a safer mobile workforce through driver training, leading to further reductions in a fleet’s impact on the environment and cutting fuel costs.

Steve Towe is Chief Commercial Officer and UK Managing Director at Masternaut, a leading pan-European provider of fleet telematics solutions.

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