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Can mixed fleets benefit from the EU’s new mobility package?

Can mixed fleets benefit from the EU’s new mobility package?

The latest draft of the EU’s Mobility Package, due to be implemented before the UK leaves the Union in 2019, has already been met with some resistance, especially the requirement for all commercial vehicles between 2.4 and 3.5 tonnes in the UK to be fitted with tachograph technology.  The package comprises of eight legislative files and various accompanying documents, including plans which would change drivers’ hours rules, tachograph and minimum wage rules for visiting drivers.

With more than four million vans used on the UK’s roads every day, could embracing the idea, even if it doesn’t make its way into legislation, do more to help rather than hinder transport operators?

A compliance first approach

Transport operators face the challenge of the continued growth in eCommerce and rising consumer expectations for faster and slicker home delivery services. With driver shortages the temptation to cut corners in vehicle roadworthiness and drivers’ hours may be too great for some. However, with research showing that around 40% of sleep-related accidents involve commercial vehicles and 50% of vans failed their MOTs on first attempts, it is imperative that organisations don’t give into this temptation.

Mixed fleet operators hoping to benefit from compliance with the DVSA’s Earned Recognition Scheme are likely to welcome the EU proposal, as it would aid their entire fleets’ compliance. Taking into consideration that van traffic has grown faster than car traffic on all types of road in recent years, It could be argued that when it comes to mixed fleets, vehicles and drivers should be governed by the same regulations as HGV operators not just for the welfare of drivers, who shouldn’t be forced to drive long hours, but also for the general public.

It is now imperative that operators are proactive when it comes to best practice, putting compliance at the forefront of their operations. Today’s pressures demand a far more efficient approach to fleet management, and transport operators must be compliance-led, proactive, and technology-enabled to not only survive but thrive in these challenging times.

The benefits of using advanced technology

Transport operators will struggle to succeed with delivery demands without the utilisation of intelligent solutions that streamline last mile performance. Not only by optimising delivery efficiency through intelligent routing, but also through reduced mileage and fuel consumption which in turn, leads to a reduction in the necessary vehicle maintenance and servicing required..

Compliance management technology, such as Descartes’ SmartCompliance , goes a long way to help operators proactively manage not only their transport operations but also individual drivers and take all reasonable steps to prevent drivers’ hours infringements and breaches of tachograph regulations. From managing drivers’ hours to driving licence and CPC verification and ensuring pre-journey vehicle inspections are undertaken, transport managers need to look at all aspects that impact compliance and apply the best practice across the entire fleet (HGVs and Vans). This data can then also used to improve operational efficiency.

For example, as with telematics data, tachograph data can be fed back from the vehicle whilst it is in use to provide a direct feed from the electronic drivers’ hours compliance management solution for optimised route planning and scheduling. Continuous background optimisation of deliveries enables operators to extract the maximum efficiency benefit from route planning software, saving costs and improving end customer service, as well as aiding employee (driver) satisfaction.

Organisations should see the proposed regulation as a positive step, further supporting those fleet operators who are already taking a compliance-first approach, managing their driver’s hours and driving operational efficiency simultaneously.

To find out more about Descartes’ Tachograph analysis and reporting software as a service for fleets of all sizes see Smartanalysis. For driving licence and driver CPC verification see SmartLicence.