The courier industry is always on the move – pardon the pun. But it’s not just physically moving – the technology we use is also ever-changing and evolving. So, drum-roll please for the latest legislation to come into effect: as of June 2019, every new vehicle used for delivery work in the courier industry will be required to have a ‘smart tachograph’ installed.
The primary reason for having a tachograph installed in a vehicle is to monitor driver behaviour – in regards to compliance with mandatory drivers’ hours and breaks. So, what’s so smart about the smart tachos? Glad you asked…
Satellites, security and roadside checks
First up, let’s just say if you’re a good, honest and diligent driver who adheres to the rules of the road and the courier industry, you’ve got nothing to worry about with this kind of smart technology in your van. But if you like to cut corners and pull a few ‘dodgies’ every now and again (or often), your ducking and diving days are numbered.
The new technology allows for the use of sophisticated satellite positioning data and much better security, which makes it far less susceptible to tampering. As well as taking a reading at the beginning and end of a journey, it also takes one every three hours of driving, which means no cutting corners when it comes to mandatory breaks and driving hours.
Another hi-tech feature of the devices is their DSRC – Dedicated Short Range Communications. This means that on roadside checks, authorities will be able to directly access data from a vehicle even when it’s still in motion. While it might sound a bit Big Brother-ish, if no infringements are recorded the information must be deleted within three hours. And as a side note, the relevant enforcement agencies aren’t required to start using the equipment that can do this until 2034. But of course that doesn’t mean they won’t start before then, and other European countries may certainly begin using it sooner…
The DVLA is ready!
The DVLA is ready to roll and all driver and company cards issued since the beginning of the year have been fully compatible with the new technology as well as the old. However, it’s different for workshop cards across the country; they were all reissued in April this year, with a validity of 12 months.
More and more, us long term workers in the courier industry are having to learn to roll with the punches. With green initiatives, alternative fuels, electric vehicles and ever-evolving legislation, change seems to be the only constant…
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If you ever have any courier jobs in the City of London’s ‘Square Mile’, things are about to get a little slower. The City Corporation has recently announced plans to push for some ‘speedy’ legislation, which will reduce the speed limit for vehicles to just 15 mph.
While for those of us who do courier jobs it might feel like a bit of an imposition at first, let’s face it – just how much faster do we really get around on average inside the Square Mile traffic anyhow? The legislation is designed to cater for the most popular mode of transport in the capital – which just happens to be the good old human foot! But it’s certainly going to help drivers as well.
This city was made for walking
You might not think it when you’re out there doing your courier jobs in those endless traffic snarls, but up to 90% of all the journeys made in the City of London are done on foot – or at least partially walked. That equates to a whole lot of pedestrian traffic, so it’s not surprising this new legislation is skewed towards keeping them safer. But it’s not all about pedestrians, because while it prioritises the flow for those on foot, the strategy is also set to make motorists’ lives easier!
Planning and strategizing
Although they’ve yet to get government approval, the City Corporation is moving ahead to promote the legislation. Their plan is based on more than 50 proposals from the local authority that will form the basis of their long-term Transport Strategy – and many in the industry are giving their three cheers.
Slowing down to reduce the flow
The plan aims to reduce traffic by up to a whopping 50% by 2044, in order to make better use of the street space. How good does that sound? Imagine zipping around the centre of London earning your daily bread with only half the number of other vehicles on the road! Although at a maximum of 15 mph it might be more like cruising than zipping – but we all know the story about slow and steady…
Less speed, safer roads
As well as making it easier to get around, the strategy to slow down motorists will also prevent those all-too-common road-blocking accidents. In addition to reducing injuries and downtime due to incidents or collisions, having fewer, slower vehicles in the Square Mile will keep traffic flowing much smoother.
Even if you’re in the delivery business, you shouldn’t be looking at the slow down strategy (due to come into effect in 2021/22) as a hindrance. It’s designed to help all the road users in the capital and we’re definitely on board! How about you?
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This year’s Microlise Transport Conference was held on the 15th May and, true to form, it was another successful event. A free one-day event open to anyone involved in the road transport industry, the conference offered an excellent opportunity for attendees to increase their knowledge of current industry related topics.
Several leading figures presented key subjects that included particularly interesting ideas and projections about the future of our industry.
Attended by 1200 fellow professionals, this conference was ideal for those interested in staying up to date with information and developing their business in line with future trends.
Presentations in brief
Paul Strong (Technical Director of Google Cloud)
This presentation provided a fascinating insight into the use of the Cloud and how it can shape companies in our industry going forward. It’s clear the future of transport lies in computers, technology and digital transformation, and Paul did a great job of explaining how technological devices are set to define our businesses.
AI, Just in Time Everything and the Cloud were the focus of this presentation, but the themes offered plenty of scope to expand on this hugely important subject.
Dr Jonathan Keating
This talk was a highlight and was particularly interesting in terms of the growth of e-commerce, something that is set to affect everyone in the courier network in the coming years. There is no doubt that fewer people are going out to shop, instead choosing to buy online. This change in buying behaviour has a direct impact on the number of vehicles on the road, and therefore also impacts congestion and the environment.
The talk focused on the electrification of vehicles, the introduction of e-courier bikes to move goods and the vision for clean air zones.
Marian Kitson (DVSA Director of Enforcement)
This was an excellent discussion about the protection of drivers from unsafe, non-compliant individuals on the road. With more than 10000 cameras out there set to deter dangerous drivers, Marian Kitson is intent on reducing vehicle related incidents. She explained how roadside vehicle checks found defected vehicles and illegal driver hour clocks, and how this will be clamped down on in future.
Elliot Shaw (Highways England)
A huge topic of discussion throughout the UK courier network, the congestion in this country is at an unsustainable level. A road network that allows free flowing traffic movement is key to our economy, which is why congestion is the single biggest issue we must deal with. In this talk, Elliot Shaw explained how the road networks are set to change to accommodate the increased amount of freight on our transport routes. Planning has been laid out in five-year blocks, with the next block of strategic plans to be put in place between 2020 and 2025.
Our industry is a rapidly evolving one, and we are lucky to have such well-organised and well-attended events such as the Microlise Transport Conference. For anyone involved in freight forwarding and doing business throughout the UK courier network, attending conferences like this and keeping abreast of current information is extremely important. Planning for the future is vital in our line of work and any successful company owner or manager needs to stay up to date and move forward in line with industry practice.
If you’re an owner driver with a van, and you’re interested in joining the UK and Europe’s largest, and fastest growing, neutral trading hub for same day jobs in the express freight exchange industry, then contact our sales team today to get set up on 020 8993 7100, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We need to talk about tailgating. You might already be shaking your head and thinking “no, not me, I always keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of me. Honest guv’nor.” But the thing is, we can’t all be saying that truthfully, because the stats show that a whopping 23% of all motor vehicle accidents are due to rear-end collisions…
The stats don’t lie
Quite a shocking figure isn’t it? And for those of us out there doing courier work on the roads every day, the need for speed in order to get everything done in the hours we’ve got can make us even more likely to slip up. While your personal driving record might well be as clean as a whistle, consider these facts:
The clash of close and personal
The research also shows that being followed too closely has a negative affect on many road users (do I hear an amen to that?). It’s clearly one of the most annoying behaviours on the road, yet it still happens. Accidents can cause major delays (a big problem for those doing courier work) and, in more serious cases, personal injury or fatality.
It’s simple: back off and you’ll save time, costly downtime expenses and maybe even your life.
Tips to keep your distance
We’re all in the same boat (or van) when it comes to the time pressures of courier work. But it’s important that we all do our bit to reduce the agro and accidents on the road. Keep calm, keep your distance and we’ll all get to carry on. Honest guv’nor!
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