Use of a Mobile Phone or Hand-held Device Whilst Driving

Use of a Mobile Phone or Hand-held Device Whilst Driving

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Use of a Mobile Phone or Hand-held Device Whilst Driving

New Regulations For Use of Mobile Phone & Hand-Held Devices Whilst Driving Explained

New regulations come into force on 25th March 2022, called the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2022 in relation to the use of Mobile Phones & Hand Devices whilst driving. Here we asked motoring law specialists Morton’s Solicitors of Stockport to explain more about the regulations.

What is changing?

These regulations amend the definition of hand-held devices; these are the definitions that will be used to govern the use of mobile phones and devices by drivers.

What is the offence?

It is an offence for a person to drive a motor vehicle on a road if he is using a mobile phone or a hand-held device (as described in the regulations). It is also an offence to do so if you are the supervisor of a provisional licence holder.

What does the current law regarding the use of mobile phones & hand-held devices state?

At the moment, the law says that a mobile phone or hand-held device cannot be used while driving a vehicle. A hand-held device is defined as a device other than a two-way radio, which performs an interactive communication function by transmitting and receiving data.

A phone or device is treated as hand-held if it is or must be, held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication function.

An interactive communication function includes:

• Sending or receiving oral or written messages;
• Sending or receiving facsimile documents;
• Sending or receiving still or moving images;
• Providing access to the internet.

What does the new law state?

The amendment substantially extends both the definition of a device and also the use of one.

Hand-held devices will be defined as a device, other than a two-way radio, which is capable of transmitting and receiving data, whether or not those capabilities are enabled.

A phone or device will be treated as hand-held in the same way as in the current law, but with an important amendment. The amended regulation will say the device will be treated as hand-held if it is, or must be, held while being used.

The word ‘using’ will include:

1. Illuminating the screen;
2. Checking the time;
3. Checking notifications;
4. Unlocking the device;
5. Making, receiving, or rejecting a telephone or internet-based call;
6. Sending, receiving, or uploading oral or written contact;
7. Sending, receiving or uploading a photo or video;
8. Utilising camera, video or sound recording functionality;
9. Drafting any text;
10. Accessing any stored data such as documents, books, audio files, photos, videos, films, playlists, notes or messages;
11. Accessing an application; or
12. Accessing the internet.

This list is far more extensive than the list under current law, which comes under interactive communication function.

It should also be easier for the public to understand what they can and, more importantly can’t, do with a phone whilst the driver of a vehicle.

Defences

A device can be used in certain circumstances. Under current law, these circumstances are calling the emergency services, acting in response to a genuine emergency or if it is unsafe or impracticable for the user to cease driving in order to make the call.

In addition, the regulation is not contravened if the driver is using the device to perform a remote-controlled parking function in particular circumstances.

The amendment takes into account advances in technology and provides that a device can also be used for a contactless payment made at a contactless payment terminal.

Penalty

The offence carries six penalty points with a maximum fine of £1000 (or £2500 if a goods vehicle or vehicle adapted to carry more than eight passengers).

In the case of a person who has had a full driving licence for less than two years, this would mean the loss of a licence.

Contacting Morton’s Solicitors

If you have any questions relating to this or any other motoring law issues or offences, Morton’s Solicitors can be contacted on 0161 477 1121 or you click on the button below to find out about their motoring law services.  

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AI Inspection from Tractable – Revolutionising Vehicle Inspection Processes

AI Inspection from Tractable – Revolutionising Vehicle Inspection Processes

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AI Inspection from Tractable – Revolutionising Vehicle Inspection Processes

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is cropping up more and more in our everyday lives – so in such a tech-heavy industry as the automotive industry, it should come as little surprise it’s cropping up more and more here too. One of the latest examples is AI Inspection – launched recently in North America and Japan by Tractable.

What does it do?

Their new artificial intelligence (AI) solution to assesses the external condition of a vehicle’s body via a web-based app which can be uploaded to a smartphone.

As you can imagine, this solution helps massively speed up any process where a vehicle’s condition is required. From purchasing or selling a vehicle, to returning a short-term hire or leased vehicle, or recycling parts at end-of-life – this solution provides instant, factual evidence.

Jimmy Spears, head of automotive at Tractable recently told Fleet News;

“With AI Inspection, we have created a powerful AI tool that is not only capable of accurately assessing the exterior condition of a vehicle’s body, but can be carried around in your smartphone.

“We already work with US insurers to improve auto claims. AI Inspection will unlock efficiencies for the broader vehicle ecosystem, where there are huge gains to be made with faster ways of performing manual tasks, with cutting-edge technology.”

How does it work?

By taking a video of the vehicle, it is then run through the app so it can recognise what, if any, parts are damaged.

In addition to this, the AI within the app can also interact with the person taking a video to request specific additional information – ensuring that the AI assessment is backed-up by the correct photographic evidence.

Tractable also claim that it uses live-guided video capture and AI fraud checks to help ensure that the full state of the right car is captured.

Benefits of AI Systems

The evidence as to the benefits of AI systems and software is pretty compelling.

For example, it’s claimed that a behavioural AI system in a vehicle can help prevent 90% of crashes by predicting the actions of pedestrians and other road users by alerting the driver to a potential incident.

The clamour for this level of intelligent tech is marked as well.

Transport for London (TfL) also announced it was adopting AI and simulation technology to help detect and manage the flow of traffic in the capital.

For small to medium sized businesses, AI Systems and technology may sound some way off (and expensive) but the fact that it will be gradually integrated into our lives – whether we like it or not – is almost inevitable.

And in reality – by embracing it, rather than resisting it – it’s benefits could prove to be both time and money-saving.

If you would like more information on AI systems and technology that could help your fleet, why not contact one of our technology experts with your questions?

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Quartix Vehicle Tracking Solutions – A Powerful Tool For Saving Time & Money

Quartix Vehicle Tracking Solutions – A Powerful Tool For Saving Time & Money

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Quartix Vehicle Tracking Solutions – A Powerful Tool For Saving Time & Money

Quartix Vehicle Tracking – Enhancing Productivity and Reducing Costs

Vehicle tracking is often pigeon-holed as a form of “snooping” or “checking up on staff”. I mean, surely you should be able to trust your staff enough to be productive with their vehicles, right?

The fact is that vehicle tracking offers helps businesses who run a fleet of vehicles invaluable ways to save time and money managing their fleet.

Quartix Vehicle Tracking is one such solution. They are one of the longest established and trusted vehicle tracking solution providers in the UK.

Here we look at their solutions and how they could benefit your business.

Who are Quartix?

Quartix were founded in 2001 – pretty much at the infancy of digital vehicle tracking solutions – by four industry professionals. The founder and CEO is still with the company today.

Their vehicle tracking solutions have been installed in 600,000+ vehicles, across 19,000 fleets globally – cementing their position as one of the leading vehicle tracking solution providers in the UK.

The clients who use the Quartix vehicle tracking come from a wide range of backgrounds including;

    • Building & Construction
    • Trade & Field Services
    • Transportation
    • Security
    • Distribution

Quartix pride themselves on their service levels and long-term relationship with their clients having created a simple, easy-to-use, access-anywhere system, giving insurance companies and fleet managers access to invaluable data.

 

What does their Vehicle Tracking Solution Provide?

The Quartix Vehicle Tracking system makes it easy for vehicle tracking data to be analysed and generates simple to use reports.

For fleet managers, this is particularly helpful for identifying your best drivers, make sense of mileage and fuel costs, and reduce administrative tasks – including dealing with third parties, such as processing insurance claims.

The core functions of the solutions includes;

    • Access via internet browser or mobile app.
    • Know where your vehicles are, 24/7 to help productivity and improve customer service.
    • Getting vehicle activity logs straight to your inbox for instant performance analysis.
    • Use driving performance and data to promote safe and fuel-efficient driving habits.
    • Boost fleet productivity and reduce costs such as fuel costs.
    • Using vehicle tracking to set geographic boundaries and rules.
    • Choose from a wide selection of tracking device hardware options, dependent on your needs.
    • Compliant with privacy laws

How does having a Vehicle Tracking Solution like Quartix benefit the drivers?

Quartix Vehicle Tracking solutions not only provides important data capture and analysis tool for productivity improvements and identifying cost-savings,  it can offer huge benefits to the drivers.

Responsibility

Using Quartix Vehicle Tracking shows that you take your business’s fleet responsibilities seriously. For your business it improves customer service and enhances your reputation. For your drivers though it shows your company are going to have their backs in several ways.

The main features and benefits for drivers

  • improve driver safety by;
    • easily locate drivers involved in accidents or broken down.
    • keeping tabs on vehicle condition
  • improving driving-style performance;
    • monitors speed, braking, idling etc… 
  • proof of how the vehicle is used;
    • helps avoiding disputes over fuel costs and overtime pay
    • helps prove the driver used the vehicles as intended
  • helping protect them against false claims;
    • unbiased data gives a true picture of an accident – and in some extreme cases, whether the driver was even present.

The Cost of Vehicle Tracking Solutions

The cost of vehicle tracking does vary. It has many factors which can influence the cost, and this can lead to a lot of unnecessary expense.

The Quartix Vehicle Tracking solution costs vary – depending on your specific needs. One thing that Quartix are keen to stress though is that your solution is tailored to you. This means that you will only ever pay for what you need. 

They sight the fact that many vehicle tracking providers will bury additional costs into their solutions. These are commonly in the form of; 

  • installation set-up costs
  • unnecessary additional hardware/software
  • other hidden termination costs or any additional costs for moving / removing trackers or 
  • auto-renew contracts
  • warranties, both what they cover and how long for

Quartix though prides itself in it’s transparency in costing based on your needs and this is reflected in it’s reviews and client retention.

To get the right package for your needs, speaking to the team at Quartix will give you the best advice for finding the right solution for your business, at the right price.

If you would like to find out more, visit the Quartix website where they provide a glimpse into it’s capabilities with a free, real-time demo where their team would be glad to answer any of your questions.

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Changes in Vehicle Technology Bring New Challenges To Fleet Managers and Insurers

Changes in Vehicle Technology Bring New Challenges To Fleet Managers and Insurers

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Changes in Vehicle Technology Bring New Challenges To Fleet Managers and Insurers

Automation, Connection and Electric Vehicle technology presents many challenges to fleet managers and insurers.

New vehicles come with new technologies – and whilst there are many plus points, there are also plenty of challenges. Kevan Haughton of Bricks & Motors Insurance Brokers in Bury guides us through some of the issues.

As the world we live in continues to adapt, so do the vehicles we drive. Car manufacturers are continuously innovating and our vehicles are changing, so Insurers and Fleet Managers have to be prepared for the new challenges they bring.

According to the Department for Transport, in 2017 there were 37.8 million licensed vehicles on UK roads. With these vehicles travelling a total of 327 billion miles in that same year, it’s no surprise that we are expecting more from our vehicles. We look at three of the strategic priorities for vehicle manufacturers:

    • Automated
    • Connected
    • Electric

Automated:

Automated advancements in cars can be there to either help to prevent a crash or to help increase your safety if a crash does happen. Examples of automated technology can already be seen in many cars and are increasingly depended on.

For example, Autonomous Emergency Braking, which will apply the brakes to prevent impact, has already been proven to see a 38% reduction in collision frequency and a 45% reduction in Third Party cost.

It could be Adaptive cruise control, which adjusts your cruise control speed to ensure you still maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead, through to lane keep assistance, which not only warns you if you are drifting out of your lane but can take corrective action to keep you on course.

All of these are positive safety developments with clear and obvious benefits.

The risks of this technology

However, it is important to recognise the risks from this new technology. For example, whilst the technology is keeping drivers safer, what is there to prevent drivers becoming over reliant on the technology itself?

Also how can we ensure that people know how and when to use the technology? The sophisticated nature of the technology also presents unique challenges for when repairs are required, often being more complicated and time-consuming.

Connected:

For vehicle manufacturers another priority is making sure that cars are more ‘connected’ and cyber-smart than ever. This sees huge changes in how we look after our cars and what we expect for our convenience.

Currently, through a mobile app, some vehicles can be locked/unlocked, heated or even programmed to ensure that their electric batteries are fully charged ready for a predetermined departure time.

The software that enables this, which is essential in modern cars, will be updated over-the-air (similar to how our phones are updated).

What this means for Insurers and Fleet Managers

For Insurers and Fleet Managers it won’t just be the make and model of vehicle that needs to be considered but also which software update the vehicle is on. Two vehicles could physically look exactly the same but the software version they’re on could actually affect performance, capability, behaviour and range.

As well as understanding changing vehicle specifications Liability could also become a contentious issue. Whose responsibility will it be to ensure the update has been completed? The manufacturer, the driver, the fleet manager?

This could be particularly important if a crash could have been avoided had the update been completed. Technology being used to keep cars connected like this is impressive, however it still creates its own vulnerabilities. If the software can be easily updated remotely, providing customers with the most up-to-date technology, however there is also the ever present risk of cyber vulnerabilities.

By keeping vehicles connected, owners run the risk of potential hacking or ransomware crime; the consequences of which are difficult to determine as they could vary from a data breach through to vehicle theft itself.

Electric:

The need for cleaner, more efficient, vehicles is becoming increasingly apparent. Whether it’s looking at electric powertrain systems or lightweight structures, the electric vehicle is becoming a manufacturer’s priority. Using stronger but lighter materials is important to increase efficiencies while still ensuring the safety of drivers.

The batteries and propulsion systems need to continue to advance to make sure that they will be suitable to demands of our current and future society. With electric vehicles and sophisticated technologies becoming more common, we are entering a whole new area in terms of repairs. The repairs themselves can be challenging and costly, as well as depending wholly on batteries and the charging points they will require.

What are the challenges?

The challenges for Insurers and Fleet Managers with electric vehicles are enhanced by the fact that safe, efficient and suitable electric vehicles are needed due to government initiatives to reduce carbon emissions.

Electric vehicles and the charging infrastructure which will be needed also introduce new perils into Fleet Risk Management which previously would never have been considered. Hybrid vehicles, defined as using two or more types of power, also present another set of challenges for Fleet Managers and Insurers.

For example, hybrid vehicles require a more emission compliant catalytic converter. This is more costly and more attractive to thieves due to the precious metals inside (including Palladium, Platinum and Rhodium). To meet the required emission standards, some hybrid vehicles even fit two catalytic converters.

What does all of this mean for Insurers and Fleet Managers?

Louise Kerrigan, Zurich UK Motor & Casualty Team Leader explains:

“Vehicle management is becoming increasingly complex for Fleet Managers and equally challenging for Insurers. The positive advancements in automation we’ve looked at here depend on drivers understanding the technology on their vehicles and how to utilise it safely.

Customers can prepare for the future by ensuring they have a comprehensive and robust work-related road risk management programme in place that doesn’t conflict with operational practices.

Policies and procedures should be reviewed ensuring Automated, Connected and Electric risks are incorporated therefore enabling employees to drive safely and ensure security vulnerabilities are reduced as low as practicable. For Insurers, the future of fleet risk management will evolve at pace.

Whilst the frequency of collisions should reduce, the claims circumstances will change and the cost of collisions will increase due to more complex repairs required, even for minor damage, the need to re-calibrate sensors and potentially even battery repair.

New features bring new risks and perils but we are learning and adapting to face these challenges with our customers.”

If you have any questions about any implications of automated, connected or electric vehicle technology on insurance, make sure you contact your current providers, or contact our fleet insurance experts at Bricks & Motor Insurance Brokers of Bury.

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What is V2G and why it could change the EV Charging Landscape

What is V2G and why it could change the EV Charging Landscape

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What is V2G and why it could change the EV Charging Landscape

V2G : How Your Electric Vehicle Can Give Back Power To The National Grid

Charging electric vehicles is one of the main considerations when making the switch from petrol or diesel vehicles.

The main concerns seem to be based around how much it costs, how practical it is, or how long it takes to charge a vehicle. These concerns – however unfounded – can often delay people making the switch.

So, what if you could actually turn charging your electric vehicle into a nice little earner? Well with V2G technology, this is going to become possible.

What is V2G?

V2G stands for vehicle-to-grid.

As the name infers, V2G is the transference of unused energy from the vehicle’s battery being put back into the grid during peak times.

So V2G charging is essentially 2-way charging. You can charge your vehicles at off-peak times (e.g. overnight) when it’s cheaper. If you’re vehicles are left largely unused during peak times then the unused energy can be sold back to the grid.

What are the main benefits of V2G?

The main V2G benefits are;

  • Simplicity of control for EV owners
  • Ability to reduce stress and add stability for the grid
  • Helps reduce carbon emissions by contributing clean, green energy
  • Greater flexibility for owner and grid
  • Energy-efficient, low cost driving for EV owners
  • Cashback for EV owners – selling surplus energy back to grid

The V2G Trial

Over the last few months, OVO Energy have been running a V2G trial. The trial has been funded by the Office for Low Emission and the Department from Business Energy and Industry Strategy in partnership with Innovate.

By selling putting unused battery back into the grid – using OVO’s V2G Tariff – drivers trialling the scheme have saved upto £800 in a year on their bills.

V2G – Helping the Grid

It is important that the Grid is helped as much as possible. Despite more initiatives and emphasis on various renewable energy sources, the demand is for electricity remains as high as ever.

With V2G putting power back into the grid during peak times, it helps protect against power shortages.

It might sound quite dramatic, but the problem with many renewable resources is they can’t be controlled.

In November 2020, low winds posed a real problem. The National Grid turned to OVO Energy to ask it’s V2G users to plug in to the grid and a shortage on the grid was averted.

So V2G is a great thing – is it available to everyone?

Unfortunately, at the moment no. Currently, only the Nissan Leaf and Nissan e-NV200 are compatible with V2G.

That said, the infrastructure is in place and this means other car manufacturers aren’t far behind.

The huge benefits of V2G makes it inevitable that this technology will be hitting the mainstream soon.

Where can you find out more about it?

If you would like to find out more details or get a quote for switching to V2G, you can visit the OVO Energy website.

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7 Top Tips for Protecting Your Vehicle’s Keyless Entry System

7 Top Tips for Protecting Your Vehicle’s Keyless Entry System

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7 Top Tips for Protecting Your Vehicle’s Keyless Entry System

How to protect your keyless entry system

Lots of modern vehicles come with a keyless entry system. Whilst they offer convenience for users, they can also offer similar convenience to tech-savvy car thieves. A recent spate of thefts of vehicles with keyless entry systems is a cause for concern.

How are the thieves getting into the vehicles?

Thieves use devices to “mimic” the signal of the key to unlock the vehicle. All it needs is for the thief to get close enough to the key to “steal” the signal.

So what can owners of these vehicles do to keep their vehicle safe?

Here are 7 top tips that can help protect your vehicle from the thieves.

1. Keep your keys out of sight

Make sure you don’t leave your keys near to any windows or doors whilst at home.

Thieves can stand outside and get close enough to clone the signal without even coming into your home.

2. Use a signal-blocking pouch

Placing your keys in a pouch can block the signal, stopping thieves from cloning the signal. Quite simple, but effective. You can pick them up relatively cheaply online or from places like Halfords.

3. Turn off the fob’s wireless signal

With some keyless fobs the wireless signals can be turned off. Check with your vehicle’s manufacturer guides or contact them to see if this is possible and how it is done.

4. Protect the On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) Port

The on-board diagnostic (OBD) Port is used by mechanics / technicians who will use a device to detest issues/faults – usually if your engine management light comes on.

This port can be used by the thieves to start the vehicle. To avoid this there are some steps you can take;

  • Contact your local dealership or an auto-electrician and ask them to relocate the port.
  • Use a cover or protective lock guard to prevent it being accessed.
  • If your vehicle is a higher-end or prestige vehicle then it might be worth considering the expense of upgrading your entire central locking system.

5. Steering Wheel locks

A good old fashioned steering wheel lock cannot be by-passed by technology and can be very effective.

6. How you park

Where you park can influence the desirability of the vehicle.

  • If you have a garage, use it wherever possible.
  • If you have a driveway, park as close to your property as possible.
  • If you have more than one vehicle, park the less desirable vehicle so it blocks the exit of the keyless system vehicle.
  • It might also be worth considering fitting a security light and even fitting a “dummy” security camera can be enough to put thieves off.

7. Research a vehicles security risk first

It makes sense before you choose a vehicle to check out its security options.

There are websites which can give you really useful information into a vehicle’s all-round security rating.

One of the best tool’s is Thatcham’s Consumer Security Rating tool which can be found here.

If you do purchase additional security, make sure that it is;

In Summary

Hopefully you will find these tips helpful and heighten your awareness if you currently have a keyless entry system for your vehicle(s) or are thinking of buying one.

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