Lanes tracks path to road safety and fleet excellence

Innovative use of one of the world’s most sophisticated vehicle tracking platforms is building drainage and wastewater specialist Lanes Group plc a global reputation for road safety.

Lanes, the UK’s largest independent drainage contractor, has now installed the Samsara digital system in all 3,000 of its vehicles, from articulated lorries to company cars.

Samsara has been so impressed with the smart way Lanes has uses its technology that it invited company representatives to attend its annual conference in Austin Texas, in June 2023, to showcase what is being achieved.

AI software

The tracking system, which uses artificial intelligent software to monitor the way vehicles are driven and the behaviour of drivers behind the wheel, was first installed in Lanes vehicles operated for Thames Water.

In the last 12 months, it has been rolled out across all other water utility and rail service fleets, and installed in all vehicles based at 22 commercial depots operated by Lanes across the UK.

In that time:

  • Annual insurance claims costs have fallen by £250,000;
  • There has been a big reduction in the severity of insurance claims;
  • Average claim costs have fallen by £1,000;
  • A substantial number of 50-50 blame incidents have switched to non-fault;
  • At least £60,000 has been saved in workflow costs.

‘Incredible’ impact

Tom Earnshaw, Transport Compliance Controller for the Lanes depot network, described Samsara as a game changer for the company, which operates 800 HGVs, 2,000 vans and 200 cars, all fitted with the system.

“Its impact has been incredible. I believe it will help us transform our driving culture for the better,” he said. “We spend far less time chasing and collecting vehicle and driver data, and more time using it to promote vehicle safety and fleet efficiency.

“Samsara is also helping us improve the wellbeing and livelihoods of our drivers. Many times, already, other road users have claimed our drivers have caused an incident and we’ve used Samsara to quickly prove they’re not at fault. In the past, that would have been much more difficult.”

Driver alerts

The platform uses GPS to continuously monitor the location of every vehicle in the Lanes fleet. It also records the speed, acceleration, braking and fuel efficiency of vehicles as they are driven.

A forward facing camera monitors traffic. While a camera facing into the cab continuously checks on the driver and any passengers. AI technology alerts the driver and fleet controllers if the camera records risky behaviour, such as driver inattentiveness.

Lanes has been determined from the start to use Samsara to set the highest possible vehicle maintenance and safety standards.

It is a proactive approach recognised by Samsara. The tech giant has created a series of video case studies about Lanes to promote its technology to a global audience.

High performing

Lanes drivers are in the top 15% for driving standards for all drivers monitored by Samsara globally. Lanes is also in the top 3% of companies for the level of the driving standard it sets using the system.

In an initiative led by Andrew Smith, Transport Manager for the Lanes Thames Water contract, the company has also made innovative use of Samsara’s form generation system to create additional functionality.

This includes a daily work form and wellbeing check, which asks every driver how they feel as they open the Samsara app at the start of each shift, opening the door to different types of supports if they want it.

Daily vehicle check and vehicle off road (VoR) forms require drivers to record the condition of their vehicles, with transport managers alerted within 30 minutes if checks are not carried out.

Cutting costs

These more efficient vehicle checks are expected to improve safety compliance and reduce vehicle downtime, improving fleet utilisation and reducing maintenance costs.

Lanes now uses the Samsara document system to collect 82,000 forms every month, more than any other system user in Europe – creating a rich pool of data for analysing performance.

Andrew Smith said: “We’ve taken Samsara functionality and adapted it to our needs. Samsara has been impressed with what we’re achieving and is now actively promoting this approach to other customers.

“Vehicle use is our biggest risk, which is why we want to gain all the advantages we can from Samsara. It’s central to the way we keep our people, other road users, and work colleagues safe.

“Over time we will incrementally drive up the standards we set ourselves. Safe driving is also sustainable driving, so we’ll expect to see significant reduction, in relative terms, in our carbon footprint.”

Peace of mind

The Samsara app allows drivers to monitor their personal driving performance and styles. It is also used to send out tailored driving alerts and coaching videos. Drivers can also be called in for extra training or coaching, if necessary.

It also automatically uploads HGV tachograph data. Previously, drivers would have to transfer data onto a computer, away from the cab, a process that could take 30 minutes at a time.

Lanes drivers are being won over by the protection the system offers, and how it makes their jobs easier.

Drainage engineer Philip Frances said: “At first, I was sceptical. Now, I can honestly say I am glad I have Samsara in the cab. I have peace of mind, if anything goes wrong. I feel like Samsara has my back on the road.”

Comments are closed.