New utility vehicle app transforms fleet management

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A new app being used by drivers to carry out and digitally record daily vehicle safety checks has transformed the effectiveness of Lanes Utilities’ wastewater fleet management.

The Vehicle Check-Out app allows drivers to complete the mandatory checks quickly and effectively, and report defects in a way that is fully compliant with latest vehicle inspection legislation.

Lanes Utilities, part of Lanes Group plc, is using the app to manage 350 specialist vehicles operated to fulfil its role as Thames Water’s wastewater network services maintenance partner.

Andy Brierley, Lanes Utilities’ Director, said: “The Vehicle Check-Out app has been transformational for us, as an organisation that operates a fleet of vehicles, many of them HGVs.

“Our drivers cover 9.125 million miles a year, a distance to the moon and back 19 times, in the carrying out of our wastewater network maintenance responsibilities for Thames Water, so road safety is of paramount importance.

“The app has been designed to be simple and intuitive to use, so up to 75 checks can be carried out in full compliance with the minimum 15 minutes timeframe advised by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

“It is a powerful tool that is contributing greatly to ensuring our vehicles are safe, legally-compliant, and defects are quickly identified and corrected. That is good for our drivers, us as a business, and, most importantly, for the safety of other road users, and the wider public.”

Vehicle-Check is the latest element of Lanes Utilities’ award-winning FieldViewer operational management system, developed with its digital systems partner Techfinity.

It takes drivers step-by-step through the daily vehicle checks they must make before taking a vehicle onto the road. Defects can be logged and reported in real-time to a central management system through a hierarchy of responsible fleet and people managers.

A minimum amount of time is allocated for each check. If drivers attempt to do them too quickly, they are required to repeat the checks. When completed, the app informs the driver if the vehicle is safe to drive, and gives further safety guidance based on the condition of the vehicle. If it is not road-compliant, the driver is told not to use it.

Once the vehicle inspection has been carried out, the driver self-certifies with a signature drawn on the phone screen with their fingertip. The system also prompts drivers to carry out simpler on-the-road checks, as required.

If the vehicle is inspected at the roadside under routine checks by the police or the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’ (DVSA), a vehicle history screen can be shown at the roadside to prove the vehicle had been properly checked.

Members of Lanes Utilities’ fleet management team can monitor Vehicle-Check activity in real time. The app will automatically alert them if a vehicle is driven without authorisation.

Andy Brierley said: “Vehicle-Check has all standard checks required, and others specific to the specialist vehicles we operate. It is already proving to be an immensely useful tool to drive down vehicle defects.

“Vehicle safety and road safety is of paramount concern to us. This app is a key response to that priority. In 2016, DVSA carried out nearly 60,000 road-side vehicle checks, and issued more than 20,000 prohibition notices. Our target for such notices is zero. Vehicle-Check is a fundamental driver to achieve our ambitious objective.”

 

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