Educating drivers about new safety technology now being fitted as standard on many company cars can help to benefit fleets and improve road safety.

Arval UK is encouraging fleets to take action as a range of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) devices were made compulsory on all new models in the EU last year and, as a result, are also being made part of UK specifications.

Ian Pearson, head of insured lease at Arval UK, explained: “These safety systems have the potential to be highly effective, but drivers need to understand how to incorporate them into their daily driving.

“It’s worth considering the historical lessons that can be drawn from reversing sensors. These have now been standard fitment on most fleet cars for a long time and the technology is well-proven, but even where reversing cameras are operational, drivers still back into stationary objects every day and sometimes at speed. In fact, it may be the case that they have become overreliant on listening for the beeps and don’t use their mirrors, which shows the importance of using the device properly.

“All of this technology is not fail-safe but there to assist the driver – and that can only happen if more is done to make them aware of how to make the best of features, such as lane departure and driver fatigue warning systems. It’s not about the technology in isolation, but how it interacts with the person at the steering wheel.”

Pearson said that limited data existed on which ADAS devices were proving most effective for fleets when it came to improving safety – but that fact in itself underlined the need for more information to be given to drivers.

“If a driver drifts out of a lane on a motorway and the steering corrects them, how do you know whether a collision has been avoided? What is important is that all of these devices have a potential role to play and could save the lives of employees out on the road if they are taught to use them correctly.

“This education does not need to be complex. Most of it can be done through some form of e-learning that is reinforced through periodic reminders. The use of ADAS should also be incorporated into fleet manager reviews when an accident takes place.

“However, we do know from Arval Mobility Observatory research that the ADAS devices most valued by fleet managers are collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking systems. This makes sense as they represent the technology most likely to prevent full-on collisions.”

Pearson added that getting the most out of ADAS devices was not just purely a safety issue but also important in terms of extracting the most value from their cost.

“While the technology is generally a standard fitment on new cars, it is being incorporated into the price, so businesses are already paying for this potential safety. Also, it increases the cost of repair when there is an accident. There is a strong argument that fleets are – whether consciously or not – making quite a big investment in this technology and so should work to maximise its benefit.”

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