Meet the team – Nathan Davis

Name: Nathan Davis.

Job Title: Business development.

Explain your role in 10 words: To meet prospective companies and bring in business for Fleet Service GB.

What’s the best aspect of your job? Seeing my best friend, Ryan, every day.

What’s the worst aspect of your job? Having to make tea and coffee.

How long have you worked at Fleet Service GB? Since October 2019.

What was your first paid job? Working behind a bar.

What’s your favourite car? A Lamborghini.

What one thing would you like to achieve before you retire? To become a professional athlete.

Outside of Fleet Service GB, what would your dream job be? Professional footballer.

Who in the world would you most like to meet? Ex-Liverpool and England footballer Steven Gerrard. He is now the manager of Glasgow Rangers.

What is your favourite way to spend a day outside of work? Playing football with my mates.

If you won the lottery how would you spend the cash? Buy my family a massive house.

Not a lot of people know that… I play futsal for England. Futsal is a variant of association football played on a hard court, smaller than a football pitch, and mainly indoors. It has similarities to five-a-side football.

Government launches consultation to end sale of new petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid vehicle

Fleets will only be able to take delivery of new 100% electric or hydrogen-fuelled cars and vans from 2035 – and potentially earlier – if the Government has its way.

Last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the Government would end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2035 at the latest – five years earlier than previously announced – to further crackdown on emissions and would include plug-in hybrid vehicles in the ban.

Now fleets are being asked by the Government for their views on the plan via a public consultation that asks five key questions:

  • The phase out date, which has been brought forward five years from 2040 and could be earlier if a faster transition appears feasible
  • The definition of what should be phased out
  • Barriers to achieving the above proposals
  • The impact of the ambitions on different sectors of industry and society
  • The measures required by Government and others to achieve an earlier phase out date.

The consultation document makes clear that owners of existing petrol, diesel, hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars and vans would still be able to drive them and buy and sell them on the used market.

In announcing the plan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the measure “demonstrated the UK’s urgent action to reduce emissions” and added that the “Government will continue to work with all sectors of industry to accelerate the rollout of zero emission vehicles”.

The newly-elected Government’s first Budget on Wednesday, March 11 is expected to include a number of measures designed to accelerate the push towards an electric and hydrogen-powered fleet future.

Critical for the fleet industry is the continuation of the Plug-In Car and Van Grants, the former of which is due to be axed at the end of March.

The maximum Plug-In Car Grant is £3,500 – there is no definitive date on expiry of the £8,000 Plug-In Van Grant – and Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, said: “Fleets will only be able to meet the Government’s ambitious new decarbonisation goals if they are given the right support with electric vehicle grants, tax incentives and infrastructure costs.”

With the Budget imminent, he continued: “Budget 2020 is an opportunity to set the tone for a new decade in which the transition to decarbonised road transport will be won or lost.

“Fleets are being asked to invest billions of pounds in new electric vehicle technology and infrastructure, which comes at a hefty price premium to its petrol and diesel alternatives.

“To achieve these goals the Government must provide a clear support package through to at least 2025. It must preserve the Plug-In Car and Van Grants, maintain a strong set of tax incentives and tackle the huge and often arbitrary costs associated with fleet charging infrastructure.”

Hopes are also high that the tax incentives will include retaining the reduced rates of company car benefit-in-kind tax due to take effect from April 6 for several years beyond 2022/23 for which they have been announced to date.

Meanwhile, as Britain gears up for an electric future in potentially just three vehicle replacement cycles time on average, concern has been expressed in the House of Lords at the potential hazard caused by electric vehicles breaking down.

Potentially taking longer to be removed that from roads than broken down internal combustion engine models, the Department for Transport is reported to be examining measures to ensure that electric vehicles can be removed from roads quickly.

During a debate in the House of Lords, Baroness Randerson, a Liberal Democrat transport spokeswoman, said: “[Electric] vehicles stop very suddenly. They also cannot be towed; they have to be put on a low-loader, which is a much more complex and longer process that will put rescue teams in greater danger.”

The debate came with the safety of so-called smart motorways, which use hard shoulders as live lanes, under microscope. The AA has previously said that the increased use of electric vehicles could be incompatible with smart motorways due to the lack of emergency refuge areas.

Meanwhile, the Vehicle Remarketing Association has highlighted a potential “charging crisis” for remarketing companies as electric vehicles start to make their way on to the used car market in larger numbers.

As vehicles are defleeted it is currently “just a question of ensuring that there is sufficient fuel in the tank of each”, according to the Association. However, in a new world of electric vehicles it will be vital to ensure they are charged to a “useable degree” to move them around.

Sam Watkins, chairman of the Association whose members handle more than 1.5 million used vehicles each year, said: “Once an electric vehicle has a flat battery, the movement of it becomes a challenge as they must be handled in line with correct safety protocols which differ from internal combustion engines.”

The Government consultation runs until May 29. The consultation document can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consulting-on-ending-the-sale-of-new-petrol-diesel-and-hybrid-cars-and-vans/consulting-on-ending-the-sale-of-new-petrol-diesel-and-hybrid-cars-and-vans

Fatigued fleet drivers pose major road safety threat

Company car drivers are among those most at risk from a fatigue-related collision with a road safety organisation now calling for action to overcome tiredness.

The road safety sector has identified driver fatigue as one of the ‘five high-risk’ driver behaviour action areas to cut work-related road crashes. The others are: Speeding, time pressures, inside and outside vehicle distractions, and using mobile phone devices whilst driving, whether hand-held or hands-free.

Now road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is urging drivers to be wise to the dangers of fatigue on journeys.

It says that the risks are ‘particularly high among those who drive for work’, and singles out company car drivers as they are likely to be at the wheel for long periods, or with tight deadlines to meet in the course of a day. GEM also identifies truck drivers, shift workers and young male drivers as those most at risk from a fatigue-related collision.

Around 85 per cent of drivers who cause fatigue-related crashes are male, and more than one third of these are aged under 30, according to research by road safety charity Brake.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “Exhausted drivers pose a significant safety threat, to themselves, to their passengers and to others who share the same road space. Fatigue is a major contributory factor in around 20% of road crashes, particularly in the early hours of the morning. However, on long, monotonous stretches of motorway it’s likely that a much greater proportion of collisions will be fatigue-related.

“Collisions occur when an exhausted driver fails to respond quickly and safely if a dangerous situation arises. These collisions are typically around 50% more likely to result in death or serious injury, as the driver is unable to take avoiding action to reduce severity of an impact.”

Driver safety and wellbeing is a priority at Fleet Service GB. As part of their range of services, their bespoke Driver Handbooks created for clients, cover in detail specific safety risks, such as fatigue and stress, and outline the best practice to avoid them. This gives the driver the tools to become better and safer drivers.

Top tips to help drivers’ reduce the risk of being in a fatigue-related collision

  • Preventing fatigue is more helpful than having to deal with it, so ensure you get a good night’s sleep before heading off on a long trip
  • Don’t drive for more than eight to 10 hours in a day. Aim to share the driving if possible
  • Take regular breaks – a break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours or every 100 miles is recommended
  • Don’t drink alcohol before a trip. Even a small amount can significantly contribute to driver fatigue
  • Avoid driving at times when you’d usually be sleeping
  • If you feel you’re becoming drowsy, consider pulling over somewhere safe (and legal) to take a 15 minute powernap.

GEM Motoring Assist’s video on the dangers of fatigue is available at: https://blog.motoringassist.com/road-safety/road-safety-general/dangers-fatigue/

Be prepared: Fleet managers’ action list for vehicle and drive ID and document changes over ‘no Brexit’ deal

The UK has exited the European Union, but until the end of the year there is a transition period during which rules and regulations remain unchanged.

However, there is much for fleet decision-makers to do by way of readiness for January 1, 2021 with industry experts advising “be prepared”.

Over the coming months, UK Government and European Union officials will be holding intense discussions to, the UK hopes, ensure that transition is as smooth as possible and the regulatory status quo remains in place as far as possible.

The UK Government has stated that it would not seek any extension to the transition period thereby putting pressure on officials to have agreements in place in just 11 months.

Documentation required by drivers travelling overseas and required vehicle identifiers could change in the event of the UK Government failing to forge agreements with the European Union. Highlighted below are the key issues.

International Driving Permits: Any requirement for a driver to hold one or more International Driving Permit (IDP) is dependent on the outcome of trade talks between the UK and the European Union.

Currently UK driving licence holders who live in the UK can drive in all European Union and European Economic Area countries using their UK driving licence. In addition to a UK driving licence, an IDP is only required to drive in some countries outside of the European Union and European Economic Area.

In the event that there is no European Union exit deal negotiated, the UK Government has previously said that it would seek to put in place new arrangements for European Union and European Economic Area countries to recognise UK driving licences when people were visiting, for example on holiday or business trips.

However, if no agreements are reached then there are three types of IDP, although in all likelihood either one governed by the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic or one governed by the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic will be required. Which one is required for a journey abroad depends on the country/countries being visited. An IDP is only available from a Post Office at a cost of £5.50.

As a result businesses and drivers should check if they require an IDP and which one. Further information is available at:

Insurance: The Association of British Insurers has urged drivers to contact their insurer for a Green Card – an international certificate of insurance – and take it with them if they wish to drive their vehicle in the European Union, the European Economic Area and some other countries (Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland) in the event of no agreement being in place following the transition period. In certain instances, such as fleet insurance, multiple Green Cards may be required.

Green Cards will be required under regulations as proof of insurance. Those who travel without one may be breaking the law, which applies to both businesses and individuals. The same requirements will apply to European Union motorists travelling to the UK.

Best practice advice for fleet operators is to contact the company’s vehicle insurance provider ASAP and at least one month before any date of travel overseas.

Non-UK driving licence holders: Companies have been urged to “thoroughly check” the validity of non-UK driving licence holders during the post-Brexit transition period.

The call has come from the Association for Driving Licence Verification (ADLV), which is urging companies to use the transition period to review the current actions they take in respect of non-British licence holders driving or employed in the UK, particularly in respect of convictions in the UK.

Although not shown on overseas licences, they are still recorded by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Consequently, the ADLV says that checking convictions enables the verification of all drivers against DVLA records as a minimum requirement for someone working and driving in the UK.

The organisation’s chairman Malcolm Maycock said: “Few companies seem to recognise the very real requirements for thoroughly checking non-UK licence holders entering the country.

“Whilst their physical licence identifies the country where they passed their test, an expiry date and the category of vehicle they can drive, it doesn’t provide convictions which may be held at the DVLA for motoring offences committed in the UK. By checking non-UK licences, companies maintain far greater control of risk and contribute greatly to road safety.”

Additionally, employers should review and document licence categories, expiry dates and locations where a driver passed their test – just because an employee has a European Union licence it may not mean they passed their test in a member country. When an employee with a non-UK driving licence started to drive in the UK should also be recorded.

Vehicle number plates and national identifiers: Under international conventions, GB is the distinguishing sign to display on UK-registered vehicles when driving outside of the UK, including in the European Union and European Economic Area.

The AA has advised that many UK drivers may have to purchase GB stickers as their Euro-style ‘GB’ vehicle number plates may not be recognised after the transition period.

However, drivers will not need a GB sticker to drive outside the UK if they replace a Euro-plate with a number plate that features the GB sign without the European Union flag.

Vehicle registration documents: Vehicle registration documents are required to be carried when driving abroad. That means either a vehicle’s log book (V5C) or drivers of leased and rented vehicles have an obligation to obtain a VE103 certificate from their hire or lease company before taking their vehicle overseas.

Both the V5C and the VE103 are essential documentation that prove drivers have permission to drive the vehicle. Without that documentation, drivers could be subject to delays at the border, or in the worst instance, have their vehicle impounded.

Road traffic crashes in the European Union involving UK residents and European Union drivers visiting or living in the UK: UK residents involved in a road traffic crash in a European Union or European Economic Area country should not expect to be able to make a claim in respect of that incident via a UK-based Claims Representative or the UK Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).

Instead, UK residents involved in a road crash may need to bring a claim against either the driver or the insurer of the vehicle in the European Union or European Economic Area country where the incident happened. That may involve bringing the claim in the local language.

In the event of a crash in a European Union or European Economic Area country caused by an uninsured or an untraced driver, UK residents may not receive compensation if there is no agreement. That, said the Department for Transport, would vary from country to country.

Steam in to Minehead for a rock ‘n’ roll spectacular in aid of cancer charity

A 1960s rock ‘n’ roll spectacular is the focal point of a major fundraising event for west country-based cancer charity Hope for Tomorrow.

Taking place on Saturday, May 30 at the Regal Theatre, Minehead, the event is the first anniversary follow-up to last year’s hugely successful world premiere of the film ‘Chance Encounter’, which raised almost £27,000 for the charity.

Set in the late 1950s, the film is a gentle love story about a young couple who meet on a steam train one summer. That couple, Clive and Kathy, are now married and with a family and being rock ‘n’ roll fans they buy tickets to ‘attend’ a concert at the Theatre.

It is against that background that the ‘Chance Encounter Anniversary Project’ event takes place with four bands taking to the stage and among the stars will be Cliff Hall, best known as the keyboard player with The Shadows, the instrumental rock group and Cliff Richard’s backing group.

The ‘Chance Encounter Project’ is the result of an idea developed by Geoffrey Bray, executive chairman of Corsham-based fleet management company Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB) and a patron of Tetbury-headquartered Hope for Tomorrow. Also hugely involved in this year’s event is Ian Housley, chairman of Fleet Service GB’s Achieve Advisory Group, which comprises a range of experts, including fleet decision-makers, to provide both the company and its customers with a wealth of knowledge and best practice advice.

Recreating the wonderful, nostalgic atmosphere of the great days of steam, last year almost 200 people travelled along the restored 22-mile West Somerset Railway line from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead to and from the film premiere, through the beautiful Quantock Hills. They did so on a 10-coach steam train including the historic Quantock Belle dining coaches and enjoyed lunch and tea. A further more than 100 people were at the Theatre after buying ‘film-only’ tickets.

This year that same journey and dining experience will be recreated with passengers able to enjoy lunch and tea prepared and cooked by chefs from Claire’s Kitchen, based in Wootton Courtenay, and Hywel Jones, the Michelin starred executive chef at Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa. Support is also being provided by supermarket giant Tesco.

Mr Bray, ‘Chance Encounter Project’ chairman and a steam railway enthusiast, said: “The film was fantastically well received and the almost £27,000 raised from the day was staggering.

“We hope this year’s ‘Chance Encounter Anniversary’ event will be equally, if not more successful, in raising funds for Hope for Tomorrow.”

The charity is dedicated to bringing cancer treatment closer to patients’ homes by providing a Mobile Cancer Care Unit (MCCU) – previously known as a Mobile Chemotherapy Unit – to every oncology centre within the UK. There are currently 12 Units operating across the UK.

Each bespoke MCCU costs £265,000 to build and maintain for the first four years of its life and continues to be owned and maintained by the charity. Hope for Tomorrow also provides each operating Trust with a nurses’ support car, which allows nurses to travel freely between the oncology centre and the daily treatment location of Hope for Tomorrow’s MCCU.

Since the launch of the first MCCU in 2007, the charity has saved patients a total of more than two million miles and more than 265,000 hours of travel and waiting time. Fundraising is crucial as it costs £40 per patient treatment with each unit treating up to 20 patients a day.

Mr Bray said: “Fundraising projects like ‘Chance Encounter’ are the lifeblood of the charity because it costs around £200 a day to operate one MCCU.”

  • Tickets to enjoy the train journey, lunch and tea and the rock ‘n’ roll spectacular and further information is available at: chanceencounterfilm.co.uk. Show-only tickets are available from the Regal Theatre box office in person, by phone (01643 706430) or online at www.regaltheatre.co.uk. The film, ‘Chance Encounter’, is also available as a DVD from the website. Further details on Hope for Tomorrow are available at www.hopefortommorrow.org.uk.

Unlocking connected vehicle data set to improve UK road safety, but challenges must be overcome

Connected vehicle data has the potential to end the scourge of potholes, improve driver behaviour and reduce the impact of incidents on UK roads.

However, major challenges need to be overcome to unlock the value of connected vehicle data including improving public and business trust in information sharing, lack of awareness of existing standards and technology maturity levels.

The key benefits of in-vehicle data are identified as:

  • Driver behaviour monitoring: Including the ability to analyse the way a vehicle is being driven, with the possibility for interventions to educate drivers on how to improve their behaviour on the road.
  • Road condition monitoring: Potential uses include identifying dangerous road conditions such as ice, which could be used to inform drivers using the same road; or collecting data on potholes and road infrastructure defects that local and national highways authorities can plan maintenance for.
  • Predictive maintenance: Collecting vehicle component performance data and alerting drives and fleet managers – and motor manufacturers – of potential failures and enabling maintenance to be planned in advance.
  • Supporting Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) journey platforms: Data such as vehicle location and speed of travel could be used to inform journey planning and booking car parking or tickets for onward travel via public transport.
  • Identifying ‘abnormal’ traffic behaviour: Changes in traffic patterns – such as slower speeds – could be used to identify incidents and road congestion, and inform drivers and authorities responsible for traffic management.

Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB) is already pursuing the connected vehicle data pathway with its intelligent integrated online dashboards delivering real-time critical headline data on vehicles and drivers to the fingertips of fleet managers.

The technology used by Fleet Service GB to measure vehicle and driver data and performance in real-time – and flag up action areas – will continually be enhanced as vehicle connectivity intensifies and more data feeds can be obtained.

Last year, 71% of new vehicles registered in the UK were ‘connected’ to some degree and that figure is expected to reach 100% by 2026, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, thus creating ‘a rich data stream which will enable further innovation in the sector’.

As the UK transitions to a wholly autonomous vehicle future over the next 15 years – just three vehicle replacement cycles for many fleets – the automotive industry has defined six levels of connectivity, level 0 through to level 5.

Currently the vast majority of vehicles that are ‘connected’ are at level 1. That means they are equipped with ‘basic driver assistance’ features such as lane departure warning or adaptive cruise control and require an individual ‘to drive’.

By 2026 all vehicles will have a degree of connectivity with 16% at level 2, 14% at level 3 and 7% at level 4. Level 2 connected features are level 1 features but they operate in tandem with each other rather than separately; level 3 and level 4 features ‘can drive a vehicle under limited conditions’, while level 5 features can drive a vehicle ‘under all conditions’. It is unlikely that such vehicles will be available until 2035.

The Connected Places Catapult (CPC), which accelerates smarter living and travelling in and between the places of tomorrow and works with the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) across Government to support the market for connected and automated vehicles, has conducted a stakeholder workshop seeking to understand what challenges would need to be overcome to unlock the value of connected vehicle data in the UK.

Industry leaders who took part in the research called for a number of activities to be launched in the UK before 2025 to address the challenges identified. These included tasks around skill development, technology development, identification of business benefits and updating regulation.

Among the ‘key risks’ of in-vehicle data identified at the workshop were:

  • Gaps in the standards, requirements and validation of data quality that could impact on the delivery of services
  • A risk that data owners and service providers could lock customers into their data ecosystem and create a market monopoly
  • Predictive vehicle maintenance providers could force vehicle owners to use authorised service providers
  • A risk that the volume of data collected was too large for systems to process and manage efficiently and accurately
  • With growing connectivity there were risks that data access points could be used by hackers to gain control of a vehicle.

Henry Tse, CPC director of new mobility technologies, said: “There is a market need to pull data and insights together and increase knowledge-sharing across the connected vehicle sector, rather than it be stored in disparate locations. Doing this will unlock a host of benefits which could improve road safety for users, unlock economic benefits through a more efficient transport system and create innovative new businesses and services.

“We are now recommending the establishment of a consortium which can support and guide the activities and projects in this area, create a clear industry vision and accelerate the value the UK gets from this data in the new decade”

Iain Forbes, head of the CCAV, said: “In-vehicle data offers a host of potential benefits to UK consumers. This roadmap is a useful contribution to the essential work on how this data could be used to unlock exciting new services in a safe and sustainable way.”