Smartphones are a boon to van drivers if used properly

There is no denying that, through innovations in fleet management technology, organisations are delivering cost savings on multiple platforms, from reduced fuel consumption, less off-road time through reduced wear and tear and cheaper van insurance through improved driver training, coupled with less daily mileage.

One surprising aspect of technology that the casual observer may not automatically associate the common-or-garden van driver with is the use of the Smartphone, but that’s exactly what’s happening in cabs and behind the wheels of UK light commercial vehicles.

Swinton Commercial, who place a huge amount of emphasis on delivering the cheapest van insurance possible based on its countless research projects, have recently compiled a study based on exactly how and what hi-tech devices Britain’s van drivers are using to find that Smartphones are way out in front of any other device, as far as popularity of use goes, although not always for business reasons, as Phil Moss, Swinton Commercial’s CV Manager points out.

The results of the survey show that well-thumbed A-Zs, with broken spines falling open on the pages containing the van drivers most popular routes, hardly even qualify for a place in the glovebox, these days. Whereas the sat-nav was the in-gadget up until only very recently, tablets and their smaller hand held equivalents are now the device of choice for many of today’s commercial vehicle drivers and can provide a similarly good service through implementation of free software such as Google Maps.

Mr. Moss does, however, make an extremely valid point, encouraging the tech-savvy van driver to retain the responsibility to know when to use the device for business purposes, rather than check up on social media updates that can stream continually through the device.

The very real worry is that, by taking their eye of the ball, van drivers can seriously jeopardise a previously cheap van insurance policy by being distracted in what would otherwise be an avoidable minor incident.

As we recently reported here on, this is a major frustration for fleet managers who are trying to remain within budget when it seems that, with company vehicle tax thresholds and record fuel prices, everything is conspiring against them. Needless claims on fleet van insurance are headaches that they can truly do without.

Yes, Smartphones are great for avoiding roadworks and accidents or even sending e-mails directly back to the office whilst on the road, when used appropriately; but van drivers are reminded that keeping their eye on the road in front of them is the key to bringing that additional technology to optimum fruition.

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