VSS Director presents cheque to Brake – the road safety charity

Sales Director, Matt Freemantle recently met with Mike Bristow from the road safety charity – Brake, to present him with a cheque for £900 and to talk through a new working partnership.

Brake’s vision is a world that has zero road deaths and injuries, and people can get around in ways that are safe, sustainable, healthy and fair.

They are a humanitarian charity, working with urgency and in partnership with ourselves to implement evidence-led solutions to a crisis that affects us all and our planet.

Vehicle Security

It’s something that we’ve all worried about at some point or another in our lives, and unfortunately it’s something we can’t do much about. Vehicle crime is an unfortunately common occurrence in this country – it’s just too easy to break into cars. However, there are some things you can do to make sure that your vehicle will be less likely to be the one that people choose to break into.

Get a car alarm
We’ve all been there at 3am when the neighbour’s car alarm starts going off. And even though everyone in a two mile radius can hear it, the neighbour appears to sleep through it – leaving it going off for hours. As annoying as they may seem, vehicle alarms are actually the best way to prevent people breaking in. Some of them are quite sensitive, meaning that the slightest bump will set them off, but some are more subtle than that – it would have to be a forceful try of the door or something hitting the window to make them go off. And as soon as that noise starts blaring people don’t want to stick around.

Hide any valuables
One of the most common mistakes that people make is leaving their valuables on display. Whether it’s a sat nav left in its cradle, or a phone left on the seat – people do this all the time. Leaving valuables on display is like putting a sign up to thieves saying ‘come and break in here’. For a thief, seeing a car with valuable things inside is like hitting the jackpot. So next time, before you leave your car for the night (or even just a few hours) make sure you have taken the time to hide anything that might be valuable, or even things that look like they could be valuable – empty bags and such. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

Lock the vehicle
This one seems fairly obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people forget to do this, or just don’t bother. This is the easiest way for thieves to get into your car and take whatever’s inside – or even hotwire it and take it for a spin. Get into the habit of checking your doors whenever you leave your vehicle and make sure they’re always locked up tight. Many thieves are chancers – they’ll simply walk down a street and try the handles of every vehicle they pass in the hopes that one is left unlocked. Don’t let the one unlocked be yours.

There are other things that you can do to make sure your vehicle is secure whenever you leave it. Vehicle CCTV is a tool that is on the rise, and isn’t just for big company vehicles. Unfortunately, vandalism is on the rise too, meaning that you could go out to your car one morning and find it covered in graffiti, or scratched from bumper to bumper. With vehicle CCTV you’ll be able to catch whoever did it. Not only that, but having vehicle CCTV acts as a deterrent, so people will be less likely to break in, or vandalise your vehicle, if they know that they’ll get spotted on camera.

Vehicle CCTV works not just for buses and public transport, but can also be used on personal vehicles too. Vehicle security is something we take very seriously, and we want everyone to be protected when it comes to this.

Shortage of Drivers in the Bus and Coach Industry

It’s no secret that the country has had a rough few years in terms of the economy. There are cuts being made left, right and centre and unfortunately one of the industries that are suffering is the bus and coach one. These companies are essential for many people, who rely on them to get to and from work, or to the shops, but there are a shortage of bus drivers meaning this isn’t always possible.

Yes there have been cutbacks which mean that many companies cannot hire enough bus and coach drivers to fill all the routes that need filling, but there is another reason for this shortage. Westminster Transport Committee has brought to the attention of the public that one of the other reasons that there is a shortage of people is because recruitment isn’t what it used to be. Many companies have more buses or coaches than staff to drive them, and they don’t have enough time to recruit people the way they should be.

Many people have cited poor pay, unsocial hours and the general attitude of the public as reasons for putting them off the job. There are also a lot of conditions that bus and coach drivers need to meet before being able to drive safely and legally within this industry. These include passing a medical, obtaining the proper licence and completing a driver training course. Newly qualified bus drivers can also sometimes be left with a bond, which leaves them liable to pay back some of the cost of their training if they leave the company early.

As you can see, there are many reasons why there is a shortage of bus and coach drivers in the industry, but what people don’t see is the knock on effect this has to the general public. Many people are unable to drive themselves, and so rely on buses and coaches to get them to work, to visit friends and family or to go to the shops. In rural areas in particular, this can be a hard task, as many things aren’t within walking distance and the bus routes are few and far between. Because of the shortage, companies don’t have enough drivers to make all the routes that they could be so some people are left feeling isolated or ‘stuck’ at home. This further provides the general public with a negative attitude to the bus and coach industry – making the gap between the public and the driver even wider.

We understand that there is only so much that coach and bus companies can do in terms of recruitment – you can’t hire what isn’t there. And with everyone pulling their belts a little tighter, it isn’t always possible to have as many drivers as you would like to. But there are some things that this industry can do to help change the shortage of drivers in the country.

The attitude of the general public has been cited as one of the reasons that people don’t want to become drivers, so let’s go about changing that for the better. If we make the public feel safer, then they are more likely to trust bus companies, and therefore leave the negative attitude at the door. One of the ways to this is by installing CCTV in all buses and coaches, and letting the public know it’s for their benefit. This way both the driver and the public will feel better – and it will hopefully inspire more people to ‘come on board’ (pun intended) with the bus and coach industries.

Let’s start fixing relations between bus/coach companies and public and the rest will follow.

Insurance Premiums on the Rise

Whether you own your own vehicle, or if you manage a company which has a lot of vehicles – such as bus or coach companies, then you are probably aware of insurance premiums going up year after year. It seems as though these insurance companies make up numbers and are just trying to get as much money out of their customers as possible but there are different reasons for them going up.

One of the reasons is due to the rise in crime that is happening in the country. Particularly in the case of buses and coaches, where they are transporting the general public, they are seen as vulnerable to vandalism and other acts of anti-social behaviour. In fact, buses and coaches are at higher risk of vandalism because they come into contact with more people over the course of a day. Not only that, but with the amount of people that buses transport every day, it’s getting harder and harder for the driver to keep an eye on everyone who is riding their bus or coach.

Insurance companies are aware of these facts, and so have decided to raise insurance premiums for buses and coaches – simply because these are the vehicles which are more susceptible to damage and therefore owners are more likely to make claims. It’s not entirely fair, but the insurance companies have to make their money somehow.

Another reason that insurance premiums have risen in recent years is that there is a lack of drivers in the industry. You may be wondering why this would affect the amount of insurance that people are paying, but to insurance companies, less drivers mean that the existing drivers are stretched thinner than ever before. This mean that are likely to be driving longer hours, longer routes and doing more hours without breaks. Because of this, bus and coach drivers are more likely to be tired and therefore more likely to make mistakes. Obviously, if you manage a bus or coach company, or are even a driver yourself, you will know what the proper precautions are but the insurance companies don’t see it this way, unfortunately.

Tired drivers are far more likely to make mistakes and do things which will cause accidents. This is true of any driver and not just bus and coach drivers, but unfortunately these are the drivers who are worst affects because they are driving bigger vehicles, and are responsible for the lives of more people. This means that if they make mistakes, the consequences are likely to be more far reaching than that of a normal driver. So the insurance premiums go up.

It seems unfair that the bus and coach companies are taking the brunt of the rising premiums, but at least after reading this you will have some understanding of why they’re doing it. Luckily for you, there are things that you can do to help stop the rise of insurance so quickly, or perhaps even make it go down.

One of these things is installing CCTV systems in all of your vehicles. This will make your vehicle safer for drivers and those on board. The driver will feel safer knowing that they are covered in the event of an accident and the general public will feel safer knowing that there will be footage if something were to happen. CCTV also acts as a deterrent to those looking to vandalise the buses and so makes them less likely to do it. In the eyes of insurance companies, this makes your buses and coaches safer.

Crash for Cash Schemes

You may have heard the term ‘crash for cash’ but have never known what it means. Lucky for you because those people who have heard the term certainly wish they hadn’t. In this schemes, fraudsters deliberately crash into the vehicles of innocent motorists, or submit false claims for accidents. This is so they can make as much money as possible from claims which are exaggerated or completely false. The money that is made from these claims is used to fund other ‘accidents’ or to fund even more serious crimes. Not only does this scam mean that people are paying out for accidents that are completely not their fault, but it is also putting motorists at risk and potentially jeopardising their lives.

In recent years, these schemes are becoming more and more commonplace, unfortunately for innocent motorists on the road. There are three main types of crash for cash schemes – none of which are good news for other motorists. The first type is where two fraudsters will crash two of their own cars together, or use tools to simulate the damage of a crash. The second type is where someone will deliberately slam the brakes on their car to ensure that the car behind will crash into them, even though they weren’t braking for anything. The third type of scheme is called a ghost scheme and is where a fraudster will make a claim for an accident that never even happened.

There is good news though. In 2006, the Insurance Fraud Bureau was created to ensure that something would be done about these kinds of crimes. This organisation works alongside the police and insurance companies to investigate every claim that comes to them, making sure that nobody falls victim to these scammers. Unfortunately, they can’t catch every one that comes to them and some of these scams do fall through the net. If you’re worried about this happening to you, then there are some things that you can do. If you’re running any kind of company where you are in charge of people who are driving a lot, then you might also want to pass this advice onto them.

First things first, and something that you should be doing anyway, is making sure you stay alert when driving. Be aware of your own driving as well as those people around you. Be aware of when others are getting too close to you when driving. If there are cars which are driving too quickly and too slowly at the same time, then they may be people looking to fake an accident. Another warning sign is drivers who pay too much attention to the car behind them, and try to stick quite close to them. This could also be passengers doing the same thing. Make sure that you aren’t paying so much attention that you forget to pay attention to what you’re doing.

Make sure that you always maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you. This is something that you should be doing anyway, but it can be easy to forget sometimes, particularly on long journeys, but it is one of the most important ways to keep your driving safe. Make sure to adjust your distance according to how fast you’re going and what the conditions of the roads are like. Another things that fraudsters often do to increase the chances of causing an accident is disabling their brake lights. Be aware if you end up behind a car that doesn’t have any brake lights and make sure to keep an even larger distance between you and that car, just in case.

Telematics helps Bibby Distribution improve fuel economy by 10%

Bibby Distribution’s use of telematics to create tailored driver training has improved its fuel economy by 10% and cut its CO2 emissions by 11%.
The company’s use of Microlise technology means 79% of its drivers now operate in the top two levels of performance, meaning they maximise safe and fuel-efficient driving.

David Morley, Bibby Distribution’s continuous improvement manager, said: “The data we get from our telematics system is incredibly powerful and we have been able to use it to create tailored training programmes, delivering bespoke training aligned to business strategy which improves driver skills and customer experience.
“That means we can give customers every confidence they will benefit from lower carbon emissions in their supply chain and more cost-effective delivery.”
Nadeem Raza, chief executive officer at Microlise, added: “Bibby Distribution’s use of telematics data is highly intelligent. Instead of just using it to track general trends, the training team has taken that information and is proactively helping drivers improve their skills.”

Bibby Distribution’s training strategy contributes towards its long-term Road to Zero strategy, aimed at achieving zero harm, zero waste and zero environmental impact from its operations.

Author: Commercial Fleet

May Offer – 10% Off

From today and for the rest of May, we are offering you 10% off ALL orders placed by the end of May 2017! So, whether you are looking to update your existing camera systems, thinking about getting vehicle CCTV for the first time or want to know more about what we can offer you, get in touch with our expert team who will be able to point you in the right direction.

‘Vehicle Security Solutions are independent specialist suppliers of vehicle CCTV systems to the transport industry, bringing together a host of progressive vehicle CCTV solutions to cater for all your operational needs.’

Our vehicle CCTV solutions include mobile digital video recorders (MDVR), which are fast becoming the most popular system for fleet operators in both the PSV and Commercial vehicle markets. Installing vehicle CCTV solutions helps improve passenger and driver safety, prevents against fraudulent accident claims and can ultimately help reduce your insurance premiums.

‘On average, fleets with vehicle CCTV and driver training have experienced a 40% reduction in accidents.’

Vehicle CCTV also promotes better driving behaviours which ultimately leads to lowering your company’s carbon emissions through careful driving.

Why Switch from Analogue to AHD?

AHD (Analogue High Definition) CCTV is the latest advancement in mobile CCTV equipment and was released back in 2015 as the modern replacement for Analogue video. As you may know, traditional analogue CCTV equipment works on TV Lines (TVL) to determine the capture and output resolution, up to a maximum of 960×576 pixels. However, the newer AHD format allows much greater resolutions of up to full HD at 1920×1080 pixels or 2.4MP.

The upper limits of AHD have yet to be fully revealed, but for now up to 720p is a significant improvement over the original analogue format. In a nutshell, changing from Analogue to AHD means you will get a much better picture quality on your video recordings.

AHD chipset and software is applied in video recorders and video cameras in the majority of manufacturers of video surveillance systems. This is a good indication of a wider expansion of AHD technology in years to come and accordingly, suggests that AHD technology will become the most popular on the market of video surveillance systems. We at Vehicle Security Solutions have taken the decision to offer AHD systems to both our new and existing customers and are proud to be one of the first companies in our industry to do this.

Is AHD compatible with analogue equipment?
Yes it is! The beauty of this advancement in CCTV technology is that AHD cameras are compatible with analogue DVRs and vice-versa. Also, AHD still uses cables with BNC connectors for video transmission or 4 PIN Aviation connectors; whether you have coaxial or a CAT5e cable set up currently, the new cameras will easily replace those older cameras without any issues.

Does AHD have universal application?
AHD video cameras can easily be integrated into an existing analogue CCTV system. AHD systems also work with Cloud services and CMS systems providing remote control management, perfect for the use in fleet vehicles where you may have more than one vehicle out on the road at once to monitor. This simple integration means you won’t have delays or disruption in transferring from one system to another, maximising your speed of modernisation.

Advantages of AHD Systems
1) AHD systems cost very little more than the old analogue video but is about twice the resolution in 720p.
2) AHD systems have ready made plug and play extension cable kits available as well.
3)  Compatible with older analogue mobile CCTV equipment.
4) Very easy to install

Today’s security camera systems are smaller, less expensive, more sophisticated, and are packed full of features. This is great for you as the consumer as you have more high quality options at your fingertips than ever before! However, there are a ton of options and it can be very confusing telling the difference between two particular products, especially if this is your first time dealing with mobile CCTV systems.

At VSS, we offer four and eight channel AHD mobile digital video recorders and a vast range of AHD cameras to suite all vehicle types. Contact us on 01562 544108 or complete the online enquiry form.

Cycle South Africa raises over £220,000 for Transaid

“Completing the ride was an unbelievable achievement and I am incredibly proud to have been part of a group of like-minded individuals all pulling together, digging deep and raising money for such a worthwhile cause.” Joan Aitken, Traffic Commissioner for Scotland

On Friday 10th March, 40 people from across the transport and logistics industry flew to Cape Town, South Africa, to take on the Transaid Cycle South Africa Challenge. Many of those taking part had been in training for the challenge for over a year, battling the British winter to ensure they were ready to take on the roads of South Africa.

The 40 strong team took on dirt tracks, mountain passes, strong winds and numerous other tests as they cycled their way from De Doorns, Western Cape, to the most Southern tip of Africa, Cape Agulhas.

Several of the team took on the additional challenge of blogging while they were there. Follow the below links to read full accounts of what the challenge was really like:

The Transaid blog, written by Transaid’s Events Officer Harry Wells and Head of Fundraising Florence Bearman

The SHD blog, written by SHD Editor Peter MacLeod

The Renault Truck blog, written by the Renault Truck Team (Nigel Butler, Tony Owen and Pete Murray)

And finally, a four minute film of the challenge can be found here. A big thank you to Rob Butchart at LDH (La Doria) Ltd for putting this together.

With money still coming in, the current total raised by the 40 strong team stands at an incredible £220,000. This breaks all previous Transaid records, and we would like to say a huge thank you to all the cyclists, their companies and everyone else who helped them smash their targets. The money raised will make a huge difference to Transaid’s projects.

The next African Cycle Challenge will be Cycle Zambia 2018 – Lusaka to the Victoria Falls. To register your interest for this challenge please contact Harry – harry@transaid.org or on 020 7387 8136.

Telematics In the Bus & Coach Industry

Bus and coach operators can have complete visibility of their fleets in order to reduce costs, increase resource utilisation and enhance duty of care. In particular, the simple and easy access of both real-time and historical information means it’s possible to monitor the safety of the drivers and of their passengers, check that vehicles are on schedule and ensure a fleet is operating as efficiently as possible.

Features include:

  • Driver behaviour monitoring
  • Routing and scheduling adherence
  • Panic buttons
  • Connected navigation

Benefits include:

  • Reduce costs including fuel
  • Minimise vehicle idling
  • Improve driver behaviour
  • Enhance duty of care

With bus and coach operators providing local, national and international coverage on behalf of public and private sectors, your vehicles can be spread across a wide geographic area making it harder to know what is going on with each one. Our tracking and telematics systems help to keep track of what is happening at all times to provide you with complete visibility and control when your vehicles and drivers are out on the roads. It delivers live data regarding location and status including arrivals, departures and other points of interest.

‘According to Statista, a multinational research and statistical analysis firm based in Hamburg, the total annual value of the global commercial vehicle telematics market will grow by
no less than 22% year-on-year to £26.5 billion
by 2017.’

Elements such as leaving the vehicle running in a lay-by, service station, parking area or transport yard is responsible for significant and unnecessary fuel wastage and something that can be tracked by our telematics systems to save you money on fuel and wastage. We can help minimise consumption using live vehicle tracking and automatic alerts to identify and address excessive engine idling.

Our driver behaviour solutions can also improve the way your employees drive to reduce costs such as fuel expenditure, insurance and wear & tear, whilst enhancing levels of operational efficiency, environmental responsibility and duty of care. However, more importantly, positive driving behaviour can help achieve a better public perception of your business and prevent costly damage to its corporate image.

British Bus and Coach operators are now beginning to demand more detailed and sophisticated reporting from telematics systems to maximise fleet efficiencies, something we are able to provide your vehicles with here at Vehicle Security Solutions. Truck manufacturers have reported a rapidly accelerating uptake by UK fleets of various telematics systems such as Scania vehicles that have been fitted with telematics hardware since 2011. The number of Scania vehicles in service in the UK with tracking and telematics systems is now at more than 21,000 along with MAN Truck & Bus UK who have been offering fleet management tracking and telematics systems since 2006 and is now said to have more than 10,000 vehicles on the roads with these advanced systems.