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Fleet managers fear in-car technology could cause driver distraction

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Fleet managers are concerned that new connected car technology will cause a distraction for drivers.

RAC Business surveyed 500 UK businesses on their attitudes towards increasing connectivity in business vehicles, revealing that 51% are concerned about their drivers being distracted. The figure rises to 55% for firms with less than 100 employees.

Although Wi-Fi enabled vehicles can have additional safety features, there are worries about drivers turning their attention to in-car displays with access to the internet and email.

Lights from vehicles on a motorwayData security is another concern for fleet managers, with more than one in three firms (35%) worried about driver data being hacked following the introduction of connected cars to their fleet. Meanwhile, almost one in five (18%) are concerned that more autonomy through connected services will take too much responsibility away from the individual driver.

Firms can also see potential benefits of connected car technology, however: 83% think it will be used to diagnose engine faults, 72% believe connected technology will increase fuel efficiency and 67% think it will help to reduce wear and tear.

But according to Nick Walker, managing director of RAC Telematics, a specialist diagnostic device such as a telematics black box can give fleet managers greater insight into how their vehicles are performing.

Walker said: "Connected vehicle technology represents an exciting new chapter in motoring but we feel businesses need to be clear about what it means for their vehicles, both in terms of safety and security, but also for vehicle management.

"While connected vehicles will benefit from being able to communicate with each other and with the environment around them to make driving safer, it may not necessarily be the case that it will deliver real insight on engine performance statistics and diagnostics. Fleet managers require consistent data from their fleet to be able to fully manage downtime and risk."

A telematics device installed directly into the diagnostics port monitors vehicle health and driver performance for each car, van or truck across the fleet, Walker explained.

He concluded: "As connected technology develops further in the transition to autonomous vehicles, telematics will be even more important for businesses needing to understand vehicle and driver behaviour."

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