Barometer – February 2017
We’ve pulled together the pertinent points from the myriad of research done in the fleet industry this month to give you a clearer view of what’s really going on…
Grey fleets compromising safety
Companies with grey fleet drivers are being urged to get to grips with their duty of care as new evidence shows that drivers are still cutting corners with safety.
- According to the latest Enterprise Rent-A-Car research, many are using vehicles much older than typical company cars, and fail to carry out basic maintenance.
- 41% of grey fleet drivers surveyed use a personal car that is over six years old for work trips, and 18% use one that’s more than a decade old.
- 27% admitted that they currently have a warning light on their car, while 21% said that they take longer than a week to respond to a warning light.
- Only 43% have ever checked their tyre pressure, just 41% have checked the tyre tread, and only 46% have looked at their engine oil levels.
- 17% said they only get their vehicle checked at its annual MOT or service, and 2% admitted that have never had their car checked at all.
- Shockingly, 10% said they have had a road accident that was either “probably” or “definitely” caused by a lack of proper vehicle maintenance.
Source: Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Street light switch off
According to Freedom of Information data obtained by Confused.com, one in three of the UK’s six million street lights are now switched off or dimmed at night, with more than half of the 180 councils surveyed planning future regimes.
- 84% of drivers questioned by Confused.com said that visibility of the road is compromised when blackouts are enforced.
- 77% said visibility is compromised by dimmed conditions.
- 38% think unlit or dimmed streets make driving more dangerous, with concerns including hitting someone or something due to poor visibility.
- 39% said they would go so far as to avoid driving in areas that are in complete darkness or dimly lit altogether.
According to The AA, there have been 11 cases of deaths since 2009 where the coroner has ruled that lack of street lighting was a “significant” contributory factor.
Edmund King, AA president, commented: “There is growing evidence that cost-savings from councils turning off street lights are being paid for with lives. We advocate that local authorities consider using decent low energy lighting on the streets most at risk rather than having a full blackout.”
Cost and availability of parking
The cost and availability of parking is becoming an increasing concern for UK drivers, according to the latest RAC Report on Motoring.
- 18% of the 1,714 motorists surveyed said the cost of parking is now one of their top four concerns, compared with 12% in 2015.
- Concerns about the availability of parking have also increased, with 14% now saying this is a top four motoring concern, compared with 8% in 2015.
- Of those who leave their cars at home for short journeys and use public transport instead, 23% said they have done so because they cannot find affordable parking when they get to their destination.
The difficulty in finding parking was cited as the most common reason for motorists using their vehicles less.
RAC chief engineer, David Bizley, said: “We hope that the growing concern about the cost of parking is not symptomatic of an attempt by policymakers to force more people out of their cars and onto expensive or inadequate public transport instead – a case of using too much ‘stick’ and not enough ‘carrot’ when it comes to making motorists change behaviour.”
Back to black
White remains the UK’s favourite new car colour but buyers are starting to return to black and interest in niche colours is rising, new data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) suggests.
- The SMMT found that white accounted for 20% of all new registrations in 2016, but demand fell -2.1%; the first recorded drop since 2005.
- In contrast, 2016 saw the highest take-up of black cars in the UK since 2007, with a total of 542,862 registrations.
- Interest in traditionally niche colours also saw an uplift, with demand for pink cars growing 82.7% to 3,527 units.
- The popularity of turquoise also grew fourfold last year, from just 792 registrations in 2015 to 2,718 in 2016.
- Demand for silver, meanwhile, fell by -7.5%, with just 273,220 buyers choosing it compared with 843,870 in 2004.
Behind white and black, the third and fourth most popular colours were grey and blue, both gaining market share. Meanwhile, yellow cars appeared in the top 10 for the first time since 2013 at the expense of mauve, which dropped to 11th place.