How to keep your construction vehicles on the road

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Mary Tinsley • Jun 14, 2017 • Construction

 

Keeping construction vehicles on the road is a challenging task for any transport manager.

From complying with the requirements of Construction Logistics and Community Safety (CLOCS) guidelines, through to general maintenance and fitting safety equipment, it’s a major task – and one that needs to be handled well to protect valuable budgets. 

Against a landscape of changing policies and legislation – not to mention the uncertainty of Brexit – it’s more important than ever to keep abreast with the latest laws, policies and schemes relating to these specialist vehicles if you want to keep them on the road.

So, what are the key things you need to do to keep your fleet safe, roadworthy and operational? Let’s take a closer look.

  1. Make use of safety features

Safety features are essential for modern construction vehicles. In the construction sector, being hit by a moving vehicle accounts for 10% of fatal injuries and 2% of non-fatal accidents. Accidents not only take vehicles off the road, but they also damage a company’s reputation – potentially leading to a loss of business.

To avoid this, you can opt for a wide range of safety features on all vehicles from tipper trucks to dropside vans. They include:

  • GPS / telematics solutions. These can notify drivers of site hazards like power lines, shut down the driver’s phone while the vehicle is in motion and monitor driving behaviours such as speed, braking and cornering – thereby encouraging safer driving.
  • Cameras and sensors to monitor blind spots and prevent accidents while the vehicle is in operation.  

As well as reducing accidents, there’s a commercial benefit to installing safety features to your vehicles – building contractor Beyer Group installed telematics equipment to its fleet and made insurance savings of £60,000 over 12 months.

  1. Use newer vehicles

The newer the vehicle, the more reliable it tends to be. It’s also likely to have better safety features and comply with Euro 6 emissions regulations. Cleaner, greener and more efficient vehicles are also cheaper to run and they give you a marketable edge over your competitors.

While not every fleet has the resources to buy new commercial vehicles, you can solve this problem by turning to a specialist  commercial vehicle provider and hire the vehicles instead. Doing so can not only deliver cost savings, but it keeps you compliant with legislation and gives you a more reliable fleet to work with.

  1. Outsource specialist LCV conversions

Since new European legislation for LCVs was introduced in 2013, all LCV conversions must now be type approved separately to the build of the original vehicle model. This isn’t only required when a whole new body is fitted on an existing chassis but can apply to the simple addition of tow bars, upgraded interiors and electrical fittings such as lighting, heating systems and security alarms.

Type approval can be a lengthy and costly business, and failure to comply with the legislation can result in major fines and even imprisonment.

Rather than tackle this process alone, a practical and cost-effective solution is to outsource it to a specialist commercial vehicle rental  company. Major firms have in-house bodybuilders and industry connections, meaning vehicles can be given type approval quickly and, thanks to economies of scale, at a lower cost.

  1. Stick to a thorough fleet maintenance regime

Keeping to a thorough maintenance regime ensures that vehicles are safe, efficient and suffer from minimal downtime. As mentioned earlier, newer vehicles are easier to keep in tip-top condition, while older vehicles are more challenging to keep on the road.

General maintenance and repairs can quickly eat into a fleet’s budget if the vehicles are old. That’s why many fleets are now turning to commercial vehicle rental which not only provides them with newer vehicles, but which also offer industry-specific maintenance and repairs, breakdown cover and emergency vehicle replacement. When these costs are included as part of the leasing package, it also means your costs remain predictable, major repairs are covered and downtime is kept to an absolute minimum.

If you do go down the vehicle rental  route, you have many options ranging from tipper truck hire to dropside van hire – depending on the needs of your fleet. But however you source your vehicles, forward planning will help you keep them on the road. Learn more by downloading our free eBook: The ultimate guide to fleet implementation in the construction industry

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