BVRLA Fleet Technology Congress: BVRLA chief calls for legislators to keep pace with technology
13 July 2015
Author: Tristan Young
British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association chief executive Gerry Keaney has called on UK and European legislative bodies to work harder and faster to catch up with car technology.
Speaking at the BVRLA's recent annual Fleet Technology Congress that took place in Oxfordshire, Keaney described the progress made by the Government and the European Commission to cope with connected car technology as "shameful".
He claimed the lack of legislation meant that fleets were not only denied the best safety technology, but a lack of regulatory guidance led to confusion about which systems fleets should adopt.
"It's shameful that the regulatory environment is falling way behind the technology," he said. "Data capture of real-world information is a clear requirement, and the UK and Europe need to catch up here."
Keaney believes the biggest reason to adopt new tech is safety, in particular autonomous emergency braking systems such as Volvo's City Safety.
"Motor insurers and safety assessors have recognised the importance of AEB, as has the fleet industry," he said. "It is now time for the Government to take a lead by mandating the use of AEB-equipped cars across its own fleet and promoting wider uptake through the use of tax and other incentives.
"A progressive tax regime has helped the fleet sector achieve huge cuts in CO2. With the right support it could deliver similar reductions in the number of people killed or injured in road accidents."
Keaney made the statement the week after new DfT figures were released showing that 2014 produced the first increase in road casualties for 18 years.
He added that he had met with the Government transport minister who was "positive" about the BVRLA's message.
The BVRLA cited the US's approach, where the country's accident investigation body the National Transportation Safety Board has recently released a report into the use of AEB systems.
Recommendations in it included the development of both a testing procedure for AEB systems and performance standards, as well as including the systems in New Car Assessment Program crash testing and as standard fitment on new cars.
Meanwhile, Keaney called on manufacturers to open up their systems to independent repairers to put them on a level playing-field with franchised workshops. While there is already a legal requirement for manufacturers to do this, Keaney, who previously worked for Volvo before joining the BVRLA, said this was not always the case for all manufacturers.