Clean air zone expansion a top fleet concern

According to recent research, fleet decision-makers are currently most concerned about three major issues: pump prices, the driver shortage, and the expansion of clean air zones.

According to a recent survey commissioned by Samsara, fuel costs emerged as a key concern for 41% of fleets in 2023. The driver shortage was highlighted by just over a third (33%) of respondents, while 27% expressed worries about the introduction of low emission zones by local councils. For instance, London’s ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) is set to expand its coverage to include all London boroughs within the existing low emission zone (LEZ) boundary starting from August 29.

The survey, which involved 150 fleet managers, also shed light on other significant concerns. Road safety was mentioned by 22% of respondents, while dealing with fleet management without additional budget or resources and poor roadside facilities for drivers were highlighted by 17% each.

The research revealed key priorities for fleets in the coming year, with vehicle upgrades mentioned by almost all respondents (98%). Due to the semiconductor shortage, fleets have been compelled to extend the lifespan of their vehicles as the supply of new cars, vans, and trucks has been constrained. Investing in technology (94%) and reducing costs (94%) were also listed as important priorities, along with driver retention (92%) and recruiting more drivers (90%).

Sustainability was a focal point, with 83% of fleets expressing a priority to increase the sustainability of their operations. An equal percentage emphasized the importance of enhancing fleet efficiency. Additionally, 81% of fleets indicated that transitioning to electric or hybrid vehicles was a priority for this year.

The report, titled “2023: The Road Ahead,” presented by Samsara, outlined a comprehensive list of operational challenges that fleet managers need to address. These challenges encompass improving road safety, enhancing efficiency, and expanding driver recruitment.

Investment in technology emerged as a significant trend, with 94% of fleet managers planning to adopt new technologies in 2023 to enhance operational performance and improve the driver experience. Connected technologies like sensors and dashcams were viewed favorably, with anticipated benefits including reduced paperwork (82%), improved supply chain efficiency (75%), and smoother transition to electric and hybrid vehicles (68%). Commercial drivers also showed enthusiasm for various connected technologies, such as dashcams (78%), GPS routing (77%), and mobile-based workflow tools (68%), according to a separate survey commissioned by Samsara and conducted among 1,000 drivers of vans, HGVs, and other commercial vehicles.

Philip van der Wilt, Senior Vice President and General Manager EMEA for Samsara, highlighted the importance of technology in fleet management. He emphasized that fleet managers recognize the role of technology in modernizing fleets and that drivers also understand its significance. Van der Wilt stressed that data-driven operations powered by smart, connected technology can help fleets address challenges related to fuel costs, driver shortages, regulatory changes, road safety, and the transition to electric vehicles. He warned that fleet managers who fail to embrace technology may risk falling behind and losing their competitive advantage.

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