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News digest 18 August 2017

A round-up of this week’s news from the world of fleet.

Learner drivers allowed on motorway in 2018

After years of pressure from road safety groups, learner drivers will be allowed on motorways from 2018.

The Department of Transport has relaxed the rules forbidding motorists driving on M-roads until they passed their driving test. Often this meant new drivers navigating a motorway for the first time on their own, and with no training.

Only three per cent of newly qualified drivers took up the Pass Plus motorway course offered by the Department of Transport.

The new initiative is aimed at giving learner drivers a supportive environment to learn how to drive on a motorway in a safe and calm manner. They paired with experienced instructors in a dual-controlled car.

UK drivers choose service station based on two factors

The vast majority of UK drivers choose which service station to stop at based on fast-food outlets there.

The poll by rental car company Europcar, which looked into motorists’ service station habits, found 90% of British drivers picked a stop based on what food was on offer, while clean toilets were a priority for 64% when choosing a service station stop.

Despite breaks being an important safety concern, only 16 percent say they take a regular break every two hours, and a quarter say they only stop when they need a bathroom stop.

Artificial daylight is keeping truckers ‘more alert’

Artificial daylight could be used to help keep lorry drivers more alert, a new study has shown.

The Daylight+ experiment studied the effects artificial daylight had on a driver’s brain as they drove in the dark.

The results seemed to show that drivers were more alert, drove more economically and felt as though they had more space in their cabs.

The trials, developed by Daimler using technology developed by Mercedes-Benz Trucks, are ongoing in Finland, and UK experts believe they could benefit drivers’ health and improve road safety.

Eight drivers spent two weeks testing the system in Finland, during the darkest period of the year, where there is only three or four hours of daylight per day.

During the trial, the drivers were subject to tests with different levels of artificial daylight.

After the two-week trial the drivers all said that they found the environment inside the cab to be better with the additional light filtered in.

Most lorry drivers are underexposed to natural light, which can cause them to feel groggy and less aware. By adding artificial daylight to their cabs, it can lower melatonin levels and stimulate drivers’ brains, which in turn, causes them to feel more alert and focused.

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