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Sight check app to support drivers’ eye health

02 July 2012

A free sight check app has been launched by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare
Using the latest technology, the app has been developed to include a series of tests that help employees to take an active interest in their eye health.  Should the app recommend a full eye examination at the end of the test, the user can book one directly via the internet.
The app also features a slimmed-down version of ‘Ask the Optician’, Specsavers existing eye health advice tool.  Users can type in a question relating to eye health and then search an extensive database before having their answer delivered in text or video format.
Designed by David Thomson, Professor of Optometry and Visual Science at City University London, the app is available at both the Apple App Store and the Android App Store.  Professor Thomson said: “It has been designed to raise awareness of eye health in a current and instantly accessible way.  While it can’t replace a comprehensive eye examination, it does provide a reading test, a visual acuity test and a fan test for astigmatism.  It then uses computer intelligence to read the results of these tests and then describe user’s vision, risk factors and what action they should take.”
Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare said: “This offers extra support to employers who have fleet drivers.  From our experience one in three drivers would fail an eye examination and part of the problem is that drivers don’t realise their eyesight has deteriorated.  The sight check app gives a quick assessment that will direct them to a full eye examination, if needed.”


Jaguar cuts CO2 as XF Sportbrake arrives

02 July 2012

Jaguar has announced revisions to its XJ and XF engine line-up that cuts CO2 emissions and reduced benefit in kind tax liability.
The engine upgrades coincide with changes to the XJ for the 2013 model year, as well as prices and specifications for the new XF Sportbrake.  CO2 emissions for the XF are reduced to 135g/km for the 2.2D, which continues in 163bhp form in the entry-level version while the 190bhp variant has been boosted to 200bhp. Noth engines have official fuel consumption of 55.4mpg on the combined cycle.
The 3.0-litre V6 diesel has undergone a 10g/km reduction and now has CO2 emissions of 159g/km, as well as lower fuel consumption. The lower ratings are the dame for both 240bhp and 275bhp twin-turbo variants.  The 5.0 V8 petrol variant has been replaced by a new 3.0-litre supercharged engine producing 340bhp, although the supercharged 5.0-litre V8 continues in the XFR.  The XF Sportbrake range will start at £31,940 on the road for the 2.2D SE Business (which includes standard satellite navigation and Bluetooth), with CO2 emissions from 135g/km.
Jaguar’s large saloon, the XJ also has CO2 emissions from 159g/km for the 275bhp 3.0D V6 with fuel consumption at 47.1mpg. The normally aspirated 5.0 V8 petrol variant has been replaced by a supercharged 3.0-litre V6. Other changes include a new premium audio system supplier and the addition of DAB as standard.


EST launches driver training programme

02 July 2012

The Energy Saving Trust (EST) has launched a national nine-month-long roadshow programme to encourage drivers to take up its Smarter Driving training.
It is estimated by EST that drivers who complete the course could save as much as 20p per litre on fuel.  Around 9,000 employees across England – working for organisations which operate company fleets of more than 20 vehicles – will be trained by EST over the next nine months.
The Smarter Driving Programme trains employees in techniques to help them drive more efficiently and is subsidised by the Department for Transport.  It takes 50 minutes per person and the training starts and finishes at the workplace so disruption to the working day is minimised.
Bob Saynor, Smarter Driving programme manager for the Energy Saving Trust, said: “We know that rising fuel bills can really affect a company’s balance sheet.  It’s why some of the big players like Boots and Vauxhall have already put their staff through our courses to cut down costs and improve green credentials. Our national roadshow will help us reach other companies across the UK.  Smarter driving is all about reducing fuel consumption. Our trainers work on techniques such as changing up at low revs and helping drivers anticipate the road further ahead.  Learning a few simple techniques not only makes an economical difference to drivers but also makes them safer as they have better road sense.  The feedback we have had from employees who have completed the courses has been very positive.”
Julie Fitzell, head of environmental standards, at Qdell & LHR Express Cars Ltd was one of the first to take the training.  She said initially it was hard to get staff interested at the Middlesex-based courier and private hire business: “Their attitude was ‘I’ve been driving for 30 or 40 years and you can’t tell me any different’. My argument was that if I can tell you a way that’s going to save you fuel every week, and it’s only going to take 30 minutes of your time, why not try it?  After persuading one driver to do the course, the feedback was good and from then on take-up has been impressive – now they’re fighting over places.”
The average rise in fuel economy for Qdell & LHR Express Cars Ltd was significant, shifting from 40.5mpg at the start of training to 48.9mpg by the end.  Fitzell continued: “Several drivers have chosen to repeat the training, and the training is now open to all employees, not just drivers, as a staff benefit.”
The England-wide roadshow will kick off at Northumberland County Council in July.  Smarter Driving courses can be organised through a new online scheduling system which allows businesses to book their own sessions and reminds them of their appointment.  Up to eight smarter driving sessions can take place at one workplace in one day. EST provides the vehicles and insurance. Each lesson costs just £25 per driver.


MINI ClubVan set for 2012 launch

28 June 2012

BMW-owned MINI has announced that the British-built five-door Clubvan light commercial will be available in the UK from this Autumn and there will be a choice of three models.


DVLA warns drivers of scam email

27 June 2012

The Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has issued a warning about a scam email threatening motorists with the loss of their driving licence if they do not complete a form revealing their personal details. The information requested would enable fraudsters to create false identities, leaving a string of problems for victims of the identity theft as their details are likely to be used in criminal activity.

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