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Economical driver versus inefficient driver

Reading Time: 4 minutes

We all like to think we drive well (myself included), but how much of an economical driver are we really?  Furthermore, could you confidently answer what an economical driver actually is?!

Tell me, what would your answer be if someone asked if you’re an efficient driver?  In fact, what would your answer be if someone asked you what efficient driving is?

These are questions we’ve been discussing in the Redtail office recently.

Lucky for us, Redtail devices and data enable us to scrutinise driving behaviours and vehicle performance in some detail.  This, in turn, helps us offer a unique view on driving in an efficient and economic manner.

So, we decided to put together a list of tips and tricks we thought you’d find useful.  Maybe you could consider some of these the next time you go for a drive.  Go on, give it a go!​

Check your tyres


  • Check your tyres
    • Underinflated tyres wear out faster and lose energy
  • Maintain a consistent speed
    • If you have cruise control and you’re driving along a motorway – consider turning it on. If you’re driving along other roads, try to maintain as consistent a speed as you can.  Slowing down and speeding up all the time is inefficient
  • Try to reduce the need for unnecessary acceleration and braking
    • If you accelerate quickly but smoothly, acceleration itself isn’t inefficient. However, if you accelerate to a higher speed than the roads allow and have to brake, you’ll unnecessarily need to accelerate again… and if your speed gets too high again you’ll need to brake again and the cycle continues
    • Try to reach a speed that suits the road you are on and maintain it so you aren’t accelerating and braking more than needed. It can use a lot of fuel and be a potential hazard
    • In city driving, nearly 50% of the energy needed to power your car goes to acceleration

reduce unnecessary acceleration and braking

A recent UK government Impact Study on Intelligent Mobility offers compelling data on the impact of ‘eco driving’.  The findings indicated a 5-15% reduction in emissions; a factor that improves fuel economy too!

More tips and tricks:

  • Change gears at an appropriate time
    • Don’t stick in a low gear for too long as high revs can reduce fuel efficiency
  • Anticipate traffic and the road ahead
    • If you see a queue ahead or traffic lights changing colour, try to slow gradually as you reach them not suddenly once you’re there
    • Slow deceleration (trying to avoid using the brake to stop suddenly or harshly) is much more economical and will reduce wear and tear on your brakes. So, it helps save on fuel and maintenance costs!
  • Avoid idling
    • It wastes fuel and gets you nowhere
  • Make sure you service your vehicle as often as the manufacturer advises
    • Vehicles with a less than optimal engine can use up to 50% more fuel and produce up to 50% more emissions than one that is running properly

remember to service your vehicle as often as the manufacturer advises

How a Redtail Telematics black box helped in the court room

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The existence of telematics is nothing new but using telematics data as evidence in court might not be so familiar.  You are probably aware of the many other uses.  For example, in Usage-Based Insurance (UBI), fleet management and tracking, stolen vehicle tracking to name a few.  However, you perhaps have not heard of its use as evidence in court!

So, here’s the story of how Redtail Telematics device data helped the customer win their case in court!

Recently a road traffic incident went to court – Mitrasinovic versus Stroud – due to a dispute over who was at fault.  The car (owned by the defendant) had a Redtail Telematics black box device fitted.  The events of the incident were that a large motorcycle had entered a left-hand bend and met a Ford Ka at the apex of the same right hand bend.  The GPS trace recorded of the car at the time of the incident, may have suggested that the Ford Ka may have crossed the white line.  However, while GPS technology as a whole is great at telling us things such as time, place and speed of a vehicle, location accuracy at the granular level is not so much its forte.

GPS quality of black box vs smart phone

GPS trace data recorded from a black box going around a corner versus smartphone going around a corner.  The GPS trace from the smartphone (green line) is of inferior quality to that of the black box (blue line).

So, I hear you ask, if the telematics data couldn’t help with GPS, how did it help?!

The existence of GPS data in black box telematics devices is, I would say, definitely not the most important benefit.  There is so much more on offer.  For example, all Redtail Telematics devices have accelerometer and gyro.  If it’s a Redtail OBD device then you would even get OBD data from our devices too!

I think you know where we’re going with this… The car was equipped with a Redtail Telematics black box whose data was used as evidence in the case.  In addition, expert analysis of the data by Redtail assisted the Judge in clearing the car driver of all fault. Indeed, one of the accident reconstruction experts used the accelerometer data to suggest that the car swerved.  Therefore, the car driver probably avoided the glancing accident from being a head-on one.

Thanks to these extra offerings, Dr Colin Smithers (Redtail Telematics’ CEO), was able to defend the data from the Redtail Telematics device and stated that “Use of Black Box telematics clearly saves lives and reduces accidents, but importantly can add clarity in situations where memory has long faded and witness accounts disagree. This can act hugely to the benefit of innocent parties”.

Redtail telematics family inc App

Not bad for such a small piece of electronic equipment, eh?!

So that’s the story of how the data from a Redtail Telematics black box device helped in court.  The real question now is whether using telematics data will become the norm in court or remain a novelty.  I’d like to think that we’re all beginning to trust black box data enough to start accepting its use in situations such as this!

You can read full details of the court judgement on the Mitrasinovic vs Stroud case on the England and Wales High Court (Queen’s Bench Division) Decisions website.

Redtail’s CEO on panel of DWF Telematics webinar

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Watch Redtail Telematics in DWF Telematics recording from their webinar held on the 20th of January 2021 at 11:00 – 12:00.  Dr Colin Smithers joins the panel.

During the DWF Telematics webinar, panelists recently discussed “when telematics data should be relied upon, what that data can and cannot tell us and how supporting evidence should be put before the court.”  Follow the link to the recording of the webinar to hear Redtail Telematics’ CEO speak with fellow panelists.

Redtail Telematics in DWF Telematics webinar

Click on the link below for the recording of this interesting and insightful webinar:

Speakers and links to their profiles on the DWF website:

For more information or to find out about other DWF webinars and insights, follow the below link to their website:

One man and his violin… in the world of tech

Reading Time: 6 minutes

A few months ago, I told you a little about our CEO, Colin “the Dr” Smithers’ love of gliding, this time I caught up with Andrew Little (our Head of Marketing and Sales).

Andrew was happy to share his love of music and playing instruments with me and told me how this passion has shaped his love and the career he has had so far!  I hope you enjoy reading about Andrew’s interests as much as I enjoyed learning about them from him.

What instrument(s) do you play?

Violin, Piano, Voice


Which is your favourite and why?

Violin.  It’s the instrument that I have studied to the highest level and, more particularly, that I enjoy playing in quartets and orchestras.  I prefer the team stuff (sport or music-wise) so my preference would always be to play the instrument that allows me to play accompanied.  Plus, the violin sounds much better that way!

What’s your favourite thing to play on violin?

Salut D’amour by Edward Elgar.  It’s actually the piece that I played at the Plextek 30th anniversary bash.


What’s your favourite piece to play on the piano?

That would have to be Anything by Elton John!!


And your favourite thing to sing?

I would have to say Christmas Carols, without a doubt.

When I attended boarding school, we had to stay after the end of term until Christmas day to sing services at the Cathedral. On Christmas Eve there was a recital by the choir which EVERYONE in the town (Southwell) would attend. Then we had the service on Christmas morning, after which we’d be allowed to go home. That’s the sentimental basis for my love of Christmas carols!

How did you discover your passion for playing?

When I was 8, someone at my school noticed there was a very loud singing voice that could be heard over all others during assemblies.  That voice was mine.  Long story short, I ended up winning a scholarship to attend Southwell Minster Grammar School to be part of the Cathedral Choir.  One of the conditions of the scholarship was that students had to learn THREE instruments straight away.  I chose the violin, piano and euphonium.

When my passion for playing really hit home was whilst playing as part of the orchestra.  I remember sitting towards the back of the strings, just in front of the big brass instruments.  Hearing that big brass sound and the whole orchestra together was an epiphanic moment for me.


Image courtesy of Museum Insider.

What’s the hardest piece you know to play/piece you’re most proud to be able to play?

When I was practicing a lot, the Mendelssohn violin concerto.

Initially, I learnt the slow movement (the easiest one) to play in a competition.  Then learnt the rest.  Later, it became my audition piece for university.


How do you think your music knowledge has helped you in your career?

I think my knowledge and studying of music has helped me in two ways.

First way: it taught me to listen more than I talk.  Playing with others is like a constant dialogue where you need to know when to shut up and let someone else play or when to let them play louder than you.

Second way: Having studied composition to quite a high level, there are some rules in composition around which you can weave inspiration and ideas and allow freedom.  Particularly because my career has been built around small companies, I realise it’s important to have sufficient bureaucracy to get things done BUT innovation and individuality shouldn’t be hampered by a bunch of corporate rules and regulations.


Do you have a favourite composer/musician?

Many!  Mozart #1, closely followed by Prince, Queen, Rachmaninov, there are others but that’ll do for now.


Why are they your favourite?

Couple of reasons: I attended the Nottingham County Youth Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Adey.  At the beginning of the first rehearsal, he talked through all the music we were going to play over the coming terms.  Then he said, the last thing I would allow you to play is Mozart because it’s the most difficult thing you’ll ever play.

His view was that knowing how to play as opposed to what to play is the most difficult part of playing music.

Then my violin teacher said the same thing as Christopher.  I could play all the romantic, baroque etc that I wanted but Mozart will be last because it’s the most difficult to play with precision and taste.


What’s your greatest musical achievement/proudest moment?

When I sang the role of the Pirate king in my college production of the Pirates of Penzance.  Wearing a monstrous looking wig and waders.  And no, I’m afraid there aren’t any photos (lucky for me)!!

Another proud moment for me is when, in sixth form, I wrote a string quartet and then lead the quartet during a competition winning performance at the Albert Hall in Nottingham.


What one thing do you wish you could do but haven’t been able to achieve yet?

I did want to be a film and TV composer but never got round to it – but now I will hopefully live this achievement through my son ( who is in his second year studying film Scoring at Berklee College of Music in Boston. The baton is passed!

Andrew was kind enough to share the image on the right with us, where Andrew and his sons are enjoying a violin practice together!

As one last treat, this is Andrew taking part in his other passion.  Rugby has been a favourite past time of Andrew’s for almost as long as music, though it’s more a case of passionately watching as opposed to playing so much now!

If this has got you interested to read our previous post about Colin’s passion for gliding, you can find the article For the love of gliding… our CEO’s “other life” by clicking the link.

DWF Telematics webinar with Redtail’s CEO

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Join Redtail Telematics in DWF Telematics webinar on the 20th of January 2021 at 11:00 – 12:00.  Dr Colin Smithers joins the panel.

During the DWF Telematics webinar, panelists “will be discussing when telematics data should be relied upon, what that data can and cannot tell us and how supporting evidence should be put before the court.”  Follow the link to hear Redtail Telematics’ CEO speak in this webinar.

Redtail Telematics in DWF Telematics webinar

Click on the link below to find out more or to sign up to join the webinar:

Speakers and links to their profiles on the DWF website:

For more information or to find out about other DWF webinars and insights, follow the below link to their website:

Happy New Year 2021 from Redtail Telematics!

Reading Time: < 1 minutes

Happy New Year 2021 from Redtail Telematics!  Let’s hope 2021 is a bit less bonkers than the year 2020 has been!


Happy New Year from Redtail Telematics!  Let’s hope 2021 is a bit less bonkers than the year 2020 has been!