London Cabbies Cut Fuel Bills with Device that Tells Them Off for Bad Driving

LONDON’S cabbies are on target to cut £600 a year off fuel bills thanks to a device which tells them off when it spots bad driving.

As a first warning, the dashboard-mounted gadget, called a Spring-O-Meter, jiggles around when a driver jerks forward too quickly or brakes too sharply.

When the Spring-O-Meter gets really fed up with erratic driving, it sounds a hearty beep.

The idea is that these warnings encourage smooth driving and hence fuel efficiency. So it has proved in the first two weeks of a trial, under which fuel consumption fell by 12%.

If continued throughout a full year, that cut in fuel would save cabbies about £600.

“We chose cabbies on purpose because they are stereotyped as set in their ways and so are a relatively difficult group to influence,” said Jamie Young, of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, which came up with the scheme.

“But they are also informal opinion formers because they come in contact with a large number of people so they can influence others.”

As part of that spreading-the-word angle, the RSA’s programme features a guest book for passengers to rate driving skills and, for the cabbie, a silk purse, meant as a metaphor for smooth driving.

“We are keen to extend these trials outwards and yes, White Van Man could come next,” said Young.