Get Smart with Telematics - An Information Bulletin

Fleet telematics consultant Colin Hartley explains how telematics can provide us with vital driver behaviour information

I recently had a conversation with a fleet manager who revealed that although his company’s policies in relation to fleet management and the management of road risk were robust, he had no mechanism in place that allowed him to know how his drivers behaved behind the wheel on a daily basis. Essentially he waved his drivers goodbye in the morning, and hoped and prayed that they would all return each evening safely and without having been involved in an incident. There but for the grace of God go many fleet operators.

The advance in intelligent telematics systems over the past two or three years has been dramatic. No longer is the black box fitted to a vehicle just as a means of tracking its location. Now, more than ever, it is becoming an important tool with which to determine exactly how a vehicle is being used and, most importantly, driven. Gone are the days when the large screen in the transport office merely displayed a map with constantly moving vehicle icons snaking around the countryside; now we are able to see exactly how those vehicles are being driven.

There are real cost savings to be achieved through effective use of relevant telemetry data in terms of fuel usage, collision reduction and maintenance costs, not to mention the opportunity to reduce insurance premiums.

But the very mention of the word telematics often sends shivers through the spines of even the most seasoned of transport professionals. The thought of having to monitor yet another system, trawl through yet more data and try to persuade drivers that this is not a ‘big brother’ spy in the cab is off-putting enough for them to completely dismiss the idea of installing any form of vehicle telemetry.

The more intelligent systems, however, have reduced the need for managers to spend time in front of a screen trying to disseminate data. Now there is more meaningful data available, in easy to understand and clearly defined formats that clearly show high risk drivers, those that need to be advised and counselled about their driving behaviour.

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