What is Telematics?

Telematics technology is an essential tool in the driving world. The software is used in GPS tracking devices to help fleet owners keep tabs on the real-time locations of their vehicles, and drivers navigate unfamiliar roads. However, where telematics is proving beneficial is in its data capture capabilities—a feature revolutionizing how fleet operators gain insight into their drivers’ behaviour while out on the road.

Today’s telematics data systems provide fleet managers with a wealth of ways, especially drivers’ reactions behind the wheel, to collect information about their driver’s actions and reactions. They are helping to track everything from instances of idling and speeding to heavy braking and even seatbelt usage.

Despite the best efforts of company risk managers, fleet safety managers and terminal managers, accidents take place. Even those companies with fleet safety programs, regular driver safety meetings, and strong driver hiring practices will still experience accidents and enforce safety policies.

It has been noted that even though many companies operating a fleet of vehicles today have those guidelines in place, accidents continue to occur. According to recent statistics, by the end of December 2018, 40% of all work-related fatalities were transportation-related incidents. In fact, for companies with fleets (including but not limited to taxis, delivery vehicles, and limousines), the annual accident rate was 20%.

It is critical to find the source of such accidents and fatalities in regard to the health of employees and the company’s viability which is the main goal for companies and their safety managers. In 2017, the costs associated with company vehicle accidents came to $57 billion 

An active telematics program can help your drivers ameliorate their performance, thus reducing accidents. Owing to the fact that, telematics systems are set up to assist drivers to communicate and do their jobs more efficiently, your company could see higher driver retention rates. In addition to that, thefts and breakdowns are less likely to occur if your fleet is equipped with telematics systems.

As a fleet owner, you’re responsible for both the maintenance of your vehicles and your driver’s conduct behind the wheel. But while cars and vans can be easily serviced for performance issues, how do you measure the efficiency of the drivers you employ in your fleet?

How telematics can help your company improve your fleet’s safety culture?

Driver scorecard

A telematics system tracks a driver’s behaviour such as speed, braking, accelerating, and any behaviour you think is warranted. The system gives your driver a score, which your company can use to augment driver training or apply rewards or disciplinary actions.

Risky Driving behaviour

Understanding the distractions for your drivers can help you build better fleet safety programs and more robust disciplinary measures for interdicted behaviour. Driver behaviour can often be attributed to unsafe behaviour, such as using the phone while driving, checking text messages, and changing radio channels. Telematics can ascertain if your drivers are using seatbelts, conducting safety checks, or securing loads. And some telematics programs can lock drivers’ phones when they shift out of the park or will not allow the truck to be shifted until the seat belt is fastened.

Global Positioning System (GPS) data

Telematics programs allow your company to map out safer routes, and faster routes and will enable you to get updated information on traffic. Also, telematics systems come with GPS locators that monitor vehicle speed, location, and distance travelled. Besides, a beneficial factor is that telematics can be used to automate emergency assistance to drivers in case of an accident or breakdown.

Driver feedback

Beyond the data, fleet telematics systems can give commercial drivers a voice in improving fleet safety. By empowering drivers to communicate with fleet managers, telematics can help employees provide valuable feedback and report concerns before becoming accidents or costly issues.

In conclusion, telematics systems alone will not reduce your fleet’s risk of accident or loss. Fleet safety programs, strict policies, and strong driver hiring practices are essential parts of fleet safety. By adding telematics to that risk management plan, your company can significantly improve your company’s overall safety culture.