Telematics systems… when should you fit them to your motor fleet?
Ever increasing numbers of vehicles in the UK are being fitted with telematics systems. On many occasions the telematics system is fitted with the expectation of the system having a significant impact on preventing vehicle collisions. Can telematics systems really be that effective?
One of the key issues is that the telematics systems provide a large amount of data. This data needs to be managed by an individual in the business operating the fleet and that person needs the time, procedures and the guidelines to use the data to effectively manage the drivers. Of significant importance is the need for an agreed policy on how the data from the system is to be used to manage driver performance. The system will provide a wide range of data on driver braking, accelerating, cornering and speed etc. The management procedures used within the business therefore need to determine what driver behaviours are acceptable and what data sets indicate that a drivers’ performance is not acceptable.
The problem that arises is that once the business using the telematics system has data that shows that drivers are breaking speed limits; action needs to be taken. The enforcing authorities will take a dim view if a subsequent collision investigation shows that the employer was aware of speeding breaches but took no action. The company fitting telematics systems to its vehicles therefore needs to have a motor fleet risk management system in place. This system would form the foundation on which the telematics data could be used to manage driving performance effectively.
A motor fleet risk management system would include the provision of:
- A driving at work policy that ties into the company health and safety policy.
- Detailed roles and responsibilities for driving at work management.
- Speeding policies.
- Procedures for journey planning and scheduling.
- Fatigue and time management policies.
- Management and driver training.
- Consultation with drivers on motor fleet risk management development.
A manager having access to telematics data reports will have information forming part of a wider array of data on the driver including camera footage of driving behaviour, driver licence checks, driver profiling results, accident history etc. It is this variety of information that is crucial for effective driver management.
The telematics data should also be used to assist in prompt reporting of collisions to insurers as well as assist in detailed collision investigations.
This more holistic approach that uses telematics data integrated with other management system data significantly improves the decision making process when it comes to driver management. Using a range of data to manage driver performance will assist in improving claims performance and driver culture. So yes, telematics systems can be of great use and be an extremely effective tool in managing driver performance, but the motor fleet risk management system needs to be in place and firmly established first.