Telematics The Way Forward?

An article published by the Association of Commercial Fleet Operators on 15.7.2015 discusses research which reveals that the use of in-vehicle telematics could significantly alter and improve driver behaviour with:

• 38% of UK drivers stating that telematics would change their behaviour and of that figure:
• 14% stated that they would drive more cautiously
• 7% stated that they would drive more slowly
• 17% said that they would pay more attention to fuel consumption

The presence of the technology in a vehicle also made a difference to how some drivers behaved behind the wheel, with 14% stating that they would drive more cautiously if a telematics device was installed.

The research also revealed that telematics had the potential to encourage a considerable reduction in fuel consumption and - as a result - CO2 emissions. Almost one in five (17%) of those questioned stated that they would probably pay more attention to fuel consumption if the technology was present in the vehicle. 

My personal view?

Telematics is only one part of the solution for reducing on road incidents by influencing driving behaviours. The latter can also potentially increase MPG and reduce wear and tear over the life of the vehicle. However, you need to ask questions which focus upon the technical aspects of the system and the management and review of data collected.

Firstly, what information do you get from the telematics fitted to your vehicles? How much data is downloaded each second?  Road traffic collisions happen in fractions of a second. Therefore, it is important to have a system which collects adequate data before, during and after an incident. Of course the more data you collect the more data you have to deal with. How are you going to use and store the data? Too much data and you will quickly become swamped, but too little and you will not have enough information. Decide on what information you want to record and use. There may be a difference between what you need and what your service provider wants to supply. If you are not sure, do some research first.

Secondly, what are you going to do with this data? Telematics data is no good if you are not going to use it. Who will have responsibility for policing the data? How will you use the data to identify unacceptable risk or poor eco driving technique? Who will have responsibility for reviewing and action planning driver’s performance? How will you use the data to recognise good driving?

Telematics have a role to play in the management of your road risk. However, you need to collect relevant data which is meaningful and matches your organisations aims and objectives. You also need to use the data you have collected and make sure your drivers know you are using this data to provide evidence of poor driving and to recognise safe and effective driving.

Collect data which is relevant to what you want to achieve. For example, identifying your highest risk drivers using the number of red flag events per journey or mileage driven, comparing average MPG and identifying drivers above and below this average. Use this information as part of an ongoing performance review with managers speaking one to one with their drivers, challenging poor performance, action planning and recognising outstanding performers. Then start the process again – data collection, review and action.

Telematics The Way Forward