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Three ways telematics can improve driver safety

Telematics has been streamlined over the years to suit the transport sector and provide fleet operators with efficiency and real-time data.

Fleet management solutions have also proven to empower fleets to make serious safety strides by providing not only a real-time view of fleet activity, but transparency over the entire fleet operation.

A recent study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) demonstrated that telematics can be used to monitor driver performance and improve safe driving behaviour.

In a study on drivers of sleeper cabs, telematics was used to monitor unsafe driving behaviours like sudden acceleration, hard braking, and speeding. The combination of monitoring these behaviours with the ability to provide driver feedback, coaching, and training, showed a 60% reduction in the more severe-type of unsafe driving events and a 55% reduction in less severe unsafe events.

Case studies have also shown that companies with an implemented telematics solution report that drivers are more accepting when integrated with a program which acknowledges safe driving behaviours. According to Sprint Business, drivers who understand that telematics can exonerate them from false claims support these solutions even more.

Here are three ways telematics help bolster fleet driver safety:

1.      Monitoring driver behaviour

Through telematics, companies gain valuable visibility into what happens behind the wheel. This technology can determine how fast vehicles are moving and whether they are accelerating too quickly or braking too harshly — all behaviours that can jeopardise the safety of drivers and other motorists on the road, decrease fuel efficiency and increase wear and tear on the vehicle.

Coaching

Armed with data on every driver, fleet managers can identify patterns of behaviour and determine which drivers need coaching and/or training opportunities.

Management can then offer one-on-one feedback, or identify areas where the larger team of drivers needs training. In either instance, managers have a powerful opportunity to correct poor driving behaviours, which in turn can have a profound effect on the safety of the fleet.

Many times drivers may be unaware of poor driving habits, but, through reports, metrics, and alerts, they can take it upon themselves to self-coach.

2. Location tracking

Often businesses look to location tracking to ensure drivers are focusing on their jobs and following assigned routes. But knowing where drivers are at any given moment in the day can lead to major safety improvements as well.

Safer employees

If a driver has a breakdown or misses a scheduled stop, a manager can be automatically alerted. Vehicle tracking devices can pinpoint the driver’s location, allowing fleets to make sure help is being sent to the driver’s exact location.

Better customer service

With vehicle tracking, managers can provide customers with more precise arrival times, and if a driver is unable to make a scheduled appointment due to a breakdown or any other reason, managers can send out another driver to ensure its company’s reputation is not only protected but enhanced.

Safer vehicles

Vehicle tracking can also ensure vehicles stay safe. If a vehicle is stolen, having it equipped with a tracking device can ensure it’s found quickly. Fleets can provide police with information on the vehicle’s location and whether it’s stopped or moving, which in turn helps them to respond quickly. Having this type of information is critical to the fast recovery of the vehicle. Those that are tracked and recovered quickly are more likely to be found before damage is done or parts are stripped.

3.      Maintenance reminders and alerts

Maintenance of a company’s fleet vehicles is a critical safety factor that can be hard to track and schedule for a busy operation. But neglecting vehicle maintenance is a serious safety hazard. Improperly maintained vehicles are a large contributor to crashes.

It was discovered in a AAA study that 51% of drivers who operate vehicles with a built-in electronic maintenance reminder system rely exclusively on the reminder system, only having maintenance performed when the system reminds them to do so.

Maintenance reminders help companies ensure their vehicles are following proper maintenance schedules, and can help fleets prioritise which vehicles need to be serviced before others. This keeps business moving and also ensures drivers stay safe on the road.

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