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How can the Use of Telematics Contribute to Safer Roads?

By Business Insurance

Many fleet drivers have wrong ideas about the benefit that telematics can bring to the fleet industry. They resent the implication that they need “Big Brother” to monitor their driving behavior. Nevertheless, studies have proved that the use of telematics in the transport sector can go a long way towards improving safety and fuel economy and reducing vehicle downtime and the rate of accidents.

Using real-time data, fleet operators can make their operations more transparent, fuel efficient and safer as revealed by a recent study conducted on drivers of sleeper cabs. As part of the study, telematics was used to keep tabs on unsafe behavior like hard braking, speeding and sudden acceleration. Through a combination of feedback, training and coaching of the drivers, there a 60 per cent reduction when it came to severely unsafe driving events and a 55 per cent reduction in less severe unsafe events. Drivers accept such feedback more readily when safe driving behavior is also acknowledged as part of the program.

Using telematics, from the comfort of their office, fleet operators gain valuable real-time insight into what happens behind the wheels as this technology can be used to assess whether drivers are braking too hard, accelerating too fast and whether they are speeding. Thus, they can harness this technology to reduce the prevalence of this kind of driving. Over the long term, this leads to lower wear and tear, higher safety and greater fuel efficiency. Drivers too benefit from one-on-one feedback and training opportunities to improve their behavior on the road.

Fleet managers can also use location tracking to ensure that drivers stick to their assigned routes and are not shirking their jobs. Keeping track of the location of individual locations also helps to increase safety as if drivers have a breakdown or miss a particular stop, managers are in the loop and can take prompt and effective action. In the case of deliveries, telematics can be used for better prediction of delivery times and in the case of any issues, can quickly arrange for backup vehicles. This will help a company to protect its reputation for prompt service. Vehicle tracking also enhances the security aspect as such vehicles can be tracked easily if they are stolen. With the use of telematics systems, police can detect  the stolen vehicle location and find it is moving or is parked somewhere. Chances of recovery are definitely higher.

Another key benefit of using telematics systems is the inevitable decrease in downtime due to more proactive maintenance and repair. When it comes to fleet vehicles, timely maintenance contributes heavily to the efficiency and safety of the fleet. An AAA study found that 51% of drivers who operate vehicles with a built-in electronic maintenance reminder system generally perform maintenance when get reminders through the system. Use of telematics systems with maintenance reminders will ensure that vehicles comply with their maintenance schedules and vehicles which need to be serviced first get prioritized over those that could go longer without service.

When we analyze the costs and benefits of using telematics services, it turns out that the benefits definitely outweigh the costs in the long run.

Posted by Manju Mathews tires and parts.

Is Your Distracted Driving Policy Working?

By Business Insurance

According to research conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), driver distraction is a leading cause of vehicle accidents. Nearly 80% of vehicle crashes involve driver inattention.¹ Additionally, texting while driving can increase your crash risk as much as 23 times. Reaching for, dialing and talking on a cell phone are tasks that also can significantly increase crash risks.²

Recent highway crash data highlight the magnitude of the problem. The number of people injured in distraction-related crashes in 2012 totaled 421,000 – up 9% from the prior year.³ Despite these sobering statistics, many drivers continue to talk and text while driving, making distraction one of the most serious roadway safety issues we face today.

Considering the potential dangers and costs associated with vehicle accidents, distraction caused by mobile device use is a problem employers should address. Yet, in a survey of Travelers’ customers, only 27% reported having a formal policy on distracted driving that was strictly enforced. This suggests that some companies could be doing more to limit distraction.

Four steps to help make your distracted driving policy more effectiveFour steps to help make your distracted driving policy more effective
  1. Create – Create a formal, written policy stating your organization’s position on mobile device use and other distractions while driving. A formal policy is the foundation of your distracted driving prevention program. It should apply to everyone in your organization who drives a vehicle on company business, whether it is a delivery truck, a sales vehicle, a supervisor visiting job sites or an office employee using a personal vehicle to run errands.
  2. Communicate – To be effective, safety policies should be communicated on a regular basis. The best way to communicate your policy is to ask every employee who drives on company business to acknowledge in writing that he or she has read, understands and will follow the policy. But you should not stop there. Use emails, newsletters, bulletin board postings, defensive driving training and signage in vehicles to communicate your policy in various ways throughout the year.
  3. Follow – Managers and office staff should lead by example. Let employees know that while they are on the road, no phone call or email is more important than their safety. To further prove that point, managers and other staff should defer conversations with employees until they are safely parked.
  4. Promote – Managers should define the safe driving practices and expected behaviors of those that drive for any business purpose. They should also take the appropriate steps to understand who is following these policies, and actively promote the desired behavior.