The Benefits of Using Telematics in Fleets

By Bryan Ice, Vice President, Transportation

The Benefits of Using Telematics in Fleets

Delivery and logistics companies accelerated their digital transformation strategies in 2020 to solve operational challenges and combat safety risks amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. Technologies once seen as add-ons or luxuries are now considered the standard by most.

Telematics systems marry information technology with telecommunications and has quickly become the norm for most fleets. According to Teletrac Navman, 86% of fleets used telematics in 2019, up significantly from just 48% in 2017 and 82% in 2018.

This technology empowers fleet managers and administrators to have the ability to solve unique business challenges and make data-driven decisions.

The Pros of Telematics

A telematics device is installed into a vehicle and records video and information about vehicle maintenance and driving behavior, including how fast you drive, how hard you brake, your routes and distance, etc. When you have a fleet travelling hundreds of thousands of miles every year, having visibility into what’s happening during those trips is critical – not only for the safety of the goods being delivered but for the safety of the drivers as well.

Telematics allow you to know if they’re driving too recklessly, if they’re where they should be along their route and if the vehicle is in good condition. As well, drivers often automatically change their driving behavior and become more aware of their habits by knowing what information the device is logging. All of this ensures your drivers get home safely after each shift.

In addition to safety, telematics helps with cost, productivity and efficiency. It ensures the best routes are being taken and drivers aren’t crisscrossing each other, saving time and fuel. Pinpointing and correcting reckless driving behaviors like idling, harsh braking, etc. can also help save money on fuel and wear-and-tear maintenance. It delivers more accurate details on the vehicles’ health and diagnostics so that the right preventative maintenance is given at the right time and to the right area.

Furthermore, this device and its information could potentially help save on costly claims and litigation. If a serious accident occurs, the real-time information and video telematics on the driver’s behavior before and during the accident could be beneficial when trying to prove a driver wasn’t at fault.

Just recently, a plaintiff (a car driver) sued the defendant (a truck driver) in Texas claiming $150,000 in damages after alleging the truck had failed to maintain his lane and swerved into the side of the car. The judge ordered a take-nothing dismissal of all claims after viewing the truck’s video telematics showed that showed the plaintiff was at fault.

In fact, a study done by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute concluded that during fatal car-truck crashes, the car drivers were at fault 81% of the time. Having the evidence to back up these events could improve outcomes for commercial drivers even more.

All of this information can then be used as education and training tools for drivers. Using real-life data can yield strong safety and training programs that can be based on evidence instead of made-up scenarios and assumptions.

Telematics systems have already come a long way since they were first introduced, but it’s clear there is so much more to come. Like much of today’s digital technology, there always seems to be something new just around the corner. Get in touch to be ahead of the curve.

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