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  • How telematics data can reduce fleet accidents

    When you operate a fleet-based business your vehicles and your drivers are an essential asset. They keep customer orders fulfilled, get goods from A to B, and transport passengers where they need to go. Telematics data is something that can assist timely transportation, but also possibly help to reduce your fleet accidents.

    The fleet model is intrinsic to everyday life in modern Britain. So when a fleet accident occurs it doesn't just affect business, its repercussions can be felt far and wide. Creating costs and damage that permeate your entire operation.

    When fleet accidents do occur one of two things is typically to blame: mechanical failure or driver behaviour.

    As a fleet owner you're responsible for both the maintenance of your vehicles and your driver's conduct behind the wheel. But while cars and vans can be easily serviced for performance issues, how do you measure the efficiency of the drivers you employ in your fleet?

    How telematics data can reduce fleet accidents

    Applying telematics data capture to monitor driver behaviour

    Telematics technology is nothing new in the driving world. The software is commonly used in GPS tracking devices to help drivers to navigate unfamiliar roads, and fleet owners keep tabs on the real-time locations of their vehicles. 

    However, where telematics is really proving beneficial is in its data capture capabilities. A feature that's revolutionising the way fleet operators gain insight into their drivers' behaviour while out on the road.

    In fact, today's telematics data systems are providing fleet managers with a wealth of ways to to collect information about their driver's actions and reactions behind the wheel. Helping to track everything from instances of idling and speeding, to heavy breaking and even seatbelt usage.

    Equipping fleet owners with a valuable means of monitoring their driver's behaviour that, without telematics, would be otherwise unattainable. As well as often aiding in reducing motor fleet insurance costs due to reduced risk factors.

    How this helps prevent fleet accidents

    Driver fault is responsible for 4/5 of the accidents that occur on Britain's roads each year according to the Department of Transport, accidents that could have been prevented had the driver been driving more safely. That's where telematics data systems come in.

    By monitoring a driver's behaviour as they're driving fleet managers can see where the risk to their operation lies. Identifying those drivers who repeatedly exhibit unsafe behaviours and increase their likelihood of causing an accident.

    Nowadays it's not enough to ensure drivers are in possession of a clean driving licence. The onus is on fleet operators to take proactive measures in monitoring driving behaviour and educating 'at risk' drivers. After all, a clean licence isn't a guarantee of a safe driver. It just means he or she hasn't been caught in the act of doing something wrong.

    Telematics data monitoring ensures that no driver can continue to be unaccountable for his or her behaviour. The fleet manager will be able to see everything their drivers are doing, leaving nowhere for bad drivers to hide.

    What telematics can tell you about your fleet

    Along with supplying GPS data tracking, telematics systems can monitor acceleration and deceleration, speed violations, repeated sharp breaking and even mobile phone usage while a vehicle is in motion.

    All of which can help minimise preventable accidents, keep fleet drivers (and fellow road users) safe, and influence internal policy surrounding safe driving practices.

    The keyword here is 'preventable'. Naturally not all fleet accidents will be eradicated 100% by implementing telematics monitoring measures. But it's this notion that insight can prevent an accident that's fuelling more and more responsible fleet operators to invest in telematics technology for their vehicles.

    Something that's being met with equal enthusiasm from safe fleet drivers who perceive telematics as a way to reinforce their excellent driving behaviour.

    In fact, fleet organisations already using these types of data extraction systems aren’t only experiencing a reduction in accidents among their fleet, but an increase in efficiency too. Particularly when it comes to vehicle upkeep, maintenance, and outputs such as fuel consumption.

    The costs of which are decreasing as driver behaviour improves. A win-win for fleet operators who, along with stamping out bad driving behaviour among their fleet, can also positively cut their overheads too.

    Establish a safe driving policy - and enforce it

    While telematics data monitoring undoubtedly provides fleet owners with the very best insights about their drivers and vehicles' performance, the system only works if you act on the findings.

    Fail to confront those who are putting your operation at risk and the same drivers will simply continue to exhibit unsatisfactory driving behaviour. Safe in the knowledge that their actions are free from blame or repercussions.

    Establishing a company-wide safe driving policy (and backing it up with action) is the only way to stamp out repeated driving offenders within your fleet. Having an official safe driving policy outlined on paper ensures no driver on your force is in the dark about what's expected of him or her.

    It also makes clear the consequences of a repeat driving offence while in charge of a fleet vehicle, including disciplinary actions, such as a temporary suspension or a permanent contract termination.  

    These types of policies aren't designed to instil a culture of fear in your organisation - quite the opposite in fact. Along with the telematics data devices the purpose of a driving policy is to make drivers more conscious of their actions behind the wheel.

    The hope is that by making drivers more accountable they address their driving behaviour, and in doing so are less likely to cause an accident moving forward. This in turn will also help reduce fleet insurance costs in the future.

    Incentivising good driving behaviour

    Just as Telematics data can help you identify the drivers in your fleet whose behaviour requires intervention, it can also put a spotlight on employees who are acting responsibly behind the wheel.

    Often reinforcing good behaviour is just as effective (if not more so) than simply taking a hard line against that which falls short of expectation. So, as well as instigating training and disciplinary action for those that put the integrity of your fleet's operation at risk, you should also consider an incentive scheme that recognises and rewards good driving behaviour too.

    Giving employees a tangible reason to try harder not only creates a positive workplace culture, it also ultimately helps to bring about the end result you're striving to achieve. In this case reducing the number of preventable accidents within your fleet.

    So in addition to focussing on the negative numbers and patterns when analysing your data findings be sure to also focus on - and share - the positives too.

    Avoiding Britain's most dangerous roads

    Another great way of lowering the risk of your fleet drivers being involved in an accident is by phasing out routes that take in known accidents hotspots.

    Telematics data, coupled with information collected by the Department of Transport, has been insightful in tracking road accidents in Britain. Revealing an overall picture of which roads are most vulnerable to accidents, and therefore more dangerous for drivers.

    Fleet managers can use this data to help their fleet avoid high-risk roads where accidents are known to occur. Or, if the road can't be avoided, ensure the driver is aware of the increased risk, so he or she can take extra caution while travelling on known dangerous roads.

    Implementing telematics to reduce accidents in your fleet

    There's no question that telematics is helping fleet operators better manage their fleet and positively reduce the rate of preventable accidents within their organisation. The question for fleet operators is how far do you go?

    With such a variety of data tracking devices available on the market, the best solution is to think about the type of data you hope to extract and what you want to learn about your driver's behaviour.

    Thinking about the end results will help guide you towards the right telematics system to invest in. Something that's crucial if you're serious about using telematics technology effectively to reduce preventable accident rates within your fleet.

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