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Potential Costs & Risks of Your Fleet’s Unsafe Driving

  • By Cesar Yepez

Unfortunately for fleet managers, Automotive Fleet reported last year that the costs of accidents in fleets had increased over the past year, a trend that continues into 2016. Many factors that are not a direct result of driver behavior are cited, including a rise in the number of car parts that must be replaced rather than repaired, as well as a hypersensitivity of fleet image that has inspired many fleet managers to increase the number of cosmetic repairs for their vehicles.

These increased costs have fleet managers desperate to save money however they can, and one of those ways is to use telematics systems to improve driver safety to reduce the number of accidents in the first place. And in fact, many companies have already taken this safe route.

Here are a list of some of the risks faced by unsafe driving within your fleet, and some case studies of companies and institutions who are working to mitigate or even completely eliminate the costs and risks behind unsafe driving in their fleets:

1. Governmental concern over public safety

The European Commission – Directorate-General for Energy and Transport, a commission for the European Union, has been increasingly concerned over the prevalence of traffic accidents, and for good reason: according to their statistics, car accidents are the leading cause of death for those under forty-five. The number of human lives that are lost due to car accidents is certainly no small loss, and a governmental commission deemed it important enough to step in and take serious measures to combat this risk.

The financial cost of these accidents is also significant, costing over 180 billion dollars a year. While this is absolutely happening on the macro level, small companies also face tremendous accident-related expenses every year, especially with the costs of accidents increasing every year.

One of the measures taken by the commission has been the implementation of telematics for safety reasons, and they embrace it as one of their active safety measures, claiming that they have been working to “identify priority areas for the development and implementation of performance standards to optimize the man-machine interface and the road safety potential of telematics applications.”

Telematics has the capacity to mitigate the risk caused by unsafe driving, or even the possibility of the unsafe driving being stopped in the first place. Increased implementation of telematics as a safety standard shows this very potential, as does their embrace of other on-board information and communication technologies as active strategies for improving the current state of automobile accidents.

Telematics can do wonders to improve public health and safety, and can do so after an emergency has happened as well. A case study of this unfortunately occurred during the tragedy of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and because of the in-place telematics systems, all vehicles and operations were able to be accounted for and also helped drivers find alternative routes around closed-off areas.

But whether these systems are being used in an emergency, or in order to prevent them, they are becoming an increasingly promising weapon against acts ranging from casual carelessness to more sobering acts of terror.

2. Trucking companies prevent problems early

Duie Pyle, a trucking and warehousing company from West Chester, PA, decided to invest in telematics as part of an effort to catch negative driver behaviors before they turn into larger habits, thus risking the company’s assets or even the lives of others.

This company managed to improve their service rates and save money via accident-prevention at the same time. They are also an example of a company who uses telematics to cover quite a lot of ground, making sure that all of their bases are covered and that there are no safety measures not taken.

The data collected from their drivers includes: how often the driver slams on the brakes, idling time, top and average speed, fuel economy, maintenance information, and more.

This way, the company is able to provide helpful feedback for their drivers to increase safety, and is also able to catch mechanical problems before they turn into big problems.

3. Chauffeurs can keep impeccable records

Carey Worldwide Chauffeured Services is proud of their adoption of telematics, and credits it with their continued reputation for safe driving. It is not necessarily easy to drive around in a city like London, so telematics not only makes it possible to take more efficient routes to destinations, but is also able to keep the occupants of the car safe within the chaos of the city.

The company aims to reduce its incident rate by 30% by the next year, though aspires to be a completely accident-free service (if such a thing is possible, given external circumstances!).

Every incident that does happen with the company is meticulously recorded, a process greatly aided by their telematics system. These records enable them to provide feedback to their drivers, to not just serve as warnings but as extensions to their training.

They also measure all the things that A. Duie Pyle measures, though they don’t just end by focusing on the wonders of telematics. This company emphasizes the human element in accidents, and keeps their drivers constantly training to maneuver the various situations they might encounter in the city.

This demonstrates one of the most effective implementations of telematics: using the technology to aid already excellent drivers, and constantly working on training them to prepare for the future while using the tech to monitor their progress.

4. Long-term security for an oil services corporation

For Halliburton, one of the essential appeals of telematics was the potential for safety in the long-term, which doesn’t risk constantly changing systems in order to keep up with the times. Telematics can offer all the services for both managers and drivers as outlined above, but is also a stable system that can easily adjust itself to the specific needs of the fleet and enable them to achieve their more long-term goals or objectives as a result.

Most companies’ long-term goals involve the safety of their workers and of others, which is why the safety capabilities that telematics is able to give fleet managers is increasing in appeal.

5. Crowd sourced taxis and self-driving vehicles

As Carey Chauffeur Services noted, there is always a human element in accidents. This begs the question: to what extent can we completely eliminate the human element?

Uber has asked this question, and the answer to it can be found at Seoul University, where Uber has been testing one of its first self-driving vehicles, which helps disabled students navigate around campus. They are also looking to take this mission far away from Korea and test these self-driving cars in Pittsburgh.

Case studies like this show how companies are using technology that utilizes telematics to keep the roads as safe as possible. The risks associated with human drivers are, to an extent, inevitable: and thus, the transition to autonomous cars has already begun.

Uber is also using data gathered from telematics in order to give driver feedback, using data from smartphone sensors. Until autonomous cars truly become “a thing,” this kind of feedback that utilizes telematics applications can also dramatically reduce the risk run by unsafe driving practices.

All in all, the potential risks and costs of a fleet’s unsafe driving practices can be staggering, on both a macro- and micro- level. However, telematics systems and constant driver training can mitigate these risks significantly, as many companies and institutions have found. Regardless of the complexity of a company’s telematics system, they will definitely see results after a year and less, and will all-around feel more secure about their fleet’s capacity to withstand any situations that might come their way.

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