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.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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