Car fleet telematics technology: Far more than meets the eye

The use of telematics to better understand fleet dynamics is no longer solely the domain of the commercial sector and there is now increasing interest in the application of telematics technology by car fleet operators.


Telematics technology is now widely used in the transport and logistics sector. Telematics, or ‘black box’ technology as it is more commonly known, has evolved far beyond basic vehicle tracking and now plays a pivotal role in increasing the safety of drivers and passengers, as well as having a significant impact on productivity and running costs.

It is a common misconception among drivers of fleet or company vehicles, that black boxes are used by their employer simply to act as ‘big brother’ tactic.

Identifying behaviours

Telematics technology is vital in identifying those poor driver behaviours that lead to increased collision risk and higher fuel consumptions, and the cost savings experienced by haulage and logistics firms have been realised by owners of all vehicle types, including the owners of company cars.

By identifying drivers that demonstrate specific poor driving styles such as reoccurring speeding events, over revving and heavy braking, businesses can not only positively influence driver well-being but provide the driver training necessary to avoid accidents amongst the fleet.

Notifying drivers of risk

The majority of driver behaviour monitor systems also have an in-cab feedback device, which provides drivers with visual and audible notifications when their driving style poses a high level of risk.

Many companies actually use driver behaviour scores to create leader boards for the most economic and most improved drivers in a given month. These league tables are then used to incentivise drivers by offering monthly bonuses or rewards for those who demonstrate the safest approach to their at-work driving.

Cash incentives from employers help change the perception of telematics into a tool which adds value and play a huge role in bringing drivers on –side to practice safer and more efficient styles of driving.

Improved driving has a significant impact on costs

Improved driving styles not only improve the safety of drivers but also have a significant impact on costs. Of course, a reduction in high-risk behaviours offers reduced accident rates and a lesser requirement to perform unexpected maintenance on vehicles.

In fact, a survey by RAC Business last year found that 68% of businesses using telematics saw a reduction in their fuel bills, with 55% reporting a reduction in wear and tear. 48% of respondents also reported that they saw a reduction in downtime among their fleet vehicles, providing even further savings.

By adopting smoother driving techniques, businesses can save up to 15% on their annual fuel bill. The AA, for example, saved £1million in its first year of using telematics systems.

In addition to increased fuel efficiency, telematics also has the ability to identify underlying vehicle faults and provide fleet managers and businesses with insights that can actually predict breakdowns before they happen. This is not only useful for business to plan maintenance work but can also relieve drivers of the frustration caused by breakdowns.

An evolution of its role

In essence, the role of telematics has evolved, from one of ‘operational efficiency enhancer’ and ‘in-car policeman’, to one that provides valuable feed-back to enhance driver safety, encourage and reward good driving behaviours and support businesses and colleagues alike in non-fault accident claims.

Altogether, telematics can now be viewed in a much more positive light by colleagues; as an enhancement to the car benefit package, rather than the ‘in-car policeman’ as it was once perceived.

This article was provided by Fleetworx.

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