Bridging the gap between fleet management and telematics will bring plentiful rewards, says Jeremy Guscott

For businesses running a fleet of vehicles, no matter the size, the need to manage the risks is essential. With the advent of corporate manslaughter legislation and the duty of care regulations confirming that a vehicle is a place of work, it is vital that fleet operators understand the exposures and pragmatically manage the risks. And, it’s not just the safety risks that need managing; fuel costs, wear and tear, theft and logistics are all important to the overall efficiency of the fleet.

Telematics has been described by some providers as the “silver bullet” and there is no doubt it is a powerful solution for accessing information that can assist the fleet manager.

In the main it has been used to track the vehicle and monitor fuel consumption but as a duty of care solution it can offer so much more. The benefits of this solution can be felt across the company. For large operations a significant saving can be made in fuel consumption, but for many, reducing the cost of excess, premiums and lost work through injury is more than enough to consider telematics as an option.

Measuring your telematics output

Of course, installing telematics is only the first step. It only becomes useful if the information is actually monitored and used to understand real-time driver behaviour. To be used effectively this information must then be used to respond to those behaviours and ensure that correct interventions are put in place.

At Cardinus, we have worked with a number of telematics providers to feed driver behaviour data directly into our fleet risk management solution allowing us to automate and manage interventions. Once risks are identified from the data, interventions through e-learning, driver training or other means can be realised. The data also allows for the active recognition and promotion of good driver behaviour.

The commercial insurance market is increasingly starting to look at telematics as a way to differentiate themselves in a competitive market. Some are now providing incentives with up-front discounts and bursaries or even retro-active premium rebates, but they come with a caveat: insurers will want to know that policyholders are actually responding to the data collected.

For managers of fleet vehicles telematics represents a significant opportunity to reduce costs, identify and mitigate risks and increase efficiencies. Of course, knowing you have a bad driver and not being able to do anything about it can be worse than not knowing in the first place.

This is where Cardinus can help. With data analysis tools and driver training programmes at our disposal, we monitor your data and provide you with the next steps. We automate this process making it easier for you to show insurers that you’re doing everything you need to do to meet their requirements, while at the same time enjoying the benefits of reduced risk, fuel savings and a happier workforce.

An example from the field

As an example, we recently worked with a large van fleet that installed telematics to track vehicles but who didn’t have the resources to delve into the data to understand how well their drivers were performing. We agreed to handle the data feed and aggregate the individual scores for idling, speed and braking and produce an overall driver score. From this score, fed to us weekly, we agreed a series of interventions. So, for example, 3 ‘red’ scores within a month automatically invited the driver to our Safe Driving Plus e-learning course, whereas 5 ‘reds’ in a 2 month window led to an in-vehicle training course. The company in question has now imposed a rule within the system that flags any driver with 6 ‘reds’ in a row to be interviewed by the fleet manager with a view to potential dismissal. This has now been written into their driver contracts.

While this may seem onerous to employees and organisations, it’s actually terrific news for both as it helps to build up driving ability through intervention, gently nudging employees to evaluate their own driving and improving performance all round. Of course, employees can take this training beyond their work and into a wider context, with the benefits of better driving creeping into society as a whole, which will ultimately save lives.

Over the course of the programme, the company saw a 27% reduction in incidents and resultant insurance claims. This has led to significant premium reductions from the programme, which was actively supported by both the insurer and broker. In addition, they have seen knock-on savings in terms of excesses, lost management time and 12% fuel savings.

Cardinus isn’t a telematics provider, although we know most of them, indeed we are agnostic on the solution that you install. What we are adamant about is that you don’t ignore the information it provides and the benefits that this technology can deliver in terms of saving you money, ensuring you meet your regulatory compliance and more importantly saving lives.

With our long history of supporting organisations with risk management solutions it comes as no surprise that we whole heartedly approve of this technology. The reasons are clear; bridging the gap between telematics data and proper management of those risks shows significant and plentiful rewards.

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