Truck driver talking to a colleague

The benefits of using telematics in a commercial vehicle

22 January 2020

Some businesses rely on their commercial vehicles to be able to carry out their activities, but the use of commercial vehicles often comes with a wide range of risks and costs. There is the potential for traffic accidents, thefts, injuries, fatalities and liability concerns, and that is even before you take fuel costs into account.

Even after all this, you may still rely on your commercial vehicles to be able to do business, whether this is only one car or a fleet of lorries. Because of this, you must mitigate as much risk as possible to ensure the safety of your vehicles, staff, and of course, your income. This is why telematics is so useful for business owners who want to keep track of their commercial vehicles. Carry on reading to find out more about telematics.

Telematics is a form of software that combines telecommunications and informatics that allow you as a business owner to monitor your fleet. Telematics will connect to your vehicles sat-nav system or radio frequency identification to track your vehicle’s location, movement and driving behaviour. Telematics will collect such data as:

  • The speed of the vehicle
  • Fuel consumption and fuel levels
  • Vehicle malfunctions and diagnostic issues
  • Driving behaviour such as braking and accelerating
  • If the ignition is on, doors are open or if the alarm is on
  • Which gear the vehicle is in
  • The weight of the vehicle and its load

Installing telematics into your commercial vehicles has the following benefits:

Reduces operational costs

Telematics software can work similar to sat-nav systems, helping to keep drivers updated on road conditions and hazards. They can also reroute the driver on new routes and find preferred petrol stations, all of which help the fuel economy, thereby lowering operational costs.

Encourages safer driving

When your employees know that their driving is being monitored, they will be more likely to practice safer driving. Having telematics to monitor a driver’s behaviour can also allow them to see how they can change their driving to be more economical.

Encourages employee engagement

Drivers of commercial vehicles can sometimes be isolated in their vehicles, sometimes for hours on end, which can be both detrimental to their physical and mental health.

Telematics gives drivers the ability to communicate with someone, whether this is a supervisor, co-worker, dispatcher or client, to give updates on travel progress, vehicle concerns, delivery requests or road conditions.

Vehicle security

Because the telematics technology can track location, you will be able to find your vehicle if it was stolen, hopefully making the recovery process simpler. Some advanced telematics can also ask the driver to enter a passcode before the vehicle will start, helping to reduce the risk of theft straight away.

The communication aspects of telematics can also help drivers to alert the police or appropriate authority in the event of the theft, and even share the exact location of the vehicle.

Simplifies data collection

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) require drivers of commercial vehicles to keep track of their working hours, break times and driving routes. Telematics can record all of this information in compliance with the DVSA, so they don’t have to spend time manually recording these.

Vehicle maintenance

Telematics software can track a range of issues that your vehicle can experience. If there is an engine issue or diagnostic concern, your telematics can notify the driver and guide them to the nearest garage for repair. Telematics can also be programmed to inform the driver of required oil changes or tyre pressure checks.

Telematics can also keep track of when you are due for an MOT.

Vehicle insurance

One of the most well-known uses of a telematics system is for insurance purposes. Younger drivers may opt to have a black box installed into their car, which monitors their driving, allowing for a reduced premium if their insurer deems them to be a safer driver.

The same can also be done for telematics for commercial vehicle insurance, which can provide evidence to your insurer that you are attempting to reduce risk, which could result in lower premiums for your fleet insurance.

However, if your team doesn’t drive well in your commercial vehicles whilst a telematics system is installed, this could increase your premium.

Source: Zywave Inc. - Risk Insights: Transport - The Benefits of Using Telematics

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