What is the point of telematics if you don’t use it?
The majority of fleets now use one of the seemingly numerous telematics solutions available in the UK. These systems use a combination of technologies to monitor other road users, location, speed, driving behaviour, fuel usage, idling time and several other important aspects of driver and vehicle performance.
Apart from the most obvious advantages these systems offer such as tracking and speeding, there are a number of lesser-known applications for the technology that would create even more savings and safety if the available data stream from ‘black-box technology’ were only managed properly.
Notwithstanding these other benefits, it is incredible how many fleets we encounter who go to the effort of identifying a need for telematics, trawling the market for a suitable system, obtaining Board approval for the investment, implementing the fitting of units over many weeks and then, unbelievably, failing to act on alerts issued by the system and never even looking at the provided online Portal.
This raises a number of important questions:
- Are some telematics systems being bought simply to tick a few legal compliance boxes?
- Do fleets fail to allocate the job of managing the telematics data feed to somebody knowledgeable and with time available?
- Does the allocated person with responsibility for managing the data have no authority to act upon it?
- Has the accumulated data proved to be difficult to access or indeed to be unreliable?
As telematics providers don’t offer the management service, it seems the main responsibility for interpreting and acting upon data produced by black-box technologies lies with the end-user fleets unless the fleet chooses to outsource that responsibility to a fleet risk management company that includes such a service within its range of products.
The job of work to manage the data stream can vary hugely according to the quality of the output offered by the various telematics systems and therefore a fleet should consider this aspect of the system they choose. In fact it may pay dividends to involve the risk management provider in the process of procuring the best system.
So what’s at stake here? In a nutshell, those fleets that fail to use their telematics data stream properly may lose the opportunity to reduce claim frequency, may fail to evidence liability positions in loss recovery and third party claim situations, may lose the chance to reduce expensive insurance premiums, may threaten brand reputation and may also miss the chance to improve the safety and productivity of their drivers.