Fleet News

GPS helps to cut car crime at Danish firm

DANISH daily rental company Vestergaards Autoudlejning has enjoyed spectacular success in reducing its exposure to crime through the use of global positioning satellite technology.

The selective fitting of a vehicle tracking system has helped the company to cut its annual insurance premium by two thirds over the past five years, and it has not lost a single vehicle fitted with GPS at a time when Danish car crime figures are rising.

John Vestergaard, director of Vestergaards Autoudlejning, said the satellite system had several advantages in reducing his company's insurance claims exposure.

'If we see a car heading for the border we can slow its speed to 20km/h or even stop the car if it is being followed by the police, which can be done safely,' he said.

The satellite technology, made by Italian firm KFT, also enables Vestergaards Autoudlejning to locate and then immobilise a vehicle when its ignition key is removed.

This is particularly useful given the problem of customers renting a car but failing to return it or pay for it. Vestergaards Autoudlejning could pursue such cases through the law courts, but the guilty parties rarely have the money to pay the fines.

Perhaps the most ingenious use of the technology, however, is in combating insurance fraud where a customer rents a vehicle and then deliberately stages an accident with fellow conspirators in order to make personal injury claims.

'Five years ago I knew this was happening, but I could not prove it,' said Vestergaard. 'In 1999 I had five cases, and this year two cases where I can prove the customer is attempting insurance fraud, by showing that the accident did not take place where the customer said.' (May 2000)

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