Called SafetyCentre, the technology detects every manoeuvre a driver makes out on the road and evaluates it by sensing the forces impacting the vehicle such as hard braking, fast acceleration, lane changing, overtaking and speeding.
It aims to quickly identify aggressive and dangerous drivers who can be contacted about specific incidents either via texts messages or e-mails.
Weekly web-based reports are provided to the fleet manager offering information including trends concerning individual drivers or the entire fleet combined.
Data collected from a small unit fitted away from view inside the car can also be requested after an accident involving a fleet driver.
DriveDiagnostics (www.drivediagnostics.com), the company behind the new product, is headed by chief executive officer Hod Fleishman and also has Daniel Farrar, who is the former president and chief executive officer of what was then GE Capital Fleet Services, as its chairman.
The two executives have recently spent time with fleet bosses promoting the system. Fleishman said: ‘Fleets today don’t have enough data about their drivers’ behaviour out on the road.
‘Crash rates for fleets are quite incredible – about 60% for a fleet of between 300 and 400 cars. That is a lot of money spent directly and indirectly as the result of an accident.
‘One solution is to improve driving habits and we believe we have the answer for that. This system will encourage people to drive safely and it tells fleets exactly what is happening out on the road and whether their drivers are aggressive or inexperienced.’
It’s one thing convincing fleet managers that tracking systems are good for business but it’s quite another persuading drivers that such systems can be of benefit to them.
Although fleets using tracking systems are open to claims of Big Brother tactics, DriveDiagnostics executives say such tools are vital to promote better driving skills and achieve cost savings through a reduction in accidents and potentially lower insurance premiums.
Farrar added: ‘If you are a good driver and want to improve your own standards why wouldn’t you want it?
‘Also, a company vehicle is a company asset that has been bequeathed to a driver. What if they abused a company credit card?
‘Fleets should tell their drivers that they want them to use the car safely and want to encourage them to be better drivers. This really is the Holy Grail for fleets.’
The company is also continually working on extra services that can be bolted on to the system. Fleishman said: ‘We are currently working on pay-as- you-drive insurance based on data provided by the system.’
The SafetyCentre not only puts fleet motorists’ behaviour under the spotlight but also any other family members entitled to drive the car.
Fleishman quotes one example when it was found a car was being driven dangerously between the hours of midnight and 5am.
The culprit was a company car driver’s 20-year-old son on his weekend visits home from university.