Fleet News

Telematics: the business case for, the solutions and hurdles

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Telematics are a well-established tool in fleets, but there are pitfalls and challenges to their introduction and use. They range from driver - and union – scepticism to data overload and the risk of being in danger of ignoring stored evidence in the most extreme cases. But the return on investment is often clear.

Fleet decision-makers from private companies shared their experiences at the Fleet200 Executive Club meeting on November 19. Here is a selection of their comments on the business case for telematics introduction, the chosen solutions, the hurdles and the benefits.

  • “We have a mixture of hardwired and plug-in systems and while the latter was simpler and cheaper to install, some of our drivers pull the plugs out. And not being able to track them means no reporting. And we only know when the plug is put back, not when it’s been removed.”
  • “The reporting is focussed on the driver, not the vehicle as each van could be driven by up to a dozen people. Each driver has an ID tag and, while not having to address a particular problem, our focus is on driver behaviour, followed by protecting the brand and the public, reducing insurance costs and reducing accidents and risk.”
  • “We’ve had discussions with the unions about introducing telematics and after initially being supportive, altered their opinion to only approving of location and speed recording. Anything else is seen as an infringement of rights.”
  • “We have an agreement with Seat that it provides a dashcam free of charge with each car. It’s proved quite popular. In addition to this we’re looking to supply all our cars with dashcams, as increasingly insurance companies, as well as car and vans drivers, are asking for it. But it’s proving to be quite expensive. We don’t get many complaints from the public about driver behaviour, but the footage can be useful in their defence.”
  • “All our vans are tracked, but none of our cars. We want to track out of hours/private use of our vans, beyond the commute as it has a tax implication. Use in cars has so far been considered an infringement of privacy because of the private mileage use.”
  • “All our vans are fitted with trackers to support our FORS accreditation. And some of our customers demand it. Plus we had a massive problem with drivers speeding and the resulting fines. The unions accepted the need for trackers and now speeding fines are virtually non-existent. We still see driving in bus lanes and u-turns in one-way streets mind you.”
  • “Our drivers are safer, our insurance claims have reduced and the fuel cost benefits of telematics has been clear - a 10% saving on our £7 million annual fuel bill – as drivers’ fuel economy improved.”
  • “We only have 150 vans, but renew every four years and the installation and licensing costs of the telematics system was considerable. So I did a deal with our leasing company where it absorbed, for a small margin, these costs and we paid it back in the leasing agreement over the vehicles’ operating cycle. This agreement has now been extended to the fitting of dashcams. It allows for much more manageable budgeting per vehicle.”
  • “We’ve had the discussion about putting telematics in cars, but the opposition is around private use – “my wife/son drives the car, I don’t want them tracked”. It was HR that told me not to push the issue. They don’t want the confrontation with senior managers. It’s a CLM, a career limiting move.”
  • “We had a system for our car drivers, but no one used it and no one analysed the data. Our drivers are sales people and we don’t need to track them. We trialled a phone-based system that measured hard braking. You can win prizes as being the safest driver, but a test of 30 drivers worked for a few months then it became a bit of a gimmick. And if you were on a train it would report you driving at 100mph.”
  • “We offer dashcams. After a second accident, a driver is given the choice of paying the excess or buying a dashcam, avoiding the confrontation of making them mandatory. It has reduced accident rates. It’s not proven but they could reduce insurance premiums and increase driver confidence.”
  • “Manufacturers should fit dashcams as standard, but let the driver decide if they want to use them, so there’s no GDPR issues. Although a built-in unit presents challenges with windscreen replacement because the camera needs to be recalibrated at a dealership for angle and tint difference.”
  • “Because we’ve fitted the dashcams we have accepted the duty of care obligation that comes with them; the need to monitor the footage and provide the evidence in the event of a prosecution. So, be warned, if one of your drivers kills someone and you have stored dashcam evidence of them repeatedly speeding before the incident, you will be in trouble if you haven’t acted on it.”
  • “We’re coming to a point where vehicles will be sold connected to other vehicles and using live mapping , instantly updating based on everyone else’s car’s position, receiving best route information.”

> The above was shared with Fleet News at the November meeting of the Fleet200 Executive Club.

Join the Fleet200 Executive Club

If you're a fleet decision maker interested in joining the club and attending the final meeting of this year and our meetings in 2020, email emma.bunce@bauermedia.co.uk. Membership is free.

The Fleet200 Executive Club is a group of the most influential fleets operating in the UK.

It produces research on key fleet trends and holds events which bring together the UK’s most professional fleet decision makers to debate the issues of importance to their businesses, share ideas on new initiatives and industry developments, and hear from outstanding, thought-provoking speakers.

More on the Fleet200.



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