Vehicle Telematics: the tattletales of driving habits

The words “Fleet Management” may make some business owners’ skin crawl but it’s one of those things they just can’t ignore. For most companies, this is a key aspect of their overall operations and something that needs constant attention.

Some commercial insurance companies are providing “Fleet Monitoring” premium discounts for the use of telematics, with the hopes that it will reduce the amount of claims and incidents within their commercial auto fleet.

Telematics refers to technology such as front facing cameras, sensors, GPS, and vehicle engine diagnostics. These devices can effectively monitor driving behaviors such as location, hard braking, rapid acceleration, speeding and hard cornering. Identifying these habits is an important element of commercial auto insurance, especially given the increasing rates lately.

The results of these telematics can help determine the risk, along with appropriate pricing and proactive loss control. Some of the technology can even alert the driver itself in real-time of any unacceptable driving behaviors to prevent an accident or injury. Vehicle engine diagnostics also helps tremendously with monitoring things like the health of the vehicle, for example: oil life, fuel efficiency, tire pressure, engine or fluid needs, etc. This is yet another part of fleet management that can be very time consuming and stressful on a business owner/manager.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the amount of fatal crashes involving large trucks and/or buses has increased by 42% since 2009. Ironically, technology such as cell phones could have contributed to that and here we are, talking about technology of other forms to help prevent it. But isn’t that our reality now… All things technology? But shouldn’t we be open to anything that can get that number back down? While telematics are optional for now, it could be very soon that they are actually required and that may not be a bad thing.

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