From Safety Monitoring to Driver Coaching, Fleet Telematics Offer ‘Eye-Opening’ Insights

delivery van

A growing number of tools are available to help fleet managers monitor their drivers’ safety practices. These telematics-based systems enable managers to see in real time how vehicles are being operated and then use data-based reporting to keep track of trends over time.

Telematics uses data from Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and on-board diagnostics (OBD) to track a vehicle’s movements and performance. It is used for routing and other purposes. Because OBD monitors things like speed and braking, these systems can share accurate data about the vehicle’s performance with both fleet managers and drivers.

“They become aware of exactly how they are behaving on the roads, and the results are sometimes eye-opening,” said Terry Winslow, president of The CEI Group, in a statement announcing the release of a the new product.

The Value of Scorecards 

With CEI’s smartphone app, DriverCare CoPilot, which was announced Monday (Oct. 11), drivers are scored on their safety practices and driving data is shared with fleet managers via a web portal.

Once the app is downloaded to the driver’s smartphone, it will monitor behaviors such as phone distractions, speeding, harsh acceleration and hard braking. After completing a trip, drivers receive scores for each of those measured behaviors and for overall performance. They also are shown where they rank in their team and in the fleet overall.

CEI said this helps fleets avoid crashes by creating awareness among drivers and encouraging them to manage their areas of risk. Winslow said the scorecard might even lead drivers to compete with one another to get the best safety score.

Another provider of a telematics system, Geotab, reported that a 450-vehicle fleet using its product lowered its accident rate from five accidents per million miles (PMM) to three accidents PMM.

With Geotab’s support, the fleet had instituted a driver safety scorecard with its own rules and parameters. The fleet’s top weighted rule was speeding 15 miles over the posted limit. Other rules included seatbelt use, excessive acceleration, harsh braking and harsh cornering. All these were monitored by telematics.

Healthy Competition 

Driver safety scores were reported each month to supervisors and then communicated to employees, Geotab reported. Managers were encouraged to provide positive feedback to drivers who improved, as well as individualized feedback to the others, and the drivers enjoyed some healthy competition based on these safety scores.

Telematics shared in a cloud-based dashboard are combined with dash cam video in a solution offered by Samsara. The company reports its driver safety and coaching program has resulted in 50% fewer accidents and 60% lower costs due to fewer and less severe accidents.

Consistent Coaching 

Samsara says the data-driven scorecards made possible by telematics help fleet managers reward and incentivize safety. They also ensure consistent coaching of all drivers.

These systems meet a need. The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) reported that U.S. traffic crashes cost employers $72.2 billion in 2019, up from $47.4 billion in 2013. This employer-led public/private partnership noted that these direct crash-related expenses include medical care, liability, lost productivity and property damage.

Beyond the obvious benefits of reducing the number of crashes, fleets also are anxious to keep their trucks on the road to help meet today’s supply chain challenges. PYMNTS has reported that industries needing to deliver goods are running into challenges due to shortages of labor, commodities and transportation.