Hazard Holiday: Why More Fleet Managers Should Use Telematics To Safeguard Drivers

Telematics helps to keep your fleet safe with data on the vehicle, the driving and routes

Holidays, more often than not, can be dangerous. In the lead up to the busy holiday period, when Australian roads become deadlier, fleet managers are being urged to take advantage of fleet telematics systems to help save lives.

Most Australian states and territories follow a ‘Towards Zero’ road safety strategy, similar to the ‘Vision Zero’ principle adopted by many overseas countries and US cities.

Simply put, the Vision Zero goal is to achieve zero road fatalities; because one road fatality is one too many. The Towards Zero campaign aims to ensure no-one is seriously injured on our roads.

Companies striving to operate safe vehicle fleets naturally align with Towards Zero’s key aims – to improve the safety of:

1) road users

2) road speed limits, and

3) road vehicles.

The fourth aim, to improve road and roadside infrastructure, falls outside the direct influence of supply chain operators.

Supporting Fleet Managers To Save Lives & Use Vehicle Telematics

While road safety education and action are helping to lower road fatalities, as it stands, over 1000 people lose their lives on Australian roads each year. And thousands of more road users suffer life-affecting injuries.

Importantly, vehicle telematics systems that monitor vehicles and support drivers have a clear role to play in curbing the future road toll even further.

For fleet managers — with a duty of care to your employed and contracted drivers, and a legal responsibility to ensure safe road activities within your entire supply chain — the operational visibility and data insights offered by a fleet telematics system can’t be ignored.

Vehicle fleet telematics systems provide numerous business gains, such as:

  • optimised routes and deliveries
  • better dispatching and customer service
  • greater efficiencies and productivity, and more…

But when it comes to protecting lives, how will a fleet telematics system make your drivers safer on the road?

What’s crucial for a fleet manager to know?

1. You’ll know where they are

Real-time GPS tracking of your moving vehicles using a fleet telematics system will give you a birds-eye view of the locations of your company’s vehicles and drivers.

Knowing where your drivers are is the first critical piece of information you’ll need to quickly help them if there’s an emergency.

Plus, if a vehicle ever leaves a designated ‘geofenced’ work area, the onboard telematics system can trigger an alert, to let you know when a vehicle may be stolen and driven to a non-designated area.

Telematics fleet management systems can also collect data from various vehicle systems, to indicate out-of-the-ordinary activities, for example, longer than normal idling, stationary positions or unusual speed readings – with an alert sent to notify head office.

If route changes occur due to unforeseen hazards, fleet managers will have this information automatically on hand to make timely decisions.

2. You’ll know how they drive

Fleet telematics systems can monitor driver behaviours and critical vehicle checkpoints such as speeding, seatbelt use, driving time for fatigue management, harsh braking, excessive acceleration and so on.

When compliance to meet safety and legal regulations is vital, what you measure about your drivers via vehicle telematics, you can then manage more effectively.

Road safety for mobile fleets is all about keep your fleet in good condition and being proactive
As your ‘chain of responsibility’ for on-road safety comes under pressure during holiday periods, fleet telematics systems help you set achievable safety and efficiency goals for your drivers. Think about instigating rewardable targets that engage your personnel to become consistently better drivers, for example, with behaviours that;

  • improve fuel economy
  • eliminate speeding
  • delay vehicle wear via less harsh braking and accelerating.
What’s more, telematics fleet management systems can be tailored to deliver automatic in-vehicle instructions and performance coaching to your drivers – to proactively train better, safer drivers of your road vehicles.

3. You’ll know the condition of your vehicles

Real-time data from your fleet telematics system provides pertinent details about the mechanical state of your vehicles. Vehicle fault diagnostics, engine hours, fuel consumption, instrument readings and sub-system data from each vehicle, plus pre-trip checks (e.g. for loads, load restraints, dangerous goods) and maintenance scheduling, offer valuable insights to improve fleet safety and productivity, as well as support management of your supply chain responsibilities.

4. You’ll know when something happens, or prevent it 

Although we strive for a safe road transport system that protects us from our own and others’ mistakes, unforeseen events and accidents still happen. Telematics can help to identify and monitor drivers who are tired and distracted and to assess unsafe road and weather conditions. Logging of work and rest times for heavy vehicle fatigue management and Electronic Work Diaries requirements can be extracted from vehicle telematics data. Add-on capabilities, available with Leopard Delivery and Leopard Telematics, such as in-cab cameras to view drivers and roads, means vehicle telematics systems may be effectively used to reduce fatigue- and/or weather-related incidents. Monitoring of heavy vehicle stability systems help to detect a vehicle approaching its handling limits. GPS tracking combined with collision detection sensors in the vehicle can be set to trigger an automatic accident notification with location data to emergency services and your head office. Furthermore, forensic acquisition of vehicle data could be helpful for understanding any potential losses and managing the subsequent investigation. Lastly, vehicle telematics systems can detect when a service is due or when a battery is close to the end of its service life, allowing appropriate tasks can be actioned to prevent your driver from being stranded due to engine problems. A well-designed vehicle telematics system will help improve driving and prevent accidents. Subsequently, this will enhance road transport safety, as a whole, and reduce safety risks across your entire fleet, for greater peace of mind.

Geotab & Leopard

Partnering with Geotab to deliver integrated fleet telematics solutions, Leopard Systems are proud to support the work of Vision Zero into Australia, alongside the Towards Zero road safety campaign.

Leopard Telematics™ provides a simple-to-use platform interface that delivers rapid alerts, for fleet managers to act on mission-critical events as soon as they occur. Integrating relevant telematics data with business systems offers fleet managers operational visibility for better decision-making. Driver scorecard reports from Leopard Telematics™ data helps fleet managers coach and incentivise for improved driving behaviours. Plus, provides customisable reports, to help you visualise specific information relevant to your unique operation. Contact Leopard Systems today to find out more about Leopard Telematics™ for your fleet.