Fleet Management: Understanding Telematics

Date: September 12, 2019

Steve Duff, BITCO Assistant Vice President of Risk Control

How Telematics impacts distracted driving policies.

Actively monitored telematics programs and a distracted driving policy are key components of a successful fleet management program. They minimize the risks associated with vehicle investment, improve efficiency and reduce overall transportation costs while providing compliance with governmental regulatory issues.

Here are just a few of the reasons an actively monitored telematics program and a distracted driving policy are important.

Satisfy requirements.

DOT recordkeeping requirements for commercial motor vehicle operators include implementation of electronic logging devices (ELDs), which replace the paper logs that have been used for almost 80 years. A telematics program can be used to satisfy this requirement.

Curb losses.

Auto loss ratios have been on the rise for most insurance carriers. Though auto manufacturers continue to make safety improvements, driver behavior has been on the decline. This has caused an increase in auto fatalities -- ending a 50-year trend in declining deaths from auto accidents.

Halt distractions.

Many of these declining behaviors can be linked to distracted driving, (including the use of mobile devices for talking, emailing and texting). It’s why a distracted driving policy is of utmost importance. In 2016, there were conservatively 3,450 people killed in crashes involving distracted drivers.

Reduce poor driving behaviors.

An actively monitored telematics program has been proven to help companies change driver behaviors. In 2016, speeding alone killed 10,111 people, or almost 30 percent of all traffic fatalities for the year. When drivers are coached on activities such as speeding, hard braking, swerving and jack rabbit starts, aggressive driving declines, which results in fewer accidents. Note the telematics program must be actively monitored on a daily basis in order to identify trends, such as speeding, that need to be addressed. Simply gathering the telematics data is insufficient to cause a decline; the data must result in actions to curb poor driving behaviors.

Save money.

A few national carriers are utilizing usage-based insurance. This program partners with vehicle owners to monitor driver behavior. The data is transmitted directly to the insurance carrier, who then assesses the risk of that driver and charges insurance premiums accordingly. A driver who drives less responsibly will be charged a higher premium than a more compliant driver. Identifying and addressing higher risk drivers may well serve our own customers immediately, as well as later when usage-based insurance could become more prevalent in the commercial insurance arena.

Create a new normal.

According to industry research, 30 to 40 percent of all commercial and government vehicles in the United States are equipped with telematics. In the next couple of years, that figure is expected to be closer to 50 percent. Eventually, telematics will become more commonplace across the board.

As proponents of telematics, BITCO partnered with Orion Fleet Intelligence to offer a free 90-day trial along with competitive pricing structures to BITCO customers. If other vendors are desired, BITCO Risk Control and Underwriting can provide a list of other telematics/dash cam vendors upon request.  

While BITCO can help with the policy, we will need your help to drive the initiative. Decide if a telematics/dash cam program and a distracted driver policy is right for your company. Together, we can help to ensure that our colleagues and customers go home in the same condition that they came to work in.


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For information purposes only. BITCO's blog content does not address all potential circumstances and is not a substitute for business, safety, or legal consultation.

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