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Telematics shining the way for fleet cars

Technology has become the key to success for fleet owners across the country. We only need to look at the nominees for this year’s Fleet News Awards to see that the majority of businesses shortlisted are already using “car tech” to improve the safety, efficiency and cost effectiveness of their vehicles.

Video cameras and engine remapping tools are becoming an integral part of the way some fleet operators work, but it is the introduction of telematics to vans and other commercial vehicles that is really signalling a change in the fleet sector.

At the heart of telematics is the ability to prove the culpability of a driver in the event of a fleet vehicle accident and keep closer control of fuel usage. Together these two features can help reduce running costs dramatically and save fleets thousands or even millions in insurance premiums, no claims bonuses, excesses and road accident compensation claims.

While drivers often have to pay for these features out of their own funds, cash incentives and the very real possibility that it might save them money and a trip to court means that telematics are a price worth paying.

Fleet owner Neil Rowden was asked why his company chose to fit telematics. He said: ‘We introduced it because we want to track our assets and be compliant with HMRC for no private use of the vehicle.

Overtime plummeted after we put the trackers on and we actually got more work out of the staff because they were at work when they said they were. We reckon it paid back in about three months.’

Meanwhile another fleet owner, Rob Paddock, added: ‘We fitted trackers in our vans back in 2006 and that was purely for route planning. We knocked out a lot of dead time between drops.’

One potential side effect, however, is increased liability; as telematics produce evidence of speeding or bad driving. While it is agreed that this is of great benefit to improving road safety and encouraging responsible driving, it does also add to the responsibility of fleet owners. And in some cases, it requires the employment of new staff.

Nigel Rowden said: ‘We included a data analyst in our budget because we felt that, with the massive amount of data that comes out of the data warehouse, we needed somebody to sift through it.
We didn’t want contracts managers inundated with reports every few minutes of the day.’

Have you been involved in a non-fault commercial vehicle accident or taxi accident in the last three years? Call Winn Solicitors on 0800 988 6288.


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