05th Jan, 2023 Read time 5 minutes

How driver telematics can help to keep fleets safe

The Global Positioning System (GPS) combined with in-vehicle telematics, using mobile communications to transmit and receive data related to vehicles, can help to keep drivers and vehicles safe while carrying out last mile deliveries.


Vehicle telematics uses electronic devices that are installed in a vehicle to collect and transmit data about the vehicle’s operation and performance. This data can include things like the vehicle’s location, speed, fuel consumption, and diagnostics information. Telematics systems often include GPS technology and wireless communication devices, such as cellular or satellite modems, to transmit data to a central server and fleet management application. The collected data is used by fleet managers to track the location, status and performance of their vehicles. It can also be used to optimise routes to reduce miles driven and fuel consumption. Telematics systems are now used by insurance companies to offer pay-as-you-drive insurance plans to new car drivers, or by individuals to monitor their own driving habits and improve fuel efficiency.

In logistics fleets, these systems are used to track the location, status and movement of vehicles, as well as to monitor the behaviour and performance of drivers.

The provision of real-time tracking data and monitoring of vehicles is one of the ways in which a GPS-based telematics system may contribute to the safe operation of a fleet or transport operation. Fleet managers are able to monitor each vehicle’s speed and planned routes, but also the location of each vehicle at any given moment. This information may be used to detect possible safety concerns, such as vehicles that are being driven at an unsafe speed for the road and conditions. It can also provide security alerts if the vehicle is driven off the expected or planned route to help keep the vehicle and contents safe and secure. Vehicle signage stating the vehicle is being tracked will also be a good deterrent for potential thieves.   In the case of an accident or any other occurrence, it is also possible to use it to record the direction and severity of any impact, saving a recording of the time before, during and after the incident, which may contribute to the investigation of the event and help avoid such accidents in the future. It will also help in any insurance claims against a third party.

Monitoring the performance and behaviour of drivers is another way in which GPS telematics devices contribute to increased safety in any fleet. These systems often include sensors that monitor driver activities like as acceleration, braking, and turning, use of seatbelts and the occurrence of harsh braking incidents. This information may be used to identify drivers who are at more risk participating in risky driving behaviours. In-cab feedback or retrospective feedback after the journey plus targeted additional training can be provided to the drivers that need it to improve their performance and reduce their risk to the company and chances of being involved in future road traffic accidents.

Additionally, some GPS telematics systems have the ability to assist enhanced safety by delivering warnings and notifications to the driver in the cab of the vehicle when certain criteria occur. For instance, a system may transmit an alert if a vehicle is driving at too fast for the road it is on or if the driver participates in harsh braking or quick acceleration. Another scenario in which an alert may be sent is if the system detects a collision. Fleet managers may benefit from these warnings by gaining a better understanding of possible safety hazards and being able to take immediate action to avert accidents and other occurrences.

Along with these advantages, GPS telematics systems may also assist with the administration and maintenance of fleets. These systems are able to assist fleet managers in identifying vehicles that are due for service or repair or that are being utilised in an inefficient manner since they monitor the engine and vehicle warnings with explanations of engine management codes.  Taking a proactive approach with telematics systems will help to lengthen the useful life of the vehicles, contributing to improved safety and reduced maintenance costs. Early notification of potential faults can also enable repairs to be planned before it becomes a bigger problem. Parts can be ordered in advance to minimise downtime of a vehicle and improve vehicle utilisation. In summary, a global positioning system (GPS) telematics system is an effective instrument for enhancing the safety and security of a fleet of vehicles. For logistics operators it offers the added benefit of enhancing security of the load and goods in transit. These systems assist fleet managers in identifying and addressing possible safety concerns before they become significant problems by providing real-time tracking and monitoring, monitoring driver behaviour and performance, and the sending of warnings and notifications back to the fleet manager so that timely corrective action can be taken.

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