When it comes to vehicle technology, most fleet operators will usually have a tracking system. The benefits are clear, real time and historical location data can help operationally, it also helps financially by letting you check time sheets and reduce fuel costs by monitoring over speeding, excessive idling and route planning. It can also help with driver safety measures by letting you monitor excessive speeding and harsh driving events such as harsh braking, acceleration and heavy cornering.
So, when it comes to the end of your tracking contract, unless the system has been unreliable or you have had poor service, if your current supplier can still meet your existing requirements there’s a good chance you will just roll into the next contract.
This article will ask you to consider the additional value your company can realise by having a vehicle camera system with built in telematics. Instead of installing a little black box hidden away behind your dashboard, the GPS receiver and sim card are now housed in a connected camera sending you instant HD video alerts from the road.
Let’s explore the top five reasons to consider camera telematics, safe in the knowledge that we will still have all the benefits of vehicle tracking!
Getting the real picture – If you’re a busy transport manager, how often do you look at driver behaviour data and bring your drivers in to explain instances of harsh braking? Unless someone’s stats are sticking out like a sore thumb, it can be easy to assume that Driver A’s braking stats are worse than Driver B’s, because A drives though busy city centres all day and B is always up and down the motorway. It can become easy to focus on demands for your attention elsewhere. However, if you are seeing instant video clips and witnessing some near misses, it’s impossible to ignore and you are much more likely to quickly address the issue.
Drowsy driving is also now getting more attention. Someone driving with less than 7 hours sleep can be up to 10 times more likely to be at risk of an accident. It’s hard to spot if that risk has increased with someone who is usually a safe driver. What if your employee is also driving in the evenings to make some extra money? Are they working with Uber on the side? Delivering takeaways? Maybe they have a new born baby that’s not sleeping, lots of us have been there. Fatigue is now becoming recognised as a major risk and you are more likely to spot the signs if you have instant HD Video clips coming through. Cameras can help protect your staff and your assets more effectively than tracking alone.
Rise in Personal Injury costs – Earlier this year the UK Government announced changes to the Ogden Rate. This is a calculation used by the courts to decide how much lump sum compensation to award people with serious injuries. The rate change meant that existing and future personal injury claims could be doubled or even tripled in some cases. It caused an outcry from Insurers and the markets reacted badly to the news, Insurers share prices dropped and insurance premiums looked like they were heading for a 10% increase. The Insurance Industry won a major victory recently by persuading the government to revise the rate, even so overall personal injury awards will still be increased. Video footage of careless or dangerous driving will highlight the drivers most at risk of a serious collision and allow you to coach accordingly before it’s too late. Prevention is better than cure.
Reduce Claim Costs – If you have a fault or non-fault claim, tracking alone is unlikely to be much help apart from maybe proving your driver was not speeding. Let’s say one of your vehicles is driving down a country lane and a car or bike comes around a corner on the wrong side of the road. Your driver has a head on collision and you probably have a serious incident to deal with. A tracking system won’t be able to prove who is telling the truth, but HD footage would exonerate your driver instantly. In fact, cameras virtually eradicate 50/50 claims in most cases. Even if a collision was your drivers fault, your insurer will have the footage straight away and they would much rather accept liability and avoid a lengthy, costly dispute. They can mitigate the cost of the claim by avoiding hefty legal costs, providing their own replacement vehicles and using their own contacts for things such as ongoing medical care and rehabilitation. Removing the likelihood of 50/50 claims and reducing the costs of fault claims can save you from having an expensive hike when it comes to renewing your fleet insurance.
On that note, from my recent experience you are more likely to get a contribution from your insurer for cameras with tracking than you are for tracking alone. Even if you don’t get a contribution towards camera costs initially, you can ask your broker to negotiate a rebate at renewal time if you have improved your claims history. Some fleets then offer a percentage of that rebate to their drivers as a bonus if they make a collective effort to reduce or eradicate claims.
Greater Return on Investment – You would be forgiven for thinking that having all the extra benefits of cameras and tracking must mean a larger investment than a tracking system. Actually, this is not the case. In recent comparisons, I’ve been told our purchase price, installation costs and ongoing service are all lower than the existing tracking provider. Even if it was a similar cost or slightly more, if the day comes when one of your staff has a collision and the camera proves their innocence, it will prove to be a shrewd investment.
Many fleets that use tracking still have a poor claims history. They often try to address this by having to make an additional investment into vehicle cameras. To try and keep costs down they will probably just get a non-connected, SD card camera. These should still help in the event of a non-fault claim (providing you are regularly removing and checking that the SD card hasn’t corrupted), the problem is they only show you what happened after the fact. Having one system sending you tracking data and camera footage means you are far more informed about what’s happening on the road.
Easier to ensure compliance – As an employer, you know only too well about your duties to comply with the various rules and regulations for on-the-road work activities. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act) states “You must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all employees while at work. You must also ensure that others are not put at risk by your work-related driving activities”. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires you to manage health and safety effectively. You are required by law to carry out an assessment of the risks to the health and safety of your employees, while they are at work, and to other people who may be affected by your organisation’s work activities. There are also duties under road traffic law, e.g. The Road Traffic Act and the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations, which are administered by the police, and other agencies such as the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). If one of your employees is killed, for example while driving for work, and there is evidence that serious management failures resulted in a ‘Gross breach of a relevant duty of care’, your company or organisation could be at risk of being prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. This is a very serious charge and can carry severe penalties both in terms of fines and even custodial sentences.
The point here is that a vehicle camera with tracking has got to be more effective and beneficial for your compliance efforts, fleet safety initiatives and reducing your corporate liability, than tracking alone.
I hope that this article has encouraged you to consider connected cameras with integrated tracking over your current tracking system and that it may start a conversation within your business. It’s often easy to accept the status quo and resist change, but the smartest businesses are always looking for new technology and innovation that will help them achieve better results.
If you are considering your fleet technology options in the near future, or if you are in insurance and have clients that could use some help, please contact VisionTrack. Our VT2000 is an award winning, HD connected camera with integrated tracking. We have an industry leading system built on the amazing Microsoft Azure IoT platform and we are very passionate about driver safety.
You can contact me here; firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07825 034266. Our website is www.visiontrack.com