How telematics can save lives

Almost a million UK drivers now own a vehicle tracking system, and the telematics industry is on course to be worth $750 billion by 2030. Vehicle tracking technology allows drivers to monitor their behaviour on the road, which can help them to cut costs like fuel and insurance, and is most frequently used by organisations which run vast fleets of vehicles. Whilst vehicle tracking systems are often fitted as a money saving measure, they can actually help save lives. Here, we’ll look at how.

Telematics systems have been shown to reduce road accidents

A telematics system works by tracking a vehicle’s movements and location via GPS, allowing it to monitor how someone drives, as well as the overall speed.By showing drivers how they can drive more safely, and prompting them when they need to do so, they can cut down on dangerous behaviour and improve their safety, which can help to prevent collisions and save lives.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions has shown just how effective telematics systems can be at reducing road accidents and driver casualties. The research found that the number of 17-19 year olds killed or seriously injured whilst driving dropped by 35% between 2011 and 2017, compared to 16% for the rest of the driving population. Considering that younger drivers are much more likely to have a telematics system than their older counterparts—an estimated 4 out of every 5 young drivers in total—it seems the technology has had a huge effect on making the roads safer.

Telematics can improve the productivity of the emergency services

Vehicle tracking technology can also help save lives by improving ambulance productivity. Statistics show that 5% of the UK population use an ambulance service each year, so it is therefore essential to keep the vehicles themselves well-maintained. The availability of frontline clinical time is reduced when ambulances break down, and this could put lives at risk.

Consequently, a recent report recommended fleet management technology as a means of minimising ambulance downtime within the NHS. Telematics experts Movolytics note that some vehicle tracking systems can identify when a vehicle has maintenance problems, and immediately alerts fleet managers via an SMS or email. This allows them to resolve issues as quickly as possible, instead of running the risk of the problem eventually damaging the vehicle. Using these systems in the NHS would allow ambulance trusts to better maintain productivity and continue saving lives.

Like with other vehicles, the telematics system also helps to improve ambulance driver behaviour, which can reduce the risk of accidents. This not only keeps them and other drivers safe, but again helps to reduce the possibility of ambulance downtime. Fleet tracking systems also use GPS to help drivers find the quickest route to their destination, and monitor live traffic information in order to reroute ambulances who may be heading towards a jam. These features can again improve ambulance productivity and save lives.

Telematics systems can detect crashes

Telematics technology can also be used to help drivers in the event of a crash, with some systems using sensors to detect both the occurrence and severity of an accident. This is done by monitoring any changes in G-force based on the impact to a vehicle, and can distinguish between circumstances like hitting a speed bump and an actual crash. Whilst these systems are typically used for insurance purposes, they can also be used to alert emergency services in the event of an accident.

This is particularly valuable if there is nobody else around at the time of an accident. For instance, a young driver fell asleep at the wheel in November 2013, and ended up colliding with a tree. Thanks to the telematics system in his car, his insurance company were immediately notified of the incident, and called emergency services to the scene. The police then used the telematics box to track the driver’s location, getting him safely to hospital where he made a full recovery. The crash took place at 4am, so there were no witnesses or passing cars around. The consequences could potentially have been fatal without the technology. From helping to alert emergency services in the event of a traffic collision, to reducing the possibility of accidents in the first place, telematics can help save lives in various different ways. With dual financial and safety benefits, expect even more drivers and organisations to invest in fleet tracking in the future.

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