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Illustration by Security Management; iStock

Telematics: An Intelligent Driving Force for Road Safety

In June, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its first projections for 2023 traffic fatalities, estimating that 9,330 people died in traffic collisions within the first three months of 2023. This represents a 3.3 percent decrease from the estimated 9,645 fatalities during the same period in 2022.

With an emphasis on safer driving, event-based management platforms can offer features and support for monitoring commercial drivers and their performance in real time. One aspect of this is telematics, which is rapidly growing and allowing organizations to address fleet and commercial driver safety.

Telematics is a method of monitoring cars, trucks, equipment, and other assets by using GPS technology and on-board diagnostics (OBD) to plot an asset’s movements on a computerized map. However, in recent years, it has also developed into a powerful tool that organizations use to reduce risks to fleet drivers and decrease the overall number of vehicular accidents.

With the evolution of event-based management platforms that offer two-way communication and additional sensors, organizations can now monitor commercial drivers and their performance in real-time.

In fact, some insurance companies are starting to require this technology for larger organizations with commercial fleets on the road. Insurance discounts are available for the voluntary installation of telematics in many jurisdictions, but even if not, the long-term savings from reduced crashes and fewer claims can positively impact insurance costs and premiums for transportation businesses and fleets.

By utilizing advanced telematics with AI, video cameras and sensors can not only see the real-time behavior of a driver, but also collect important data and send alerts. If there is an unauthorized passenger in a company vehicle, for example, organizations can now be notified immediately. AI can help with safer driving, as well as helping with responding to emergency situations. With a click of a button, an emergency or event can be recorded and monitored by software users.

6 Ways Organizations Can Benefit From Advanced Telematics

Analyze real-time behavior of drivers to reduce risk. Organizations can now see how their drivers act on the road. Is the driver aggressive? Did the driver fall asleep at the wheel? Is it the correct driver? Is there an unauthorized person in the passenger seat? Is the driver intoxicated? Answering these questions instantly via telematics helps organizations mitigate risks quickly.

Reduce insurance premiums. Organizations that deploy telematics receive discounts and save on their annual insurance premiums. The short-term and long-term savings are well established, and most businesses report reductions in claims by at least 25 percent and crashes by around 50 percent.

Improve re-routing efficiency and fuel savings. By utilizing live traffic feeds, drivers can be rerouted to arrive at their destination faster, reducing downtime and fuel costs.

Video verification. If a crash occurs, telematics can verify the cause of the collision. Voice over IP (VoIP) communication with the driver at the scene helps collect pertinent information quickly, determining who was at fault. Besides the fact that such evidence can almost always help keep insurance losses and claims down, assessing fault early allows lawyers and insurance companies to settle cases without generating extensive litigation costs.

Monitor maintenance of vehicles. Alerts can also notify authorized personnel when the vehicle should receive maintenance on parts such as brakes or when to schedule an oil change. This can help organizations save money by identifying a vehicle’s smaller issue before it becomes a problem that demands a more costly repair.

Maintain driver privacy. Organizations can protect a driver’s privacy by putting the system in privacy mode. This turns of facial recognition features and ensures that a video cannot be released unless an event occurs. In addition, a driver cannot be recorded without consent. These privacy safeguards are built-in and should allow drivers and passengers to feel at ease and grant them peace of mind.

As we move forward, we can expect new telematics applications and integrations with other types of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, such as air quality monitoring and noise detection. We will see sensors located in both the interior and exterior of vehicles, with the latter allowing for data crowdsourcing.

The use of such systems may also lead to better compliance with regulations that apply to the passenger ground transportation industry. For example, a system can help enforce the maximum hours of continuous driving or conduct virtual vehicle compliance inspections in lieu of in-person requirements.

Telematics is the key for organizations to achieve their goal of improving safety for their commercial drivers near and far, playing a crucial role in improving driver safety and reducing the number of vehicle accidents through real-time monitoring.


David Antar is founder and president of IPVideo Corp.