fine line

When it comes to improving driver safety, some fleets put off implementing telematics because they are concerned about becoming aware of something that until now they have not had to develop a policy for and subsequently manage. Ask yourself, what is riskier… not knowing if a fleet has drivers who could use driver safety training, or knowing that there are drivers who require training, and focusing attention on developing policy and procedures on how to help them?

Simply put, the cost of not knowing far outweighs the cost of measuring and managing safety using affordable telematics technology. One Geotab client bought telematics technology specifically for the purpose of reducing self-insured vehicle damage, and their personal injury claims resulted in 7x payback each and every year since deploying. If that’s not incentive enough, the courts are awarding increasingly large punitive settlements against companies that do not apply what is deemed to be generally available and accessible technology.

In 2012, in a negligent compliance case, the court awarded $22 million to a plaintiff where the fleet failed to reinforce its non-use of cell phone policy. The court found the fleet at fault for not enforcing a practical and common cell phone policy for improving driver safety. In New York State, the use of backup cameras by trucks was mandated after a fatality, in addition to the use of external alarms of reversing trucks in Illinois. Not having this equipment installed costs companies far more than the cost of the technology. The same case can be made for not applying practical and common tools to monitor and enforce safe driving. It is better to measure – in order to understand, develop policy, and reinforce policy than it is to not acknowledge the risk in the first place.

With a massive payback by managing safety, it is surprising that not every fleet is already fully engaged. So the question becomes … will a court find that telematics technology is ubiquitous enough with 40% of fleets installed in North America, to find a fleet negligent if it is not measuring and ultimately managing safe driving?

To learn more about the safety benefits with the use of telematics, please visit:

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