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Telematics: Paving the Way for Safer Transportation Operations

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The transportation industry has been hit hard by skyrocketing insurance premiums, diminished underwriting appetite, restricted coverage and fewer markets, an aggressive plaintiff bar with nuclear verdicts exceeding $10 million, a shortage of qualified drivers, distracted driving and other factors. On top of that, truckers have also been hit by regulations (ELD, Drug/Alc Clearinghouse, etc.) that have further impacted their operation costs.

Here’s the Solution For Your Clients

To help clients navigate this challenging environment, a focus on safer trucking operations is critical. The proper use of telematics systems can facilitate an insured’s progress along the road to operational safety, an improved risk profile, a reduction in frivolous claims, and premium savings.

Telematics combines cameras, sensors, GPS systems, and cellular antennas to monitor a truck’s every move inside and outside the cab. Systems can be used to provide meaningful data and insights to fleet managers and owners on driver behavior and performance, such as speed, tailgating, driver distraction, hard braking and other metrics, to improve safety and related CSA scores. Telematics can also be used to identify the cause of an accident.

A Long-Term, High-Benefit Investment

“The transportation industry in general has traditionally been reluctant to adopt telematics,” explains Mike Mitchell, RPS Area President.

“Having a second set of eyes overseeing an operation made trucking carriers uncomfortable; however, with insurance costs rising, increasingly more carriers are interested in employing telematics to improve safety, reduce the frequency and severity of accidents and help get insurance costs under control.”

Telematics will not only help improve operational safety but, in the event of an accident, the system can help demonstrate if the truck driver was not at fault.

“The insurer can take a look at the data to determine what actually occurred during an accident,” says Mitchell. “The outcome could be quite different, for example, in an accident where the truck driver is accused of speeding and the data indicates otherwise. On the other hand, if the data indicates the truck driver was indeed at fault, the insurer may decide to settle rather than incur the additional defense costs in going to court.”

Telematics, according to Mitchell, also motivates drivers to be more accountable for their driving behavior. “They are cognizant that management is monitoring their driving habits.”

Another benefit of employing telematics systems is that when a driver is involved in an accident, a message is automatically sent to the insurer, enabling a claims rep to be discharged to the scene as soon as possible to talk to witnesses.

“The more time that transpires after an accident, the more difficult it is to find witnesses,” notes Mitchell. “If you can get to the accident scene quickly, you’re better able to get an accounting from witnesses about what occurred.”

Some insurers provide cameras and other proprietary telematics devices to insureds while others have partnerships with telematics companies to offer discounts on systems. Yet just having a system in place is not enough.

“You need to use and leverage the data correctly to monitor and correct driver behavior,” says Mitchell. “Transportation companies should view this as a long-term investment in safety which in turn will result in tangible operational benefits.”

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