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TELEMATICS: Playing it safe

Date: 01 August 2013

Jack Carfrae explores the pros and cons of using telematics to monitor your drivers for risk purposes.

The phrase 'risk management' is drilling its way into corporate operations with increasing ferocity - and at-work drivers are at the top of the agenda.

Buying into a driver monitoring system is a solid way to cover your back, but there's always a cost attached and a question mark always hangs over smaller fleets in particular as to whether or not it's worth the payout.

TomTom Business Solutions' sales director, Giles Margerison, explains to BusinessCar that the process of driver monitoring was dramatically accelerated in 2001 in the wake of one of the worst rail accidents in modern times: "The history of this starts with the Selby rail disaster when a guy fell asleep at the wheel and caused a huge train crash. Health and safety executives took a cold, hard look at it and found that driving for work was the biggest corporate killer - more than construction, diving etc."

He continues: "There are about 3500 deaths a year on the roads in the UK at the moment - a third of that is working drivers. We've reduced our road deaths every year - until 2012. There's an assumption that this is to do with people playing with smartphones and things like that but it hasn't been proven yet. Criminal manslaughter charges are being levied against companies now, with directors going to jail, so it's serious stuff."

Despite the horror stories and the fact that there is a very real case for keeping an eye on at-work drivers - and not in the Big Brother sense - integrating it into the operation of a fleet isn't necessarily the most straightforward process.