5 common misconceptions about telematics systems in transportation organizations

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Some things are not always what they seem.

Telematics systems have become a both a controversial issue and a staple in transportation organizations. From monitoring driver behavior on the road to fuel usage reports, the system empowers businesses to improve efficiency and save money. However, there are many misconceptions about the purpose of telematics and its place in business.

Here are the top five common misconceptions debunked about telematics systems in transportation organizations.

  1. “The price tag on a telematics system is high. It will increase my operational costs.”

There is an initial cost to onboard and maintain a telematics system, just like any other business system. Telematics systems have proven to pay for themselves and more through its GPS fleet tracking capabilities. With visibility into real-time driver locations, fleet managers can determine which drivers get assigned to jobs they are closest to and reduce travel time between jobs. Through sensors on vehicles tracked on the telematics platform, fleet managers can easily aggregate fuel usage reports that help determine the root cause of excessive fuel use broken down by activity. Fuel costs typically comprise 30 – 40 percent of a motor carrier’s cost per mile, thus managing this cost can help transportation business better save money.

  1. “I don’t need a telematics system. My drivers have cell phones and I have a cell phone. That’s enough to keep track of our communications and their daily status, right?”

Wrong. While mobile phones are excellent communication devices, they don’t offer the full business benefits of a telematics system. Fleet managers of today are responsible for a variety of business critical issues. From ensuring drivers are compliant with current safety regulations to fuel consumption and maintenance, a telematics systems addresses the most important issues facing transportation businesses.

  1. In-cab devices powered by a telematics system are a distraction on the road.”

In 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a final rule to allow operators of commercial motor vehicles to mount certain devices – designed for tracking, compliance and communication – on the interior of their vehicles. With the electronic logging device mandate, drivers can now easily track, manage and share their duty stats (RODS) information with their managers and Department of Transportation (DOT) officers. As the vehicle engine synchronizes with the ELD, driving time can automatically be recorded to allow an accurate record of hours of service to be archived. These in-cab devices are designed to simply drivers’ routines, support their personal development through real-time road behavior feedback and lower driver stress with the device’s capability to provide reactive schedules and manage customer expectations.

  1. “My drivers don’t want a Big Brother system following their every move.”

A telematics system is used like any other business tool with the purpose of measuring efficiency, help drivers be more productive and provide the business with insight that would otherwise go unseen. For fleet managers, knowing exactly where all of their vehicles and drivers are located at all times with the ability to route and dispatch new jobs quickly provides the business with an efficient and secure system. It is natural drivers might feel uncomfortable being monitored. However, it’s important to reassure them that they don’t work for a Big Brother entity and communicate the company policy that respects their privacy.

  1. “My business isn’t big enough to require a telematics system.”

If your business depends on your fleet of vehicles, you need to know how they are performing, where they are and what they are doing. Whether you have three, five or 500 vehicles, a real-time vehicle monitoring system can keep your business compliant, safe from unwarranted insurance claims and lower operational costs.

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Sarah Barbod

Sarah is a digital content producer with over 10 years of writing and editing experience. She currently serves as a content marketing specialist for a leading international telematics company where she publishes about telematics and the transportation and construction industries.