Could all Commercial Vehicles soon be fitted with Telematics?

The use of telematics in vehicles has been increasing over the past few years mainly due to the fact that many owners are struggling with the cost of insurance. Young and unexperienced drivers in particular will often find that premiums for car or commercial vehicle insurance are extremely high, however with the use of telematics they can become manageable.

Telematics (also known as ‘black boxes’) can be installed in nearly all kinds of vehicle and monitor drivers’ behaviour. Insurance providers can use the data provided by telematics, such as whether they remain within the speed limit or brake slowly, to decipher how safe they are on the road. One of the reasons that insurance premiums is so high for young or inexperienced drivers is because they are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident, however those with telematics systems installed in their vehicles can show that this is not the case with them.

It’s believed that with the use of telematics not only will drivers benefit from lower insurance premiums but also increased safety while on the road, as others around them will also drive safer due to the fact they are being monitored. Telematics specialists are also claiming that commercial vehicle drivers, particularly those that drive larger vehicles, will be protected from fraudulent ‘cash-for-crash’ claims if they have front-facing cameras installed in their vehicles.

Security, safety and telematics specialist Cobra UK has even gone so far as to call on the UK government to create new legislation which would make it a legal requirement for all commercial vehicles to have front-facing cameras installed. Discussing the reasoning behind their request, Cobra UK Managing Director Andrew Smith said: “Crash-for-cash is an industry-wide issue and it is important the freight industry works together to combat it. By approaching the government with solutions we hope they can act upon these and recognise this growing issue is costing freight operators valuable time and money as well as putting drivers in danger.”

Recently, the Insurance Fraud Bureau published figures from their survey which revealed each day insurance providers uncover an average of three hundred and eighty one fraudulent insurance claims, which would have cost providers approximately £2.7 million. Many of these drivers purposely crash into vehicles and then claim it’s the other person’s fault, which is not only illegal but also extremely dangerous. With the use of front-facing cameras, police and commercial vehicle insurance providers will be able to have an unbiased sequence of events presented to them and subsequently penalise those purposely causing accidents for financial gain.

Other companies have also recently released telematics products onto the market, such as Intelligent Telematics with their IT 1000. The device includes video capabilities as well as standard telematics and 3/4G technology, which means that footage is directly sent to an online database instead of just being stored on a SD card like most devices.

Nick Plowman, Chief Technical Officer of Intelligent Telematics said: “Our latest camera will not only reduce the severity and frequency of vehicle fleet insurance claims by enabling operators to respond quickly and effectively to accidents, but also help modify driving styles and minimise potential risk. The IT 1000 vehicle camera solution provides a 24-hour monitoring solution that will become an important part of a fleet operators insurance and duty of care strategies.”

If a vehicle installed with a TI 1000 is involved in an accident the footage is quickly sent from the online database via email and SMS, enabling both fleet managers and insurers to assess and address the incident as quickly as possible. The device also captures GPS data at ten times per second, which is faster than the average speed of most devices on the market which is just once per second, meaning the data is more accurate.

Commercial fleet managers who choose to install telematics in their vehicles can therefore have a greater knowledge of each journey their drivers embark on, and be able to protect their businesses from fraudulent insurance claims. Even though the initial cost of installing telematics into every vehicle in a fleet will be expensive, the long term savings and ensured safety of drivers makes up for it.

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