Some British hauliers and most van fleet operators are still not using telematics systems to improve their businesses, despite telematics being potentially one of the greatest tools for proactively lowering road risk.
The 2021 Commercial Motor survey into the use of telematics showed that usage by hauliers had risen from 69% to 79% since 2019. One in five truck fleets is still not engaging. Some 90% of those who used it felt it benefited the organisation, yet for 85% of them its biggest benefit was still in vehicle tracking. Driver behaviour monitoring came in second at 69%, but only 38% felt that a key benefit was preventing collisions and reducing road risk. This ties in with National Highways research conducted in 2022, which found that only 30% of operators were actually using telematics to improve driver performance.
However, things are improving rapidly. Consultancy Ptolemus said that 83% of vehicles will come with embedded telematics by the end of 2024 and by 2030 the commercial vehicle telematics market globally will be worth €24bn – a prize worth playing for.
National Highways head of commercial vehicle incident prevention, Mark Cartwright, said:
Not only must we as an industry underline for fleet managers the opportunities they are missing by not using telematics to improve driver behaviour, but there are also opportunities for the industry to pool anonymised data to enhance road safety. For instance, if telematics providers share anonymised data with National Highways, we can potentially identify high-risk zones on the strategic road network, such as where harsh braking tends to occur. This gives us an opportunity to manage such behaviours through engineering and external interventions, making all road users safer.
AI and machine learning should give operators unprecedented opportunities to capture and distil insights from more data than ever – and the telematics suppliers who focus operator attention on driver performance now can link it directly to electric vehicle sales.
Currently vehicle manufacturers and independent telematics providers are all investing in future proofing their products to aid greater fleet connectivity, with more online services, and the ability to manage electric vehicles.