Why telematics is not just for young drivers

Any regular readers will be all too aware of how telematics is having a dramatic effect on insurance provision for young drivers, but its uses stretch far beyond getting a better deal for those who’ve just passed their test – it’s being used for everything from fleet management to accident recovery.

Fleet management

Over the last few years, telematics has revolutionised the fleet management business by providing data on vehicle location, how the vehicle is being driven (no need for any “How’s my driving?” rant-lines anymore), real-time fault diagnosis and even CO2 emissions.
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This level of information allows fleet managers to obtain a more accurate reading of fuel consumption and vehicle condition, meaning they have a better idea of when a vehicle needs replacing, and also pinpoint individual driver’s ability so training can be more focussed and offered to those who need it most. And telematics is also helping commercial owner-drivers to assess their own performance, and even reap the rewards of discounted insurance if their driving is up to scratch.

Helping White Van Man

Although Direct Line Group has sold its Tracker business to Lysanda, a telematics technology provider, it has outlined that this won’t impact upon its provision of telematics solutions. And this could be good news for van drivers following the launch of the DrivePlus Van app, which enables van drivers to monitor their driving behaviour and save money on their insurance, to the tune of 15% for 300 miles of driving.
The app records data such as journey times, distance travelled and driver style, and once drivers have clocked up 300 miles on the app, they will be sent a driving score out of 100 (with 100 being the best) and a promotion code to claim the discount via the DL4B website. And because the app is aimed at business customers it allows users to untag journeys that aren’t applicable, for instance if they’re a passenger in another car. So the technology could even help to keep white van man on the straight and narrow.

Safety first

Some cars, such as the Citroen C1 Connexion, now come fitted with telematics technology as part of the package, but as well as saving young drivers money, it’s hoped the technology can also save drivers’ lives as these devices will automatically call for help in the event of a crash. So even if a driver is knocked unconscious in a one-vehicle incident (say they run off a quiet A road when no other drivers are around), then an emergency response unit will be given details of their location and despatched to the scene of the accident. To see how the Citroen C1 technology works, check out the video below… [embed width="600" height="355"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_aqNFfQQWY [/embed] It’s hoped that this use of telematics will be commonplace across Europe thanks to eCall, an initiative aimed at bringing rapid assistance to motorists involved in a collision anywhere in the European Union. In the event of an accident, a car equipped with an eCall system will automatically call the nearest emergency centre - even if no-one in the car is able to speak, a minimum data set, including vehicle location, is sent. It’s estimated that eCall cuts emergency response time by up to 50% in the countryside and by as much as 60% in built-up areas and this rapid response time could save hundreds of lives every year. Furthermore, if a driver sees an accident, they can report it instantly by pushing a button on the dash that will put them through to an emergency response control room. And before any of the tin-foil hat brigade get worried about their whereabouts being tracked, ‘sleep mode’ is the default function of eCall and so it does not allow for vehicle tracking outside of emergencies.
You can find out more about eCall here. The intention is to have eCall operating Europe-wide by 2015. Would you be more prepared to install a telematics device in your car if it wasn't used to monitor your driving (such as the eCall, for instance)? Let us know in the comments...

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