What are Vehicle Telematics
Telematics can be used to refer to a number of in-vehicle technologies, but the term is generally used to refer to systems which are used for tracking. Tracking systems do not simply track the location of any vehicle. They can also monitor speed, driving habits, unauthorised journeys and environmental conditions.
Telematic systems can be set up using GPS technology or they can be based on radio waves. These are known as RFID systems. Both these systems offer passive or active trackers, depending on whether you require a tracker that constantly transmits the information, or one that records the information to be downloaded at a later date. Which telematic system is best for your business will depend on your particular business needs and budget.
Benefits of Telematics
There are two main reasons why firms invest in vehicles telematics; cost reduction and increased security.
Increasingly, for businesses these days, fuel makes up a large proportion of overall running costs. By using a vehicle telematic system for effective route planning, businesses can often cut their fuel costs by up to a third. Additionally, the more sophisticated systems can monitor driving techniques so you can see if people are speeding or driving aggressively. This will again allow you to identify these areas where fuel is wasted and to take appropriate action to cut costs.
The second benefit is the increased security these systems provide. Not only do they allow you to see where a vehicle is at all times, but they can alert you by text or email if a vehicle is moved at an unauthorised time, or out of an unspecified area.
Telematic systems can also help you meet your legal responsibilities as an employer, such as your duty of care, by checking that drivers do not exceed their maximum number of driving hours.
Cost of a Telematic System
Telematic systems can either be leased or bought from suppliers. GPS systems are typically cheaper than RFID systems and a basic off the shelf GPS tracker can be bought for around a hundred pounds. Many businesses do opt to lease their telematic hardware as it has a number of benefits including the ability to increase and upgrade the system as the business expands and all the costs of the lease payments can be deducted from taxable profits.
If you choose to lease a system, then the costs start from around fifty to sixty pence per vehicle per day for a simple tracking system. RFID telematic systems are generally more expensive and are usually purchased as bespoke systems, which does have the advantage of allowing you to ensure the system exactly meets your needs.
For both types of system, it is always a good idea to obtain quotes from a number of suppliers. Most suppliers offer online quotation forms, meaning that getting the information does not have to be a very time consuming task.
As vehicle telematic systems record data about the journeys people make, then the data must be stored in accordance with the Data Protection Act. This states that data should be only be kept if it is relevant and should only be kept for a reasonable length of time. Also, the data must be kept securely and only appropriate persons should have access to it. Full details of the requirements of the act can be found by logging on to the website of the Information Commissioner.
Additionally, if you allow your employees to use company vehicles for private journeys, then it is recommended that you install a system with a privacy button to ensure these journeys are not monitored or you could risk being in breach of the Human Rights Act.