Improving Fleet Safety and Driver Behavior with Commercial Insurance Telematics

Improving Safe Driving Behavior for Commercial Drivers Without Sacrificing Efficiency

Many of the factors associated with rising claims and loss frequency are rooted in poor driver behavior. Statistics from studies conducted on in-vehicle monitoring with telematics show a clear relationship between monitoring and driver behavior.

“The commercial auto industry has taken a big hit lately—it lost more than $700 million last year on claims involving trucks and other commercial vehicles. Those losses are translating into higher premiums for businesses.¹”

Driver behavior improves when each driver realizes monitoring is in place and subsequent coaching is provided. In much the same way that a video camera positioned over a traffic light can lessen the frequency at which a driver runs a red light, a driver in a monitored vehicle is more likely to obey speed limits, brake judiciously, reduce idling time, and use caution in lane changes or choice of stopover locations.

Insurance organizations that are positioning telematics solutions to fleet operators can cite studies linked to safer vehicle operation. A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation² monitored truck driver performance using a telematics system that included feedback and coaching to drivers.

The findings demonstrated a reduction in unsafe events and incidents of speeding, and, as a side benefit, an improvement in fuel economy between 5 and 9 percent.

Points from the study indicated the following:

  • Unsafe events defined as sudden acceleration, hard braking, and sudden lane changes decreased by almost 50 percent across both day cab and sleeper cab groups.
  • Distance driven at speeds more than 65 miles per hour decreased by more than 33 percent for day cabs and 42 percent for sleeper cab groups.
  • Distances driven at more than 1,500 revolutions per minute increased 27 percent for day cab groups and decreased 48 percent for sleeper cab groups.

As reported by Commercial Fleet, the car parts firm Andrew Page cut accidents and reduced speeding by 97 percent after deploying a telematics system in the company vehicles. An earlier trial program showed a 47 percent reduction in harsh events. The company states that driver behavior scores have improved significantly across the fleet (with 98 percent of drivers in the green, indicating good driving behavior).³

Earlier studies and studies conducted in different regions confirmed the correlation between telematics and improved driving safety. The landmark SAMOVAR DRIVE project, one of the most widely cited studies of telematics devices in the world, sponsored by the European Union, demonstrated a 28 percent reduction in crashes with telematics monitoring in place.⁴ A series of U.S.-based studies conducted in later years demonstrated that installing telematics systems into vehicle fleets has been shown to cut accident occurrences by 20 – 30 percent.⁵

Recent advances in telematics, driver scoring, and in-vehicle technologies are quickly transforming commercial lines insurance. New tools and technologies make it possible to acquire richer and more precise data from diverse sources that can be used to construct comprehensive driver profiles and scores, generate direct feedback to drivers to encourage safe vehicle operation, and leverage insights derived from analytics by drawing on input from a broad collection of data stores.


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¹ Milne-Tyte, Ashley. “Traffic climbed after the recession. So did accidents and truckers’ premiums.” Marketplace. ’17. https://www.marketplace. org/2017/07/06/economy/truck-drivers-face-higher-insurance-premiums-reason-more-traffic-roads-post

² “Study of the Impact of a Telematics System on Safe and Fuel-efficient Driving in Trucks.” U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. ’14.

³ “Instances of speeding drop dramatically at Andrew Page after telematics installed.” Commercial Fleet. ’15. latest-news/2015/11/19/instances-of-speeding-drop-dramatically-at-andrew-page-after-telematics-installed

⁴ Craig, Steven C. “Vehicle Telematics: Risk Management at Every Turn.” RISK Management. ’10.

⁵ Ibid.