I’ve just returned from the 2016 International Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show in Melbourne. Organisers are hoping for 40,000 patrons to visit the show’s hundreds of exhibitors over the next three days.
While there was a lot of ‘wow’ factor at the exhibition, my interest was not so much in the latest truck configurations and waste management solutions but in the providers of technology designed to make heavy vehicle transport safer.
Pleasingly, I found a number of telematics solutions providers who were quick to explain to me how their devices were designed to improve driver safety (and also protect other road-users).
Each of the companies eagerly pointed out their solution’s ease of operation, its many standard features, its interoperability, its data analytics – including driver take-off, turning and braking patterns.
There were some sophisticated fatigue management alerts and electronic work diary capabilities in most of the offerings.
These were GPS units on steroids!
Are telematics the sole solution to the industry’s safety woes?
Currently, vehicle monitoring telematics are not mandatory, although there has been some discussion and ongoing consideration as to whether they should be in the future. Some large fleets have already installed the technology.
So, will they absolve you of your CoR obligations? No.
Telematics products can be very useful in monitoring CoR compliance, especially in relation to speed and fatigue. And technological advances like audible and physical lane departure alerts can definitely save lives.
But telematics are not a silver bullet for CoR compliance. They are an element of compliance, but will still need to be supported by a larger compliance framework.
Further, even the salesmen I spoke with placed a lot of emphasis on companies needing to determine what to do with the data they collect from these in-cabin units. Without someone in your organisation using the captured information to educate drivers or measure safety outcomes, there’s little point in paying out for the devices.
Road safety, especially in large organisations, is a cultural thing. It’s not a cabin-mounted device. And it shouldn’t be something that applies only to your drivers.
However, your drivers need to know that, if you consider installing telematics in their cabins, it’s not to catch them out, it’s to help them adjust their driving habits to improve their own safety and that of road-users around them.
Perhaps telematics, or other technologies will become compulsory in the near future. If, for instance, new legislation determines that the changes will occur, you’ll find all you need to know by subscribing to CoR Adviser newsletter – your monthly industry update – written by transport lawyers in plain English.
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