by: Karen Bradley
Every fleet manager is concerned with reducing costs related to their vehicles and drivers, and a surprisingly simple way to do that is through reducing commercial fleet insurance costs. There are several simple ways to do this, and all of them come with additional savings and benefits.
So how do you rein in commercial fleet insurance costs? Start with GPS vehicle tracking. To start with, your insurance company will often offer you discounts just for having GPS fleet tracking installed. This is just the start, though. Tracking your fleet will save you on insurance in other ways too.
The very first thing that will happen is you will be able to improve driver behavior. While there is some debate over whether or not you should tell your employees you have GPS tracking installed, at EcoTrack Fleet Management, we think transparency is the best policy.
Besides just being good policy, knowing their actions are being tracked is often an incentive for drivers to improve their behavior. Tracking enables you to do several things:
Management will get alerts about erratic driving, speeding, idling, and more. That way you can address driver behavior before it gets worse or causes a more serious issue. You can also use tracking to enforce written policies, such as:
Improving driver behavior will reduce costs besides insurance costs.
The next additional benefit is the improvement of driver safety. Not only does better behavior reduce speeding and other poor driving behavior, but it reduces the likelihood of tickets and accidents. In many cases, improving driver safety starts with hiring the right drivers in the first place. Be sure you are following the NETS guidelines set forth by OSHA which can be found here.
There are other safety factors to consider, and these will often be outlined by your insurance company and through regulatory compliance.
GPS tracking allows fleet managers to gather a lot of data about their fleet and their drivers, but the most important thing is how you act on that actionable data. Interact with drivers early to prevent problems later on. Offer instruction first and then corrective action if necessary.
In the case of an accident, analyze the data, offer immediate feedback, and determine fault fairly. This data can also be used to clarify what happened and how it could have been prevented.
Armed with data from GPS vehicle tracking will make your drivers safer.
The problem with letting employees take their company vehicle home is a road fraught with unpleasant surprises and potential issues. From the risk of DUIs and off-the-clock accidents to using the company truck to move, the risks are too great to allow.
The first key is to have written policies in place to protect your company from liability in case of an accident.
Fleet managers want to trust their employees and should be able to, but both after-hours accidents and violations happen all too often. Having a system in place and written policies will help protect you from liability, and GPS vehicle tracking can show you the activity in real-time, which may allow you to prevent disasters before they happen.
An at-fault accident by one driver can make insurance rates skyrocket (in addition to other consequences). GPS fleet tracking can help identify risky behavior before accidents occur.
Vehicles that are better maintained are safer and last longer. Everything from brake checks to alignment, rotations, and tire replacement can make all the difference in a fleet. Your insurance company knows this too.
GPS tracking helps you keep exact records of mileage, enable you to strictly enforce maintenance schedules, and helps you prove you have been diligent in the event something does happen. If one of your vehicles is in an accident, you’ll likely be asked about maintenance records along with driver history and records. GPS vehicle tracking gives you the data to share that can prove you’re doing the right thing.
This is another reason many insurance companies offer discounts for GPS-tracked fleets. They know maintained vehicles are safe vehicles, which reassures them you are being proactive.
The other thing GPS vehicle tracking does is reduce the chances of theft and increases the chances of recovering the vehicle. In one case in 2018, an EcoTrack GPS tracked vehicle was hijacked and involved in a high-speed chase in the Phoenix area. That vehicle was abandoned when it ran out of gas, but the company was able to direct the police in a turn by turn account of where the vehicle was and where it was abandoned.
The suspect went on to carjack two more vehicles before the chase ended tragically for a local K-9 and the suspect. However, the company was able to recover their vehicle with no damage and help police at the same time.
GPS vehicle tracking lets you know the moment a vehicle is stolen, track its activity, and report this to police and local authorities. You’ll likely get your vehicle back, and the police will be more likely to apprehend the suspects before they can strike again.
This simple action can save you thousands of dollars and is a sure way to keep insurance premiums from skyrocketing.
Insurance is one aspect of fleet management where costs are easy to control, and GPS vehicle tracking can help. Do you have questions about tracking your fleet and what the best way might be for you to get started? We have answers. Contact us at 1-800-792-9620.