Recent data published by the DfT has found that vans, LGVs and HGVs were involved in more serious and fatal accidents per mile than any other form of transport. While 37% of these accidents affected car occupants, and 32% involved pedestrians, the psychological toll on a truck driver involved in a serious accident can be life-changing.

Telematics are a powerful tool that will help to prevent road accidents in the first instance, and will also help to protect your drivers if an accident does occur.

Telematics describes several technologies that can be installed in fleet vehicles to improve road safety, and reduce maintenance and fuel costs. Devices can also send alerts in the event of an accident, and locate the vehicle quickly so emergency aid can be sent.

The most important benefit of fleet telematics is that accidents are reduced. Fleet telematics providers estimate around a 20% reduction in accidents using the technology.

Crucially, telematics takes guesswork out of the equation when carrying out staff and risk assessments. If a driver is working quickly, telematics will help to determine if they are efficient, or speeding.

The average cost of a fleet accident claim is around £20,000 - and that’s only the cost of the claim itself, without factoring the impact on management time, stress and employees’ morale.

Uncertainty can be a major source of stress and friction in the aftermath of an accident. Telematics significantly reduces this uncertainty, giving drivers and employers confidence in their account of events, and allowing the claims process to resolve much faster.

Insurers will sometimes try to settle a claim on a 50:50 basis to avoid costly legal fees. Telematics will help prevent your driver from being unfairly accused of partial liability for the accident, which would reduce their compensation.

Fighting a claim can become an overwhelming distraction for a business. Even if you feel you are demonstrating that you have your driver’s back by challenging the claim, the resulting uncertainty and disruption can damage company morale anyway.

By law, all employers must take all reasonable steps to protect the health and safety of their workforce. A reduction in road accidents is one obvious benefit of telematics, but the data can also be used to reduce the risks of occupational health issues.

Telematics gives management the chance to spot the warning signs early, before a serious incident occurs, resulting in avoidable vehicle and driver downtime.

Telematics can revolutionise a business’s efficiency, safety, driver satisfaction and management support. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution, but in consultation with your team, you will be able to implement telematics and draw up supporting policies to better protect your drivers’ safety and mental wellbeing.

Chris Salmon, director, Quittance Legal Services