Fleetmatics: Telematics Unbound
Joanne Stahlman, director of corporate operations for Stahlman-England Irrigation, uses her telematics system to protect against insurance scammers. In one instance, she used data from the system to verify that a fleet driver had not swerved into an accuser’s lane and caused damage. Photo courtesy of Stahlman-England Irrigation.
Verifying He Said, She Said
As Vertical Limit’s case revealed, driver welfare is another big reason that many fleets invest in telematics systems. Fleet managers want to know when drivers are speeding (and by how much) and whether they are demonstrating unsafe or fuel-burning habits such as jackrabbit starts, harsh braking, and idling.
That was a big reason that Stahlman-England Irrigation, based in Naples, Fla., installed its system from Fleetmatics, but the company found it wasn’t the only safety issue it was able to address.
Joanne Stahlman, Stahlman-England’s director of corporate operations, notes that there are a lot of scammers on the road in Florida, all targeting commercial vehicles for bogus insurance claims. They would get calls from people claiming that “Something flew off your truck and hit me,” which is a real concern, she says, because their business requires them to haul equipment and parts.
Stahlman-England does irrigation, lighting, drainage, and water audits for the state of Florida, as well as golf course renovations. The company has 22 trucks in its fleet today, running everything from routine maintenance to emergency calls.
Stahlman reports that using her system she was able to thwart the scammers completely. She is able to immediately access detailed logs that can tell whether she had a truck in the area at the time and, in one case, whether it was driving erratically and caused an accident.
In one instance, Stahlman’s driver said the other party swerved into his lane; the other party said the opposite was true. “I was able to replay his driving for those 10 minutes. He was going the speed limit and stayed in his lane. She did swerve into his lane, and we didn’t have to wait two days [for a police report] to find out.”
On a day-to-day basis, Stahlman adds, the Fleetmatics system has improved the company’s safety score exponentially. She has found that a combination of summary reports and “frequent, gentle reminders” for repair and install crews have made a positive impact on drivers. For installations, she notes, there is no need to speed, and thanks to the system, drivers have taken notice.
“They are hauling trailers and machinery. They have to drive five miles under the limit,” Stahlman says. “If we get an alert, we’re on the phone. But over the last eight to 10 months, we have hardly had any alerts.”
July 2016, by Tariq Kamal