Business Fleet - Using Safety Technology to Combat Distracted Driving
Business Fleet - Cover Story
Using Safety Technology to Combat Distracted Driving
By Thi Dao
Audible Driver Mentoring Can Lower Insurance Rates
What it Does: Inthinc's Tiwi technology offers fleets a system that audibly "mentors" drivers while driving to help them reduce dangerous driving behavior.
How it Works: Tiwi's in-cab system verbally alerts drivers when they exhibit dangerous driving behavior such as hard turns, accelerations and braking, speeding and safety belt violations. The system uses a GPS receiver and cellular network coverage to track vehicles and notify fleet managers in real time when an incident occurs. The "Speed-by-Street" technology compares actual vehicle speed to a database of speed limits, or limits set by the company. Also available are Smartzones, which allow managers to set arrival and departure alerts or speed limits in geofenced areas.
An online fleet monitoring and reporting portal is available, as well as trend analyses on both driver and vehicle performance. An RFID reader allows for separate data for drivers sharing a vehicle.
During implementation and the early stages of using the Tiwi technology, the system collects data about the driver's behavior before turning on the mentoring system.
The Results: "In virtually every case, the minute we turn on the mentoring, driving behavior changes, and it changes dramatically," says Todd Follmer, CEO of the West Valley City, Utah-based company (www.inthinc.com).
Company records show a 73 percent improvement in safety belt usage, 86 percent reduction in speeding violations, and 89 percent reduction in aggressive driving after 90 days of use.
Better driving behavior leads to an increase in fuel economy, and some insurance companies will give a 10 percent discount for installation, Follmer adds.
The Cost: Installation is as simple as plugging the system into the diagnostic board on the vehicle. Inthinc maintains and updates the software automatically. Rates depend on the type of plan chosen. A three-year subscription, which comes with the hardware, costs $299.99.