Teletrac speaks with Pat Gallagher, Director of In-Vehicle Products at Teletrac about the company's integration within Citroen vehicles, telematics adoption in the U.K. and the effect of fleet software on insurance premiums for young drivers.
Q: Name some ways that Teletrac helps Citroen reduce operational costs.
A: Teletrac’s SmartNav helps save about 6 hours of work for each vehicle a month. For a fleet of any size that’s an incredible saving for a business in today’s marketplace. SmartNav continues to be a leading-edge service in terms of savings and efficiency while helping to get around traffic problems.
Q: Have you seen an increase in the adoption of telematics in the U.K.?
A: The U.K. without question is seeing a growing adoption of telematics. At the moment, it’s probably still being driven by the larger companies: the multinationals. At the corporate level, we’re seeing large organizations adopting telematics—that’s really the only way to run a fleet efficiently and to know what the vehicles are doing on a daily or hourly basis. We’re starting to see adoption of driver analytics, driver safety and other behavioral elements as being ever more important in the marketplace.
The U.K. has very strict criteria on how companies manage their vehicles and fleets. In terms of corporate liability, if an owner of a company is seen as not managing his vehicles correctly and someone ends up getting badly injured, they will prosecute companies right up to the chief executive and chairman of the company.
People are looking toward vehicle behavior and driver analytic solutions as a way to ensure authorities that they are managing their vehicles and drivers in a very efficient manner. There’s been a number of U.K. test cases where very significant names within the market have ended up in court because somebody was very badly injured, or in one in one case somebody was killed. It was designated that the vehicle had not been managed or monitored correctly in terms of maintenance repair or safety aspects. The head of the company was ultimately prosecuted.
Q: What benefits do companies receive from utilizing telematics devices?
A: Once people get telematics embedded within the vehicle, they start to understand that it’s not one, two or three things that they benefit from but from a scalable point of view, they benefit on many fronts. I think most people probably wouldn’t even consider stolen vehicle tracking as an issue when they actually commit to telematics. Yet once they have it there, they realize that having that ability will recover vehicles is invaluable.
Q: How have companies used telematics to lower insurance rates?
A: Many companies are looking at fleet behavior and fleet analytics as a way to reduce their fleet policy costs. If they can show their relevant insurer they’re taking steps to ensure that their drivers are driving within the speed limit, that they are adhering to all the necessary behaviors they should do, then invariably reducing the insurance company’s risk will reduce the cost of the premium for the next year.
Q: What is the biggest challenge that young drivers face in the U.K.?
A: The biggest challenge for the U.K. is getting young drivers in the ranges of what I would call “introduction level vehicles” at a sensible cost. The average cost for a young driver taking on a very low cost new vehicle today is probably in excess of about $4,000 per year just for the insurance.
The way that Citroen have looked to address this is they want to entice a lot of younger drivers into their franchise across their entry models which are very attractive to younger drivers. Insurance industry have led the promotion of telematics. We have a number of car manufacturers talking with us and Citroen has been one of the first to make the great leap of faith.