Safety first with the best telematics solutions

The headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Church or the Mormon Church, is located in Salt Lake City, USA. The church has more than  17 million members worldwide and more than 60,000 missionaries. Alexander Merkel, Area Fleet and Travel Manager, tells us more about their fleet and what role telematics plays in enhancing the missionaries’ safety.

Focus on social well-being

Besides electrifying the fleet and optimising fleet costs, the social wellbeing of drivers is an important issue for fleet managers who operate internationally. With an enhanced focus on driving behaviour, fleet managers are working in an increasingly targeted way to improve the safety of their drivers and the environment they are part of. At The Church, most drivers are fresh out of school and volunteer for The Church without much driving experience; either that, or they are already retired and have been used to driving a certain way all their lives, which also needs attention. These demographics were the main reason for introducing a driver accountability programme in America, and the positive results prompted the rollout of this programme globally too.

“It is our responsibility to invest in technology that has been proven to save lives”

Alexander Merkel, Area Fleet and Travel Manager

Telematics plays a crucial role in the successful implementation of the driver accountability programme: “We primarily introduced telematics to improve driver safety,” Alexander explains. “On average, our telematics solutions save the lives of 2 to 3 of our drivers in the United States and Canada every year. As an organisation, you cannot afford to not invest in technology that saves lives. Safety is an absolute priority. However, the US programme is not only focused on safety. That’s great, but our vehicles and telematics solutions can do much more. When we started to invest in telematics solutions, we wanted to focus not only on the safety aspect, but also on the other data our vehicles automatically generate.”

The broad possibilities of telematics

Managing driving behaviour is a reason for many companies to start using telematics. Acceleration, breaking behaviour, and seat belt use are examples of key metrics that have a direct relationship on driver safety while driving. The wide applications of telematics also ensure driver safety by closely monitoring the car when it is being used. This allows for quick action when a car is involved in an incident and needs help. In addition, telematics allows you to manage preventive maintenance much better, optimising vehicle safety.

“By preventing accidents and unforeseen maintenance, the use of telematics pays for itself, and your organisation saves significantly”

Alexander Merkel, Area Fleet and Travel Manager

Alexander explains how telematics is successful from different angles. “Our main optimisation is increasing safety. For example, this results in a 30% reduction in speeding tickets alone. In addition, we know the status of our vehicles. We anticipate low tyre pressure, which saves substantially on fuel costs. We are aware of the meter readings in the car when we need them, we know where the cars are should the need arise. We can schedule maintenance based on location. These are great benefits that optimise the safety and logistics of our fleet, and with that, the programme pays for itself.”

Optimal response to telematics trends

Telematics applications are growing fast, partly because more and more links can be made with existing Geotab hardware. A good example is the combination of telematics and voice coaching, which makes The Church’s driver accountability programme even more successful. Even if drivers know nothing about the vehicle’s technology, you know you need to take action based on data provided by the car. And what’s more, the voice coaching feature tells it to you.

“The voice coaching feature is mandatory,” Alexander explains. “The system works with Open Streets Maps, a community-based speeding platform where speed limits are tracked. The system knows the limit and the speed of the car, so it can tell the car to slow down as it approaches a zone with a lower speed limit. This offers a 97% reduction in speeding violations – a wonderful result!”

Want to read more about the biggest challenges facing international fleet managers? Interested in finding out how telematics can be leveraged to improve driver safety and fleet performance? Download our ebook here!