Browse Publications Technical Papers 2002-01-3111

Fleet Safety & Security Through Telematics 2002-01-3111


The terrorist acts on September 11, 2001 have changed the average American's view of domestic security forever. It is now clear that terrorist acts are not limited to the Middle East or other areas of the world, but that they pose a very real threat here at home. September 11th actually represented the second major terrorist act at the World Trade Center (remember the garage bombing from years earlier) and Oklahoma City proved that a rental truck can serve as a weapon of mass destruction. These events have greatly increased the focus on security for U.S. fleet operators. The current economic environment has caused fleets to cut costs wherever possible, so the question on many minds is; “How can I enhance security of my fleet at a reasonable cost?” For many the answer will be through telematics.


“Fasten your seatbelt”, “Lock the doors”, “Don't speed”… These are the kinds of messages that truck and bus drivers are given all the time, often during occasional management ride-along sessions. These same operators are often given incentives for completing their routes quickly and must choose between following safety and security procedures and bending the rules in order to get the route completed in less time.


New telematics technology allows truck and bus fleet administrators to remotely monitor their vehicles wirelessly in real-time, thereby ensuring that safety and security procedures are followed. Telematics systems are excellent operator training tools, and because every operator and every vehicle is monitored constantly, it becomes possible to gain near-100% compliance with operator safety rules - all without the requirement for management ride-along sessions.
These same systems utilize satellite positioning and wireless communication features, which can greatly enhance security for the operator of the vehicle, and its contents. The system detects when a vehicle has left authorized geographic boundaries thereby detecting hijacking, unauthorized usage or theft. Stolen vehicles can be tracked in real-time and assistance can be given to authorities that allows them to locate a stolen vehicle quickly. Mayday buttons allow operators to silently alert the appropriate authorities in the event of an accident, hijacking, or theft situation. The best systems can even detect accidents in which airbags have been deployed and send a mayday alert automatically. Progressive truck and bus organizations are using telematics to improve the safety and security of their fleet operation and to reduce their accident, risk, and insurance costs.


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