The increasing use of telematics in heavy road vehicles is changing driver road safety behaviours and providing insurers and heavy road vehicle operators real-time data on road safety conditions but, some technology developers like Euclidic Systems are questioning whether the benefits of telematics are being truly realised and the future potential they have in light of current heavy road vehicle incidents in Australia.
During the 12 months to the end of September 2019, 182 people died from 165 fatal crashes involving heavy vehicles in Australia (Australian Government Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics) Of the crashes, there were 99 deaths from 91 crashes involving articulated trucks, 88 deaths from 79 crashes involving heavy rigid trucks and 5 deaths from 5 crashes involving both a heavy rigid truck and an articulated truck.
In a recent interview, Euclidic Systems Chief Executive and telematics (telecommunications and informatics systems) technology developer Chris Witt highlighted that the use of technology and a ‘careless or uninformed approach to technology’ could have assisted in preventing some of the incidents.
The benefits of using technology are potentially life-saving. Fewer accidents, improved safety, driver and passenger protection, reduced fuel consumption, maintenance and servicing make the case for less damage to the environment and the bottom line,” Witt said.
Across the heavy vehicle industry, including mining, telematics has emerged to become a tool for improving safety. Specifically, it may:
- Help reduce speeding by making operators aware of their past road safety behaviours;
- Assists in heavy equipment operators recording defects in equipment;
- Provides support data for fatigue triggers and subsequent actions;
- Provide direct real-time feedback for operators and their controls centres on conditions;
- Reduce fuel usage – leaving a lesser environmental footprint;
- Address aspects of Chain of Responsibility requirements under National heavy Vehicle Legislation (See video below);
But Witt says “There’s little monitoring, management or training, which is exactly what the technology is designed to encourage.”
“One of the features included is data-as-a-service (DaaS) to increase driver accountability and reduce running costs while helping the environment. Above all else is the incalculable worth of improved driver, passengers and public safety,” Witt concluded.
The Productivity Commission on National Transport Regulatory Reform has also concluded that “Governments and industry also need to reap the benefits of technologies such as telematics. These offer exciting opportunities to improve safety and lift productivity. Governments will have an important role in facilitating data collection and sharing across governments and industry.”
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