Long gone are the days when companies would need to hire a manager to sit in the passenger seat to monitor the performance of the driver and vehicle. It can now all be done virtually by one software operator who can overlook a number of drivers and their vehicles at the same time using GPS tracking software.
Here is everything you need to know about commercial vehicle tracking systems and how they could help your business:
How does a vehicle tracking system work?
Vehicle tracking systems are not too dissimilar to the GPS systems that most drivers use on devices such as smartphones and sat navs, but it comes with a lot more benefits and ways to analyse performance. It uses global positioning systems (GPS) via satellites, which then send real-time updates and data to the software operator.
A piece of hardware is installed in the vehicle and the data is then beamed back to the manager, who may be assigning jobs or monitoring the performance of a driver.
Is it legal to track commercial vehicles?
Yes. It is perfectly legal in the UK to track your company’s vehicles. The ability to track mileage and other key data has proven invaluable to companies worldwide for insurance purposes and performance analysis.
It is also legal to track vehicles owned by employees and not by the company, providing the tracking stops at the end of the employee’s shift. It can be agreed with the driver that data will not be collected outside of working hours, or the driver can turn choose to turn off data transmission using a privacy button.
However, it is illegal under the Data Protection Act to track a vehicle without the knowledge of the employee.
If you wish to fit coverts tracker on your commercial vehicles to help in the event of theft, you are also obliged by law to inform the employee of the tracker and the data you will be receiving from it.
What kind of data you can receive
As well as the regular features that come with regular GPS systems, fleet management and vehicle tracking systems such as TomTom Webfleet are able to locate vehicles and give directions to the destination that may have been assigned to the driver of the vehicle.
Additionally, a lot more complex data is also detected, such as the speed of the car, driving patterns and the software operator will be alerted when the driver performs an illegal or aggressive manoeuvre, such as speeding or hard braking. This is ideal for monitoring the wellbeing and behaviour of the driver.
A lot of taxi companies opt for the software because most of the systems come with dispatching tools, which have been proven to dramatically improve workflow. The software allows companies to be able to give customers a more accurate ETA and accurate updates if the driver has encountered a problem or is running late.
Accident tracking, roadside assistance and anti-theft features are also vital tools that allow companies to act quickly and effectively if the data is showing that the driver may have been involved in an accident.
Things you should consider before choosing a vendor
Vehicle tracking systems are a big commitment for any company and it’s important to choose the ideal vendor so that your business benefits from the technology.
There are a lot of providers offering systems that are unnecessarily complicated. Always be on the lookout for a solution that has a simple dashboard and doesn’t require much learning to use. Make sure you try the software before you buy.
It’s also important to get the most out of the technology. Some vendors offer alert systems that will send texts and emails when something isn’t right with the vehicle or driver.
Before buying, also ask the vendor to prove that the GPS signal will be reliable and will not drop when the driver is driving through tunnels or has to leave the city.
Third-party integration is also highly desired because it means you can sync all of the data with your accounting and payroll.
Finally, should you ever encounter any problems with the software and require assistance, it can save a lot of time and troubleshooting by selecting a vendor that offers real, live person anytime help!