iTECH — Driver Monitoring: Parsing the Cost of Behavior Modification

By Frederick Kiel, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the August/September issue of iTECH, published in the Aug. 25 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Camera-based driver monitoring costs $400 to $1,000 per device, plus monthly monitoring fees of $20 to $40 per vehicle, according to vendor reports.

DriveCam Inc., for example, provides camera, software and “flexible” service offerings, said Doron Lurie, vice president of marketing and business development.

For comparison, PeopleNet, Chaska, Minn., offers safety monitoring as a part of its premium vehicle-location and wireless messaging package. It does not have a camera, but fuel-use monitoring is also part of the package. Installation costs about $1,200, and monthly service fees are $45 to $50.

Brian McLaughlin, chief operating officer, said half of PeopleNet’s customers opt for safety monitoring. He also said a number of insurance companies offer discounts, though he declined to identify the companies, citing confidentiality agreements.

“I have seen premium reductions as high as 15%, though typically, it’s 10%,” McLaughlin said.

Vendors of monitoring use accident and insurance cost-reduction as a major selling point. One vendor focuses on behavior modification to achieve the same goal.

“A risky driver can undertake hundreds of dangerous maneuvers before he gets into an actual accident,” said Daniel Steere, chief executive officer of GreenRoad Technologies. “It’s not about reconstructing what happened but preventing an accident in the first place.”

GreenRoad’s intent is to alter dangerous habits and practices with a panel of flashing lights on the dashboard.

“Within a few seconds of a questionable maneuver, such as not slowing down fast enough for a turn, the display will flash a green light for moderate deviation from a safe action, yellow for a questionable one and red for a dangerous one,” Steere said.

Reports of such incidents go to both the fleets and the vendor. GreenRoad, Redwood Shores, Calif., which tracks 120 different truck movements, identifies drivers who continue risky behavior and works with the fleet to retrain them.

“The real key is not any single incident; the real power is to see a trend,” Steere said.

GreenRoad offers a hardware and software package at a list price of $1,000 per vehicle for three years, which includes cost of the equipment, monitoring data and working with safety directors to develop programs based on the collected data.

Qualcomm Inc., San Diego, one of the oldest and largest suppliers of onboard telematics, formed a partnership two years ago to analyze risk factors from vehicle data.

“The use of in-cab and truck movement data to predict risks has proven itself consistently but is only in its infancy in its introduction into trucking insurance,” Bjorn Svinterud, Qualcomm’s director of business management, told iTECH.

“We have found out over time that fleets were not efficiently using the enormous amount of data generated from our equipment,” Svinterud said. “That is why we linked up with Fleet Risk Advisors to offer predictive analysis.”

Fleet Risk Advisors, Alpharetta, Ga., combines data from Qualcomm units with “static data,” such as the driver’s experience, how many companies each driver has worked for and frequency of turnover, driving history and other demographics.


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