There are a multitude of factors which influence vehicle operators’ costs, of which insurance is one. With a rise in Insurance Premium Tax expected this year, higher costs of vehicle repairs and escalating personal injury and whiplash costs all contributing to rising premiums, it is little wonder vehicle operators are looking at what can be done to try and manage insurance premiums.

With claims frequency having a significant impact on insurance premiums, looking at what can be done to assist drivers and improve safety across the board is critical. To this end, many companies are investing in the latest in-vehicle technology with a view to bringing down insurance premiums.

The adoption of telematics technology has been seen to be growing rapidly in the car insurance market and is also now common place amongst many haulage operations. Telematics technology can collect data on a variety of factors, such as stress on brakes, average speeds, fatigue, as well as giving an idea of how individual drivers are performing.

Simply installing telematics technology however, won’t get you very far.

The most important aspect is harnessing the data it provides in the correct way. Getting an idea of individual driver performance can help you direct training to required areas, and when carried out in the correct way can have a positive impact on both drivers and safety.

However, understanding driver behaviour on its own may not give the full picture – also consider if there are operational reasons for this behaviour. For example, are your drivers on too tight a schedule which leads to them taking risks? The business set up and management behaviour must encourage an environment that favours safety to really decrease accident rates.

Developments in vehicles themselves are leading to the introduction of more driver safety aids such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems. Whilst more widely available on cars some manufacturers are also starting to make them available on smaller vans. Recent EU legislation is also making fitting of such devices mandatory to new LGV’s. These systems mean brakes are automatically applied if the driver doesn’t act when there is a stationary or slow moving vehicle ahead – the likely benefits of which could be to reduce speeds at which accidents happen or even the frequency of low speed collisions.

Therefore, if these types of accidents are common across your business this type of technology could be of use.

Thinking of updating the vehicles in your fleet? Making the right vehicle choices could also help you manage your insurance premiums, with many insurers looking favourably on vehicles which utilise these safety features. Businesses who invest in vehicles with modern safety measures may find this a way to differentiate themselves when it comes to the insurance market.

If your broker is working hard on your behalf, then this ability to demonstrate that safety is at the forefront of your business could help you manage increasing insurance costs.

Whilst we consider the benefits of the above advances, with all the technology now available in vehicles (mobile phones, sat navs etc) drivers are likely to be more distracted than ever. Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of accidents so businesses should ensure they have strict procedures in place to manage this whilst confirming these procedures are also complied with to ensure that technology doesn’t counteract your efforts to improve safety.