Are you at risk?

by James Menzies

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the reams of data being spewed out by your telematics system? What exactly are you supposed to do with all that information?

FleetRisk Advisors has introduced a new product that takes all that data, combines it with other sources of information and sorts through the pell-mell to identify fleet risks.

The Transportation Risk Analytics Center (TRAC) is a risk modeling and analytics platform that helps pinpoint risks within a fleet and allows a fleet manager to better manage problem areas.

It can detect incident trends that would otherwise go unnoticed and red flag certain drivers or operating conditions that tend to lead to problems, the company says.

The system uses a relational database that combines historical data about drivers, vehicles, routes, schedules, accidents and incidents with daily operational data from in-cab monitoring technologies.

The result is a “risk signature” which gives fleet managers the ability to improve their safety and profitability, says Sam Wilkes, CEO of FleetRisk Advisors.

Risk signatures are predictive indicators gathered from historical and operational data. They indicate behavioral and environmental characteristics that may cause accidents.

“Knowledge of these risk signatures can be used to modify behavior, thus reducing both the frequency and severity of accidents and other loss-related costs,” says company literature.

“What’s unique about this is we have extensive databases of information and combine that with analytics which help fleet owners identify losses,” explains Wilkes. “Once they’ve identified them, they can develop proper countermeasures to produce pretty dramatic results.”

He likens the process to combining paper records stowed away in filing cabinets with the electronic data provided by in-cab vehicle monitoring systems.

Large fleets tend to have so many vehicles on the road, it’s often difficult to accurately track incidents, Wilkes says, adding TRAC can identify the types of incidents that occur most frequently and sound alarm bells about the conditions that have surrounded them.

For instance, if most accidents are minor rear-enders occurring at intersections, a fleet could surmise aggressive driving is a problem and take action to address it. If most accidents are occurring at night and involve vehicles leaving the roadway, then it’s probably a good idea to implement a fatigue management plan, he says.

“The benefits are some pretty dramatic reductions in hard dollar costs,” Wilkes says.

He points to a U.S.-based petroleum hauler that identified fatigue as the cause for the majority of its accidents. It implemented a fatigue management plan and saw crashes decrease by 23 per cent.

“Their cost per million miles went from $32,000 to $8,000,” Wilkes says. “It was a pretty dramatic impact on their bottom line.”

According to Wilkes, TRAC is the first predictive modeling system in the trucking industry and the company is confident it will be a success. Officials have already inked deals with at least three customers and will soon be able to publish preliminary results. (Days after the interview with Truck News, FleetRisk Advisors announced Dupre Transport out of Lafayette, La. had signed on to participate in a major pilot project using the TRAC platform.)

In addition to reducing accidents (which we all know can cost a trailer-full of dollars), Wilkes says insurance premiums should also decrease for fleets that implement TRAC.

“Most fleet operators realize that there is a strong correlation between safety and profitability. Fleet operations are complex and competitive, and it is more and more difficult to maintain the attention to detail necessary to combat accident frequency and severity,” says Wilkes.

“Traditional loss control programs begin to lose their effectiveness. It takes a tremendous amount of detailed data to predict conditions and circumstances under which a loss might occur, and it is this same level of detail that gives operators the knowledge to prevent those losses. Our research also indicates that the behavior modifications which prevent losses are very often the same behavior modifications which improve personnel productivity and operating asset utilization.”

TRACS is available immediately in both the U.S. and Canada.

It’s subscription-based and involves a risk assessment at the time of implementation.

“In comparison to the potential savings and how much particularly large fleets spend on insurance, loss control and risk management, pricing has not been a problem so far,” says Wilkes, adding the program is best suited for fleets with more than 200 trucks.

“Most of the larger fleets are the ones that have less personal attention to each of the drivers and vehicles because it’s harder for them to micromanage,” Wilkes says.

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