Delivering Value to the Insurer as well as the Fleet
Tens of millions of installed OBD telematics solutions have delivered clear value to fleets for a long time. The ideal complement to an installed OBD/telematics device would be an effective cell phone distraction technology. Driver distraction generally, and cell phone distraction, in particular, contribute strongly to overall accident/loss exposure. With tight insurance markets and continuing commercial auto profitability issues, the use of cell phone distraction technology is a proven way to improve risk/loss exposure.
The issue for insurers is that location information (“dots on a map”), fuel efficiency, idle time, operational efficiency, and engine status information delivers value to the fleet but little value to the insurer. If the telematics solution includes a driver scorecard, the issue from a driver safety point of view is that the correction of identified driving behavior risk is very much dependent on the fleet’s management of the process of coaching and correcting identified risky behaviors over time. While benefit can clearly be delivered, the value to the insurer is contingent on the fleet’s long term feedback/coaching effectiveness.
Driver distraction, and specifically that related to unsafe cell phone usage, drives a large percentage of vehicle accidents. While many measures of risky driving (speeding, harsh maneuvering,) can be identified through the use of telematics solutions, the greatest driver of fleet accidents, driver distraction, is typically not.
Cell phone distraction is unique amongst the various risky driving behaviors in that unsafe cell phone use can be stopped, not just identified. Cell phone distraction is the only behavior that does not necessarily require constant and continual coaching for correction. In other words, the insurer’s investment in incentivizing the use of cell phone distraction (done properly) does not create a contingency where the insurer is dependent on the effective coaching of the fleet to result in improved risk outcomes.
Commercial insurers should be focused on incentivizing the use of technology that actually delivers value back to the insurer, not just the fleet. While AI-oriented cameras and phone based apps can identify the use/handling of cell phones (but typically not stop it), the ubiquitous OBD/telematics solution typically can neither identify nor block cell phone usage.
As the world eventually returns to a “new normal”, cell phone distraction management is clearly a low risk, low cost, effective tool to improve driving safety. Fleets and insurers of any size will benefit through lessening the risk of driver distraction.
Click here to learn more on how Telematics + Cell Blocking make a great combination.
LifeSaver Mobile is a leading provider of cell phone distraction avoidance technology, with over a dozen commercial insurers offering formal programs incentivizing use amongst their insureds.