eCall technology empowering fleet managers to keep their people and assets safe on the road
By Jules Snow
Fleet managers understand that their decisions are a critical element in the chain of responsibility, including the maintenance of their physical fleet assets and protecting the employees who drive them.
In many ways, company vehicles function as mobile workplaces for staff. By extension, occupational health and safety principles apply there as much as they do in the office or the factory floor.
Managing the chain of responsibility
One technology development that assists fleet managers in better managing this chain of responsibility, and providing the best care for their mobile workforce, is connected vehicle technology and services incorporating emergency call or eCall technology, advanced roadside assistance, stolen vehicle tracking and more.
These connected vehicle technologies, installed by several major carmakers, alert first responders in case of an accident or vehicle breakdown as well as facilitate effective stolen vehicle tracking.
Driver-safety, a priority for Fleet Managers
According to research from AFMA, 72% of all workplace deaths in 2019 involved an automobile, a statistic that pinpoints improved vehicle safety as a critical focus for improved OH&S in the — mobile — workplace.
Fleet managers are already moving in this direction. The 2020 ACA/AFMA Fleet Insights report found that managers with larger fleets are investing in new systems to manage their assets more effectively.
In fleets of 50 to 249 vehicles, safety is a priority for 35% of fleet managers, and this figure increases to 55% for fleets of 250 vehicles or more.
In Europe, eCall technology has been mandatory in vehicles since 2018. It is still optional in Australia but may become a mandatory safety feature in new vehicles in the next few years.
Need of the hour
Developed with feedback from first responding agencies, ASURE combines geolocation, automation and mobile connectivity that enables the vehicle itself to place a call for help in case of emergencies where a driver is unconscious or too injured to call for help or can be activated by pushing a button within the vehicle.
A rapid and effective call capability can halve response times, save up to 200 lives each year and prevent 2500 profound injuries.
For fleet managers, this technology presents a powerful opportunity to take the management of their chain of responsibility to a new level. By improving the safety of employees, it enables efficient utilisation of assets to get back to business as usual in the event of an accident. If vehicles or staff are out of action, fleet managers know that this hurts operations and potentially the company’s bottom line.
Beyond the safety implications, in the case of an accident, there are resourcing issues around replacement drivers and staff required to manage the vehicles workloads that can be resolved promptly, knowing your driver and vehicle have access to help.
Connected service technologies — a significant differentiator
Intelematics works closely with the fleet management community, and as a result of discussing ASURE with our customers, we have noticed an increased awareness of the benefits of eCall and connected car services.
Our discussions indicate that a number of fleet managers are specifically choosing vehicles with this technology installed. Not wanting to wait for eCall to become mandatory, they are ensuring the latest safety and security technology is protecting their people and mobile workplaces.
This trend presents a very real opportunity for vehicle manufacturers to be a chosen provider for larger fleets. Those who have incorporated eCall technology into their vehicles will be the ones to benefit from this momentum, as managers make positive choices to improve the safety and management of their fleets.
Intelematics strongly supports the mandating of eCall technology in all vehicles in Australia. Europe is leading the way, but Australia seems to be lagging in understanding the crucial benefits of this technology in saving lives.
In advance of the regulators, however, demand from fleet managers and the increased provision of eCall services from manufacturers is accelerating the uptake of eCall.
Strengthening of the chain of responsibility, minimising risks, heightening safety for employees, and delivering management benefits for better ROI on physical assets.
This article by Jules Snow was first published in the October 2021 issue of AFMA’s Fleet Drive Magazine.
Wondering how eCall in Australian vehicles can help to achieve vision zero fatalities?
Watch our on-demand webinar on the same subject hosted by ITS Australia
Discover the future of driver safety, and learn from experts on:
- how eCall works and real-life case studies in the Australian market
- how Europe benefitted from mandating eCall
- the application of eCall in Australia from a road safety and automotive industry perspective
- its application and impact on Australian car manufacturers