Telematics and carbon emissions

PO14 HJN 01 HINOTelematics and carbon emissions

There is a happy coincidence between universal efforts to reduce the volume of carbon emissions and the new technology of telematics which exists to help in that quest.

There is not only widespread excitement and enthusiasm for the way in which telematics may help make heavy goods vehicle more efficient – and therefore operating with lower carbon emissions – but a growing interest in the way in which real time reporting of driving behaviour and conditions may impact on haulage insurance.


Evidence of this burgeoning interest in the role of telematics may be seen in the number of industry conferences on the subject.

Just one example is the conference entitled Insurance Telematics 2015 to be held in London this year in June.

Reducing carbon emissions

Yet another conference, this one the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) summit which was held in Germany towards the end of 2014, concluded that with the cooperation of all players within the road transport sector, carbon emissions within Europe could be reduced by 20% by the year 2020. The figure was reported on the website Mix Telematics.

Although such a target might appear impressive, it is nevertheless considerably below the UK government’s own goal of achieving a reduction of 80% of the 1990 level of emissions by the year 2050.

Telematics and HGV safety

Telematics may provide one of the keys not only to reducing carbon emissions but also to improving driving standards and HGV safety in general.

The technology involves installing a simple “black box” in the vehicle’s cab, which transmits in real time a whole host of data on engine performance, fuel consumption, and drivers’ behaviour, reactions and habits.

When combined with appropriate training of drivers in safe and fuel conservation driving techniques, telematics may play an immediate role in enhancing safety on the roads of all types of vehicle, according to an article in Fleet News.

This argues that telematics need not be viewed as yet another spy in the cab, but a tool designed to offer genuine help and feedback to both haulage operators and drivers themselves in the way the vehicle is being driven. In order to achieve the maximum contribution, therefore, telematics need to be combined with an ongoing programme of driver training.

Telematics and insurance

With such real time reporting of driving events, there is clearly a connection between telematics and the proper concerns of insurers responsible for assessing the risks of the cover provided.

Haulage operators, drivers and insurers alike, for instance, are likely to share a common interest in identifying those areas where a driver’s performance might be improved. It might be a question of such immediately achievable goals of reducing speeds, or those areas where additional training might be appropriate. In this category, for example, might be the issue of a driver’s ability to anticipate hazards and, so, brake less abruptly and harshly, maintain optimum engine performance and make proper use of the motor’s braking capability.

The future looks bright, therefore, for the use of telematics in reducing carbon emissions, improving road safety and providing insurers with a more accurate and realistic picture of the heavy goods vehicle they cover.