As we wrap up our series on how trucking companies can take control of their insurance costs, we take a look at one of the more promising ways to deal with skyrocketing insurance premiums. It seems that everyone is talking about how artificial intelligence and other technological innovations are changing society and the way we all do business. It turns out that the trucking industry has already experienced a great deal of this kind of innovation, and insurance carriers tell us that some of these tools can greatly reduce your insurance premiums.
We’ve been talking about the impact of driver safety and motor carriers’ ranking or “score” as determined by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) data on their insurance premiums. The technology a trucking company uses can not only increase the quality and effect of that data but offers several additional benefits as insurance premiums skyrocket.
When thinking about technology in their industry, most operators focus first on ELDs. Based on Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) standards established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), trucking companies have been required since 2019 to install electronic logging devices in their vehicles to replace the traditional paper logbooks that drivers once used to record their driving hours.
Once connected to a vehicle's engine, ELDs record information (such as speed, distance traveled and total driving time) every second, then log it in a format that fleet managers can use to monitor their drivers' performance. ELDs can accurately track driver hours, ensuring that they take adequate rest breaks while on the road and comply with Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations.
ELD providers have improved upon these functions by coupling the devices with the use of other solutions, to provide what is known as vehicle telematics. Simply put, telematics is the process of transmitting information remotely over long distances, and is a term that didn’t exist a decade ago. Vehicle telematics is now a critical aspect of successful fleet operations as unprecedented amounts of data are now available for a company to use to address a number of key factors that insurance companies use in calculcating their premiums.
Insurers’ first concern is the level of risk a fleet presents, and they base the fleet’s exposure level on miles driven, routes, the time-of-day vehicles operate, and the cost of the claims for a fleet with the corresponding risk profile. They use this information to charge a rate that will cover those costs plus a profit. With telematics data, a company can show that their drivers present a lower risk and be assigned a lower risk profile and effectively reduce their premiums.
Telematics gives companies a way to track on-duty, driving, sleeper berth, and off-duty hours and see how drivers operate, bringing attention to behavior like speeding and sudden braking so they can intervene with training and reinforcing clear expectations. They can communicate the exact location of company vehicles, helping managers note suspicious activity that puts trucks at risk of damage and limit unauthorized vehicle use.
Telematics includes GPS tracking alerts that can quickly help recover stolen vehicles and assets, prevent damage, and minimize exorbitant claims. Telematics hardware like dash cams provides vital proof when filing an insurance claim, such as showing that your driver was not at fault and preventing insurance costs from skyrocketing after an accident.
Taking advantage of these innovations in telematics is not the only kind of responsibility a company can show for their fleet that leads to lower insurance costs. Artificial intelligence or AI has already become a factor in collecting and processing data to improve a motor carrier’s commitment to safety.
Using cameras and AI, driver monitoring systems are now available that monitor drivers' states while driving to keep track of drivers’ alertness in real time. Once the engine turns on, a video camera starts monitoring until the engine is off. The driver is identified to make sure they are authorized to drive the vehicle, and when a distracted driving event occurs, the AI engine analyzes the video for hazards like driver drowsiness and fatigue (with blink and yawn detection) or eating, drinking & cell phone usage. The event is classified by the AI device and the results are sent to a server, and a real-time alert generates audible or steering wheel vibrations. The event video can be viewed on mobile or PC and can be downloaded for later use.
By detecting distracted driving with high accuracy in real-time and alerting the driver, this state-of-the-art AI technology prevents accidents caused due to distracted driving. As we know, lowering accidents lowers CSA ranking, improves driver safety performance, and saves insurers lots of money, things that all motor carriers should be focused on if they want to also lower their insurance premiums.
It’s clear that when motor carriers are making decisions as to the rates they offer, they are also looking for a close partnership between their insurance carrier and the agents who work with them to apply for and maintain their coverage. DNI Services is committed to providing that kind of partnership, and this series is part of that commitment. We hope that sharing some of this information will help you make it through one of the biggest concerns that the trucking industry is now dealing with.
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