29 Sep 20

Telematics is key for Latam fleet safety - Fleet LatAm Conference 2020

Considering the precarious conditions of many of the roads in Latin America and driving habits that are commonly not up to par, making sure that safety is first and foremost in vehicle fleet and saving lives is something that should be on the mind of every fleet manager in the region.

“Your employees are your most important asset,” says Karina Uribe who is Regional Fleet & Travel Manager for pharmaceuticals company Pfizer.

Besides those that develop safety programs and accurately manage safety data, among the key players in your fleet management program are those in charge of safe vehicle selection, vehicle maintenance, and team members that focus on driver recognition, says Ms. Uribe, adding that vendor partners are very important.

The executive was one of many who spoke on the opening day of the second annual Fleet LatAm Conference on Tuesday (29 September) which attracted over 550 registered fleet managers and decision makers, from more than 30 countries. Ms. Uribe presented a case study about setting up a successful safety policy across Latin America.

One way to increase productivity and cost savings as well as save lives is by using telematics, according to Neil Cawse who is CEO and Founder of global telematics firm Geotab. Mr. Cawse gave a presentation at the event entitled "Lives saved by telematics".

                         Geotab Founder and CEO Neil Cawse (source: Geotab)

Not only does telematics help to control driver speeding, it also knows the speed limit stipulated along routes. Moreover, it helps assure that seatbelts are worn, controls after-hours driving, and creates risk assessment and safety reports which can be aggregated, says the executive.

“We can then use this information to identify the heart of accidents and in turn reduce the number of incidents throughout the entire fleet,” said Mr. Cawse.

According to Luiz Roberto Silveira who is manager of market safety leadership and culture in Brazil for Philip Morris International, the tobacco company has been successfully using technology and telematics to reduce accidents and increase driver and road safety.

“The key is to give constant feedback to drivers so to increase their awareness. Basically, our goal is to improve driving behaviour and the overall safety mindset of our team,” Mr. Silveira said during his presentation of a case study which addressed embracing technology and innovation to achieve fleet safety excellence.

Some of the questions that come up when considering telematics and fleet safety policies are those related to government intervention and legislation, privacy protection, procedures for charging penalties to drivers, efficiently mapping out hazardous road areas, and the overall implementation of telematics.

For both Mr. Silveira and Ms. Uribe, driver communication and feedback are key when it comes to dealing with fines and penalties. In general, drivers pay for their infractions while accidents – if not excessive – are covered by the employer.  

“In terms of legislation, lobbying to enforce telematics usage is simply not necessary if governments just take the time to see that this type of technology is a crucial way to improving the overall safety of citizens,” said Geotab Executive VP Colin Sutherland during the conference.

Achieving utmost in Latam fleet safety, five takeaways

  • Governance is key
  • It's all about culture
  • There are many obstacles to tackle
  • Telematics leads to improved results and cost savings
  • Talking with partners is of utmost importance

Moderated by Steven Schoefs who is Global Fleet and Fleet LatAm Chief Editor and Fleet LatAm Advisory Board Chairman Pascal Serres, the first day of the event counted on speakers from RDA Renting, eDriving, Golsat, MSD, PepsiCo MétricaMóvil Telematics, and other Geotab representatives.

Besides founding partner Geotab, the main sponsors of the two-day event are Element-Arval, Cepa Safe Drive, and Trimble. Stay tune for tomorrow as Fleet LatAm will be addressing opportunities in Latin America in face of the new normal.

On Wednesday 30 September the Fleet LatAm Conference continues with a focus on Opportunities in Electrification, Connectivity and Mobility. You can attend the conference by clicking here

Authored by: Daniel Bland