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Study of the Impact of a Telematics System on Safe and Fuel-Efficient Driving in Trucks
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  • Abstract:
    A telematics system has been successfully demonstrated to be useful for improving motor carrier efficiency. In this particular field study, the research team demonstrated that telematics can be used to monitor and improve safe driving behavior as well as to monitor and improve fuel economy in trucks. Telematics were used to monitor various driver performance parameters: unsafe events (sudden accelerations and hard braking expressed as “yellow” and “red” events, depending on severity), speeding, engine revolutions per minute (RPM), and fuel economy. As the result of monitoring unsafe events and of driver intervention (i.e., providing of information, feedback, training, and/or an incentive to modify driver behavior), drivers of sleeper cabs showed a 55-percent reduction in less severe (yellow) unsafe events and a 60-percent reduction in more severe (red) unsafe events. The following appear to be the indirect effects of the intervention process that focused on reducing yellow and red events: drivers of sleeper cabs (long-haul drivers) showed a 42-percent decrease in percent of miles driving at > 65 miles per hour (mi/h), and drivers of day cabs showed a 33-percent decrease in percent of miles driving at > 65 mi/h (i.e., speeding). Drivers of sleeper cabs showed a 48-percent decline in percent of miles driven at > 1,500 RPM, and drivers of day cabs showed a 27-percent increase in percent of miles driven at > 1,500 RPM. As all of the above trends were taking place, fuel economy improved by 5.4 percent for drivers of sleeper cabs and by 9.3 percent for drivers of day cabs. The data appear to suggest that fuel economy correlates to safe driving. Because safe driving can be said to conserve fuel, and conserving fuel reduces emissions, safe driving can also be said to reduce emissions.
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