Telematics and Disasters

The gulf coast is still recovering and assessing the damage caused by Hurricane Isaac late last month. While much weaker than Hurricane Katrina that hit the gulf in 2005, Isaac caused plenty of damage, concern, and allowed local, state and federal governments to test for the first time their disaster plans developed after Katrina.

The gulf is not the only region that deals with severe weather. The entire United States is susceptible to some form of severe event in the form of hurricanes, tornadoes, major blizzards, heavy rains, wildfires and even tsunamis. When severe weather hits, trucks are almost always caught in the crossfire, making it important for fleets to prepare their own disaster plans for drivers.

Don't worry, you're not alone in the development of an emergency plan for your fleet. There are many resources available and your telematics solution is critical to any emergency plan. Telematics provides key resources, information and tools that better equip fleet managers to face the emergency in front of them. Here are a few telematics solutions that can become lifesavers in times of emergency:

  • Vehicle tracking: When disaster strikes it is easy for everything to get mixed up. Pre-planned routes may no longer be accessible or emergency services may redirect traffic. Throughout a disaster it is important to know where all your drivers and trucks are. While cell service can fail in a time of emergency, GPS systems use highly reliable satellites that are not impacted by what might be happening on the ground.

  • Mobile data systems: Some telematics systems now allow fleet operators to send communications and data directly to drivers in cab. These systems are critical in a time of emergency, allowing managers to communicate emergency plan information and directives to drivers on the road in real time.

  • Emergency warning systems: One of the newest telematics systems, emergency warning systems allow vehicle-to-vehicle - infrastructure-to-vehicle - and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication via short wave radio. Accidents, road closures and more can be communicated in real time to drivers on the ground.

  • Speed monitoring: Some disasters require you to get out of dodge as fast as possible, others, require drivers to slow down and increase caution, like severe snow storms. Systems integrated with existing vehicle tracking and telematics systems allow fleet managers to review driver speeds and even set up temporary speed zones to monitor driver risk in these areas, and address drivers who are taking unnecessary risk in these situations.

Disaster strikes, but it doesn't have to strike your fleet out. Utilizing telematics solutions, developing a disaster plan for your fleet, and educating all fleet employees of the policies in place ahead of a disaster can make all the difference when the worst happens.

Looking for more information on where to start? Check out these articles from Automotive Fleet and Government Fleet for some tips.

This entry was posted on September 17th, 2012 by jhubbard and is filed under Recent News & Updates.