Midland Red South, a division of Stagecoach, admitted last year breaching health and safety standards and was consequently sentenced alongside their driver, 80 year old Kailash Chander, in the prominent Coventry bus crash case. The risky behaviour and poor driving of Chander, who had been working an inappropriate number of hours for his age (he was well past retirement age but still working as a casual driver for the same company), meant the company was later fined £2.3 million (€2.6 million) for failing to act on telematics risk management alerts that allegedly led up to the fatal collision.
The telematics system that was used by the bus company at that time had in fact consistently made a number of alerts regarding the driving behaviour of Chander, though none of them had been properly addressed by the company and Chander was allowed to continue driving and working for them right up until the Coventry crash.
What happened to Midland Red South with regards to their telematics system could easily apply to other companies, which often have non-realistic expectations about telematics systems, or either do not carry out proper onboarding of the tool where company requirements are not shared with the telematics staff or whoever is responsible for doing the necessary follow-up once the technology is implemented.
The telematics tool employed had actually worked well, providing a good number of timely alerts to the company management (it has been stated that after the system had flagged poor driving, eight warning letters had been sent to the driver), which to be fair was acted upon. But despite this, nothing had changed and Chander missed a one-to-one meeting with his manager as the company needed him to be out and driving, and the meeting had not yet taken place when the fatality happened.
While driver hours were respected and the company was compliant on other levels, telematics activity was not supervised as closely as it should have been, and it seems rather that the company was not motivated enough to fully install the technology or did not adequately examine the needs of the business before choosing their provider.
According to Ian Hesselden, a partner at Jardine Lloyd Thompson, an insurance broker, "Technology provides an invaluable aid to fleets that wish to increase safety and reduce operational costs, but data obtained through telematics needs to be properly assessed and the system needs to be user-friendly for fleet operators and managers in order to capitalise on the opportunities to make improvements or neutralise threats."