SIU Corner: Investigating the Power of GPS

If you don’t have GPS devices installed on your fleet, I hope you’ll reconsider. For record keeping purposes, they can’t be beat. Not only are they a tremendous tool for dispatch management – providing real-time data for every vehicle on Google Maps, along with delivery arrival and departure times and records of daily routes – they also track state-by-state mileage to help with fuel tax reporting. An automated odometer function provides routine maintenance reminders, and GPS systems can also monitor for excessive speed and FMCSA compliance on hard braking, rapid acceleration and swerving. You can even use remote blocking to prevent stolen vehicles from starting. Pretty remarkable technology, isn’t it?

Yet beyond safety monitoring and daily record keeping, there is an additional benefit of having GPS monitoring on your fleet: fraud protection. Not only does the monitoring data described above prove invaluable when collecting data to back a legitimate claim, it may also prevent an individual from making a fraudulent claim in the first place or detect inaccuracies when a claim is staged or misrepresented.

Using cell towers and triangulation of “pings,” GPS systems become your impartial record-keeper, allowing quick identification of fact versus fiction. And when there’s a claim, nothing trumps the truth.

If you already have or plan to install GPS systems on your vehicles, I’d recommend full disclosure to your drivers, so they know they are being monitored (a great way to head off false claims before they occur). However, but be sure to position the technology not as an intrusive, “Big Brother is watching you” kind of device, but as an on-board tool that can be a responsible driver’s best supporter. Follow through by rewarding stellar route maintenance and safety performance. Highlight the use of GPS as irrefutable corroboration of accident scene details, which ultimately protects your driver. And while some of your own drivers might be tempted to file a false claim or stage an accident, in many companies it is much more likely that your drivers fall victim to criminals themselves, facing conflicting stories after involvement with real or staged accidents. In those instances, technology can provide the facts that trump any criminal’s intent.

Whether “hard fraud,” which The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud defines as individuals or organized crime rings actively faking a claim, or “soft fraud,” which the coalition characterizes as “little white lies,” active GPS monitoring can discourage or uncover both. Now that’s technology worth investigating.