GPS Shows Big Brother Your Driving

Without GPS, you’re driving along the highway in your company car, seemingly free as a bird.

But how would you like it if someone back in corporate headquarters could suddenly find out exactly where you are, where you’ve been and how fast you’ve been going?

Sure, you might acknowledge that the company has good reasons to want to monitor your driving behavior -- or at least be assured that you’re not drag racing for pink slips on company time. After all, driving behavior is the largest single contributor to driving safety and fuel efficiency.

But are you comfortable with the idea that your company can track your every move behind the wheel?  Several firms are now offering these capabilities to corporate clients, large a small.

GPS Option No. 1: GPS Insight
GPS Insight, a supplier of tracking hardware and software for commercial and government fleets, has just announced a new Posted Speed Limit Report as well as Posted Speed Graphs and histograms to help clients identify reckless driving patterns. The report shows management where drivers are driving fast or slow relative to the actual or “most likely” speed limit. (“I was just obeying the most likely speed limit, officer.”)

The report comes with graphing enhancements that allow customers to graph both long-term trends as well as the 30 minutes before and after each individual “speeding event.”  With one click, system users can map that 60-minute period of time to better understand the context of the speeding activity.

Users can crunch up to three months’ worth of driving data at a time to get an accurate picture of aggressive driving behavior and pinpoint those intentionally extending their drive time to gain more overtime -- another dastardly ploy.

“With this enhancement to GPS Insight, customers can now easily rank their drivers in terms of aggressive driving patterns and drill down instantly to exact whereabouts of excessive speed incidents,” said Robert Donat, president of GPS Insight. “Using Street View, our customers can also easily visualize the road conditions present and even ratify the data by looking for a speed limit sign.”

GPS Option No. 2: GreenRoad 360
Another company, called GreenRoad, offers GreenRoad 360. This system offers drivers and fleet managers comprehensive preventive feedback, analysis, reporting and coaching on drivers’ abilities, maneuvers and patterns of vehicle use -- like frequent stops at motels, for instance.

The GPS service combines real-time automated driver coaching with Web-based applications that continuously rate driving skills for all types of vehicles, including trucks, buses, vans and cars. Fleet management and safety professionals can gain insight into driving behaviors and use the tools they need to help drivers achieve measurable safety and fuel-efficiency goals.

According to the company, a typical GreenRoad customer sees up to a 50 percent reduction in crash costs and up to a 10 percent reduction in fuel consumption within the first year. That’s why many companies might get excited about using GPS services like those provided by these two companies and their competitors. 

Some might say, however, that there is a fine line between what should remain private and what a company needs to know about its employees.