Telematics uses information systems to advise and inform drivers to help them make safer decisions relating to road safety. Telematics can also passively record driver behaviour, with the aim of improving safety. Within the scope of this synthesis, telematics devices are safety related and for information only; they do not intervene to, for example, automatically apply the brakes on a vehicle.

As telematics is contingent on technology this synthesis has concentrated so far as possible on recent papers, reflective of current technology.

Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) is the telematics device with the greatest body of accompanying research. The potential safety benefits are almost universally acclaimed. Some studies have shown positive effects not only on reducing time spent exceeding the speed limit but also on headway.

This synthesis focuses on advisory ISA only; which is not as beneficial as full ISA which can control the vehicle. Nevertheless, a Danish study showed that subjects who had ISA which dispensed information only exhibited less speeding than subjects whose ISA recorded speed and financially rewarded compliance.

In-Vehicle Data Recorders (IVDR) have shown potential to improve behaviour. A study in Bristol showed how IVDR fitment improved the driving of young males almost immediately upon installation, and before other planned interventions such as advanced tuition commenced. A North American trial linked IVDR to video recording, which yielded a significant improvement in driving standards amongst teenage subjects.

Despite their ubiquity, there is little research relating to satellite navigation systems and road safety. A large study was carried out in theNetherlands, which was associated with manufacturer TomTom. This showed mixed results – satellite navigation users spent more time exceeding the speed limit; however they were also less stressed and more receptive to stimuli.

Even less is written about SOS systems such as e-call. This goes to highlight the academic research opportunities which exist relating to many areas of telematics (with the exception of ISA). Much of what is produced is commissioned to inform product development and as such must be scrutinised for impartiality and relevance of results. This is particularly true of fleet management systems, an area of telematics in which almost all contemporary research is proprietary.

A final strand linking all telematics devices to road safety is that of driver distraction. Both European and American guidelines have recently been produced to promote best practice in telematics design and installation. Much work has been undertaken on distraction in bothAmerica and Europe.

One notable study considers driver willingness to engage in tasks. It indicated that drivers are more willing to engage in non-driving tasks when they perceive a low risk situation (such as light traffic and fair weather). However, another study showed that most RTIs linked to distraction by a device occur in the same ‘good’ conditions. It may be that drivers underestimate their levels of distraction.

  • Date Added: 03 Apr 2012, 08:18 AM
  • Last Update: 08 Feb 2013, 02:56 AM