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Driver monitoring set to reduce US police vehicle accident rate
Telogis and Ford have developed a telematics based driver monitoring system for use in police patrol vehicles to reduce collision risks.
According to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund of America, traffic collisions are responsible for the highest death rate of police personnel in the USA. From 2004 to 2013, an average of 64 police officers died in traffic incidents per year compared to 55 per year who were killed in firearm related incidents.
One method available to reduce this threat is to encourage safer driving and the use of seat belts, both of which can be monitored using telematics equipment fitted in police vehicles. To achieve this, Ford joined with telematics specialist, Telogis, to extend the functionality of the existing “Crew Chief” telematics unit fitted to Ford Interceptor police vehicles.
The combined unit with driver monitoring capability provides intelligent data and analytics that can be used to improve driver behaviour, reduce maintenance costs and improve situational management. Operationally, despatchers and managers can have a real-time overview of vehicle location and condition. In addition, driving habits can be monitored and individual training plans can be created for specific police officers to undergo in order to improve driving skills or modify behaviour behind the wheel.
The system does this by examining parametric data regarding modes of operation, lateral acceleration, yaw rates, pedal positions, engine torque and incidences of events involving ABS deployment, stability control and traction control. The driver’s conformance to good driving skills is constantly monitored and output on a scorecard style system.
The new telematics capabilities on Ford police vehicles is welcomed by the Los Angeles Police Department, where the units have been customized to meet the department’s demands. According to Vartan Yegiyan of the LAPD, the safe operation of police vehicles is a top priority for the organization.
Bill Frykman of Ford added that any improvement made in driver training and subsequent behavioural improvements can save lives and reduce the number of officers killed in traffic incidents. He went on to say that the contextual information provided by the telematics system which accounts for different modes of operation including emergency calls, can help to illustrate where changes need to be made and where they’ll be most effective.