An in-vehicle monitoring system - or IVMS - consists of an electronic device or number of devices installed in a vehicle to monitor driver activities and help identify behaviors such as excessive speed, harsh braking, rapid acceleration or drowsy driving.
An IVMS device can store data for later retrieval, or transmit it to a receiver. The information is then analyzed in order to evaluate the driver’s safety and driving practices. In-vehicle monitoring systems used this way help organizations that operate commercial vehicles reduce their rate of accidents and premature wear.
IVMS technology has been adopted in a number of industries, and is largely used by organizations involved in mining, oil and gas and in public transportation. These monitoring systems incorporate varying features and technologies, depending on the manufacturer and type of device.
IVMS devices may record telematics data such as GPS fleet tracking but some in-vehicle monitoring systems include in-cab cameras (either inward- or outward-facing) and also incorporate sensors to detect whether seatbelts are in use.
Many businesses in the oil and gas industry have reported that in-vehicle monitoring combined with a program of driver coaching based on IVMS data has led to significant decreases in accident or incident rates.
An extensive study with 625 participating drivers and conducted over the course of two years examined the effect of IVMS and driver retraining in combination. This investigation took into account a wide range of hazardous driver activities – ranging from distractions (including eating and drinking or reading paperwork), to speeding, unsafe stopping, fatigue, use of a mobile device, and other events.
The study results were sufficiently dramatic for the investigators to report a “significantly greater reduction in odds of risky driving behaviors” following monitoring, evaluation and a driver coaching program.
Drivers who object to the implementation of IVMS technology express concerns regarding their privacy. Some have also questioned whether these devices are reliable in producing consistently accurate data.
No technology is fail-proof but IVMS has established itself as a useful tool in helping drivers develop and maintain good driving skills. Driver privacy can be protected if the devices are active only during working hours.