Crystal Ball's SmartCam is used by ERS Medical to train and coach drivers, reduce insurance costs, make the fleet more efficient, and keep patients and precious medical cargo safe.
ERS Medical is one of the UK’s largest independent healthcare service providers, offering patient transport and medical courier services for the NHS.
ERS Medical were experiencing difficulties disputing insurance claims regarding road traffic incidents that their vehicles were involved in. The business required a telematics solution which offered a combined system of both fleet tracking and a forward-facing video camera, primarily to mitigate insurance claims, improve driver behaviour and ensure full visibility of the fleet.
Finding a fully integrated solution which provided a comprehensive tracking system with the additional value of a 3G HD dash cam was imperative. Initially project manager Rachael Collins approached their telematics provider; Masternaut, but it was unable to offer an integrated solution and instead proposed a standalone dash cam alongside the tracking system they already had in place. Unfortunately this did not the fit the bill and so Rachael decided to review the market in search of a more suitable solution.
Following comparative research of the telematics and dash cam market, ERS Medical made the decision to implement Crystal Ball’s multi award winning SmartCam solution; fully integrated fleet tracking and 3G HD dash cam. The determining factors were functionality, quality and price.
The main purpose of the Crystal Ball system for ERS Medical is to provide a comprehensive fleet tracking system with full visibility of the entire remote workforce. At the heart of SmartCam is Crystal Ball’s integrated FleetTracker solution, an established GPS tracking system offering live vehicle locations on detailed mapping along with historical data and a full reporting and alarm suite. ERS Medical utilise the tracking data on a daily basis to understand driver locations and plan the quickest routes to a destination based on continual traffic updates provided by the system.
Since implementation, SmartCam has become an integral part of ERS Medical’s insurance claim processing procedure. With the devices 3G functionality, when a vehicle is involved in a road traffic incident the business can provide their insurance company with FNOL (first notification of loss) by sending the footage generated by the device immediately at the time of incident directly to them. Providing this form of evidence is invaluable to the insurers when determining which party was at fault and significantly reduces claim processing times.
SmartCam’s driver behaviour feature has become an essential tool for ERS Medical’s in-house driver trainer. As the nature of the business involves transporting patients it is fundamental that the vehicles are driven with care and caution at all times. The videos generated by SmartCam provide a detailed insight into driving styles and behaviours such as harsh acceleration, braking and cornering. This has equipped the trainer with meaningful footage, providing a means of assessing this behaviour and carrying out further training to the relevant drivers. Driver league tables also assist by scoring each driver and ranking their driving performance, highlighting which driver needs further training.
The most beneficial aspect of Crystal Ball’s SmartCam solution has undoubtedly been the 3G HD forward-facing camera. The video events generated by the device have transformed the businesses claim processing procedures immensely by being able to immediately provide video evidence in the event of a road traffic incident and mitigating fault in many instances.
Rachael Collins, project manager at ERS Medical explains further: “SmartCam has enabled us to provide actual evidence for a RTA when mitigating liability. We have been involved in numerous incidents since the installation of SmartCam and based on the video footage we have been in a position to challenge which party was liable.
“Prior to installing SmartCam we had no choice but to accept 50/50 or full blame where liability was concerned as most accidents are not clear cut. Thankfully now we have a solution in place which safeguards our drivers by proving they were not to blame for certain collisions. As a result the business has won significantly more insurance claims, which will of course have a positive impact on our insurance premiums going forward.”
Steve Dixon is the ERS Medical fleet driver trainer, and has been an instructor for 15 years, having previously worked as ambulance personnel. Using the data he collects from Crystal Ball, he works with new and existing staff to improve standards and safety, and drive down costs.
He explains how it works: “Using Crystal Ball gives us the next level of assessment, and is a tool that is key to our business, ultimately. What is very important is reducing the number of incidents, but accident are accidents, and what the system has achieved is reducing the cost of these accidents, and reducing driver speeds so the incidents we do have are less severe, vehicles are off the road of less time, staff are not off work due to injuries, and that is hugely important to us. We walk them through the incident, for investigation purposes and for post-incident management, to improve driver awareness and safety.
“What we do is use the footage we have got from Crystal Ball to give examples of what happens out on the road: there’s nothing better than video footage to show people this.”
“It allows us to monitor our drivers because ultimately we’re a patient transport service, or we’re handling delicate, sensitive material as a medical courier and our driver behaviour has to match what we have in the back of the vehicles.”
Steve’s job is not just to manage incidents, but improve driving expertise, and he uses the footage to show drivers what can happen out on the road, and what they need to look out for, as well as being the basis of a driver league table. With 350 vehicles, and around 750-800 drivers and a number of operational staff, Steve has developed an internal driver training programme specifically for ERS Medical, with two or three courses a month for new starters, and ongoing training for existing staff.
“What we do is use the footage we have got from Crystal Ball to give examples of what happens out on the road: there’s nothing better than video footage to show people this. We’ve had a couple of incidents highlighted by Crystal Ball of aquaplaning onto the verge as a result of driving through standing water, or where drivers haven’t seen something in the middle of the road because of full beam lights coming the other way. The Crystal Ball footage lets our drivers know these things do occur.
“The data Crystal Ball provides gives us access to speeding and driver behaviours which we use in a driver league table. That incentivises drivers, which acts as a training tool.
“Self-awareness among drivers is OK, but sometimes you do need somebody else looking at you, and I can’t be with them every time they go out on a journey.”
SmartCam’s Driver ID feature allows administrators to identify which crew member is driving which vehicle. The audible alert which continues to prompt the driver to log in should they fail to do so has proven a further useful feature. Management can use the driver identification to effectively determine which driver is liable for fixed penalty notices and any other fines the business may receive.
Rachael explains how she has been impressed with the level of customer service they have experienced: “The customer service we have received has been excellent, there is always someone at the end of the phone who always seems very pleasant and happy to help. Crystal Ball have also demonstrated their willingness to develop the system based on our bespoke requests.
“After using the system for a couple of months it came to our attention that we would benefit from a custom report showing the percentage our vehicles have been utilised over a specified period of time. With this report we can now understand if vehicles can be used for any other purposes for the times they weren’t utilised, this ensures the fleet is utilised to its maximum in the best way possible.”
We specialise in healthcare transportation, and so with fleet being one of our key resources and assets, we felt we had to have a good product that was flexible and could grow with the organisation, and could protect those assets. Crystal Ball was a good match,” says Jeroen van Os, finance director, ERS Medical
“People matter to us, they are at the heart of everything we do, whether they are patients or our drivers and staff, and we felt we had to have a product that could protect them. We identified Crystal Ball as a supplier who could do this.
“The Crystal Ball tracking system is very successful in mitigating accident claim circumstances, and use the it to ensure we know where our vehicles are at any given time, and also where they are en-route for patient or courier pick-up services.
“We have got a very good control over insurance claims through the software and video footage, from Crystal Ball and we have made huge steps forward in terms of mitigating exposure and our insurance broker feels it is a great product to have when it comes to claims. But also, if we know we are at fault in an incident, we can manage that and keep our costs under control, so it is very important for our insurance underwriter as well.”
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