“It takes a special breed to be a truck drivin’ man,” Merle Haggard sings in “Movin’ On,” one of the many songs inspired by the solitary and sometimes dangerous life of the long-haul trucker. There’s a whole lot of truth in those lyrics. Studies show that truckers have some of the highest rates of injuries and illness of all occupations, and roughly a third of the 3.5 million truckers in the U.S. will be involved in a serious accident at some point in their careers.

Emerging fleet and transportation management solutions that leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) have the potential to dramatically improve driver safety. The data generated by IoT fleet management solutions can help reduce accidents through real-time alerts about driver performance, mechanical issues, road hazards, weather conditions, traffic patterns and more.

Deeper analysis of the data can also be used to develop safety training programs. IoT systems can collect detailed information about a remarkable range of driver characteristics such as speeding, seatbelt usage, sharp cornering, harsh braking or severe acceleration. Companies that manage fleets can use this data to “scorecard” drivers in order to promote and incentivize safe driving.

Driver safety improvements are helping drive steady growth in the IoT fleet management market. A new report from Grand View Research claims the market is currently growing at a 20.8 percent annual rate and will be worth $16.86 billion by 2025.

In addition to safety measures, IoT fleet management creates opportunities to improve a variety of operational efficiencies. Vehicle tracking and monitoring, fleet analytics, fuel management, predictive maintenance and remote diagnostics are among the features that help fleet operators boost efficiency and reduce expenses.

Fuel management is a huge issue for fleet operators. It is estimated that fuel costs account for nearly 40 percent of fleet ownership expenses. According to a 2015 study by Argonne National Laboratory, approximately 1 billion gallons of fuel is wasted every year because of excessive truck idling, resulting in annual costs of about $3 billion.

IoT platforms are proven to reduce those fuel costs. For example, companies that have adopted the MetTel solution offered through IPC have reduced fleet fuel expenses, on average, by 17 percent. Much of the savings comes from identifying wasteful driver behaviors such as excessive idling, speeding and harsh braking and then implementing corrective action. Predictive maintenance also saves fuel by ensuring vehicles are operating at peak efficiency. Route optimization features can minimize driving distances and guide truckers to the cheapest fuel sources along the route.

IoT fleet management solutions are surprisingly affordable. For example, the MetTel platform offers flexible pricing options, including bundled options available through a monthly subscription. In addition, many insurance companies offer discounts of as much 15 percent on monthly premiums for installing tracking equipment in vehicles.

With the ability to improve safety and operational efficiency while reducing costs, IoT fleet management solutions are experiencing rapid growth. Give us a call to set up a live demonstration to show you how the MetTel solution works, and how it can create a powerful operational and competitive advantage for your fleet.