Vehicle theft is a leading concern for commercial vehicle fleets, large and small. Add the potential for lost cargo and losses can be exponential. Although not as prevalent as personal vehicle theft, commercial vehicle theft is big business, amounting to billions in stolen cargo and commercial assets annually. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) estimates cargo theft in the United States results in losses of $15-$35 billion each year.
Fortunately, in addition to insurance, there are ways a fleet can protect its assets and significantly increase its potential for stolen vehicle recovery using a few simple and easy-to-install tools. This guide will outline everything you need to recover stolen commercial vehicles as seamlessly and successfully as possible.
How are stolen vehicles typically recovered?
Without the assistance of added vehicle technology, law enforcement often relies upon license plate numbers, vehicle descriptions, and vehicle identification numbers (VIN) to identify and recover stolen vehicles. Beyond physically spotting a vehicle based on provided information or additional verification from witnesses, there is little law enforcement can do to track stolen vehicle movement. That’s where a vehicle recovery system can make all the difference.
What is a Vehicle Recovery System?
A vehicle recovery system typically utilizes a global positioning system, or GPS, to locate a vehicle in near real time. The technology works by sending a signal to GPS tracking software to pinpoint a vehicle's exact coordinates. These coordinates can then be used by law enforcement to track down the asset, making recovery more likely.
The problem is vehicle recovery systems don’t always come standard from a vehicle manufacturer. In addition, a standard GPS system provides just the bare minimum functionality. There is opportunity for more enhanced fleet visibility through a more robust fleet tracking system.
How fleet tracking software works
Beyond simple geographic location, a GPS fleet tracking platform can provide tools to maximize fleet visibility. A comprehensive tracking solution can not only provide insight into where fleet vehicles are located in near real time, but additional context with the use of video. Commercial fleet dash cams with interior and exterior-facing views can give the added insight into what is happening in and around a vehicle, beyond the vehicle’s physical location.
How fleet software can help recover commercial stolen vehicles
A dash cam enabled fleet tracking system is an ideal solution to aid in the recovery of stolen commercial vehicles. The mere presence of fleet dash cams can serve as an immediate deterrent to theft. In the event that a theft does occur, vehicle location will be tracked in near real time, enhanced with video footage of the event in progress.
This is priceless not only to law enforcement, assisting in real-time asset recovery, but can also be leveraged for litigation purposes down the line. Video footage can not only answer questions related to when and where a theft occurred, but also how, and possibly identify a suspect. The best part is that fleet tracking can also be used for a whole host of other processes, not just as stolen commercial vehicle tracking software.
How else can GPS fleet tracking be used?
There are many ways in which a GPS fleet tracking solution can be utilized to optimize fleet health and efficiency. Here are a few ways it can be used as more than just a commercial truck tracking system.
Fleet managers can configure geofences, which are digital geographic boundaries, to alert them as soon as a vehicle leaves a specified location. This way, fleet managers can make sure drivers are sticking to designated routes and not deviating from authorized areas. In the event of a deviation, a manager can contact the driver and gain insight into the departure.
Fleet tracking technology can also be leveraged to optimize routes based on traffic, weather, and current road conditions, all of which may be standing in the way of on-time arrivals. Fleet managers can identify drivers who may have low productivity or are taking inefficient routes that result in late or untimely delivery. And in the event of a new service call or a vehicle going out of commission, fleet managers can locate and assign the next closest driver.
Lastly, by tracking vehicles, fleet managers can use fleet tracking data to identify and correct operating inefficiencies. Through analytical reporting over time, trends may indicate poor performance, needs for preventative maintenance, and more. All these insights can be invaluable to bottom line and overall enterprise health.
What are the benefits of GPS Fleet Tracking?
All in all, a GPS based fleet tracking solution is so much more than a simple commercial truck tracking device, offering exponential benefits far greater than the obvious recovery of stolen commercial vehicles. They are easy to install, reliable, cost effective, and can be integrated with a host of other technologies to improve fleet management overall.