Fleet vehicles used across Aberdeenshire Council are being installed with telematics to help save money and benefit the environment.
The system is web-based, using GPS data and the mobile data network.
Following the successful use of such systems in other large organisations, including councils, it is also intended to promote safe and efficient driving and working practices.
It can help protect lone workers, reduce vehicle running costs and help to quickly ascertain the facts of any accident or incident.
It is hoped it may even allow the reduction of the council’s fleet in future, through the improved use of vehicles, which would also mean significant savings. The system installations began at the Council’s Waste depot in Mintlaw, whose vehicles cover significant miles every week collecting recycling and waste from local households.
In the initial phase it will be installed in 790 vehicles, which alone covered 7.3million miles during 2016/17. Eventually it will be extended to a wide range of vehicles, possibly even ride-on mowers.
Fife Council, SITA and BIFFA have been using telematics for more than five years now and report fuel savings of 7-10%.
Aberdeenshire Council spent £2.75m on diesel in 2015/16 so this could mean a saving of between £190,000 and £275,000 a year on fuel and between 5-7,000 tonnes of CO2.
Peter Argyle, Infrastructure Services Committee chairman, said: “The introduction of telematics to our vehicles is intended to do two things in particular - save money and benefit the environment.
“The successful use of such systems elsewhere, including at other councils, has shown that it not only reduces fuel bills, but it also cuts carbon emissions significantly.
“Additional benefits include improving safety by encouraging responsible and safe driving styles and protecting our drivers from false claims and allegations. “It can also help protect lone workers, reduce vehicle maintenance and running costs and speed up the investigation of any accidents.”
John Cox, vice-chairman, added: “Given the physical size of Aberdeenshire our fleet covers a significant number of miles serving communities every year, so if efficiency is increased it has many benefits.
“The use of vehicles is essential for the delivery of a wide range of council services, so it’s important to consider any measure which could reduce the cost of that and its impact on the environment.
“We look forward to seeing the impact the introduction of this system has, given the positive experiences of other large organisations so far.”
The contract for the supply and installation of the system is with UK Telematics, an established provider to other councils in the UK.