Over 100 GPS fleet tracking systems have been installed in Bergen County-owned vehicles. County officials decided to purchase and install the tracking systems to cut the county’s operating expenses. They predict the system, which has so far cost about $56,000, will save taxpayers in many ways, including vehicle fuel, maintenance and man-hour costs.
The $56,000 cost for the tracking system includes the software and installation, plus a $22-per-month, per-vehicle fee. Jo Marie Sacchinelli, coordinator of monitoring and evaluation for the county Department of Public Works, said she didn’t know exactly how much the county would save, but described the system as a “very good return.”
The fleet tracking system can alert dispatchers and managers if a fleet car has hit something, if it’s idling when it shouldn’t be, or if it’s accelerating for extended periods. So if a fallen tree is lying in the middle of the road somewhere, a fleet manager can use the tracking system to identify which vehicle is closest to the location, and then dispatch the driver to the site immediately. Sacchinelli said, “It’s not so much Big Brother. It’s about the county being able to account for its assets.”
The fleet tracking system can be used to monitor several different types of vehicles, such as cars, garbage trucks and buses. It can monitor the entire fleet and it can hone in on individual vehicles and drivers. The tracking system can also monitor fuel consumption, whether the vehicle requires a maintenance check or whether its driver is causing wear-and-tear by slamming the brakes or gunning the engine.
The fleet tracking system can also help to resolve complaints about county drivers or vehicles. So if someone calls to complain about a driver, the fleet manager can verify or dismiss the complaint based on real-time tracking data. If the complaint is warranted, appropriate action can be taken. If not, the county will be able to provide an explanation of why the vehicle was where it was at the time in question.
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