GPS Tracking is definitely NOT a Safety Tool – This is why!

GPS tracking is definitely NOT a safety tool – this is why!

So what is a safety tool in the context of drivers? A ‘safety’ tool should ensure the safety of the driver to the extent that potential risky or dangerous outcomes are prevented. GPS tracking is definitely NOT a safety tool – this is why!


So how does a GPS tracking system prevent risky or dangerous outcomes for our drivers? Receiving a harsh driving report is simply a report of an outcome, i.e. sudden braking or swerving occurred, where and when it occurred and who did it. Armed with this knowledge, how do you prevent it from occurring again and actually do you need to prevent it occurring again?

Firstly, one needs to understand and analyse the harsh driving; was it risky or dangerous, or was it necessary to avoid a dog or debris on the road ahead? No GPS system can provide this level of event analysis. Assuming you could determine which harsh driving events require corrective actions, you then need to understand the root cause of the event. 

Was the driver texting and driving, did he drop a coffee on his lap, was he tailgating – what is the reason for the harsh driving? Again, no GPS system can explain the reasons for the aforementioned harsh driving. And no GPS system can distinguish between risky or necessary harsh driving let alone provide an explanation,  root cause or reason for the event.

These shortcomings mean that operators trying to use GPS tracking for harsh driving reports in order to ‘ensure the safety of their drivers’ are in fact completely powerless to have any impact on collision frequencies and severity.

Vehicle collisions occur every day in Australia. Fortunately, the vast majority of them are minor, incurring only minimal vehicle or property damage and very little or no human injury. Tragically however, there are some major vehicle collisions which result in significant damage, hospitalisations and fatalities. Indeed, in 2019, there were 1,195 fatalities on Australian roads and 206 of those involved a heavy vehicle.

Studies show that 93 per cent of all vehicle collisions are actually preventable. With 83 per cent of those caused by risky driving decisions, 10 per cent due to mechanical failure from poor vehicle maintenance and the remaining 7 per cent of collisions are caused by poor road conditions. 

So what are these risky driving decisions and how can you 

  • A) properly investigate a vehicle incident to accurately determine the root cause and 
  • B) take corrective action to prevent the incident from occurring again?

A Better Analysis Tool

The Lytx DriveCam Safety Program monitors more than 1.3 million drivers and their driving decisions every single day. These drivers collectively cover over 1.5 billion kilometres every week, and have more than 1.5 million near misses every year. Every single one of these events is analysed, risk-assessed and scored by Lytx to discover the root cause of the incident.

This data contributes to the largest curated library and video analysis of driving behaviours in the world. This is the aforementioned ‘how and why’ and Lytx understand risky driving behaviours better than anyone.

What is Risky Behaviour?

By risky, we mean driving behaviours which are collision leading, i.e. likely to cause a collision. These are often bad driving habits such as speeding, tailgating, unsafe lane changes, mobile phone distraction or fatigue. The Lytx DriveCam Safety Program monitors over 60 driving behaviours to capture all risky activities.

GPS tracking is definitely NOT a safety tool – this is why!


The first step in avoiding an incident is acknowledging that they are very rarely an accident and the vast majority (83 per cent) are caused by poor driving decisions, be it texting and driving, speeding or tailgating for example. The distinguishing point between an incident and an accident being that incidents are considered preventable while accidents are not.

The second step to avoiding vehicle incidents is to take action so they do not, or are unlikely to occur.  To do this, you must first understand and analyse the fundamental root cause of past incidents. Knowing the root cause, or why an event occurred, empowers you to take effective and meaningful action.

This is where most businesses fall short in their quest for zero harm. They just do not have the tools to discover the root cause of their incidents and are therefore completely powerless to do anything about them.

Having a driver to confess that he was tailgating or texting while driving as the cause of an incident is rarer than a winning lotto ticket, and no GPS system can pick this up…

 Proactive Safety Actions

Once the root cause of an event is identified, Lytx DriveCam collates and prioritises them for their clients through their easy-to-use DriveCam Web Portal. Once collated, the DriveCam platform guides you to the next step in incident prevention – implementing effective controls to minimise the likelihood of repeating the root cause, or what Lytx call a ‘coaching session’.

Coaching is a one-on-one five-minute chat with the driver who has displayed risky driving behaviour. The coaching session is specially designed to guide, educate and coach the driver to change a collision leading driving behaviour. Using the event video, the driver can see, and understand the risks associated with the root cause behaviour. This allows for a constructive conversation about how to prevent future incidents and a commitment to change for the safety and benefit of all.

The Lytx DriveCam Safety Program has been operating since 1998 and is recognised by Frost and Sullivan as the world’s dominant driver safety aid for fleet operators, with a 60 per cent market share of the global market.

DriveRisk Australia is the exclusive agent for Lytx in Australia and New Zealand. They provide additional support to their DriveCam customers, with a dedicated Client Success Manager (CSM) assigned to every single customer. The DriveRisk CSM’s provide many valuable services to their customers including, driver toolbox meetings, guidance on effective driver coaching, advocacy for negotiating favourable insurance premiums, monthly risk reduction progress reports as well as guidance on more effective and meaningful safety policies and procedures. The DriveRisk CSM’s visit every depot every month to provide these services.

Next time around we’ll discuss and analyse the massive amount of data and insights into driving behaviours gathered by DriveCam over the last 20+ years and how this information has led Lytx to pioneer machine vision and artificial intelligence to further improve safety outcomes for their customers worldwide.