David Nicholls is the VP for situational awareness and telematics at Restrata.
In recent weeks, the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) revealed that it intends to enforce the compulsory installation of digital tyre monitoring technology in the region, with the new rule expected to go live as soon as Q4 2017.
The move has no doubt been triggered by the UAE’s drive to improve road safety, which would be supported by a reduction in tyre failure incidents.
In 2016 Abu Dhabi police recorded 28 accidents, resulting in the deaths of 14 people and seven serious injuries, as being caused by tyre bursts. Across the UAE, tyre related accidents are responsible for around 5% of the country’s traffic death toll.
Common sense already dictates that the quality of tyres must play an essential role in road safety and that drivers and fleet managers should pay close attention to the condition of their tyres.
In the UAE and wider GCC region in particular, the sandy conditions and intense heat of the summer months take a toll on heavy goods vehicles.
Long trips, heavy loads and high speeds compound the stresses on tyres, placing a constant onus on the transport and logistics sector to monitor their fleets.
Despite this, and the fact that a good tyre can last for up to 50,000km – depending on driving habits and driving conditions – many tyre incidents in the region remain linked to the use of old tyres or poor-quality new tyres.
Older tyres and poor pressure might suffice in the cooler months, but road safety specialists claim that the hotter the tar on the roads and motorways, the better your wheels need to be to mitigate the risk of a blowout.
Adding to the problem is the market for counterfeit goods, which is in general, flourishing in the region, and specifically fake car parts, including brake components, clutch plates, engine internals and tyres.
The counterfeit car-parts industry is estimated to be worth $8.17bn (AED 30 billion) a year.
In order to prepare for the changes in legislation and mitigate the risks associated with poor quality tyres and bad driver behaviour, organisations should consider implementing a telematics solution.
The benefits of this are two-fold: not only will tyre pressure monitoring regulations require a degree digital integration, but telematics also yield massive amounts of data on fleet operations.
Leveraging this data can empower fleet operators to make relevant changes to people and process, improve their organisation, and ensure that their drivers and fleet are compliant with this regulation.
In the long-term, the analysis of telematics data can also provide valuable insights on the total cost of ownership of different peripherals and help drive the industry away from counterfeit products.
As ESMA, and UAE bodies like Dubai’s RTA, continue to press for advances in road safety, telematics implementation is increasingly a win-win scenario, while its disadvantages fade into the background.