Pima County has installed GPS devices on about 800 vehicles in its fleet including 97 pieces of heavy equipment, allowing the County to encourage safe driving. As an additional benefit, departments are able to know where vehicles are at any given time. GPS is one more tool for ensuring safety and efficiency in Pima County government and encouraging employee accountability.
The County monitors vehicles for speed, locations visited, engine idle time, harsh braking, harsh accelerating, harsh turns, and seatbelt use. Speed is a major factor in the safe operation of vehicles, and the GPS system helps identify driving behavior.
If the County notices potential unsafe driving behaviors or unusual travel patterns, a GPS Incident Report is provided to the driver’s manager for follow up to address the driving behavior.
In addition, GPS tracking augments the familiar “How’s My Driving?” hotline (903-2117) bumper sticker found on County vehicles. It enables the County to investigate citizen complaints about County drivers. In one recent case, a County resident complained about “Ten Pima County employees sitting around all day and five trucks parked in Amado,” says County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. Pima County Department of Transportation (DOT) checked its GPS records, and no DOT vehicles were in the area. Risk Management checked the GPS records for other County vehicles, and found there were none in Amado at any time on that day.
County departments also believe GPS helps ensure the safety of County employees. Health Department inspectors, for example, use a fleet of 20 vehicles to inspect restaurants, motels, hotels, swimming pools, mobile home parks, and to investigate complaints about rodents and mosquitoes. “We have inspectors out in remote areas. Using GPS, we can make sure they’re safe, and that they’re on their way back to the office after the inspection,” says Jeff Terrell, Program Manager with Consumer Health and Food Safety.
Now that Pima County can track vehicles using GPS, there is a lower risk of County vehicles being used for unofficial or personal use. “Because of GPS, we know where our vehicles are 24/7. It’s all about efficiency, management, control, and safety,” says Huckelberry.
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