You know the chaos that can immediately follow an accident: Four-wheel drivers or property owners claim an incident was all the trucker’s fault and want to sue somebody, the trucker says he did nothing wrong and wants to protect his career, law enforcement tries to make sense of it all, and the insurance and trucking companies fight dirty over every penny possible. It can get ugly fast.
Such nightmare scenarios are why dash cameras (“cams”) are a dream come true for many fleet managers and drivers. From preventative coaching to resolving accident claims, there are many benefits to forward-facing and driver-facing recording devices. With that said, driver-facing dash cams add an element of controversy to the equation, so it’s important to thoroughly understand how dash cams work and why they’re becoming increasingly popular among fleet managers, trucking companies, and even many drivers.
How Do They Work?
Video systems installed in trucks and other commercial vehicles integrate with various safety systems to monitor and record driving. Safety irregularities or alerts such as lane departure warnings or rapid decelerations prompt the video system to save the video feed from a few seconds before to a few seconds after the incident. Companies adamantly promise that apart from those few seconds, no other part of the video stream is saved, thus protecting the privacy of drivers.
What Are the Benefits?
For businesses, dash cams can save bundles of cash. For starters, drivers – like employees in any job – simply elevate their performance when they know they are under observation, leading to fewer costly accidents. Second, with captured video of incidents, managers can better coach drivers to become more safe and efficient. Finally, video footage can help companies know when to settle a claim quickly, pursue damages, and exonerate and retain drivers.
For truckers, dash cams can not only boost safety by encouraging improved driving, but can also protect truckers’ livelihoods. Captured video may provide evidence that proves innocence, preserves driving records, and ensures job security when accidents are not the fault of drivers. You can think of dash cams as a combination between game-film watched by athletes to improve performance and black boxes on airplanes that preserve flight history for investigations.
So What Now?
It’s important to keep in mind that many truckers are incredibly wary of cameras pointed at the driver’s seat; we’ve also written a blogpost detailing those concerns. Yet despite privacy concerns, hundreds of thousands of trucks have already been equipped with forward-facing and driver-facing dash cams and it would be no surprise if they soon become mandatory in all commercial vehicles.
If dash cams are inevitable, it will be essential for companies to have open and honest conversations about the undeniable benefits – and understandable concerns – that recording devices bring. Roll-outs that are incremental, collaborative, and intentional will be the best way to keep managers and drivers engaged, informed, and on-board with the benefits of dash cams.
What do you think about dash cams? Let us know in the comments below!