With the number of serious truck accidents increasing year-over-year, it’s more important than ever that fleet managers and drivers work together to keep everyone safe on the road. Driver-facing cameras and sensors are marketed as one solution to commercial fleet safety, however they have proven to be controversial. While this technology has been shown to increase safe driving practices, it can also make truckers feel like they are being constantly watched and micromanaged. If, as the fleet manager, you’re still uncertain about the benefits, here are three ways you can use driver-facing cameras and sensors to positively impact your business and your drivers.
1. Get an Accurate Account of Driving Events
While road-, side-, and rear-facing cameras provide context for what a driver may encounter on the road, they don’t tell the whole story. Having driver-facing cameras provides an additional layer of protection, not only for the company, but also for the drivers themselves. If something were to happen while the driver was on the road, having the full picture of the situation may actually help take the blame off the driver and provide additional support for their account of the incident.
Most truck drivers are extremely seasoned and have very few incidents on their record, so they might not see the need for something like this in their cab. However, the reality is that this technology can protect them if something happens that’s out of their control. As a fleet manager, it’s your job to make sure that you communicate that message to the drivers and reinforce that these cameras aren’t being installed for you to micromanage them, but instead to protect them.
2. Identify Behaviors for Praise or Improvement
Drivers often work for hours and hours on end — it’s simply part of the job description — but, as the fleet manager, it’s your job to make sure they are awake, alert, and focused on the road. Having driver-facing cameras can help make sure you know if one of your drivers is pushing themselves too hard or driving for too long. In fact, many of these systems come with the ability to alert both you and the driver if its sensors identify incidents of distraction or fatigue.
Yes, some employees may find this element of driver-facing cameras to be intrusive. However, these notifications can literally save drivers’ lives. That’s a pretty big sign that you care about those working in your fleet, so be sure to communicate that aspect to your drivers. What’s more, these systems also give you the ability to more readily praise your drivers and acknowledge the good things they do on the road. Adding a healthy amount of praise to constructive criticism will always help employees be more receptive to feedback. Driver-facing cameras are also a great way to identify potential leaders within your fleet who are worthy of promotion through the ranks.
3. Build Your Training Library
Since you’ll have ongoing access to real-world recordings, you can use that raw material to build a training library for future drivers. Think about all the different things that drivers encounter on the road that they would have never expected. These can all be documented using real-world footage from your driver-facing cameras. The more you can prepare the next generation of drivers for those situations, the safer they will be and the less likely they are to have issues while on the road. As you consider what would make good training content, make sure to choose a wide variety of examples; everything from best practices to common areas of improvement to unexpected situations.
Conclusion: Ultimately, driver-facing cameras and sensors offer a lot of benefits not only to fleet managers, but to the drivers themselves. So long as managers are not micromanaging or disrespecting employees’ privacy, this technology can help make everyone safer on the road.
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