The installation of cab-mounted cams is increasingly touted as a positive safety step. Unfortunately, misconceptions that drivers have about the on board cameras vary from the feeling that big brother is watching, its an invasion of privacy, to the camera will be used to nitpick the driver’s daily routines.
How The Cameras Work
The cameras are linked to accelerometers, gyroscopes and GPS equipment, the cameras function as event recorders. If the truck is running, they’re active, but they only capture video when triggered by potential safety events. When an event such as hard braking, rapid acceleration, or swerving from side to side occur, the systems record four seconds of video from before the event and eight seconds after.
Benefits of Cameras
Training Tool – When an incident occurs, the driver manager can review the clip with the driver to understand what happened, and offer coaching on the problem behavior that led to the incident. If the video shows the drivers actions were to avoid an accident, he can be recognized for doing a good job.
We had an example of an occurrence that tripped the camera when a driver would reach, with his eyes off the road to stop a water jug from tipping over on the floor when going around corners. Showing the driver the video he didn’t realize he was even doing it and has now replaced his jug with a bottle that fits in the cup holder.
Prove Not at Fault Accidents – The cameras were originally designed to protect drivers against being falsely blamed in various road situations. That benefit of the camera still exists as drivers can show video of what really happened as opposed to what was claimed to have happened.
We had a driver in IL in stop and go traffic. A car from the left lane with no blinker turned into the drivers’ lane. Fortunately no contact was mad, but if there had been, there would be proof from the camera that the driver was not at fault.
Increased Safety / Less Accidents – The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reports the use of cameras could potentially reduce commercial crashes by as much as a third annually. Fatality reductions could be 20% of fatalities resulting from truck crashes over the next two years.