The Benefits of Dash Cams
By Jeff Romano
Over the years we’ve seen many changes in our industry. Each year there are improvements in efficiency, driver training, and safety. However, the biggest change comes in the form of dash cams.
Drivers cover thousands of road miles and are on the road more than they are off. With the amount of time spent driving in this industry comes the increased likelihood of traffic accidents.
Work trucks are often huge machines that usually get the blame when accidents occur. According to the United States Department of Transportation, approximately 500,000 truck accidents occur each year. Of the yearly accidents, only 16 percent are due to the truck driver’s fault. About 85 percent of truck and passenger vehicle accidents are the fault of the passenger vehicle driver.
With passenger vehicle and heavy work truck accidents on the rise, correctly assessing fault gets more challenging. Without solid evidence, such as video, proving guilt or innocence sometimes becomes impossible.
Along with increased accident responsibility it’s not surprising the industry is turning to dash camera use in their truck fleets. Dash cameras offer many benefits to both the work truck driver and passenger vehicle driver to maximize driving safety.
BENEFITS OF USING DASH CAMERAS
Many work truck fleet companies and drivers are adding dash cams to their trucks because of the benefits. Dash cams let you see what happens during a critical event or accident while enhancing overall safety and coaching programs.
- Understanding of accident facts
- Indisputable accident evidence
- Driver and company protection
- Quicker insurance processing
- Improved driver training
- Lower insurance rates
Below are four reasons to consider dash cams for your work truck fleet.
LOWER INSURANCE RATES
Some insurance companies offer discounts for the installation and use of fleet GPS tracking systems. Accidents, theft, and speeding tickets cause a company’s insurance rates to rise. Electronic tracking systems help companies control speeding to lower insurance rates, avoid accidents, and find stolen vehicles.
However, accidents are the number one cost associated with the industry. One accident, even when the work truck driver is not at fault, can cost an average of $90,000 to $200,000. And while GPS tracking devices help with accident prevention, they don’t help determine fault when accidents happen. Regardless of how safe a work truck driver is, inclement weather and other drivers’ unsafe driving habits can cause accidents.
When accidents happen your insurance company needs substantial evidence that every possible action was taken to prevent damage. The indisputable proof provided by dash cam video can help your case and save a lot of money.
FALSE CLAIMS REDUCTION
Even with a passenger vehicle fault rate of about 85 percent, work truck drivers still get the majority of the accident blame. This imbalanced scenario quickly adds up for fleets. An average accident cost of $90,000—$200,000 for injury accidents—could mean business loss or bankruptcy for owner-operators.
With a dash cam, false claims and liabilities get reduced with footage of the actual facts. The dash cam lets managers and insurance companies see what the driver sees. Video evidence shows what happened, exonerating drivers when they are innocent of wrongdoing.
DRIVER TRAINING IMPROVEMENT
No matter how long you’ve been on the road, there’s always room for improvement. Even veteran drivers benefit from ongoing training. Commercial work truck fleets place their focus on safety and fleet managers are constantly looking for ways to improve training programs.
The federal ELD mandate requires all commercial motor vehicle operators use electronic monitoring devices or ELDs. With the federal mandate, more companies are turning to dash cams in combination with other ELDs for increasing safety awareness.
Video cams show managers what went wrong during a critical safety event and make prevention for future events easier. A video cam provides factual evidence instead of second-hand misinformation and assumptions.
When it comes to road accidents, a dash cam is an invaluable piece of safety equipment. Not only does video provide irrefutable evidence in an accident, but it’s also useful with hit-and-run incidents and theft.
When a truck sustains damage and the other driver leaves the scene, without video evidence, the driver of the work truck gets blamed. It stands to reason, the driver doesn’t want to pay for damages he didn’t cause.
Having a dash cam that catches the incident on video shows where the fault lies and protects the driver. A dash cam also makes it possible to track down hit-and-run drivers, enabling the insurance company to begin claim procedures.
Besides providing proof to the insurance company, courts accept dash cam footage as admissible evidence. These videos can prove the innocence of the driver as well as protecting the fleet company’s reputation.
All sizes of work truck fleets can benefit from using a front-facing dash cam. Dash cam videos help protect the driver and the company. In addition to incident evidence, dash cams make driver training programs more effective while bettering CSA scores and insurance rates.
However, it’s important to note that video images by themselves do not always represent the entire story. For a complete road safety option, integrated systems (combining a dashboard camera system with telemetry) makes a good safety system. Indisputable video and telemetry data not only provide proof but help prevent future safety mistakes.
Combination systems can send real-time notifications of hard braking and turns, or help you quickly identify unsafe driving behaviors.
About the author
Jeff Romano is currently a part-time CDL driver and previously a dispatch for a well-known freight company. Jeff comes from a family of over-the-road drivers. When he’s not driving, Jeff enjoys blogging and helping other drivers with their needs on the road, whether it’s choosing an ELD device or helping them find better shipments.