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Keeping the Forward Facing Camera in Focus

Wednesday, February 03, 2016
Focus. Focus on the road. Focus on the conditions. Focus on the mini-van in the next lane. On your route. On your fuel. On your hours. Focus on the distracted drivers that surround you. The ability to focus for 11 hours is incredibly difficult. The average commercial driver makes 160 decisions per mile, and that adds up to over 28 million driving decisions annually.

Studies have shown that passenger vehicle drivers are at fault for 80.6% of crashes between a truck and a passenger vehicle [1]. In a court of law however, responsibility is assigned to the motor carrier in full or in part a majority of the time.

The biggest benefit of forward facing cameras (Dash Cams) is the guaranteed record of critical events. This helps protect the driver and the motor carrier from frivolous litigation because forward facing videos will help identify the truth in many accidents.

Recently a passenger vehicle slammed into the side of one of our insureds. The video shows our truck driving down the center of his lane and suddenly the camera shakes from the crash. The passenger vehicle claimed the trucker swerved into him. The video cleared the driver and the claimant’s insurance had to pay for the damages, NOT the motor carrier. If your driver didn’t do anything wrong, you will have proof.

However, if the video reveals the motor carrier to be at fault, then it’s a learning opportunity for the driver and the motor carrier. We at Dawson Transportation Services feel it’s better to know the truth than to rely on a “he said/ he said” argument.

Many owner operators have begun purchasing their own dash cams from truck stops to confirm their story. They realize the importance of having 10 seconds of video if something were to happen. The footage can be used to improve safety systems and driving practices.

Insurance companies are beginning to team up with fleet monitoring companies to offer discounts on services and equipment. With the new EDL rules coming out we expect more teaming up from motor carriers, EDL companies, and video recorders. Make sure to research the best system for your company.

[1] Blower, D. The Relative Contribution of Truck Drivers and Passenger Vehicle Drivers to Truck-Passenger Vehicle Traffic Crashes, Publication No. UMTRI-98-25, University of Michigan Transportation Research Instituted, Ann Arbor, MI June 1998

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