Truckers & In-Cab Cameras

Truckers Dealing with In-Cab Cameras

Video monitoring is changing the way truckers do their jobs. In 2020 alone the use of video cameras to monitor more than 3.6 million heavy trucks and many smaller delivery vehicles increased some 80%. Hundreds of thousands of video systems have been installed in American trucks over the last ten years. This kind of in-cab surveillance technology is a growing trend, with trucking companies seeing decreasing accident rates and insurance costs as a benefit. Research shows that dash cam systems can reduce the main causes of large-truck accidents such as speeding and distracted driving.

Accelerometers, gyroscopes and GPS equipment monitor nearly every function of the truck. Machine learning algorithms analyze drivers’ behavior, which is used for training. Companies see video systems as a natural complement to other active safety technologies such as stability control systems or reactive cruise-control. But the technology is a hard sell with drivers. Despite the compelling safety and financial benefits of dash cams, they can still be a source of stress and frustration for commercial fleet drivers. This sentiment is found frequently online and especially on social media. One anonymous American trucker named Josh says, “If the truck I’m in ever gets a camera installed in it facing me, facing inside this truck, this home where I live in, I will stop the truck and quit on the spot.”

Some big-rig drivers resent being electronically tethered to a machine that not only records traffic around the truck from different angles, but also their every move inside the cab. The Teamsters union and drivers say driver-facing cameras micromanage the driver, invades their privacy, and adds stress to the job. Newer systems allow drivers to log out during non-driving private time and only record video when triggered by an unusual event, such as a crash or sudden lane change.

A Canadian OTR trucker named Alecia says: “I don’t understand why you guys need to be in here watching my privacy. This is my time. Me time. Yes, I get that I am still on duty. I drive in my bra, sometimes. I’d like some privacy. I really would.”

Amazon has been rolling out a new AI-based (Artificial Intelligence) four-lens cameras in its branded delivery vans. Drivers are concerned about privacy and wonder who has control of their data. One driver named Vic doesn’t like the “Mentor” software which constantly monitors his driving, location, and mobile phone use. “If we went over a bump, the phone would rattle, the Mentor app would log that I used the phone … and boom, I’d get docked,” he said. Amazon drivers have to sign a release allowing the company to collect and save their biometric information.

Sharp Transport has also faced driver backlash against driver-facing cameras. Keith Wilson, Sharp’s director of safety and recruitment, says that drivers were calmed when they were told that the cameras did not record the sleeper area or what happened after the key was removed from the ignition. Three drivers out of 150 at Sharp resigned. Wilson says that the in-cab cameras paid off in 8 months.

In California, the Attorney General decided in 2014 that trucking companies can use driver-facing camera video to monitor and train their drivers, and Federal courts across the United States have ruled in recent years that most employees have few rights to privacy while on the job.

At Simco Logistics, according to VP Alan Drazen, “Harsh events” such as sudden braking have been reduced significantly, as have the company’s insurance premiums. Drivers use personal electronics in the cab about 90% less often now.

Drivers are being listened to, though, especially during the current driver shortage that is plaguing the industry. Some companies are opting to use only forward-facing cameras, eliminating driver-facing cameras. Others such as Illinois-based GP Transco pay drivers a two-cent-per-mile pay incentive to drive with in-cab video watching them.


Read More
How fleet dash cameras save your fleet money

5 Ways Fleet Dash Cams Can Save You Money

Aside from providing superior customer service, one of the most crucial considerations for a flourishing business is saving money. The more money you save, the more money you have to help your business expand and grow. While installing video cameras in your fleet vehicles may not be the first money saving technique that comes to mind, it certainly should not be the last. The following are five ways your transportation business can save money by using videomatics technology in your fleet.

Driver Monitoring

In general, humans tend to behave better when they know they are being watched. Whether succumbing to social structures or attempting to impress their peers, people have a habit of monitoring their behavior to fulfill cultural expectations. By adding a camera to your vehicles, you aim to improve driver behavior regarding accountability, making employees drive safer and lowering the risk of accidents. With fewer accidents, your company will pay less in damaged vehicle repair, and less in coverage costs for injured drivers.

Video data collection can also show which of your employees may need additional training, another common aspect of business management that pays off in well-trained employees in the long run. Consider offering incentives to employees that prove themselves capable of driving safely and delivering your products on time. For a functional and efficient business, remember to invest in videomatics to promote your company’s growth.

Fighting Fraud

In the transportation industry there is always the risk of fraud. If other motorists claim that your driver hit their car, or if they attempt a quick ‘crash and cash’ scheme by slamming on their brakes in front of your driver, you need access to technology that protects your business investments. Dash cameras can prove liability, allowing your drivers to demonstrate their innocence and maintain a clean driving record. Videomatics can be a digital witness to protect your drivers from wrongful punishment as well, allowing law enforcement officers to examine the circumstances of the crash, and assign fault accordingly. Cameras facing into the cab may also prove useful in protecting your drivers from wrongful accusations. An inward-facing camera can confirm what your driver was doing prior to and during the accident and show evidence regarding their role in the incident. In either case, access to definite proof can speed a case along.

Insurance Issues

Insurance companies are notoriously hard to work with after accidents and attempting to rush a claim rarely if ever works to anyone’s advantage. But imagine having video proof regarding the incident in question. With videomatics, insurance companies can process claims faster and manage related financial aspects fairly. Insurance companies are also concerned about saving money, so any safety equipment data that reveals money saving opportunities for insurance companies may bring out the coveted discounts.

GPS Tracking

When drivers are in the field, they typically have complete control over the use of company vehicles. By utilizing installed GPS and videomatics software, you can authenticate vehicle use claims regarding location and time spent on the road. Video collection can prove that vehicles are, and remain, where they are supposed to be. Say your data indicates that one particular vehicle uses more gas than the others along the same delivery route. With dash camera records, fleet managers can examine what may be causing the discrepancy. Perhaps the driver stops for coffee along the route while on the clock and idles in a drive-thru. With video evidence in hand, fleet managers can discourage use of company vehicles for personal errands and record and store evidence if vehicles are used inappropriately.

The Wonderful Opportunity of Section 179

Most people would agree that the IRS is not an enjoyable topic to discuss, especially in regards to business practices. However, in this instance the U.S. government and, by extension, the IRS, can actually work in your favor. Originally created as a means to encourage businesses to invest in their own future, Section 179 of the IRS Tax Code concerns tax deductions for purchases of certain qualified equipment. This means if you purchase or lease qualifying devices, you can write off the full purchase price from your gross income in the year’s taxes. This deduction incentive allows transportation companies to experiment with different technologies with little risk to their profit margins.

Investing in the latest technologies can allow your business to grow in efficiency and function. By assessing what your company truly needs to thrive, you can calculate your expenses for maximum productivity. What better way to do this than by utilizing telematics and videomatics technologies.

Read More