Driver-facing cameras: Why we use them

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Commentary. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of FreightWaves. For more information on driver-facing cameras, visit SmartDrive’s blog at http://www.smartdrive.net/blog/.

At G&P Trucking, we use driver-facing cameras as part of a complete video-based safety program. And, I’m glad we do.

I know this can be a controversial topic, but let’s get to the bottom of why we leverage video-based safety technology. It makes our fleet safer. Plain and simple. Vehicles don’t cause accidents, people do. So, the only way to make fleets safer is to make drivers safer by coaching drivers into better driving skills.

More and more fleets are recognizing the value of video safety in significantly reducing risk, avoiding collisions before they occur and exonerating drivers when they are not at fault. Yet, some fleet managers hesitate to use driver-facing event recorders due to perceived driver resistance, most commonly rooted in misperceptions of privacy issues or mistrust.

To successfully implement a video-based safety program and reap the most value from driver-facing video event recorders, there are four key issues to keep in mind:

1. Communication – When we started thinking about event recorders, we ensured driver communication was top of mind. We made sure our drivers understood exactly how the system worked – and how it works to their benefit.

Tip: Early, frequent and thorough communication with your drivers about how the system can make them safer and exonerate them will lead to a smooth rollout and across-the-board driver acceptance.

2. Exoneration – There’s no better way to know exactly what happened than with video. And, any driver who has been exonerated with video can quickly become your biggest advocate.

Tip: Explain to your drivers how to use video when they’re involved in a collision – offloading it to his or her mobile device within minutes of the event to show to law enforcement. Everyone will know exactly what happened and why, and they will be able to get on the road again quicker and keep their driving records clean.

3. Complete picture – Some say “road-facing video is good enough.” Although it’s better than nothing, it’s impossible to determine why an event occurred without driver-facing event recorders. Driver-facing video is the only way to capture and eliminate distracted driving – a top driver of collisions.  

Tip: Use the data provided by driver-facing recorders to tailor training and coaching sessions for each driver. Focus on the skills and habits that need development and on those that will reduce your drivers’ risk.  

4. Reward & Recognition – Having consistent, verifiable, unbiased information can help you reward your drivers for good performance. Drivers are professionals who take pride in their work. Give them the information and tools to improve and they will. Then recognize and reward those who get better.

Tip:  Build a reward program based on each driver’s unique safety score. Rewards can be given for consistently good performance and for significant improvements. This creates a positive culture focused on safety.

If you’re not using video safety, you should. And if you aren’t using driver-facing video, you must. There is no better way to protect your drivers and your fleet.

Want to hear more from John and how G&P leverages video safety? Watch his on-demand webinar.