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Survey finds high number of fleets running in-cab cameras

Almost half of fleets are using in-cab video or dash cams as well as a growing number that utilize video services, according to a new survey on fleet’s technology use. (Photo: Lytx)

More than 40% of trucking fleets now use video cameras in their cabs, according to a new study. That number is one of the highlights from a survey of fleets conducted by C.J. Driscoll & Associates to assess camera use, ELD compliance and use of GPS-based fleet management systems.

The 2019-20 Survey of Trucking Fleet Operator Interest in MRM Systems and Services is now available for purchase on the C.J. Driscoll website. Clem Driscoll, founder and principal of C.J. Driscoll, offers FreightWaves a few highlights of the survey.

“Of the fleets we surveyed (both for-hire and private), 44% of fleets reported using video cameras on at least some of their trucks. I thought that was a fairly high percentage,” said Driscoll, who has studied telematics, location services and fleet management systems for over 25 years. “It was interesting that 58% of them said they received insurance discounts, and quite a few reported reductions in accidents.”

The way fleets use the data varies, as does the type of cameras used, he added.

“The range of cameras, from dash cams to [those like Lytx and SmartDrive systems] are really apples to oranges, but they are all video-based systems,” he said. “Some use basic dash cams that record the data and store it, some use [more advanced systems] and review the data periodically or after an event.”

One theme is that larger fleets tended to be more proactive about the data use, likely due to the ability to dedicate resources to such endeavors.

Among the questions carriers were asked was how many trucks in their fleets have cameras and the likelihood of adding cameras if they have not already done so. Driscoll said he was a little surprised to find that not all fleets are loyal to one camera system. A few, he noted, had basic dash cams on some vehicles and more advanced camera systems on others. The reason for this was not clear, but cost could play a factor, he said. In at least one case, it was because the fleet uses leased operators and they don’t dictate what system those drivers use.

Without giving away too many specifics, Driscoll said the survey also found smart trailer technology is a growing area of interest for fleets. The report identified 17 features and asked fleets to rank them from what they found most interesting to least interesting. Not surprisingly, operators of refrigerated trailers believed temperature control monitoring was most important, while other fleets, such as dry van and flatbed, identified tire pressure sensing and control.

The survey also asked about trailer tracking and monitoring, which 23% said they were interested in, as well as wheel end monitoring, weight sensing, backup cameras, door open/close monitoring and liftgate sensing.

The survey looked at GPS fleet management system penetration, the type of data fleets are using and what type of data is most important to them when it comes to managing through predictive analytics.

Fleets can purchase the report that dives into these details, but Driscoll is also making available an Excel spreadsheet of the underlying data that allows customers to perform a deeper dive and make comparisons and calculations from it for their own fleets. That Excel document is a separate cost, available only to those who buy the report as well.

Seventeen companies sponsored the survey. They include major cellular carriers, GPS fleet management solution providers, driver behavior management system suppliers and other leading telematics suppliers to the trucking market. The telephone survey of 200 U.S. trucking fleet operators included for-hire and private fleets of all sizes, ranging from owner-operators to large fleets with 1,000 or more trucks.

Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]