When dash cameras were first introduced and fleets started installing them, not everyone was happy. If I had a nickel for every time I heard a driver say they would quit if someone put a camera in their truck, well, I would have a lot of nickels. At the time, I understood that viewpoint and, in some instances, shared it myself. But my how times have changed.
Motorists seem more distracted than ever with gizmos and gadgets to check Facebook, Twitter, text messages, map directions and more. And I've noticed a decrease in overall courtesy to others on the roadway. Perhaps it is just a lack of understanding that playing cat and mouse with their 3,500-pound sedan against an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer is not a game they should want to play. With that weight difference, a loaded truck has a massive kinetic energy advantage over the car. Perhaps this very advantage is what pushes DOT regulations on our industry to select, train and support qualified drivers and entrust them to operate safely and professionally on our public roadways.
But sometimes safe, professional driving is not enough. Through no fault of their own, a truck driver and motor carrier, can be immersed in a crash and left to deal with the consequences.
Whether you're an owner-operator, have a small fleet, or drive for a large motor carrier, dash cameras allow motor carriers to better manage their fleet safety with powerful features designed to support the driver, increase visibility, reduce crashes, and lower collision costs. We have all heard stories of how truck cameras served as an indisputable eyewitness to crash causation and other driving hazards, providing video evidence to help increase fleet safety, lower motor carrier liability, exonerate not-at-fault drivers, and even help subrogate back to at-fault parties.
On the dash of my Western Star, sits my camera. It is not to monitor me, there is no back office to send information to, and there isn't anyone to check up on me. Rather, it is there to protect me from other drivers. A dash camera is something I would no longer drive without and would recommend others do not either.
There are many different types of dash cameras you may want to consider, including:
There are literally hundreds of providers and options when it comes to dash cams, including Lytex Smart Drive, Peoplenet, Qualcom, Samsara, Falcon, Garmin, and many more.
So, which type is right for you and your fleet? This is a very important question you must ensure is answered correctly. For example, you may not wish to introduce a more expensive system when you already have an ELD provider that has their own system and interfaces well with the same data plan. Keeping the same technology in place that your fleet is already using can save you time and money.
That said, the cheapest systems may not work well, are not tamper resistant and could end up costing more over the long haul.
Whatever you choose, it's important to ensure your cameras record high-quality footage that's available when you need it. Below are some important features to consider when choosing the right dash cam for your fleet operations.