Tips to Help Select a Dash Camera
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Posted by Cliff J. on September 30, 2019 in Trucker Focus

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: 

  • Front-facing dash cams
  • Dual-facing dash cams
  • Multi-camera systems
  • Exterior cameras
  • Interior cameras
  • Selecting dash cams and multi-cam systems

 

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.

 

  • Storage. Dash cams will be useless if the recorded footage is not available for future access. There are two popular storage options: 
    • Micro SD cards or memory cards that allot for a certain amount of video to be saved; or
    • Internet-connected dash cams that automatically upload footage to the cloud, eliminating the need for manual retrieval and human error. These can have their own transponder or connect via your vehicle's existing ELD, GPS, or other data plan.
  • Internet connectivity. Wi-Fi or truck-embedded Internet connections allow dash cam footage to seamlessly upload to the cloud for future access.
  • Mounting. There are different ways to install dash cams on your vehicle.   Keep in mind, a camera won't do you any good if it falls off during the accident itself.  Adhesive and velcro, such as your IPass or PrePass attachments may be good options that can offer quick, easy, and secure installs over the suction cup method.
  • Image resolution. Crisp video quality is critical when reviewing video footage. For optimal quality, consider dash cams with a wide-angle lens or wide dynamic range (WDR) that offer full HD videos. Consider FHD or HD 1080p video if you want best-in-class resolution capable of reading vehicle license plates.
Cliff J. is our Trucking guru
I bring over 30 years of trucking industry experience to Acuity. I worked my way up from driving to managing the safety operations of a transportation company, culminating in owning and managing my own regional trucking company. My main goal at Acuity is to help you, the motor carrier, the owner/operator and the driver better understand the insurance industry and help shape Acuity’s products and services to better meet your needs. I regularly provide ongoing trucking training to Acuity employees to help them understand the unique needs of those in the trucking/transportation industry. With over 30 years in the transportation sector, as both a company driver and as owner and manager of a trucking company, I have first-hand experience that helps me understand the challenges truckers’ face, and detailed knowledge of transportation regulations. My experience coupled with a background in insurance loss control can help answer and provide solutions to any issues that may arise.


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Posted By: Cliff J. on October 28, 2019 in Trucker Focus
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is establishing the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, mandated by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) highway bill of 2012. Motor carrier registration begins in the fall of 2019, with full compliance effective January 6, 2020.