by: Karen Bradley
Dash cams are becoming more popular for fleet managers all over. They offer an enhancement to simple GPS vehicle tracking and offer several features that enhance fleet safety. They help track everything from seatbelt use and distracted driving to protection for your driver in case of an accident.
Not only does a proactive fleet tracking program help save you money on insurance and other fleet costs, but it also provides insight into what your drivers do on the road, giving you a basis for coaching, training, and even rewarding good driver behavior. Here are seven ways dash cams increase fleet safety.
A big part of your time and energy likely goes into driver training and coaching. But no fleet manager can be everywhere at once and in the cab of every vehicle. However, a dash cam can let you know what is going on both inside and outside of your vehicles. Near misses, speeding, and other risky behaviors can be documented and added to coaching plans.
Dash cams enhance fleet manager’s ability to use driver scorecards, adding a deeper level of data to inform your scoring system. Individualized driver coaching is then possible, based on actual events, recorded data, and video showing what the driver did well, and what they could have done better.
Dash cams offer an additional layer of communication. Not only can advanced AI systems inform fleet managers and others about risky behavior, but they can warn the driver about things like speeding, distracted driving, texting, cell phone use, and more in real-time. A driver can’t claim they “didn’t know they were speeding” when speed alerts are active.
These alerts and warnings can work as a preventative, making drivers aware of their risky behavior before it results in a complaint, a ticket, or worse, an accident. Using clear, two-way communication results in transparent expectations for drivers and a path to immediate action for supervisors.
What areas on your routes have risky road conditions and other hazards? Dash cams allow you to see these in real-time and make rapid assessments of those situations. In conjunction with your GPS tracking software, dashcams can also help you detect routing inefficiencies that cost you money. This is a form of financial risk that can be prevented. You can also determine if your drivers are engaging in other risky behaviors, such as compliance with docking and backing policies among others.
Dash cams are also great tools in theft prevention. With views of both the exterior and the interior of your vehicles, you’ll have footage of any illicit activity, and your fleet tracking system can give authorities the information they need to recover your property quickly.
Either way, dash cams reduce your financial and physical risk and make your fleet safer every day.
Drivers are often accused of things they did not do, and in a litigious society, that can be costly. For example, gravel truck drivers are often accused of not covering loads properly and may incur the cost of windshield replacements or other damage to vehicles. Your dash cams and vehicle tracking can reveal if your vehicle was ever in the area at the time, potentially reducing claims.
Beyond damage claims, you can also defend your drivers when they are accused of distracted driving, reckless behavior, speeding, or other infractions. The ability to prove you and your employee’s commitment to safety protects not only your reputation but your pocketbook as well.
On the flip side of things, if your drivers are engaging in distracted driving, you can prove that as well. Smart dash cams, those with AI, can detect things like seat belt use (or lack of it), distracted driving, cell phone use, and even speeding. As mentioned, the system itself can communicate with drivers, alerting them of behaviors they may be unaware of.
It all leads back to communication, coaching, and training, all of which make your fleet safer.
Should an accident occur, often one of the biggest obstacles is determining exactly what happened. Witness accounts and the accounts of drivers involved can differ greatly. Dash cams offer video evidence of how events unfolded. If your driver is not at fault, you can prove it while aiding authorities in their investigations.
Even if your driver is partially or even entirely at fault, you can see exactly what happened, and sharing that information with the insurance company and authorities can speed the settlement of any claims, limiting court costs and even excessive liability claims.
It is important to note, and for your drivers to know as well that any dash cam footage is admissible and would be part of the discovery in any court case surrounding an accident. This knowledge encourages your driver to operate safely at all times, knowing dash cam footage can work in their favor provided they are doing the right thing.
The most important aspect of installing dash cams is driver education. The driver may feel watched or monitored and may feel their privacy is being compromised. It is important for them to understand that dash cams are there not to invade their privacy, but to protect them and keep them safe and defend them in case of an accident or complaint.
Altering your driver’s perception of dash cams is your responsibility as a fleet manager, but done properly, your drivers can be the greatest advocates in favor of dash cams and their potential benefits.
Dash cams can be a large part of your fleet tracking systems and your overall fleet safety plan. Do you have questions about the benefits of dash cams and fleet tracking? Or are you ready to explore your options to determine what solution is right for you? Contact us at EcoTrack Fleet Management today. We’re here to help.