Dashcams, Driver Safety, and Video Metrics

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traffic accident

One of the number one concerns of every fleet manager is vehicle and driver safety. Nothing drives costs up faster than the consequences of unsafe driving, from costly accidents that could potentially result in lawsuits to increasing insurance costs. All of those factors are in addition to the human costs of unsafe driving, and the potential damage to your company’s reputation in your community.

A simple way to address those issues is through the use of dashcams. These include outward-facing and driver-facing cameras, and the video metrics that can come from the footage they provide. When combined with GPS vehicle tracking and the data it provides, fleet managers can rest assured their drivers and vehicles are where they should be and as safe as possible at all times.

The Cost of Accidents

What is the real cost of accidents? There are several factors to consider. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Mental impacts on drivers. Any accident, whether at fault or not, involving injuries to another party or not, will take a mental toll on drivers. Psychologically any error resulting in trauma can shake driver confidence and make working more stressful and difficult.
  • Physical injuries. If there are physical injuries, a driver can be unable to work for extended periods, affecting drivers, their families, and the company. The human cost of accidents is the greatest risk and should be prevented whenever possible.
  • Financial Costs. There are monetary costs associated with an accident, especially one in which your driver is found to be legally at fault. These include insurance deductibles, any citations issued at the scene, and potential lawyers’ fees and litigation costs should the victim of the accident file suit. The average accident resulting in a death costs over a million dollars, and the average injury suit is over half a million according to a tvass.com study.
  • The Cost of Time. No matter what type of accident your company vehicle is involved in, it will take time to sort things out. You’ll spend hours on the phone with attorneys, insurance companies, and potentially others to get the situation resolved. That’s time you could be spending growing your business or engaged in day-to-day operations.
  • Reputation costs. It is not only embarrassing to see one of your vehicles sitting on the side of the road getting a ticket from law enforcement, but even worse is when the vehicle is in an accident, especially an at-fault one. Your safety reputation can be judged by that single event, especially if it is significant enough to make the news.

Accidents are one of the costliest things that impact vehicle fleets and fleet managers. Unfortunately, they are all too common.

Rising Accident Rates

The more miles a driver covers, the more likely they are to be involved in an accident. That’s just the math of things. If an average driver travels between 10,000 and 15,000 miles a year and has a 1 in 15 chance of being in an accident, the commercial driver who travels double that distance has a much greater risk.

In 2018, the commercial fleet accident rate was 20% according to Automotive Fleet. It’s about more than just fleet drivers though. Other drivers on the road using cell phones and driving distracted can’t be controlled by fleet managers. However, they can find better ways to motivate their drivers to focus on the road, avoid distracting and dangerous behaviors, and take breaks to avoid exhaustion and driving tired.

Distracted driving can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  More than 9% of fatal accidents in the US involved distracted driving according to the FCC. This is despite local and state regulations about cell phone use while behind the wheel and even new cell phone features that disable notifications while a driver is behind the wheel.

Dashcams are a part of the solution, as more advanced cameras with AI can help fleet managers monitor and correct these behaviors.

Insurance Costs

One of the consequences of a greater number of accidents is the increase in insurance costs. However, there are things fleet managers can do to mitigate them.

  • Install dash cameras and fleet tracking sensors on all vehicles.
  • Ensure only authorized drivers operate company vehicles.
  • Develop a fleet safety plan using driver scorecards and share that program with your insurance company.
  • Prevent accidents through driver coaching and automatic driver alerts when risky behavior is detected.

There are other factors too. Speeding not only increases the risk of accidents, but it can also result in driver citations. Even just a few points on a commercial driver’s license can mean a big bump in insurance rates.

Reducing insurance costs means increasing driver safety.

Video Metrics Reveal Poor Driver Behaviors

While GPS vehicle tracking has been a tool for fleet managers for some time now, video metrics from dashcams, both outward and driver-facing have added a new layer of data for them to work with. Advanced cameras with AI can detect everything from speeding to distracted driving to seat belt use and cell phone use. These video metrics can reveal poor driver behaviors, but they can do more than that.

First, systems can alert drivers, fleet managers, and others of poor behavior. Notifying drivers helps them correct the behavior right away before an accident happens. For example, a driver notified they are speeding can immediately slow down, preventing citations and accidents.

Fleet managers who get regular notifications about habitual driver behaviors can take action, from coaching and driver re-training to other disciplinary action if necessary.

Second, data gathered from dashcams and fleet tracking systems can be compiled into driver scorecards. Rather than just being used for corrective action, drivers performing the best can be rewarded, a leaderboard established, and safety gamified. This gamification sets up a friendly competition among your drivers and can keep your company culture from being perceived as a “punishment culture.” This helps drivers feel like they are a part of a solution rather than part of a problem.

The Dashcam Solution

What else can dashcams do to provide your fleet with a safety solution? Not only will they reveal driver behaviors and help you take either corrective action or positive reinforcement, but they can help you defend against false claims.

For example, if you have a fleet of gravel trucks, your drivers might often get blamed for cracked windshields, but you can prove if they were even in the area when a person’s windshield was broken. In the case of an accident, video footage can prove what your driver was doing and if they were truly at fault.

This defense against fraudulent claims in the case of accidents and other things drivers may be falsely accused of can save you thousands and prove your commitment to driver safety.

Dashcams offer fleet managers more tools than ever before for enforcing driver safety and decreasing fleet costs overall. Video metrics are a big part of that solution. Are you curious about dashcams, vehicle tracking, and what they can do for your company? Contact us here at EcoTrack Fleet Management. We’re here to help!

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