Without a doubt, the future of trucking is going to be influenced by more use of electronic safety technology. Certainly, the recent implementation of rules requiring electronic logging devices (ELD) on trucks to monitor compliance with hours of service rules was a game-changer.
At DriverSource, we support any advancing technology geared to make driving safer and reduce the number of tragic accidents involving trucks. Safety will always be our top priority.
One of those advancing technologies on the near horizon is video event recorders. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been pushing for the implementation of this device in every commercial vehicle for several years. They feel recorders will help with crash investigations and improve driver safety.
What Are Video Event Recorders?
Video Event Recorders are an after-market camera system that records a view of the road ahead through the windshield, capturing traffic-related events. Some also capture views of the side and rear of the truck. The device kicks in and records when a sudden triggering event occurs, such as sudden acceleration or deceleration, a sudden steering event, or sudden braking event. Many of the recorders also have the capability of a reverse camera to capture the image of the driver. The purpose of that is to see what the driver was doing at the time. Were they paying attention or were they distracted by using a cell phone or eating?
According to Dave Osiecki, President of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting, these cameras offer trucking companies a way to identify risks, reduce risks, and improve safety.
How Effective Are They in Improving Safety?
Studies done by both the government and carriers indicate real safety benefits of video cameras in truck cabs.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) began studies on the device in 2010. Their results indicated that the recorders improved safe driving habits, particularly when used to subsequently coach the driver on the risks that led to the accident.
Carriers that installed recorders in the cabs of their fleets have seen significantly improved safety records. “One of the carriers that participated in the FMCSA study saw a 38%-40% reduction in their average safety-related events over a 10,000-mile period. Another carrier saw a reduction in the range of 50%”, states Osiecki.
What are the Challenges to Implementation of Recorders in Cabs?
Driver acceptance of recorders has been a challenge.
There is a perception among some drivers that management is sitting in the office watching the driver. This is not the case, but fears about “big brother” monitoring may make some drivers leave or shy away from joining companies that have fleets using this technology. This can affect driver acceptance, recruiting, and retention and exacerbate the driver shortage plaguing the industry nationwide.
There is a concern that more drivers may be considered “at-fault” in accidents. The reality is, most recorded accidents support exoneration of the driver that is involved in the accident.
Bill D for DriverSource