Most fleets understand the great contribution that cameras can make to fleet safety. However, most fleets still think about video footage in far too limited a way to reap optimum benefit. Let’s explore the different types of camera-based safety systems available on the market.
The most common – and by far the cheapest – is the dashcam. It needs minimal set up, and usually stores to an SD card, although the more sophisticated dashcams allow you to send footage to your smartphone. Many have touchscreens and good video quality.
Dashcams film on a loop and will capture collisions or extraordinary g-force events.
There are technical disadvantages with dashcams, not least that in the event of a collision the SD card and the driver’s phone are likely to be taken into evidence, leaving you without your essential footage for exoneration for your insurer.
However, the biggest and most crucial disadvantage is that dash cams are at best a reactive measure. They capture collisions but they do nothing to help prevent them.
Driver aid cameras
Driver aid cameras abound in logistics. They frequently clarify blind spots, such as the space immediately to the left or right of the vehicle, or behind for when a driver is reversing. Successive regulations, including the Direct Vision Standard, and some voluntary accreditations such as FORS and CLOCS make such cameras mandatory on most vehicles.
Some cameras even provide a 360 degree view of the vehicle, although suppliers should be chosen with care as this is technically challenging, particularly on articulated lorries.
For many fleets, such cameras are essential. Their function is not to record but to help the driver manoeuvre safely. Most shift the camera view in line with vehicle cues, such as indicators or reverse gear.
One disadvantage is that having so many feeds can potentially become a distraction in itself and fleets need to work carefully and practically with drivers to ensure that they can process information from their mirrors and camera feeds without becoming overwhelmed or their sweep taking so long that the road has changed around them while they glance from one to the next.
These camera systems fulfil a specific safety function. They make a driver better informed – but they do not make him a better driver.
Proactive camera safety systems
Proactive camera systems put the emphasis not on the camera but on safety. These cameras do everything dash cams can do but what’s different is the benefit you get from that footage. These systems do not treat collisions as something only to be captured but something to be prevented.
In a video-based safety system there are two crucial elements.
The first one being that the footage is captured, not simply for insurance reasons but to be studied and learned from. For example, SmartDrive’s system automatically uploads triggered footage via the cellular network, storing it in a dedicated client portal online. In urgent cases this footage is available to fleet managers, insurers and police within minutes. This minimises FNOL (first notification of loss) costs, and speeds up exoneration and investigation. It also means that operators do not lose their footage when it is entered as evidence, unlike the dashcam. It not only captures the footage but enables fleets to set alerts that immediately notify fleet managers of specific types of incident.
Secondly, that learning must be acted upon. In this way fleets drive down their road risk across the board, by coupling technology together with driver coaching. All footage captured by the SmartDrive system is analysed and returned to the fleet manager with specific coaching insights, making debriefing drivers a quick and very effective process.
Additionally, SmartDrive’s video-based safety system helps fleets to greater safety improvements and cost reductions than telematics alone. This is because it couples the vehicle data such as revs, speed, location and direction of travel with an objective visual narrative which shows driver behaviour and attitude.
The greatest benefit of any data collection tool – whether it is telematics or a camera system – comes from the analysis and applied learning of the data you collect. This is what improves driver behaviour and lowers fleet risk by preventing collisions.
You’ll never look at a camera the same way again.
For more information on how SmartDrive Systems can improve fleet safety for your truck, van or passenger fleet, click on our Five Great Reasons guides below:
- Posted by Nicola Burgess
- On June 1, 2021