There are many great benefits to utilising cameras, inward or forward-facing, in commercial vehicles.
In-cab cameras, which capture the cab interior and driver, tend to cause operators some concern, when they imagine employee response. However, as with all safety interventions, there are positive steps you can take to inform and engage your drivers, quickly dispelling any negativity or concerns.
At SmartDrive we find that the first step must always be to explain, fully and simply, how the technology works, and what the camera footage is used for. Most commercial vehicle operators have fairly straight forward objectives, including:
- To keep their drivers safe and exonerate them in the event of a false claim or not-at-fault incident.
- To help keep other road users and the public safe by using the footage to properly manage, develop and train drivers so that they are less likely to be involved in collisions.
Neither of these aims is in contradiction with what drivers want. No one sets out in the morning imagining or wanting to be in a collision – quite the reverse. And drivers are very aware that commercial vehicles are often the first to be blamed, whether or not this is justified, for any on-road incident which occurs.
So remember to make the most of this ‘common ground’.
Before SmartDrive installs its technology in a client’s fleet, our team will always runs ‘town hall meetings’ with drivers, managers and other interested staff. We do this before anyone is expected to work with our video-based safety system.
It’s very important that everyone knows what the system is for, how it works, who will see the footage and what that footage may be used for.
We also support customers with communications guidance and a templated suite of materials, for ongoing driver engagement and updates, such as posters, driver acknowledgement form, etc.
These briefing sessions are an essential part of the process and shouldn’t be rushed. It’s important that everyone can ask all of their questions. Often driver questions are about personal privacy: Does it record me when I’m not working? When I’m at rest? The answer being: ‘No. Unless you want it to.’ It’s as important for drivers to know that they can use the system for their own safety as it is for them to know it will turn off when their engine is off.
Another common one is: ‘Is my manager seeing real-time or continuous footage of me?’ The answer is: ‘No, it typically only uploads about two minutes of footage from an entire shift.’
The questions are natural and intelligent – and the answers tend to allay driver concerns.
There are always those who dislike change, and there are also those who dislike ‘being managed’. This is true in all businesses and walks of life. However, in SmartDrive’s experience – in other words, in our customers’ experience – these people fall into two camps. There are those who doubt the value of video-based safety. These people tend to become SmartDrive proponents as soon as it exonerates one of their colleagues, which rarely takes long.
The other group is a tiny minority of drivers who know that some of their driving habits are not in line with company policy but would rather their managers didn’t know that. Needless to say this group, small though they may be, often present the highest collision risk and are absolutely the kind of driver the operator needs to manage and train effectively.
Change always needs to be managed carefully in any organisation. However, this is only the latest and most effective in a long line of technologies which have changed commercial drivers’ relationships with their employers, the most notable being telematics and vehicle tracking. Drivers and unions were initially very resistant to the idea of vehicle tracking; today it is seen as commonplace.
It is our experience that drivers embrace forward and inward-facing cameras when they are:
- Engaged in the process
- They fully understand the system, its purpose and its boundaries
- Understand that the SmartDrive managed video system is intended as much, if not more, for their benefit, development and protection as for the company’s
- Have seen that benefit for themselves or for a colleague
- And they realise SmartDrive can help them to stay safe and become better drivers.
In a future blog we’ll look at the issues of GDPR and make you aware of some of the documents we have that can assist you. But in the meantime if you, or your drivers have questions about how SmartDrive can help your drivers stay safe, don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 01442 345180.
- Posted by Nicola Burgess
- On October 11, 2018