Looking for an all-in-one video, GPS tracking and telematics solution? EROAD Clarity Solo is the perfect option for light- and medium-duty vehicles, mixed fleets and ELD-exempt heavy trucks. Click here to check it out.
From a carrier’s point of view, fleet dash cams offer many benefits: protection against legal claims, potential insurance savings and increased safety through better driver coaching. Drivers, on the other hand, may be wary of fleet dash cams, which they often see as intruding on their privacy.
But the truth is that cameras also offer protection to drivers. In a world where drivers are often assumed to be at fault for accidents – despite research that shows that they’re not – video evidence from dash cams can be crucial to exoneration.
Are you considering adding dash cams to your fleet (if you’re not, you should be!) and concerned about pushback from your drivers? Check out these strategies for getting your drivers on board with dash cams.
Explain How Dash Cams Protect Drivers
Dash cams protect commercial drivers. This is a powerful point to make when talking to your drivers about adding cameras to your fleet.
Research consistently shows that the passenger car drivers are more often at fault in serious truck-car crashes. At the same time, trucking companies are being sued more often and the verdicts against carriers are getting larger, according to the American Transportation Research Institute.
And it’s not just carriers who suffer. Being wrongly blamed for an accident can result in legal issues for commercial drivers and hurt their future employability. Video footage can quickly clear a driver after an accident – or, at least, aid in accurately distributing responsibility among multiple drivers.
A 2019 NSTSCE study found that carriers using video-based onboard safety monitoring systems (i.e., dash cams) “report significant benefits related to ease of driver exonerations.” Also, a carrier involved in the study said that the driver-exoneration angle was key to getting 100 percent driver buy-in on using cameras.
Make Your Drivers Stakeholders in the Decision
Based on driver feedback, California-based Bettendorf Trucking decided to use only the road-facing configuration when it added EROAD’s Clarity Connected to its fleet. Making drivers stakeholders in the camera decision was key to getting them on onboard, said Bob Phipps, the company’s maintenance supervisor.
“In the time that we were researching this, our owner at the time really listened to the drivers and made the decision that these would be forward-facing only. That was a big relief for morale,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve had any drivers have anything negative to say. I’ve heard a few of them say, ‘it’s about time we’re doing this.’”
Be Upfront About What Is Being Recorded
Implementing driver dash cams is all about protecting your employees and your business. However, drivers may suspect that the cameras are there to spy on them. Address that concern by being transparent about how the cameras work and what they will record.
EROAD’s Clarity Dashcam products, for instance, offer front-facing or dual front/driver-facing configurations, as well as optional in-cab audio recording. If you choose a camera that includes a driver-facing option or audio recording, be upfront about it and explain why – and be sure you are following any state-specific rules about using recording devices.
Also, explain how the cameras work. Drivers may be concerned that dash cams provide fleet managers with live-streaming video of everything they do. Some cameras do have that kind of functionality. But when choosing the right model for your fleet, it’s important to balance the benefits of dash cams with drivers’ desire for autonomy while they’re working – especially if you’re interested in getting drivers comfortable with the idea of cameras in the first place.
A dash cam like Clarity achieves that balance. It records continuously. However, clips are only uploaded to the cloud when there is a critical event (harsh breaking, sharp acceleration, sharp cornering), when a driver manually activates the camera or when an authorized user requests a clip.
Develop a Camera Policy
Drivers also need to know how dash cam footage will be used and how it can affect their employment. That’s why it’s important to develop, distribute and consistently follow a dash cam policy. Every carrier is different, so policies will differ. Generally, though, a dash cam policy should cover things like:
- What safety events will trigger the dash cam
- Where and for how long video footage is stored
- Who has access to footage
- How to get footage at an accident scene
- How footage will be used for coaching and corrective action
- Consequences for tampering with in-cab cameras
- Who to talk to about dash cam questions, complaints or concerns
A policy that addresses issues like these can remove some of the unknowns that may make drivers leery of dash cams and help get everyone in the organization on the same page.
“The human side is probably the biggest thing in a rollout like this: have a plan, have it in writing, make sure everybody gets the memo and be able to answer questions,” said Phipps of Bettendorf Trucking. “The camera itself is just a piece of hardware; it’s how it’s interpreted and how you lay it out there that makes the difference.”
Select a Dash Cam that Is Easy to Use
Ease of use is a crucial consideration whenever adding new in-cab technology – after all, drivers want to drive, not fiddle around with distracting devices. When considering your dash cam options, look into whether a driver must interact with the camera in any way. Your best bet is to select a model that doesn’t require the driver to do anything.
EROAD’s Clarity, for example, automatically starts recording when – and only when – the truck’s engine is running. Drivers don’t have to do anything unless they opt to manually start sending clips to the cloud with the push of a button on the dash.
Change can be difficult for drivers, especially when you factor in their concerns about privacy. But clear communication from carriers about the protections that dash cams provide to drivers, how in-cab cameras operate and how the data collected will be used can help pave the road to getting drivers on board with dash cams.
A Dash Cam Solution for Every Fleet
Whatever the size, type or use of your fleet, EROAD’s Clarity Dashcam products are designed to bring you all of the benefits of fleet dash cams. Clarity Connected integrates with the EROAD ELD to provide HD video footage to fleets required to follow hours-of-service rules. Clarity Solo is an all-in-one device that provides video, telematics and GPS in a single unit for light, mixed and non-regulated fleets.