Dashcams offer clear benefits to transportation businesses and commercial drivers – especially when it comes to defending against legal claims. But those benefits may depend on the type of video telematics solution you choose and how you use it. 

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) surveyed legal experts for their views on best practices for the use of in-cab cameras. Here are three key takeaways. 


Event-Based Cameras Are Preferred 

Nearly 90% of the legal experts that ATRI surveyed favored event-based dashcams over systems that continuously record, saying that continuously recording devices may capture too much information. More than 40% of the legal experts reported at least one experience in which a continuously recording camera captured damaging information that an event-based device would not have. It’s also important to note that event-based systems are more likely to get driver buy-in than those that record continuously. 


How Long Should Video be Retained? 

Among the legal experts that ATRI surveyed, there was consensus that incident video files should be kept only for the duration of the statute of limitations in the state where the incident occurred. This is often two years but can vary from state to state based on the type of incident.  

Furthermore, the legal experts said that incident-free video used for other purposes, such as coaching, should be deleted regularly to prevent it from being inappropriately used against carriers in court. In general, carriers should create and follow a clear and standardized video telematics policy on recording, using, storing and deleting dashcam footage.


Driver Coaching Can Benefit or Hurt Carriers 

Driver coaching based on video footage can benefit carriers by improving fleet safety and demonstrating carriers’ commitment to running a safe operation, which can be helpful when defending against legal claims.  

However, legal experts pointed out that poor coaching can be worse than no coaching at all. If bad driving behaviors persist despite repeated coaching attempts, a jury may deem the carrier’s safety program negligent or ineffective. For that reason, legal experts said that progressive discipline – up to termination of employment – should be part of a carrier’s toolbox when drivers make significant mistakes or fail to respond to coaching. 

“Repeated coaching to eliminate a bad behavior that ultimately still occurs and leads to an accident can be used against the carrier,” one defense attorney told ATRI. “On the flip side, a record of … coaching with improvement by drivers demonstrates safety culture.” 


A Video Telematics Solution for Every Fleet 

Whatever the size, type or use of your fleet, EROAD’s video telematics solutions are designed to bring you all of the benefits of fleet dashcams. Clarity Connected integrates with the EROAD ELD to add HD video footage to actionable telematics data. 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. 

Legal Experts Share Best Practices for Using Video Telematics

by | May 25, 2023 |

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