Video telematics convey clear and concrete benefits to both motor carriers and drivers. Driver acceptance is crucial to the successful implementation of a video telematics solution. But getting driver buy-in can be a challenge.
In its report, “Issues and Opportunities with Driver-Facing Cameras,” the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) surveyed drivers to learn more about their concerns about in-cab cameras and what measures carriers can take to address those concerns. While the ATRI report focuses on driver-facing cameras, it also gathers drivers’ impressions about road-facing cameras and its findings are applicable to video telematics systems in general.
Here are some key findings from the ATRI study:
Sharing Positive Outcomes Is Key
Among the surveyed drivers, those with current or past experience with in-cab cameras – both road-facing and driver-facing – gave cameras higher approval ratings. This is likely because they have experienced or witnessed the benefits that video telematics can provide to drivers.
“Experiencing positive outcomes from [camera] footage, either directly or through a coworker, is one of the most reliable causes of improved driver perceptions,” the ATRI report says.
That was the experience for International Wood Products, which added EROAD’s Clarity Dashcam to its fleet of more than 50 trucks in 2021. At first, reaction to the cameras was “hit and miss,” said Transportation Safety Manager Brett Spicer. But seeing video exonerate drivers proved to be “really good for our reluctant drivers, who were slow to get onboard.”
“We found that it works to our drivers’ advantage more than anything else, as opposed to a way to get them in trouble,” Spicer said.
The ATRI report also found that newer truck drivers were more accepting of in-cab cameras, likely due to having positive experiences with video during training.
- Experiencing the benefits of video telematics – either directly or indirectly – increases drivers’ approval of in-cab cameras. When video footage results in driver exoneration, carriers should share those stories with their drivers.
- Carriers that want to implement a video telematics solution but are concerned about driver pushback may consider starting with a small sample of willing drivers and then sharing positive outcomes with the larger fleet to build overall driver approval.
- According to ATRI, “carriers should make [camera] use in training as productive and transparent as possible to build approval with new drivers and sustain it over their careers.”
Use Video for Improvement More than Punishment
Several of the drivers that ATRI surveyed said that they believe that in-cab cameras (especially driver-facing) are used by carriers and insurance companies to shield themselves and push more liability onto drivers. “What is the benefit for the driver,” they asked.
“Preventative safety measures can answer that question when [cameras] are used to improve drivers’ skills,” according to ATRI.
The survey results support that, finding that drivers’ approval of cameras increases when carriers use video footage for safety program development, ongoing driver training and training new drivers.
“If this data is used to create a safety atmosphere it’s ok, but when it starts to create a stressful atmosphere then it’s not good,” one surveyed driver told ATRI.
- Drivers may be skeptical that in-cab cameras benefit them. Moreover, they may be concerned that video footage will be used punitively. Incorporating video into safety and training programs – as well as using it to recognize and reward safe driving – can go a long way toward relieving such concerns.
- While driver improvement and positive feedback should be primary goals of implementing video telematics, it’s important to note that legal experts and insurers surveyed by ATRI agreed that “progressive discipline” should also be part of carriers’ camera program. “Repeated coaching to eliminate a bad behavior that ultimately still occurs and leads to an accident can be used against the carrier,” a defense attorney told ATRI.
Policies and Consistent Adherence Are Crucial
The implementation of a video telematics system can leave drivers with legitimate privacy concerns, in addition to their concerns that video will be used to punish or shift blame onto them. For this reason, creating a clear and comprehensive video telematics policy – and applying it fairly and consistently – is an important step in solidifying driver buy-in.
Case in point: Drivers told ATRI that “strict and clear agreements” covering what footage is viewed, who may view it and when would be key to improving acceptance of in-cab cameras, specifically driver-facing.
- “Carriers should develop standardized … policies and procedures and promulgate them to drivers in a clear, accessible and transparent manner,” per ATRI.
- In addition to stipulating what video may be viewed, by whom and under what circumstances, a video telematics policy should explain things like why cameras are being used, how they can benefit drivers and the anticipated positive outcome of using them.
Additional Considerations for Implementing Video Telematics
Here are some more findings from the ATRI report that can help carriers successfully implement a video telematics solution.
Event-based cameras are preferred: Both surveyed drivers and legal experts overwhelmingly preferred event-based systems over cameras that record continuously, with the former citing privacy concerns and the latter citing concerns about recording too much footage.
Implement cameras companywide: “Carriers should consider using [cameras] in all fleet vehicles to reduce the sense that truck drivers are being exclusively targeted,” ATRI suggests. This would include adding cameras to sales cars, maintenance vehicles and other company vehicles.
Establish video footage storage and deletion policies: As part of a video telematics policy, a carrier should set guidelines for what footage is stored and for how long, as well as policies around deleting footage. For instance, ATRI recommends deleting “footage that does not depict an incident as soon as internal review or coaching is completed.”
Protect driver privacy: Drivers may view in-cab cameras as a threat to their privacy, especially driver-facing cameras. Select a camera that allows drivers to ensure their privacy – such as through the use of a lens cap – when they are off-duty, not driving, etc.
A Video Telematics 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 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.