Backing up your drivers becomes easy when you’ve got a recording to prove they were acting in the right.  - Photo: City of Bettendorf, Iowa

Backing up your drivers becomes easy when you’ve got a recording to prove they were acting in the right. 

Photo: City of Bettendorf, Iowa

On-board video cameras can help save a lot of grief when fleet managers get complaints about drivers supposedly acting badly. It’s a lot easier to back up your drivers when you have physical proof they were in the right.  

Mark Garrow, transit/garage manager for the City of Bettendorf, Iowa, said on-board video technology has made a large difference in the safety of his fleet. He’s implemented Pro-Vision cameras. While video cameras aren’t new technology by any stretch, the higher definition and lower acquisition cost of newer models has made the decision to add them to his vehicles and equipment a no-brainer.

He’s now implemented video systems on the city’s sweepers, plow trucks, and sanitation trucks, and said it’s been instrumental in mitigating liability claims.

“You wouldn't believe how often somebody tries to say, ‘your truck was caught speeding.’ Now we can pull the video and prove that’s not the case. A lot of the time once we mention we have a recording, the person drops the accusation almost immediately,” he said.

While Garrow has seen a little bit of pushback on the surveillance aspect from drivers, many of the city’s in-vehicle cameras don’t face them. On city buses, cameras are passenger-facing.

“We haven't felt a desire or need to have cameras aimed at drivers at this point,” he explained.

Features to Look for in On-Board Cameras

  • Cloud connectivity - Storing files is vital to be able to access them any time you need them, and cloud connectivity ensures important video files are not lost.
  • Loop recording - This prevents the camera's memory card from being clogged up with recordings in which nothing happens. In the event of an accident, which many cameras determine using internal G-sensors, the video file created at that time will be automatically locked, meaning the loop recording mechanism won't overwrite it.
  • Auto-start - When the camera powers on when the vehicle does, it prevents drivers from forgetting to turn the camera on manually. This ensures no recording opportunity is missed.
  • GPS coordinate availability - This enables the camera to detect your location and speed of travel. When combined with video evidence, this data help can paint a more complete picture of the events leading up to an accident.
  • Live streaming capability - Allows managers to conduct "spot checks" on drivers to help determine if someone might need more training. Peace of mind is an added bonus.
  • Telematics integration - Combining video with data collected by a telematics system enables one to create a view of a driver behavior before, during, and after an accident or harsh driving incident. Keeping track of this data can assist during driver training as well as help increase vehicle uptime if the behavior is corrected.

Originally posted on Government Fleet

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