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Distracted truck driver causes accident captured by dash cam.

Truck Dash Cam Shows Distracted Driving Crash

A fleet truck driver in the United Kingdom was recently jailed for crashing into the rear of a vehicle on a highway that resulted in serious injury to its three occupants. (1) The driver was discovered to have been texting while driving just before the incident, which dash cam footage installed into the truck was able to show.

The video was able to provide an objective look at the incident, proving that it was a clear-cut case of driver negligence. In a later interview, this truck driver admitted that his driving behavior was “atrocious.”

Truck Dash Cams Reveal Good Driving Behaviors

Compare this to another video of a near-crash incident from a GPS Trackit customer in which one of their drivers was forced to make last-second decisions on the road to avoid being struck by a semi-trailer truck that was suddenly merging into their lane. Dash cam footage showed the van driver braking hard to avoid that semi-truck merging into his lane from the shoulder. Cars in the left lane blocked him from merging until the last second, but he was still able to avoid getting sideswiped by the semi-truck. By being aware of the road ahead, the driver found an opportunity to navigate out of the dangerous position as they were about to get hit.

If this driver was distracted at all, this scenario could have ended with significant injuries for the drivers, or possibly road fatalities.

Truck dash cam shows alert truck driver avoiding near accident.

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Recognizing the Distinctions of Driver Behaviors

These videos provide brief – but sobering – examples of what some of the best fleet driving practices are as well as what drivers should absolutely not do while on the road. One of the most obvious of these “don’ts,” as observed in these moments, is being distracted by a smartphone. “It was fortunate that the company had installed cameras on their lorry, which allowed us to examine the driver’s actions,” said Detective Sergeant Rob Baldwin, of the Serious Collision Investigations Unit for the Sussex Police in the U.K. “The company fully cooperated with our investigation.”

It was also fortunate to have recorded dash cam footage of the driver who avoided getting hit by the semi-trailer truck. If this event triggered an alert to the fleet manager about a harsh brake incident, the video would prove the incident was not their driver’s fault and that they had exemplified what smart and safe driving looks like.

Drivers Cause Distracted Driving Dangers

What is there to say about the dangers of distracted driving that hasn’t already been said before?  In 2019, distracted driving killed 3,142 people in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This doesn’t include the thousands of others who have been seriously injured in distracted driving crashes.

Most truck fleets and van fleets across the U.S. already have policies that prohibit cell phone usage while driving since distracted driving continues to be an ongoing issue. However, even if a fleet bans the use of smartphones, some drivers may still break company policy for the sake of their own personal interests, despite the obvious dangers. This type of ignorance from drivers goes beyond cell phone usage while driving as well.

Indeed, in the case of the truck driver from the U.K, the footage was also able to determine that he had used a replica seat belt buckle, only putting on his actual seat belt when he pulled up behind a police car, earlier footage showed. He was also found to be eating food while driving, another form of distracted driving. (2)

Dash Cam Footage as an Educational Tool

A silver lining to distracted driving incidents – like the one mentioned earlier – is that they can become teachable moments, making it easier to communicate to fleet drivers why eliminating distractions should be taken seriously. For example, drivers may be more attentive to following these policies if they learn that the truck driver from the U.K. – aside from also seriously injuring three people – was sentenced to three-and-a-half years imprisonment for causing the crash, according to the Sussex Police. The shocking video alone would also serve as an effective education tool.

Distracted driving incidents can occur through more than just cell phone interaction, however. Beyond excessive phone usage, distracted driving also occurs when drivers are eating and drinking, talking to other passengers in the vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system, really meaning anything that takes drivers’ attention away from driving safely, according to NHTSA.

“Even if a device is not being held in the hand, distracted driving can lead to devastating consequences and will likely result in a prosecution for dangerous or careless driving, as this case demonstrates,” said Detective Baldwin of the Sussex Police.

Getting Drivers on Board with Dash Cams

The dash cam video which showed the fleet driver narrowly avoiding crashing into the heavy-duty truck exemplifies the importance of bringing dash cam solutions into fleet operations. What was, in that instance, a frightening moment for the driver, can be seen as a moment of triumph for your fleet, after the fact. A rewardable moment for the driver as opposed to what might otherwise be a situation that could result in unnecessary driver training, if not for the transparency the video offers.

GPS Trackit recently launched a new video telematics solution that makes observing and encouraging these positive driver actions even easier. 

New Video Telematics Solutions

The new product, VidFleet, is a cutting-edge, connected video telematics system with features that include a 360-degree view of the road and driver to real-time in-cab audible alerts and the industry’s clearest picture. VidFleet is designed to enable safer driving, increase productivity and provide fleet managers greater awareness of their operations.

If you’d like to learn more about how GPS Trackit can help to improve safety, increase productivity and reduce costs for your business, speak with one of our knowledgeable Fleet Advisors at 866-320-5810 or get a quick Custom Quote.

Sources Cited:

  1. www.sussex.police.uk/news/sussex/news/court-results/video-texting-lorry-driver-jailed-after-crashing-into-van-on-a27/
  2. gpstrackit.com/blog/the-distraction-of-eating-driving-for-truck-van-drivers/

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