Video Telematics Improves Driver Behavior
Do Video telematics improve driver behavior and accident prevention?
Driver safety is of critical importance to those behind the wheel and the managers who look after the vehicles. If a driver isn’t responsible when on the road they could cause significant damage to the trucks and products, costing the company they work for a lot of money. Or even worse, someone could get seriously hurt or perhaps even lose their life.
The previous problem was that there was only so much one could do to hold drivers responsible. Before the days of certain technological advancements, fleet managers essentially had to simply trust that their drivers would practice safe driving habits on the road. Once they departed onto their route, there was no way of knowing what drivers were doing during their journey.
Things have changed now, though. Video telematics offers an inside look into a driver’s behavior for the duration of their journey, which allows fleet managers to assess the habits of those they trust with precious cargo and make adjustments accordingly.
And with more and more truck companies installing video telematics in their vehicles, fleet managers are hoping that an inside look into a driver’s behavior will offer the type of accountability that will push them towards safer driving habits.
What is telematics?
Telematics is a piece of technology placed within different parts of a truck that creates and gathers data fleet managers can use for a handful of reasons depending on the telematics intended purpose, of which there are many.
Engine control modules assess the average speed of a vehicle as well as the ferocity with which a driver uses the brake and accelerator. GPS tracking allows fleet managers to locate their vehicles within a certain area and assess whether they’re on track to reach their destination at the appropriate time. And video telematics helps fleet managers assess the behavior of their drivers while providing video evidence that can be used in the unfortunate event of a collision.
“Commercial fleet drivers are often assigned blame when involved in an accident, due to the commonplace assumption that the larger vehicle is at fault,” said Jason Palmer, chief operating officer for SmartDrive, a company that offers video telematics systems for fleet owners. “With video, fleet managers know within minutes what transpired leading to a collision and can quickly exonerate a driver who is not at fault.”
What are the benefits of video telematics?
The main purpose of video telematics centers almost entirely on the idea of driver accountability. Drivers need to be held accountable for their behavior on the road and the potential dangers they could be putting themselves, the company, and others in. If not, the ramifications could be costly. So, fleet managers place a camera in front of them to ensure that drivers will either improve their habits or pay for the irresponsible mistakes they might make.
Before video telematics, a driver could put themselves or others in danger with the way they drive. They could be on their phone. They might be dozing off behind the wheel. Or they could for some reason be constantly taking their eyes off the road. Whatever the reason, drivers could be negligent with no one around to tell them otherwise.
Even in the event of an accident, drivers could put the blame elsewhere and there might not be a way for fleet managers to know whether the truth was being told or not. How could they know? They weren’t in the truck or anywhere near the accident. Drivers had to be taken at their word, one that often put their best interests ahead of what actually happened.
While being watched and recorded, drivers are more likely to practice safer driving habits knowing they can’t escape the truth if they were to make a mistake, which could lead to their dismissal. The evidence exists and is continuously uploaded to a server for superiors to view and analyze to ensure their drivers are making the right decisions.
If they’re not, fleet managers can replace reckless drivers with ones who operate vehicles more responsibly. They can decrease the risk of an accident, lowing the potential consequences they’d have to deal with–like covering the costs of the incident– while creating a safer driving environment for everyone.
Does video telematics improve driver behavior?
Truck drivers often receive a driver scorecard, which is essentially a report that uses certain metrics to assess a driver’s performance. Among those metrics include those tied to a driver’s behavior, which can be tracked through the use of video telematics, and answers many important questions regarding driver behavior and accident prevention.
Are drivers being as safe as possible? Is their behavior on the road where it needs to be to ensure complete safety and responsibility? When being tracked by video telematics, data offered by Jason Palmer’s SmartDrive provides encouraging results.
“Within the first year, fleets that implement video-based solutions see a 59% reduction in driver distraction, due to the accountability and behavior awareness video brings to the fleet,” said Palmer. “Additional performance benefits amassed through in-cab video include a 74% reduction in fatigue; a 69% reduction in speeding; and a 75% reduction in close following.”
There isn’t any overarching conclusion to be made about video telematics, not without the proper amount of data. But the rationale behind it seems crystal clear:
Hold drivers accountable for their behavior and that behavior will improve. It has to. Otherwise, those drivers will be out of a job.
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