Overdrive Extra

James Jaillet

Carriers watching you, and why that might not be the worst thing

| April 01, 2013

DriveCamWell, maybe “watching you” is a little too strong.

Nobody wants a blackbox monitoring their driving, whether in the form of an electronic logging device, cameras in your face or anything else that records you, your truck or your whereabouts. But what if something a little less intrusive got you off of the hook for an accident you didn’t commit?

On the horizon for the trucking industry is maybe something like that, coming in the form of a video camera that clicks on when it detects “risky events” like hard braking or swerving. It films the driver and in front of the truck and then is uploaded to a server where the fleet can access it.

Overdrive sister site CCJ posted today a piece on the DriveCam system, which does exactly the aforementioned.

Bendix, too, talked during its press event at the Mid-America Trucking Show two weeks ago about its SafetyDirect system, in which, like DriveCam, severe events are filmed, saved and uploaded.

At the core of all of this is driver accountability — both the good and the bad. You obviously don’t want on camera to get caught in a situation where not paying attention for a brief moment put you and your truck at risk, because now it will be filmed and sent to your carrier.

Bendix did offer two examples, though, that worked out very well for the driver and carrier employing its technology.

The first featured a truck traveling in his lane, straightly, when a car from the lane next to him swerved and hit him, pushing the truck into the guard rail and causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage to the truck. The car driver claimed the truck swerved into his lane, but after the carrier came forward with the video, the car driver’s insurance company actually ended up awarding the fleet $46,000 to repair the truck.

The carrier told Bendix that had the video not been there, it would have simply settled with the car driver claiming the truck swerved to hit him.

In this case, both the carrier and the driver won big.

In the second video, a car traveling a few lengths in front of a truck suddenly braked after his hood flew up, causing the truck to hit him. The car driver actually swore under oath that his hood flew up after the truck hit him. The fleet, however, then produced the video, and the mediator dismissed the case against them.

Again, both the driver and the fleet won.

Video monitoring is a trickier subject than it originally appears, especially when truck drivers are exonerated for accidents they would otherwise would be blamed for. However, is the constant presence of video monitoring worth the benefits?

Time will tell, obviously, how it plays out, but as more and more fleets come forward with success stories like these, it may not be your choice, for both better and for worse.

  • kiko kika

    i lost my job because Dell corporation in nashville,tn send a video to the company i work the company i drive for is Mesilla valley transportation i never had chance to say or tell my side to add more insult the guy who insult me when i was at the mesilla valley terminal in el paso had his way too.. i was the one got insult i was the one at fault truck driver life suck or not because his mexican his the only one had rights… if a mexican jump the fence they can march for si si puede but if you work for them you just a truck driver with no rights………..any one can give a advice on what to do if the company treat you like this where should i go and who do i talk too my unemployment insurance is not showing up too i need advice drop me a line here driver

    thank you
    Francis C

  • kiko kika
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1269137418 Mike Jones

    Sure Video Monitoring the driver is going to be Mandatory…Insurance companies offer DISCOUNT..so YOU will have one looking at you…Like it or NOT……CSA, Driver Cam monitoring…more frequent Weigh Station Inspections, CSA…PSP, DAC, MVR……goodbye freedom of the open road…satelite monitoring…dispatch is beeping you…he saw you take one hand OFF the wheel and pick your nose!! LOL. Enjoy!

  • 4btrucking

    Kiko, if you drive for any big carrier, your asking to be treated like sh*t…your just a number…

  • http://www.facebook.com/william.mckelvie William McKelvie

    So I guess we are looking to replace actual training and actual time behind the wheel with a video camera? Or maybe a simulator as was recently suggested at the last FMCSA listening session? Cameras should be used to help you in case you need it, not to slap your hand for tailgating or just bad driving.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1269137418 Mike Jones

    Yep…the DRIVER montoring camera AND Electo Logs in every truck is the PLAN…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1269137418 Mike Jones

    Quite profitable to the company selling the CAMERAS….3Million Tractor Trailers…and of course all the straight trucks should have one…Salesmen will make a nice COMMISSION selling to fleets….I expect to see more and more of these Driver Monitoring devices in the future too….alot of money made..playing the driver for a chump/monkey to be “observed” like an animal at the ZOO!!!! hahahahahha LOL.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1269137418 Mike Jones

    Si Senyor…me gusto Camera por me….in el trookay…bueno.

  • john rouse


  • Michael Jones

    I hate to admit it, but if a light turns yellow and i have to brake hard to get stopped, i have to roll thru it or i will set off the camera. I hate having a camera. Its always a distraction watching it to see if it goes off.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1269137418 Mike Jones

    Dispatch office wants to Watch You..tomake sure the Trailer full of Dope arrives on time. You get 32CPM…your company makes quite a bit more…hence the millionaire Owners.

  • bigred

    I`m hoping that plans are in the works to hold the Co. owners, safety men, trainers and dispatchers responsible for whom they hire, train and put on the road as it seems with these new laws you have the drivers covered and we are surely safer now.

  • Keith

    Outward facing camera’s is good.inward is bad. We can tell a lot from the camera facing out. What they don’t tell the company is the truth. They want to find the driver at fault. You do your job and look into your mirrors and if someone slams on the breaks.you hit them. Guess what? A good lawyer will see that you looked away for a second, and now it’s driver fault..

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