Caught on camera? Carriers dabble in filming drivers

| October 30, 2013
DriveCam’s system uses a window-mounted recording device that captures forward and cab-facing video.

Some large U.S. carriers have began implementing a new method in eliminating accidents and absolving themselves and their drivers of fault in accidents that do occur: Video cameras that film the driver and the road while recording time and place on a map using GPS. 


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

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. ...

OD sister site CCJ Technology Editor Aaron Huff has an extended story on the subject on CCJ  — Click here to see it

As noted previously in an Overdrive Extra blog post from earlier this year, fleets have already used the technologies to set the record straight when sued for an accident that was not the fault of their driver. 

These driver risk management systems, as they’re often called, take the form of continuously recording cameras that feature a cab-facing camera and a forward-facing one. As Huff notes, not all of the footage is sent to the truck’s carrier, but when a “risky event” occurs, like a quick lane change, sudden acceleration or deceleration or running a stop sign, short clips are sent to headquarters, showing what happened before, during and after the event.


Reader: ‘I’d drive naked!’ — More on in-cab facial video monitoring

Readers respond to the question "Would you drive if your carrier had a camera pointed at your face or the road?" Sound off yourself here.

Huff’s story also covers driver acceptance — geared toward fleet managers — of the cameras, as they are generally perceived as invasions of privacy. 

Last December, Overdrive reported on the news that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration OK’d the use of the in-cab cameras, which led to an ample amount of OD reader response, including one driver saying he’d drive naked as a means to give his carrier something to look at, along with other drivers chiming in on their take on in-cab cameras. Click here to see that story.

This video from SmartDrive shows what carriers get when the clips are sent and shows a driver having to come to a quick stop to avoid a collision: 

  • John Scott

    I talked to a sanitation driver for my town who said his company was putting them in their trucks. I guess if you don’t trust how people drive then why did you hire them in the first place? I guess it might get you out of trouble, or might be used against you. I wonder how the company feels if a driver kills someone and the defense makes you turn over the video. More big brother in trucking I guess. Go figure.

  • jim stewart

    i would find another carrier the very next day they announce this is going to take place. we’re not monkeys in a cage to be watched like at the zoo. no way. won’t happen here. that’s clearly invasion of privacy. I may however consider this if all drivers in the company had a 24/7 surveillance monitor of every managers work, home, and where ever else they traveled around the clock. let’s see how many would allow that to take place.. yeah right! If i want a dash cam i will install one but as for a company demanding this or the extreme of actually filming the driver in the cab i just can’t believe anyone is hungry enough or that hard up for a job to allow folk to treat them like this.

  • Bubba Trucker

    you would rather NOT know what’s on my mind at the particular moment……

    put it this way: only 1 of us will be in the cab driving the truck – that camera, or me. if the carrier wants a robot cam to drive their truck – then stick their robot – cam in there and have at it – I’m outta here.

    I thought I seen a lot since 1975…..not even PILOTS of commercial jets have to sit there and have every moment of their flights recorded – nose picking and all.

  • od school

    Thanks Bubba, well directed, I would say kiss my petoot

  • Eric Evans

    Look all you want at the road, do not look at the drivers. Drivers have enough to worry about without having to worry about big brother peaking in on them. Will this system give drivers the privacy while in the sleeper or would be able to be activated anytime anywhere.

  • mousekiller

    I think I understand the reasoning behind this camera BS. Law suits are costing trucking companies 10′s of millions of dollars and this is the only reasonable cost way to cover their butts in case of law suit. There is an epidemic of staged accidents with trucks by the criminal minded with huge payouts in court. Proof by video can ave some carriers from going out of business due to huge increases in insurance.

    Lawyers can turn a one ticket in 20 years driver into a criminal in the eyes of the jury. They can be very convincing that you fell asleep while driving or was distracted. These are just 2 reasons for cameras doing both out side and in cab. I don’t like it but I see the reasoning for it.

    With the way the judges are leaning in today’s society the drivers are considered guilty before it ever gets to court. Big bucks. Big payouts and we have to be prepared for the once in a lifetime incident.

  • Michelle

    It’s bad enough with GPS and little black boxes keeping up with us. The day the FMCSA requires all trucks to have driver cams is the day I quit driving an 18 wheeler. Enough is enough!

  • Virgin Pacific.Inc

    Last year there was a American F M that was parked beside me at a truck stop in Alberta and she had just found out that the company she was working for had installed a camera in her SLEEPER few days before when the truck was in for Service. The camera was very hard to see and when she called her company they laughed and said it was Safety measure. She asked few of us what to do and we all said the same thing, Call the COPS and file charges. This is a criminal offence. She did. and they filed charges. Cops took the truck for evidence. She quit on the spot and we found her another job that day with a very good company.
    Your sleeper passed the driver seat is your HOME.

  • John

    If anyone is thinking of leasing on with Dart, (you’d have to be crazy), they have installed driverview cameras in their peoplenet units. ONLY driverview. No forward facing. Just the driver. I have a couple friends that drive there. Dart can also listen in on the driver. Dart supposedly claims it’s to make sure drivers are following company policy. To that I say, if you want to know what’s going on in MY truck, ask if you can ride along for a day. (Of course the answer would be NO!) Get OUT and STAY OUT!

  • John

    Let’s see. Companies are complaining about falling profits, so let’s hire more people to sit in an office and watch our drivers, just like the casinos do to spot cheaters. Where will they get the funds to cover these watchdogs? Not from their profit, but from the drivers pockets, by having LOWER PAY, & LESS benefits.When they start losing drivers, they’ll just scream driver shortage! But then with excessive numbers in the office, they won’t have to worry about paying drivers, there won’t be any.

  • John

    4wheelers and their lawyers get away with so much crap now against truck drivers, it’s unbelievable. The truck driver is automatically guilty. I would agree to a forward facing camera. If they could figure out how to include monitoring the outside mirrors, that might be a plus. But to have a camera facing the driver is going too far. The companys should be able to tell what’s going on by watching the mirrors and the forward facing camera.

    The DOT says they have NO jurisdiction over anything but commercial vehicles. That’s because they would be held accountable when driving their vehicles.

    If they want to put driver facing cameras in trucks, the ONLY FAIR thing to do, would be to put driver observation cameras in ALL vehicles, and have the hwy patrol monitor ALL at risk vehicles!

  • Bill in Estacada

    If a driver wants it he should buy his own and have total control of what others do and don’t see. I had a little blue haired old woman run out in front of me trying to catch her beagle, and three other close calls this summer alone. A camera would have demonstrated my competence and protected me had she run out 3 seconds sooner.

  • haller

    Cameras on ONLY truck drivers!! How about this, cameras in all 4-wheelers and all cell phones of the DOT and State Patrol monitored and recorded. No more sitting in your cop car talking to your kids and wife while you should be working.. Control the worker and DO-NOT let them get organized. Bring back Hoffa, please…

  • Kendall Oakleaf

    If you work for a company that films you and you allow it to happen you are a COMPLETE IDIOT invasion of privacy

  • PattyCakes

    Get use to it … it’ll work well with your Black Box.

    Be ashame if the camera was … ahem .. ‘ Relocated ‘ to a place like the Dispatchers Office, unbeknownst to the Dispatcher.
    ………. the next stolen camera could then be mounted in the Safety Directors car … and one in his Office.

  • Fred Sanford

    When you have a leader that puts his hand on the Bible and swears to uphold the constitution of the United States and then does everything in this power to destroy it. What difference will a little ole camera make? I can remember when Trucking was fun, come to think of it so was being American. You won’t be able to do anything about this if enough companies say you are going to do it. They are doing this in all vehicles in European Countries. Go to U Tube and type in wreck…. How do you think they got these cool pictures?

  • Voter 2014 against the shutdow

    If it saved my Ass in Insurance then I am all for it, owner operators take your chances, it can help as much as on feels it hurts,, My crew were all against cameras in the shop till it caught a thief stealing one of their tools,, then the value became accepted

  • Jim Kennedy

    not good enough. u’r still suspicious of the driver, shame on you. I encourage more dash cams pointing forward (if police are sceptical about viewing it, that’s one thing and companies don’t care what they see, that’s another), if u have 4 wheelers taking away my stopping distance, then yeah I support the forward mounted cams, I understand you’ve had these cams pointed at the driver for a long time already and that’s no joke, why aren’t they pointing away from the sides of the vehicle (indicating cars swerving and cutting in and out of lane-age), a rear mounted cam illustrating the ‘drafters’. I don’t have to worry about backing up, i’m pretty good at that and in that way, u can’t shake my confidence. But until the time when you actually believe your drivers and management does go and gets their class 1 licenses, you will continue to doubt or blame your drivers or your O/Os.

  • Tom

    Invasion of privacy. I like that, that is a really good battle cry. Several problems.
    A) YOU are in a COMPANY owned vehicle.
    B) YOU are on COMPANY time.
    C) YOU are acting on behalf of your COMPANY.
    D) YOU are representing your COMPANY.
    E) YOU are earning a paycheck from your COMPANY.

    There is no invasion of privacy here. If you want privacy, get out of the truck and go home where your privacy is guaranteed. You are never guaranteed privacy at work. This is the same as having security cameras at the office, in a store, at the gas station. You expect privacy when driving a COMPANY vehicle? The vehicle is not yours, the vehicle belongs to the company. Get use to it.

  • lastgoodusername

    can you get a live feed off these cameras like the panda cam at the zoo. this could become a money maker for the companies that use them. sell subscriptions to their feeds to watch a truck driver drink coffee and pick his nose. What a wonderful time to be alive.

  • PattyCakes

    Really … really ?

    And just what will happen when Joe / Jane Driver do a load into a State , such as Maryland, where it is ‘ Illegal ‘ to film / video / record without permission ?

  • PattyCakes

    Okay ….. if we are going to be ‘ Movie Stars ‘, then pay us like Movie Stars get paid.

    Should I go house or car shopping awhile ?

  • Tom

    Implied permission. If you know the camera is there, you know it will record, so, therefore, implied permission. Besides, from my experience, these are incident cameras. They only go off when there is an incident such as an accident. What are you trying to hide if you get into an accident that is not your fault? God, people go nuts over this and only look at it from their own POV. Well, trust me, when you get into an accident and that camera proves you were not at fault despite what everyone is saying, you will be glad to have that camera.

  • Tom

    Camera in the sleeper? That is wrong.

  • Tom

    Cameras are in the Railroad also. In the trains especially.

  • Tom

    Point of note here that is getting lost on a lot of people. There is not one camera that I know of that will allow a person to watch you remotely live. All cameras will record just a few seconds of video. About 8 to 10 seconds before the accident and about 5 seconds after. So, there is NOT a room full of people that sit and watch the drivers day in and day.

  • Tom

    It is not a matter of trust. It is a matter of truth.

  • Tom

    How come you are expecting privacy while in a company owned vehicle while you are working for that company? Are you doing something that you should not be doing?

  • Tom


  • Kendall Oakleaf

    Sorry Tom I am totally independent

  • Tom

    If you are independent, then you have nothing to worry about.

  • Virgin Pacific.Inc

    It is interesting that Walmart have no driver shortage. There turnover is only 5% a year. Last year Walmart hired only 350 drivers and had 13000 applications. They pay $76000 first year drivers. Very hard to get in.

  • John Simpson

    There are dashcams that can be used that are CHEAPER and better for privacy…. when an event occurs it is stored and a manager must get a memory card out of the camera to download hence it would be rare and only when needed

  • concretecowboy3

    So, if the camera records 8-10 seconds “BEFORE” the accident, how does the camera know that some jackass in a four wheeler or nowadays an 18 wheeler is going to do something downright STUPID? Accidents happen at lightning speed so does the camera know which four wheeler or 18′ner is an idiot??? Wish I knew.

  • Ron Pate

    I will give you your point one basis. Day cab drivers.Day cab drivers get to go home. Otr drivers. The truck is their home away frokm home. Other then that, stay out of OTR trucks. My wife rides with me 24/7. No one has the right to film or view her. NEXT?

  • Oktotry

    You sound as though you are advocating for the companies or are anti driver,or something.Clearly what these companies are proposing is an invasion of privacy. When folks meet company established criteria to be hired and are hired they represent the company.So they obviously trust these drivers to do the job,so I say trust them.Further more driving a truck 10 hours a day is not the office or a restaurant so do not equate these with driving.Either way we are one of the most heavily regulated industries out there and the last thing we need is more regs.OKAY!

  • Tom

    I have been a truck driver. I am not anti-driver. As a matter of fact, I now work on those cameras. I have seen and heard about in equal portions of how a camera has saved a drivers his job and how it cost him his job. The camera will either confirm a drivers version of events or it will show what was really going on. If you are doing nothing wrong in the vehicle, then why do you care? Yes, some companies abuse it and misuse it, but that is the company at fault.

  • mousekiller

    Probably what they want to do is to see if the drivers blinks too often, looks at mirrors often enough. Drives with his feet on the dash like so many do. To see what his body language tells them.
    Why, ?Because some one says the insurance companies want it to reduce pay out claims.

    Driver at fault due to incab video and some 30 day wonder that has a title behind his name says his body language tells him the Driver was daydreaming or had his mind on something besides driving. safely.
    Doesn’t have to be true , Just some one with a title that does well in court on the hot seat. Just my opinion on this but I have seen things like this happen before. How about a polygraph test to smooth some lawyers feathers but not legal in court?

  • Truckertwotimes


  • Truckertwotimes

    ha ha ha, Maryland

  • mousekiller

    Camera in the sleeper is beyond company business. Personal time in the bunk does not need to filmed for ANY reason.. As far as the driver behind the wheel shows if the driver was distracted, yawning too much, feet propped on the dash, head in hand or other not paying attention to driving actions.If the truth were known a lot of this camera BS is brought on by the insurance companies. If your carrier is self insured that is a different story.

  • mousekiller

    I have my own Dash camera for the sole purpose of protecting ME by videoing the traffic around the front of the truck. I am going to put one on each mirror for those that like to drive up the shoulder and cut in too close or don’t have a clue how to pass safely..

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  • TruthRider

    Huff hasn’t seen a piece of privacy invading technology yet that he couldn’t find a way to sing the praises of. Who pays his salary, Swift?

  • Judyp

    Tom you totally miss the point,. Drivers LIVE IN THEIR TRUCKS. When they are OFF DUTY, the company has no business filming the driver. Why don’t you take one of those cameras and put it in your bedroom, toilet and kitchen area and let it film at RANDOM your day or evening activities.

  • Nathan

    Yep got em at work that weekend went out installed small go pro on my hat now every interaction is recorded …. people act different when there is a camera half a meter off your face … So this would make it a distraction strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.