Channel 19

Todd Dills

Power of video: Driver exoneration the key attraction for many

| July 22, 2014
Camera systems utilized by fleets to capture both on-highway and in-the-cab behavior are the subject of our July 2014 cover story; access Part 1 of that story online via this link.

Camera systems utilized by fleets to capture both on-highway and in-the-cab behavior are the subject of our July 2014 cover story; access Part 1 of that story online via this link.

With Part 1 of our feature on the “video witnesses” in the form of dual road- and driver-facing cameras up and running, I thought I’d share a few installments in the SmartDrive company’s series of vids detailing different cases where video evidence of on-highway events proved beneficial to trucking companies and drivers. If you’re running a road-facing dash cam of your own today, these may just be further proof of what you already know — the power of video to exonerate a driver who’s doing things right in the event of an accident.

If you’re not running a dash cam, forward-facing cameras that are triggered to save clips by g-force events like accidents can be had for relatively minimal cost. The long-established site, geared specifically toward truckers, has numerous such examples on offer. Brad Willis, an independent I quizzed about his own dashcam for the feature, uses a sophisticated Blue Tiger model he picked up for under $150. As he puts it in the feature, having the camera mounted visibly in the windshield has produced benefits beyond event-recording on the road. It’s also a good theft-deterrent. Contrary to incidents that occurred during the time prior to having the camera there, “nothing has been touched [by thieves] on my truck since installing it.”


Video witnesses: Dual-camera systems making in-roads in fleet trucks

How truck-based cameras are capturing evidence that affects safety and privacy on the road.

If you run a dash cam yourself, tell us in the comments below whether you’d recommend any particular model or not — or whether specific functions are ideal. 

Now for those vids, from SmartDrive’s “Great Driving Insights” series. In each video, a case is detailed in which the system worked to the benefit of the trucking company and driver after video evidence exonerated the driver from false accusations. 

  • jojo

    Ok, as with anything there are positive and negative aspects.
    I still say that a Co. OTR Driver is AT work the entire time that they are stationed to the truck. ELD’s and these cameras only backs my thoughts up.
    Is the Drivers movement being monitored and are they under video surveillance when they are at home away from the truck?

  • David Ebnet

    I had a dash can before found myself constantly running out of memory card space or it would only record part of my trip. So I switched to a webcam and motion activated recording . Its cheaper (since most of us have laptops with us anyways) bigger storage (because it saves on the hard drive) and the motion activated part is great doesn’t matter if your in your truck or if your home someone walks by your truck its on.

  • David Ebnet

    Also works good to see how much time a mechanic is actually working on your truck and how much they are screwing off

  • Mike Smith

    what webcam did you use and what program did you use for the motion detection etcetera.

  • Mike Smith

    the corporations and businesses do not need to use inside cameras to detect accidents. They need dashcams, side cams and rear cams. There is one company that I know of that offers this with 200 hours of recording time.

  • Mind Games

    What this does is forces the driver to grab his ankles come civil suit time thus saving the company potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in the civil claim.
    You drivers that use these unconstitutional boxes are the most ignorant bunch that I have seen in.the industry in a long time.

  • mousekiller

    I doubt the driver is when at home but the truck is under surveillance all the time if programed to do so.

  • mousekiller

    I do not want a in cab looking at me camera. I think it not will have enough of a positive impact on any court decision in my favor to be worth the loss of my rights. A dash cam facing out is pretty darn good. Mine broke but when working I had some very good shots of stupid at work. Burned a copy and sent to the local PD of the area I was in and to the state highway patrol. Don’t know if anything happened or not but they a video of stupid at its finest.

  • mousekiller

    Big ambulance chasing shysters pushing for insurance increases and the camera facing drivers can show the jurors that you did not look forward enough but side to side and at the dash too often and thusly were responsible for the accident even tho the dash cam facing the road shows a different story. It will become a night mare and to me not worth the $ to install , will and do use a dash cam facing out and am going to up grade to one with multiple cameras.
    My friend has them and two facing rearward. He does over size. He watched a driver steal one of his flashing lights. Confronted him. It was denied of course. My friend saw the flashing through the shirt. To this day I think the thief is still unable to feed him self.

  • mousekiller

    I did that and the bill was cut nearly in half. Proof he was not on the truck doing his job. At $100 Plus an hour shop fees one needs to take care and be vigilant. Dash cams do have a place in trucking and actually in any vehicle for that matter. The driver facing camera should have an off switch for in cab viewing and be at the drivers discretion.

  • pinkfloyd

    I have had 2 Top Dawgs dash cams. 1st failed in a few weeks & the 2nd failed in about 2 months. I bought a Black Box from Zetronix & it was bad out of the box. Replacement failed after about 3 months. I would not recommend either. I’ve spent about $500 on dash cams & still don’t have one that works.

  • David Ebnet

    I completely agree all the driver facing can is going to do is help the other drivers case…

  • Glen

    Diesel boss . Com offers a multi cam system with upto 30 days recording before looping. Also a company out of Calgary, ab offers a similar system. Multicam systems are not cheap but they are far superior to the $150 models sold at truck stops. Prices range from $700 to $2000. Depends on features

  • Spirit CDL

    Kind of a trick question as far as if they are “at work”. I always thought that when you got a job you would get paid for all the time you spent at work OR you would receive a salary, guaranteed pay no matter how many hours you worked. The majority of truckers are neither paid by the hour or by salary so who’s to say when they are “at work”? Paid by the mile – that means that EVERY TIME the trucker comes up to a stop sign or a stop light they are not working. Is it legal to videotape employees when they are not working, (not on the clock)? Driver facing cameras are an invasion of privacy and rights. They should not be allowed.

  • Gary

    I really don’t care how many cameras are in my truck. Just don’t hold it against me when I pick my nose or scratch my balls, etc.

  • bigred

    Make no mistake about it…These cameras will work against you more than for you. Even a speeding ticket with one of these running can be checked and you are caught dead to rights with ANYTHING you have done for days….One facing towards you is looking for anything you do including just a little thing like closing your eyes while driving and could cost you your job and this career….BEWARE!!!

  • David Ebnet

    Just an HP 5mp webcam and arcsoft webcam companion with it you can time stamp the video as well

  • NoBULL

    I can’t believe the ease at which a lot of you are giving up your privacy! Do you really think these college degree holders at every level of management from government on down to company management (many of whom think the truck DRIVER is the REAL problem of everything wrong in their business) will not find a way to check you out anytime they want, or worse, the Feds. (NSA anyone?) They started talking about this nonsense back in the 1990’s to the tune that when the camera unit sensed your head bob (as if nodding off) it would warn you to pull over and shut down, now they can easily communicate that to your company, back then they couldn’t . I could go on, but , in short, Anne Ferro gets off on this kind of stuff, because she has been an absolute failure at the FMCSA and her policies have actually driven the truck fatality rate up and rather than assume responsibility for it she’s going down the old “we need to regulate more” road. After all, it can’t be her lofty agenda, it has to be something the drivers are doing wrong. After 25 yrs OTR, I’ve seen how this works.

  • Pete Miles

    4Sight is a decent one. I got mine last fall. Runs 24/7, when I’m on the road. It’s about $150.

  • jojo

    If you are at work then the boss has a right to supervise and monitor you.
    If you are being supervised 24/7 then I would suggest that you are At work and need to be paid for being At work!
    If you live in your truck you are ineligible to receive or deduct per diem. The IRS believes that Drivers are at work when they are not at HOME!

  • jojo

    If I own the truck then it is my right to equip the truck as I see fit.
    Is it my right to monitor and surveil the Driver when they are not being paid because they are not At work?
    How can it be that a Driver who has given up time with the family, time chasing girls or boys, time at church, a child’s birthday or a friends funeral in order to make the boss money is not At work?
    Why is everyone else’s time valuable and a Drivers time valueless?
    Is a Driver At work when they are told to sit and wait two days to load or offload?
    I speak with many OO’s that agree WE Are AT work trying to earn a buck when We Are NOT AT HOME!
    Todays Drivers have been brainwashed to believe that they are Unworthy of being paid for their Time!!! Does the Co OTR Driver control and manage the co truck or does the Co OTR Driver follow instructions given by a supervisor?

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