Overdrive Extra

Max Heine

Smile for the camera, but keep your eyes on the road

| April 15, 2014

I recently interviewed a few executives of Lytx, formerly known as DriveCam, which includes video in the safety analysis programs it offers fleets.

Lytx and SmartDrive are two of the leading vendors for truck video systems. These can involve forward cameras, to capture accident scene detail, and dashcams to capture driver performance. (You can read more about use of video by Lytx, DriveCam, Meritor Wabco and Bendix in the links at the bottom of this story in Commercial Carrier Journal.)

SmartDrive says its video event recording technology, combined with the rest of its system, can reduce collision costs up to 70 percent.

SmartDrive says its video event recording technology, combined with the rest of its system, can reduce collision costs up to 70 percent.

DriveCam and Lytx are selling results based on much more than video, such as ECM and GPS data. “What we try to do is improve driver skills,” said Lytx Marketing Director Chris Silver. “One tool in that happens to be video.”

Silver was curious about driver opinions, since most of what they hear about in-cab cameras is, predictably, negative. In fact, one of the new Lytx features is that customers will have the option of rewarding high-performing drivers by turning off the in-cab camera, while leaving the forward-view camera operational.

Even though the safest drivers rarely, if ever, trigger the in-cab camera by exhibiting unsafe behavior, such as hard braking, most drivers prefer driving without the possibility of it coming on, she said.

After all, having anyone’s camera inches away from you virtually the entire time you’re doing your job, and knowing that you don’t have control of the on/off switch, has to be unnerving, even if you’re the safest driver on the road.

Any comments from those who have been driving with a company video camera trained on them? 

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  • localnet

    They want to Rewaard us, eh? Be a good boy fluffy, and you’ll get a cookie! Screw them.

  • JR

    Big Brother is watching you.

  • Legacy Transportation

    Any company that needs to film me doing my job. Doesn’t have the faith in my ability to do that job. Trucking is one sided enough toward the desk drivers now. Give me a real time view of there dispatch/load planning screen and a webcam of their movements and activities. Then maybe we’ll talk. Until then I will remain an owner operator and get the job done safely. As long as FMCSA allows me too anyway.

  • Spence

    I’m not putting a camera in my truck. No way !!! The standoff in Nevada last week should have been a good reminder of what’s really going on and what the government in general has up their sleeve. It’s just another stab at my freedom !!! I don’t need that !!!

  • ME

    I may not have control of the on/off switch but i do have complete control of a roll of tape or a pair of side cutters.

  • Michelle

    The day these things are required, is the day I climb out of a truck for good! I don’t need a damn babysitter to make sure I’m doing my job.

  • RV

    Sounds like a company that’s trying to make money selling cameras. NO Thanks !

  • Dan

    When I drove city buses, I knew there were 7 cameras onboard. One continuously aimed at me. Not knly did I not mind, I was glad for them. Unwarranted complaints and accusations were easily proven false. They also showed to anyone watching that I was a damn good driver.

  • William

    We have the smart drive in some of our trucks, we had a lot of drivers quite as soon as they installed them. They claimed that they are going to be installed in all of the trucks but only Texas regional has them

  • Matt Allbritton

    Ever heard of duct tape or a hammer. I did not give up my right to privacy when I got my CDL. shove that camera in your ass.

  • Barney

    I absolutely will not drive for a fleet that has cameras in the cab with the exception of school buses. That is a different application, and for buses I don’t mind too much.

  • TheWolverine

    Driving a semi and driving a bus are two wholly different things,in a semi,you’re the only subject of the film
    I for one,would never work for anyone who ran cameras in the truck.
    I love how these companies are willing to spend so much money on bullshit like in-cab cameras and whatnot,but no money on the actual driver.
    If you got money for cameras,then you have the money to pay an hourly base rate for all on duty hours in addition to cpm.

  • mousekiller

    We are not movie stars or starlets. We do not thrive for the camera. We are not paid to smile and curtsey for the camera.
    We are paid to do the job of being a truck driver and if making a face or voicing our dislike for idiot drivers sharing the road with us that should not be classed a bad or unsafe. Because some dumbass cuts us off taking a ramp or has no clue how to merg onto an interstate and we avoid a collision by hitting the brakes we are being accused of un safe driving.??????
    Not hitting the brake is the unsafe move. Maybe the single finger
    salute but we do not need a camera.
    An in cab camera is not unlike the
    EOBR in my opinion. It is for nothing but more control.Safety? Not likely
    At least the pro truck drivers don’t run up and cut them off in a like action as if to say how do YOU like it?.
    We Just make a face, shake our head and mumble our dislike for stupidity and go on. Hitting the brake or hard braking as it is called by the control zealots is not an unsafe move so why is it made out to be one.? No matter how attentive we are we cannot control the actions of other drivers on the road. We are surrounded by ignorance, stupidity and uncaring drivers that would rather put themselves and others sharing the road at risk texting than wait 10 minutes to do it.
    So many four wheeler drivers are in a hurry to go someplace they don’t want to be but have to be first getting there.

    Are these cameras in the cab going to have a negative impact on how we drive.?? I think so. I believe some drivers that are otherwise very safe are going to have seconds thoughts when it comes to making an instant reaction decision and make the wrong decision resulting in an accident that other wise could have been avoided or reduced in severity.
    All because he is now second guessing himself resulting in bad decisions due to the video camera that may be used to cost him his job.
    We all react differently to the same situation. We are a unique work
    force. We are unique individuals. We are not robots programed to march
    to the same drummer in lock step.

  • mousekiller

    You were dealing with the public and some times the public has the one person that intends to either harm or sue. Not the same as trucks with a maximum of two persons in the cab. Apples to oranges.

  • Stormy

    We have to deal with drivers using Google glasses and they dare to continue to harass us with this sort of foolishnes.

  • jim stewart

    (“What we try to do is improve driver skills,”) I have an even better idea.. Listen up, your worries are over.. Raise pay, quit hiring idiots and before you know it you’ll have a company fully staffed with real professionals behind the wheel again. Now wasn’t that easy?

  • Wes


  • Spence

    Good idea, unfortunately it’s easier said than done.

  • godfearingrebel

    If they cant trust me they dont need me. If they want to be control freaks they will get a lower grade of driver. If they get a lower grade of driver they will feel like they have to watch them closer. If they watch them closer the rest of the good drivers will leave. Remember when jb hunt, werner, shnieder, ect. was respected? Raise your pay along with your hiring standards and you will get good drivers.

  • Kreno

    Crengland uses the mobile eye to spy on drivers. Since rookies make huge mistakes that are costly its the only way to protect the company. After training a new student his first night drive shift I was reprimanded for not being under the net while in the sleeper. His wandering in the lane triggered the cam to record a critical event. I only used the net in foul weather or when I was so fatigued I couldnt help but sleep. I stayed out from under that net cause many times I had to take control as quickly as possible. The camera even caught a suicidal student jump out of my cab while on the freeway. Safety eventually agreed it would have been worse if I couldn’t jump up front and pull the brakes. No worries now, I’m an owner operator with authority and dont have to deal with ANY company BS. No tracking devices. No camera. No forced dispatch. Only speed limiter is the cost of fuel. Anyone want a pay raise and more freedom just go out and get it yourself, that green book tells you everything you gotta know!

  • Stephen Carter

    I draw my line in the sand the moment they point a camera at me! Forward cam, side cam… I’m all for it! Driver cam, not a chance!

  • J. Rogers

    One more reason I got out of the business. Companies are more interested on micro managing it’s personnel. After 40+ years I am sick of all the regulations that are only about reducing driver pay under the guise of safety. To hell with trucking.

  • Deez Nuts

    How many boogers does it take to cover the lens? Let’s find out.

  • CanuckTruck

    I can’t believe the United States. It just gets worse. It blows my mind every time I hear how great the United States are. Talk about being brainwashed. Wake up Americans. I now only drive in Canada where I used to cross the border, but with so many ignorant, arrogant US border patrols it was more than I could handle. Cameras?? Why is everything built around Hollywood. I thought that was where cameras were supposed to be. I know here in Canada we aren’t perfect by any means, but wow how things are screwed over in the U.S.A. I am sure glad I am a Canadian so I do not have to live with those rules. You talk freedom. That’s not freedom!! I would like to see things get better because I would like to cross the border and expand my trucking miles again. The United States is a beautiful country, but run terrible. I love trucking in Canada. We don’t need guns in our trucks just a good radio! Happy travels.

  • 50 year old needs babbysiter

    feel ya, 20 years 2 mill mi’s and they want to know how I drink my coffee & if I pick my nose? too much for a 70hr a week job that pays less real money than I made when I started driving and it”s not even fun out here these days.

  • Keith

    USFoods have them. The positive side with theirs is if your in an accident they flag it and the camera will prove if you were not at fault. The negative side it takes awhile to get used to them. Until you do they can be dangerous. You will hesitate to brake hard if you need to because that causes a flag too

  • brad

    Having a camera in my face twenty four seven and a ELD on the dash.A QUallcom in the passenger seat.Sounds like the best job ever.Please sign me up.I bet you will have thousands of drivers beating down the door to get in for a job.They quit after six months of harassment from a desk jockey that does nothing but harass drivers and watch porn on his computer in his office at work.Let them have it and the freight sit on the dock and rot.All oo’s should start naming your price to move something and not backing off till you get it.Brokers and mandates will continue to take all the profit if we let them.I do this to make a profit and not give it away to big electronic companies with lobbiest and lawyers pushing their own agenda to take my money.

  • Pingback: Truck News>> Smile for the camera, but keep your eyes on the road #incabcamera | iTruckTV

  • http://truckerdesiree.wordpress.com TruckerDesiree

    We did a show on this last night on women truckers network and had a driver who quit a carrier that had them. He brings up many good points about camera activating from backing into trailer…being told his language while camera was activated was offensive. I think drivers should add to their carrier interview list the question “do you have in cab facing cameras” if if they say yes or say “we are testing them” they should understand quite a bit about that carrier. Why are they hiring drivers they don”t trust in the first place?

  • PatthyCakes

    Shame on you … whata’ya think, you live in a Free Country with Rights or something …. move to the USA if that’s what you want.

    ………… oh sh*t, this was the USA, wasn’t it

    Amen to your sentiments friend, and I’ll second your thought(s) !

  • PattyCakes

    Ya’ know something, ‘ Movie Stars ‘ + photogenic ‘ Models ‘ make Professional Mega-Pay

    …………… how much more is this frikken’ camera going to put on my 1099 at the end of the year ?

    Whata’ya mean it’s just another ‘ Part of the Job ‘ !

    Hey, anyone else out there recall that ‘ Transport Topics ‘ comic insert from around 1999 – 2000 where a D*ck-with-Ears was interviewing a prospective driver with the caption …. ” You can start here at next to nothing, and with diligence + hard work , in 20 or 30 years you can be making almost twice that much ”

    ……… pretty much describes where the industry has gone, doesn’t it.

    How about we mount a camera in the office of Lytx Marketing Director Chris Silver and see if his Marketing Skills improve …. get back to me with the results, would’ya.

  • PattyCakes

    … ” do you have in cab facing cameras ” if if they say yes or say “we are
    testing them” they should understand quite a bit about that carrier. ”

    That’s when you ask the College-Boy Desk-Jockey … ‘ And the additional compensation for me tolerating your surveillance and violation(s) of my Privacy is ? ? ? ‘

  • John Ryan

    Your truck will meet the same standards as the co trucks you drive for. And if you have your own ath. your days r numbered. The Gov. is moving you out.

  • John Ryan

    You would then be fired………then what????

  • oldie

    I wonder jow these salesmen would like a camera watching them as they try to sell shit to a shineola man. Oh i’ll bet they don’t shine there shoes they wear sneakers that match their teddy bear. Children your not in charge go back to developing video games.

  • John Ryan

    You hit that nail on the head. All this crap about the new rules, E-logs, and greatly increasing your costs is aimed at greatly reducing the O/O and the WILD CATERS. Gov. wants 100% big co. haulers.

  • g22p

    What a bunch of bull .

  • John Ryan

    Thing is if you could get enough drivers together to complain to your congress you may derail their takeover. But I bet less than 20% of drivers even know who their Sen. or Conman is??

  • John Ryan

    Big Brother is doing more than watching he’s taking your chance of making a decent income away from you so you will be easer to control.

  • John Ryan

    That’s what you say here but what will you do about a job?????

  • John Ryan

    You’ll give up those rights when you hire in or you wont hire in. Then what…….. flip burgers?

  • John Ryan

    Sounds like a Gov trying to make you submit, submit, submit. Do it or go home.

  • John Ryan

    There hiring standards r already as low as it can get. that’s the problem>

  • localnet

    Well, I own the truck… Clean record… 24 years safe driving… If it gets that bad, I’ll just go on the dole and you can pay my bills. It is the “new” Amerikan way, no?

  • John Ryan

    well why don’t we come to Canada and …….. oh wait we cant haul freight in your country like you can in ours.

  • John Ryan

    Because the pay is so low u cant get real people to hire so hire a dimwit and micro manage is the new way.

  • Del Ray Johnson

    Blah, blah, blah if they can afford new equipment in the name of safety the increase in pay is now!

  • Del Ray Johnson

    John he ain’t cutting nothing but gonna smile and take that .30CPM like the rest of them!

  • Robert Couture

    Any company that allows a trainer to be in the sleeper while a student is driving is absolutely stupid.

  • John Ryan

    At the end u get down to it. The real problem is not your co. it’s the dam Gov. that is not just allowing but pushing this kind o crap. Find your con,man and sen. and wright, call, and e-mail and pester them over and over. Get your family and friends to do the same.

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