Once a taboo that sparked discussion of Big Brother and scared many employees, camera systems have finally come into the norm and are being recognized by employers as a useful tool in their fleet safety management efforts. Drivers have come to realize that, in the absence of other evidence, having a camera onboard may influence a positive outcome in the case of an accident.
While actual results will vary depending on your fleet size, vehicle type, etc., it has been reported from various groups that camera systems can reduce at-risk driving behaviors by 50-70%. By reducing the at-risk behavior, the likelihood of an accident is also reduced.
Many factors go into selecting a camera system. Some of the more important items to consider are:
- First and foremost before installing a camera system in fleet vehicles, be sure to consult legal counsel to establish the legality of such a system. This is especially true in for-hire circumstances when the general public is transported.
- Cameras are available in many different configurations with various options, settings and sensors. Do you need inward as well as forward facing cameras? Do you need a sensor system that will detect all angles or just one? With a sensor that detects all angles, you will most likely be able to capture excessive swerving and erratic turns while just a single sensor will most likely just capture hard breaking, hard acceleration and impact. Do you need a GPS? While this feature is standard in many models, don’t assume all cameras are so equipped.
- One of the first things to consider is how the data will be retrieved from the camera. Depending on the quality and frame rate settings, the files can become quite large. Couple that with a driver who creates numerous events and the resulting data files can become massive. Additionally, downloading data automatically via WiFi brings a multitude of technical issues and may even pose a problem with network capabilities, so be sure to ascertain compatibility before purchasing a particular system.
- Durability and tamper resistance are important factors to consider when selecting a camera. Regardless of the amount of education and training an employee receives, there will be some who may fear or feel intimidated by the presence of an onboard camera. Be certain to choose a camera that will withstand long-term use as well as be resistant to any alteration which will compromise the integrity of the system.
In closing, there are many options available when it comes to onboard camera systems. Determine your needs and research all avenues. And be certain to “test drive” any system prior to purchasing to avoid an unwise investment.