Underwriters and fleet operators have found a new way to reduce the estimated 500,000 trucking crashes each year – video-enabled telematics. In addition to DOT-required electronic logging devices (ELD), fleet managers and underwriters alike have seen a significant reduction in accidents and workers’ compensation (WC) claims as well as a similar improvement in responsible driving when video systems are utilized effectively.

The idea is simple: If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a video is worth 10,000 words. In-cab cameras gather, store and can transmit information about a truck either in real time or via memory card. This information is used to analyze both vehicle and driver performance for all parties involved in a safety-related incident. The information can be critical to settling vehicle crash claims where liability is in question.

Like most technology, there’s a range of price points and features when it comes to video-enabled telematics. The most basic in-truck cameras have a single vision point, looking out onto the road from the driver’s forward-facing perspective. Other systems have a second camera that faces the driver to record their actions prior to an incident. A relatively new option is camera systems that includes additional ports allowing for rear and side-facing views.

Most systems film continuously, but only record when a crash or other safety-sensitive incident occurs. There are a small number of systems that can record continuously while the vehicle is in motion, and a few will even provide a live link for in-cab viewing in real-time. Many of these systems can alert the fleet manager when a crash or other near miss occurs via e-mail or text.

Telematics as a claims management tool

The average cost for a crash involving a commercial motor vehicle continues to rise significantly. This has led many insurance carriers to request that fleets engage video-based systems. They use the data to more effectively adjust claims, including the determination of which party is at fault and the severity of the crash. Some underwriters will adjust pricing for fleets that demonstrate they are effectively using the technology.

When employed in an accident investigation, in-cab video telematics can provide a clear window into causation, often where witnesses fall short, or don’t exist. An objective tool, video can help fight questionable claims and provide testimony where words fail. Frivolous lawsuits are often dropped when a claimant attorney is shown video that clearly demonstrates their client caused the crash.

Telematics are changing driver behavior

Fleet managers are using telematics as a training/teaching tool to improve driver behavior and performance. When used effectively, telematics has been proven to reduce accidents by as much as 60%.1 This also has a huge effect on worker’s compensation claims, as auto crashes are the leading cause of serious injuries to drivers.

Videos that capture risky driving behavior, including hard braking, distracted driving, swerving and excessive speed can be used to coach drivers as to how they should be operating their vehicle under normal circumstances, or react to safety sensitive situations.

In some cases, in-cab telematics have even helped fleet managers weed out particularly bad drivers. In one case, an aggressive driver’s multiple near misses and consistently blaming others for his unsafe decisions, were recorded the first day the cameras were put in his truck. The fleet carrier ultimately chose to let the driver go, with proof in hand of his inappropriate behavior and reckless driving.

Contact your HUB Transportation Specialist to find out more about employing fleet telematics and how it can help reduce your insurance costs and improve driver behavior.