A 2013 study found truck drivers are only at fault in 25% of truck-car crashes, Angel noted. That is why video will exonerate them more often than not, he said. (Photo by Sean Kilcarr/Fleet Owner)
When it comes to using video systems on trucks to record crashes and other safety events, many within the industry are concerned about the privacy and legal issues surrounding such technology – particularly if video can be used in court against truck drivers and motor carriers.
Yet Jim Angel, VP of video intelligence solutions at PeopleNet, argued it is the reverse that’s true: in the majority of cases, video will exonerate truck drivers in crash situations simply because they aren’t at fault most of the time. And in cases where they are at fault, video can in some cases actually reduce monetary settlements.
“We had a case last October where a truck equipped with our video system hit a car at low speed – 28 miles per hour – on a crowded city street,” he told Fleet Owner in an interview. “The truck driver couldn’t see the car and kept pushing it along the road. When she realized what happened, she pulled over.”
Obviously, the truck driver was at fault in this crash, Angel said. But when the carrier’s safety manager downloaded video recorded five minutes after the crash, he noticed something: the car driver getting up out of the his car, walking around, inspecting it, removing registration information from the glove box, etc.
“So the carrier writes a letter to the car driver’s lawyer, apologizing for the incident and offering a settlement to pay for the damages to the car,” Angel (at right) noted. “But the carrier’s letter also expressed relief that the car driver wasn’t injured, emphasizing that the carrier had video of him walking around after the crash unharmed. Right there, that sets the stage; that put the plaintiff attorney on notice regarding any personal injury claims.”
To date, that carrier only paid for damages related to the vehicle; there’s been not a whiff about personal injury claims.
That’s why Angel believes PeopleNet’s new Video Intelligence Solution – which combines forward-facing camera technology with its Onboard Event Recording (OER) device into a single integrated system – could prove to be a critical protective shield for truck drivers and fleets alike going forward.
Angel said that new video-based system, officially released at the 2016 Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) annual meeting in Las Vegas this week, offers an average return on investment (ROI) of three months because it can help reduce claims by some 35%, according to the company’s research.
“Let’s take a 500 truck fleet as an example: it will cost you $200,000 to equip all of those trucks with this technology,” he pointed out. “But if you prevent just one injury claim, it will pay for itself. Because based on 2005 data, one injury-involved truck crash costs a carrier on average $195,000.”
Angel added that the ability to use video along with OER data provides what he calls a “neutral view” of what’s happening on the road, giving drivers and fleets owners protective and prevention capabilities.
“In the event of an accident, video evidence makes it easier to exonerate a driver, and when video is combined with data from the OER, it allows fleets to develop driver-specific training, helping to keep more drivers safely on the road,” he emphasizes,
Available now for fleets using a PeopleNet onboard computer, the company’s Video Intelligence Solution uses a forward-facing camera and in-cab digital video recorder (DVR) to wirelessly transmit videos to the PeopleNet Fleet Manager, a secure online control system for communications and carrier fleet management functions.
The system is also integrated with the firm’s Safety Analytics dashboard to monitor driver behavior, posted speeding events and hours of service violations. The dashboard also captures Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program violations data and points via Vigillo LLC.
Other features include:
- Real-time review of video triggered by company-controlled OER settings, including sudden acceleration and deceleration or hard braking.
- On-demand video recall, allowing for the efficient retrieval of video clips from the past 72 hours, searchable by truck or driver identification number.
- An easy-to-navigate video library with sorting and filtering options, video flagging, exportable reports, location mapping and downloadable clips.
Easy access to and manage of both the video and safety data is a key benefit as well, noted Thomas Fansler, PeopleNet’s executive VP for products.
“What fleets don’t want is to have to go to multiple locations to retrieve video, data, and analysis,” Fansler (at right) explained to Fleet Owner. “This system helps distil all that data into scores that helps fleets align risk. The important part here is to help make the driver’s life better and safer.”
He added that improving “quality of life” for drivers is why the company developed and is now releasing its new Managed Mobility Solutions (MMS) feature via its ConnectedFleet platform.
He said MMS is designed for fleets using company-owned personally enabled (COPE) programs, meaning its MME program will be available via Samsung Electronics America, which will offer PeopleNet software on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab A.
Fleets who offer COPE programs to their drivers can purchase an off-the-shelf Samsung Android tablet and deploy proprietary company apps and approved third-party programs on that device; a device that also runs their PeopleNet software.
“Through MMS, we can support all applications a fleet chooses to install while maintaining end-to-end responsibility for our software,” Fansler stressed.
“Given the focus and priority on retaining drivers and giving them the tools they need, this solution gives drivers the flexibility to use the device on their own time, running their own personal applications, while giving companies the confidence that its work and proprietary software won’t be affected,” he noted.