For drivers and fleet operators in the transport and haulage industry, there is and most likely always will be a great focus on safety. For HGV drivers themselves, and other road users. Anyone operating an HGV or large vehicle will undergo intense training and pass the qualifications needed. Because HGVs can be potentially dangerous to other vehicles, drivers must be highly skilled and competent when driving. The nature of the job for many however involves night shifts and long hours, often spent alone. These conditions can too often lead drivers to become physically, or mentally spent.
Due to this, many fleet operators are seeking new technologies to support their drivers and keep them alert to potential danger. The industry has embraced telematics and vehicle tracking so, it is difficult to remember a time without it all. Fuel costs are kept low, and fleets are utilized to their full potential. Furthermore, regular technology updates help management monitor and improve various aspects of the job. Fleet operators today have the power to minimise the risks associated with tired and distracted driving. However, when it comes to driver-facing cameras, there are wide-spread reservations and hurdles to overcome.
Are Driver-Facing Cameras Necessary?
Despite the design of driver-facing cameras largely focusing on improving driver safety, many feel spied upon or watched. This is understandable, given that for drivers on long-distance journeys the cab becomes a home away from home. However, when used to follow their primary function, detecting dangerous driving, driver-facing cameras can truly be a lifesaver. ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) and DMS (Driver Monitoring Systems) can act as an intelligent passenger. Keeping an eye should your driver become sleepy or begin to engage in distracted driving styles. Like smoking or talking on the phone.
To many, these camera systems seem an invasion of privacy. No-one surely would like the idea of a camera in their face constantly. However, having a driver-facing camera can mean the difference between a potential accident, and taking a well-needed break. For example, say your driver is yawning a lot, or his eyes are starting to droop. The camera will identify that the driver is becoming tired and will trigger an audible alarm in the cab. This lets the driver know they should soon take a break, or risk nodding off at the wheel. Having a driver-facing camera makes a huge difference when it comes to safety, and ensure your drivers have an onboard backup assistant. Dissipating high-risk situations to keep them, and others safe.
The below video shows an example of when a driver-facing camera is triggered:
Ease Driver Concerns
A key thing to note when considering a driver-facing camera system is privacy. Should you go ahead with an installation, it’s very important to communicate with your drivers. Firstly, they must know that there is a camera recording. Secondly, that the cameras are in place to reduce dangerous driving, with footage reviews only occurring should such an occurrence arise. Also, it is important your fleet knows you respect and take their privacy seriously. So, cameras can point away from sleeping or changing areas of the cab. Also, limitations on the recording are available for configuration. For example, the camera may only start recording once the engine has started.
ADAS cameras can also be front-facing, and go a step further than detecting driver delinquencies like smoking or texting. Similar to driver-facing cameras that it is connected to an alarm in the cab, ADAS front-facing cameras detect when the vehicle is departing a lane. Many drivers, HGV or otherwise, have had a momentary lapse in concentration. Perhaps fiddling with the sat nav or talking to a passenger, and have subsequently crossed into the neighboring lane. For drivers in vehicles weighing over 17 tonnes, these innocent mistakes can have terrible consequences. Particularly should someone be sat in their blindspot. Having smart driver-facing cameras can greatly reduce the risk of an accident. Furthermore, they give drivers and fleet operators extra confidence that they are operating as safely as possible.
The Benefits for your Fleet
One of the first reasons haulage or transport companies consider a vehicle CCTV system is for extra protection against false insurance claims. If you have video evidence, you have indisputable evidence to protect your drivers and company. The savings can be colossal, as L. Lynch Plat & Hire saw after about a year with their integrated camera system. They also saw a significant reduction in incident rates of over 30%. For some drivers, this is a perfect reason to have a driver-facing camera installed.
Also, driver-facing footage, layered with your other CCTV evidence shows exactly what your driver was doing in the lead up to, and during an incident. You can visually show if they were in fact concentrating on the road and driving in a safe manner. It can also give your team assurance that should a false claim arise against them, the company has the necessary proof and information to have it dismissed. Driver-facing cameras from Connexas are compact and slight, so installation is possible almost anywhere in the cab. They have 720p resolution and high-quality night vision, so all the footage you capture is crystal clear. They are a great addition to complete your multi-camera system. Their features also include a 1/3” lens, IR night vision, and 0 Lux when the IR is active.