Fleets and Dash Cams - 5 Benefits of Video Telematics

Modern society is heavily dependent on the trucking industry – 70% of freight moved in the US is done by trucks! According to the USA Bureau of Transportation, 80% of communities depend on trucking for the supply of their daily needs. Construction, hospitals, gas stations, private industries, the food sector, and much more rely heavily on trucks. While trucking has adopted modern technology to manage their operations better and more efficiently, the process has been slow.

An image of a fleet consisting of trrucks

Telematics and productivity tools for fleets has ushered in an increased focus on operations, optimizing expenditure and improving profitability. The focus has mostly been on better asset management, vehicle maintenance, fuel efficiency, etc.

From a fleet’s perspective, risky driving leading to significant and more importantly avoidable expenses, rising insurance costs, nuclear verdicts, hiring and retaining drivers, and helping drivers to make the fleet safer are key needs that are top of the mind for fleet managers. These key problems are extremely well addressed by video telematics.

Augmenting insights and analytics from conventional telematics with additional insights from smart dash cameras is video telematics.

This blog addresses how video telematics can transform fleets and will therefore become integral to fleet management in the coming years.

Benefits of Video Telematics

1. Exonerate drivers and protect your fleet

Irrespective of how careful your drivers are, other vehicles can cause accidents. With video telematics, the dash cameras are continuously recording what the driver is seeing. In the case of not-at-fault accidents where the driver and the fleet can be falsely accused, dash cameras can be the source of truth that saves the day!

With increasing nuclear verdicts and cases of insurance fraud, the peace of mind of having a dash camera on all your vehicles is priceless – for the fleet manager, the driver, and the fleet owner! Insurance companies welcome the availability of video evidence in claims and can process claims faster. Courts routinely use video evidence from dash cameras to settle disputes. In most cases, the mere availability of video evidence can avoid expensive legal battles completely.

Even in the rare case where the driver was at fault, having video evidence can help ensure that claims and damages are not excessive.

2. Prevent accidents with in-cab coaching

Accidents that involve trucks have only increased in recent times. In 2019, there were 13.65 fatal crashes of large trucks per million people in the US. This number has only increased since 2010, with a 29% increase. This extremely alarming trend must be addressed.

Speeding, fatigue, distraction, failure to stay in lane, texting, etc., are some of the common reasons leading to an accident, an avoidable accident. Working long hours combined with a lack of quality rest is a deadly combination that can increase the risk multi-fold.

Video telematics with edge AI can detect risky driving and provide a real-time alert to the driver, thus potentially helping prevent an incident. In-cab driver coaching upon the detection of risky driving is particularly effective because the coaching occurs in the moment, at the most opportune time when the driver has context. With fleet managers being as busy as they are, that the in-cab coaching happens without them having to be involved is a welcome thing.

3. Providing visibility into risky driving

Conventional telematics provides driver behavior insights based on harsh events and speeding – this does not provide the complete picture. Fleet managers usually have no visibility into dangerous behaviors like fatigue, texting and other forms of distraction, tailgating, failure to comply with stop signs, etc. In addition to increasing the risk multi-fold, these are moving violations that can cost points on the driver’s license, increase insurance costs, and disrupt the business if drivers are disqualified from driving for a period.

With edge AI detecting risky driving, fleet managers have complete visibility on how risky their drivers are. Instead of having to go through giga bytes of videos, edge AI intelligently crops videos of the risky events, sorts them in decreasing order so that the fleet manager can see the riskiest videos – the mantra is to provide insights, not dump a lot of data.

As there is a shortage of experienced and qualified drivers, more fleets are relying on contracted drivers and less experienced drivers – this makes the problem of having visibility into risky driving even more acute.

With video telematics, fleet managers can see which drivers are doing well and which drivers need coaching, for what behaviors they need coaching with examples of the risky behavior.

4. Helping drivers become safer

Drivers know all the rules, dos, and don’ts of driving a truck. However, they may not always adhere to these rules. In this era of multi-tasking, distraction is a huge bane in the name of productivity. It takes a split second of distraction on the road for a possible crash. Distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2020 alone.

Video telematics is not meant to be implemented as a punitive system – it is meant to help drivers and fleets become safer through driver coaching.

With driver shortage, fleets need a mechanism to help drivers improve and become safer. Fleet manager led driver coaching is the most effective way of reducing accidents. By using positive reinforcement and gamification, fleets are able to improve driver engagement, retention on the way to becoming a safer fleet.

5. Driver Recruitment

In the era of the driver shortage, we live in, driver recruitment is always top of the mind for most fleets. Video telematics will provide objective data with key data points for a fleet manager to consider in making hiring decisions. This reduces the need for expensive ride-alongs to assess a driver’s skills – expensive because every time an experienced driver is on a ride-along, it is money lost for the fleet since the experienced driver could have been earning money for the fleet hauling cargo.

6. Reduce fuel expenses

According to a study, 32% of fleets consider fueling their highest expense. Since fuel prices are continuously increasing due to various politico-economic factors, the focus on fuel economy is more important than ever.

Harsh events are particularly bad for fuel economy – harsh braking and harsh acceleration. With video accompanying these events, there is context that can help coach drivers in an actionable and personalized manner. For e.g., a fleet had a lot of harsh braking events at traffic intersections caused by drivers accelerating to make the green light, failing to do so, and having to brake hard. Poor anticipation was the culprit.

In most cases, the primary cause of harsh braking can be distraction or tail gating. Reducing risky driving implies adoption of defensive driving wherein the driver is more attentive. When a driver is more attentive, anticipation is better and as a result, the probability of having a harsh event is significantly lowered.

With better anticipation, studies have shown that the fuel economy can improve by 15-30% at highway speeds and 10-40% in stop and go traffic.

Note that this improvement is obtained solely from better driving, and is on top of other techniques at a fleet’s disposal such as better utilization of assets, better distribution of loads, etc.

Let video telematics help you!

The best of fleets know that video telematics is already an integral part of fleet management. Video telematics makes it easier for fleet managers to protect their fleet when needed and coach drivers to become safer thus ensuring the fleet saves costs, makes deliveries on time, and stays safe at all times.

If you want to understand video telematics usage better or are thinking about offering integration for your fleet customers, contact Lightmetrics here!