In 2020, 4842 trucks were involved in fatal crashes. With ever-increasing payouts and nuclear verdicts, improving safety and avoiding road accidents is more crucial for fleets from an operational, financial, and reputation point of view than ever before.
When there is an accident, fleets have to, unfortunately, contend with being wrongly accused of being at fault, exaggerated claims, and insurance frauds.
How can you avoid this?
The answer is video telematics. Video telematics protects drivers and fleets against unfair accusations, encourages safe driving, and makes the fleet safer with driver coaching – thus reducing accidents. Before we get into how it can help, let’s understand what happens without it.
The fallout of road accidents:
Bigger vehicles get the blame
In any accident, the smaller vehicle tends to experience more damage than the larger one. This means irrespective of who was at fault; most people think the driver of the bigger vehicle is culpable and is to be blamed for the accident.
With over 80% of accidents involving trucks not being the fault of the truck driver, the picture is more complicated than it appears. Now, you not only have to ensure your drivers do not indulge in risky driving behavior and stay safe on the road, but they need to watch out for others on the road indulging in risky driving. It is not always possible to avoid accidents when someone else is driving dangerously.
Insurance fraud is always a looming threat
Truck insurance is becoming more expensive – this is because the compensation for property damage, injury, and fatalities are increasing significantly. Unfortunately, this incentivizes some to indulge in fraud and exaggerate claims. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, trucking insurance fraud can cost billions annually.
Scamsters will go to any lengths to get a big payout and make the fleets pay.
Reputational damage is not easy to undo
Accidents can adversely affect a fleet’s business as it damages shippers’ confidence in the fleet doing the job in a timely manner. A bad record with accidents can even lead to the fleet losing business from valuable clients.
If your driver is accused falsely, you should be able to defend your driver and the business. Accident reconstruction with experts can be time-consuming and cost a lot of money – and still not show exactly what happened, or worse, protect your fleet from wrong claims that your fleet does not care for safety. This can affect business significantly.
But what if your driver was indeed at fault? Bad habits such as distracted driving are all too common. If this goes unmonitored and uncorrected, chances are your drivers will eventually be involved in an accident. If your clients realize your drivers do not adhere to rules and regulations as needed, business will be affected. Inherently, it is your responsibility to monitor risky behavior and help drivers overcome such habits through coaching and mentoring.
Downstream problems of accidents
Accidents leads to several financial and productivity downfalls. Your driver will need to be treated beyond insurance costs, vehicles will not be operable until fully repaired, and you may face significant legal battles that costs time and money! Unfortunately, this can cause some fleets to go out of business.
Every accident will mean an increase in the premium paid for the commercial auto insurance policy the fleet has – making it unsustainable
Therefore, accidents are best avoided – and when they cannot be avoided, it is critical that you know what exactly happened so that you can either protect your fleet from false claims or you can settle fast and avoid exaggerated claims.
Video telematics can help you
For fleets, dash cams and video telematics are a must-have. They help provide visibility into risky driving, encourage defensive driving, and provide video evidence on demand.
Installing video telematics can also help reduce insurance premiums, as the insurance carriers know you will have proof against fraudulent claims and that you are a safety-conscious fleet.
Now that we have established the importance of video telematics, here are some ways it helps fleets.
Knowing exactly what happened
On-demand video allows the fleet manager to see exactly what happened. In cases where there is a wrongful accusation, merely having the video can help avoid involving lawyers and associated expenses. Even if there is a legal battle, the video evidence can be conclusive in most cases to show that the accident was not your fleet driver’s fault.
Even in cases where there could be some fault associated with the driver, video evidence will help you make the decision to settle the dispute rather than get into a protracted legal battle and prevent the other side from exaggerating claims.
AI on the edge
Video data, even from a short trip, can have gigabytes of data – AI on the edge helps make sense of the data in real-time, without having to ship the data to the cloud and having cloud AI or people analyzing the videos.
With its best-in-class edge AI, LightMetrics can provide real-time alerts to drivers whenever risky driving is detected. In-cab coaching helps prevent bad outcomes by providing timely alerts to the driver. This form of coaching is most valued as it is in the moment, making it highly effective, and it does not involve the fleet manager.
AI inference is extremely efficient – making AI on the edge accessible to more fleets globally.
Provide visibility into risky behavior
Modern video telematics uses dual dash cameras with road-facing and driver-facing cameras. With AI on the edge, risky driving is detected using videos from both cameras. Risky driving detected across all fleet vehicles is collated and presented to the fleet manager as a fleet-level risk analysis. This gives fleet managers the visibility they need to improve the safety and productivity of the fleet. Measurement is the first step toward improvement.
Easy to use coaching workflow to make the fleet safer
With fleet safety report giving driver-wise risk analysis, fleet managers have access to the safest drivers of the fleet as well as the drivers who need coaching the most. For drivers who need coaching, fleet managers can see the risky behaviors of the drivers for which they need coaching and have video examples of risky driving handy to make the driver coaching session more effective.
For fleets using the driver app, remote coaching is available – whenever a fleet manager sees a coachable event and tags it, the driver gets a notification in the app. Upon the driver seeing the video and acknowledging it, the fleet manager is notified completing the coaching loop.
Follow video telematics best practices
Video telematics is not meant to be implemented as a punitive system – that would be wasting a great opportunity to help the fleet improve safety metrics and engage drivers better. Instead, video telematics is meant to be a continuous improvement system – one that helps the fleet and the drivers achieve their goal of 0 accidents, thus making the fleet highly productive.
Clear communication is key – taking drivers into confidence and sharing information freely with them is important before installing and activating dash cameras fleet-wide. It does not take long for good drivers to appreciate the need for dash cameras in the fleet. Protecting their livelihood when they are not at fault is the most significant reason for drivers’ acceptance of dash cameras.
Manage and prevent accidents with video telematics today
In this blog, we looked at the fallout from accidents from a fleet’s perspective and how video telematics can help fleet managers improve safety, reduce accidents and protect the business from wrong accusations in the event of an unavoidable accident.
Introducing video telematics in a gamification mode can encourage drivers to drive more safely – rewarding the drivers with exemplary records creates a positive competitive environment where drivers strive to have fewer risky events.
Ensuring your drivers associate with new tools positively will go a long way in ensuring the successful adoption of the process and tools.
Reach out to us today to learn more about how you can transform your fleets’ safety and hit the road risk-free with video telematics.