If you are a business that manages a fleet of commercial vehicles, you must know how to navigate exposures and control your losses. Of course, that is no easy feat, and it can be a difficult task to do on a daily basis. Whether you currently manage a fleet of one vehicle or a fleet of 200 cars, the risk of unsafe driving threatens the safety of your drivers, the productivity of your fleet, and other drivers on the road.

So how do you fix this? Dashboard cameras.

Many drivers hit the road sleepy or who drive distracted. In fact, one in twenty-five drivers falls asleep while driving. To help combat unsafe driving or drowsy driving, installing a dash camera on your commercial vehicles is best.

If you want to learn more about the importance of having a dash cam on your fleet of vehicles, continue reading below. This article will go over how using dash cams can positively affect your business and who you can reach out to for more information. 

What Are Dashboard Cameras?

Dashboard cameras, also known as dash cams, are cameras that you can mount on the dashboard of your vehicle. Dash cams typically work by connecting a cord from the camera to a power source inside of the vehicle. There are three different types of dash cams. 

Different types of dash cameras:

  • Interior-facing (facing the driver)
  • Exterior-facing (pointed at the road ahead of the driver)
  • Interior and exterior facing (this camera faces in and out of the car)

Dashboard cameras usually start recording footage on an SD card or other memory card the moment you start driving the vehicle. A few dash cams need to be turned on before the vehicle starts to move. 

Commercial Vehicle Dash Cams

If you are looking to purchase dashboard cameras for your fleet vehicles, there are two main types of dash cam solutions for you to take a look at. There are stand-alone dash cameras and telematics-based dash cameras. 

Telematics-Based Dashboard Cameras

Telematic-based dashboard cameras are very similar to typical dashboard cameras as they both record footage of what goes on inside or outside of the vehicle. The main difference between the two is that the telematics-based camera also records unsafe driving events.

For example, if your employee brakes too harshly or speeds, the camera will record that. The dashboard camera will also provide an accompanying video showing when the unsafe driving event happened. 

The information gained from these videos can help fleet managers coach their drivers on poor habits. There are more advanced telematics-based dashboard cameras that leverage artificial intelligence. These more advanced dash cams can identify signs of fatigue or distracted driving. 

Stand-Alone Dashboard Cameras

Stand-alone dashboard cameras are mainly front-facing cameras, but a few have cameras that point inside and outside of the vehicle.

If needed, these cameras can either be mounted on the side of the vehicle for more footage coverage. The primary purpose of these types of dash cams is to help determine fault if the driver were to get into an accident. 

Dash Cams for Accident Footage

One of the most significant advantages of having the best dashboard cameras mounted in your vehicles is that if your driver is involved in an accident, there is footage to prove liability in the accident. Determining the cause of an accident and who is largely at fault is a time-consuming and challenging process, even for those who are licensed professionals. 

Law enforcement and licensed auto insurance adjusters often rely on witness statements to determine fault. Some witness statements are very vague or biased and don't paint the complete picture of what happened in the accident.

If an accident occurs on a busy highway or road, law enforcement usually instructs each party to move from the accident scene to make way for other traffic to pass through. It can be challenging to assess how the accident happened when this happens accurately. Sometimes, moving a vehicle can destroy evidence that could help determine who was at fault for the accident. 

Dash cam footage helps commercial vehicle drivers eliminate doubt and help organizations determine whether or not there were any contributing factors on their driver's end that they need to address. 

Reduces Overall Claims Investigation Cost

If there are any conflicting statements, most drivers retain attorneys to help fight their side of the story. This is also true for commercial organizations that want to protect their business and their own drivers.

With dash cam footage, you are able to exonerate your drivers without the need to involve an attorney. This can significantly reduce your cost in legal fees and any associated investigation costs. 

Proactive Driver Management

As mentioned earlier, fleet vehicles armed with telematic dashboard cameras help to track any unsafe driving behavior. 

Examples of unsafe driving:

  • Following too closely
  • Distracted driving
  • Fatigue
  • Driving under the influence
  • Hard braking
  • Driving too slow for traffic conditions

Unfortunately, distracted driving and other unsafe driving behaviors are the main contributors to most auto accidents. These types of accidents can lead to liability concerns, substantial medical costs, and possible business disruptions if a vehicle needs to be put out of commission for repairs. 

To ensure the safety of your fleet and to reduce the potential for any vehicle accidents, it is best to buy dashboard cameras to monitor and address any risky driving behavior before these behaviors turn into accidents. 

Telematic Dashboard Camera Data

In addition to taking live footage and monitoring unsafe driving behaviors, these cameras have a slew of other great features. For example, it can also record any vehicle maintenance issues. The data from these cameras are usually stored temporarily in the camera before it transmits over back to the central hub, where you can analyze the data. 

Other information gathered from telematic dash cams:

  • Location of the vehicle
  • Erratic cornering
  • Aggressive acceleration
  • Smartphone usage
  • Speed of the vehicle
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Seatbelt usage

These cameras are the best for organizations that wish to have a complete 360-degree view of what goes on inside and outside of the vehicle. This will help fleet managers address employee issues on an individual basis if needed. 

How to Choose a Dash Cam

There are so many different features to choose from, so it may be hard to pick the right dash camera for you and your organization. Even if you decide between telematic dash cams and stand-alone dash cams, there are additional features you should keep in mind. 

In-Cab Coaching 

There are a few great dashboard cameras that include an in-cab audio feature. If your drivers start to speed or exhibit any other unsafe driving behaviors, the dash cam will sound warning messages to make the driver aware of their driving. 

Internet Connectivity

It is imperative that you make sure that your dashboard cameras do not run out of space when you record with internet connectivity. Most dash cams loop data. This means they record new footage over older footage when the SD card runs out of space. 

To ensure that you don't lose any vital footage, you can choose an internet-connected camera. This dashboard camera will send the footage data to the cloud as soon as it is recorded. 

If your dash cam is not connected to the internet, you risk losing valuable footage. This can be because the footage is overwritten by other footage or because the memory card sustained damage. Internet-connected cameras are much more reliable and convenient for you and your drivers. 

Automatic Event Detection

In the event that one of your drivers gets into an accident, your dash cam will immediately send the data over to your safety team. This type of dash cam will send the appropriate footage to your team of when the accident happened and how it happened. 

Data Analysis Tools

As mentioned earlier, data collected from dash cameras can help organizations determine if further coaching is needed for specific drivers. There are dash cameras that also track trends and can suggest improvements for any unsafe driving. 

High-Quality Images

The last thing you want is to review foggy footage that does not clearly paint the picture of what happened. Having a high-quality dash camera can help determine liability in the event of an auto accident. You can choose a wide-angle lens with 1080p HD video and high dynamic resolution for the best results. 

Night Vision

If you have a fleet of drivers who operate at night or in conditions where there is low light, you will want to purchase a dash cam that can capture footage in these types of conditions. You can look for a dash cam with infrared LED or HDR that corrects itself and optimizes the camera to work best in low-lit and bright light conditions. 

Easy to Install

When deploying a large number of dash cams for your fleet vehicles, you will most likely want something easy and quick to install. Make sure that you choose a dash cam that is easy to fit, flexible, and comes from a company that has a reputable customer service base. If you ever have any questions about setting up and operating your dash camera, they should be able to help you with the entire process and support you while you have their product. 

Other Dash Cam Benefits

In addition to being able to monitor your drivers and exonerate them in the event of an accident, there are other great benefits you should be aware of. For example, the dash cam is great for monitoring any vehicle maintenance; it also helps to reduce wear and tear. Harsh braking and aggressive acceleration wear out brake pads and cause unnecessary stress on your fleet vehicles. 

Retain Drivers

This may seem like a surprise, but dash cams have the ability to reduce your labor costs in a few amazing ways. Your back-office team has the opportunity to build a fleet safety program and coach drivers with video-based coaching tools and driver safety scorecards.

This footage and driving data can help create a safety rewards program for your employees. Your employees will be more likely to engage with you and drive safer in exchange for an incentive. This is proven to increase retention, which can also affect your bottom line, reducing turnover rates and associated hiring costs. 

Decrease Insurance Costs

Risk is a significant factor that many auto insurance companies use to assess the cost of your premium. Commercial policies are usually more expensive because of the higher risk of having different drivers on the road in your fleet of vehicles.

Dashboard cameras mitigate risk and improve safety. Insurance companies may offer you a premium credit, discount, or subsidy for installing dash cameras and sharing this driving data with them. 

Are Dash Cams Worth the Investment?

One of most companies' most significant objections when investing in fleet dash cameras is the initial cost. Although this initial cost may seem expensive, it is definitely worth it in the end.

Dash cameras, especially telematics-based cameras, are proven to lower legal fees and insurance costs. They also help to hold your drivers accountable. With a dash cam present in the vehicle, they are more likely to drive safely than those in vehicles without a dashboard camera.

Protect Your Fleet Today

Protecting your fleet of vehicles with high-quality dashboard cameras is a must if you are a fleet manager. These dash cams will help protect your drivers in the event of an accident, but they will also protect your reputation as a business.

These cameras may be a hefty initial investment, but they will pay for themselves over time. Contact us if you are ready to protect your business and your drivers today.  

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