The Case for Cameras on the Truck
With all of the safety regulations and hours rules, it can really feel like Big Brother is breathing down the trucking industry’s neck. The idea of adding a dashboard camera to a truck is enough to push any easy-going truck driver into a frustrating debate.
As we broach this topic, we can already hear the groans, but hear us out. There is a case to be made for why it’s a good idea to keep a front facing camera on your dash. Before we go into this, let’s make it very clear – Dynamic Transit trucks do not have cameras installed on them. That is up to the driver’s discretion.
A Dynamic driver’s experience
Several Dynamic truck drivers have chosen to install dashboard cameras for their own protection. Here’s a case in point:
It was a rainy day, and the roads were beginning to slick with oil and water. A Dynamic truck driver was in his lane, driving the speed limit and attentive of his surroundings, when a passenger vehicle obviously accelerating over the speed limit came up the lane beside him. The driver of the car lost control of her vehicle and swerved in front of the truck. This caused our driver to rear end the car. If it weren’t for the trucker’s dashboard camera, at the very least he could have been nailed for following too closely, speeding, not adjusting for weather conditions and that’s if the car passengers weren’t hurt. He definitely would have lost his safe million miles with the company.
The fact is that cars are responsible for the majority of truck crashes. Two independent studies, one from The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, another by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), found that cars are at fault from 71-91% of the time in fatal crashes with trucks. The percentage varies depending on if the accident was a sideswipe, head-on, or rear-end collision. However, given insurance rates, public perception is that truck drivers are the bad guys.
Cover your assets
Another Dynamic driver was pulling down the road, having a good day, when another truck came along beside him and crowded into his lane too quickly, knocking his mirror off. Our truck driver immediately pulled over and notified the police. When the police caught up to the other truck driver, he claimed it was the other way around. He claimed it was the Dynamic driver crowded into his lane.
Obviously, why would the guilty party stop and call the police, right? It didn’t matter either way, because there was no evidence to support the Dynamic driver. That day, he bought himself a dash cam in case it happens again.
Dashboard cameras are great as a silent witness and a constant eye. It can identify a truck that backs into your rig while you’re sleeping or inside the stop. It puts an end to a story when an accident happens, turning a trucker from vilified to vindicated. Dashboard cameras for trucks, costing between $25-$200 at truck stops and retail shops are a heck of a lot less than your safety bonus check that could be sacrificed for an accident you didn’t cause. That’s something worth considering.