In September 1999, ttnews.com posted an article from the then-President of Freightliner, James L. Hebe. The heading read "Freightliner Embraces' Black Box." It further stated, "I will tell you it is not 'if and when' anymore; it is only a question of 'when' [data recorders] become mandated. . . . I don't care what the industry thinks about our position on data recorders: The ball game is over." Are the days of the cameras mandatory on the horizon as well? Time will tell.
Telematics and dash cameras have become increasingly popular in the trucking industry in recent years. These technologies are useful to improve safety, increase efficiency, and reduce costs.
Telematics systems use GPS and other sensors to track a truck's location, speed, and other data. It is possible to use this information to optimize routes, improve fuel efficiency, and monitor driver behavior. Dash cameras, also known as dashcams, are mounted on a truck's dashboard that record video footage of the road ahead. It is possible to use this footage for accident reconstruction, monitoring driver behavior, and providing evidence in the event of a collision. I have personally seen cameras help a semi-truck claim case. One of our insureds in Louisiana had footage of an accident, and the passenger of the other vehicle involved getting out and switching places with the driver. That was helpful footage when it came to adjusting the claim.
One of the main benefits of telematics and dash cameras is that they can help improve road safety. Telematics systems can track a driver's speed, braking, and other behaviors and provide alerts if they detect dangerous driving patterns. Dash cameras provide valuable evidence in the event of an accident, helping to determine who was at fault and potentially reducing the time and costs associated with resolving insurance claims.
In addition to improving safety, telematics and dash cameras can also help increase efficiency and reduce costs for trucking companies. Telematics systems can be used to optimize routes and improve fuel efficiency, which can help lower operating costs. Dash cameras can also help reduce the risk of fraud and false claims, which can be a high cost for trucking companies.
While telematics and dash cameras can provide many benefits for the trucking industry, there are also some concerns to understand. One of the main concerns is the cost of these technologies. Telematics systems and dash cameras can be expensive to purchase and maintain and may not be feasible for smaller trucking companies. Additionally, there are privacy concerns related to using these technologies, as they can collect and store sensitive information about drivers and their behavior. Forward-facing cameras are not an invasion of privacy and are used to help in cases where liability is questioned. Regarding driver-facing cameras probably have more privacy concerns than forward-facing cameras. In theory, as long as a driver is driving safely and not texting or using his or her phone, the truck driver will not have to worry about anything, as the dashcam is only active while the truck is moving.
One thought process is that insurance providers want to know (good or bad) the circumstances of a claim as soon as possible relating to any accident. Because of the video data assisting in getting an idea of an accident situation or telematic data showing driver tendencies, some truck insurance providers now require cameras or telematics access as an underwriting condition for a truck insurance quote. Other carriers are beginning to offer discounts if specific telematics and camera providers are used based on relationships between the truck insurance company and the telematic provider. Thomas Wilson Group has now partnered with MOTIVE to help our customers find a partner in the telematic and dashcam space.
In conclusion, telematics and dash cameras are becoming increasingly popular in the trucking industry, as they can help improve safety, increase efficiency, and reduce costs. However, it's important for trucking companies to carefully consider the costs and privacy concerns associated with these technologies before implementing them. Ultimately, time will tell whether or not all insurance companies will require dash cameras and telematics sharing. And the debate over their effectiveness in helping reduce trucking insurance claims vs. their privacy concerns is still a conversation that needs to continue. Overall, the benefits of telematics and dash cameras are undeniable, and they can help trucking companies operate more efficiently, safely, and with less cost.