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June 5, 2023 / by

The value of video safety systems for fleet management

Fleet safety is one of your highest priorities as a transportation supervisor. A video safety system can be one of your most effective tools for protecting your drivers and your vehicles. Videos can help you monitor driver behavior, spot high-risk patterns, and take preventive steps. Video also can exonerate your drivers in collisions where they weren’t at fault, shielding your drivers from liability and saving your company money.

In this article, we’ll explore how video systems for fleets can help you reduce collision risks. First, we’ll examine some of the safety and compliance concerns modern trucking fleets face. Then we’ll look at how a video-based safety program can help you address these issues. Finally, we’ll share five best practices to follow when using video safety systems to protect your fleet.

Safety concerns for modern trucking fleets

Video systems for fleets are designed to address some of the biggest safety and compliance concerns facing trucking fleets today. Caterpillar distributor NMC identifies today’s top trucking safety concerns, which include many events that can be captured on video. 

Common safety concerns include:

  • Blind spots
  • Driver error, such as failing to spot other drivers’ risky behavior or construction zones
  • Failure to signal when changing lanes or turning
  • Speeding
  • Parking lot maneuvering errors
  • Distracted driving
  • Driver fatigue
  • Failure to adjust to hazardous road conditions

Some of these risks threaten your company’s finances, legal liability, and regulatory compliance as well as your drivers’ safety. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) can assess penalties for fatigued truck drivers who violate hours of service (HOS) regulations of $1,000 to $16,000. This can increase to $75,000 or more if hazardous materials are involved. Clearly, your company can’t afford these types of risks.

How video systems for fleets can help

Fortunately, video systems for fleets can help you mitigate many common trucking safety concerns that involve risky driving behaviors. A video-based safety program can:

  • Record what’s going on inside the cab, outside the truck, and on the road for a 360-degree view of the situation
  • Monitor risky driver behaviors such as speeding, rolling stops, and texting while driving
  • Use computer vision (CV) technology to analyze, score, and prioritize risks
  • Automate risk monitoring and scoring by letting your tech provider review footage captured by your CV system and alert you to priority events
  • Provide drivers with in-cab alerts when risky events are detected
  • Give you instant information as soon as events happen, eliminating wait time
  • Record evidence exonerating your drivers in situations where they weren’t at fault
  • Deliver actionable metrics and insights you can use to improve your fleet’s driving habits

These benefits go beyond a simple dash cam by providing you with a full view of safety performance that lets you proactively reduce collisions and costs.

Five best practices for using video in your fleet

When deploying video systems for fleets, follow these best practices to get the most out of your technology investment:

  1. Position cameras for 360-degree video capture
  2. Keep video equipment maintained
  3. Use a risk-scoring system that matches your fleet’s unique needs
  4. Automate and outsource video analysis so you can focus on the highest priority events
  5. Provide fast, video-backed driver coaching and documentation

Here’s how to apply each of these tips:

1. Position cameras for 360-degree video capture

A single dash cam view only provides you with one perspective on driving events. But for a full perspective on how your drivers are interacting with the road and other vehicles, you need to see what’s going on both inside and outside the cab. Multiple cameras facing different directions can give you a 360-degree view of what’s happening behind the dashboard as well as outside the vehicle. The Solera SmartDrive video safety system lets you deploy up to eight cameras for a complete view of potential risks, including risky behavior by other vehicles that may prove your drivers’ innocence in court.

2. Keep video equipment maintained

The best video safety system in the world won’t help you if your cameras aren’t working. Schedule regular maintenance checks on your camera system just as you would any other piece of equipment. Set up automated alerts to remind you when batteries need to be recharged or replaced.

3. Use a risk-scoring system

Some risks require more urgent attention than others. For example, SmartDrive data shows that speeding correlates closely with other unsafe practices that increase the risk of collision, including failure to stop at stop signs and hazardous lane changes. A risk scoring system lets you prioritize risks so you can focus on items that command higher urgency.

4. Automate and outsource video analysis

Reviewing every minute of available video footage manually would require so much labor that it would be impractical. You can manage this task efficiently by combining an automated risk analysis system with expert review, scoring, observations, and more. SmartDrive uses computer vision combined with expert analysis to analyze and prioritize risks and pass on safety scores to clients.

5. Provide driver coaching

Video identification of risky behavior provides you with the information you need to take corrective steps. Use data from your video safety system to help your safety managers and driver coaches develop action plans for improving driver performance. Coaches then can provide safety tips to drivers based on their scores. To follow up, coaches can monitor results to see that corrections get implemented and safety scores improve.

Automate Your Video Safety Management with SmartDrive

The best practices recommended in this article are simple to implement when you use a video-based safety program. SmartDrive, part of Solera Fleet Solutions, provides everything you need for a comprehensive video-based safety system. 

SmartDrive captures risky habits such as speeding, tailgating, distracted driving, and driving while drowsy. With up to eight cameras, SmartDrive also records exterior views of other vehicles and interactions with your fleet, protecting innocent drivers from liability.  Our team of experts reviews your video footage for you, scores safety risks, and prioritizes footage of high-risk events for you. Contact our team today to discuss how our video-based safety systems can help you protect your drivers and your business.