More and more fleet operators are installing video cameras in their vehicles and camera technology of some form is now fairly standard for HGVs. Going beyond the basics, however, many fleet managers and owners are also looking to install in-cab/driver-facing cameras.
The benefits of this are pretty obvious; in the event of an accident or incident, you can very easily show that your driver was blameless and was paying full attention at the time of the accident. It also provides a record in the event of altercations with the driver or break-ins to the cab.
This is however a double-edged sword. Of course, in most cases, the driver is blameless and the video can prove that to be the case, but in some cases, they are not. In these cases the recording may show that the driver was distracted, using their phone, asleep or otherwise at fault. The footage, therefore, becomes the prosecution's key witness.
It has been shown and reported that fitting in-cab cameras has a strong positive effect on driver behaviour, eliminating the bad habits that can cause accidents and therefore making the fleet safer. BUT...despite all these benefits, drivers and unions often perceive the use of in-cab cameras as negative because they have been used in the past, by unscrupulous business owners, as a way to exploit drivers. They have also been seen as an invasion of privacy; particularly for long-distance drivers who effectively 'live' in the cab during their downtime on these long trips.
If you wish to install in-cab cameras, you must therefore be aware of the negative perception and work to overcome the fear and stay within the requirements of the law. Here are 5 things to do:
Handled correctly, good drivers will embrace this technology as a way to provide them with additional protection against fraudulent and no-fault claims. Reassure them on privacy, the use of the footage and how it will only benefit them, and your fleet will be safer forever.
This is the second in a series of articles on the subject of vehicle cameras and the law, however, should you have any concerns about the implementation or use of vehicle cameras, we would suggest you consult with your solicitor.