December 7, 2018

How a fleet of 50 trucks perfected the art of safety through dash cams

How a fleet of 50 trucks perfected the art of safety through dash cams

The video accompanying this blog post was taken at KeepTruckin’s Nashville office. We invited customers in to talk informally about their challenges and how KeepTruckin’s fleet management solutions are helping their business.

A front-facing dashboard camera or dash cam records what the driver sees. That information can be invaluable.

“I highly recommend everyone have a forward-facing camera,” says Norman Bright, a safety and fleet manager for Woodford Oil. “It’s really for safety, training and the ability to see what goes on during an event. That has been priceless for us.”

Bright recently had all 50 of the trucks in his fleet outfitted with dashboard cameras.

“You can see so much more than just the event. You can also see the context around a hard-braking event,” Bright says.

Learn more about our Smart Dashcam here.

A summary of Bright’s step-by-step process for how he implemented dash cams:

1. He introduced the Smart Dashcam to a veteran driver first

To ensure all Woodford’s drivers felt okay with the dash cams, their most veteran driver tried one first. Bright explained to him that it was for safety. He also clarified the camera only recorded events if the driver performed a hard break, hard acceleration or hard corner.

Getting drivers on board

Some drivers who post on various trucker’s forums worry that the company they work for will use the cameras to spy on them. The best way to combat that issue is to be transparent and open with your drivers, says Bright. Get feedback from them, so they are involved in the process.

You might ask your drivers if they’d feel comfortable with the cameras if they protected their own family members.

“We let our drivers know that we don’t want to watch them drive down the road,” says Bright. “But if there’s an issue we want to be able to see what happened.”

Truckers also feel better when told the KeepTruckin Smart Dasham is only forward-facing, so they don’t feel like they’re being invaded. If the dash cam reveals the driver is doing something wrong, coaching may be the next step.

2. He asked the veteran driver to share his experience with other drivers

When the company started getting recorded video footage, management talked to the first test driver about the results. He then told the other drivers what was happening.

“Everyone was then accepting of the forward-facing cameras (in their truck),” Bright says.

3. He worked with drivers to set event triggers

Woodford’s owner, another executive, and Bright reviewed every video to make sure they all agreed on what they saw.

“We started at the lowest end and the easiest trigger,” says Bright. “We adjusted from there, increment by increment until we felt we were where we needed to be.”

Then Bright had a 30-year veteran driver gauge where they set the triggers. He agreed that anything beyond that was a safety issue and should be looked at.

“In the beginning, we marked every event as either coachable or uncoachable. We also made notes to go along with the videos,” recalls Bright.

When the triggers were set, the cameras let management see the speeds and track their trucks. The footage also shows the momentum and shift of the vehicle, Bright says.

When Norman was setting triggers, he also took into account the nature and condition of the roads.

“We’re in a very mountainous area, with curvy roads and we’re dealing with hazmat (loads), says Bright. “Rollovers are one of our biggest concerns. So, we spent a lot of time getting our triggers set.”

Bright says he tries to coach drivers once a week now, which is a steady cadence so the information is easily manageable.

4. Norman and other managers took notes after watching dash cam videos

Bright looked at the first video footages from their trucks and noted whether an event was “coachable” or “uncoachable.” This is a feature that comes with the KeepTruckin Smart Dashcam.

If an event is coachable, one of Bright’s dispatchers will reach out to the driver. He or she will tell him what they saw on the video (hard brake, hard acceleration, etc.).

Then the dispatcher records the outcome of that interaction in the driver notes section.

The Driver Coaching feature compiles all the information made on individual drivers. If someone had five coaching notes in a month, it’s evident that driver is having trouble driving.

That makes him liable, but it also shows that Woodford Oil is being careful and responsible by keeping records of what’s going on.

Ready to get dash cams in your trucks?

3 main benefits of dash cams

Videos recorded by the dash cams help fleet managers who use the information to identify drivers who may need coaching. Ultimately, it is the drivers who benefit from the dash cams.

Fleet and safety managers should highlight this when getting drivers on board.

“The selling point we used with our drivers was ‘it’s going to be to their benefit’,” says Bright.

Here are three main benefits that dash cams offer.

Benefit 1: Liability

The biggest issue Woodford has had since installing the cameras was determining which vehicle was at fault in an accident. The camera footage proved the Woodford driver wasn’t in the wrong. The Smart Dashcam can prove the trucker was doing what he was supposed to be doing.

“Once our drivers realized the dash cam’s benefits, they accepted them,” says Bright.

If legal questions come up after an event, the cameras reveal if the area was properly marked and signed.

Benefit 2: Safety

Dash cams help improve the overall safety level of a fleet.

With video evidence, driver coaching programs become much more effective. Conversations between drivers and safety managers are based on evidence, facts, and records, instead of just assumptions.

Benefit 3: Efficiency

Keeping truckers safe leads to a more efficient-running business and better CSA scores.

How the Smart Dashcam promoted a culture of safety

By utilizing the driver scorecards feature and the KeepTruckin Smart Dashcam, Norman Bright promoted a culture of safety in his fleet. Apart from the obvious efficiency and safety benefits, installing the dash cams also provided Norman the much-needed peace of mind in the form of video evidence.

“When we decided [to install the KeepTruckin Smart Dashcams] in every truck, we knew the evidence was going to be there,” says Bright. “You’re going to be either innocent or guilty [in a crash].

It eliminates all the time and money that goes into fighting an unknown. You won’t have the back and forth with insurance companies nor the attorney fees. The camera tells the truth from the beginning.”

The final verdict from Norman

How does Bright feel about his company’s decision to install dash cams in all their trucks now?

“The camera doesn’t lie. I highly recommend dash cams to anyone. It’s for safety, and training. The ability to see what goes on during a driving event has been priceless for us.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about what the KeepTruckin Smart Dashcam can do for your fleet, call 855-434-ELOG or email support@keeptruckin.com.

You can also learn more about our Smart Dashcam here.

This article was written by: Heather Larson

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