Increasing safety in trucking is the hot topic right now, both in Washington and within the trucking industry itself. As a result, fleets are increasingly turning to technological methods to increase their overall safety profile. Yet, with so much to choose from, how does a motor carrier land on the right technology at the right time?
Here at the QuickTSI Blog, we want to start an ongoing series that digs deep into the various safety technology systems that motor carriers can take advantage of in today’s marketplace. With first-hand knowledge and in-depth analysis at your disposal, you will be able to make educated decisions that are right for your fleet.
In this first of many in the series, we will take a closer look at video-based safety systems and how your fleet can utilize them in a game-changing fashion. Stand at the forefront of safety innovation with this handy video-based safety system buyer’s guide.
Learning Video Safety System Basics
Just about every motor carrier has gotten the call at least once: an experienced driver was in an accident. What do you do? What can the on-board computer tell you? Hopefully everyone is safe, but beyond that serious forensics will need to be done to get to the bottom of what happened. This is where a video safety system can play a big part.
Accidents generate a huge amount of questions. The best way to answer them is to have a set of eyes and ears in, on, and around the vehicle. Yet even then too many data points can weave a tangled web of information, making it hard to sort out what is what. Without any quick clear answers, it can be difficult to ascertain what caused the accident in the first place.
Fleets need effective solutions that can provide the insights required to not just understand why an accident occurred, but to proactively prevent them from happening in the future. This is where a video-based safety system plays a part. Yet there is still more to it than that.
It is one thing to have a video system installed on your vehicles, but it is another to be able to use that data in real-time. Data is one thing, but actionable data is another. You want to be able to tie the video system together with a fleet management system, driver performance, analytics, training and so much more.
If there is one problem fleets struggle with as they attempt to pull together these disparate technologies, it is interoperability. The only way to get to the truth of a collision and get immediate, actionable data out of the situation is to be able to effectively process the data.
There are several aspects to a video-based safety system that can be a game-changer for your fleet. Let’s look at each one individually.
Video Systems Are Like Virtual Cab Seats
There are any number of investments a motor carrier can make to improve not just individual performance but overall fleet safety. Whether you turn to in-classroom training or advanced systems such as collision avoidance or lane-departure warnings, video systems play a part.
Still, are your fleet managers getting the big picture from the various data inputs coming in from around the fleet? To identify potential risks and increase overall safety outcomes, fleets need to know what critical situations may be happening on the road.
Video systems can be used in many ways – ways that don’t invade truck driver privacy. Whether it be to improve individual truck driver performance or to find out what sites may be safer than others, a comprehensive, integrated video-based safety system can provide the answers.
Of course, the system itself must be paired with a fair and consistent program governing its use. It is one thing to simply add a bunch of cameras to your fleet and then analyze the data, but it is another to prioritize your coaching to have a tangible impact on reducing risk.
Common Video Safety System Misconceptions
There are certainly misconceptions surrounding the use of video-based safety systems. Fleets must ensure they use them properly to gain truck driver buy-in on their use. In fact, truck drivers have a lot to gain from video system use.
Let’s say one of your truck drivers is in a collision. They tell you it wasn’t their fault, but in many cases of accident involving a heavy-duty commercial motor vehicle the blame almost automatically is put on the truck driver. Having a video-based safety system in place to validate your truck driver’s claim would go a long way to proving their innocence and preventing an expensive lawsuit.
Fleets need truck drivers more than ever, and being able to demonstrate how systems like these can work in their favor provides a useful recruiting tool. When a motor carrier is obviously investing in the safety of their people, their people appreciate it. These systems can also be used to facilitate useful dialog between fleet managers and operators.
Another common misconception surrounding video-based safety systems is that they will generate far too much data for any one person or department to deal with. In fact, when you have a way to manage the data, you can find some clarity regarding what’s happening with your fleet?
Consider how sophisticated commercial motor vehicles and their attendant systems have become over the years. When a truck is equipped with many different technologies, each one can provide specific data about critical events.
Utilizing a video-based safety system delivers on both data and insight. When you can incorporate different elements to cause a video event trigger, alerts – whether in the cab or back at dispatch – can be delivered instantaneously. Whether it be brake pressure or a lane-departure, connected systems provide unique insight into events. Insight you need to make actionable decisions regarding your fleet.
By utilizing a system with an open-platform approach, you can tap into graphs, charts, statistics and trends regarding the overall performance of your fleet from a micro and macro perspective. Even better, you can prioritize specific events, such as separating those that may be serious risks from those that may incur a minor infarction.
Utilizing Video-Based Data to Drive Performance
Fleets require metrics to drive performance. Without operational information and key performance indicators, a fleet manager will have a harder time making sense – and use – of the data at his or her disposal.
By using an integrated system, a motor carrier can utilize reports, dashboards, interactive visualizations and much more. Analyzing fleet performance in such a manner provides critical leverage, the ability to make quick decisions in real-time in response to what’s happening with the fleet.
When all your technological investments are consolidated into one place, a fleet manager becomes a ringmaster of sorts. As you export data and utilize instant information to help guide truck driver behavior, training, recruitment and so much more, fleet operations become much more efficient.
One of the most important aspects of any video system lies in the safety component. It is a video-based safety system, after all. What is one of the most important aspects of safety management in trucking today? CSA scores.
Consider that some brokers will not use a motor carrier’s services if their CSA scores are “marginal” in certain BASIC categories and you can see why it is so important to get the most out of the safety systems at your disposal. Video-based systems, when paired with other technologies, can help fleets gain insight through a systematic approach.
By utilizing safety technologies to provide consistent and actionable coaching, fleet managers take back the initiative where managing their CSA scores is concerned. To win the big contracts, a fleet needs to find every way possible to stand apart, and high CSA scores – serving a measure of safety excellent – can do just that.
Making the Business Case for Video-Safety Systems
When fleets can proactively identify and eliminate unnecessary risks, risks that put their business on the line, the business case for video-based safety systems becomes clearer. Motor carriers that consistently demonstrate to those they do business with that they take safety seriously, business is better, and everyone wins.
Successfully managing a trucking or transportation company, no matter the size, is no small task. Fleets of all sizes are looking for programs that can help them both improve safety and increase operational efficiency. Video-based safety systems offer an interconnected and – in the long term – cost effective way to protect your truck drivers and your business.
As you go about looking for a video-safety system provider make sure you choose one that provides you with a comprehensive solution that provides performance insight, analysis, fuel savings, and expense management. To get a significant return on your investment you want to invest in a system that touches on all aspects of your business and integrates with your current fleet management system. Don’t leave your fleet safety initiatives to chance, put your money in a system which will give you a return over the long run.