Video has been all the rage in trucking these days. We have certainly been talking about things like how important in-cab video is for fleets, and there is a good reason for that. That’s why today we wanted to go a little deeper into the topic of in-cab video. Trucking companies can use a holistic video monitoring program to improve their safety outcomes, decrease their insurance burden, and burnish their reputation, to both potential customers and recruits.
Trucking companies have become good at managing risk and operating safely, but that doesn’t mean there is not room for improvement. And video-based safety systems help truck drivers improve, there is no doubt about it. Yet, instituting a holistic video program that gets results is about more than just throwing some cameras onto the cab. You have to connect the dots.
Why is In-Cab Video Important?
There is a good reason why trucking companies have been adopting video technologies at a breakneck pace. They know video improves safety, helps them pad their bottom line, and increases truck driver retention. When you look at it by the numbers, video technology decreased truck driver turnover by almost half and reduces collision risk by as much as 60%.
In fact, consumer car insurance company AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety found that a video-based onboard safety monitoring system can prevent up to 63,000 crashes. These are not small numbers. And as the technology continues to reduce in price, trucking companies have little excuse to adopt video as an effective safety-improvement and retention strategy.
Still, it is important to remember that adopting a holistic video strategy is about more than the video. Cameras in cabs are important, but they are just one part of a larger strategy. From documentation to data analysis and coaching, using video holistically should include multiple different components. There are also several good reasons to utilize video, not the least of which how much happier truck drivers are when the trucking companies they drive for use it.
One of a fleet manager’s top reasons for creating a holistic video monitoring program should be the protection of the fleet’s truck drivers. Because when a collision happens, it is often the truck driver who bears the brunt of any negative outcomes resulting from that collision. When it comes to he said, she said, a video accounting of what happened may be the only thing exonerating your truck driver.
Wouldn’t you rather know exactly what happened than risk losing an innocent truck driver or being on the receiving end of a huge settlement? Video footage provides a level of certainty that verbal accounts simply cannot match. And with attorneys becoming evermore creative in getting big settlements for their clients, you need something concrete when entering the courtroom. Video provides that.
What is a Managed Solution?
It is important to understand that not all video systems are created equal. The decision to adopt a holistic video strategy includes understanding and diagnosing risky driving behaviors among the fleet. Because it is not video by itself that improves safety, it is the process of identifying risk and reducing driving habits that could result in collisions.
It is likely that most trucking companies will settle on a managed video solution. Since fleet managers and others in the organization have limited time and resources to coach, a managed video solution might be just the answer. It must combine compliance, telematics, analytics, and video into one comprehensive solution.
While lots of current video systems use computer vision technology, there must be some human involvement in order to get context out of what the video camera sees. If a truck driver, for instance, becomes desensitized to alerts, they are less likely to heed them. With a managed solution, you have a human back at the office monitoring in-cab alerts.
Unlike a dashcam or computer-only monitoring service, a managed service allows you to have an unbiased individual reviewing and scoring videos generated throughout the course of your truck drivers’ days.
What You Can Expect
Not many fully understand how managed services work. When you choose a managed video system, you should be able to expect a custom scoring of events custom tailored to the operation’s internal safety and compliance goals. And if something should occur in overnight hours, on a weekend or holiday, a proper managed service should be able to provide coverage.
Fleet managers should also be able to expect a fair, unbiased and reliable review for each and every truck driver in the fleet. When evaluating partners, it should not be an issue to ask your potential managed video partner for case studies. If they cannot provide you with examples of a proven, scalable process, they may not be the right vendor for you.
When boiled down to its core components, a holistic, managed video system allows fleet managers to deliver the right information to the right people at the right time. In turn, this empowers everyone within the organization to provide better results. This can only be done through the valuable insights provided by a trained professional.
But having a partner to evaluate the information being provided by all this video is just one part of the process. There will come a point where the risk your managed partner identifies must be acted upon. This is where effective, data-driven coaching comes into play.
AI-Assisted Event Recording
You will get a lot more out of your holistic video program when it is backed by a managed assistant. Consider that if a fleet as 1,000 power units, each with a camera in it, you are talking about thousands of hours’ worth of video footage. This is where AI-assisted event recording comes into play. By harnessing the power of machine learning, you’ll save a lot of man hours.
That’s why the best configuration for most fleets, especially mid to large size fleets, is to have an exception-based system that only records when something occurs that is not within the range of previously specified expectations. Unlike a standard DVR-based system that records everything, an AI-assisted event excepted program records only unusual driving events.
Such events can be programmed into the system. Whether it is a hard brake, sudden acceleration, or unexpected U-turn, the AI can be trained to record only when these events happen. Some advanced systems can even be set up so that the system recognizes whether the operator is driving on the street or a job site.
This is especially important for construction vehicles. Construction fleets use managed video with AI-assist to reduce instances of distracted driving and other unsafe behaviors, which can be deadly on a construction site.
Preventing the Data Dump
The problem with any solution involving video and software is data and information. It can be very easy for fleets to get stuck in an information overload. The key is to prevent unnecessary data dumps. Yet when your vehicles are loaded with cameras and sensors, that can be hard to do. You need an open platform that allows for multiple inputs across the system.
Holistic, video-based systems must offer more than just input, they must also offer insight. Fortunately, between human workers and AI-driven systems, trucking companies have a lot of resources at their disposal to manage the data dumps.
The fact is data is transforming the way fleets make decisions. Data is responsible for vast improvements in fleet efficiency, safety, and productivity in trucking companies all across North America. Using a managed video system to improve fleet performance, fleet managers gain better insights into why collisions occur.
Using Data for Business Insights
When trucking companies have actionable insights, they can use data to meet key business goals. How a fleet applies analytics to the video and data they generate is what will set them apart from the competition. Still, building in-house analytical capabilities that can be quickly analyzed is an expensive and time-consuming process. So, what’s the answer?
Fortunately, robust managed video systems often come with analytics systems built in. Fleet managers generally can access this information through internally installed systems or web-based interfaces. The point is machine learning can assist in the analytics arena as well.
Fleet managers can use the analytics information generated to improve their recruiting and training programs. In the end, a video safety system is more than just a camera in the cab. A holistic video safety program is about culture, procedure, and data collection. And when trucking companies successfully set up a program like this, very often they see massive improvements in their safety scores. Want to be one of those trucking companies? If so, it might be time to invest in a holistic video safety program.