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9/18/2009 7:00:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Opinion: How Accident Recorders Can Improve Driving

By Dave Michelson

Chief Executive Officer

National Interstate Insurance Co.

This Opinion piece appears in the Sept. 14 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Those familiar with accident event recorders know this technology offers many valuable benefits for transportation operations. AERs, which record both video and audio when a driving incident occurs, can help to improve driver performance, reduce accidents and save lives. The technology also offers other significant, but less publicized, advantages such as decreased expenses and enhanced driver/management relationships.

A recent study funded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found AERs reduce risky driving events by as much as 52%. Likewise, AER vendors say figures for overall loss dollars may decrease by an estimated 30% because expenditures for repairs, downtime and workers’ compensation claims are lower.

It’s not surprising that safer drivers have fewer and less severe accidents, resulting in improved claims experience and lower insurance premiums. An improved safety record also could mean additional savings if you are in an insurance program where you assume risk, as in the case of self-insured and captive plans.

In case of an accident, the AER’s video clips provide an irrefutable witness and streamline claims-handling. Claims adjusters can make quick and informed decisions based on actual facts, at times virtually eliminating costs related to accident reconstruction and litigation.

Videos also can protect your drivers when they aren’t at fault. Nearly anyone responsible for a commercial motor vehicle will tell you that, despite the time-honored custom of assuming a defendant is innocent until proven guilty, they have felt “guilty until proven innocent” looming over their litigation experiences. The video can clear your driver by showing what really happened and removing any chance for misjudgment based on bias.

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