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4/26/2012 9:10:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

iTECH: Cameras Keep an Eye on Drivers

In-Cab Monitoring Can Bolster Safety Programs, Fleet Managers Say

By Stephen Bennett. Contributing Writer

This article appears in the April/May 2012 issue of iTECH, published in the April 9 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

In this age of distracted driving and new federal rules, fleet operators face a heightened challenge: How can they know and control what is happening in the cabs of their trucks? Ignorance could be expensive and dangerous.

Commercial vehicle drivers and fleet operators who fail to comply with the recent federal ban on the use of handheld phones, issued in November by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, can be fined. Moreover, the National Transportation Safety Board called in December for a broader ban, applying to all drivers, on “nonemergency use of personal electronic devices,” other than those meant to support driving.

Distracted drivers also present a safety hazard on the road.

Managers of some light- and medium-duty truck fleets that have been using driver monitoring systems in an effort to operate more safely said they are looking to the technology to help them comply with the ban on handheld phones.

Driver monitoring technology can help a manager identify unsafe driving practices that need correcting.

Hard braking, sudden acceleration and sharp turning are actions that driver monitoring technology is designed to detect and record. The information then can be used for remedial training, fleet managers and vendors of monitoring systems said. The goal is to reinforce safe driving practices and reduce the number of accidents and the costs associated with them.

DS Waters of America Inc., Atlanta, a water and beverage delivery company, runs a fleet that includes about 1,670 delivery trucks fitted with monitoring units by DriveCam, San Diego.

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