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iTECH: Cab Cam Keeps an Eye on Safety

“We started using the lane-departure warning technology about four years ago,” Mercadante said. “At first, it takes a little getting used to because it’s a change to the drivers, but once the drivers have it, they seem to like the system. It teaches them to be better drivers because you’re always maintaining your position in the middle of those two lines.”

Pitt Ohio added the Bendix SafetyDirect and began collecting video data in 2011. “This new technology that captures video data takes us to another level,” Mercadante said. “It’s useful as a training tool. We look to keep our fleet as one of the safest in the industry. This is new technology that allows us to do that.”

Bill Patrolia, national account manager of electronics group customer solutions for Bendix, said events may be triggered by lateral motion, changes in speed or G-force. “There’s a sensor in the camera that measures G-force. If you exceed 0.5 Gs, an event is triggered. We capture 10 seconds before and 10 seconds after the event is triggered.”

In contrast to DriveCam, which transmits data on its own cellular network, the Bendix devices in the Pitt Ohio tractors transmit data through the company’s mobile communications system, supplied by PeopleNet, Minnetonka, Minn.

“We capture both the video and the ECM data,” said Jim Angel, product manager at PeopleNet. Engine control module data include speed, the gear engaged, engine speed, brake activity, accelerator pedal position, ignition switch status and GPS location.

“We send all of it over to Bendix,” Angel said. “The customer receives an e-mail with a link that is connected directly to that event. The data is displayed by Bendix on a dashboard. Customers can easily view all of the relevant data plus the 20-second video that shows what happened at the time of this event. This all happens in near real-time.”

Even though some drivers detest having a camera in the cab, many others welcome it, because the video footage can provide conclusive evidence when the facts around an accident are in dispute.

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