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iTECH: Cab Cam Keeps an Eye on Safety

“We hear a lot from the trucking industry about accidents that aren’t the trucker’s fault,” said Emad Isaac, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Rand McNally. “Cars cut in front of trucks; they come around from blind spots, and such. But unfortunately in North America, there’s a ‘guilt by profession’ mentality about the trucking industry.

If there’s an accident that involves a truck and a car, there’s almost an immediate assumption that it’s the truck’s fault. One benefit of the in-cab camera is that it’s an impartial judge. It’s going to record what happened. If the truck driver is at fault, then that’s what will be recorded, but if the truck driver is not at fault, this is documented as well.”

Dellinger at Cargo Transporters testifies to the power of video documentation. “In the event of an accident, various parties and witnesses see it and remember it differently, but the camera tells the truth,” he said. “Any time an accident occurs, we contact DriveCam, and typically we can have footage within an hour of the time the event occurs. Sometimes, we’re seeing what took place before the accident has even been cleared. We’ve had occasions where lawyers have dropped their clients after we provided them with the DriveCam footage from the accident.”

Mercadante at Pitt Ohio tells a similar story. “This technology has helped us avoid liability for accidents that were not our fault,” he said. “Sometimes, cars have come into our lane and hit our vehicle. The video that captured the event showed all the details behind the accident. Their claims that we hit them were not true, and we had video evidence to back us up. This has happened in a few different cases, and some of these were substantial claims that we avoided.”

Mercadante points out that capturing video footage of accidents can also reveal the remarkable skill that some drivers exhibit when faced with situations that require split-second responses. In two examples, Pitt Ohio drivers managed to avoid hitting occupied vehicles that were overturned on the interstate. “The video captured everything,” Mercadante said. “We’re very proud of the way our drivers handled these life-threatening situations.”

There may be more uses for camera technology in trucking coming soon. Rand McNally’s Isaac sees potential for using cameras to collect important information on the road as the trucks travel. “Rand McNally provides map data based on the best information available when we go to press or release software, but things change — construction, road signs, detours, and more. So having these mobile sensors out there in the field will give us an opportunity to collect changes. It’s going to take a little bit more work, but that’s where I think the technology will be heading,” Isaac said.

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