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2/19/2013 4:00:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

iTECH: Cab Cam Keeps an Eye on Safety

By Bruce Lilly, Contributing Writer

This story appears in the February/March 2013 issue of iTECH, published in the Feb. 18 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

In-cab cameras, or dash-cams, aren’t all about roadside arrests or crazy stuff on Russian highways (such as the video of a Eurasian elk in the fast lane). There’s a pretty strong safety angle, too, at least for the trucking industry.

Improving safety and reducing costs are always two of the top priorities for carriers, and some companies are achieving both goals through the use of cameras in the cabs of their trucks.

Motor carriers are finding that they can improve safety and cut costs with video cameras mounted in the cabs of their trucks.

Cameras mounted on the windshield capture video footage of accidents and other driving events, improving safety by giving carriers video footage to coach drivers, or cutting costs when a carrier has video evidence that its driver did not cause an accident, thus avoiding liability claims.

Cargo Transporters, Claremont, N.C., began experimenting with camera technology in 2011 by installing video-event recorders from DriveCam Inc., San Diego, in 30 of its cabs. The initial trial was so successful that the truckload carrier installed the devices in its entire fleet of 450 tractors.

The video recorder attaches to the windshield, behind the rearview mirror. It has two cameras, one facing out to record everything in front of the truck and one facing inward to record driver actions. It also has an accelerometer and a GPS unit to collect data on speed, location and direction. Even though the device is continually recording, drivers are not under constant surveillance, because data are saved only when the device is triggered to capture information surrounding an event.

What triggers an event? “Some type of risky driving, such as sudden braking, sudden acceleration, a swerve or a collision,” said Eric Cohen, DriveCam’s senior marketing manager. “Given that the device is always recording, it’s able to go back and retrieve the eight seconds before the event. It also includes the four seconds after the event, so you get a total of 12 seconds.”

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