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3/18/2016 4:10:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Combating Driver Distraction, Fatigue

Onboard Cameras Help Fleets Prevent Safety Risks

Mix Telematics

This story appears in the March 14 print edition of iTECH, a supplement to Transport Topics.

Advances in technology are giving trucking companies increasingly sophisticated ways to combat distracted and drowsy driving — two of the biggest threats to fleet safety.

Various systems on the market utilize onboard cameras, sensors and analytics software to capture video of critical events, analyze driving behavior or even track drivers’ eye and head movements for signs of fatigue or distraction.

Fleets using video-safety systems from technology vendors such as Lytx and SmartDrive said they’ve seen a reduction in handheld phone use by drivers.

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“It’s just human nature. If you’re being watched, you’re going to behave differently,” said Royal Jones, president of Mesilla Valley Transportation, which has implemented onboard cameras from SmartDrive. “The presence of the camera affects the driver from the start. At first, we saw a lot of cellphone use, but it’s gone down. They’re getting a hands-free option.”

Cargo Transporters Inc., which operates out of Claremont, North Carolina, has been using Lytx’s DriveCam product since 2012.

“This technology has helped us reduce the use of handheld electronic devices by our drivers and increased the use of seat belts, because we use this as an opportunity to coach our drivers,” said Meredith Priestley, corporate counsel for the fleet.

These systems, which typically incorporate both forward-facing and driver-facing cameras mounted on the windshield of the cab, capture video during the seconds before and after trigger events such as speeding, hard braking or a crash.

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By Bruce Lilly
Contributing Writer

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