Falsely Accused and Not in the Wrong?


No matter the industry – or type of vehicle – many of the challenges that fleet, operations and safety managers face are the same:

  • They are blamed for accidents that were not their drivers’ fault
  • They had reached a safety plateau and were simply not getting better
  • They are always looking for ways to improve the safety and efficiency of their fleet

Although it has been shown that 80% of car-truck crashes are caused by car drivers, truck drivers are repeatedly being blamed for the accident.

With some fleets having hundreds – or even thousands – of vehicles, the time and cost to defend these accusations can be astronomical. In many cases, there are no witnesses, so it comes down to he said/she said. Even multiple witnesses can provide different stories as to what actually happened when a collision occurs. More times than not, video helps exonerate drivers who are not at fault. In fact, video is the only eye-witness that shows exactly what happened and can be provided in near real-time after the accident.

With video you’re able to reduce (and oftentimes, eliminate) the cost of resources to investigate the accident onsite, along with the cost of accident triage and sending field agents, adjusters, safety coordinators, leaders and reconstructionists to the accident scene. And, when exoneration occurs, you avoid the legal costs of fighting a claim while getting your damages covered by the claimant. “Being able to exonerate just one driver in one collision has paid for the system,” states Todd Hargest, director of safety and transportation, Virginia Eagle. “There is no question that we now have safer drivers and a safer fleet because of SmartDrive.”

Predict and Prevent

As AAA has stated, the use of onboard video-based safety systems can prevent as many as 63,000 crashes, 17,733 injuries and 293 deaths each year. 1

Many fleets have a safety culture reinforced with safety programs specifically for their drivers, including initial driver orientation, on-going training, ridealongs and – in some fleets – reward and recognition programs. But, after a while, many fleets realize that their safety stats are not improving and they’re no longer progressing in the right direction.

This is when fleets begin to realize they need a safety solution that tells them why problems are occurring – before they occur. Some facts to consider2:

  • 37% of drivers report having fallen asleep behind the wheel at some point in their lives; 11% report having fallen asleep behind the wheel in the past year
  • Drivers distracted by mobile devices are 2.5x more likely to run a stop sign or red light, increasing the risk and severity of collisions
  • It’s estimated that10% of all fatal crashes and  17% of all accidents that caused injuries are the result of distracted driving
  • After getting only 5 to 6 hours of sleep, crash risk increased by 1.9 times compared to getting normal sleep of 7 hours

Video provides the opportunity to see those driver habits that are leading to collisions, such as mobile phone use, food and drink, lack of sleep, following too close, speeding and more. Similar to sports teams that use game-day films to review a game, by understanding the problem and coaching drivers with the video so they can see what’s causing collisions, you quickly improve driver performance and the overall safety results throughout your fleet.

In fleets that adopt a video-based safety program, improvements are often seen, not only in risk and crash reduction, but across a wide array of safety-related areas. “The SmartDrive program helps reduce accident frequency and exonerate drivers by providing accurate, fact-based video as if we were at the scene of every on-road incident, stated Eric Nelson, VP, Recruiting and Safety, Arnold Transportation. “We’ve seen our accident costs per million miles reduced. We’ve seen the time to claim closure reduced by knowing what occurred and why.”

And, the ROI with a video safety program can be instantaneous. Many fleets have commented that the cost of one accident pays for the cost of the program or the savings from a video-based safety program can be used in other ways to benefit their fleet including funding new equipment. It’s important to note that bottom-line savings are also enhanced through the data that results from a video-based safety program. The data that’s captured contains a wealth of insight that fleets leverage to understand vehicle use and driver performance. These insights can be leveraged across a fleet’s organization to help improve both fleet efficiency and overall fleet performance.


For more information on how to bring more protection, more insight and more savings to your fleet, contact SmartDrive today.

SmartDrive Systems, the recipient of Frost & Sullivan’s Customer Value Leadership Award for Video Safety Solutions, gives fleets and drivers unprecedented driving performance insight and analysis, helping save fuel, expenses and lives. Its video analysis, predictive analytics and personalized performance program help fleets improve driving skills, lower operating costs and deliver significant ROI. With an easy-to-use managed service, fleets and drivers can access and self-manage driving performance anytime, anywhere. The company, which is ranked as one of the fastest growing companies by Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™, has compiled the world’s largest storehouse of more than 210 million analyzed risky-driving events.


1   http://newsroom.aaa.com/2017/09/truck-safety-technology-can-prevent-63000-crashes-year/

2 Facts from SmartDrive Distracted Driving SmartIQ, April 2017; https:/www.aaafoundation.org/drowsy-driving and https:/crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812318


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