Fleet News

Motorway filtering crash caught on camera

A new video from vehicle camera firm Smart Witness shows dangerous motorway filtering as a car collides with an HGV on a busy motorway.

The footage shows the moment the Ford Focus hits the side of the lorry after running out of filtering space as it tries to join the M6.

The Focus driver should have braked and waited for a space behind the lorry, but  kept going and there was unavoidable collision - with the lorry shunting the car along the hard shoulder.

Thousands of incidents such as this happen on Britain's roads each year - with both drivers blaming each other for the collision.

The difference in this case was that the lorry was fitted with a SmartWitness vehicle journey recorder.
It quickly became apparent that the car driver was completely to blame. Insurers for the car driver settled the claim as soon as the CCTV was produced. 

The accident happened last month and the claim has already been settled.

SmartWitness recently won the Best New Product award at the Fleet News Awards in London.

The SmartWitness footage was provided by hauliers, the Malcolm Group, who have fitted SmartWitness in-vehicle CCTV to its 500 strong fleet.

Allan Campbell, Malcolm Group Technical Engineer, said the cameras had significantly improved road safety.

He said: "It is one of a number of measures we have introduced to improve safety - and it has been money well spent.

"In this instance, the claim was settled very quickly at no cost to Malcolm Group. Before we installed the cameras, we could often end in messy situations where neither side was accepting blame. In these instances, the courts could often side against the haulier even when their driver was completely blameless due the lack of incontrovertible evidence.

"That is no longer the case now we have SmartWitness journey recorders. The key question - who's to blame? - can be established very quickly, and insurance claims are settled within days instead of months - without any of the added costs. Crucially for Malcolm Group, we are aware when our drivers are at fault and can embark on additional training where necessary.

"The fact that drivers are aware that their driving is being monitored makes them extra vigilant - also ensuring improved road safety."

Insurers have found that just 2% of incidents recorded on SmartWitness cameras result in disputed claims - against an industry norm of 40% of motor claims.

The Road Haulage Association recently found that the fitting of in-cab cameras was becoming the norm rather the exception. An RHA survey found that 54% of its members have now fitted cameras.

Smart Witness managing director Simon Marsh said: "The RHA survey is very interesting and we are very proud to be the only RHA GOLD vehicle CCTV supplier."

He added: "Once a company fits vehicle CCTV they never go back to having their drivers operating without cameras.

"Most MDs I speak to tell me they wish they had fitted them sooner. This video perfectly illustrates their worth. It might seem like a relatively minor collision, but these incidents in the days before cameras would result in a big drain on time and expense as both sides argued it out with insurers.

"Not any more - the SmartWitness footage goes off and it is settled almost instantly."


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  • mark walker - 29/05/2014 11:29

    notice the distance of the truck to the car in front?, also notice that the truck driver doesn't allow the driver to filter in ? - surely there is a case for undue care and attention

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  • Dave S - 29/05/2014 23:56

    Truck accelerates slightly - inc to 32mph from 31mph and actually closes the gap to the car in front putting doubt on the mind of the driver joining. Lack of confidence from driver joining the motorway but bullying from the truck that you see way too often for what are supposed to be professional drivers. Truck could easily have avoided the accident by slowing slightly rather than closing the gap. If I were the fleet manager of the truck in the incident I would be having very serious words with the driver about his awareness and attitude in this case. Police should also be interested in the case for dangerous driving in my opinion.

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    • James - 30/05/2014 15:03

      @Dave S -

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    • James - 30/05/2014 15:06

      @Dave S - Couldnt agree more. Lorry driver caused that, the Focus is a car length in front and the truck closes the gap.

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  • Guffy - 06/09/2014 16:35

    I think you'll find its the responsability of the vehicle joining the carriageway (the car) to join safely and that at the end of the slip road is a give way line. It is far safer for a car to alter its speed and find a safe gap than for an hgv to slow down and possibly cause a crash behind it trying to build up speed again, you'll also find when your on the slip road your supposed to alter your speed by speeding up or more importantly SLOWING DOWN rather than bullying your way in and causing a crash. No point coming on talking guff read the highway code first!

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