Safety cameras: time to face forward?
VisionTrack’s state of the art recording devices can provide evidence for insurance claims and even deliver telematics data
1. What data do forward-facing camera systems record, and how can this information help routine fleet operations?
The capabilities of cameras vary wildly depending on quality and specifications – it’s not the case that every camera will provide the same level of protection and insight for fleets looking to improve operations, driver behaviours and road safety.
Inadequate products do sadly exist in the marketplace, some providing grainy footage and restricted viewing angles that render recordings useless, and others housed in improper casings that overheat the hardware, irreversibly corrupting the SD cards.
VisionTrack’s flagship forward-facing camera, the VT2000, records full high-quality HD 1080p video and incorporates a pillar-to-pillar wide angle lens for a comprehensive view should an incident happen. Being 3G, it can also transmit live snapshot images of an event, such as harsh braking, using as a little as 350kB for a 10-second clip.
Additionally, the device has in-built telematics functionality reporting information such as vehicle location, speed, impact force and driving style.
Having a combined telematics camera gives fleets complete transparency, enabling effective risk management control on the roads around-the-clock and reducing operational costs by eliminating unsafe driving through identification of training needs via ongoing monitoring.
2. What impact does film of an incident have on insurance claims?
Live high definition video not only enables the review of any incidents instantly and defends against false driving allegations, but it also gives insurance companies FNOL (first notification of loss).
This streamlines the claims process, especially where fault is being disputed by a third party, and provides admissible video evidence of what happened.
Film of an incident also protects fleets from potential hikes in insurance premiums, which they may have faced if they had not had the footage to support a claim.
3. Does a fleet always have to submit accident footage, even if it shows its own driver to be liable?
No, ultimately the choice of whether or not to submit footage is wholly down to the fleet. Insurance companies, however, prefer to have the data to aid and speed up the claims process. Being cooperative is likely to be in everyone’s interest, avoiding prolonged vehicle downtimes and potential earning losses. Footage can sometimes be requested – see question 7.
4. Can incident footage be submitted as evidence in a court of law?
Yes. Video evidence is irrefutable and gives fleets a whole new level of protection against fraudulent third party claims. It also gives a clearer picture of why an incident might have occurred, including external contributors and environmental factors, such as weather conditions.
5. What type of insurance premium reduction can a fleet expect after investing in forward-facing cameras?
Forward-facing cameras installed in a vehicle will, in the eyes of an insurer, reduce the risk of a potential incident so
a saving can be expected, but the amount will vary from provider-to-provider and fleet-to-fleet. Commercial insurance broker Insurance Factory recently provided cover to one fleet with 60-65 vehicles for £61,000, instead of £80,000, after it introduced such technology – a sizeable reduction in the premium amount.
Cameras can also protect against future rising costs by reducing road incidents and proving a driver was not at fault in any disputed claims.
6. What is the best way for an employer to sell the concept of a camera to drivers?
Driver engagement is fundamental to the adoption of cameras and should be seen as a priority from the outset by any company looking to introduce the devices across a fleet. Involving employees from the start will ensure they do not feel that cameras are a ‘big brother’ way to monitor their every action, instead offering them increased protection, safety and development opportunities:
■ Drivers are protected against falsely being accused by a third party for causing an incident. This should ultimately give them additional peace of mind.
■ The cameras encourage safer driving and provide alerts to proactively help improve driving behaviour, to make them safer on the road.
■ Through ongoing monitoring and analysis
by managers of data recorded using cameras, more effective driver training and improvement opportunities are available
7. What data protection issues arise from camera footage?
Under Section 7 of the Data Protection Act, members of the public may potentially have the right to request forward-facing camera footage recorded on a commercial or work vehicle, which contains their image.
8. How does a fleet operator avoid being overwhelmed by film from forward-facing cameras?
The VT2000 only transmits footage of event data, so the operator is saved from having to look through copious amounts of footage to find the content they need
VisionTrack’s big data cloud platform also provides fleet managers with an easy to use, scalable interface, helping companies of any size manage video data received from their vehicle fleet.
Not only can they view snapshot images of before and after an incident on the platform, but they can request HD video footage from the camera to view it in full, as well as telematics information such as vehicle speed, location and impact force.
9. How long does it take to install a forward-facing camera and are they transferable vehicle-to-vehicle?
It takes around 30 minutes for one of our trained specialists to fit an in-vehicle windscreen mounted camera, ensuring it is perfectly positioned.
The cameras can be removed if required for fitment on an alternative vehicle and the relevant information updated remotely as required.
We always advise that a trained person should carry out any alterations owing to the devices being hardwired into the vehicle.