Weighing the advantages of in-cab cameras in large trucks

When an accident happens between a tractor-trailer and a passenger vehicle in New Mexico, drivers, victims and witnesses may be able to piece together the factors that caused it. Not always, though. Sometimes, there are holes in the police report, and mysteries that go unanswered. When determining who was responsible for the crash, this can be a major downfall. Some safety experts are saying that this could be avoided with in-cab cameras.

According to FleetOwner.com, systems that include driver-facing cameras have some harsh critics: the drivers. The resistance from those behind the wheel is causing some companies to have second thoughts, as well. Owners are already having trouble staffing their full fleet because of a truck driver shortage that is expected to triple by 2024. Many may feel that using a forward-facing camera alone to capture the events caused by motorists is sufficient.

Truckinginfo.com notes that although it is true that this technology is designed to always be recording, it does not always capture video for review. Many of the systems available are paired with other safety features on the truck, such as stability control, reactive cruise control, forward collision mitigation and lane departure warning systems. Then, an issue noted by one of these programs triggers the video to capture what happened outside and inside the truck in the seconds right before and after the event. Professionals then review the videos and provide feedback to the trucking company and the driver when necessary.

The systems are not just used to determine fault in collisions, though. Companies are using the information from near misses, as well, to analyze statistics on drivers' behaviors. This can be used to predict which large truck operators are more likely to be in a collision. Then supervisors can provide training in those areas where a driver needs to improve. In a year of using an in-cab system, one company saw a 34 percent drop in accidents.

Whether to determine what actually happened in a collision or to improve safety, in-cab cameras may serve important functions.  

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