The Best Dash Cams for Trucks
Dashboard video cameras have become popular accessories in vehicles for a number of practical reasons. They can provide important, real-time evidence to support a driver’s version of events for court or insurance purposes. They can also improve the behavior of drivers.
Trucks can also reap these benefits from dash cams. Additionally, in terms of fleet management, dash cams can increase fleet safety, provide increased visibility, and make for better driver accountability. Here’s what to consider when you want the best dash cams for trucks.
Dash Cam for Commercial Trucks 101
Dash cams are usually plugged into the vehicle’s electrical system. You can program the dash cam to turn on and off manually, or to automatically turn on as soon as the ignition is “on.” When you are looking for a dash cam for commercial trucks, you should be aware of the different types available.
Also known as front-facing or road-facing dash cams, standard dash cams point toward the road ahead. Depending on preference, you could affix the dash cam on the dashboard or inside of the windshield close to a rearview mirror. This type of dash cam records images from the driver’s point of view.
Also called dual dash cams, these have two cameras rather than the single camera on a standard dash cam. One camera records images from the same point of view as the standard dash cam — straight ahead — and the second camera is focused on the driver. Higher-end models can even synchronize feeds so that you can watch them at the same time.
GPS with Dash Cam
If you don’t already have a fleet management system with GPS, the good news is that there are dash cams on the market that integrate GPS with dash cam. This means that the driver only has to look in one area for navigation assistance and to see the dash cam feed rather than scanning multiple interfaces. This makes it a convenient product that promotes safety.
HD Dash Cam for Truckers
Technology has advanced to the point where even the most cost-effective dash cams can record and play back in high resolution. Since you want to have a clear picture of vehicles, license plates, and people, it pays to get an HD dash cam for truckers. Chances are, if you really need to scrutinize your feed, it will be precisely for identification and specific observations.
An added bonus of an HD model is increased visibility for the driver when the dash cam is turned on. Under normal conditions, people move their eyes to gauge different details in front of them. The dash cam provides a handy image that captures the entire view that you can process immediately.
How the Dash Cam for Big Trucks Is Used
Outfitting your trucks with dash cams provide several benefits, including:
Proper Assessment of Fault
The most common use for the dash cam is to provide footage to prove what happened before and during a road accident. This could be supporting evidence for a determination of fault (and to calculate the amount of reimbursement the insurance company is willing to provide) or in court if litigation is necessary. Damages (based on fault) assessed against your company can be significant, even crippling — the sum could be in the millions if there are fatalities. Footage from a dash cam for big trucks can be more reliable than witness testimony. Down the road, the footage will show the same information. Witness memory will deteriorate with time, and their assessment of the situation may be affected by perspective, perception, or even prejudice.
Improving Driver Safety and Behavior
Dash cams tend to improve driver behavior — especially dual-facing dash cams — because viewers will be able to tell from the driver-focused feed whether the driver was paying attention, tired, or distracted. Knowing that their actions are monitored tends to inspire drivers to be more careful and vigilant. As for other vehicles, if others on the road see a dash cam recording their every move, they know that if they do something reckless, evidence will exist to refute attempts to blame the truck driver.
Lowering Insurance Premiums
Insurance companies want to provide incentives for policyholders to lower the probability of an accident. This is because even if their client is not at fault, the insurance company will have to pay out for expenses such as repairs, replacements, and medical treatment. On the other hand, if your company successfully avoids accidents (and the need to make insurance claim), the insurance company can continue to collect premiums without having to expend funds. Many insurance policies, therefore, offer a discount to fleets with dash cams on their vehicles because they help promote good, safe driving.
Driver Improvement and Training
Whether you review driving performance with your drivers individually or put on group training, using dash cam footage provides an excellent visual aid. It also lets the trainer point out specific behaviors to keep or change. The training you put on will be based on real-life examples rather than hypotheticals, letting drivers really understand what is happening. Dash cam video can help you identify common driver challenges and allow you to monitor the progress made by new hires.
Employee Incentives and Evidence
If your company has an employee reward system — bonuses or perks for good driving — a dash cam can provide a basis for assessing performance and behavior. Of course, should a driver’s performance be subpar, video from a dash cam can support any disciplinary action required.
How to Find the Best Dash Cam for Trucks
There are many factors to consider when choosing the best dash cam for your trucks. Here are a few of them.
The better the quality of the dash cam footage (the sharper and more detailed the images are), the more useful it will be. After all, you want to be able to properly identify faces, license plates, obstructions, signs, and environmental conditions — especially for court or insurance purposes. If the video is of poor quality, you won’t be able to glean what you need to support your position. HD dash cams are commonplace, so they are not hard to find. You should also consider something with WDR (wide dynamic range) and/or wide-angle lens if you desire better visibility. If your drivers make a lot of overnight trips, you may also want to look for dash cams with advanced video technology so that your footage is still clear and sharp, even in low light.
Dash cam footage and related data should be easy to call up so that you can generate scorecards or make assessments efficiently. Some dash cams come with programs or “smart features” that provide detailed data, insights, and supports. You may also benefit from various special features, such as sensors (crash and speed detectors), loop recording, WiFi/LTE network connectivity, and time/date/GPS stamps. Ideally, your dash cam should also be user-friendly so that your company can actually reap these benefits.
The most common file storage options for dash cams are memory cards (like a micro SD card) and the cloud. Cloud-based file storage allows for easy upload across your network. It can also enable the transmission of practically real-time footage to dispatchers or other staff tasked with monitoring drivers. Cloud solutions tend to be quite convenient, although some people prefer a more “old school” card file storage system so that hacking and information security are not a pressing problem. If your dash cam comes with great information security, data storage, and backups, even better.
Obviously, you want a sturdy, well-made dash cam with easy and effective installation. In some instances, depending on the nature of your work and environmental conditions, you may want to look into heavier-duty or “extreme” dash cams, some of which come with dustproof and/or waterproof cases.
What Is the Best Dash Cam for Your Truck Fleet?
The best dash cam for truck fleets will largely depend on what features you need. If you are going to invest in a dash cam, you don’t want to skimp on it. Even if there is a large cost overlay, a high-quality dash cam will absolutely be worth it if it allows you to save on premiums and to prove your case when a large sum of damages or reimbursement is on the line. Do your research. Look for dash cams with the features you feel are most important, and read the reviews. Your drivers may be familiar with certain models from other jobs or information from colleagues and can provide helpful information. You could even ask your insurance company if there are any particular types of dash cam they recommend — the bonus being that you can gauge how to get the best discount off your premium.
As always, we at Logity Dispatch are committed to helping trucking companies and owner-operators build their business, make more money, and keep more money. That’s why we highly recommend installing dash cams on your fleet vehicles. We also help trucking businesses by offering an extensive range of services, including expert load dispatch and rate negotiation, compliance, billing, document management, and more. Some clients prefer a comprehensive package so that they can focus their attention on driving and delivering loads instead of the dreary administrative requirements that can bog down any business. Let us know if you have any questions about our services or have helpful topic ideas for future articles from which everyone can benefit! Contact us today.