Fleet operators often state that they would prefer to avoid video data when possible, as it increases the chance they will be found at fault. While this may happen sometimes, camera data has increasing value for a number of reasons.
Proof of incidents
Drivers involved in incidents often recall them differently, which makes determining fault a difficult prospect for most insurance providers. Having video data can prove fault, and even being found at-fault can still prevent hours of conversation with insurance carriers.
Dismissing erroneous claims
The FBI estimates that insurance fraud exceeds $40 billion per year, which costs the average family $400-700 per year in the form of increased premiums. Fleet operators are often victims of false damage claims, as their vehicles may cover a wide geographical area and usually have obvious logos or imagery. A chipped windshield, bumper dents and damage to personal property are often claimed, and the presence of video data allows the operator a chance to review claims for accuracy.
Rarely there are situations that clear a driver from a driving violation. But recently, a small bus carrier had a side collision at a 4-way stop sign, flipping the small bus. At the accident site, it appeared that the bus driver ran a stop sign, but upon reviewing video data afterwards it was found that a local Public Works van was parked immediately in front of the stop sign, obscuring the sign from the driver. In this case and even with non-commercial drivers, dash-cams are helping drivers avoid tickets, with some drivers fighting tickets for mobile phone use when they were simply scratching their ear.
The National Academy of Sciences released a study in 2016 detailing several years of driving data from over 3000 participants and how certain activities are more prevalent prior to collisions. For example, the greatest observable distraction before a collision is interaction with a passenger (prevalent before 14.58% of collisions), followed by cell phone activity (prevalent before 6.4% of collisions). Having an understanding of the risk factors involved in vehicle collisions and the ability to routinely review minor incidents like harsh braking or speeding allows a fleet operator a chance to coach negative behavior before incidents happen.
Unattended vehicle events
As our camera solution remains powered for 15 minutes after the vehicle’s ignition is turned off, we are able to track video events that may occur after the driver has departed. Videos of vehicle theft or parking lot collisions may help identify culprits, as well as enable an insurance claim to prove damages were not due to driver error.
To address these needs we offer Silent Passenger Cameras in a partnership with SmartWitness, a notable vendor in the automotive camera space. We currently provide a 1-2 camera system offering driver and forward-facing video (768×464 Wide Angle and 720P HD Wide Angle respectively).
High resolution video data can be retrieved from an SD card under lock, which will typically offer around one week of continual video data (which stops 15 minutes after ignition is turned off). In addition to this, we can provide video snapshots over-the-air for predetermined events. Speed violations and harsh braking/turning/acceleration can trigger a 20 second video clip, 10 seconds prior and 10 seconds post event. These videos are visible in Silent Passenger as snapshots or a full video that can be downloaded if needed.
Not only do we provide these video snapshots for predetermined events, but a user can also trigger an on-demand video request. While this is not a “live feed” of video data, it can be used to generate a brief clip (20 seconds). Entering a date and time in the past will generate this video from historic data on the SD card (provided it has not been overwritten already)! If a claim that your driver hit a side-mirror at 9 a.m. yesterday, generate an on-demand snapshot to investigate! If it turns out the driver did, you can access the SD card for better resolution data once the vehicle is back.