CDL Video Benefits From a Legal Perspective
May 7th, 2020 4 Min Read
There’s a debate among fleet operators whether an in-cab or what others refer to as driver-facing cameras are worth installing. For some, the installation of the device would be a great tool in determining whether the driver’s are at fault or not. It also helps in cases where the truckers get into an altercation with another driver.
However, there are vehicle operators who think that installing in-cab cameras is a double-edged sword. They argue that there is always the possibility that the driver could be at fault. Plus, many operators fear that having a driver-facing camera may violate some laws, citing that the legalities involved in the use of driver-facing cameras are tricky to navigate.
Companies should keep in mind that the benefits of having the recording device set up will outweigh the disadvantages of having proof that your driver is at fault. Plus, in-cab cameras are not necessarily illegal as long as they follow guidelines on privacy and proper use of footage. Below are some reasons why fleet operators should strongly consider having CDL video cameras in their vehicles and how they can overcome the legal hurdles of having such a device installed in their vehicles.
Consider the Benefits
As you’ll see, the benefits quickly stack in favor of having in-cab cameras rolling and why it’s a good strategy.
Help Avoid Truck Crashes
An in-cab video as an advanced safety technology can potentially help prevent truck accidents yearly. According to AAA, from their division auto advocacy group, video-based on board monitoring systems can help lessen the roughly 63,000 crashes and 17,733 resulting injuries each year.
Trucks Always Get the Blame
There’s a tendency for people to blame trucks for the accident, even if the opposite is true. The AAA says that small vehicles account for a larger percentage of accidents than trucks. This is probably because drivers of smaller vehicles don’t feel safe while driving past or near trucks. The AAA survey revealed that the truck’s large size, greater blind spots, and the ability to drift or swerve out of their lanes are the top reasons why drivers don’t feel safe driving past trucks.
The videos will give truckers an “immunity” against being liable for accidents caused by another vehicle, allowing companies to defend themselves with proof that their drivers did not cause the accident.
Truck operators don’t always have to be on the defensive when it comes to accidents involving one of their drivers. An in-cab video provides a potent offensive weapon or evidence to sue the four-wheeler that caused the accident. The video will not only establish negligence legally but will also help operators in recovering damages for the cost replacement to the property, cargo, and downtime.
Saves Money on Litigation
If, indeed, if the accident was caused by the truck driver, then operators can choose for an early settlement to save them money from defending liability. However, if the video proves their innocence, then it’s that much easier to settle out of court in the trucking company’s favor.
Privacy and Proper Use of Videos Matter
Yes, there are benefits in having these cameras on-board. But companies must also address privacy concerns and improper usage of camera recordings before installing this in-cab device.
Here are some basic guidelines on how to implement the use of these cameras without violating the rights of your drivers.
Receive Driver Consent
Fleet owners and managers perennially deal with drivers removing the installation of the cameras. In many cases, this happens because drivers were not either informed or consulted about the decision to have the device installed in their truck in the first place.
The best way to gain and ensure consent for using the in-cab video cameras is to integrate a provision into employee contracts. For existing employees, management must ask them to sign an amended version of their contract stipulating the use of the cameras. For new hires, the consent to use the camera must already be included in the contract. It is also imperative to explain to new and present employees the use of the device and how they are there for their benefit.
Creation of a Camera Footage Policy
Fleet operators must have a written policy on how the camera footage will be recorded, used, and stored. The policy should also include who can access the footages and the purposes for which they can be accessed and used. It is a best practice to include guidelines and sanctions for infractions committed that were caught on camera.
Privacy rules are important as operators could be sued and or fined for using camera footage improperly. Thus, companies must only use the recorded videos for the purpose they were originally intended.
In-cab cameras have many benefits, including limiting the criminal liability of the company, keeping the driver’s safe, and saving legal fees, among others. Companies who want to install the device, however, must address the privacy issues surrounding the use of cameras and footages. Fortunately, this can be achieved by ensuring consent and proper use of video recordings in the best interest of everyone.
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