Trucking companies now have access to technologies which can dramatically improve the safety of their operation, safe on fuel costs, and provide accurate feedback concerning the conduct of their drivers. For example, products like “Smartdrive” utilize a multi-camera computer interface to simultaneously capture video footage of the driver’s actions within the cab of the truck and a driver’s-eye view of the path of travel, and combine it with other computer feeds from the truck itself to produce a real-time record of what is happening with any given truck. Though such systems, a trucking company’s safety director or fleet manager can track the location of a truck, the g-forces applied on the truck by the driver’s actions, engine and vehicle data (such as vehicle speed, engine RPMs, hard braking events, etc.), active safety system data (such as following distance, lane departures, etc.), and other similar data.
As a trucking lawyer at Stark & Stark, my question to the industry is why aren’t systems such as “Smartdrive” in broader use? Perhaps the answer lies in the impact the data from these systems can have in litigation. They have the unique ability to show exactly what was or wasn’t done by the truck driver. They can allow for a completely accurate reconstruction of a crash – one which eliminates the ability of a driver’s selective memory to create opportunities for the company to defend its wrongful actions.
However, the fact that trucking companies (and the public at large) should be focusing on, is that data from these systems can also be used to improve everyone’s safety. Companies which employ these systems and utilize technology have the ability to improve driver training and to identify dangerous drivers. As such, these systems can be used by the trucking industry to help stop crashes before they happen!
More information on “Smartdrive” can be found here.