Dash Cams Gaining Acceptance

Truck drivers who once shunned in-dash cameras are now becoming more comfortable with the technology as a way of protecting themselves from wrongful blame, industry stakeholders told Truck.com.

 “The finger always points at the big, heavy truck being at fault even when they are not,” said Jim Angel, vice president of video intelligence at software developer Trimble Inc.

Some insurers require trucks to have cameras before quoting coverage, said Larry McLean, vice president of the Insurance Office of America.

“Having those tools in place sometimes is the only reason they will get a quote,” he said.

Independent drivers are also seeing the cameras as protection for themselves and others.

Sandy Goche said the dash cam in her truck recorded what appeared to be an attempted insurance scam at a truckstop. A trucker backing into a parking space hit a car. The car’s driver had positioned it in the truck’s blind spot. The driver claimed to have been injured when the truck hit the car.

The incident did not involve Goche. But the dash-cam in her 2016 Freightliner Cascadia captured it, she realized. She sent for the video and used it to clear her fellow trucker.

“Time and time again, video evidence has been used to exonerate drivers, ensuring driver records rightfully remain clean,” said Jason Palmer, chief operating officer of SmartDrive Systems Co., which sells video-based safety systems.

Even in traffic incidents, dash-cam video can clear a driver of a traffic citation. Or it can prove guilt.

“Without the indisputable content that video provides, contentions on the road become a matter of he said/she said. That typically doesn’t end well for a commercial vehicle driver,” Palmer said.

The number of in-dash cameras in heavy-duty trucks nearly doubled in the last four years, from about 8 percent to nearly 15 percent, Angel said.

“We have almost 400,000 units out there. We’re constantly measuring the take rate among our customers,” he said.