Keeping An Eye on the Driver

More companies with truck fleets are using in-vehicle cameras to monitor drivers and cut down on accidents and liability claims.

car surrounded by monitorsJeff Blackburn, the driver of a CleanScapes trash truck in Seattle, became a YouTube celebrity this summer when he was videotaped saving a baby inside a runaway carriage zooming down a steep street. Blackburn sped along with the carriage, honking his horn to warn cross traffic as the carriage zipped through intersections, until it came to rest safely at the bottom of the hill. His actions were captured by a cab camera installed by Blackburn’s employer to monitor driving.

Truck fleet operators are increasingly adopting cab cam systems to cut down on accidents, liability claims, worker downtime and reputational risk. One such company is $13.4 billion Waste Management, which has thousands of vehicles operating nationwide.

DriveCam claims to have 500 fleets and 400,000 drivers using its system. Cohen says the hardware costs $500 to $600 per truck, plus a monthly charge. He adds that some insurers, including Zurich, Hartford and HUB, say they’ll consider lowering premiums for companies with such a system.

David Mitchell, director of safety and risk control with Aon Risk Solutions’ trucking practice, expects cab cam systems to become more common, but doesn’t expect much impact on premiums.

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