Coaching drivers through the eyes of a dash cam offers unique solution to safety and risk management

Commercial truck driving can be a dangerous profession. In addition, the trucking industry’s occupational hazards affect not only those employed in the sector but they also pose a risk to the general public who drive alongside big rigs every day. 

Effectively managing these risks is vital, especially when the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported that 4,136 people died in large truck crashes in 2018—a 31% increase in large truck fatalities compared to 2009. Over 67% of these deaths were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles. With trucks often weighing 30 times as much as passenger cars, it’s no wonder that accidents involving tractor-trailers often result in fatalities.

In response to the rise in roadway deaths and nuclear lawsuits, companies have implemented rigorous driver screenings, additional safety training and digital tools like dash cams. Insurance companies are also looking to telematics for solutions, and business leaders who adopt these technologies into their fleets can benefit from stable premiums especially during a hardening market where insurance rates are rising rapidly.

As such, safety-focused freight-tech, as the industry’s latest challenge to conquer, has flooded the logistics scene in an effort to deliver safety solutions.

Enter Netradyne with its vision-based safety system, Driveri. According to the company, Driveri keeps an eye on drivers’ habits and aids in determining the causality of events—a key factor in loss claims. Netradyne’s in-cab camera also alerts drivers of risky actions and rewards them for consistently safe driving. 

Driveri captures and analyzes every minute of driving time to monitor driver habits. According to Netradyne, data collected from each Driveri user is crowd-sourced in real-time to create high-definition traffic maps. Over 100 million minutes of driver data has been collected to improve transportation data analytics.

“The benefit of having a lot of data is that you don’t have to guess what’s happening. You can focus on what you want to focus on,” Netrayne’s Commercial Fleet Team President Adam Kahn said. “If a fleet wants to focus on aggressive speeding it can get pinpoint accuracy to focus on that and create priority visibility around those particular events.”

Unlike legacy cameras that have been used to monitor drivers for decades, Netradyne’s dash cam is positioned on the windshield and captures events both externally and internally while monitoring the sides of the truck, providing complete context to what’s happening around the vehicle.

Fleet managers can receive real-time notifications for at-risk events including speeding, following too closely and unlawful mobile phone use while driving. They can then speak directly to the driver after such an event to address their mistake.

“Real-time notifications offer fleets a chance to make small corrections that eliminate big issues,” Kahn said.

With “legacy” cameras, however, video is often recorded at intervals or at the point of an accident and footage is usually examined post-haul.

“Some of the legacy systems are very good with crash reconstruction but with everyday driving, they capture less than one-quarter of the day. If you have a vehicle that travels four hours a day, that’s about 240 minutes of driving,” Khan said. “Driveri captures and analyzes every moment, so now all 240 minutes of the day are captured. You not only see the areas where you might need to apply some coaching but you now have a keen observation of knowing when your drivers are doing the things you’ve asked them to do.” 

Managers looking to crack down on bad driving habits (and improve their safety scores down the road) look at dash cams as a convenient solution but do drivers feel the same way? 

Truck drivers, especially with smaller fleets, have begrudgingly embraced dash cams over the years. Many call them intrusive and feel uncomfortable with “Big Brother” always watching, but to the surprise of some fleet managers, drivers have warmed up to Netradyne’s safety cameras.

Netradyne attributes its driver support to the fact that it doesn’t just critique drivers but also encourages them to participate in a safety solution, themselves. 

Driveri recognizes and rewards good driving through its Green Zone scoring system that sends a notification to the driver when reaching a safety milestone. Scoring can fluctuate throughout the day based on driver performance and alert fleet managers of at-risk driving behavior if detected.

Motor carriers with an eye on safety have the option to showcase driver scores on a fleetwide leaderboard where drivers compete for the highest safety score. Kahn said that fleets nationwide have coupled Green Zone with rewards programs to encourage safe driving to great effect. 

“Fleets are definitely using the score as a motivator and a measurement tool,” Kahn said.

With the trucking industry’s growing appreciation of safety-tech, and as long as “nuclear lawsuit” payouts remain sky high, one can expect programs like Netradyne to see further adoption in fleets nationwide.