Driver Tech: The Benefits of Putting a Camera in Your Rig
By admin on November 13, 2017
In America, you are innocent until proven guilty, unless you are a professional truck driver. As a professional driver, the burden of proving yourself to be in the right is all too common.
In the last few years’ cameras have become an increasing staple of the trucking industry. While there are a lot of gimmicks and snake-oil marketed to drivers, cameras are very useful and can offer lots of benefits.
Understanding Your Options
There are two types of cameras drivers can purchase to help cover them on the road; both offer different benefits and some possible negatives. Front facing cameras are extremely popular because they offer a similar perspective to the one the driver sees. These are mounted either on the dashboard, looking forward, or placed inside the grill. Driver facing cameras are much more controversial and offer a mixture of benefits and negatives.
Front Facing Cameras
These cameras have gotten drivers out of false tickets and accidents caused by other motorists. Stopping short is always a concern for drivers, some con-artists specifically target drivers believing that it will lead to a quick pay off. While Dashboard Mounted cameras are good, we strongly recommend investing in a durable, all-weather camera to be mounted in the grill of the truck. The thinking here is if you’re going to invest spend a little extra, the difference is approximately $30, and get a grill camera that will show a greater perspective of what is happening in front of your truck. Regardless of the grill or dash, these front-facing cameras are designed to protect drivers and reaffirm that your rig is adhering to the rules of the road.
Driver Facing Cameras
Driver facing cameras are devices mounted on the dashboard that record the driver operating their truck. Some drivers absolutely hate them as it can feel like an invasion of privacy. Carriers have gone to both ends of the issue with some requiring or prohibiting drivers to use them. One reason they are so divisive is that in certain cases they’ve done much more harm than good. The internet is littered with videos of truckers, who while driving, are looking right at the camera and talking to it. This is obviously a major distraction and something to avoid at all costs. A wreck is a terrible thing, but recording yourself talking to the camera, as opposed to driving, is embarrassing.
The driver facing camera does benefit the driver by proving that they are doing the right thing. Distracted driving, specifically texting while driving is a big issue in the country right now. The driver camera eliminates the fear of false accusation for drivers. While that benefit is nice it is a difficult decision for drivers to make; are you willing to sacrifice some privacy for additional security? While everyone must make that decision on their own we advise the get ahead of its method. If you purchase cameras make sure they are on a closed circuit, only recording and not transmitting data. That control over the footage can alleviate a good deal of the feeling ‘big brother’ is watching you.
Make the Right Choice For Your Career
If you decide to invest do your homework before you spend your money. There are literally dozens of companies selling very similar equipment right now. There are some fantastic resources online and it never hurts to ask a fellow driver. Installation in most cases is very quick and should not be a significant cost to the driver. If you’re using a dashboard camera system, driver or front facing, the cost of installation is only the time it takes you to get it out of the box.
Keep it Legal
As a driver, your best and first move is always to: KNOW THE LAW. Right now, 38 states allow recording devices to be used in the event of a traffic stop. That means that 12 states do not allow this and it is a crime to record a stop. Front facing cameras are exempt from this as the intent is clearly to record the road, not a potential traffic stop. However, in the event you are pulled over and have any type of recording device going, be upfront with the information. Tell the officer immediately if you have any, or all, of these types of cameras. Some police will, as a default, instruct a driver to turn off the device. Depending on the state you are in you may or may not have to do this. Regardless of your legal right we never advise escalating an argument with law enforcement. If you are asked to discontinue recording, even if you’re legally permitted, it’s best to not argue. Inform them you will adhere to their request. Arguing will not speed up the load delivery and will likely cost you time and money. Remember, if you’ve been pulled over for a road violation that was recorded it can be the proof you need in court.
There are lots of gimmicks marketed to truckers, hopefully you will agree that driver cameras are not one of them. The tech exists truly to benefit the driver. A small investment is well worth it when you consider points against your license resulting from a sham ticket. If you do choose to invest in this technology remember it is there to make you safer; do not use it in ways that will distract or impair your abilities on the road. Ultimately all technology is only as good as the person using it. So be sure to get comfortable with your cameras before you start down the road.