Speedy resolution of insurance claims. Accurate establishment of fault. No more painful claim contests forcing your fleet to agree to equal liability. If this sounds like a pipe dream, think again. The rising use of dashboard cameras is transforming the effect of road traffic incidents (RTIs) on fleet operators. If you haven’t installed the technology yet, have a look at these five compelling reasons to take the plunge.
1. Protect against crash-for-cash
Crash-for-cash schemes are responsible for millions of pounds in fraudulent damage claims every year. Fleet drivers are targeted by road users, often organised gangs, who create dangerous situations on purpose, causing the vehicle behind them to take action. The ensuing collision allows the gang members to make fraudulent claims for injuries that never happened, car hire, and repairs.
A forward-facing dash cam can provide vital protection against crash-for-cash. If a car in front of your fleet vehicle stops suddenly for no reason, the video shows clear evidence of the fault. And the effect is clear. Interviewed by Fleet News in June 2015, Dave Quarterman, MD of National Windscreens’ South East arm, said his firm quashed two bogus claims within a short time of installing cameras.
2. Collect evidence for accident insurance claims
Of course, not every road traffic incident is a fraudulent one. There are hundreds of thousands of RTIs every year. In 2012, 730,000 casualties ensued - and these are a fraction of the total number.
Fleet vehicles are more at risk of collision than smaller, more manoeuvrable vehicles thanks to their long stopping distances and ungainly turning circles. With your fleet statistically likely to be part of the annual traffic incident statistics, it’s vital to take any measure you can to mitigate the cost.
A dash cam removes the need for insurance companies to rely on the unreliable: the memories of witnesses, and the statements of the drivers involved. Footage provided by a dash cam increases your chances that fleet RTIs will be judged with fairness - decreasing the likelihood of financial penalties where your driver was not at fault.
3. Encourage safer driving
The ability of the dash cam to show what really happens in RTIs leads to another benefit for your fleet: it encourages safer driving. A driver in charge of a vehicle fitted with a dash cam knows her driving is being examined. Consequently, she is more likely to drive with care and attention, even if her previous record has been patchy.
Everyone has bad driving days, and everyone develops bad habits behind the wheel. You can train your drivers as much as you like, but you won’t know that training is having an effect if you don’t have the ability to check driver behaviour.
4. Examine driver behaviour
Driver behaviour impinges on personal safety, the safety of other road users, and the reputation and efficiency of your fleet. Your drivers might be deviating from approved routes. They may be stopping unnecessarily, or driving for too long without breaks. In the worst case scenarios, they could be contravening the law.
A dash cam can help monitor the behaviour of your fleet drivers, giving you the means to check they’re driving and working in a professional and proper manner.
5. Reduce insurance premiums
The rise in organised, faked accident scenarios - crash-for-cash, and its younger brother flash-for-cash (in which the criminal driver flashes to let a fleet vehicle out, then crashes into it) - has corresponded with a rise in insurance premiums. As insurance companies have been forced to pay out more in fraudulent claims, they’ve also been forced to increase their charges to fleet managers to cover the costs.
Fortunately, some insurance companies now offer a discount on annual premiums if dash cams are installed. It’s worth checking the status of your policy with your provider.
Have you installed dash cams in your fleet? Let us know your experience, or if you’re considering installation, on Twitter and LinkedIn.