By Bill Tricarico
Senior Risk Management Consultant
McNeil & Company, Inc.
We are constantly getting questions with regard to automotive event recorders. While known by several different names, I am referring to cameras generally in-stalled on the windshield of a vehicle with 2 lenses, 1 facing out and 1 facing the driver. The cameras record consistently and sense changes in G forces saving the video before and after the G force event. Depending on the manufacturer and model, some retain all of the video and bookmark the events while others only retain events. Again, various models may also retain speeding events, record GPS with the video, record speed, and do a variety of other functions.
Another variation is managed or self-managed systems. The companies providing managed services have cameras which automatically send event images to a re-view center. Their employees analyze the event and forward the video with an evaluation of what occurred and suggestions to coach the driver or other remediation techniques to prevent recurrence. With the self-managed systems, the cameras are physically checked by management on a regular basis and if they indicate events have occurred, the media card is removed and reviewed locally. There is also a hybrid system available which electronically sends videos directly to management for review. Each of these systems has advantages and disadvantages and you need to find the system that works best for your organization, however re-member the managed systems also carry a monthly fee for monitoring.
Event recorders were originally designed to capture crashes in an effort to help determine fault and more quickly adjust insurance claims. Shortly after they began being installed, fleet managers noticed that fewer accidents were occurring. Drivers were aware that the camera would capture every quick start, hard brake, sharp turn, and speed bump taken at 20 MPH. As a result, they began to drive better, avoiding issues which would cause an event on the camera. Another benefit of this is maintenance costs. When drivers operate their vehicles more efficiently, brakes and tires last longer and fuel consumption is reduced. These items alone can recoup camera costs fairly quickly and also remember that fewer claims can help reduce future insurance costs.
The bottom line is that these recorders provide a great boost to your safety program. They have proven themselves as an excellent means to manage emergency vehicle safety while reducing operating costs.
For further information on event recorders, check with your insurance provider. Many providers can not only provide information but may also be able to assist in discounted pricing.