How Do You Feel About Driver Facing Cameras?

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G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Joseph is entertained...

I have to say I found this whole conversation that took place on this topic very entertaining.

The whole thing, how so? Definitely a first...

The intent of the drive-cams is not meant for surveillance. The technology is completely different, not a continuous live feed or streaming.

They are event triggered. Events that are anything but "entertaining".

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar
They are event triggered. Events that are anything but "entertaining".

I think this is one of the most misunderstood things regarding drive cams. The company I drive for has driver and forward facing cam and I'm appreciative for them. We have twice a year driver meetings where all the drivers go to terminal and discuss a wide variety of subjects including safety. One of the things touched on are our drive cam videos, coaching on them, etc. Instead of making us take the 3 hour drive to the terminal a manager and supervisor came out and visited us yesterday. We discussed my drive cam videos. In the last quarter (3 months) my drive cam has triggered/saved 29 events. I was only coached on one of them which was the drive cam tripped on me while in the yard in which I wasn't wearing my seatbelt as I was moving to the fuel island. The other 28 were related to bumps in the road that threw the equilibrium off inside the cam. My point is if your doing your job safely you have nothing to worry about. Don't be messing with your phone, maintain safe following distance and don't hard brake and nothing will come of it. I'm thankful for having them in my truck because it makes me think more about my driving habits as i really don't want to be getting a phone call shortly after it happened about it.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Rob...you pointed out something I didn't clarify. Most of the events triggering an upload are benign, of no consequences. However, it can capture issues when least expected; such as doing 55mph in a 45mph construction zone because a bump in the road caused an upload.

Daniel C.'s Comment
member avatar

Crash

This is why I welcome the driver facing camera. It saved me that time. The safety director said that I did everything the way it should be done in that situation.

Brian G.'s Comment
member avatar

Eh.. i dealt with postal inspectors, bombs, and anthrax... videos and directional microphones listening to all of our conversations became.normal.

im not exactly sure what all of this has to do with the cameras and trucking, other than if you always feel the victim, you will not get far in this industry.

Did they play "I feel like somebody's watching me" as background music? rofl-1.gif

Brian G.'s Comment
member avatar

So... the unpleasant reality is that the front seat is considered a "workplace" and it's pretty well established that an employer can record any activity in the workplace that they want to.

The majority of the time it helps with loss prevention, productivity monitoring, and understanding what caused some sort of loss to a company. I've used them on a few occassions to deal with delivery workers who through packages at my house or harassed my dog. I've also used camera footage to shut down a claim from someone who pulled through a gate that was closing and then tried to say that it was the gates fault that they had a scratch on their truck. One time I had an employee who was literally dancing with a damned broom instead of sweeping the floor. The camera footage allowed me to call someone else and have them tell her dancing with the stars wasn't a daytime show and to get back to work. Still other times they have been used to see what came in and went out through a door and how many boxes were involved. UPS had forgotten to scan something.

In some ways this is just an outgrowth of telemetry monitoring systems. A friend of mine with a small construction company installed GPS units in his trucks several years back. He then found out where all of his plumbing parts were vanishing to. It gave him concrete evidence of when employees were stealing, doing side jobs on his time, or actually on-site.

Trucking companies probably have more sophisticated remote telemetry at work. The incremental cost of monitoring engine performance should be reasonably low and the payoff could be huge in terms of preventing catastrophic maintenance. If they aren't doing it you can bet they will be soon. i.e. if you see a unit running hot you can pull it in for maintenance before it overheats on the side of the road.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Brian wrote:

... the unpleasant reality is that the front seat is considered a "workplace" and it's pretty well established that an employer can record any activity in the workplace that they want to.

The front seat and all that surrounds it is the trucking company's asset, they own it. As long as a driver is fully aware of how the cameras operate. It must be fully disclosed, not hidden or disguised.

These cameras do NOT work entirely the way you described them. They are not intended for surveillance, but are critical event triggered; like a hard breaking event or a near rollover. They are designed to capture what was happening 10 seconds before an event and 10 seconds after. Not a continuous feed. Intended to teach how to handle situations and identify bad habits before they become chronic and far more difficult to adjust and break. And yes, at times will show some seriously dangerous and illegal habits like texting while driving. So be it...none of us want that kind of irresponsible behavior out here.

Your camera examples may be real world, but not here. Not in this case.

The telemetry is definitely highly sophisticated but does not replace the need for a thorough pretrip inspection; able to address low oil or a worn radiator hose before it has a chance to cause an engine failure.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brian G.'s Comment
member avatar

Brian wrote:

double-quotes-start.png

... the unpleasant reality is that the front seat is considered a "workplace" and it's pretty well established that an employer can record any activity in the workplace that they want to.

double-quotes-end.png

The front seat and all that surrounds it is the trucking company's asset, they own it. As long as a driver is fully aware of how the cameras operate. It must be fully disclosed, not hidden or disguised.

These cameras do NOT work entirely the way you described them. They are not intended for surveillance, but are critical event triggered; like a hard breaking event or a near rollover. They are designed to capture what was happening 10 seconds before an event and 10 seconds after. Not a continuous feed. Intended to teach how to handle situations and identify bad habits before they become chronic and far more difficult to adjust and break. And yes, at times will show some seriously dangerous and illegal habits like texting while driving. So be it...none of us want that kind of irresponsible behavior out here.

Your camera examples may be real world, but not here. Not in this case.

The telemetry is definitely highly sophisticated but does not replace the need for a thorough pretrip inspection; able to address low oil or a worn radiator hose before it has a chance to cause an engine failure.

Agreed. I was giving some surveillance examples.

Our local Transit operator Houston Metro has cameras inside and out with an onboard DVR. All of the local school districts have implemented the same thing. Incident based capture is just dealing with the massive amount of data that video creates.

Also agreed that telemetry is not a substitute for a pre-trip. However, oil analysis and telemetry will often indicate a failure before it's obvious. With passenger cars running CANBUS the vehicle computer is aware of darn near everything happening in the computer. If it can be done on a $30K car it should be do-able on a $250K commercial truck. There have been some incidents in the news where GM and Chrysler were embarassed by remote control security flaws that could do exciting things like remotely apply the brakes on a vehicle. I'm simply making an intuitive leap and suggestion that trucking company operators will seek out ways to deliver 1/4% financial improvements if presented the opportunity. Because the in-service times are so high (hours of operation per year) and the revenue/expenses are so high they have huge incentives to reduce risk and use data to ferret out failures before they materialize as breakdowns. Commercial airlines have been doing this for a while now.

In the IT world we use telemetry to identify failures early. Enterprise (very large) companies typically roll up performance data and will see an impending hard drive failure before it actually fails. Often it is possible to coordinate a hard drive replacement before the drive fails and causes a loss of data. Same thing happens on servers. That same technology will become widespread in trucking and other transportation industries as it reduces costs and provides a competitive edge.

Circling back to driver facing cameras...... and cameras in general. If 1% of drivers are aggressive, bored, sleepy etc and you can find them with incident triggered cameras you can start to modify the conditions and thus reduce the risk/loss rate associated with them. Initially this will impact high risk drivers which is good for safety. However, big data can and has been used against companies. So if a company has a policy of pushing it's drivers to operate when they are tired the incident logging data can be used against them. It can build a pattern of company mandated unsafe activity which opens them up to fines and willfull negligence claims.

I once worked for a computer software company that used your security badge data to compile how long you spent in your work area. They came down on people who didn't seem to work enough or who took too many smoke breaks. Some smart cookie filed a wage and labor complaint and they lost big time because they had all of this logged data.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Eh again...i dealt with the ID card logging your work time for 10+years. we needed it to go in and out of caged areas for security. no big deal.

we dont have the cameras at prime but we have so many sensors at prime, they know who the safe drivers are without them.

The On Guard radar will activate the brakes if you are too close and give you a hard brake event. It tells them "front end collision, high speed, roll over potential" etc. we have a system that activates trying to counter a roll over. the On Guard is often triggered by bridge overpasses and will slam on the brakes. i once asked how they knew it was the bridge and not my bad driving. they said the radar tells them how far somethi g is from me for so long. then they pinpoint my location to find if there is an overpass at the location. If you get an event triggered due to bad driving, they know if you lie and say someone cut you off.

i recently was talking with my FM when a roll over potential triggered. the truck was going 38mph around a curve. the driver said "i was already braking into the curve of 35mph, sorry, my bad". the FM could see that he was not braking, and uses google earth to see the overhead loop...then went ground level to see the 25 mph sign. therefore the driver either lied or wasnt paying attention. either way, he lied about braking. that FM was not happy about being lied to. mistakes, he can accept if you learn from them. lying...well that is a whole different story.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Brian wrote:

Agreed. I was giving some surveillance examples

Exactly...exactly what we don't need. Again these cameras are NOT about surveillance. Writing content offering static examples of surveillance applications implies a comparison, creates potential confusion and contempt towards the trucking companies and "why" these devices are in-use. This is one of those subjects (drive-cams) that is often misunderstood and causes a great deal of unnecessary anxiety and anger. Adding to that FUD factor is something we try to manage...

Brian also wrote this:

Incident based capture is just dealing with the massive amount of data that video creates.

Incident based capture and upload is practical and cost effective. The camera's memory chip refreshes every 20 seconds, so there is next to no data storage required.

I'm simply making an intuitive leap and suggestion that trucking company operators will seek out ways to deliver 1/4% financial improvements if presented the opportunity.

Most of the Mega-Carriers already have systems like this in place, preventative and catastrophic failure detection causing a controlled/forced shutdown. For instance; if a truck's mileage goes beyond a major PM interval, several warnings/alerts occur through the Qualcomm (or other) notifying the driver and also their DM that if the interval is missed, at some point the truck will be shut-down. Not while it's moving of course, but once the threshold is eclipsed, the engine won't start. My point in all of this; in conjunction with a proper PTI, these systems become complimentary tools, reducing unnecessary and costly down-time for both company and driver. Total reliance on electronics, thus skimping on things like PTI and trip-planning can be problematic.

So to your point:

That same technology will become widespread in trucking and other transportation industries as it reduces costs and provides a competitive edge.

It's already here...

Circling back to driver facing cameras...... and cameras in general. If 1% of drivers are aggressive, bored, sleepy etc and you can find them with incident triggered cameras you can start to modify the conditions and thus reduce the risk/loss rate associated with them. Initially this will impact high risk drivers which is good for safety. However, big data can and has been used against companies. So if a company has a policy of pushing it's drivers to operate when they are tired the incident logging data can be used against them. It can build a pattern of company mandated unsafe activity which opens them up to fines and willfull negligence claims.

Brian...that sort of policy (in bold) is highly unusual and not prolific. It's rare. Not sure where you came up with that (internet?), but I know you haven't experienced it first hand. Might be true for small, Mom & Pop operations, but not the carriers represented in this forum. You are forgetting about the insurance companies...and the power they yield over any unsafe operation. I drive for Swift, the darling of the negatively infused head-trash found on the internet,...they have never forced me to drive "tired", deliver an overweight load or operate a mechanically compromised truck. NOT once. It's the driver's responsibility to recognize fatigue, get proper rest, recognize maintenance issues, run safely and within reason; make the "final call" if the truck moves or sits. You do not need a layer of analytics over "Big Data" to identify these types of issues. e-logs will capture most of "what matters",... rather simple. Trucking Company Safety departments watch this very carefully,...violators are flagged and quickly dealt with internally before the Fed. performs their annual audit. Swift runs a log-class twice weekly at most of their larger terminals to address this sort of thing and reduce their liability.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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