Many transportation companies in Texas are adding safety technology to their trucks, but for reasons you might not realize. The new onboard cameras and requirements that drivers use call and text blockers are a positive step towards making our highways safer, but it seems their primary intent is to keep insurance premiums low.
That is because many insurance carriers decrease premium rates when safety technology is used in vehicles. Several even threaten policy cancellation if safety technology is not installed.
Although lower rates and continued coverage are the primary benefits trucking company owners intend to receive through safety monitoring, everyone benefits as a result. Onboard cameras capture signs of risky driving behavior, such as using a cell phone, eating, falling asleep at the wheel, and engaging in road rage. Drivers may feel that their privacy is being invaded through the use of cameras, but trucking company owners in Texas say that video footage can be used as a training tool to point out and ultimately correct dangerous behaviors.
Onboard Safety Technology Lowers Risk and Thus Premiums
Insurance cost is a major expense for trucking companies. Last year, the commercial vehicle insurance industry nationwide lost roughly $716 million due to policy expenditures. This resulted in insurers raising premiums across the country, including for our Texas trucking companies. Also, trucking company owners are seeing a shortage of experienced drivers, so they’ve needed to hire younger drivers who are harder and more expensive to insure.
With onboard safety technology resulting in lower premiums, trucking companies have found an opportunity to keep their costs down, and keep their insurance policies in tact. Installation of truck safety technology addresses insurance carriers’ concerns regarding distracted driving, and it gives trucking companies more tools to better train their young drivers, thereby making them appear less of an insurance risk.
Camera Monitoring May Provide More Comprehensive Safety Programs
As trucking companies install onboard cameras to appease insurance carriers and reduce premium rates, an unintended and positive benefit arises. When safety technology data is analyzed and serious problems are spotted, companies have the chance to put new programs and policies into place that keep drivers and others safer on the road. They can also make improvements to current safety programs based on the feedback.
ACT (American Central Transport) put a dash cam system into place in 2015 fleet wide. The trucking company used DriveCam from Lytx, Inc., a dash cam program that reportedly was installed in 400,000 vehicles in 2016. DriveCam tracks drivers’ speed and monitors reckless driving, including distracted driving. After ACT installed the DriveCam system in its fleet, data analysis revealed that many of its drivers were eating, texting, reading maps, and doing other things while driving.
ACT used the DriveCam feedback to institute a safety program that addressed major concerns like use of handheld devices while driving, including GPS units and cellphones. Because of the DriveCam technology, which lends to lower insurance premiums, ACT was able to turn valuable data into positive change for its drivers and for those who share the road with them.
The feedback made available by DriveCam helped ACT revise its policy on handheld device violations. ACT began requiring drivers who received violations to meet with management. If another violation were received within 6 months, the driver’s employment or driving contract would be terminated.
In addition to better managing their insurance policies, truck safety technology is helping trucking company owners:
Increase compliance in accordance to the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Program’s Unsafe Driving BASIC
Raise their CSA scores
Keep their drivers safer
Help facilitate safer roads for all drivers
Even though trucking companies are implementing safety technology for their own benefit, which many say is for the wrong reasons, the end result is that technology is likely keeping Texas’ roads and the nation’s highways safer. Hopefully, then, we won’t see so many injuries and fatalities due to truck accidents.
If you’ve been in an accident with a truck and you feel the driver or trucking company was negligent, fill out the form on this page and an attorney from Patterson Law Group will be in touch right away.