There has been increasing pressure on law enforcement agencies to equip their officers with "body cameras," the idea being that video doesn't lie - or at least gives us a more complete picture of how events and encounters unfolded. Memory is faulty and forensics can only tell you so much. This same idea is gaining traction in the trucking world, with the idea that cameras in the cabin, facing the road and the driver, may help give us a clearer picture of how collisions occur, and may ultimately reduce the number of truck accidents.
News reports reveal a growing number of trucking carriers are equipping their rigs with these dual-lens cameras. Although a number of drivers are staunchly opposed to this, calling it an intrusion akin to Big Brother, executives and safety advocates are saying it's going to make our roads and highways safer. Drivers will know they are being recorded, which will motivate them to keep their eyes on the road and take all the mandated hours-of-service breaks as required by federal law.
Furthermore, proponents note, the camera information could be used to exonerate a trucker who is unfairly blamed for a collision.
Our Houston truck accident attorneys know this data could also prove invaluable in future litigation. It will provide information that will help those involved understand what was happening in that cab in the moments before the collision.
One company in Wisconsin has installed the cameras in approximately 500 of its trucks, and said the benefit has been two-fold:
- The firm's safety record has improved;
- It assisted their defense in a handful of cases wherein the evidence came down to he-said-she-said, but the video was the deciding factor.
Our injury lawyers know that kind of evidence goes both ways, and in the end, solid proof and safer trucking benefits everyone.
Another company in New Jersey reports that it installed cameras in 2,200 of its commercial trucks in 2014. The result has been an accident frequency rate slashed in half, and a 25 percent drop in insurance rates.
It's estimated currently that there are 400,000 large trucks in North America that have these cameras installed, with businesses that sell these devices reporting 80 percent gains just in the last year alone.
To combat privacy concerns, the cameras are specifically designed not to allow spying on drivers. They are technically running so long as the truck is on. However, they won't record video unless triggered to do so by certain indicators, such as swerving, hard braking or rapid acceleration. In those instances, cameras will capture several seconds of video clips from just before the event to several seconds after. That allows investigators, trucking companies and plaintiffs to look at what the catalyst was, how the truck driver responded and what the result was.
Companies say they've been able to use these videos too as training for other drivers. They can show what not to do, but also how best to respond to a dangerous scenario, such as a couch falling off a vehicle ahead or a passenger car that cuts you off traveling 70 mph.
But they've been beneficial for those injured in truck accidents as well. In some cases, they have shown truckers distracted by cell phones, falling asleep or running red lights. If you have been injured in a truck accident, there is now a decent chance it was captured on video, which could go a long way toward helping your case. Contact one of our experienced truck accident attorneys.