technical release 15-r-1
FOREST RESOURCES ASSOCIATION INC.
1901 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, NW, SUITE 303
WASHINGTON, DC 20006
PHONE: 202/296-3937
FAX: 202/296-0562
TECHNICAL
RELEASE
15-R-1
DASH CAMERAS CAN IMPROVE SAFETY AND REDUCE LIABILITY
Safety: Transportation
February 2015
INTRODUCTION: Bob and Kim Wall, owners of Wall Timber in Osyka, Mississippi, have
taken an innovative step by installing dash (windshield) cameras in their 29 tractor-trailer rigs
and in some of their crew trucks. In a short time, this technology has shown its potential to
improve the safety and reduce the high risk and
liability exposure of trucking in the logging
industry.
GENERAL FEATURES: We began research
on these cameras in September of 2014, after
watching a news segment showing how a
trucker’s camera recorded an accident in front of
him and proved how the accident really
happened, not as all the different witnesses
reported it. In October of 2014 we installed the
cameras.
We went to Custom Audio, McComb, Fig. 1: Dash Cam is inconspicuously mounted near
Mississippi, spoke to Bobby McDaniel, and the top of the windshield on the passenger side.
selected this firm as the installer. The camera
model that Custom Audio installed was Top Dawg GPS 1080P DVR Dash Cam (see
http://www.topdawgelectronics.com/topdawg-gps-1080p-dvr-dash-cam/). We elected
to install the cameras on the passenger-side
windshield with a tamper proof mount and
cable, although these cameras may be
installed just by plugging them into a cigarette
lighter.
This camera records the driver’s view and
even has audio to record everything on a
driver’s shift. GPS on this system has the
ability to track video playback with Google
Maps, showing the truck’s location as well as
Fig. 2: The video camera “sees what the driver sees”
its speed and direction. The video is recorded
through the windshield.
on a micro memory card in AVI format,
suitable for playing back on a PC, laptop, or TV using the AV cable, the included HDMI cable,
or USB 2.0 cable. This camera also features G-sensor technology, which can detect an impact or
collision and will automatically save and lock the video file recorded 20 seconds prior to and
after the impact onto the SD card.
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OPERATION: Drivers do not turn the camera on or off; it is running when the truck is running
or idling. We upgraded the SD card to enable it to record in 8-hour loops. While in the truck,
the Dash Cam displays what the driver is seeing on the 1.5-inch LCD screen. To view an SD
card, one need only stop the engine, take the card out, and view it on a computer. We bought
extra SD cards, so when we want to view a card, we just install the extra one. We also bought
extra cards so if an incident occurs we can keep the original on file. One may also copy files
onto a flash drive.
APPLICATION: Insurance costs in the logging industry are high, and the trucking/auto
category is almost always the highest, due to these vehicles’ exposure to the public. This system
will help prevent fraudulent claims against your drivers and trucks. The video evidence gives
proof to your insurance carrier that your driver and truck are obeying the law. Since this system
makes our drivers more aware of their driving, we feel it also represents a safety improvement.
Furthermore, it helps the woods crew’s awareness—they know if a truck is pointing in their
direction, they are on camera!
High liability exposures threaten cost-effective trucking. Video evidence of this type can prove
your truck was obeying the speed limit, was on the proper side of the road, did obey the traffic
lights, signs, and so on. It can also verify the other driver’s actions. In short, the camera is your
witness—not humans who make mistakes,
forget, and can be swayed.
At first, the drivers did not want these cameras at
all, because to them it seemed as if we were
spying on them rather than protecting them.
However, after the first incident (described
below), in which the video record overturned a
driver’s ticket, several drivers became convinced
that the advantages were overwhelming. Then
after a second incident (also described below),
only a few drivers are still unhappy about the
camera.
Fig. 3: Dash Cam lens faces out through the
windshield.
SPECIFICATIONS AND COST:
This
system, with the improvements we selected,
such as longer-playing SD cards professionally installed with tamper-proof mounts and cables,
cost $275 per unit, including Custom Audio’s setting up our office computer and providing a
demonstration.1 Custom Audio came to our shop and installed the cameras after work hours, so
installation did not shut any of our trucks down.
We feel that this system has already paid for itself, as the following two incidents show:
Two days after installing Dash Cams, we received a call about a sideswipe with another
tractor/trailer (oversize rig with escort vehicle). Our driver called 911, took pictures with his
accident camera from his truck’s kit, and did all the other correct procedures. When the
authorities arrived, the other party stated he had three witnesses who claimed that our driver was
speeding and over the yellow line into oncoming traffic. Our driver was ticketed based on these
1
Price subject to change without notice.
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witnesses’ word. When our driver returned to the office, after his post–accident drug test, we
viewed the card. We discovered that the escort vehicle with two witnesses was well in front of
the other truck, so there was no way they could have seen the accident. Additionally, the other
truck was on the yellow line and his mirrors were extended well over the yellow line. Our driver
was doing 51mph in a 55 mph zone and was on his side of the yellow line.
In a second, very recent, incident, our office received a call from a woman stating that one of our
trucks had thrown a rock into her windshield, shattering it and getting glass on her, and causing
her to drive off the road. Having explained to her that the incident appeared to be a normal “road
hazard” (which her own insurance should cover) and having given her our insurance agent’s
name and number, we retrieved the card from the unit in question. By that time, she had called
our agent and told a different story, claiming that our driver had forced her off the road, that
something had fallen off the truck, and other assertions.
Upon viewing the video, we found where she stopped our driver. Although she approached the
truck from the rear, so she is not visible in the video, the audio picked her up. She could be
heard telling the driver that a rock had hit her windshield but saying nothing about the driver
forcing her off the road or that anything had fallen from the truck. From the audio recording it
was also clear that she had not been hurt in any way. Our driver’s identifying himself, providing
our phone number, and providing his explanation of “road hazard” to her were also all on the
tape. We went back over the entire morning’s worth of the tape and discovered that at no point
did our driver meet this car on the road or veer onto a driveway edge where he could have thrown
up a rock or other object.
Each of these incidents saved the insurance company from paying a false claim, kept our
insurance costs down, and protected the driver’s record.
Reviewed by:
Rick Meyer
Appalachian/Southwide Region Manager
Kim Wall
Wall Timber
Osyka, Mississippi 39657
601-542-5994
[email protected]
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