Truckers not fans of driver-facing cameras due to privacy concerns

Truckers do not hold driver-facing cameras (DFCs) in high regard, with users giving them an approval score of 2.24 on a 0-to-10 scale, the latest American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) report reveals.

Low scores are driven in part by limited experience, confusion over the variety of camera systems, unclear carrier policies, and strong concerns about privacy. Women expressed concerns over the protection of their privacy with driver-facing cameras 34% more than did men.

Picture of a camera
(Photo: iStock)

Insurance and litigation experts expressed preference for event-based DFCs over continuously recording cameras, and they concurred with drivers that primary video footage access should be limited to safety managers as much as possible.

“Driver-facing cameras are an important safety tool for carriers, but they must be managed carefully in order to leverage benefits with drivers, insurers and attorneys,” said Jerry Sigmon Jr., chief operating officer for Cargo Transporters. “ATRI’s research on in-cab cameras provides an important blueprint for both carriers using these technologies as well as carriers still contemplating the investment.”

On-off notifications

Research showed that drivers with event-based cameras gave DFCs an overall approval rating 22% higher than did drivers with continuously recording cameras – primarily due to privacy concerns.

ATRI recommends that carriers should leverage privacy modes that ensure DFCs are inactive whenever a truck is parked, and they should only use cameras that have on-off notifications.

Overall driver approval of DFCs increased by 87% when carriers used footage for developing preventive safety programs, new driver training, and ongoing driver coaching, the report said.

Legal concerns

Legal experts expressed concerns that plaintiffs can use footage or policies that result in excessively frequent coaching against drivers even when not directly related to a case; these concerns were also shared by truck drivers.

ATRI suggested carriers should delete footage that does not depict an incident as soon as internal review or coaching is completed, in accordance with formal carrier policies. To protect against unnecessary disclosure of video, incidents should not be documented by the carrier as requiring coaching if, on review, the driver made no mistake.

Research also showed that most insurers did not offer DFC-related premium discounts (79%) or hardware installation discounts (75%).

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