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Determining Liability: Video Telematics Tells the True Story

  • October 22, 2020
  • Kinana Hussain
  • Reading Time: 3 minutes
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Collisions pose an enormous threat to a fleet operator’s bottom line. That makes minimizing accident liability one of the most critical aspects of fleet risk management. Video telematics is the tool that can help fleets do it.

Actionable video evidence changes the paradigm of fleet vehicle crash investigations. When video footage and telematics data replace hearsay and opinion, liability becomes clear. The claims process becomes efficient. And awards become fair.

A fully integrated video telematics solution provides this intelligence in the form of video data, crash reports and accident reconstructions, all of which deliver clarity for insurance investigators tasked with determining liability.

There’s plenty at stake.

Why determining liability is critical

When a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle collide, the driver of the truck contributes to the crash just 23% of the time, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Yet the public — and juries — may assume the truck driver is in the wrong unless evidence shows otherwise.

Insurance fraud poses another significant risk. Fleet operators are well insured, and in many states, they are strictly liable for losses caused by drivers. This makes them juicy targets for scammers. When a car deliberately stops suddenly in front of a truck, exonerating the truck driver is an uphill battle in the absence of evidence. A crime ring in Louisiana that stages accidents with tractor-trailers may be the most high-profile example of these insurance scams, but they happen across the country.

Fraudulent claims and lost lawsuits wreak havoc on an organization’s bottom line, but more than that, they can seriously dent its reputation. As fleet operators know, repairing a damaged reputation is infinitely more difficult than repairing a vehicle.

Irrefutable evidence is the key

When it comes to exonerating drivers and mitigating fraud, video telematics provides data-driven evidence that leaves little room for doubt. If a car slams on the brakes in front of the fleet vehicle or swerves into its lane, the video from their vehicle camera will show it — and the insurance investigator will know it.

With iOn Vision, artificial intelligence-enabled driver-facing and road-facing vehicle cameras start recording when the vehicle’s engine is turned on. Inertial triggers such as hard braking and vision triggers such as stop signs and speed limit signs prompt the capture of a video snippet that’s automatically uploaded to the CalAmp Telematics Cloud. In the event of an accident, the video clips show exactly what happened in the critical seconds before, during and after the collision. Video evidence rounds out triggers and other valuable telematics data, such as collision time and location so investigators have full contextual insights into the incident.

The role of accident reconstruction

CalAmp’s CrashBoxx®, which is included with iOn Vision, takes the video telematics solution to the next level. CrashBoxx can notify both the fleet manager and the insurer of an accident as soon as it occurs. It also delivers, in near real-time, detailed crash reports with video for use in accident reconstructions. Event data includes the force of the crash, direction of impact, speed prior to impact and physical damage estimates.

With this data in hand, adjusters can more quickly determine liability.

Faster claims settlements, insurance discounts

Quick access to data-driven evidence means expedited collision investigations and faster claims processing. That in turn means vehicles can be repaired and returned to service faster. A more efficient claims process may also help insurers keep rates down.

Insurers have become leery of selling insurance in the fleet market. That’s because 76% of fleet insurance claims involve liability, according to a study from C.J. Driscoll & Associates. But vehicle telematics systems are already making a difference. Driscoll found that 31% of operators got a break on insurance rates thanks to fleet telematics, which can not only facilitate the exoneration of innocent drivers but also help fleet managers identify and coach risky drivers.

Hindsight is 20/20

As insurance premiums rise, truck driver fatalities set records and nuclear settlements loom large, fleet operators, service providers and their insurers need new tools to accurately determine risk and liability.

Vehicle cameras that are fully integrated with fleet telematics can allow insurance companies to determine the root cause of a crash and help organizations avoid frivolous lawsuits and fight fraudulent claims. Driver exoneration can provide one of the biggest returns on investment for video telematics technology.

When data-driven evidence paints the true picture of a collision, opinion and hearsay lose their power, and fault falls where it belongs.

Use the iOn Vison ROI Calculator to discover how much iOn Vision could save your organization in accident costs and insurance premium increases.

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