Using Video Telematics to Improve Driver Behavior

  • January 28, 2021
  • Kinana Hussain
  • Reading Time: 3 minutes
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A fleet driver behind the wheel By showing what happened on the road, video telematics helps fleet managers take driver coaching to the next level. (Credit: CalAmp)

Fleet driver training is an essential part of any commercial fleet safety program. But is your training actually changing driver behavior and reducing accidents, or do your drivers tune it out and drive the way they always have? If driver behavior isn’t improving, it could be a sign your fleet safety program may be missing a critical element: video.

By automatically capturing video of crashes and risky driving behaviors, video telematics solutions turn incidents and trigger-based events into teachable moments. Drivers who watch their own near misses (or hits) unfold on screen can’t pretend they didn’t happen. And managers who review video snippets with drivers can more easily engage them in two-way conversations that make a difference.

Video telematics adds context

Vehicle telematics units recognize inertial events such as harsh braking, swerving and speeding, and these events are indicators of driver behavior. A fully integrated vehicle camera solution such as iOn™ Vision adds context by capturing a video snippet whenever one of them occurs. The snippet shows what happened immediately before, during and after the event. Maybe the driver swerved or had to brake hard for a good reason — or maybe not. 

If the driver tailgated or blew through a stop sign, a camera with artificial intelligence (AI) will capture a snippet of that vision-based trigger event, too.

Video clips are classified by a trigger, which makes it easy for managers to see driving patterns and review those patterns with drivers.

Watch this video to learn more about monitoring harsh braking.

Reduce Risky Driving Behaviors with Near Real-Time Alerts

Coaching as conversation

Aggressive driving is a top cause of crashes that lead to injury and death. But drivers who habitually take risks may firmly believe their driving is safe if they haven’t had an accident. This thinking can be difficult to combat. Yet seeing is believing.

Reviewing trigger-based video snippets with drivers removes any whiff of bias on the part of the supervisor or wishful thinking on the part of the driver. It also opens the lines of communication, creating an opportunity for real, two-way conversations that let drivers come to their own conclusions based on video evidence. While reviewing risky moves, the manager can ask open-ended questions such as, “What was going on at that moment?”

Maybe the driver started work late and was trying to make up for lost time. Maybe he had a fight with his wife that morning. The next obvious question is, “What could you do differently next time?” Something as simple as playing relaxing music in the vehicle or practicing deep breathing behind the wheel could help.

Managers can also give drivers video snippets to review privately. Letting them recognize their own reckless or aggressive driving may be the best way to effect change.

Preventing accidents in real time

The same video telematics solution that captures video can also power in-cab coaching, another way to improve driver behavior and commercial fleet safety. In-cab audio alerts call out speeding, tailgating, lane drift and other driving safety issues as they happen so the driver can act in time to avert an incident.

Fleet managers can get alerts of trigger events shortly after they happen. If a trip has generated a handful of video snippets, the driver’s manager could call the driver and check in. If he’s operating on too little sleep, for example, he may need a break.

Preventive, not punitive

Chances are good that most of your drivers are driving safely most of the time. The goal of video telematics isn’t to monitor drivers in order to punish mistakes, it’s to help them see their weak spots and figure out ways to improve them. Ongoing, customized coaching, whether after a trip or in the cab, leads to better driver behavior.

Of course, if you do have one or two unsafe drivers, video telematics can help you make that case and take appropriate action. One tactic some fleet managers use is installing a road-facing camera first and adding a detachable driver-facing camera later to get more insight into how to help those drivers improve.

Simply adding a telematics-integrated road-facing or driving-facing camera to a fleet vehicle may change a person’s driving all on its own. Knowing that tailgating and swerving is being caught on camera can discourage drivers from doing it.

When there is clear and documented improvement in driver behavior, it’s cause for congratulations and even celebration. Some fleet managers also use driver behavior scorecards and turn boosting driver safety into a game by publishing driver scorecard leaderboards and rewarding the winners. After all, safer drivers mean safer fleets, fewer accidents, lower insurance costs and a better reputation.

Calculate how much iOn™ Vision could save your fleet in accident costs.

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