Video Telematics: A Fleet Owner’s Guide

You’re likely familiar with telematics — a system that lets fleet managers track the location of their vehicles and monitor data like fuel usage and even driving behavior. 

Such systems play a key role in optimizing fleet efficiency. Tracking data related to asset utilization can help streamline operations and inform decision-making.

Thanks to technology, telematics systems are getting massive improvements with the addition of dash cams that provide road-facing and driver-facing video feeds. Fleet managers can use these systems to monitor driver behavior, enhance fleet safety, and more.

This article will explain video telematics, how these systems work, and why you should implement them in your fleet. We’ll also look at what to look for in a video telematics solution and how to get started. 

What is video telematics?

Let’s start by defining “telematics.”

Telematics is a system that collects vehicle data, such as real-time locations, engine diagnostics, fuel usage, idling time, and more. It uses GPS receivers and devices that connect to a vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostic (OBD-II) port. Vehicle data is collected and relayed over a cellular network to a software platform that fleet managers can access.

Video telematics combines data from telematics devices with video footage captured from dash cams powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

More companies are installing video telematics systems in their commercial vehicles to gain real-time visibility across their fleet. Installations are projected to reach 6.3 million by 2026, up from 2.9 million units in 2021.

Video telematics market to reach 6.3 million units by 2026

Let’s look at how these systems work and how they differ from your typical dash cam.

How do video telematics systems work?

Video telematics systems combine vehicle data with video footage. They feature road-facing or driver-facing cameras (or both) that automatically start recording when the trip begins. These transmit video events in-sync with other telematics events or are paired with enabled telematics devices that transmit the video and other telematics event data over a cellular network.

While regular dash cams record everything on the road, they don’t provide the same capabilities as a video telematics system. For example, if a driver engages in risky driving behavior, you won’t know unless you review the footage (which could take hours).

Video telematics systems feature smart dash cams that use AI to detect risky driving behavior, such as: 

  • Distracted driver
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Accidents
  • Harsh Acceleration, Braking, and Cornering (“ABC”)

Video telematics systems can capture events before, during, and after an event. If a driver blows past a stop sign or aggressively tailgates a car in front of them, the AI-enabled dash cams can detect these events and trigger a video clip.

Within a fleet management system, a fleet manager can watch video clips preceding, during, and after these events in the admin portal without scrubbing hours and hours of footage.

How video telematics systems enhance driver safety

Specific behaviors like crashes or driver-initiated “SOS” events are instantly uploaded to the cloud for real-time review, though the fleet manager can configure these settings. These video clips provide fleet managers with more context around specific incidents. For example, reviewing the footage can explain the reasons behind the sudden harsh braking detected by the system. Maybe a car swerved in front of the driver, or they had to avoid another obstacle.

Video telematics data from a software application helps fleet operators enhance safety. Let’s look at how in the next section.

How video telematics enhances fleet safety?

Safety is one of the most important factors when managing a fleet. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate risks, there are steps you can take to mitigate them.

Here’s how you can use a video telematics system to enhance fleet safety.

Reduce road accidents

Road accidents are incredibly costly once you factor in costs for court settlements and employee medical bills. Then there are vehicle repairs which can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the damage. Add to that the indirect costs like lost revenue due to vehicle downtime and higher insurance premiums.

With a video telematics system, you can set up in-cab audio alerts that detect and call out risky driving behaviors like speeding, tailgating, and lane drifting.

Video telematics system notifying drivers of dangerous driving

Proactively alerting drivers of these behaviors can help them avoid a collision and prevent costly repairs.

Improve fleet safety programs

Fatal accidents involving at least one large truck are up 13% from 2020 to 2021.

A fleet safety program establishes clear policies and procedures that drivers must follow. Of course, there’s always room for improvement.

Video telematics systems provide valuable data that fleet safety managers can use to improve fleet safety programs. You can use the video clips as visual aids to demonstrate what drivers should and shouldn’t do in certain situations.

Moreover, you can create detailed reports on your fleet safety program and compare benchmarks against industry standards.

Personalize driver coaching

Driving habits are often hard to break — following cars too closely, changing lanes without signaling, rolling through stop signs, and speeding, just to name a few. These behaviors increase the risk of road collisions. 

Video telematics lets you take fleet safety even further with personalized coaching. With CalAmp, fleet managers can access driver scorecards from the dashboard and view how many incidents each driver triggered.

Driver scorecards from CalAmp

From here, fleet managers can click on each event, view clips surrounding the incident, and review them privately with the driver in question. Providing personalized coaching can help drivers break some of their bad driving habits. 

Determine liability and exonerate drivers

Determining liability in the event of a crash isn’t easy, especially if there aren’t any witnesses and neither party has a dash cam. It’s your word against theirs. If one of your drivers gets into a crash, video telematics provides visual proof of what happened leading up to it. 

Road crash involving a commercial vehicle

Proving that a driver rear-ended someone because the car in front slammed on its brakes (a common fraud scheme) can exonerate and protect from false claims. Quick access to these clips can also expedite investigations.

Download our free ebook here for a more detailed look at how you can enhance fleet safety with video telematics.

What to look for in a video telematics system

When investing in a video telematics system, you want to ensure that it has all the features you need. 

Here’s what you should look for.

Dual facing views

There are different camera options available, which include:

  • Road-facing: Road-facing or forward-facing cameras with AI capture footage of the road ahead. They provide a recorded view of the driver’s perspective.
  • Driver-facing: These types of cameras provide an internal view of the cab. They help fleet managers monitor driver behavior.

While you don’t have to have both cameras installed, getting both can show you the external and in-cab situation that led up to certain incidents. For example, did the driver brake suddenly because of something out of their control on the road or because they weren’t paying attention?

Whether you get only road-facing cameras or both, be sure it displays high-quality footage. It should capture footage in at least 720p.

Built-in AI

Dash cams with AI-enabled features are another must for any video telematics system. 

Video telematics system with built-in AI

They detect incidents like distracted drivers, harsh ABC, crashes, speeding, tailgating, and more — something your average dash cam can’t detect.

Real-time alerts

Look for a video telematics solution that gives drivers an in-cab alert when they engage in risky driving behaviors. It should also send alerts via text or email to fleet managers where they can view those incidents from a dashboard.

Wi-Fi enabled telematics

The best video telematics system is paired with a Wi-Fi-enabled telematics device that relays data to the cloud. This functionality allows managers to gain real-time visibility into incidents as they happen.

API integrations

Telematics data can provide valuable insights you can use to improve your fleet operations. But manually importing that data into your business applications isn’t the best use of your time. It’s also prone to errors.

Look for a video telematics system with Application Programming Interface (API) integrations. This will enable you to connect the platform to your Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and improve information sharing.

Risk management service

Accidents happen. If and when they occur, you’ll want to be prepared with a risk management service that alerts you if a driver is involved in a crash.

A vehicle risk management service like CrashBoxx® provides instant crash alerts, sends a notification to a fleet manager, and facilitates emergency services if necessary. It also reconstructs an accident, which helps fleet managers get a clearer picture of what happened.

Watch the video below to learn more about CrashBoxx®:

A video telematics solution combined with a risk management service like CrashBoxx® will provide greater peace of mind. Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but you’ll be glad it’s there.

How to implement a video telematics solution?

Adopting a video telematics solution can change the way you manage your fleet. But don’t jump in without a plan.

Follow these steps to implement a video telematics solution.

1. Set implementation goals 

If you don’t set the right goals, your plan will likely fail to gain traction. Before you even consider a video telematics solution, it’s important that you set goals.

A good place to start is to consider your needs. What kind of problems or challenges are you currently facing? Is your company receiving complaints about your drivers? If so, you might set a goal of reducing roadside incidents by a certain percentage.

Another reason to set goals is to measure the impact of your chosen video telematics solution. It will also help you create a timeline for achieving it.

2. Research video telematics providers

There’s no shortage of solutions in the video telematics market. This is why it’s important to set your goals ahead of time, as you want a provider that can meet your needs.

So how can you select the right video telematics provider?

Use the important features we covered in the previous section to narrow your choices. For example, AI-enabled dash cams are a must to detect risky driving behaviors. Consider another option if a video telematics provider doesn’t offer this functionality.

Be sure to also request a demo if there’s one available. This will help you learn more about a provider and determine if they’re the right fit for your company. 

3. Communicate with your team

Implementing any kind of organizational change is difficult. 

Some drivers may resist the idea of having road-facing or driver-facing cameras installed in their vehicles. Communicate with your team as early as possible about the expected changes.

 Fleet manager meeting with their drivers

You’ll also have a much easier chance of getting buy-in by letting your drivers know what’s in it for them. For example, if you implement an incentive program, you might tell drivers about the kinds of rewards they can get (e.g., bonuses, cash, gift cards, etc.). This will help you get more of your team on board.

4. Plan a video telematics rollout

Implementing a video telematics solution across your fleet can deliver huge benefits. But you also need to plan the implementation carefully.

Work with your video telematics provider to create a timeline that works for your company. It should include schedules for getting the devices installed in your vehicles. This will allow you to manage service schedules and plan accordingly.

Don’t keep your team in the dark. Make sure to communicate regularly with your team and key stakeholders during the implementation process.

5. Provide employee training

Your drivers will undoubtedly have queries about how video telematics systems work and what to expect. Make sure to schedule training sessions with your team and stress the importance of attendance.

Be sure to include resources like online videos and guides offered by the vendor to help them become familiar with the new video telematics system. Fleet managers should also check in with their drivers and ask if they have any questions or concerns. These one-on-one meetings are a great opportunity for managers to get feedback from their team. 

Conclusion

A video telematics system is a must for any fleet. It allows you to monitor driver behavior, deliver personalized coaching, and gain more context around incidents like speeding and crashes.

Interested in learning more? Request a demo to see our video telematics system in action, or contact our team for further assistance.

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