Vehicle CCTV systems – cutting costs and saving lives

Vehicle CCTV has proven valuable for fleet operators with many choosing to equip their vehicles with the technology to improve safety, support driver training and prevent fraudulent claims. Emily Hardy of Brigade Electronics discusses how vehicle CCTV is not only cutting insurance costs but helping to prevent crime and save lives.

Vehicle CCTV has become increasingly popular in recent years, with the technology being utilised across many sectors including bus networks, delivery fleets and emergency vehicles.

As well as helping to support driver training, there are a number of benefits to installing vehicle CCTV. These include:

  • Proof against insurance claims such as ‘crash-for-cash’ scams
  • Providing protection for drivers who may have been wrongly accused as the cause of an incident
  • Providing irrefutable evidence in the case of accidents and legal proceedings
  • Encouraging driver best practice, resulting in less vehicle damage and fewer accidents
  • Deterring vandalism
  • Providing peace of mind for passengers and drivers

How does vehicle CCTV improve safety?

Bad driving poses a risk to drivers themselves, as well as other road users. To qualify as a lorry, bus or coach driver, excellent driving skills and road safety knowledge are essential. Drivers must be able to concentrate for long periods, and be prepared to work alone for lengthy stretches. Completing record sheets, log books and other trip data accurately are also important requirements.

Brigade’s Backeye®360° provide drivers with a bird’s eye view of their vehicle, allowing them to view areas they cannot see from the cab. Live images are streamed directly to the driver thanks to four ultra wide-angle cameras, covering the front, rear and each full side of the vehicle – including that all-important near-side. The device can also incorporate warning alarms, which sound an alert should a person or vehicle move into a blind spot, or if the driver is getting close to an object while manoeuvring at low speeds.

Backeye®360° is compatible with Brigade’s Mobile digital recording (MDR) systems, which record the activity around the vehicle. In the event of an incident, the captured footage can be used as evidence and helps to protect drivers if there are conflicting reports.

Does vehicle CCTV reduce insurance premiums?

HGV and other commercial vehicle operators suffer from high insurance premiums just as car drivers do. When accidents involve lorries, buses or heavy machinery, the temptation is to point the blame at the larger vehicle; often that’s simply because it’s bigger and can be viewed as more intimidating. Yet an American study has shown that only 20 per cent of accidents involving trucks were due to truckers’ movements or loss of control, while 50 per cent were due to car drivers’ encroachments such as tailgating, suddenly slamming on brakes or veering into a trucker’s lane due to reckless or distracted driving.

Having recorded footage when there are conflicting reports of actual events or being able to prove a staged accident means companies can make major cost savings in the long-term. More importantly, they can also support their drivers, who are often the subject of increased scrutiny after an incident.

By giving the driver a clear view around their vehicle and recording activity, these types of camera safety systems enable HGV drivers and plant operators to move and drive safely, and prevent accidents. As fewer accidents mean fewer claims, the installation of safety equipment on fleets can reduce insurance premiums.

Does vehicle CCTV cut crime?

Incidents involving vehicles are time-consuming issues to resolve. A lack of solid evidence can often mean companies automatically accept liability in the event of an incident. However, easy settlements have led to an increase in cases against those operators, which quickly become known as a ‘soft target’ for further similar claims.

Having a vehicle CCTV system not only helps to refute these claims, but also deters the perpetrators of false claim crimes from targeting your vehicle in the first place. Clear and visible warning stickers on vehicles, which have been fitted with vehicle CCTV have also proven to be an effective tool for tackling this issue and discouraging culprits.

Isn’t vehicle CCTV expensive?

While tough monetary decisions do need to be made, it’s clear this technology should be embraced as an opportunity to not only reduce risk and enhance road safety for drivers and road users, but also lower costs for the whole industry through reduced insurance premiums. It is estimated that fitting cameras to be five times worth the investment over a five-year lifecycle, so although the short-term outlay might be deemed to be costly, there are financial benefits to be gained in the long-term.