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Fleet Dash Cams And Telematics – All You Need To Know

October 29, 2020

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The dash cams fitted in fleets record high definition videos providing a clear view of events and driver behavior. Telematics in fleet management makes use of GPS and sensors to collect and transmit data to fleet operators to help them manage the fleet efficiently.

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The dash cams when integrated with the fleet telematics system ensures better fleet control and strengthens fleet safety. In addition to reducing the risk of accidents, the system helps in making the fleet cost-effective too.

DASH CAMS

Dash cams or dashboard cameras are installed inside the vehicle to continuously record the view outside the vehicle. Secondary cameras installed inside the vehicle record the interior view of the vehicle.

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Dash cams are installed in fleets where the management requires detailed analytics and performance solutions. Dash cameras integrated with vehicle telematics provide the user with deeper insights into operations.  

The videos coupled with the GPS tracking device can generate automated and customized reports. The visual data provided by dash cams help the fleet and safety managers in tracking and training.

Benefits of Dash Cams

  • Fleet operators get first-hand information of road conditions, risky and hazardous routes and delivery locations. This enables them to divert the vehicles on to other routes saving time and cost. The management gets instantaneous reports on traffic accidents and other untoward incidents prompting them to take immediate action.
  • The dash cams alert the driver of traffic hazards. Driver alertness and awareness leads to lesser accidents. Reduction in accidents will reduce insurance claims. This will consequently bring down insurance premium costs. In the event of accidents, the clear videos aid in proving who was at fault. The clear video evidence helps the insurance companies to do fast and speedy settlements of claims without dispute.
  • The fleet operators can log in to the dash cam platform and view the live status of the fleet. The vehicle can be tracked as it moves.  The location of each vehicle in the fleet is recorded by the camera in real-time and transmitted to the management.
  • The fleet managers can make spot-checks on new drivers to ensure safe driving habits. An errant driver can be pin-pointed immediately. Appropriate action can be initiated against the erring drivers without time delay. The safety managers can play back the videos to show the drivers their mistakes. Video evidences can help to exonerate drivers who are not at fault.
  • The videos can be used to coach the fleet to reduce rash and risky driving behavior. The system helps the fleet operator to recognize good drivers and reward them for their perfect driving skills.
  • The dash camera recording the interior views help in monitoring driver behavior – whether he was smoking, speaking on the phone, wearing a seat belt, or doing something which compromises the safety of the vehicle.

Types of Dash Cams

1: SD card based cameras store data on a normal SD. An SD card has no wireless connectivity. The fleet manager has to remove the SD card from the camera and plug it into a computer to download the footage recorded on the card.

The card has to be re-installed into the camera for further recording. The cards get damaged or even lost during this transfer process. The SD card has a limited storage capacity which will affect the quality and quantity of the video recordings. The hardware of SD card cameras is not very reliable. 

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This camera may be cost effective for extremely small fleets. For larger fleets the manual operation is cumbersome and time consuming.

2: Connected cameras are connected through cellular networks and allow upload of data wirelessly. It performs like a normal cell phone. Network connected cameras work continuously giving instant access to recorded videos and telematics data.

Connected cameras transfer data through the cell network or through Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi connected cameras require an internet or hotspot to upload the data. Network connected wireless cameras have an edge over other cameras in the ease of accessing recorded footage and data.

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An accelerometer is incorporated in network connected dash cams, which allows triggers to be set to detect rash and risky driving. Immediate notifications are sent to the relevant personnel.

3: Multi-directional cameras are cameras that are front-facing, dual-facing, external, internal, or in-cab. A choice of cameras can be made depending on the type of data to be recorded.

4: Front-facing camera records whatever is in front. Dual facing cameras record the happenings in front of the vehicle and those inside the vehicle. In-cab cameras record the information in the driver’s cabin. Internal cameras focus on the driver and the passengers. External cameras are fitted on the exterior of the vehicle enabling the drivers to see around the vehicle. This will help in increasing driver accuracy and avoiding damage while turning or reversing.

Selection of An Appropriate Dash Cam

Management has to decide on what they hope to achieve by installing dash cams to finalize on the right features that have to be incorporated in to the equipment. Installing the right dash cam has a direct impact on a fleet’s safety and profit.

Choosing the right dash cam is of prime importance as it is a tool that will reduce claims and increase driver safety. The video evidence will reduce claim costs. Risky driving can be identified and necessary measures can be adopted to increase safety. The videos can be used effectively in coaching and training drivers.

An ideal dash cam should enable the user to instantly access accident and rash driving videos on a user friendly web platform. The system should enable customization of reporting. Above all, one has to ensure that the hardware is reliable.

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The other factor to be addressed while selecting an apt dash cam is the operation and use of the cameras in the long run. Deciding on who all need access to the data, how they will utilize it for communication with the drivers, how the videos can be used to reduce costs and how they can be used in training are prime considerations in the selection of a dash cam.

Vehicle Telematics

Vehicle telematics is technology that combines, communication, navigation and safety aspects and which can be fitted in a vehicle’s dashboard. GPS tracking devices are linked to on board vehicle diagnostics in fleet telematics. The data generated is then transmitted by networks to fleet operators for real-time viewing.

Telematics is used to receive, store and transmit information from a vehicle to the control portals located at the offices of fleet managers. The GPS device connects the vehicle’s driving navigation systems, electronic diagnostic system, automated driving assistants, vehicle tracking software, car’s safety warning systems.

Benefits of vehicle telematics

  • The information generated by telematics help the fleet operators to optimize routes and reduce mileage. The fleet managers are informed of the locations of vehicles and the routes taken. Traffic hazards enroute and bad weather conditions are reported continuously.
  • System alerts when fuel is low, seatbelts are not worn, on over-speeding, on being towed away, when idling. Theft of vehicles is reported instantly. Geofencing alerts the users when the vehicle crosses the pre-determined limits of speed or distances.
  • The system can automatically detect collision and send a signal to the fleet operator. The sensors detect the extent of damage and injury to driver and passengers. This helps in instant summoning of medical attention to the scene.
  • The driver can request for any emergency road assistance. An SOS button on the system summons help in the case of breakdowns or medical assistance.
  • Areas of wastage which affects fuel efficiency can be identified. Speed of the vehicle and fuel consumed is recorded. Rash and harsh driving can be detected. Frequent breaking and acceleration which is harmful to the vehicle is identified. Vehicle idle time and driver downtime reports are automatically generated.
  • The hours of use and engine conditions recorded by the fleet telematics system help in scheduling preventive maintenance of the vehicles. Warranty and service records are automatically updated. The system keeps track of engine conditions. Impending maintenance and breakdown issues are alerted.
  • The continuous feedback on driver habits and driving style helps to improve safety. Coaching and training of drivers to avoid undesirable behavior can be initiated promptly. Good drivers can be rewarded.
  • The system is a great help in payroll management. The automated reports, on the years of employment of drivers, and the days and hours worked each day, eliminate the need of manual logbooks and timesheets.

Selection of a telematics system

The data generated by the telematics system help the fleet managers in implementing operational improvements to increase the productivity of the fleet. Vehicle telematics aids in saving time and reducing expenses considerably.

The factors to be considered when selecting a telematics system are:

  • The company providing the system should have a track record with suitable technical backup. Customer service and after-sales support has to be ensured.
  • The system interface should be user-friendly. A superior tracking system which cannot be used easily navigated by all concerned will prove useless.
  • System capability and reliability is of utmost importance. Reporting should be accurate and instantaneous. Customized reporting should be possible.
  • The system should be flexible to suit the fleet requirements in the future. The software should not be limited in capacity. It should have the capability to be upgraded as and when the need arises.
  • The system should use a multi-SIM network so that coverage is ensured in low signal or network congested areas.

When fleet operators require more detailed data than that generated by telematics, they can combine telematics with dash cameras. This can be done by the selection of appropriate dash cams suited to the fleet’s requirements.

The answer to a superior safety solution for the fleet lies in creating a perfect video telematics system.  It has been proved that the return on investment is high as compared to the costs involved. The information generated helps the management to optimize their operations, increase efficiency, reduce costs and increase the safety of the fleet.