If you manage a delivery service, taxi company or a haulage fleet, your vehicles and drivers represent a considerable investment. As the demands on these services continue to change and evolve, it’s imperative that fleet managers do what they can to protect their investment and maximize the efficiency and performance of their operations. To this end, drive recorders and dash cams are fast becoming a must-have. Let’s explore how these technologies can deliver measurable benefits in terms of safety for your fleet and save you money in the process.
Raising Driving Standards
At its most basic level, a fleet drive recorder acts like an extension of the office CCTV system, recording journeys and idle vehicles and capturing incidents that happen on or off the road. Video evidence offers invaluable protection for vehicles, whether they’re leased, financed or owned outright. For example, video footage can provide clear evidence of who is at fault in the event of a collision, helping to resolve disputes and reduce insurance pay-outs.
Drive recorders also play an important role in raising driving standards across the board, acting as the virtual eyes and ears of the fleet manager. This is especially true of dual-camera drive recorders because they not only capture the road ahead, but the interior of the cabin too. This acts as an effective deterrent against poor driving behavior, such as using mobile phones, smoking, and driving when overly tired, while also providing evidence for disciplinary procedures should that be a necessary step.
Installing dual-cam drive recorders in fleet vehicles means that management can check and enforce its safety and standards guidelines, making drivers more accountable and raising standards to ensure safe driving practices are the norm. Furthermore, with improved driving standards and safety, which thus reduces the frequency of accidents across the fleet, fleet managers will also cut time lost to investigations and repairs and see a decrease in the price of insurance policies.
There’s an important reputational benefit, too. In an era when an increasing number of road users share dash cam footage on social media, companies with a good track record when it comes to accountability have the means to insulate themselves from negative commentary.
Beyond Video — the Value of Data
The latest generation of fleet dash cams go beyond video recording, adding location and driving data to the record, and even augmenting it with data from the vehicle CAN (controller area network) bus. These features open up several further improvements in efficiency. For example, GPS-equipped drive recorders allow fleet managers to make route alterations to avoid congested roads on-the-fly.
CAN bus integration allows for different kinds of data to be captured directly from the vehicle’s engine management system, revealing key indicators such as engine idle time, fuel consumption, brake usage, average speed and overall distance traveled. As well as highlighting drivers who regularly break the speed limits, this data can be analysed to provide insights about the performance of the vehicle, road conditions and other factors that could impair overall efficiency for time-sensitive delivery and haulage operations.
Achieving optimal fuel efficiency for example, can reap enormous savings to operators for which fuel costs are a major operating expense. Ensuring that tires are inflated to the correct level and that drivers strive to remain at optimal driving speeds can significantly lower fuel bills. Across large haulage or passenger vehicle fleets, data insights into vehicle optimization and driver training can mean considerably lower operating costs.
For modern fleet management systems, the addition of Wi-Fi and high-speed mobile data completes the picture. In particular, drive recorders equipped with 4G wireless modules provide a crucial live window into driver and fleet performance. Meanwhile, back at base, data costs can be reduced by downloading the day’s recordings over Wi-Fi, making 4G plus Wi-Fi an ideal combination.
4G connectivity also offers scope for instant alerts when a dash cam’s integrated G-sensor detects hard braking, acceleration or cornering – key indicators that an incident has occurred. The dash cam can be configured to only record video after such an alert, ensuring evidence is available in the case of a dispute or insurance claim. Integrated messaging support with the driver allows management to react immediately to potential accidents or emergencies.
Connectivity is also key to getting the most from both footage and data collected, with cloud integration transforming the dash cam into a true IoT device. Cloud services like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services can help expand how data is understood and interpreted, offering valuable insight and intelligence to help improve route planning, fuel efficiency, driver behavior and virtually every aspect of the business.
Creating a Smarter, Safer Fleet
Armed with real-time access to vehicle location and status, plus vehicle telemetry and a pair of live video feeds, fleet operators can now be better equipped than ever to make sure their business are as safe and operationally efficient as possible.
In recent years VIA has garnered extensive feedback from customers operating in the broader Fleet Management sector. This has given us valuable insights that have helped hone our approach to product development. The result is the recently launched VIA Mobile360 D700 Drive Recorder, a full-featured, compact dual-camera dash cam backed by custom software support and seamless cloud integration – a solution targeting a range of transportation segments including taxi services, deliveries and haulage operators.
Learn more about the VIA Mobile360 D700 Drive Recorder.
You can also check out this short introductory video: