Last May, this space reported on the availability of a new system that promised to make accident reconstruction a simple, straightforward and basically do-it-yourself deal for fleets.
What we're talking about is a small, wide-angle video camera/recorder system marketed by San Diego-based DriveCam Video Systems.
Mounted behind a vehicle's rearview mirror, the DriveCam “event” recorder captures what a driver sees, hears and feels in the 10 seconds before and the 10 seconds after an “unusual driving incident,” such as erratic maneuvering or a collision.
The recorder also can be activated manually by the driver to capture evidence of road rage or any other threat to safety.
Now word comes from the company that it has successfully completed an insurance study conducted with commercial fleets that boasts “dramatic reductions” in the frequency and severity of accidents suffered by DriveCam users.
Initiated by the Hilb, Rogal & Hamilton (HRH) insurance company, the 12-month study was designed to evaluate the impact of DriveCam on collisions involving more than 100 commercial vehicles operating in multi-geographical areas.
The study results show that fleets using DriveCam reduced physical damage from collisions involving their vehicles by 35-99%.
“The data gathered in this study clearly demonstrates the benefits of DriveCam to fleet operators and the insurance industry,” says Bill Lindsay, HRH vp. “In addition to reducing the frequency of claims, the use of DriveCam in these fleets has now been proven to reduce the severity of claims and the resulting repair costs.”
According to the study, a limo fleet attained the most dramatic results. Charlotte, NC-based Riches & Roses installed DriveCam in 53 vehicles. Beforehand, the company was incurring more than $60,000 in insurance claims annually.
But after using DriveCam for one year, annual claims for Riches & Roses dropped to a mere $400 — a reduction of 99%.
What's more, the company reports using DriveCam recordings to expose fraudulent claims in which its drivers were set up by “staged” accidents.
“Fleets using DriveCam have already experienced a reduction in insurance premiums of up to 20%, due to fewer losses and faster claims processing,” states DriveCam president Ed Andrew.
“In addition to promoting driving safety, DriveCam provides security and accountability for the driver,” he continues. “Now that DriveCam has been in use for more than two years and is installed in thousands of vehicles, we are seeing the dramatic impact it is having on the bottom line for commercial vehicle operators.”
According to Andrew, DriveCam records “what drivers see and hear during unusual driving incidents.” He explains that G-forces caused by such actions as hard braking, acceleration, harsh cornering or collisions trigger DriveCam to “save” a driving event for later viewing. He notes the digital recordings produced allow fleet managers to easily review driving events on a TV, camcorder or personal computer.
Andrew notes that DriveCam is available with a complete driving feedback system that includes a manager's guide, driver guide, videotape and event manager software for logging and tracking driving events.