Dashcams and dashcam training can be powerful tools for fleets, but it's no secret that drivers get suspicious of all the technology and surveillance that comes with their jobs. Our team at CarriersEdge recently spoke with Netradyne to discuss this technology, and what fleets can do better integrate dashcams into their operation.
Overcoming dashcam resistance
Whether you're thinking of implementing road-facing, in-cab, or both kinds of cameras, it's a safe bet that at least some of your drivers will be reluctant to accept them. Despite the fact that using dashcam data will help improve safety, it's understandable that a driver might be skeptical, even suspicious, of having their actions constantly monitored. Here are some suggestions on how to make that transition easier on drivers:
- Don't bulldoze: Acknowledge that change and new technology don't come easily to everyone. Let drivers in on the conversation about adopting the new system to create a more collaborative atmosphere.
- Appeal to drivers' "safety nature": Getting everyone home safe is something that both fleet managers and drivers want. No one wants to get in an accident, and everyone wants to get home to their families safely. By framing the use of dashcams and dashcam-based training specifically in terms of the safety benefits (you can even show them the numbers), you can help ease their minds that the technology is being used for something that you both value.
- Smooth the transition: Have a fleet manager, safety advise, or another member of management specifically dedicated to smoothing the transition for drivers. Make sure the drivers have a specific point of contact for concerns they may have, rather than a vague “open-door” policy they may or may not feel comfortable using.
- Use your leaders: Even if they are not in official leadership positions, there are some drivers who seem to just naturally fall into that role. Make use of them by getting them onboard with the new tech early so that they can help have those conversations with other drivers and spread the word in the yard, on the road, and so on.
To incentivize dashcam training or not?
Do you pay drivers extra for the time they spend on training, or is it just part of their regular job? Both approaches come with risks. If you're not compensating drivers for their time, you have to consider the impact this may have on their motivation. If drivers are paid by the mile, every time the dashcam system triggers a training module, the driver knows they are going to take a hit—that's simply time they won't be making money.
In fact, offering a bonus or other monetary incentive is a sign of fairness (we're requiring you to do this training, but we don't want you to lose money because of it), as well as making drivers feel valued and appreciated when they receive a boost on their bottom line. More and more, companies are going this route and finding that driver acceptance goes up.
Mitigating truck driver risk behaviors and lagging skills
There are generally two reasons why a driver needs to improve in some area: either they lack skills, or they engage in risky behavior. If they are lacking skills, they need training. If they are using risky behaviors, they need coaching. How do you know when to use each one? That's where dashcam training can really help you fine-tune your management.
In-cab cameras can be crucial in identifying behaviors linked to distracted driving. That data might trigger a formal training module for the driver, but it also gives the safety manager a chance to personally check in, show the driver the problem by reviewing the video, and do some coaching about safer driving habits.
Road-facing cameras can be effective for tracking speeding, following distance, harsh handling, and sign violations. But even these might be occurring for reasons that are either skill-based or behavior-based. Sometimes drivers aren't aware that they're rolling through stop signs as often as they are. Or you might discover that they never really felt comfortable on tight turns. Either way, using the system effectively can help you target the right kind of intervention. Furthermore, this type of training helps drivers gain self-awareness, enabling them to improve their skills and keep dangerous habits in check, ultimately improving their performance on the road.
Dealing with repeat offenders
In some cases, coaching alone may not fix recurring behavior-based issues. But if coaching fails, involving a manager the driver trusts can offer a fresh perspective. This personal intervention should reinforce the importance of complying with safety measures and facilitate behavior change. If the behavior persists and poses a significant risk, however, it may be necessary to have a serious conversation with the driver, implement corrective action, or, in extreme cases, consider parting ways.
Dashcam training presents a valuable opportunity to enhance safety on the roads. By being aware of the reasons that drivers will be hesitant about it—and working through them—fleet managers can promote a culture of safety and responsibility among drivers. Appealing to drivers' safety instincts, incentivizing training, and addressing driver concerns are crucial steps in ensuring successful dashcam integration. And by leveraging the insights provided by dashcams, fleet managers can identify areas of improvement and provide targeted interventions, ultimately creating a safer environment for both drivers and the public.
Mark Murrell is president of CarriersEdge, a provider of online driver training for the trucking industry, and co-creator of Best Fleets to Drive For, an annual evaluation of the best workplaces in the North American trucking industry.