The Roemer Report

This Month's Roemer Report

Fleet Safety Through A Fish-Eye Lens: Cameras Help Truckers Find Lower-Cost Insurance

Have video technologies eliminated the public’s role in monitoring a truck driver’s on-road behavior? The Magic 8 Ball says, “highly likely,” but as long as fleets post the number on the truck there are sure to be plenty of “incident reporting” the old-fashioned way.

Driver monitoring has come a long way since 1-800-HowsMyDriving and the technology is getting more sophisticated every day. But although the integration of digital video-based real-time monitoring of drivers while they are on the HOS clock is controversial, it’s a trend that’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Monitoring Safety Reduces Costs

According to Heavy Duty Trucking’s Trucking Info editors Jim Beach and Deborah Lockridge, Monitoring driver behavior can improve safety and reduce costs. They assert fleets are starting to take advantage of near-real-time reporting on driver performance and that affordable technologies are available to help fleets to keep track of where their trucks are at all times, but also report how the trucks are being operated. Regardless of mandates the trend is driving more fleets to install cameras and integrate the data and images into something useful and valuable to the organization – you know, like safety training.

Mandates To Come?

Meanwhile, Tom Quimby, senior editor over at Commercial Carrier Journal is reporting that the one-two punch of cameras and driver coaching is solidifying both safety and insurance for fleets. In fact, truck cameras have become so important to fleet safety, safety expert and CEO of Carrier Risk Solutions Sam Tucker told Quimby that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration might soon be mandating their use. Mandate or not, Quimby reports more fleets are leaning on event recorders especially when over-the-moon damage awards are dragging carriers into the headlines and many into bankruptcy.

Offering his opinion during Truckload Carriers Association’s webinar on improving carriers standing with insurers, April 15, Tucker said this about truck-mounted cameras: “It's the next big wave. Even a lot of owner-operators who may not have the ability to have full bore systems in their trucks are going to Amazon and grabbing up a $35 dash cam because they understand the power behind it. I think it's really, from a grassroots perspective, building up.”

Also contributing to the webinar was Stewart Transport Risk Management Director Amanda Gallegos of Stewart Transport, a freight hauler based in Phoenix, Arizona. According to Heavy Duty Trucking this fleet is no stranger to safety. The 25-year-old carrier was recognized as the safest fleet by the Arizona Trucking Association in 2015.

“Adding our camera system was pretty much the key to getting a really true, unbiased narrative on what's going on,” she said. “We have been able to advocate for our drivers that were falsely accused. But on the flip side we've also been able to manage claims where we knew we were at liability just by kind of concentrating on that unbiased narrative.”

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The Roemer Report Archives

As you review these archived editions of the Roemer Report, it is remarkable to see how many major ‘hot button’ issues from way back in the day have been the topics of discussion over the many years and right up to the present day. Fuel costs, Insurance, Equipment innovations, Hours of service, the driver shortage (!) safety regulations, traffic bottlenecks and more. The more things change, the more they really do seem to stay the same!

We hope you will enjoy these historical editions of the Roemer Report. Long known as “The Kiplinger Letter of Trucking” our report has been proudly produced by the Trucking Insurance Experts at Roemer Insurance for over 35 years. Roemer Insurance is the parent company of InsureMyRig and The Roemer Report has always been our way of showing our trucking clients that we support their vital industry and that we really do know the difference between a fifth wheel and a steering wheel. Enjoy!