It may make people in Alabama uncomfortable to imagine their every move at work captured on camera. The inclusion of dashcams in semi-truck cabs and other commercial vehicles may seem to be doing just that, though.
According to Transport Topics, some drivers feel that recording their actions behind the wheel violates their privacy. However, a growing number of truck operators and the companies they work for are finding that the cameras have a wide range of safety benefits.
Typically, cameras are not designed to run continuously. In fact, most only record when a critical event occurs. For example, if there is a hard-braking incident or a sudden swerving movement, the camera may retain the cab-facing video in the seconds leading up to the event. This could reveal that a driver is fatigued or distracted, but it could also reveal that a driver is alert, and that there is some other cause for an accident.
Commercial Carrier Journal reports that in one such incident, a Greyhound bus equipped with driver-facing and road-facing cameras crashed into a concrete barrier on a highway. After reviewing the video, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board discovered that the fault was not with the driver, who was alert, but with the barriers, which did not have the proper reflective markings for visibility.
Many trucking companies are working to improve safety by using video to reduce the incidence of risky behaviors such as speeding, tailgating and cellphone use. Video may also provide training opportunities and help improve driver skills. The NTSB notes that in-cab video should never be released to the public.