Dashboard cameras, casually known as dash cams, are an amazing new addition to every driving industry and are quickly becoming a staple of modern fleet management. From truckers to delivery drivers to corporate transportation fleets, dash cams add an extra layer of accountability and accident recording that have already saved many fleet drivers from scams and falsified accident reports.
However, if you are considering or have recently installed dash cams in your professional fleet, chances are that your drivers are not thrilled. All too often, professional drivers see the dash cam as a 'big brother' oversight, something put there as just another way to stop them from grabbing a bite to eat or penalizing them for every unavoidable pothole.
While you could bide your time until a dash cam proves them innocent in a fender-bender to make your point, you can help your entire driving team embrace the new dash cam reality with just a few supportive policies that will outweigh their 'big brother' worries. Here are three great program ideas to get you started.
1) Rewards for Handling Tricky Driving Situations
Fleet drivers are constantly worried that the dash cam and it's automatic recording of every bump and quick lane change will 'rat them out'. Most drivers have a few tricks that help them make good time or provide a smooth ride that might not be strictly regulation.
They may also worry that they will be blamed for bad traffic situations that are not their fault. The dash cam is seen as the enemy of little efficiencies, but you can turn that around. Because you will be monitoring all the 'permanent save' files anyway, take the time not just to identify dangers, but also the victories of your drivers.
If they deftly defend their vehicle from someone trying to merge into them, manage a horribly unmarked or badly paved intersection, or meet a passenger's unusual travel demands with grace, reward them and showcase the deft driving as an example of what other drivers might do in the future.
2) Building Training Videos
Every professional driver who dislikes the dash cam is probably worrying about exactly when that cam lights up and decides that something is worth permanently recording. The recording feature becomes the enemy, but only because they don't have control over it.
However, most decent dash cams include a manual recording feature as well. Turn that fear around by putting some of the power into your driver's hands. Encourage your driver to use the record function to create their own team's training video footage.
While not all driving shots will be useful, your drivers know better than anyone what should be included in dash cam training videos, especially if they can also temporarily record their own sound.
Key points like how to turn left, how to manage bizarre freeway entrances, or how to perform job-specific maneuvers are all incredibly useful, along with examples of other bad drivers and how to avoid them safely. This will make your drivers feel that they are masters of the dash cam, not the other way around.
3) Video Scavenger Hunts
Finally, add a little fun to the dash cam's existence by acknowledging that professional drivers often see some weird stuff on the road. Strangely decorated cars, unbelievably bad driving examples, and inexplicable but hilarious road trash are all part of the job.
Put together a small list of 'scavenger hunt' subjects that drivers are encouraged to catch. They can then compare their dash cam records at the end of the day or week and rack up points for the strangest and most interesting clips. It will also help them get used to manual recording and make it more likely that they will start recording dangerous driving conditions (like a weaving drunk ahead of them) before an incident begins.
Dash cams should be a driver's best automated ally, not 'the enemy' sent by corporate to spy and report on them. By using your dash cams as a reward program and putting some of the recording power into your driver's hands, they will take ownership of their dash cams and finally welcome them into the new professional driving reality.
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