What is the Best Fleet Dash Cam for 2020?
The US transportation market is changing and dash cams are becoming a must have safety investment across fleets.
Choosing the right dash cam is a decision most fleet owners, operators and safety leaders are already considering, or will in the near future. The right dash cam can have a dramatic impact on a fleet’s profit and safety. Access to video evidence tells the true story of what’s happening on the road, making dash cams a tool that directly reduces claims costs and improves driver safety. We see many of our customers reducing incident occurrence by 30 – 60% and claims costs by around 50%. Some fleets have reduced claims costs and insurance spend by as much as 84% after implementing SureCam. The benefits are obvious to most fleets but choosing the right solution can be challenging.
When I talk to fleets considering SureCam who are trying to choose the right solution, I encourage them to think about three main questions:
- What am I hoping to achieve by installing dash cams?
- What are the product features I must have, and will actually use?
- How will we manage our cameras and safety for the long-term?
1. What am I hoping to achieve by installing dash cams?
Fleets usually have one or two main criteria behind their decision to implement dash cams. For example, some fleets recently paid out a large claim that wasn’t their fault or another fleet may be dealing with a companywide safety issue. It’s important to start by understanding what outcomes are influencing the decision to install cameras. The main reasons I see our customers install cameras include 1) reducing claims costs with video evidence, 2) identifying risky driving across the fleet, and 3) utilizing an efficient coaching tool. After a fleet has identified why they are installing cameras, and what they are hoping to gain, they are in a better position to evaluate the features and price that fits best with their needs.
2. What are the product features I must have, and will actually use?
There is a diverse range of features available in the market, and it’s important for a fleet to identify the features they actually need in a camera system to avoid paying for features that will rarely be used. Fleets that use SureCam typically prioritize the following features… 1) instant access to harsh driving and accident videos, 2) an easy to use web platform, 3) reliable hardware, and 4) customization. It’s just as important to identify features that sound exciting but will rarely or ever be used
3. How will we manage our cameras and safety for the long-term?
Lastly, I encourage fleets to think about how they will manage cameras and safety beyond the initial roll out. I typically find myself discussing topics such as 1) Who in the organization needs access to the camera data and how will they use it? 2) How will the technology be used to support coaching and driver training? 3) How will communication with drivers be handled? and 4) How will video be used to maximize reductions in claims costs? Installing cameras is only the first step and maximizing ROI includes a thoughtful and long-term commitment that SureCam often helps our fleets design.
SureCam is incredibly proud to be able to help fleets protect their drivers and profitability with our technology. Whether you use SureCam, or another safety technology, we are committed to making the roads safer and I would love to personally be a resource as you evaluate the right plan for your fleet.
In this Guide:
What is a Dashcam?
Dashcams, also referred to as dashboard cameras, truck DVRs, connected cameras, or event data recorders (EDR), are in-vehicle cameras that continuously record the view through a vehicle’s front windscreen. Some dashcams include a secondary camera or cameras to record the vehicle’s interior or driver.
Types of Dash Cams and What to Know
There are many different types of dash cams available. What type will work best for your fleet depends on what you’re hoping to achieve by installing dash cams. Here are some of the types of dash cams and what you need to know:
SD card-based cameras store footage on a local SD card with no wireless connectivity to upload data. SD cameras require manual intervention and can be an operational burden for larger fleets. To access footage, the Fleet Manager or driver has to physically retrieve the SD card from the camera, plug it into a computer to download the footage and reinstall the card to continue recording. Despite best efforts, cards can be lost or damaged during this process. In general, SD card cameras also have less reliable hardware.
Connected cameras are unique because they are connected through the cellular networks and upload relevant video and supporting data wirelessly to the cloud. Similar to your cell phone, connected cameras use the cellular network to upload data, which gives you instant access to video and telematics information. Network-connected dash cameras are always working for you and automatically alert you about driving incidents as soon as they occur. This means your drivers won’t have to incorporate anything new into their daily routines or worry about managing an in-cab camera.
It’s also important to note the difference between network-connected dash cams and Wi-Fi-connected dash cams. Network-connected cameras transfer data over the cell network, so you don’t have to be connected to the internet or a hotspot to upload your videos. Whereas Wi-Fi-connected cameras must be connected to the internet in order to upload footage. In most instances, when vendors use the term “connected cameras”, they are referring to network-connected cameras.
Though both SD and connected dash cams can be helpful in the insurance claims process, connected dash cams have the advantage of allowing you to get out in front of the claims process more quickly than systems using SD storage. Since wireless dash cams are connected to the cellular network, you can have video and data within seconds. In the event of an incident, wireless systems give you the ability to get the footage you need right away. Incidents captured by SD camera systems must first be downloaded and reviewed, which can take anywhere from 12-24 hours. Connected cams give you the chance to resolve false claims fast.
If an incident does occur, it’s vital that your dash cam system provides clear footage. Since SD cameras rely on physical media, there is a limited amount of data storage available. When you’re working with limited storage, you end up compromising on either video quality or video quantity. This means that if you choose to record a driver’s full route, image quality may suffer. But if you choose better image quality, you may not be able to record his or her entire shift. Connected dash cameras have the potential to offer you as much storage as you need, since this type of system uses cloud-based storage.
In addition to providing reliable incident footage, connected cams give you the chance to be proactive about driver safety. Network-connected dash cams incorporate an accelerometer, which lets you set custom triggers that detect risky driving. You can get relevant, timely notifications about the harsh driving behaviors that matter to you. Fully-managed SD camera solutions simply aren’t able to match the immediacy of connected cams. With connected cams, the accelerometer does the work for you, automatically sending you just the relevant footage.
External Cameras vs. Internal Cameras vs. Front-Facing vs. Dual-Facing vs. Camera Multi-Cam
Once you’ve chosen the type of storage that’s best for your fleet, you have another important choice to make. What type of footage will be most useful to you? External, internal, front-facing, dual-facing, in-cab? Each type of camera provides you with its own unique set of benefits. Internal cameras can be front-facing only, or dual-facing. Front-facing cameras do just that: face the front. They record whatever happens to be in front of the vehicles. Dual-facing cameras incorporate both a front-facing camera and an in-cab camera. In-cab cameras record visual and audio from the interior of the driver’s cab. The installation of internal cameras has been shown to reduce risky driver behaviors dramatically.
External cameras can be mounted in many different areas on trucks, but the most popular type of external camera is the reverse view camera. This type of visual can help drivers increase accuracy and avoid damage when reversing. It can also provide valuable proof in the event of an incident. Some companies, including SureCam, are developing solutions for exterior multi-cam systems that can be incorporated into existing camera systems.
Should my Fleet have Dash Cams?
Short-answer – most fleets should. The average return easily outweighs the cost across fleets. Below is a short-list of some of the benefits.
Dash Cam Benefits
- Reduce insurance claims and drive down insurance premium costs
- Manage First Notification of Loss (FNOL)
- Acknowledge good drivers for good road awareness
- Exonerate drivers after an incident
- Supplement telematics data for a safety incentive program or driver scorecard program
- Coach drivers to mitigate risky behaviors
- Recognize hazardous road conditions or risky routes and delivery locations
- Spot check new drivers to ensure they meet your company’s standards
- Enforce seatbelt and mobile phone usage compliance
How Do Connected Dash Cams Work?
Connected dashcams can be used across most any vehicle type including heavy trucks, buses, vans, trucks, cars and many others. Connected dashcams continuously record and store 36 hours of video locally on the device. Each device is equipped with g-force sensors that are triggered by incidents, which could be an actual accident, harsh cornering, harsh breaking, etc. Once the sensors are triggered, the relevant video is automatically uploaded to SureCam’s cloud-based platform. At the same time, a notification is sent to the SureCam user to notify them of the event.
How Do Connected Dashcams Integrate with GPS Tracking and Fleet Management Providers?
Having an onboard telematics system helps to reduce incidents. When you combine telematics with dash cams, the results are even more powerful. Telematics work hand-in-hand with cameras to give you the advanced insights you need. You can create driver scorecards, automatic reports, and set custom events using your telematics data. If you need to take advantage of these advanced features, it is essential that you select a camera provider who can integrate with your current telematics platform or ELD system.
Some dash cam providers may not dedicate the time and expense to developing multiple telematics integrations, instead opting to force clients into one or two telematics systems. If the potential dash cam provider does not integrate with your current telematics system or ELD provider, you should consider alternate dash cam providers. Some providers have open APIs that will allow you to integrate with any system you desire. Make sure you understand what that process will look like and how long it will take before you sign a contract.
What Partners does SureCam Integrate With?
SureCam integrates with most of the major GPS tracking providers. Because those companies can be sensitive about sharing their partners, we are not able to list them here. Email us at [email protected] or call us to see how we integrate with your current partners.
A View Into Dashcam ROI
Dashcam Features to Consider
Focusing on the features you need will keep you from paying for extras you’ll never use. These are the common features you’ll need to decide on when choosing a dash cam:
SD Card-Only vs. Network-Connected:
Most retail dash cams are SD card-based, where all the footage is stored locally on the device. SD-based cameras typically require fleet operators to manually download footage, or even physically remove SD cards to review videos. SD-based cameras are a cheaper option, but the operational costs and challenges add up when you factor in the manual work. Network-connected cameras use a cellular network to upload footage. In SureCam’s case, this gives fleet operators real-time notifications and visibility. Connected cameras are better suited for commercial fleets and include a monthly subscription to support video transmission and software.
Road-Facing or Dual-Facing:
Depending on your reasons for installing cameras, you may want a camera that only faces the road, or you may want a secondary camera that faces inside the cab. Decide if you believe footage inside the cab would be helpful for your fleet. Some connected-cameras come standard as a dual-facing camera and give you the option to turn off the inward facing camera. With SureCam, we give you the choice between road-facing or dual-facing, to ensure you only pay for the cameras you use.
Make sure the cameras you invest in have high quality footage. For example, SureCam’s hardware is German designed and manufactured, and is equipped with full HD (720p), 30 frames per second, and an IP69 rating. You should also make sure that the hardware won’t be easily damaged by water or dust. It’s critical to have rugged, high quality hardware because vehicle cameras take a beating from vibrations and sun exposure. In addition to SureCam’s hardware being German-made, it’s also been tested over time to last through the conditions of being on the road.
Web Application and Ease of Use:
If you select a network-connected camera solution, the software or web application should be straightforward and easy to use. It’s important to make sure that the web application will be accessible for everyone on your team who will need access to your camera solution and videos. Be sure to understand if the web application provides you with the features you need, without limiting your access to important information. Can you adjust camera settings without calling an account manager? Can you access video and analytics anytime, anywhere?
The installation process is an important factor to consider. Keeping your vehicles on the road is critical to your business, and complicated installations can equate to lost profit. Ask each camera provider about their installation process, whether it requires professional installation or can be self-installed, and how long the installation takes.
Do you want to record audio along with the video you capture? Some vehicle camera solutions allow for audio to be configured based on each fleet’s needs. If audio is important to you, make sure that the camera solution you invest in will be able to meet your requirements.
Self-Managed Vs. Fully-Managed Service:
Some video safety solutions require that your fleet use their fully-managed service, where the provider is reviewing and producing feedback for every video. SureCam offers fleets the choice between a self-managed and fully-managed service. Ask whether the added cost of a fully-managed service is worth it for your fleet. If it is, determine whether that managed-service is accomplishing what you need it to. For SureCam fleets that choose our self-managed solution, we let our technology do the heavy lifting, and provide customers with a simple and cost-effective solution.
Speed, GPS position, and g-force data can be valuable pieces of information for your fleet. Make sure you understand what supporting information your camera solution will provide before you sign your contract.
HD Dashcams – The Evidence You Can See
SureCam was one of the first companies to introduce HD dashcams. Other solutions provide lower video quality that can lead to increased scrutiny, interpretation or potentially inconclusive proof in the event of an incident. HD video looks like real-life and is quickly taken as fact. With an investment in hardware and implementation expected to last for years, it is difficult to understand why a company would invest in older technology that will quickly age and become obsolete.
Dashcam Installation – An Over-Looked but Important Consideration
SureCam’s mount and installation process eliminates common problems of dashcam solutions
Make sure there is a clear understanding of the installation process. There are cameras on the market that look simple in concept but aren’t designed for maximum utility in-cab. SureCam gets high marks for its installation process.
Selecting a Pricing or Financing Model
Price is a common concern when choosing a dash cam solution. There are two pricing models for connected dash cams: equipment leasing, and equipment purchase. Both of these pricing models also have a recurring monthly fee for the software service.
Under the lease model, the upfront hardware cost is eliminated, and fleets pay a higher monthly fee that includes both the hardware and software fees. By leasing the hardware, you can get the technology you really need, even if you don’t have room in your current budget for a large purchase order. These options also provide more flexibility and better cash flow management.
The second pricing model is an upfront equipment purchase. Under this model, fleets purchase their cameras upfront and have lower monthly payments that include the software service fee only.
With both models there might be additional installation costs if you don’t have the in-house capabilities to do a self-install.
Making the Case for Dash Cams to Your Leadership Team
After the recent ELD mandate, some fleet owners and leadership teams may be hesitant to invest in another safety technology like dash cams. You understand the benefits a connected camera solution could have for your fleet. Now the challenge is to demonstrate a need for the investment to your final decision-makers.
It’s always a good idea to inform the decision-makers as early in your research process as possible. If you wait until you have already selected a product and vendor to loop your fleet owner into the process, you may discover that there is no room in the budget or that the owner wants to go in a different direction. The first step to getting your ownership to sign off on the purchase order is to get on the same page as early as you can. Ask the owner what their short- and long-term business objectives are and tell them you will be researching connected dash cams.
After you’ve done your research and decided on a product and vendor that you think is best, it’s time to get final buy-in from the decision-makers. Here are three tips to help in that conversation:
Dashcam Frequently Asked Questions
Will our insurance premiums go down?
Some insurance providers offer discounts for installing a camera system. It is best to check with your insurance provider for more information. Many SureCam customers experience a reduction in premiums as a result of improved safety, incident frequency, and over claims costs.
How to make the dashcam case to drivers?
Honesty is the best policy when introducing dash cameras into your fleet. Consider holding an all staff meeting to review topics such as the installation process, how footage is collected and stored, and why you chose to invest in this technology. We find that drivers are usually on board once they learn more about the product. Read below for more simple ways to get driver buy-in: How to Get Driver Buy In
Is it the right time to invest in camera technology?
If you have been considering investing in dash cameras for your fleet, you’re not alone. Keeping up with new technology trends is a very important part of staying up to date in the transportation industry. Click here for more information about investing in camera technology to find out what is right for your business: Investing in Camera Technology
How do I get driver buy in?
Many fleet managers wonder how to introduce cameras to their fleet without upsetting their drivers. Fortunately, we find most drivers easily get on board when they find out how this technology can benefit them. Read more here about ways to get driver buy-in: How to Get Driver Buy In
What is a connected camera?
Connected cameras are a valuable incident reduction tool for fleet operators. There are several different kinds of cameras to consider such as forward-facing, cabin-facing, and dual-facing cameras. Each of these can provide different benefits for your fleet.
The main difference exists in how the information is stored. SureCam connected cameras have cloud connectivity, allowing for ease of notification and storage as opposed to other SD card cameras. You can read more about connected cameras here and see how they have helped other fleets here: What is a Connected Camera?, Accident Reduction Case Studies
Will my drivers quit?
Many fleet managers worry about their drivers reacting negatively to dash camera technology. Fortunately, SureCam generally sees positive reactions. We have found that most drivers easily get on board when they see all the ways cameras can benefit them. Read more about bringing new technology into your fleet here: Will My Drivers Quit?
Can cameras improve driver retention?
Connected cameras are not only useful for reducing false accident claims, but they can also be a useful tool to help retain your employees. For example, the footage can be used for rewarding safe driving behavior, setting up incentive programs, and professional driver development. Read more below for other ways cameras can help retain and motivate drivers: How to Improve Driver Retention
How do dashcams improve driver coaching?
Our real-time cloud connectivity gives you quick access to incident footage. This means you have nearly instant access to positive and negative driving events that you can review with your team to help promote best practice driving behaviors and stop accidents before they occur. Read more here for how to use video from your connected camera to help your fleet:
Improve Driver Coaching
How can I learn more about features?
Connected camera features will vary by camera type and provider, so it is important to look into what features will be most helpful for your business. The SureCam team has a 9-point checklist to help you determine what connected cameras will offer the biggest return for you: Truck Dash Cam Features Checklist
How much do cameras cost?
SureCam offers a competitive pricing package making connected camera technology accessible for fleets from 5 to 5000. More specific details about pricing will vary based on your individual technology package. Get in touch with a SureCam representative today to learn more and find a deal that works for you. Get Pricing or call SureCam at 1-855-870-7205.
What is the installation process like?
SureCam offers a simple three-wire installation process and our cameras come equipped with commercial grade window adhesive to make installation quick and easy. You will just need to secure any loose wiring and you can be on your way. If you prefer to leave the installation up to professionals, SureCam has a network of professional installers and can help you through the entire process.
Will I have a live view of my drivers?
SureCam offers custom trigger notifications that allow you to cut through hours of unnecessary footage and receive only the information that you will find useful. To learn more about the specific kinds of fleet monitoring available, read more here: Everything You Need to Know About Fleet Monitoring
Do I need to purchase an ELD or GPS through SureCam for my cameras to work?
SureCam does not require access to ODB ports and will not interfere with existing ELD or telematics equipment.
Fleet Management Trends To Watch In 2020
Something important to consider when choosing a connected dash camera solution is to think about how your technology package will fit in, stay compliant with, and help you stay on top of upcoming industry developments. A few of the trends expected to hit the industry in 2020 include:
- Recruitment Efforts for the Driver Shortage
- Increased Freight Services Demand
- Data Handling Updates
- HOS Changes
Be sure to read up on industry developments and have a conversation with your camera provider about their technology to help you make an informed decision about the options that will best serve your fleet.
A common concern for safety managers is driver push back against cameras. Use these simple tips to get driver buy-in for cameras.
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Though dash cams have been in use for years, the way video is shared and stored has evolved. Truck dash cams used to rely on SD cards to store and share video. Now, connected dash cams instantly transmit video to the cloud.
SureCam’s Accident Reduction Case Studies SureCam’s video-based safety platform enables fleet safety managers and operators to reduce risky driving behavior, mitigate risk, and improve ROI. Our clients use SureCam connected…
Choosing a camera solution for your fleet is an important decision. Our 9-point checklist can help you decide what features your fleet really needs without paying for extras that you won’t use.
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Driver safety incentive programs give fleet safety directors a way to recognize and reward safe driving. Using video can make it easier to implement an incentive program.
Many companies are unsure whether it’s the right time to invest in this technology. We know that fleets have to balance a number of priorities, but most SureCam clients will tell you that the right time to install cameras is as soon as possible.
SureCam: A Truck Dashcam Case Study
Improving Safety and Reductions Claims Cost
Lansberry Trucking launched in 1959 with a single truck, hauling coal. Today, with 80 trucks servicing customers across the US and Canada, Lansberry Trucking is a respected name in both short- and long-haul trucking. Founder Sam Lansberry II. remains active with the company, and his sons, Sam Jr. and Adam, continue the family’s legacy in the transportation industry as they handle the day-to-day business.
Rising insurance costs, an ongoing driver shortage, reckless non-commercial drivers, and litigious individuals have created the perfect storm of challenges for the trucking industry. Lansberry knew they had to be innovative in order to compete, and previous safety measures and incident response practices weren’t a sustainable solution. For example, Lansberry was relying on disposable cameras for snapping on-the-scene photos and GPS systems for piecing together an after-the-fact narrative.
A $550,000 CLAIM, FOR AN ACCIDENT THAT WAS NOT LANSBERRY’S FAULT. UNDERSCORED THE SERIOUS NEED FOR CLEAR EVIDENCE AND DATA IN THE CLAIMS PROCESS.
Last year alone, our claims losses reduced by over 80%”
— Samuel J. Lansberry II, CEO, Lansberry Trucking
Lansberry doubled down on their commitment to safety by hiring a Safety Director, improving driver training practices, and investing in camera technology.
Sam Lansberry II. sought a solution that would integrate seamlessly into day-to-day operations, support ongoing safety efforts, and positively impact claims costs. Lansberry cared most about instant notification, a simple web-platform, and outstanding customer service.
Rather than having to rely on the company’s previous approach – disposable cameras in each truck – Lansberry Trucking now receives network-connected, real-time footage from each truck in the fleet. This inarguable footage is particularly important for trucking companies, which are disproportionately blamed for accidents due to their ability to pay out settlements. Sam Lansberry II. describes SureCam as the most reliable product on the market, with the most instant feedback.
With a time investment of just 15 to 20 minutes per day, Lansberry Trucking’s Safety Director can review all footage from across the entire fleet.
Unsafe drivers, who posed a significant liability prior to the introduction of a camera solution, can now be selected out – and good drivers feel more protected than ever, thanks to the improved safety measures company-wide.
SINCE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SURECAM, LANSBERRY’S CLAIMS COSTS ARE DOWN BY 84.5%.