In-Vehicle Camera Captures Unsafe Driving, Accidents
Conico Oil uses SmartDrive's in-vehicle video-based safety systems in each of its 27 fleet trucks. Photo courtesy of Conico Oil.
To help improve driver safety, Mike Goldberg wanted to be able to track each of his fleet driver’s behavior when behind the wheel. Using SmartDrive’s in-vehicle video-based safety system, Goldberg receives daily reports of what happens with the fleet vehicles.
“The SmartDrive reports have helped improve driver behavior,” says Goldberg, the safety manager for Conico Oil’s transportation division. “I have seen a decrease in speeding and unsafe lane changing. These types of driving behaviors can lead to a major incident.”
Based in Westlake Village, Calif., Conico Oil has been a retailer of gasoline for 26 years. About four years ago, Conico started its transportation business with eight trucks. Due to customer demand, the fleet has expanded and is now up to 27 Freightliner Cascadia tractor trailer trucks that deliver fuel to customers from Paso Robles down to San Diego, according to Goldberg.
Dispatched from its central office in Oxnard, the trucks average about 200,000 miles per year.
SmartDrive is a multi-tiered video-based safety program that integrates video, vehicle data, audio, and driving data for a comprehensive view of risk, according to the company. Each of Conico’s trucks contains two cameras: one in-cabin camera and one outside camera that both pick up about a 160-degree field of view.
SmartDrive reviews all video footage captured to score and prioritize critical safety events, and this data is provided to fleet managers. At Conico, Goldberg will review the SmartDrive driving data and watch the videos of when an event was triggered.
A driving event can be triggered by an unusual driving maneuver or hitting a pothole or other object. For Conico, Goldberg set up an event to be triggered when a fleet truck goes over 60 miles per hour or exhibits hard braking — anything that exceeds 8 or 9 miles per second when braking.
“We don’t see every event that is created through the camera systems,” says Goldberg. “The video gets scrubbed by SmartDrive. Let’s say the driver didn’t have his seat belt on when the event was triggered. That video would be sent to me. But if there isn’t anything wrong during an event, we don’t see that video. I would get inundated with videos if every event was sent to me.”
After reviewing the videos, Goldberg will set up one-on-one meetings with drivers — depending on the severity of the event.
“I will call up a driver if I see that he wasn’t wearing his seat belt,” says Goldberg. “But if it’s a more severe event like hard braking, I will bring the driver into my office and show him the video.”
In quarterly driver meetings, Goldberg and his team will discuss incidents or risky driving behaviors that occurred in the videos.
Since starting as Conico’s safety manager in November 2014, Goldberg has seen an improvement in driver safety.
“Once the drivers realized that we were using these devices and I was reviewing the videos, the driving behavior definitely changed,” says Goldberg. “The speeding has decreased and the no seat belt use went away.”
Distracted driving has also decreased among Conico’s fleet drivers. This includes in-cabin distractions such as fiddling with the radio or looking at cellphones while driving.
“If a driver hit a bump and caused the video to go off, oftentimes I would catch the driver with his cellphone in his hand or using it while on the dashboard,” says Goldberg.
In addition to helping improve driver behavior, Goldberg believes that accident recreation has been one of the biggest benefits of the SmartDrive systems.
“We have had some accidents in the past where our fleet drivers were hit,” says Goldberg. “If the SmartDrive cameras weren’t in the truck, we could have easily been found at fault for the accident. But once I pulled the video footage, I could see that it wasn’t our driver’s fault.”
Goldberg recalls a recent incident where one of his fleet drivers was involved in a “swoop and stop.” This is where a driver cuts in front of you and then slams on the brakes, causing you to hit the other vehicle.
“After the accident, I pulled the video footage and could see where the female driver intentionally pulled her vehicle in front of our driver,” says Goldberg. “Our driver saw it and was able to slow down the truck fast enough to avoid hitting her. But then she slammed on her brakes right in front of our truck. Our driver ended up hitting her car in the bumper. We sent the video to our insurance company and were not found at fault.”
An Conico Oil driver is exonerated from this incident via SmartDrive's video program.