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Why Dash Cams Are a Smart Addition to Business Vehicles

Dashboard camera use is on the rise. In fact, some vehicles now come with dash cams built in. The devices have become increasingly affordable as the technology has steadily improved. Today’s dash cams offer a host of ways to protect the safety of your commercial vehicles and the well-being of your drivers.

A dash cam is a small digital video camera mounted on an automobile’s dashboard that can record what goes on inside or outside a vehicle — even if the engine is not running. When considering dash cams, here are some recent features to keep in mind:

  • High-definition video
  • Built-in audio
  • Low-light recording
  • Large storage capacities
  • Motion-activated cameras
  • GPS and Wi-Fi capability
  • Inward-facing and outward-facing functionality
  • Multi-camera, 360°-view systems
  • Safety-coaching tools

Newer, dual-facing dash cams give you both inward- and outward-facing video. An outward-facing camera provides valuable information about road conditions, damage, theft, and accidents. Inward-facing cameras can monitor driver and passenger safety. Multi-camera systems give you the ability to see all around the vehicle, including blind spots.

Combined with telematics, these dash cams can help reduce harsh braking, speeding and reckless driving; decrease driver distractions; combat drowsiness and fatigue; improve driver efficiency; and provide evidence for liability claims. Here are some specific advantages to installing dash cams in your fleet:

  • Reduce risky behavior. Some dash cams come with built-in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). ADAS can alert drivers to potential safety hazards in real time, allowing them to make corrections and prevent accidents. Inward-facing dash cams can also detect distracted driving and keep drivers alert and awake. Outward-facing dash cams can help ensure safe driving by recording frequent lane changes, tailgating and other potentially unsafe behavior. As erratic driving diminishes, so may your accidents, traffic infractions and ultimately your auto insurance premiums.
  • Cut fleet maintenance costs. Safer driving means less wear on brake pads and tires and greater fuel efficiency. Driver coaching tools built into dash cams can also incentivize employees to drive more responsibly.
  • Exonerate drivers from accidents. Dash-cam video provides evidence you can use to contest claims that your driver was at fault in an accident. In addition to photographs, most insurance carriers now accept dash-cam footage to assist them in determining liability. Video evidence can also help you avoid litigation and speed up the claims process.
  • Document theft and vandalism. Dash cams can detect and deter thieves and vandals. Motion-activated cameras can record damage to your vehicle. Dash-cam videos are also an effective way to protect your fleet against many types of insurance fraud, including “crash-for-cash” scams.

Despite these advantages, some companies have resisted dash-cam adoption. Here are a few concerns that you should be aware of:

  • Dash-cam video can be used against you in a claim. Dash-cam recordings are considered discoverable, and you may be required to preserve recordings for a certain period after an accident. Even if there is no legal action, the other driver’s insurance company may request a copy of the recording.
  • Dash cams may be perceived as an invasion of privacy. Drivers may not want to be recorded, especially if a camera is pointed inside the cab. Employers should be careful not to share video or post it to social media. Also, in at least 12 states, it’s illegal to record a conversation without getting the permission of all parties.

Westfield commercial auto insurance

While dash cams are primarily used on commercial trucks, there are many ways that businesses using non-truck vehicles can improve safety and get great insurance. Find a Westfield agent to help you get started with solid insurance protection and a risk management program that will save you money on business auto insurance and workers’ compensation coverage.