Is New Truck Monitoring Technology for Safety or for Spying on Drivers?

Technology has been created that enables fleet managers to monitor every move drivers make, even though they do not like it. While the drivers argue that the use of cameras is for just spying on them, fleet managers, on the other hand, have affirmed that all these systems are for the improvement of road safety.

Drivers feel that they are under scrutiny with the installation of systems that can locate the exact position of the vehicle, control the vehicle and even the semi truck cameras and dvr camera surveillance system, which can record and transmit real-time data on whatever is happening in and around the vehicle.

In addition, shipment status information, which in the past was limited to just a handful of transactions, can now be obtained in real-time, as monitoring can be carried out on a minute-by-minute basis. While drivers feel their privacy is being infringed upon, research shows that the monitoring systems have reduced accident occurrences.

Is truck monitoring spying?

Monitoring systems provide information on the driver’s every action—all the stops they make, their location and even at what speed they are driving. Drivers argue that this monitoring system plays no part in reducing accidents, citing research reports that say medium-duty trucks have a bad crash safety record when compared to heavy-duty trucks.

The drivers of heavy-duty trucks claim that the manufacturers have taken safety seriously, and have to a high extent complied with safety regulations. As a result, the number of crashes involving heavy-duty trucks has reduced. Other safety studies have attributed the reduction of accidents to safety accountability reporting system and compliance, an initiative started by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Some drivers do not have a problem with certain monitoring levels, and others have the opinion that video monitoring is an infringement on their privacy. However, this surveillance system can be used to curb any unauthorized stops or any unacceptable driving behavior.

Safety is a major concern

While commercial trucks account for a very little percentage of highway traffic, they are mostly involved in quite a high number of fatal crashes. Reports further indicate that the trucks involved in most of these crashes are medium-duty trucks as opposed to large heavy-duty trucks. While in recent years the number of crashes has gone down, onboard monitoring is believed to be one of the factors that have led to the reduction of these incidents.

The applications used are able to identify the location of the vehicle and at the same time discourage bad driving behavior, like sending texts while driving. Other applications come with video-based products, which are for safety and fuel management. Fleet managers are able to detect when drivers follow too closely, any time they hit the brakes too hard and any other practices deemed unsafe.

Originally the systems were aimed at boosting productivity

Safety was not the main reason as to why the monitoring systems were created. Many of these logistics companies wanted to track driver hours and also increase productivity. Safe driving behavior is a benefit that came as a result of these monitoring solutions. For example, some of these systems can brake automatically to avoid crashes once an obstacle is detected ahead. Initially, fleet managers were trying to avoid extra costs, like repairing vehicles and anything that can delay shipment, thus increasing productivity.

While safety is a priority, these systems look like they are for spying

Some systems have cameras that face drivers. Managers claim that the cameras are aimed at recording anything the drivers do that can endanger the safety or any stops that are not authorized, but the systems can be intrusive. Instead of cameras facing drivers, the logistics companies should educate the drivers on how this kind of technology can improve their driving skills and also boost highway safety.