March 1, 2017
Should All Trucks Be Required To Have Cameras As A Safety Measure?
Every time commercial truck drivers head out onto the highway, they have the lives of hundreds of other motorists in their hands. These large vehicles dwarf passenger cars and SUVs and can easily cause severe if not fatal injuries if the truck driver crashes. For this reason, truck drivers are held to a higher standard of safety on the roads than other drivers.
Unfortunately, it is important to realize that, despite this higher standard, truck drivers are only human. They can make honest mistakes and can also make errors in judgment that lead them to engage in potentially dangerous behaviors, and 102,000 commercial drivers were involved in crashes in 2015 alone.1 If an accident occurs due to negligence,2 a truck driver and their employer should be held liable for all of the losses incurred by accident victims, including medical bills, pain and suffering, income lost, and more.
In order to seek compensation, however, a victim must prove that the driver was negligent. This can be difficult if no one witnessed the driver’s behavior and if there is no concrete evidence of what the driver did. One solution in recent years to both protect victims and hold truck drivers accountable for unsafe behaviors is for companies to install cameras in commercial vehicles.
How the Cameras Work
There are two main types of cameras that are being installed in trucks – forward-facing and driver-facing. Cameras that face forward toward the road will record the traffic, road, and weather conditions that the driver sees in front of them. If a crash occurs, footage can reveal whether a driver reacted to those conditions in a proper manner. Delays in reaction time can indicate distraction, fatigue, or other negligent issues.
Cameras facing the driver focus on the actual behaviors of the truck driver. For example:
- Did the driver look away from the road to reach behind the passenger seat?
- Was the driver texting or using a cell phone in violation of the law?
- Was there a passenger that caused unsafe distractions?
- Did the driver’s behavior seem impaired for any reason?
- Did the driver fall asleep at the wheel?
- Did the driver drink an alcoholic beverage or take drugs while driving?
All of these questions could be answered by watching the video footage from the driver-facing camera. These cameras can make it much easier for truck accident victims to prove negligence and recover for all of their injuries and losses.
How Cameras Increase Safety
Not only do commercial truck cameras help in the wake of a crash, they can also help to prevent crashes, to begin with. For instance, a truck driver may be tempted to take a swig of an alcoholic beverage if he thinks no one is looking or that no one will ever find out. The same goes for a driver who is alone in the cab sending a quick text message, assuming no harm or consequences will result.
However, if a commercial driver knows there is a camera focused on either them or the road in front of the truck, they may simply avoid any behaviors that may get them into trouble. This, in turn, can work to improve safety on the roads and decrease the number of crashes that occur due to preventable negligence.
Some trucking industry experts and drivers state that the cameras are an invasion of privacy and that no one wants to be constantly monitored while behind the wheel. However, individuals in other workplaces have their behavior regularly monitored by supervisors and cameras while they are on the job. Truck drivers should not expect differently, especially in exchange for safety risks.
While there is no current requirement for all trucks to have safety cameras, many large companies have caught onto the trend3 and there may be a regulation passed in the coming years mandating cameras on every commercial vehicle.
Discuss Your Rights with a Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorney Today
While safety measures may be improving in the trucking industry, crashes still occur each and every day across the United States. At The Levin Firm, we know how devastating the injuries and damage from a truck accident can be. We represent the rights of victims against truck drivers and trucking companies to ensure you obtain the compensation you need and deserve. Call for a free consultation today at 215-825-5183.