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The evidence is in: Every driver undoubtedly needs a camera system in truck

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The evidence is in: every driver undoubtedly needs a camera system in truck
This photo shows Netradyne’s Driveri Portal Event Access View with choice from eight different camera views. (Courtesy: NETRADYNE)

The evidence is in. Every driver needs a camera system in the truck. And, if your truck has a camera system that is purchased and installed by your carrier, buy a second one.

Disclaimer: the author owns and utilizes a dash camera in every personal vehicle, including rentals.

The majority of large carriers, 5 trucks or more, have elected to go with in-cab camera systems. The reason is simple, they save dollars. In crashes where the driver isn’t at fault, video is used to dissuade a claimant from filing a lawsuit, or to convince judge and jury when one is filed. When the driver IS at fault, carriers can offer settlement quickly, saving legal fees and court time.

Some are as simple as one camera pointing out over the hood while others have multiple cameras that record video of everything from the space around the vehicle to the driver – you.

Although the devices are referred to as “cameras,” video isn’t the only data that’s recorded. Some record audio as well, adding any comments you make to the radio station you listen to and other sounds to the evidence saved.

Additional data is provided by collection devices built right into the device. GPS data is used to determine speed as well as location. Accelerometers record sudden starts and stops and sometimes abrupt movement from side to side (swerving.)

Some devices add data collected from the engine control module and other computerized systems, recording speed, RPMs, gear selection and other data.

A key difference in brands and models is in how the data collected is saved and transmitted. Some connect through the vehicle’s telematics system, transmitting video data along with speed and other vehicle data, including GPS location. Some transmit through cellular networks on a periodic basis, like once per day. Some store data until it can be downloaded at company locations, while others store data on memory cards, usually micro-SD type cards.

Regardless of how data is stored and transmitted, one fact remains. The data is owned by the carrier, not the driver. That may not be an issue in most cases, but issues can arise when the driver wants to access or use the video. That’s why it’s important to have a personally-owned recorder, too. It’s possible that data from a personally owned camera could be requested by law enforcement personnel at the scene or even subpoenaed later, but at a minimum the owner can legally contest such actions and has at least some choice. In cases where video exonerates the driver, it can be provided voluntarily but at least the driver has some amount of choice.

Garmin’s DEZLCAM offers a dash camera built into a GPS unit that also provides features such as traffic updates and commercial vehicle routing. However, a selection of stand-alone dash cameras can be found at most truck stops, box stores and, of course, the Internet.

When selecting a camera, choose one with a resolution of at least 800 X 480 pixels at a minimum. Higher resolutions not only provide clearer videos at night or when visibility isn’t the best, but can also provide a digital zoom, allowing photos or video to be magnified when necessary to identify important details, like license plate numbers.

While many cameras have internal data storage, many record on mini or micro SD cards. This type of storage allows removal of the memory card, which can ease data retrieval and transfer when it’s desirable to save or transmit images or video. Instead of downloading video through a cable, the card can be inserted directly into a laptop or desktop computer and saved.

Of course, playback through the device is necessary as well so that video can be reviewed on site and shared with law enforcement officials as necessary.

Some cameras allow the owner to select the amount of data stored with the video. For example, internal devices that record speed, location and other data may be disabled so that video only is recorded. For units that also record sound, many devices allow the owner to disable this as well.

In these days of heightened safety awareness by carriers, law enforcement and government agencies, as well as Interstates lined with billboards advertising legal services from attorneys “specializing in personal injury,” dash cameras provide an added measure of security for every driver.

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Transflo adds Surfsight video technology to its platform of freight solutions

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Transflo adds surfsight vehicle video technology to its platform of freight solutions
Surfsight provides real-time video visibility and insight into fleet performance and challenging situations on the road, helping fleets reduce risk and insurance claims while improving safety and productivity. (Courtesy: Transflo)

TAMPA, Florida — Transflo, a mobile, telematics and business process automation provider to the transportation industry, has announced the AI-12 Dual Facing Dashcam solution as part of its Mobile+ ecosystem of digital and telematics solutions for truck fleets and drivers.

Surfsight provides real-time video visibility and insight into fleet performance and challenging situations on the road, helping fleets reduce risk and insurance claims while improving safety and productivity.

Integrated with Transflo’s telematics platform, the cloud-connected Surfsight dashcam uses front-facing and cabin-facing cameras. The camera uses built-in artificial intelligence to detect hazards on the road, and infrared to recognize driver distractions in the vehicle. The driver is automatically alerted.

Surfsight streams from vehicles to secure cloud-based servers, providing fleet managers with continuous access to video. Managers can review video of groups or individual vehicles via a customized, secure, online dashboard using a web browser running on any type of device. Surfsight also provides access to on-demand video retrieval and review on the company’s cloud platform.

Surfsight dashcams cost just $200 and monthly subscriptions start at $25 per month as part of Transflo Bundle+, which extends the capabilities of the Transflo Mobile+ platform.

“Increasingly, video is an important tool for improving safety and operational visibility,” said Doug Schrier, vice president of product and innovation for Transflo. “The Transflo Bundle+ platform is the ideal way to incorporate vehicle video and telematics into your digital workflow.”

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U.S. trailer net orders closed 2019 down 51% from full-year 2018

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U.s. trailer net orders closed 2019 down 51% from full-year 2018
ACT Research reports that even though most of the major trailer categories showed month-over-month gains, the drop in dry can orders was enough to put the total industry results in the red.

COLUMBUS, Ind. – New U.S. trailer orders of 18,400 were down 13% month-over-month in December, and after accounting for cancellations, net orders of 17,700 dropped 11%. Longer-term comparisons show net orders down 35% year-over-year and 51% lower compared to full-year 2018, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer Report.

ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report provides a monthly review of the current US trailer market statistics, as well as trailer OEM build plans and market indicators divided by all major trailer types, including backlogs, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders and factory shipments. It is accompanied by a database that gives historical information from 1996 to the present.

“While seven of the ten major trailer categories posted month-over-month gains, the sequential 32% drop in dry van orders was significant enough to pull the total industry results into the red,” said Frank Maly, director of CV transportation analysis and research at ACT Research. “Continued softness in both freight volumes and rates are generating financial headwinds for fleets, and as a result, their investment plans continue to be extremely cautious.”

Maly continued, “Fleets are aware that, as a result of weaker OEM orderboards, lead times are dramatically shorter than this time last year, so any orders placed now are likely to be delivered in a much more acceptable timeframe. It is also likely that pricing will be more advantageous.”

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Peterbilt delivers model 579EV to Werner for electric-powered truck pilot program

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Peterbilt has partnered with Werner Enterprises for their electric operations. The 579EV utilizes a TransPower Energy Storage Subsystem. (Courtesy: Peterbilt)

DENTON, Texas ­— Werner Enterprises has selected the Peterbilt Model 579EV for their battery electric-powered truck pilot program.

“Werner Enterprises has long been regarded as an industry pioneer, and Peterbilt is honored to partner with them and have our 579EV lead their electric operations,” said PACCAR Vice President and Peterbilt General Manager, Jason Skoog. “Peterbilt is leading the charge in electric vehicle development, with three applications for zero-emissions performance.”

The 579EV delivered to Werner utilizes a TransPower Energy Storage Subsystem with a total storage capacity of 352 kWh.  It is driven by a Meritor Blue-Horizon Mid-Ship Motor Drive Subsystem with up to 430 HP, features an estimated range of about 150 miles and a charging time as little as 1-hour when a fast-charging system is utilized.

Funding for the tractor was provided through the California Air Resource Board California Climate Investments (CCI) program, along with the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

“Werner is committed to finding alternative ways to keep our trucks environmentally-friendly while staying at the front edge of technology,” said Werner Enterprises President and Chief Executive Officer Derek Leathers. “Now, we’re excited about putting on some real-world miles with a dedicated customer in southern California over the next year.”

Pricing and option availability for 579EVs will be available on the Peterbilt’s SmartSpec sales tool in the second half of 2020.

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