Many truck drivers wonder if their every move is being watched. And the answer is yes – sometimes. Here’s what you need to know about what trucking companies can and cannot monitor, how they use recordings in various situations, and best practices for keeping your privacy protected.
Are truckers required to have a dashcam?
Yes, all commercial drivers must use them. In 2016, the U.S. Congress made amendments to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations that require commercial truckers to use dashboard-mounted video cameras in every vehicle under any circumstances, except for when the axle weight exceeds 26,000 pounds per axle (the regulations are designed primarily for trucks with two axles). The new law went into effect on December 18th of last year to increase safety and reduce fatalities and injuries resulting from large trucks.
Trucking companies and their drivers have been required to use dashcams since 2006. It is not just a requirement for commercial drivers but also applies to:
- School buses that carry a passenger younger than age 14.
- Vehicles used for towing trailers.
- Any vehicle that is carrying hazardous materials.
The law was signed into law on December 14th, 2015, by President Barack Obama, who requested it to be passed after six people were killed in a semi-truck crash in San Antonio County, Texas. And on December 18th last year, Congress finally passed the bill into law.
The use of a dashcam can be beneficial for both the driver and their company, and therefore, the new law should benefit both parties. The law makes it easier for truckers to get paid and avoids future disputes with insurance companies. Trucking companies will easily prove they did not have any fault in an accident, which will save money from litigation fees. It also protects truckers if a third party makes baseless accusations against them; this is how the law combats human predators who may file false insurance claims against commercial truck drivers or make other false allegations (this happens frequently). Furthermore, using video recordings protects the drivers by discouraging them from breaking traffic laws or performing reckless driving behavior.
Company monitoring methods
There are two types of monitoring used by trucking companies. The first type (and arguably the more widespread) is real-time monitoring which means exactly what it sounds like: cameras mounted in the cab watch you drive. This type of monitoring is very real, and while it used to be the most common form of trucking company monitoring, it has become rare due to new legislation.
The second type of trucking company monitoring is “surveillance,” which means that recordings of your driving are made and stored for later review. If there are cameras in the truck cab and on the road, this surveillance will occur – but it may or may not be recorded by the cameras, and at what point truck cameras record CCTV footage can vary widely.
To monitor your driving, the trucking company will have a camera mounted in the truck cab, or they might have a system installed that can take over the recording of your truck’s in-cab cameras.
Trucking companies almost always use surveillance footage, but it is not necessarily a violation to use real-time monitoring. However, there are rules to follow when deciding whether or not to use real-time monitoring.
Rules for real-time monitoring
-The trucking company should have official approval from the ICDT (International Brotherhood of Teamsters) to do tracking.
-It must be close-ended, meaning that it’s only monitored during one window of time.
-It’s supposed to be used for business purposes, such as speeding and safety violations.
-The company must notify you that it is going to take place.
Dash cams are beneficial for you and your family’s safety, and the safety of other drivers. Working in a profession that involves large vehicles can be dangerous, so it is necessary to be prepared for all kinds of accidents. With a dashcam, you will have video evidence and a way to record statements by witnesses, which they can refer to later on if you get sued.
Why is there a need for truckers to have dash cams?
The trucking Industry uses many public roads and is used for long periods, resulting in millions of miles driven each year. The number of fatalities and injuries caused by large vehicles has increased dramatically over the years. And one of the reasons why this happens is because most people driving trucks think they would never be involved in an accident themselves, which leads them to behave recklessly on the road. In fact, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), approximately 10% of all accidents involving large trucks are caused by reckless drivers who only serve as distractions for the driver in control.
Are dash cams really effective?
According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, dashboard video recordings have helped reduce both accidents and injuries caused by them by as much as 80%.
Do truckers still need to wear their seat belts?
Yes. You always have the right to get in touch with your auto accident lawyer if you were involved in an accident or if your loved one was; a lack of seat belt use has been cited as a contributing factor in most fatal accidents.
Where can I find dash cam apps?
Try the Google Play Store, or the Apple App Store. It may be a good idea to purchase your own camera if you are interested in using a dash cam.