Commercial transport technology is changing at a rapid pace. Wireless charging roads, autonomous coaches on our streets and flying taxis above us; these developments are now within our reach. But in truth, these technologies are still a long way off for the majority of people. Instead, it’s the smaller, less conspicuous technologies that make a difference to ordinary drivers.
Features like inbuilt GPS, driver attention detection software and adaptive cruise control are all changing how we get around in subtle ways. But of all the onboard amenities available today, one of the most overlooked is the humble dashcam. Dashcams for coaches are quickly becoming an essential feature as operators begin to see their value as a tool to lower costs and increase efficiency.
So what purpose do dashcams really serve? The dashboard camera of today can serve multiple functions for drivers and operators, a far cry from the blurry footage and boxy designs of yesteryear.
Reduce insurance premiums
First and foremost, adding dashcams to your coaches will go a long way to decreasing your insurance premiums. After all, if you can provide visual evidence of your driver’s journeys, you technically pose less of a risk to the insurers.
Be warned, your insurance company isn’t obligated to lower your insurance rates simply because you’ve bought a dashcam. However, it’s generally accepted that installing dashcams on your coaches can lead to reductions, with some insurance providers offering up to a 15% discount for those with onboard cameras installed.
In 2015, insurers began accepting dashcam footage as evidence when settling claims. That means recorded journeys can give operators leverage in the event of an accident. Clear, incontrovertible evidence can be used to expedite investigations and reduce the amount of time a vehicle is off the road.
Protect against fraud
It’s a sad truth that some road users are willing to cause a crash for a quick cash settlement. It’s also a sad reality that fraudsters increasingly target company vehicles in a bid to extract bigger payouts. But with a dashcam, drivers can be assured that
These ‘cash-for-crash’ scammers often stake out their victims in advance. The very presence of dashcams on your vehicles could be enough to deter anyone from trying to scam you. Of course, if they do try to instigate a crash when your vehicle is stocked with CCTV, they’ll soon discover that their luck has run out.
Dashcams are also a handy addition for operators looking to integrate another layer of security to their fleet. While onboard CCTV gives operators total visibility of anything that happens on their coaches, it doesn’t capture the action outside. Capturing external footage won’t protect drivers and passengers in the event of a crash, but it can make drivers think more about how they’re driving.
While it’s true that some insurers suggest drivers cover or hide their dashcams when the vehicle is empty, a visible camera can act as a vital deterrent to criminals. Even the presence of a camera can be enough to make thieves think again.
Dash cams can increase more than just driver and passenger safety. With integrations for Pedestrian Auto Emergency Braking technology, coaches can potentially alert drivers to vulnerable road users and reduce the impact speed of a crash.
Front and rear dashcams for coaches are increasingly being used to track journeys and identify congestion points. When used in conjunction with tools like the Sygnal GPS and Engine Tracker, operators can begin to build up a detailed understanding of where vehicles are most likely to experience delays. From these insights, operators can begin to cut down on fuel consumption, reduce journey times and increase passenger satisfaction.
It’s not just about data analysis and route optimisation. Drivers are also in a unique position to capture stunning views. Picture driving through the scenic Scottish Highlands or exploring the twisting country roads of the Lake District; these images can be used to sell your journeys to new passengers and update your company website.
Improve training programs
Dash cams can also be a great source of information for new drivers in the form of visual training material. Offering visual instruction on how to manoeuvre tight spaces, respond to high-speed incidents and adhere to local driving regulations when on an international coach tour; dashcams can capture real-world illustrations of all these and more.
Video footage gathered from different driving situations can inform new practices and define standards for a new generation of drivers. Simultaneously, new drivers can record their journeys, then receive feedback from instructors on where they need improvement.
Things to bear in mind
While dashcams offer a great range of solutions to some big transport issues, there are some details every operator should be aware of. For instance…
- It’s an offence to cover or obscure front or rear windows in your vehicles, so any dashcams must be positioned correctly. That’s why Sygnal provides a handy guide to setting up and placing your cameras with every purchase of a Sygnal dashcam.
- As the operator, you are obligated to inform passengers that you have recording equipment on board. This can be done easily, however, with the addition of a clearly displayed vinyl sticker on your vehicles.
- Not every insurer will agree to use dashcam footage in a claim, particularly if the footage only provides a one-sided view of the incident. Of course, having a dashcam system is still a better option than not having any kind of footage protection.
Even with these considerations, dashcams are an invaluable investment for your coach company. With Sygnal’s centralised onboard CCTV system, operators can monitor footage from all of their vehicles and roll-out updates at the click of a button. Likewise, footage can be downloaded and stored on an external device as and when it’s needed.