Truck dash cams make significant contributions to both road and driver safety in a multitude of ways.
This article explores how dash cams work, their safety benefits, and tips for selecting the best dash cam for big trucks. Finally, we touch on some frequently asked questions to complete your understanding of the subject.
And when you’re finished reading, check out the other articles in our ‘Dash cams for trucks’ series:
- Dash cam for semi trucks vs cars: What’s the difference?
- Truck dash cam benefits for road and driver safety
- Can dash cams increase ROI for your business?
- Best semi truck camera system guide
How do dash cams work?
Dash cams, short for dashboard cameras, are compact devices that are installed in vehicles to record continuous footage of the vehicle’s journey. While the functionality may vary depending on the model and features, the basic operation of a dash cam is as follows:
- Recording: The primary function of a dash cam is to record footage. Upon starting the vehicle, the dash cam starts recording automatically. Advanced truck dash cams often feature a dash cam front and back, capturing both views simultaneously.
- Storage: The recorded footage is stored in a memory card or the cloud. Most dash cams work on a loop recording system, which means when the memory card is full, the camera overwrites the oldest videos with the new ones. This ensures continuous recording without needing to manually delete old footage.
- Shock sensor and event detection: Many dash cams have built-in G-sensors that detect sudden changes in direction or impact, such as in the event of an accident. When such an event is detected, the dash cam automatically ‘locks’ the relevant footage, preventing it from being overwritten in the loop recording process.
- GPS functionality: A dash cam with GPS tracking can record the vehicle’s speed and location along with the video footage. This data can be overlaid on the video footage, providing crucial context in case of incidents.
- Parking mode: Some dash cams feature a parking mode where the camera can record incidents even when the vehicle is parked. This mode is typically triggered by motion or impact detection and can help identify incidents of vandalism or hit-and-run.
In short, dash cams are automatic, self-contained devices that begin recording as soon as the vehicle is in motion, storing footage in a memory card or the cloud.
7 safety benefits of truck dash cams
Dash cameras for truck drivers provide a range of valuable features to ensure road and driver safety. For instance, they’re useful for:
- Objective record keeping: They capture unbiased, factual footage of the road, the vehicle’s interactions with other road users, and the driver’s actions. This can prove crucial in resolving disputes or providing evidence in the event of an accident. It helps determine who was at fault, protects against fraudulent insurance claims, and speeds up the claim process.
- Monitoring driver behavior: Dash cameras for truck drivers can also monitor driver behavior. An in-cab dash cam with two cameras can capture what’s happening on the road and inside the truck. This can help fleet managers address driver issues such as distracted driving or fatigue.
- Theft prevention: Dash cams for truckers, especially those with motion detection features, can act as a deterrent for thieves. They can capture acts of vandalism or theft when the truck is parked, providing valuable evidence for insurance claims.
- Enhancing training and performance: Dash cams, particularly a front and rear facing dash cam, can be invaluable tools for driver training programs. Reviewing the recorded footage can help identify areas of improvement and facilitate constructive feedback. This can lead to enhanced driving habits, increased safety, and greater operational efficiency.
- Encouraging safe driving habits: Knowing their actions are recorded can encourage drivers to adopt safer driving habits. This form of self-monitoring can reduce reckless driving, speeding, or other dangerous behavior. A dash cam with speedometer can be particularly effective in promoting speed compliance.
- Aiding in emergency response: In case of emergencies or breakdowns, a live telematics dash cam can help pinpoint the exact location of a vehicle. This can significantly expedite response times from emergency services, potentially saving lives or preventing further damage.
- Fleet management and tracking: A fleet dash cam with GPS provides real-time tracking information that’s invaluable for efficient fleet management. Knowing the location of vehicles at all times helps managers make real-time decisions, improving logistics and overall road safety.
These ways demonstrate how truck dash cams play a pivotal role in enhancing road and driver safety, ensuring smooth operations and a safer working environment for drivers.
How to choose the best dash cam for truck drivers
Choosing the best dash cam for a truck driver requires careful consideration of several key factors. Here are some of the primary aspects you should consider:
- Video quality: The first thing to consider is the video quality. Look for a dash cam with a high-resolution camera that can capture crisp and clear footage. This is especially crucial for truckers who frequently drive at night. In low light conditions, a dash cam with night vision can provide clear footage.
- Features: Look for a dash cam with safety features like GPS, motion detection, and dual cameras. Depending on your needs, additional features such as parking mode, wide-angle recording, and driver alerts for speed or lane departure can be beneficial.
- Storage capacity: Depending on the duration and frequency of your drives, the storage capacity of your dash cam may be crucial. You don’t want to run out of storage in the midst of a long haul. Some dash cams offer loop recording which automatically overwrites old footage when storage is full.
- Battery life: For a truck dash cam, battery life is a vital factor. The dash cam should have sufficient battery life to last throughout your driving hours. Also, consider a dash cam with an auto-start feature that automatically begins recording when you start your truck.
- GPS capabilities: As previously mentioned, a dash cam with live GPS tracking is invaluable. It records the location and speed of the truck which can be beneficial in case of accidents or theft.
- Mounting and installation: A dash cam should be easy to mount and install. It should not obstruct the driver’s view. Wireless dash cams can offer an advantage in this area. Consider how easily you can transfer the dash cam between different trucks in your fleet.
- Durability: A dash cam for big trucks or semis should be durable and able to withstand extreme conditions such as heat, cold, and vibrations.
- Cost: Finally, consider the cost. While a good commercial truck dash cam is undoubtedly an investment, it should also offer value for money. Look at different models and consider their cost versus their features and durability.
Drive safely with a truck dash cam
A truck dash cam offers many benefits. Its ability to provide unbiased evidence, monitor driver behavior, and prevent theft makes it an essential investment for fleet managers, company owners, and truck drivers alike.
As next steps, evaluate your needs, compare different models, and choose a dash cam that best fits your requirements. Investing in a truck dash cam can improve safety, manage risk, and offer peace of mind to everyone on the road.
Yes, in most regions, dash cams are legal. However, there may be restrictions regarding where they can be placed to avoid obstructing the driver’s view.
The cost of a dash camera can range from $50 to over $500 depending on the features, brand, and quality.
Not all dash cams need WiFi. However, a dash cam with WiFi can offer additional features like video streaming, real-time alerts, and easy video transfer.
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