What is the Best Dash Cam for Commercial Fleets in 2021?

Picture a scene on a highway: One 16-wheeler drifts into another, causing the truck in the left lane to smash into the median. The event is caught on the left-lane truck’s dash cam, leaving little doubt who’s responsible.

Incidents like this are only one reason that your commercial fleet needs dash cams. Today’s fleet management solutions are sophisticated and robust, using high-quality cameras, AI-enabled analysis, edge computing for real-time feedback, and digital tools to enable accessibility and ease-of-use.

Such dash cam systems are a far cry from early versions, which police were using as early as the 1930s. By 2007, dash cams were in use among 61 percent of local police departments in the U.S. and were starting to gain traction for use in private vehicles, beginning in Russia and rapidly spreading around the world.

Today’s dash cams are small and high-tech, and are used by everyone from individual drivers to large commercial fleets. The global market reached $2.8 billion in 2019, when 36 million dash cams were sold worldwide, according to Grand View Research. Demand is expected to increase steadily for years to come, potentially reaching $7.5 billion by 2027.

Trucking fleets can benefit from advanced dash cams with features like motion detection, GPS, Wi-Fi connectivity, analytics, and other options. An estimated 10 million of these advanced versions were sold in 2019, and this corner of the market is likely to grow at 15 percent by 2027.

There are many dash cam options vying for customer attention in this hot market. So what is the best dash cam for commercial fleets? Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of dash cams and what to look for.

What Is a Dash Cam?

A dash cam, short for dashboard camera, is sometimes called a car digital video recorder (car DVR), driving recorder, or event data recorder (EDR). Dash cams are small cameras that are installed with a dash cam mirror mount, typically in the front windshield (near the rearview mirror) and/or the back or other windows. They might continuously record or be triggered to start recording by certain events, such as a sudden stop or rapid acceleration.

The term “dash cam” doesn’t do justice to the sophisticated systems that commercial fleets have at their disposal these days. These AI-enabled fleet camera systems use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other advanced technologies to go far beyond simply recording. These fleet management solutions can provide a 360-degree view, give real-time feedback to drivers, and track and report good driver decision-making.

How Dash Cams Work

Dash cams come in various types, from the very basic to the full-surround, technologically advanced solution. They typically work either by continuously recording or being set to begin recording when triggered by incidents like hard braking and accelerating.

Basic Dash Cams

Basic dash cams are mounted in the front windshield and record the road ahead of the vehicle. They record continuously on a removable SD card, replacing the previous footage upon reaching the memory limit. This option has the advantage of being a simple “set it and forget it” set-up, which makes them popular on the consumer market. They may be hard-wired into the vehicle’s electrical system or plug into a 12V socket or cigarette lighter.

Advanced Dash Cams

Wireless dash cams send footage to the Cloud, where it can be stored indefinitely, analyzed by computer software, and retrieved by a third-party if needed. They incorporate a wide variety of features, such as audio recording, GPS logging, speed sensors, accelerometers, and uninterruptible power supplies.

The speed sensor and accelerometer are the elements that trigger recording in the case of dramatic events. Some advanced dash cam systems useful for commercial fleets record continuously in order to capture more subtle instances of dangerous driving, such as distracted driving and aggressive driving like rolling through stop signs, weaving in traffic, and tailgating.

Interior/Exterior and 360 degree Dash Cams

Some advanced dash cam systems include multiple cameras to provide a full view of the vehicle. Front, rear, and side dash cams can enable full-surround visibility, and allow for monitoring of loading and unloading as well as driving. Drivers are able to monitor all views on a dashboard in the cab.

Some systems also incorporate an interior view, allowing video recording of the driver. While parents might use this in a car to keep an eye on their teenager’s behavior, this option is particularly useful for trucking companies. The in-cabin cameras can record the driver’s actions to allow oversight of driving behavior and add more useful information about any incidents that arise.

How Netradyne Driveri Works

Netradyne’s Driveri system records continuously in HD, capturing and analyzing 100 percent of driving time. Using edge computing, the system analyzes the dash cam footage within the device in real-time, allowing for immediate alerts regarding problems and feedback on the driver’s performance.

Driveri identifies every stop sign, traffic signal, and road sign, and analyzes the compliance exhibited by the driver. The system can assess speed, following distance, aggressive drivers, and distracted driving, and can identify when a driver is making responsible and proactive driving decisions.

The system’s GreenZone Score is the industry’s first driver score built on positive driving, versus solely focusing on negative events. It shows a real-time assessment of the driver’s performance, and provides in-cabin audio alerts about violations or problems. The system can notify management immediately through the Driveri app or dashboard when a driver commits a violation that needs to be addressed.

A Netradyne dash cam gives drivers access not only to in-cab audio alerts but also to data about their driving via the Driveri mobile app or the Driveri portal. Automating this info-sharing reduces the need for management to step in and request changes; drivers can monitor their GreenZone score themselves and make adjustments to ensure the score stays high.

The Driveri comes in two formats: D-210 and D-410. The D-210, for small-to medium-sized commercial vehicles, is a dual facing dash cam featuring both inward- and outward-facing cameras. The D-410 fleet safety platform includes four HD cameras providing a 270-degree picture: one road-facing, one driver-facing, and two side window views. Both of these systems record continuously and analyze thousands of data points directly on the Driveri device.

Netradyne dash cam inside vehicle while driver is driving on the road

Creating a 360-degree Dash Cam

The average dash cam provides a view out the front of the vehicle, and some standard systems provide 270-degree visibility. Netradyne’s DriveriHub fleet safety solution adds onto its base systems to become a 360-degree dash cam. Designed for expandability, the DriveriHub supports up to four additional cameras for additional side facing or inside views.

With WIFI connectivity to the Driveri device, DriveriHub uses the same high-quality HD video for added visibility. DriveriHub includes support for an in-cab monitor designed for the driver to provide a complete view of all camera angles.

How To Install a Dash Cam

Dash cam installation is straightforward. Commercial fleet drivers will mount the device close to the centerline of the windshield, within the wipe swipe zone, and then run the cable down through the dashboard to the diagnostic port in the engine. That port type depends on the engine type, and thus the type of cable plug required will depend on the details of the vehicle. The most common plug types are 6-pin, 9-pin, and OBDII. After the dash cam is plugged in, it draws power and vehicle data.

Netradyne Driveri dash cam installation can be easily completed with the help of an Installer app that enables system verification, pairing Driveri to the vehicle, and streaming live camera views. Once the driver has used the app to begin streaming dash cam videos, they’ll be able to adjust the camera to ensure that the dash cam mount is positioned to allow for outward views that minimize the vehicle hood.

The Benefits of a Dash Cam

Dash cams provide a slew of benefits to commercial fleets, as well as to individual drivers. While drivers have generally been slow to warm up to dash cams, with the new generation of high-touch technology, they are beginning to understand the benefits to their careers and their safety, leading to a much more accepting attitude and improvements in driver retention for companies that invest in top-of-the-line systems.

#1 Preventing Distracted Driving and Aggressive Driving

One major benefit of dash cams, especially AI vehicle camera systems with real-time alerts like Netradyne Driveri, is the reduction of distracted driving and aggressive driving. Drivers who engage in poor decision-making behind the wheel can be notified of mistakes in real-time and can review footage to learn how to do better in the future.

#2 Increasing Safety Compliance

What is safety compliance? It’s just what it sounds like: the process of getting and staying in line with safety laws and regulations.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) uses its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores to assess the risk motor carriers pose to roadways. Roadside inspections, crash reports, investigation results, and registration details all contribute to these scores. Dash cams can help keep a carrier’s score in a good range by ensuring that defensive driving techniques are continually reinforced by technological feedback.

#3 Providing Dash Cam Exoneration Videos

Emphasizing the way that dash cams can provide exoneration for truck drivers in the case of an accident is a strong way to promote driver buy-in for their use. Considering that the American Trucking Association reports that 80 percent of car-truck fatal crashes are caused by car drivers, it’s essential for commercial fleets to be able to provide evidence of what happened in any given instance. Exoneration footage of crashes provide for some crazy dash cam footage that often showcase examples of aggressive driving on the part of car drivers.

What Makes Netradyne Dash Cam Different?

If you’re asking, “what is the best dash cam on the market?” think about instead asking, “what is the best dash cam on the market for my needs?”

The answer will depend on your fleet size and purpose, as well as how extensive a view you need; how much you value real-time feedback, continuous streaming, and video quality; whether you want your drivers’ good driving behavior identified; and other concerns.

Netradyne Offers High-quality, Continuous Video to Large Fleets

Netradyne’s commercial vehicle camera systems are designed for larger fleets, compared to many competitors that can be installed in a single or small number of trucks. Netradyne Driveri comes at minimum with dual dash cams, and can be set up to have front and rear cameras as well.

Netradyne is also different from legacy systems in that it records and analyzes driving 100 percent of the time, instead of being triggered by events like hard braking or acceleration. This means that far more of the drivers’ actions (and inactions) can be stored and analyzed. Netradyne’s extremely high-quality cameras allow for not only real-time analysis that takes street signs and other elements into account but also the production of very clear footage that can be used in court.

Netradyne Assists in Driver Retention

Netradyne Driveri is a great answer to the riddle of how to develop driver buy-in for the use of dash cams. This is the only fleet management solution on the market that recognizes and incentivizes positive driving behavior, which helps empower drivers and leads to greater driver retention.

Drivers get a GreenZone Score that is based not only on mistakes but also on use of defensive driving techniques that increase safety and prevent accidents. The feedback that the system offers amounts to continuous truck driver coaching that can increase good driving behavior.

DriverStar, an extended feature to GreenZone, uses AI-enhanced capabilities to provide a much deeper view into positive driving behavior, analyzing data and alerting safety managers when a driver reacts safely to a challenging situation. This feature provides drivers the opportunity to improve their GreenZone score based on these events, and allows safety managers to recognize and reward extraordinary driving behaviors exhibited by their truck drivers.

D-210, D-410, and Dash Cam Features Are Flexible and Easy To Use

Netradyne is also different from competitors in the flexibility and quality of its system and cameras. The two base options — D-210 and D-410 — provide either two or four viewpoints via extremely high-quality video that can clearly read road signs and license plates. The DriveriHub can be added on to make the system into a 360-degree dash cam that the driver can monitor easily from inside the cab.

In addition to all these benefits, Netradyne is simple to install. The dash cam mount attaches easily and the Installer app assists in making sure the viewpoints are optimized and the streaming is working properly.

Don’t Go Without a Dash Cam

Dash cams can’t prevent every accident but they sure can help. The one we imagined at the beginning of this article may still have happened even if the passing truck had Netradyne’s most advanced system on board. But the likelihood might have been slashed.

These systems not only help drivers be defensive in real-time, they also serve as a digital training method for increasing good driver behavior and increasing safety, to the benefit of fleets, truckers, and other drivers.

Check out Netradyne’s Driver Training Tips to see how these technology solutions fit into the project of setting drivers up for safety on the road.

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