Commercial carriers know that safety cameras are the most effective solutions for improving fleet safety. However, fleet managers often hesitate to deploy dash cams because they worry about how drivers will respond. There’s a common misconception that cameras contribute to a culture of mistrust and that drivers are more likely to quit if they install them. Fleets don’t want to stir driver resentment.
However, our experience has shown that installing fleet video solutions can improve driver engagement and reduce turnover. The best way to get driver buy-in with cameras is to make them a part of a more extensive, comprehensive driver-first program that’s strategically rolled out. In a recent webinar, Netradyne sales enablement manager, John Morgan, discussed some best practices to help fleets get their drivers on board. We’ve summarized his 11 tips below.
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Before any rollout, meet with your drivers and explain why your fleet is considering investing in video safety. “Always start with the ‘why,’” says Morgan. “Share your organizational goals. Talk about the need to reduce CSA scores of unsafe events. Explain the litigious nature of the business right now. Mention how insurance rates are rising and how fleets need to protect themselves from risks.” When drivers understand that the cameras are there as a tool to get used to, they’ll become more accepting of the presence of dashcams.
Explain How It Works
Focus on clear communication about how the technology works and what drivers can expect after rollout. Otherwise, drivers may assume the worst—that cameras are there to watch them or that anyone can spy on them. To prevent misunderstandings, explain who has access to video footage, how long videos are stored, and how the videos will be used. “It’s a good idea to play video examples of what the cameras are recording,” says Morgan. “And if you’re using cameras with artificial intelligence (AI), mention that video footage is not evaluated by humans. Drivers are much more accepting of cameras when computers judge their driving.”
Ask for Feedback
Asking for feedback and providing the space for drivers to express their opinions will ensure they don’t feel like the technology is being forced on them. You can use online or anonymous surveys or schedule one-on-one meetings. After hearing from drivers, you might decide to adjust your deployment plan to address their concerns. For example, drivers might be amenable to outward-facing cameras but not inward-facing ones. You can also discuss a phased rollout of in-cab cameras as drivers grow more accustomed to the technology.
Give Drivers a Reason to Care
Be sure to point out that video technology has multiple benefits for drivers. Right now, staged accidents are the number one fraud scheme in America. Drivers are protected from fraud schemes with recorded video proof provided by the cameras. When drivers are blamed for accidents, they not only face legal battles but also risk damage to their careers. Video footage can exonerate them or at least distribute accident faults more accurately. Plus, cameras help lower insurance premiums. In some cases, fleets may even offer drivers higher compensation and bonuses for using cameras.
Recognize Good Driving
If video cameras are used to punish drivers for negative events, like speeding, drivers won’t see them as a helpful tool. To support a positive attitude, always recognize great driving performance before offering corrective suggestions. Says Morgan: “Make a big deal out of even minor improvements. Be loud with praise and quiet with criticism.” For example, you might send a regular email newsletter highlighting footage of excellent driving examples, like defensive driving events. Advanced AI-based cameras can capture and analyze the entire driving day, enabling managers to recognize good driving behavior across their fleets daily.
Multiple studies have proven that gamification boosts employee engagement by upwards of 60%. In fact, 72% of employees say gamification makes them work better and harder. Adding a little competition doesn’t need to be difficult. It’s as easy as adding a leaderboard to track driver scores. “One of Netradyne’s customers, FTS Recycling, gave out $25 gift cards to the best drivers each week,” says Morgan. “Although it was small, it had a huge impact because people like to win.”
Try to look at fleet cameras through the eyes of your drivers—when you do this, it’s easy to understand why they might feel like the cameras are spying on them. To help them change their perspective, you can remind them that cameras aren’t a watchdog; they’re more like a wingman. They protect drivers from fraud, prove they’re making good choices on the road, and provide valuable data about their driving habits to improve in their field.
Empower Drivers With Visibility
Like everyone, drivers have blind spots. That’s why it’s helpful to show drivers their videos to give them visibility into their performance metrics. By revealing unconscious behaviors and driving data, you can empower drivers to take ownership of their performance. “Recently, Netradyne did a study where we looked at over 2,000 drivers who were using an app and a dashboard,” says Morgan. “Their driving improved by 20 percent compared to drivers who didn’t have visibility into their performance.”
Go One Step at a Time
Change is almost always difficult and disruptive. Give drivers time to adjust to cultivate a positive response to your new video camera program. Once the initial communication and feedback period is completed, launch a 30-day trial with one group of drivers or with exterior cameras only. Afterward, reassess and adjust your plan. Next, choose small driving goals that build up over time, like reducing speeding or stop sign violations. Then, progress to a new goal, like having drivers use the driver app and discussing their performance data. When you’re ready, move on to gamification and incentive programs. Later, add driver coaching with fleet managers, in-cab cameras, and so on.
Use Incentives and Rewards to Encourage Participation
While owner-operators may initially opt-out of installing cameras and driving apps, you can encourage participation by launching an incentives program. Offer weekly cash, prizes, and bonuses for those who opt-in. To help drivers keep their enthusiasm for participating, don’t forget to reward even small driver improvements. “We often reward top performers and forget to acknowledge the efforts of the drivers in the middle of the pack,” says Morgan. “But small, incremental improvements matter.” Reward drivers with bonuses, swag, gift cards, paid time off, etc. Most fleets find that even nominal rewards work wonders.
In 80% of collisions, drivers are not at fault. Video cameras are a valuable tool for providing evidence in cases of litigation. Share these exoneration stories and videos in group meetings, via email, on the TV in the driver’s lounge, or wherever you communicate with your team. “We have one customer that launched a microsite that features all their success videos, which they’ve shared with both their customers and their drivers. These types of initiatives really create a culture of success. As a bonus, they’ve also found it has actually increased driver engagement,” says Morgan.
Fleets understand that gathering data is a big part of making better decisions and increasing operational efficiency. Dash cameras play a vital role in gathering data. However, many fleets worry about driver buy-in for dash cams. Every change involves some initial discomfort—especially when it can make a difference when introducing safety cameras.
Just remember to be transparent, open, and honest. Communicate early and often. Recognize positive driving, use gamification and empathy, and empower your drivers. These tips can impact driver acceptance.
Learn more about how Netradyne Driveri can help you gain drivers’ trust.