Amanda Gallegos has witnessed first-hand the evolution of fleet cameras. When she started working at Stewart Transport ten years ago, they already had in-cab cameras. As an early adopter of fleet technologies, Stewart under- stood the importance of cameras for mitigating claims and risk. Gallegos, now the Director of Risk Management, says the original cameras were the best available at the time, and they helped, but they left something to be desired.
In case of an event, the driver had to manually remove the flash card from the device and send in the evidence. Not only was this a hassle, it caused a significant delay in receiving the data. Once received, management would reconstruct the accident to the best of their ability, but it was often insufficient for mitigating claims and properly defending the company.
When the next generation of cameras came out, Stewart was quick to adopt the new technology. This upgrade eliminated the manual download from the flash cards. It also prompted improved driving behaviors like reduced speeding and increased following distance – and as a result, their CSA scores dropped by 60%. This was a major improvement.
However, Stewart found that they were still missing inci- dents. There was a lag in receiving the data, and the hu- man video review was resulting in errors. “Sometimes we were unable to go back and view the footage because too much time had passed,” said Gallegos. “These lost videos increased our risk in a number of ways.”
Stewart was ready for a more advanced solution. One that could help them mitigate claims with confidence, provide clear video footage and enable fast, dependable access to data.
They also wanted to set a higher performance standard for their company and drivers. It was important for them to show their customers that they were serious about safety and dependability.
Technology changes so fast, and we wanted to be two steps ahead in that regard. And the real-time aspect was key: both the immediate access to video and the driver scoring.
— Amanda Gallegos, Director of Risk Management
Stewart selected Netradyne’s Driveri® due primarily to two new technologies employed by the system:
“Technology changes so fast, and we wanted to be two steps ahead in that regard,” said Gallegos. “The peripheral cameras and the depth of vision were impressive. And the real-time data was key: both the immediate access to video and the driver scoring.”
Stewart was also experiencing a lot of theft and resulting claims from their Redlands, CA yard. “Thieves stole tires and parts, and we had no recourse,” said Gallegos. “We put Driveri cameras in two trucks that were parked in that yard, captured the video, sent it to the local police department, and they matched it to a suspect. We never would have been able to do that with our former camera solution.”
Just one incident for which we were exon- erated paid for all the Netradyne cameras. Exonerations go a long way. The cameras actually become a retention tool.
— Amanda Gallegos
Having a better, faster defense against claims was the most notable result for Stewart. “Just one incident for which we were exonerated paid for all the Netradyne cameras,” said Gallegos. “Even when we are at fault, the faster we can mit- igate the claim, the better. Now we can have information to the insurance company in 12 hours or less.”
Stewart also found that Driveri helped with driver retention. “Exonerations go a long way. When a driver has a not-at-fault incident, we share it in our safety meetings, and it helps with the driver buy-in. The cameras actually become a retention tool.”
Gallegos admits that adding internal cameras was not an easy transition. “We told the drivers the cameras were there to help them, and we asked them to try it out for a month. With this process, we gained their trust. If the driver didn’t buy into it, we decided they weren’t the right driver for us.” Gallegos says their current turnover rate is 40%, and their goal is 25% or less. Considering it was previously above 90%, she is pleased with this progress.
There can be a level of discomfort in adopting new technol- ogies – whether it be spending time on-boarding, learning a new system, or paying a premium. Over time, Stewart overcame that discomfort by fully committing to the solutions they chose. Now, cameras have become part of their compa- ny culture. Gallegos notes, “We will never not have cameras.”
Stewart Transport has been a family-owned, Phoenix-based company for over 21 years. With 150 trucks, they are a leader in refrigerated logistics, delivering grocery products around the western US. Safety, industry outreach, and high company standards have been the building blocks of their growth.