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Best Dash Cams for Trucks and Why You Need Them

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Managing a fleet can often feel like a juggling act. With so many balls in the air at once, it can be overwhelming to keep track of them all. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had more eyes and could have one eye on each truck and driver? That’s where dash camera systems come in.

Dash camera systems are a helpful tool for fleet managers who want to keep a better watch on their truck drivers and equipment. Modern dash cams offer a wide array of features to fit any fleet management need. If you want to simplify fleet management and save money in the process, here are the best dash cams for trucks and why you need one.

What Is a Dash Camera System?

A dash camera system is a dash-mounted camera system that keeps a watchful eye over everything that happens in front of a truck. Many dash cams have a rear-facing camera to watch the driver as well.

Whenever the truck is running, the camera is recording. That way, it’ll be able to capture any events, no matter how minor or major, so you can review them later.

Why Do You Need a Dash Camera System?

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Installing a dash camera system on your fleet trucks is more than just so you can see what’s happening on the road. Here are just a few of the benefits dash cams can bring to your fleet:

  • Prevent lawsuits – If a motorist causes your driver to get into an accident, you’ll have video evidence of the event. There won’t be any dispute over what happened, so you can resolve the issue without long and expensive court cases. Plus, if someone accuses your driver of something they didn’t do, you can easily prove it’s not the case and avoid false claims.
  • Save on insurance costs – Most insurance providers offer discounts for fleets that use a dash camera for trucks. Contact your insurance company to see what discounts you could be eligible for.
  • Watch your drivers – Rear-facing dash cams watch the driver as well as the road. That way, you can make sure they’re practicing safe driving techniques instead of talking on their phone or being distracted.
  • In-depth analytics – Some dash camera systems integrate with the truck to provide detailed information including fuel levels, sharp turns, and hard braking, letting you keep tabs on how well your truck drivers are operating the vehicles.
  • Reduce accidents – When the driver knows their fleet manager is watching, they’ll be more inclined to drive safely. A truck dash cam is a great way to reduce accidents by ensuring safe driving practices.

With the reduction of false claims and accidents, it’s not uncommon for transportation companies to save hundreds of thousands of dollars by simply installing a truck camera system on their fleet vehicles.

Just imagine, your driver accidentally rear ends another truck on the road. The other driver states that your driver didn’t apply the brakes at all and slammed directly into the back of his truck. Even worse, he claims the accident caused a neck injury, putting him out of work for over a week.

Since your driver did the rear-ending, it would be incredibly hard to prove your company is not at fault, and you’d likely settle for a significant amount of money. But luckily, you had a truck dash cam.

Instead of writing a big check to the other transportation company, you can play the dash camera footage of your driver clearly applying the brakes before hitting the back of the truck. The video also clearly shows that there was minimal damage to the back of the truck, since your driver just barely stopped in time.

Further, following the accident, the dash cam picked up the other driver walking around the scene of the accident completely injury-free.

With all the concrete evidence of what really happened, you can save thousands on this accident case – easily paying for the cost of the dash cam system. It’s not uncommon for transportation companies to save hundreds of thousands of dollars on claims because of footage from a dash-mounted camera system.

What Are the Best Types of Dash Camera Systems?

Choosing the best dash cam system for your fleet can be difficult because there are so many different types to choose from. You want a truck camera that can provide you with the tools and features you need, but you also don’t want to break your budget.

Here’s a quick list of the most common types of dash camera systems transportation companies use:

Front-Facing Dash Cams

Front-facing dash cams are the age-old standard for dash camera systems. They’re a single camera mounted on the dashboard of the truck that looks forward through the windshield. These are best for transportation managers who are most interested in looking out at what’s happening on the road.

The main draw to front-facing dash cameras is that they’re typically the most budget-friendly option. There’s only one camera, so you don’t have to worry about paying for more optics or technology.

Front-facing dash cameras are best for simply viewing the road. Their primary purpose is to provide evidence in the event of an accident that can exonerate your company or driver.

While these cameras won’t be able to actively watch your driver, you can still keep tabs on some driving habits such as speeding or following distance behind vehicles.

Dual-Facing Dash Cams

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Dual-facing dash cams take everything you love about the front-facing model and adds a camera that looks back toward the driver. These cameras can keep tabs on the traffic straight ahead and your driver at the same time.

While it might cost a bit more than a simple front-facing dash cam for semi truck, these dual-facing systems are great for fleets that want to keep an eye on their truck drivers’ actions. You can easily see if they’re using their phones, eating, or distracted in other ways while behind the wheel.

Since the drivers know you can see them, this also ensures they’re more likely to follow the company’s rules when operating fleet vehicles. You won’t have to worry about as many safety violations because the drivers will know they’re more likely to get caught, so they simply won’t do it.

Dual-facing cameras are ideal for fleets that need to keep tabs on their drivers in the cab.

Multi-Camera Dash Cam Systems

Not all accidents happen ahead of the vehicle. Sometimes, it’s helpful to know what’s going on behind the truck, too!

Multi-camera dash cam systems have multiple cameras that keep a watchful eye over all sides of the vehicle. Some have two cameras—a front-facing camera on the dash and a rear-facing camera attached to the back of the truck—and others have more than two that can even cover the sides and blind spots of the vehicle.

Multi-camera systems are best for fleets that want to watch over more of the vehicle than just a standard front-facing camera. You can see everything including other motorist incidents like rear-end collisions, unsafe following practices, or unexpected lane changes, as well as driver-caused issues like backing into loading docks or taking narrow turns—specifically for semi-trucks with long trailers.

The main downside to multi-camera dash cam systems is that they’re more expensive than other types of dashboard camera systems because there are simply more cameras! More cameras mean more cost. Installation can also be a bit more difficult, since you’ll need to install several cameras all over the vehicle and link them to a central control panel.

But despite the few downsides, multi-camera dash cam systems are the best way for fleet managers to have a 360-degree view of their vehicles to protect the company from anything that can go wrong around the entire truck.

Standalone vs. Connected

Camera configurations aren’t the only difference between types of dash cam systems. Once the footage is recorded, what does it do with the video?

The most basic type of dash cam system is the standalone. This type of system relies on SD cards to store all footage internally. Then, if there’s an issue, the fleet manager can take the SD card, upload it to a computer, and watch the video.

While this is the most basic (and generally cheapest), it also means you have to physically have access to the camera to view the footage. You can’t upload the footage wirelessly or view it in real time. If there’s an accident, you just have to hope the camera and the memory card are still intact.

AI-Enabled Dash Cams

The best dash cam for truckers isn’t just the one that can just see the road; it’s one that can also react to events in real time! AI-enabled dash cameras for trucks are quickly changing the transportation industry.

Instead of simply recording the road and the driver, AI dash cams for trucks can understand what’s happening around the truck and react in real time. For example, if a vehicle stops short in front of the truck, the AI dash cam can emit a flashing light to alert the driver of the change, helping them take action more quickly and hopefully avoid an accident.

This AI doesn’t only stop with watching traffic. It can watch your drivers as well. If the AI identifies the driver getting distracted on their phone, for example, it’ll send an alert to the online dashboard where safety leaders and supervisors can see it and act accordingly.

For the latest in driver and fleet safety, an AI-powered semi truck camera system is the best option for fleets looking to lower their bottom line, save money, and of course, keep their drivers, equipment, and everyone around them safe.

Choosing IntelliShift Dash Cameras

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While there are many types of onboard cameras, the best type of dash cam for most transportation companies is a dual-facing system with wireless connectivity and AI-enabled preventative safety capabilities.

This configuration gives fleet managers all the information they need to make informed decisions about their drivers, equipment, and the fleet as a whole. The dual-facing cameras can watch over both the road and the driver for any signs of issues, the AI can actively watch for dangers or distractions in real time, and the wireless connectivity beams all that information directly to the fleet manager who can access it in real time. It’s the best possible situation for managing your fleet of commercial vehicles.

If you’re ready to streamline fleet management by deploying dash cameras at your transportation company, IntelliShift dash cameras are designed with you in mind. Armed with AI tracking capabilities, wireless technology, and a host of intuitive cloud-based dashboards, they give fleet managers everything they need to boost on-the-road safety and maximize their ROI.

With IntelliShift, all the AI-driven data is stored seamlessly into the cloud. It’s compiled to create driver scorecards to keep track of each drivers’ overall safety score based on criteria like attentiveness, braking, speeding, and other traffic violations.

Not only can you use driver scorecards to track your drivers’ abilities, but the drivers themselves can also see a breakdown of what affects their score. Like any human, they’ll want to compete to get their score higher and higher, leading to a little friendly rivalry that results in an overall safer fleet. This data transparency could even help get drivers on board with implementing the new technology.Ready to implement a new era of safety and productivity for your transportation company? Request a live 30-minute demo of IntelliShift’s state-of-the-art dash cam system today, and see the difference it can make for your business.