Technology: Risk and reward

Technology is playing an ever-increasing role in risk management, both in terms of aftermarket equipment and systems that are fitted to the vehicle.


Richard Browning NextbaseFrom Nextbase director Richard Browning

In 38% of all split liability claims, video evidence would have changed the outcome to a non-fault. In other words, dash cams can offer massive savings to any business with multiple vehicles – as well as protecting the individual drivers from fake and fraudulent claims made against them. There are also process time benefits, because insurers can resolve claims with dash cam footage up to 50% quicker, meaning that a commercial vehicle can be put back to work much sooner.

Dash cams are designed for their ease of use – they can easily be installed with the 12V power cable provided, or can be wired into your vehicle’s fuse box. Once plugged in, the camera is ready to go. All Nextbase dash cams are auto start/stop, so they are activated as soon as the ignition is turned on.

Yes. It is easy to review a dash cam’s recordings. Playback is available at the push of a button and allows you to re-watch clippings. The looping feature enables continuous recording of your whole journey to be made, breaking down the recording into small chunks.

Generally speaking, the UK van driver uses dash cams for insurance purposes. Although a camera may pick up something of note happening around a driver completely at random, nine times out of 10 footage is going to be kept because it will eventually be passed onto an insurance company. As professional drivers know, an incident doesn’t necessarily need to be serious for insurers to get involved. Any scrape or knock is worth keeping on file to prove innocence or to show fault in another driver.

Footage should be kept for as long as the operator in question needs to submit it to an insurer or a police department. We recommend doing this as soon as possible, however, which is why many models have in-built GPS and wi-fi. Wi-fi links to the app and allows motorists to share incident footage instantly with their fleet manager, allowing the claims process to start right away.

The system that should be at the centre of conscientious fleet mangers’ thinking is Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), says AA spokesman Luke Bosdet.

AA research shows that 15% of motorists with AEB fitted have avoided a collision with another vehicle, 5% have missed hitting a pedestrian or cyclist and 1.6% escaped a much more serious outcome from a road crash.

“It needs to be standard across the van industry; there is a lot of competition on the road, with people and cyclists and it could well be the difference between avoiding an accident and being involved in an accident that is your fault, which could end up with you losing your job,” says Bosdet.

For those not looking to replace their fleet, telematics is an obvious option, with the ability to record what a vehicle is doing. However, the expense required will put many fleets off, especially smaller ones, and they might be tempted towards mobile phone apps.

Tim Shallcross, head of technical policy at IAM Roadsmart says that you need to be sure of what you are recording. “What fleet managers ought to be clear on if they are downloading an app is what it is measuring,” he says. “Make sure you know what it is you are getting – try before you buy.”

However, the benefits are not limited to the scores the apps record, and the impact on driver behaviour is often more of a tangible outcome. “I try and get companies to get an air of competition among the drivers,” he says. “Whoever has the best score at the end of the month gets a prize.”


Managing risk by recording it

One way of helping drivers stay protected after a crash is to provide them with the tools they need to prove they were not in the wrong. A dash cam plays a crucial role in this, explains Richard Browning, director of Nextbase.

“Dash cams help to manage risks by recording exactly what happens on the road. By using a dash cam, operators are offered security with solid video evidence in the event of a traffic incident. However, even pre-incident, motorists with a dash cam installed have been proven to be 33% safer behind the wheel.

“Once footage has been captured, it can show who was at fault in an incident, the speed vehicles were travelling at and even determine whether an injury claim is realistic or not.

With so-called ‘cash for crash’ schemes on the rise in the UK, an independent and unbiased witness can be the difference between winning a case or losing one – thus effectively removing the risk of being falsely accused of something.”