A Field Service Business's Guide to Dashcams
As part of GPS fleet tracking initiatives, dashcams have proven to be an invaluable tool as business owners and fleet managers alike look for more ways to improve performance and mitigate risks in the field. The benefits of dashcams include improving driver safety, curtailing erratic driving habits, providing video proof to validate or negate accident claims, and more.
However, finding the right dashcam solution to meet your operation’s specific needs is not always straightforward. In this FAQ, our goal is to provide a bit more insights on dashcams, including the key features that will help you achieve the results you’re looking for.
First, let’s start off with the basics, what are dashcams?
As the name suggests, Dashcams are cameras that sit on your vehicle’s dashboard. Beyond that very basic definition, dashcam features and functionality begin to diverge. Some dashcams only face the road, others have cameras that face the road and the driver. Some collect only images, others collect video clips. Another key component is audio, which is not a feature of all dashcams though can be a critical component in supporting your goals. Worth noting, in some states in-cab audio recording devices are outlawed, make sure you know your local regulations.
Are all dashcams alike?
While many look the same, the models do differ. Some Dashcam models with extensive artificial intelligence (AI) can be cost prohibitive and without much upside, while other Dashcam options can be too basic to provide key functionality that delivers the protection and data teams need to drive better results.
At ClearPathGPS, we carefully vet and test all our hardware and continue to update our Dashcam offerings based on improved technologies and service capabilities.
Can you buy a dashcam ‘off the shelf’ and use it without a GPS fleet tracking solution service provider?
While purchasing a consumer dashcam from Amazon or another store seems like a great and sometimes cheaper option, this will not deliver the same data and results needed to have a true impact.
For instance, with the ClearPathGPS Dashcam offering, it is designed to be implemented across multiple vehicles, with access to media in a centralized location. Most off the shelf cameras without the benefits of GPS tracking service integration uses an SD card with media localized to that card, in which you need to go in physically to access it, and could be tampered with. And while you would probably be able to get video clips of incidents, you wouldn’t necessarily have the capability to quickly find those clips, nor the data to validate how fast the vehicle was going, trends in erratic behavior, or other important telematics insights that help mitigate risks and protect your business.
What are some important features you should look for in a Dashcam solution offering?
While many service providers provide a wide variety of offerings, the key components that are important in getting the best results include:
- The ability for your drivers to give a verbal queue when an incident has happened for automatic flagging of those ‘events’ in your video library. This allows for a reliable and efficient way for your team to quickly find the clips needed.
- Capture footage no matter the time of day – infrared vision (more commonly called “night vision”) provides ideal lighting for driver-facing video feeds, without which video clips can be distorted and usable
- Additional protection when the vehicle is unattended – Guard Mode is a feature that enables the camera to detect bumps and break-ins, even when the vehicle is turned off
- Automatic upload of video on a frequent basis with media storage in the cloud – ensures your media is protected in case of damage to the dashcam unit
- Immediate access to media files to be able to view as soon as you need it – whether it’s responding to a customer call or verifying an incident, having quick access to video (within seconds of being recorded) is key
Is live streaming important?
Live streaming or what is often called Live View is a constant video feed from your dashcam. Rarely is this essential for everyday management of your operations. Live streaming can also be costly as this service is billed either per minute or by GB.
Dashcams are most commonly used to see what happened after an incident has occurred. With the right solution (such as ClearPathGPS!), continuous video clips are accessible within seconds of being recorded which negates the heavy costs otherwise incurred with live view. If it’s important for you to have a constant feed on a given Vehicle, then live view is ideal.
Are dashcams hard to install or use? Can my drivers unplug the units? Are they always online?
The good news is dashcams are easy to set up, with no professional installation needed. Plus with ClearPathGPS easy-to-install instructions, adding dashcams to your fleet is not a cumbersome task. Various mounting options provide different levels of security and are really a personal business choice based on use-case.
Dashcams are even online even when your vehicle isn’t running for a certain time period, and do not drain your vehicle battery. With the ClearPathGPS guard mode functionality, our system provides media events whether the vehicle is running or not.
Why should I get Dashcams?
Between insurance savings, driver training, and accident reconstruction and resolution, Dashcams easily pay for themselves.
- Curtail unsafe driving behavior: Changing driver behavior can be one of the most effective ways to save money in your fleet, and also one of the most difficult to achieve. Using actual driving footage helps facilitate ongoing guidance or set driver performance reviews. Dashcam footage combined with GPS tracking data enables an operation to call out instances of harsh braking, rapid acceleration or cornering, while also understanding the real world conditions the driver was experiencing. With better driving behavior, you can expect:
- Less wear and tear on your trucks, savings in maintenance costs
- Lower gas consumption, saving on fueling expenses
- Fewer tickets and lower insurance premiums
- As driving behavior improves, lower number of accidents across your fleet as a whole
- Quicker and more accurate resolution of accidents and traffic violations: At the lowest end accidents cost thousands of dollars, at the high end it can be enough to bankrupt your business. Dashcams allow you to review the footage of an accident, decide the best way for your business to proceed, and get to claim resolution expediently. Proven use cases include:
- Tickets – helps you determine if indeed your driver was at fault, and provides evidence if he/she wasn’t – our customers have used our dashcam and GPS tracking data to exonerate drivers.
- Clearly identify whose at fault – no more ‘he said, she said.’ Footage makes it crystal clear in most instance on who was at fault
- Resolve accident claims faster – being able to see the accident on tape often cuts down on hours trying to reconstruct what happened; and helps drive down lawyer costs, litigation, and insurance claims. Resolved claims in your businesses favor often results in receiving a claim payout faster
- Insurance Savings: Insurance companies will often give discounts for having dashcams installed, and in some cases are requiring them for commercial fleets. In addition, carriers have been rolling out incentive programs that provide a decrease in premiums when a good driving baseline has been reached – such as a reduction of harsh braking and speeding events per driver in a given month.
- Help in cases of theft: With the rising cost of goods, theft has become one of the more common issues that business owners face. With dashcams, you can not only see when a vehicle was bumped and/or tampered or moved when it shouldn’t be, you will receive a snapshot of your vehicle at the time. With the combination of GPS trackers and dashcams in your vehicle you will be able to:
- Track the location of your stolen vehicle
- See who performed the theft
- Help police track down and return your vehicle to you
Interested in learning more about the ClearPathGPS Dashcam offering, and finding out if they’re right for your operations? Reach out to us today!
At ClearPathGPS, we are focused on helping our customers improve their operations and bottomline. Our top-rated GPS fleet tracking solutions provide real-time data insights and tools needed to more effectively manage the vehicles, people, and assets businesses send into the field everyday. Can ClearPathGPS help your operations get better results? Let’s find out – request a demo or contact us today!