Jose Cueva
Jose Cueva Jun 14, 2022

Dash cameras are the latest and greatest tool when it comes to fleet management, but they are not without concerns or controversy. For instance, in 2021 Amazon drivers complained that data from company-installed dash cameras was unfairly penalizing them for actions of other drivers on the road. But the truth is that dash cameras make drivers safer and protect companies and drivers from liability and risk—all key factors for construction companies looking to save money and improve safety. 

Tenna’s new TennaCAM 2.0 features AI technology and powerfully complements the data Tenna pulls from vehicles, completing the picture for fleet managers about what is happening with assets and drivers. Let’s break down why companies should consider dash cams, how to use them, and the benefits to be gained. 

Why do companies need dash cameras? 

For construction businesses, dash cameras can be used for so much more than merely recording driving events, particularly if connected to a GPS tracking system like Tenna. Contractors using Tenna know that they can derive an extraordinary amount of data from vehicles and equipment, including:

  • Real time locations 
  • Hours of use 
  • After hours movement 
  • Maintenance needs
  • Driving behavior
  • Fuel use
  • and more...
TennaCAM 2.0 paired with the TennaFLEET II Tracker

The beauty of dash camera footage—especially when configured for dual camera angles like the TennaCAM 2.0—is that video provides context to many of the usual GPS alerts. Is fuel use higher because vehicles are left idling, or because travel time has increased on usual routes? Was a harsh braking alert the result of careless driving or avoiding a collision due to outside factors? Dash cameras can be the missing puzzle piece that puts everything together. 

TennaCAM 2.0 connects to the OBD or JBUS port and allows the captured video to be matched to other data pulling from the vehicle. Equipped with AI technology, the interior camera can analyze driver behavior—including phone use, eyes off the road, and other distractions—and create alerts in the system or even audibly to the driver. 

How are dash cameras used? 

Dash cameras aren’t just a “nice to have” addition to your fleet management solution. They provide valuable context to a day’s worth of fleet data that helps solve huge risks for construction companies: managing accidents and improving driver safety 

Handling Accidents 

When an employee is involved in a work-related accident, the costs in medical, legal, and repair bills are compounded by the costs of lost productivity—both for the possibly injured employee and the managers involved in processing the paperwork resulting from the accident. According to a study in Injury Prevention, accidents resulted in a loss of “60 million days of work, resulting in annual productivity losses of over $7.5 billion.” When an accident involves other vehicles and occupants, the liability losses can be even higher. 

With TennaCAM 2.0, some of that time loss and liability can be reduced. Rather than waiting for law enforcement to gather evidence and complete accident reconstruction, the camera allows fleet managers to instantly share with police and insurance the indisputable footage of what really happened. If that footage shows that the employee was at fault, the company can speed up the resolution process with insurance and the injured party, avoiding extra legal costs. If the footage reveals the employee was not at fault, easy proof is already documented to avoid or expedite claims altogether, again saving time and costs.  

Also consider the hidden costs of an accident. Dash cam footage can be valuable in counteracting: 

  • Increased insurance premiums 
  • Diminished vehicle value 
  • Negative publicity 
  • Workers’ compensation claims 
  • Employee morale 

Employee morale is an important factor. Many managers assume that drivers will be reluctant to have dash cameras watching their every move. However, for years truck drivers and others who drive for work have been bringing in their own dash cameras to protect themselves from liability.  

A report in the Dallas Morning News detailed the reasons long distance truckers were capturing trip videos voluntarily. “Truckers nationwide … are mounting cameras on their windshields in hopes that video evidence will help protect their driving records, trucking licenses and jobs. They say they’re unfairly held responsible for many accidents in which they’re the victims.”

Improving Driver Safety 

Ask any teacher who conducted virtual lessons during the pandemic, and you will likely hear how difficult it is to assess issues and troubleshoot mistakes when you can’t see what is actually happening. The same is true for safety managers trying to improve driver safety or build a safety awareness program. Most safety programs for construction companies cover the basics: seat belt use, proper speed, gentle braking, and awareness. 

TennaCAM 2.0 RecordingWhen safety managers have access to interior footage from TennaCAM 2.0, they can specifically target their educational programs for the most common safety issues for their drivers. They can also use that footage to help fleet managers find solutions to previously unknown safety issues. For instance, if employees are frequently witnessed using their phones for delivery directions, a decision might be made to invest in dashboard systems that are easier to follow without taking eyes off the road. 

Anyone using Tenna to manage their fleet is familiar with driver safety scores based on data such as harsh braking events and speeding. TennaCAM 2.0 footage fills in the circumstances around those issues and allows safety personnel to collaborate with managers to correct and improve these conditions. 

An example: 

A fleet manager notes that most harsh braking events happen between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The safety manager views dash camera footage during this time and sees that drivers are in heavier lunchtime traffic and are also often eating their own lunches while driving. Together, the safety and fleet managers work to adjust schedules so that drivers are on the road during lighter traffic times and have sufficient time to eat when not driving. 

Footage from TennaCAM 2.0 can also help establish a reward/incentive program for drivers with stellar safety scores. For drivers struggling with safe driving habits, dash cameras offer a way to address the issues constructively, with tangible evidence of the behaviors that need to be corrected. 

What are the key features of TennaCAM 2.0? 

First, TennaCAM 2.0 works cohesively with Tenna fleet trackers to marry GPS data with video. This seamless integration gives fleet managers and decision makers a complete view of everything happening with assets and drivers. 

Additional features: 

  • Dual cameras—one focused on the interior of the vehicle and one focused on the road 
  • Automatic upload of videos to the cloud with sufficient internal storage to save videos when cell service is not available 
  • Customizable features, including audible alerts for distracted drivers and parking mode recording 
  • Infrared LED night vision Live streaming feed 

AI Technology 

TennaCAM 2.0 uses AI technology to detect things like driver distraction inside the vehicle. This can be important for several reasons: 

  • According to OSHA, drivers make an average of 200 decisions per every mile driven, so it’s easy to understand why distracted driving is a factor in almost 30% of all accidents.
  • Over 100,000 accidents, 40,000 injuries, and 1,550 deaths are caused by drowsy driving each year. OSHA estimates these numbers are underreported.

AI technology for interior cameras is designed to detect and alert when drivers appear to be fatigued, distracted, or using their phones. The resulting footage can be incredibly helpful in both training drivers and understanding the circumstances around incidents. 

What are the benefits of TennaCAM 2.0? 

At the end of the day, what are dash cameras going to bring to your business? There is, of course, a cost involved in equipping your fleet with cameras, including the cost of the camera hardware and the recurring monthly data costs. Is it worth the price? 

Let’s consider both direct and indirect costs of incidents involving vehicles. Think about what each of these might cost in a single accident: 

  • Workers’ compensation and healthcare 
  • Increased insurance premiums 
  • Legal settlements 
  • Life insurance benefits 
  • Property and vehicle damage 
  • Municipality fees for damaged lights, poles, etc. 
  • Man hours for processing incident and rescheduling work
  • Missing labor and time while employees recuperate 
  • Potential loss of business 
  • Bad publicity 
  • Regulatory compliance fines 
  • Safety record hits and loss of safety qualifications needed to win new business

Companies have reported significant decreases in accidents and financial losses after implementing effective safety programs and specifically the addition of dual facing dashcams. Nationwide Insurance instituted one such program for its own fleet and employees and saw a 53 percent decrease in preventable crashes and 40 percent decrease in motor vehicle loss costs.

Additionally, being able to effectively launch a reward/incentive program can boost employee morale while improving safety. In all cases, actual camera footage of what’s happening with drivers and vehicles on the road is essential to making cost effective and productive decisions. 

Adding dash cameras to fleets is rapidly moving from a “nice to have” item to a must have item for many fleets. They save costs, they save time, and most importantly, they save lives. 

Learn more about how Tenna’s dash camera protects our customers from liability.

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About Jose Cueva

As Co-Founder and Vice President of Product, Jose applies his first-hand construction experience and knowledge to deliver innovative platform solutions to a growing number of companies. His involvement in both architecting construction-specific solutions and delivering them enables him to cross over functional roles.