Ask yourself this question. If you, as an HGV driver, get into an accident – even a minor fender bender – and it wasn’t your fault, how do you prove it? As a professional driver, your license and livelihood are at risk if you don’t, but the only evidence is a he-said-she-said scenario for an insurance company to sort through.
Not a great thought is it? But there is a way you can protect yourself and your license. It’s a little black box called a dash cam. It’s essentially a small camera that sits on your dashboard or sticks to your windscreen and faces out onto the road ahead. This gives a complete record of everything that happens while you’re driving – including accidents. The footage from dash cams has been used to prove driver fault for years, giving a full and factually accurate account of accidents and even being used to reveal ‘crash for cash’ scams. In fact, the reasons behind having dash cams in commercial vehicles are so compelling that security solution provider Cobra UK has asked the government to legislate for their use in all commercial vehicles. So far the government has done nothing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Here are 4 reasons you should install a dash cam in your HGV:
One of the biggest reasons HGV drivers specifically should consider installing a dash cam is for protection against the dreaded ‘crash for cash’ scam. This kind of scam has been on the rise over the last 3-5 years, and nearly always targets vans, HGV’s and other commercial vehicles. In this scam, a scammer will deliberately cause an accident with the vehicle. They might pull out directly into their path at a junction, cut them up on a motorway or pull in front and then slam on the brakes or slow down with no reason. This causes an accident, and the without any evidence to support the victim, the insurance companies will often side with the scammer and give them a pay-out. If you’re not sure what we mean, here’s a great example of a crash for cash scam in action, caught by a dash cam:
As you can see, the driver let their car coast in the fast lane of a dual carriageway. The driver of the HGV saw this and stopped long before contact was made. But the car behind the HGV didn’t see this, hit the HGV and forced the HGV forward into the scammer’s car. Without this footage, the HGV driver would have been found at fault, probably lost his job and potentially lost his licence too.
When you get into an accident that’s so severe you need to claim on insurance, you can easily get into arguments about whose fault the accident was. Sometimes the driver at fault will be easy to determine, but more often than not it can be a bit murky, with insurance companies relying on eye-witness testimony to make their decisions. But with dash cam footage, it’s like being an impartial passenger on board when the accident took place. It means insurers can see exactly what happened, and make their decision based on factual evidence instead of unreliable witnesses.
Speaking of insurance, dash cams can also have a nice little knock-on effect with your insurer. Many insurance companies are now seeing how positive the dash cam can be, and how much simpler it has made determining fault. Not to mention how many crash-for-cash scams they have revealed, saving the companies thousands in fraudulent payouts. All of that means that commercial vehicles with dash cams fitted can benefit from discounts to their insurance premiums from many brokers. Which if you run a fleet of vehicles, or even just one, can add up to huge savings!
This point is only really relevant if you run a fleet of HGV’s. Modern dash cams tend to come with dual lenses – one facing forward and one facing the driver. This means that not only can you protect your driver, but you can monitor their behaviour on the road as well. This means you can track if they are doing anything unethical or illegal – like using their phone when driving – and take action to stop it. Ultimately, it’s a great tool to ensure your brand is being represented at it’s best on the road, and that your drivers are being safe and responsible while they work.
At The LGV Training Centre, we put a lot of emphasis on the safety and protection of drivers on the roads. The rise in crash for cash scams is worrying, especially since the only real defence is having a dash cam installed. Then at least if the scam does happen, you have evidence that it wasn’t your fault, and you can protect your license and your livelihood from being stolen away. If you would like to know more about dash cams, or our recommendations for brands and models to get, just get in touch with us today.