It was back to school recently for the team at Dash Witness when we visited Taunton to install the BlackVue DR450 in their fleet of coaches and minibuses. Set in picturesque grounds, the magnificent building is ‘home’ to pupils from both the UK and abroad. Many are boarders, but around 180 pupils are transported daily from various locations in Somerset and their safety and security is the school’s number one priority.
Nationwide, hundreds of school coaches and buses are on our roads at the busiest times of the day when difficult traffic situations or incidents can and do occur. A dash cam is the impartial witness to any accident and is fast becoming a ‘must have’ for car drivers and fleet owners, so it’s only a matter of time before schools realise the potential of having them on board as well.
Take Taunton for example; their fleet consists of three coaches, twelve mini-buses, three MPVs and a couple of utility vehicles and over the last couple of years, they have had a number of claims made against them which they were unable to defend due to lack of evidence. The school decided that the only way forward was to install dash cams across the whole of their fleet – a move which has been welcomed by both the professional drivers and academic staff using the vehicles.
Taunton school was suffering from opportunistic people making false claims against its drivers. They needed the video evidence and peace of mind that a dash camera can have. They also wanted to improve driver behaviour.
After running through a variety of options, it was concluded that a front-only camera would be the best option.
The BlackVue DR450 is a simple, front-only camera which is tamper proof and will record from the moment the ignition is turned on until the vehicle is turned off. To retrieve footage you simply take the SD card out of the camera and put it into a PC/laptop.
Once the customer was happy with the proposed kit, they placed the order. The cameras were setup in our office and an installation date was arranged. Bearing in mind that the vehicles were used on a daily basis to transport pupils to and from school, it was agreed that half-term would be the best time. Our engineers spent a couple of days working on the vehicles making sure they were all completed to a high standard within the scheduled time to be ready for the pupils’ return after the break.
Upon completion, the engineers checked that the customer was happy with the camera position in each vehicle and gave instructions on how to use the viewing software to watch footage and change the camera settings before heading back to the Dash Witness office.
Find out more information on the BlackVue DR450 camera system as well as the benefits it has had for Taunton School, watch the video below.
If you would like to discuss the requirements of your fleet with one of our experienced team members, please visit our fleets page. To view the video about Taunton school please click here.
Smart Witness are a pioneer in commercial grade fleet dash cameras and were the first to integrate telematics and 3G enabled hardware into their dash cams. This use of technology provides an effective fleet management tool improving safety, security and reducing costs. Dash Witness are recognised as a key partner to Smart Witness and we recommend their products to all of our commercial fleet customers.
One of the most common enquiries we receive from fleet operators is, “can we have a fleet dash camera that has the ability to not only track vehicles, but also send us footage in the event of an accident?”. Our answer is yes, the Smart Witness KP1 provides such a solution. The KP1 is tamper proof, forward facing fleet dash cam, that can incorporate a 3G modem and a data SIM to provide both vehicle tracking, and remote access to the captured video footage.
This is all accessible through a single online portal called Smart View. Smart View provides an intuitive way to track vehicles in real time and notify you of events which include, impact accidents, speeding and even harsh acceleration, braking or turning. It doesn’t stop there, once you receive a notification you’ll be able to look at a number of still images taken at the time of the event and decide whether or not to request a video file from the fleet dash cam.
Smart View Portal
The map screen above provides an overview of each vehicles locations and automatically refreshes every 30 seconds, zooming to include all the vehicles. Each vehicle that has been active in the current 24-hour period is displayed on the left hand column with an icon representing the current status.
This provides a quick way to see if a specific vehicle has been active, or if it’s currently moving, idling or parked. Vehicles that have not been active for the last 24 hours are displayed in the right hand column and will display the date and time they were last in use.
There are a few additional features on this screen, the most useful is probably the ability to enter a postcode and then locate the nearest vehicle, this is great if you need to quickly redirect drivers to a new location.
Or Alternatively, you can select to perform a historical postcode search and enter a date/time frame to find out if a vehicle was in that area at the time specified. This can be beneficial if you’re dealing with a complaint from a customer, or member of the public, and need proof of a vehicle’s location.
On top of this you can also check a box to display the level of traffic which provides a colour overlay on top of the roads. Red meaning very heavy traffic, and black meaning avoid at all cost. If it’s green, you are good to go.
A Vehicles Route
If you want to see a detailed picture of the route a specific vehicle has taken, you can do so by finding it listed in the left hand column and clicking on the blue steering wheel icon.
This will move you through to the vehicle “Activity” tab, here you will see an overview of the day’s journey with each individual 30 second update reported in the form of an icon. You can quickly see if there have been any event triggers, any of interest are represented by a camera icon. A summary box is shown in the top left of the window and provides detail on max. speed, average speed, distance covered and number of times the camera has detected harsh braking, harsh turning, harsh acceleration and shock impacts.
If you find an event and click on the camera icon you will be shown a series of still images that represent that point in time, this is a handy way to quickly preview the incident and decide if further investigation is required. If it is, you can then choose “Request Video” from above the listed log of movement and send a direct message to the camera, asking for a 20 second video clip.
Once this has been submitted you will need to wait for the camera to respond, if it is on and active this usually only takes a coupe of minutes. If the vehicle is off, and the camera has shutdown, the message will be queued and your request will be fulfilled the next time the ignition is switched on.
We would always recommend fitting this fleet dash camera with the KP1-INT1-S battery hardwire kit, it allows the camera to stay on after the ignition has been switched off. The cameras will stay on until the voltage in the vehicle has dropped by 1 volt, this is generally 1-2 hours in cars & vans but can vary considerably depending on battery size, health and how far/often the vehicle is driven.
Once the video clip has been sent through to the server it is stored and accessible for 100 days, this is the same for all tracking information and the still images.
There are many other features that we haven’t explored in this article, here is a quick summary of some of the more useful ones:
Reports – You can run reports based on date/time for all vehicles, or individual vehicles, so you can see a detailed picture of the distance and time the vehicles have travelled.
Driver Behaviour – The portal has a page that will track and grade drivers in comparison to each other. Over time this provides a useful insight into who the more effective drivers are, and where additional training may be required.
Geo-fencing – You can set areas and alerts, this will notify you each time a vehicle enters or exits said area.
Depots/Sites – Depots and sites can be used to create further alerts, reports and show where vehicles are in relation to specific sites.
Map/Dashboard – There is an option to display the map full screen so it can be shown on a monitor in the office. Likewise a dashboard can be shown to alert you to events as they take place.
Fleet Dash Cam Benefits
This is an extremely powerful tool for a fleet manager, many of our customers benefit from this technology. One of the positive pieces of feedback that we hear time again, is the speed in which it allows you to process and deal with an incident. Whether it is an accident, driver behaviour, customer enquiry or general operations improvement. All the information you need is laid out in one clean and accessible portal ready to be actioned. In the event of an accident, it isn’t unusual for the fleet manager to be able to download, review and then send the footage onto the insurer, or relevant party, before the vehicle in question has even made it back to the depot.
The cost savings in time alone will pay for this equipment. However, on top of this, you’ll also see driver improvement, which can result in immediate fuel savings especially in larger HGVs. Additionally, a reduced number of accidents and minor knocks are likely because the driver is aware of the camera and is accountable for his/hers actions. As a result, this will help to lower premiums and reduce maintenance costs. But it’s not all about preventing poor driver behaviour, in fact most professional drivers are just that, professional and safe. For those drivers, dash cameras offer added protection and will protect and prove their innocence if something goes wrong.
If you’re interested in a demonstration of this fleet dash cam, or would like a quote or more information on the Smart Witness KP1, get in touch now using 01865 598599, or the form below. We’re an active bunch and will usually get back to you within a few hours.
Here at Dash Witness we install a wide range of dash cameras throughout the UK into a variety of different vehicles. We pride ourselves on providing great customer service, and take a very hands on approach to the installation and buying process of our customers.
ISG Steel contacted us to enquire about dash cameras for their fleet of trucks. The specific features required for their dash cameras included:
Front and rear camera
Tamper proof case
Remote notifications and video retrieval
The Smart Witness KP1, with an additional rear camera, met all of their requirements. The KP1 dash camera has an array of features, such as an 170° viewing angle, an option to add a second camera, 3G/4G communication and a tamper proof case.
The power feeds are taken from the fuse board directly using Add-A circuit adapters, this supplies the camera with its own fused circuit. This is a neat and tidy method of installation and makes the cameras easy to remove when changing vehicles.
We provided bespoke brackets to mount the rear cameras in a suitable position at the back of the vehicle. These not only record video evidence, but when the vehicle is put into reverse the image is displayed on a monitor fitted in the cab.
Finally, the attending engineer tested the camera system to ensure everything was working correctly. This included the 3G/4G notification feature which automatically sends an email to the fleet manager in the event of an accident.
We pride ourselves in providing outstanding customer service and will be happy to answer any queries you might have prior to purchasing and after. If you are looking to buy and install a dash camera please call us on 01865 598599 or Request a quote today.
Vehicle cameras, or dash cams as they have become known, offer commercial fleet operators numerous benefits. Below we have created a thorough guide showcasing these points.
Dash Witness has been developed to offer guidance and advice in selecting the correct dash camera solutions and have a streamlined process to deliver these solutions to individuals or large fleets consisting of hundreds of vehicles.
First, lets cover the benefits of fitting dash cameras:
Solid Evidence In The Event Of Collision
If one of your fleet vehicles is involved in a traffic collision it can become a costly and lengthy process. The insurance companies usually have to deal with protracted differing witness statements and it is often the case that it is one word against another. These statements can often be inaccurate as the shock of being involved in a collision can lead to discrepancies in the recollection of events.
A dash camera doesn’t blink, lie or forget so you can rest assured that the footage is going to provide solid evidence to end any dispute. The speed in which a claim can be processed is greatly improved, this plays an important role in keeping costs and stress to a minimum.
Crash For Cash Scams
Unfortunately it is a reality that can’t be ignored, “crash for cash” or fraudulent collisions are more common than ever. The IFB (Insurance Fraud Bureau) reported that- “Each day insurers uncover 381 fraudulent insurance claims worth more than £2.7 million. That’s 2,670 fraudulent claims a week costing honest customers £1 billion a year. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. We estimate that there is a further £2 billion of undetected fraud”, see full report.
That is a huge figure and for those who have a number of vehicles on the road, the odds aren’t good! The good news is that most of these scams are easy to spot. The innocent driver may not realise at the time of the event, but video footage allows review and analysis which can quickly show the true intent of the fraudulent party.
This video provides an interesting insight into how a “crash for cash” scam may be executed and a general overview of the increasing rise in motoring scams within the UK.
Protection When Parked
It is not uncommon to see someone in a multi-storey car park reverse into a vehicle and drive off. In the majority of cases the damage is minor but it may still result in an insurance claim, this is a headache for fleet operators and can cause additional worries if your fleet consists of leased vehicles.
A single facing dash cam may not always necessarily capture the actually impact but there is a good chance it will capture the driver and/or vehicle registration. The odds are improved with a front and rear camera installation.
Unfortunately fleet vehicles are not always treated with the same respect and care as a personally owned vehicle. Fleet operators can often find themselves having to deal with broken lights, dents, scratches and sometimes worse. When confronted the drivers response can be one of bewilderment, “Gosh, I hadn’t noticed that!”
Accidents do happen but repeat offenders can soon become a costly burden, video footage will provide you with the evidence needed to hold the guilty party to account.
Valuable Goods Stolen In Transit
Most fleets carry valuable goods, whether this be tools, mechanical equipment, chemicals or electronics, these can provide an ideal target for criminals. The majority of which seem to be opportunistic crimes whereby the driver has left the vehicle unlocked whilst he or she may be unloading. Or simply being too complacent at a familiar site, if they’ve made the trip a hundred times, without having experienced incidents the odds of a theft may seem slim.
As a fleet operator you can set stringent rules explicitly warning the driver to the lock the vehicle whenever it is left alone, but people get lazy- rules are broken!
Even more regrettably not everyone you employ will be an honest and trustworthy member of society. They may well decide to leave the door unlocked whilst they grab a bite to eat, allowing a well timed passer by to empty the contents of the vehicle.
Either way, a strategically placed camera(s) can give you piece of mind and when needed, the evidence to see what has really occurred. Moreover, simply having camera equipment fitted will act as a powerful deterrent to most.
We Had To Mention It – Insurance
Insurance is a costly expense for any driver but can be a complete nightmare for fleet operators. Dash cams have gradually forced their way into the consciousness of the insurers, who now sing the praises of the benefits afforded by a dash cam.
For the insurer and fleet operator, video footage means a quicker claims process. This ultimately means less money is spent processing a claim, good news for everyone! Insurance companies have seen these benefits and are now actively rewarding those who are proactive in installing dash cams, this is especially true for fleets who frequently file claims and may be considered a high risk.
Monitor Your Drivers Behaviour
A final point, which we have touched on previously, is the ability to be able to hold your employees to account. At the end of the day, they are an extension of your brand and business. Recklessness, road rage, and general misbehaviour are not the way in which most employers would choose to promote their business.
A lot of dash cameras have the ability to record video, audio, speed, g-force and the route taken. This can prove a valuable tool for employers who need to check up on the behaviour of an employee. If required, certain dash cameras can be fitted with a tamper proof case.
How Can Dash Witness Help Your Fleet?
Dash Witness can offer valuable advice and recommendations to guide you in choosing the correct dash cameras for your fleets requirements. There are plenty of dash cams available, with various features and varying levels of quality. Dash Witness, will take the time to learn about your specific requirements and application.
Once the correct dash camera has been chosen we are able to book your vehicle(s) in with our nationwide mobile installers. They can be booked to install at a location and time convenient for your business.
For large fleets, we are able to create a bespoke online booking portal. This allows fleet operators access to our installation diary, they are then able to book the installation dates themselves for complete flexibility, saving time in the process.
Dash Witness will continue to support you after the installation and can provide footage retrieval services if required. These can be tailored to suit your business model and may include remote support or on-site services.