Eyes in Front

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth…1.8 million? According to Dr. James McQuivey:

1 picture = 1,000 words

Video typically shoots at 30 frames per second

Therefore, 1 second of video = 30,000 words

30,000 words x 60 seconds (a common explainer video length) = 1.8 million Words

A video contains more information than any document or accident report. This may be why shipments of dashcams, small mountable cameras placed on dashboards, were up 20% in 2018.

While these cameras are often set up to capture footage of the road in front of a vehicle, they may be used in other ways as well. Some dashcams point inward in order to observe whether the driver may be falling asleep. This data is then provided to the fleet manager in order to make decisions regarding individual drivers and to mitigate fleet risk as a whole.

Keep Vehicles Secure Both On And Off The Road

Dashcams keep vehicles out of the shop and on the road. Having a video after an accident reduces the time it takes to process a claim. This means less time dealing with claims adjusters, deliberating fault and thus, a faster turnaround time on repair because a video is an irrefutable account of events.

Dashcams also help protect drivers or owners of vehicles that have them installed. Some are motion activated and can turn themselves on when a car is vacant. They can also upload video to phones, computers, or other devices. This allows drivers or employers to monitor their vehicles even when they are not in them, which can lead to the arrest of thieves and vandals, or even deter crime.

Let Dashcams Be Your Eyes Around Town

Dashcams can help monitor the conditions of light poles, landscaping, and other property. One drive through town is enough to record the condition of these things and the video can later be reviewed to determine what may need repair. This can save time and help keep the district in better condition.

Dashcams cost less than a speeding ticket, which they may also help prevent. Between 2007 and 2014, thousands of erroneous speeding tickets were issued by robotic cameras in Illinois. This could happen anywhere, and dashcams allow drivers to prove their innocence, saving time and money.

Dashcams cost $50-$500. Some are battery-powered or use an auxiliary port (cigarette lighter) while others are hard-wired. Installation costs vary depending on the model selected, but the benefits far outweigh the costs. Remember how many words those videos are worth.

Consider This…

When purchasing a dashcam, consider features like battery life and night mode. Although most trips are less than 30 minutes, a dashcam with only a few hours of battery life can be helpful as a monitoring tool for those longer trips. It is important to make sure your camera can fully function at night. Increased visibility hazards can lead to accidents, which in turn requires a dashcam that can capture video at night.

Before purchasing a dashcam consider the legality of mounting it. Though they are called dashcams, they are not mounted on the dash. Rather, they are affixed to the windshield by way of a suction cup. Many states have laws regulating the windshield of vehicles and what can or cannot be attached to it. Colorado’s statutes say that the camera must measure no more than 4″ from the top of a vehicle’s windshield.

Aside from mounting the dashcam correctly, you should also be aware of laws regarding surveillance. While there are no laws against recording video in the US, there are laws against recording audio without alerting those being recorded. You can avoid this issue by purchasing a dashcam without audio capability, disabling the audio function, or alerting passengers that they are being recorded.

The Bottom Line

While a dashcam may not prevent an accident, it will mitigate the time and effort required to get your vehicle repaired and running again. For as little as $50 you can protect your vehicle from false claims, monitor property, and secure the vehicle while not in use.

Districts can apply their Safety Grant funds towards the purchase of dashcams. Many counties have already adopted the dashcam as a standard practice and more continue to do so each year. As dashcams become more and more popular in the country, installing them in your district vehicles now puts you ahead of the trend.

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