Will Video-Based Safety Eventually Exonerate Many Truck Drivers?
While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has already established that inattention, speeding, failure to yield, and unsafe lane changes are some of the top causes of truck accidents, a new Fleet Owner whitepaper on video-based safety (released by SmartDrive) makes the case that even though truck drivers are blamed for most of the trucking accidents in the U.S., 80 percent are actually the fault of the other drivers.
Most of the data gathered was possible due to more and more surveillance cameras being placed by state and highway authorities, as well as bystanders taking more of their own videos and making these accessible to accident reconstructionists. This could have a profound effect on liability, as video footage has, of late, attained a reputation for being one of the most reliable resources for establishing liability in general. While continuing other investigatory methods is still very important, of course, video footage like this does appear to be guiding liability investigations more and more.
Increased Reliance on Video Data
According to the experts, without video evidence, you have issues with law enforcement and courts providing excessive wait to witness statements. Video data has become particularly important during investigations in helping those involved determine:
- ECM data from the truck;
- Brake switch status (to see when driver placed their foot on the brake);
- Percent throttle and engine load (to see if driver was in cruise control); and
- Any safety systems engaged (for example, to see if lane change warnings were provided, etc.)
According to one in three respondents surveyed for the whitepaper, video safety systems were responsible for approximately 25 percent of exonerations and saved approximately 43 percent of time spent on processing claims.
Best Practices Using Video-Safety Programs
However, it is crucial that those implementing the use of video-safety programs follow best practices when it comes to implementing and relying upon these programs; practices such as:
- Ensuring that video footage is reviewed as soon as possible after an accident if it is going to help determine liability;
- Ensure that any video-sharing with third parties is strictly governed by nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements (to prevent dissemination of the videos);
- Make a corporate decision on whether these videos will be handed over to law enforcement or whether they will need court-ordered subpoenas to obtain them;
- Create video retention policies; and
- Ensure that any internal practices (such as sharing videos via internal communications) are protected by corporate counsel, if need be.
Experienced Fort Lauderdale Truck Accident Attorneys
If you have been involved in a truck accident, contact one of our experienced accident attorneys right away to find out how we can help. These cases often involve multiple complexities and severe injuries; sometimes even deaths. There can also be multiple parties liable, depending upon the circumstances. It is important that you work with someone you can trust while seeking justice while you recover. At Friedland & Associates, we provide the experience you can trust.