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Herring Motor Company keeps classic line alive
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingApril 17 - April 23, 2019
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Event Data Recorders

event-data-recorder edr-03 174aaBy Brian J. Riker

Event data recorders are becoming standard equipment in many large fleets, yet they should have a place in every fleet. It isn't that we can't trust our drivers—we can—but we need to be able to defend their actions. Good drivers are valuable assets; as progressive employers, we must do everything we can to mentor, support and keep these folks employed.

Video image is impartial. Video data with reliable GPS location, speed and acceleration data can paint a clear picture of responsibility—a picture that can save you thousands in false liability claims.

How did your driver react? Were they paying attention? Did they do everything they could to avoid the collision? These are all questions that will be raised during an accident investigation. It is better to have concrete evidence on your side to support your position.

What if your driver's performance is not up to par? Event data recorders are excellent coaching devices when paired with a competent, respectful and compassionate mentor.

It costs several thousand dollars to hire and train a new employee, so why wouldn't you want to spend some of that money on retention and coaching? It is far less costly to coach an existing employee than to hire a new one ... who may have the same or even worse behaviors.

Drivers, this technology is not for your boss to spy on you or babysit you. You are a professional; they know that. This technology is intended to make you even better—more professional—and to defend you from wrongful claims. It's "game-day footage:" the professional athletes review film of their actions looking for ways to improve, so should you. I have had a chance to use some of this technology to monitor my own behaviors. It was eye opening and has caused me to make several improvements in my own driving style.

Wouldn't you rather have an employer that has your back rather than one that will fire you on the spot to appease their insurance company or some lawyer that is threatening legal action?

Investing in training and mentoring of your team is a must-do. You will never have the best of the best if you do not coach your team to bring out their strengths. Savings also result from better driving behaviors: fuel use, out-of-route miles and wear items.

Event data recorders and telematic devices can help you recover a stolen truck quickly. A recent news story told a tale of a thief that had all his actions captured on a dash camera as he went from stop to stop selling off tools from a stolen truck. This gave police the evidence they needed to prosecute him and the people that bought the stolen equipment.

How about that customer that falsely accuses you of being rude or worse? What about being pulled over for speeding when you know you were going under the speed limit? A simple review of the video or check of the GPS data can put a stop to those allegations before they even get off the ground.

Technology, when used properly, can save us all money and improve our performance. As we fall into a routine we tend to get sloppy. Event data recorders do not get tired or have a bad day, they are ever vigilant and will quickly remind us to be safe. Many systems have instant coaching capabilities, meaning they will sound an alert in the cab for following distance, cornering, braking or other safety critical events. Often these simple audible cues are all a driver needs to bring them back around to their best driving performance.

Not every driver will be a fit for every company. This technology can help you make that determination long before a crash or series of citations makes the decision for you.

I use this technology in my personal vehicles, both forward facing (out the windshield) and driver facing, complete with audio.

Event data recorders and active driver coaching will give you an advantage over others that chose to keep doing things the old-fashioned way. If you deploy the technology, monitor the results and take action.

Brian J Riker is a third generation towman and President of Fleet Compliance Solutions, LLC. He specializes in helping non-traditional fleets such as towing, repossession, and construction companies navigate the complex world of Federal and State transportation regulatory compliance. With 25 years of experience in the ditch as a tow operator Brian truly understands the unique needs and challenges faced by towing companies today. He can be reached at brian.riker@fleetcompliancesolutions.net
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