Why Commercial Tire Dealers Install Dash Cams – Modern Tire Dealer | Episode Movies

With safety in mind, commercial tire dealers are installing dashcams — some using artificial intelligence and telematics technology — to monitor drivers of their vehicles.

The motive is not to invade workers’ privacy or activate a “Big Brother” mentality.

Instead, dealers say it’s a way to correct and coach employees on safer driving habits and hopefully prevent accidents.

Colony Tire Corp. based in Edenton, NC, has installed cameras on almost every vehicle in its entire fleet, which numbers around 500 units and includes semi-trucks, service and panel vans, and pickup trucks. These vehicles are tied to the company’s retail and commercial locations spread across North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

Adam Britt, director of risk management at Colony Tire, joined the tire retailer in January. He says one of the reasons he joined the company was that Colony’s leadership “has a forward-thinking, proactive safety mindset. If they see an opportunity to improve safety, they will do their due diligence, but once they see the value, they’ll jump in with both feet.”

Dashcams have become an integral part of Colony Tire’s overall security program. One factor that helped the company choose dash cams is the feeling that they could provide evidence and protection if an event led to a lawsuit.

Britt says that when the owner “heard what the disputed landscape looked like and how dashcams could benefit the business, they didn’t hesitate.”

Colony Tire activated its first camera in February 2019.

Camera technology and capabilities have also evolved over the past three years. Colony Tire selected Lytx, a company specializing in telematics services, including cameras, for fleets.

Both front- and rear-facing cameras are installed in Colony Tire’s vehicles, and Britt says the cameras are activated by certain actions detected by the vehicle’s telematics system, such as when the vehicle is running. B. hard braking, sharp cornering or acceleration, are activated and recorded.

What happens next varies depending on the camera provider and the notification parameters set by a customer like Colony Tire.

But not every instance of hard braking or tailgating another vehicle requires Britt’s immediate attention. Sometimes a vehicle drives in rush hour traffic.

With Lytx, Britt says, the provider has an employee who filters and scores every recorded incident. And when a trigger hits a certain threshold on that scale, it sends an alert to Colony Tire.

Britt reviews these incidents and can also search through all recorded incidents for specific behavior. Currently, the company focuses on mobile phone usage. Colony Tire policy prohibits the use of all handheld electronic devices and specifically the use of these devices for any type of written communication.

The directive even bans using dictation tools with Bluetooth capabilities to send a message “because we find people going back and editing that, which defeats the whole point of Bluetooth”.

Britt says when he reviews recorded incidents, he sorts the search for anything that indicates the use or presence of a handheld device to “make sure we attack those as soon as possible.”

“We explain (to the employee) that this is a serious situation for you, the driver, for the other vehicles around you and for us as a company. We do not tolerate it, do not accept it and (we) tell them that continued use of a mobile phone will result in termination.”

In the last year, says Britt, only one incident escalated to the point where an employee was threatened with dismissal as the next step.

The cameras have also enabled a focus on speeding avoidance as well as driver fatigue, which is particularly problematic for service truck drivers responding to after-hours calls.

Britt says the cameras have also helped unravel the mysteries surrounding certain incidents, even confirming the drivers.

He says there are times when he wonders, “How did this happen if you didn’t do something that was against our company policies?”

A recent example was when an employee ran a red light and collided with another vehicle that had the right-of-way. Luckily there were no serious injuries. Britt turned to the camera view for an explanation. The driver wasn’t distracted by a phone, didn’t smoke or doze off. He just had a brainwave. His mind wandered and he drove through the traffic light.

Britt says the video helped the company. “We sent the video to our insurance company. They contacted the victim’s vehicle as quickly as possible, informed him that we assume liability” and wanted to have their vehicle repaired as soon as possible.

“This plaintiff’s driver wasn’t sitting at home watching these commercials for lawyers saying, ‘How much money can I get you?’ They did not become litigious, which kept litigation costs low.

“Furthermore, by examining this driver, we were able to see what he was distracted by, rather than making assumptions about this driver and what he was distracted by. It was a brainstorm.

“We took that information, compared it to his previous employment issues – which this driver didn’t have – and were able to adhere to our standard progressive disciplining policy. There were some punitive measures against the employee, but it did not result in his dismissal. He keeps a job with great benefits and good pay. We keep an employee who has had no problems in the past. Our distribution network does not suffer from operational delays.

“Yes we are on the equipment side and of course our deductible, but that’s a very small amount compared to a situation where we didn’t have the information and maybe made a wrong decision about termination.”

In short, Britt says video gives “the full picture” and allows Colony Tire to “make a better decision.”

Commercial Tire Co. of Meridian, Iowa is a recent adopter of dashcams. The company began adding cameras to its fleet of vehicles earlier this year and completed installation in July.

Casey McGrew, the dealership’s safety manager, is now tweaking the rear-end system.

Even in the short time that the company’s cameras have been live, McGrew says the dealership has seen many videos of near misses “that would never have been reported or brought to our attention.”

But the “alarm on the camera enabled conversations with our technicians and our drivers”.

McGrew says these near misses and incidents that have been taped provide an opportunity for training and policy reviews. It’s also an opportunity to remind employees of a fundamental message related to distracted driving, he says.

“You are in a company facility. They have the company logo on the side of the truck. There’s just such a huge risk and liability. It doesn’t pay to be distracted in any way.”

Cameras alone are not automatic problem solvers, he admits. However, they go hand-in-hand with company policies, and McGrew says they have emphasized the need for accurate, up-to-date enforceable rules.

“It’s eye-opening to see that as a company you have these expectations and guidelines — to be hands-free, no texting and driving — and then you start to see what’s happening in the cab of the truck,” says McGrew.

“You see, there are opportunities for growth. And you see when we need to address something that we know is happening. We can be proactive.”

Commercial Tire has actually scaled back its cellphone policy a bit. The company previously banned the use of phones while driving, but has updated the policy to allow hands-free use. According to McGrew, employees are still expected to focus on the road, but the revised policy now allows the company’s sales teams to continue working on the go.

“We had to weigh the benefits and risks, so we decided as long as the truck is hands-free we can use that.”

A concern among tire dealers is how the use of dashcams could affect their drivers, and specifically whether the addition of cameras will prompt employees to leave the company.

With approximately 300 vehicles and 700 employees, McGrew says, “We have not lost a single employee because a camera was installed in a pickup truck or semi-truck. “We were at the forefront of how it’s handled.”

And overall, managers don’t have access to the cameras. The company wants to protect employee privacy and didn’t want silly or embarrassing video clips appearing in the store. The system does not record audio.

“I would say it was very well received overall,” says McGrew. Employees have learned that “just because an alarm goes off doesn’t mean I’m in trouble”.

McGrew has even found that the cameras suppress his own worries when he hears about an incident. In one memorable situation, “I was able to immediately pull up video of (the incident). I could see it wasn’t our fault – that a car appeared in a rainstorm with the aquaplaner and we hit them, but they got on our lane.”

In another instance, the company’s vice president of operations faced a truck and trailer jackknife and a flip on the road. He called and asked McGrew to pull the video. They even shared it with the police.

McGrew says the use of video complements what he calls “Commercial Tire’s evolving safety culture.” We are taking advantage of opportunities (and) using technology to ensure we are ahead of the game and proactive in our approach to keeping our employees, customers and the public safe.”

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