With an estimated one in six drivers in the UK using a dash cam, the uses, benefits, and legality of dashboard cameras has been a topic of much discussion in recent years. While dash cams designed for personal vehicles have certainly become popular, one way in which these cameras have truly changed the game is in vehicle fleet management. However, there are some key differences between commercial fleet dash cams and ones designed for personal use. Let’s take a look at the differences and why personal dash cams just won’t cut it for commercial vehicle fleets.
What Are Dash Cams and Why Do People Use Them?
A dash cam is a digital video recorder that records everything that happens to you when out on the road. Not only does it record activity on the road, but sometimes these cameras also record what goes on inside the vehicle. First and foremost, dash cams are installed for safety purposes. By recording everything behind the wheel, they can help exonerate drivers from false insurance claims. They also capture the dangerous driving habits of other drivers on the road, which you can use as evidence in court when making an insurance claim about another driver.
However, to get the most out of a dash cam, you need to select one that is fit for purpose.
Commercial Fleet Dash Cams
Commercial fleet dash cams feature a range of helpful features, including remote monitoring, advanced analytics, and cloud-based storage systems.
Sometimes, fleet managers make the mistake of purchasing personal use dash cams for their fleet, without realising the glaring differences between personal and commercial dash cams. As we’ll explore below, personal dash cams are not fit for purpose in a professional setting.
It can be easy to accidentally buy personal dash cameras. If you Google search “dash cams”, you’re going to find a long list of personal dash cameras made by well-known brands. While these brands are generally trusted in terms of quality, the type of dash cams they make are not suitable as fleet dash cameras.
Instead, you need to purchase your fleet dash cam models from a company that specialises in designing dash cams for professional use, like Crystal Ball.
Personal-use dash cams are not suitable for professional driver safety as they don’t have the same features as commercial dash cams. The key features of high quality commercial dash cams include:
4G video quality
Fleet dash cam technology comes with the best quality of video recording available. For example, our fleet dash camera system records in full HD, which creates quality high-resolution video footage. Should a member of your fleet be involved in an accident on the road that wasn’t their fault, you have high-quality video evidence to make a solid claim.
Commercial vehicle camera systems, including the ones supplied by Crystal Ball, are cloud-based. This means that commercial dash cam footage can be accessed remotely and is professionally stored. Personal dash cam footage, on the other hand, tends to be stored on SD cards, which isn’t the most professional solution. SD cards can be difficult to organise and fetch when necessary.
Instead, with cloud-based recording, the relevant footage can be accessed quickly and easily. This allows fleet managers to review footage remotely.
This cloud-based recording is normally provided through a connected app. For example, Crystal Ball provides real-time monitoring through the connected Driver App.
Professional dash cameras come with GPS fleet tracking, which allows managers to track the geographical location of all of the cars, trucks, and motorcycles in their fleet. This is great for keeping an eye on deliveries and making sure delivery times are met. It also means that if the dash cam records an incident, the location of that incident can be precisely identified.
Fleet dash cam technology can also monitor driver behaviour and provide fleet managers with advanced analytics. For example, Crystal Ball’s dash cams can be integrated with a driver behaviour scoring system. This system monitors drivers’ speed, acceleration, braking, and idling. Added together, all of these elements are then used to calculate a driver score.
The system then sorts these scores into league tables, so managers can analyse the driving performance of their entire fleet easily.
Durability and Longevity
Dash cams that are built for commercial vehicle fleets are also built differently from personal-use dash cams. Their durable design is made to withstand long hours of operation of fleet vehicles.
Some fleet dash cams can stay recording even when you’re not driving. This allows them also to be used for theft protection. Should something be stolen from your car when you’re not driving it, the dash cam will be able to record this theft taking place.
As mentioned, professional dash cams utilise cloud-based storage. Smart technology is used to highlight incidents of medium or high severity, which is then reported to the manager. This saves you a lot of time and hassle. Rather than searching through hours’ worth of footage, serious incidents are recorded and ready to be reviewed both automatically and remotely.
Personal Use Dash Cams
If you’ve ever been involved in an accident on the road, you’ll know how important evidence is in proving your case. Personal use dash cams are bought as a safety precaution so that drivers can prove that they were driving safely and in the right when an accident takes place.
As we’ve already explored, personal-use dash cams don’t have the more advanced features found in professional dash cams. However, that’s not to say personal-use dash cams lack good features and plus points overall.
The features that define personal-use dash cams include:
Personal-use dash cams can cost as little as £40. This is often due to these dash cams having less advanced technology compared to those for a fleet.
Ease of use
To use a personal vehicle camera, all you have to do is slide in an SD card, attach the camera to your dashboard, and plug it in via your car’s power source. From this point, recording is a simple and easy process.
Durability and Longevity
Personal dash cameras tend to have lower durability and less longevity than professional ones used in fleets. They’re generally only designed to monitor driving for short trips, rather than cross-country deliveries.
Personal dash cam footage tends to be stored on an SD card. This is because personal dash cam use is often less demanding than that of a fleet, meaning that the data stored is often a lot smaller and more manageable when stored on an SD card. However, this can make retrieving footage a long-winded process.
In summary, fleet dash cam solutions are more advanced and better built than personal-use dash cams. A fleet camera system stores its data on the cloud so that fleet management can monitor the progress, health and safety of the fleet.
Don’t waste your money on personal dash cams for your fleet – invest in Crystal Ball’s SmartCam, which can meet your fleet’s needs.