Motor vehicle accidents cost UK businesses millions of pounds yearly. Businesses also often have to cough up money to settle legal liability claims and deal with the operational disruptions caused by vehicle losses and staff injuries. Add to that an increase in insurance premiums and it becomes clear that fleet managers should do all they can to minimise the risk of accidents involving their fleet vehicles.
This is where driver-facing dash cams fit in. As well as recording the road like a regular dash cam, these cameras record the in-cabin behaviour of drivers. The recorded footage can provide valuable accident-related evidence and play an integral role in improving driver and vehicle safety.
However, using driver-facing dash cameras brings privacy concerns, with many debating the legality of using these devices.
In this article, we look at the legal issues that pertain to using driver-facing cameras in the UK and discuss the current regulations and guidelines that govern their use. We will also look at how using a dash cam can improve your fleet’s efficiency and safety.
Current Regulations and Legal Framework
UK Data Protection Laws
Using driver-facing dash cams requires compliance with current data and privacy protection laws.
This governs how personal data is processed and requires that businesses have a legal basis for collecting and processing the personal data of their employees. Therefore, when using a driver-facing dashboard camera, a fleet manager must prove that collecting and processing driving data will help protect drivers, improve safety or reduce insurance instalments.
- Inform fleet drivers of the use of dashboard cameras and how the collected data is used.
- Obtain the consent of drivers to use a dash camera.
- Only use the collected data for its intended purposes.
- Ensure data is stored securely and only for a certain amount of time.
Employee Consent and Employment Contracts
To ensure the legality of your decision to use a dash cam, you must obtain an employee’s consent to use it in a fleet vehicle.
You can obtain this consent by getting your employees to acknowledge it in their employment contracts. Have your employees sign a separate consent agreement if this is not in their employment contracts.
You will need to discuss the content of the agreements with your drivers and tell them how and for what purposes the dash cam footage will be used.
Benefits of Driver-Facing Dash Cams
Enhancing Driver Safety
Driver-facing dash cams can help improve driver safety by:
- Highlighting distracted driving: Fleet dash cameras help give fleet managers clear video footage of distracted driving. They can use this dashcam footage to address the issues and take proactive measures to prevent distracted driving.
- Helping lower insurance premiums: Using a dash cam in your vehicles shows your insurance provider that you are serious about road safety, which can potentially lead to reductions in your insurance instalments.
- Providing valuable evidence: In the event of an accident, the driver-facing camera footage can provide video evidence to protect drivers and prove their innocence if they are not at fault. This can help the business save on insurance claims and protect your no-claims discount. It can also help clear up any concerns regarding a potential false claim.
Training and Performance Monitoring
Using driver-facing dash cams helps with training and performance monitoring in the following ways:
- Helps identify dangerous driving habits: This includes risky driving behaviours such as speeding, harsh acceleration and braking, and mobile phone use.
- Aids in performance monitoring: Coupling a dash cam with a driver behaviour app helps a fleet manager calculate driver scores to identify both the best-performing drives and those that are high-risk.
Cost-Effectiveness and ROI
Installing fleet dash cameras in commercial fleets can be costly. However, considering the benefits a dash camera provides, it’s evident these tools repay their initial investment.
Except for saving on accident-related expenses and monthly insurance payments, a dash cam can help you improve safety and route efficiency, while also reducing fuel consumption.
Ethical and Social Considerations
Employees will be concerned about their privacy when you install a dash camera, as they may feel they are constantly being monitored.
You can allay these concerns by openly communicating with your staff how the driver data is used and how a fleet dash cam can help improve their safety, while also benefiting the business. You can also assure staff that data is securely stored and only used for the intended purposes.
Employee Trust and Morale
It’s understandable that the use of fleet dash cameras may also impact employee trust and morale. Drivers may feel that you do not trust them to do their work if you constantly monitor and record them. They may feel their privacy is being invaded.
Clear communication is the best solution. Be prepared to answer questions and openly communicate the uses of the data. You can also explain how using these cameras can, in the long and short term, improve their on-road safety and save the business money.
Data Protection and Storage
To remain legally compliant, ensure that all recorded footage is responsibly and securely stored. Your dash cam data should also only be stored for as long as necessary.
Store the recorded footage on a password-protected device and only give authorised staff access to the data.
SmartCam Options and Compliance
Crystal Ball’s 4G dash cameras use GPS tracking and are a great way to improve the safety of your drivers. All SmartCam vehicle cameras allow you to stay GDPR, ICO guideline and employment law compliant.
SmartCam’s range of dash cams also seamlessly integrates with Crystal Ball’s other telematics solutions, including our driver behaviour app, driver identification, vehicle defect reporting app, and lone-worker protection.
Conclusion: The Case for Driver-Facing Dash Cams
Driver-facing dash cams can significantly help and improve the management of a fleet and drivers. They offer a range of benefits, including improving on-road safety, reducing insurance costs, and providing valuable evidence in the event of an accident. These dashcams can also serve a valuable role in driver training and their performance monitoring.
That said, the use of a dash camera requires adherence to UK laws and regulations. Fleet managers must also consider the ethical and social concerns that come about when using driver-facing dash cams. However, you can allay any fears by openly communicating with staff about the use of their data.
Contact Crystal Ball today to learn how SmartCam’s driver-facing fleet camera systems can help improve fleet safety and protect drivers. Or, request a demo to see how you can use our range of telematics solutions to reduce fuel usage and improve route efficiency and customer service.