A Fleet Manager’s Guide to Dash Cams with GPS Tracking

November 3, 2021

Dash Cam with GPS Tracking

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Key Takeaways

Dash cams with GPS tracking are proven to improve driver safety and lower costs. Plus, dash cams make it possible to exonerate your drivers from false claims with high-resolution video evidence. Keep reading to learn about the various benefits of dash cams with GPS tracking—and get a checklist of features to look for when evaluating the best dash cam for your fleet.

What are dash cams with GPS tracking?

Dash cams (also known as dashboard cameras or dash cameras) are cameras that can be installed in a vehicle to capture footage of the road ahead and activity inside the cab. The best dash cams for fleets are paired with telematics to provide real-time GPS tracking, internet connectivity, and a g-sensor. This way, the system can automatically detect safety-related events—like harsh braking, harsh turning, and collisions—and upload incident footage to the cloud.

Dash Cam with GPS Tracking in Fleet Vehicle


What are the benefits of dash cams with GPS tracking?

The NSTSCE found that when combined with driver coaching, dash cams can reduce safety-related events as much as 52%. Beyond improving driver safety, dash cams are a great way to lower costs and save money. Here are five main benefits of dash cams with GPS tracking:

  1. Exonerate drivers from not-at-fault accidents and false claims: In car-truck accidents, trucks are only at fault about 26% of the time—but they get blamed far more often. Samsara AI Dash Cams can auto-upload high-resolution incident footage to the cloud within minutes, making it easy to exonerate innocent drivers on the spot, bypass lengthy insurance claims processes, and eliminate unnecessary payouts. Plus, with Samsara’s Proximity Search and Video Retrieval features, you can search by location and retrieve additional video evidence to exonerate drivers from false claims.

  2. Reduce accidents: With Samsara AI Dash Cams, safety managers can instantly review auto-uploaded incident footage—including near-misses, distracted driving, and more—enabling them to coach drivers with high-resolution footage of themselves. Combined with Samsara’s safety scorecards, trend analyses, and in-depth coaching tools, you can increase coaching consistency and accountability. Plus, Samsara AI Dash Cams offer real-time incident detection and preventative in-cab alerts, so drivers can adjust their behavior and prevent accidents in real time.

  3. Decrease insurance-related costs: When it comes to insurance premiums, safety is a big factor. Because dash cams are proven to improve safety and mitigate risk, your insurance company may offer a premium discount, credit, or subsidy for installing dash cams and sharing safe driving data for each of your fleet vehicles.

  4. Reduce vehicle wear and tear: Harsh braking wears out brake pads and causes unnecessary stress on vehicles. Dash cams can play in-cab alerts when safety-related events are detected, helping to discourage harsh driving and reduce physical damage and maintenance costs.

  5. Retain more drivers and reduce labor costs: It may seem surprising, but dash cams can reduce labor costs in a few different ways. Your back-office team can build an effective fleet safety program and coach drivers more efficiently with digital driver safety scorecards and video-based coaching tools. Plus, data and footage from dash cams can help create a robust safety rewards program, which is proven to increase engagement and retention, leading to lower turnover and hiring costs.


Are dash cams with GPS tracking worth the investment for your fleet?

One of the biggest objections to investing in a fleet dash cam solution is the cost. Although the initial cost might seem expensive, dash cams with GPS tracking are proven to lower costs and pay for themselves, especially when it comes to exoneration.

Take Sprint Waste, for example, a waste transportation and container rental company operating in the Gulf Coast. After debating whether or not to implement dash cams for several years, Sprint Waste ultimately decided to make the investment because of the ability to utilize dash cam footage and GPS data to exonerate drivers, as well as an expectation that it would result in improved driver safety, fewer accidents, and reduced insurance and legal costs. They saw incredible results just one year after installing Samsara Dash Cams, including:

  • 58% decrease in speeding

  • 50% increase in miles per safety incident

  • 52% exoneration rate from all accidents in 2019

  • $500,000 saved in recent insurance renewal and estimated millions of dollars saved in avoided litigation costs

How was Sprint Waste able to exonerate their drivers from more than half of all accidents in 2019? As soon as a crash occurs, Samsara sends a real-time email alert to their operation managers. Within minutes, footage from the incident is auto-uploaded to their Samsara dashboard, and they can easily send the video to the driver to share with law enforcement at the scene.

“The ability to get HD incident footage almost immediately was very important to us, and it has paid off,” said President of Sprint Waste Dave Nelson. “In previous years, a lot of those accidents would be inconclusive, and we would get sued. Now, we can exonerate our drivers on the spot. No lawsuit, no insurance claim. We have saved potentially millions of dollars by avoiding lawsuits as a result of exonerating our drivers with Samsara Dash Cam footage.”

Of course, not all "he said, she said" situations are tied to crashes or harsh events. This is where GPS data comes in handy. Sometimes, Sprint Waste wants to pull extra footage that's not associated with an incident and not auto-uploaded to the Safety Inbox. For those situations, they use Samsara’s Proximity Search and Video Retrieval features—which allow you to search by GPS location to see which vehicles were nearby during a specific time frame and then pull footage from that time and place—to exonerate their drivers from false claims.

“We're picking up trash dumpsters from construction sites and personal homes, so it's not uncommon for someone to call up and say, ‘Hey, you damaged something on my property,” said Nelson. “With Proximity Search, we can go back and validate whether that did or didn't happen."


What features should you consider when evaluating the best dash cam for your fleet?

There are a lot of different dash cam options available for fleets in the United States. Here are a few features to consider when evaluating the best dash cam for your business needs:

Feature

Description

GPS tracking

Connectivity to a GPS tracker, like a telematics device, is incredibly helpful for enriching your dash cam data and exonerating drivers. With real-time GPS location data, you can pinpoint exactly where safety incidents happen, create admin alerts based on geofences, and retrieve additional video evidence in the case of a false claim.

Configuration

Dash cams come in a variety of different configurations, which serve different purposes. Front-facing dash cams, for example, are mounted on your windshield and have one lens that faces the road ahead—whereas dual-facing dash cams (or dual dash cams) have an additional lens that faces inward to capture in-cab activity.

Artificial intelligence

The most advanced dash cams include built-in artificial intelligence (AI), so they can detect safety issues without a g-force trigger—like rolling stops, distracted driving, and tailgating. AI makes it possible to coach drivers on risky behavior and near misses.

Internet connectivity

Advanced dash cams can connect to the internet via a high-speed cellular connection, which allows the dash cam to send footage to the cloud. This provides nearly instant access to auto-uploaded incident footage via cloud storage, so you can coach and exonerate drivers in real time.

Harsh event detection

The best dash cams use a built-in gyroscope and accelerometer to automatically detect harsh driving events—like harsh braking or a collision—and auto-upload footage to the cloud. This is helpful for coaching and improving driver behavior.

Resolution

Resolution (or image quality) depends on how many pixels the dash cam records. High quality forward-facing dash cams should record video in full HD 1080p, which will make it possible for you to see the road ahead clearly and make out numbers on license plates.

Field of view

Field of view is how much of the road (or inside of the cab) the dash cam can see. To ensure your dash cams capture a broad field of view, look for a wide angle or semi-wide angle lens.

Mounting

The two most popular ways to install dash cams are via a suction cup or adhesive. Some dash cams may also attach to your rear view mirror. Adhesive attachments are generally a more secure option that still offer quick and easy installation.

Audio speaker and recording

Some dash cams include built-in speakers that can play verbal and/or audio alerts when unsafe driving behavior is detected. You may also be able to turn on recording to capture audio during safety events.

Night vision

Some dash cams are optimized for capturing footage at night or in low-light conditions. If your drivers often operate at night, look for a dash cam with HDR—which optimizes for both bright and low-light conditions—or infrared LED, which is particularly important for capturing video footage of unlit cabs.

Coaching and admin tools

Different fleet dash cam solutions offer a variety of different online tools for reviewing footage and coaching drivers. Look for a platform that will make your safety workflow easier, increase consistency and accountability, and keep drivers engaged. Samsara offers features like a centralized Safety Inbox (for reviewing incident footage), safety score gamification (to encourage friendly competition among drivers), and easy video retrieval (for quickly downloading additional video evidence to exonerate drivers).

What is the best dash cam with GPS tracking?

Trusted by more than 15,000 customers, Samsara is the number one fastest-growing video telematics vendor

Part of Samsara’s complete fleet management platform, Samsara AI Dash Cams offer advanced AI event detection, preventative in-cab alerts, and powerful coaching tools. Plus, with auto-uploaded full HD incident footage, real-time fleet tracking, and on-demand video retrieval, admins are fully empowered to exonerate innocent drivers from not-at-fault accidents and false claims. In fact, Samsara customers have saved an estimated $225 million dollars by using Samsara Dash Cam footage to defend against false claims.

Highlights of Samsara AI Dash Cams include:

  • AI-powered platform that can detect high-risk behaviors (like tailgating and distracted driving) without a harsh event occurring

  • Preventative in-cab coaching that can audibly alert drivers to high-risk behaviors and incidents in real time

  • High-quality video recording, even in poor lighting conditions

  • Internet-connected cameras that automatically upload full HD incident footage

  • Plug-and-play configuration that gets you up and running in minutes, with a power cable that connects directly to Samsara's Vehicle Gateway, providing real-time GPS data

  • On-demand video retrieval for a max of 100 hours of drive time

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