The Samsara Guide to Fleet Safety

01

02

Build an Effective Fleet Safety Program

03

Capture ROI from Your Safety Program

Select the Best Dash
Cams for Your Fleet

Why invest in dash cams?

If you manage a fleet of vehicles and haven’t invested in dash cams yet, now might be the time. Dash cams enable a robust fleet safety program and drive measurable ROI for your business.

3 reasons to invest in dash cams

87%

of commercial crashes are due to avoidable driver error

60%

decrease in collision frequency when dash cams are used

86%

decrease in accident-related costs when dash cams are used

IN THIS CHAPTER
  • 01.Understand the Technology:What are dash cams?
  • 02.Evaluate Your Options:The different types of dash cams
  • 03.Select the Right Vendor:What to look for in a dash cam platform

Part 1—Understand the Technology

What are dash cams?

Dash cams, also known as dash cameras or dashboard cameras, are an extremely effective safety tool for commercial fleets. From coaching drivers to exonerating your company from false claims, they can be used in a variety of ways to improve fleet safety and reduce costs.

How dash cams work

Dash cams 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 are connected to a telematics solution with a g-sensor, so the system can automatically detect safety-related events—like harsh braking, harsh turning, and collisions—and upload incident footage to the cloud. There are a variety of different types of dash cams that can be deployed for various purposes, but generally fleets install dash cams because they’re looking for better visibility into on-the-road safety and footage that they can use to exonerate innocent drivers in case of an accident.

Why are dash cams worth the cost?

One of the biggest objections to investing in dash cams is the cost. Although the initial cost of dash cams might seem expensive, video-based safety solutions have been proven to reduce overall fleet operating costs and quickly pay for themselves. In fact, the NSTSCE found that when combined with driver coaching, dash cams reduced safety-related events by 52%.

Learn more about the ROI of dash cams

See how much money your fleet could save by rolling out a video-based safety solution.

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Part 2—Evaluate Your Options

The different types of dash cams

Dash cams aren’t one-size-fits-all. There are a variety of different types of dash cams available—but some are better suited for commercial fleets than others.

Dash cams for consumers vs. commercial fleets

If you Google "dash cams," you're likely to find dash cams meant for consumers on websites like Amazon. Some of the most popular consumer dash cam brands include Sony, Thinkware and Vantrue. While these dash cams can be helpful for people looking to install an inexpensive camera in their personal vehicle, they’re not meant for commercial fleets. They usually have a memory card that must be manually retrieved to download footage, posing logistical challenges for fleets managing multiple vehicles and drivers.

Dash cams for commercial fleets are more robust—both in terms of the features they offer and the value they can provide. Dash cams that are purpose-built for commercial fleets, like Samsara AI Dash Cams, connect to a telematics device that provides WiFi and can detect safety-related events like harsh braking, speeding, and collisions. That way, these dash cams can auto-upload video footage from safety-related events to the cloud, making it easy for your back-office staff to review safety-related events and coach drivers effectively.

Different camera configurations

  • Forward-facing
  • Dual-facing
  • Exterior
  • Interior
  • Designed to capture collisions, forward-facing dash cams (or front cameras) are mounted on your windshield and have one lens that faces the road ahead. Many fleets choose forward-facing dash cams because they want video footage for coaching and exonerating drivers but are concerned about getting driver buy-in. These dash cams don’t record the inside of the cab, so they are ideal for fleets with privacy concerns.
  • Dual-facing dash cams (or dual cameras) are also mounted on your windshield. But in addition to a lens that faces the road ahead, these dash cams have a second lens that faces inward to capture in-cab activity. Dual-facing dash cams are ideal for fleets looking to invest in a robust driver coaching program and successfully exonerate drivers from complicated incidents, since in-cab footage can be used in the case of an accident to show that a driver was attentive and driving responsibly.
  • Exterior cameras can be mounted outside your vehicle to capture a 360° view of the surrounding road. These cameras are particularly useful when drivers are confronted with blind spots and need to make tight turns or simply change lanes. Many fleets choose to deploy exterior cameras after experiencing one too many sideswiping incidents, since video footage from exterior cameras is extremely helpful for exonerating drivers from sideswiping damage caused by other vehicles.
  • Interior cameras can be mounted in various places inside your vehicle or trailer to keep passengers safe and boost cargo security. Passenger transit fleets often deploy interior cameras to ensure passengers are sitting and staying safe, whereas tractor-trailer fleets use them to reduce cargo theft by continuously monitoring all in-cabin or in-trailer activity. Some less-than-truckload carriers also deploy interior cameras to gain real-time visibility into how full their trailers are.

Different dash cam features

Once you decide what configuration best fits your needs, you’ll also want to consider the variety of different features available. From artificial intelligence (AI) to night vision, here are a few of the most important features to consider.

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 and distracted driving. AI makes it possible to coach drivers on risky behavior and near misses.

Internet connectivity: Most dash cams have a micro SD card or memory card that stores footage locally, but more advanced dash cams can connect to the internet via high-speed cellular connections that let you send footage to the cloud, providing nearly instant access to footage.

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.

Resolution: Resolution (or image quality) depends on how many pixels the dash cam records. High quality forward-facing dash cams should record video in 1080p full HD, 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 suction mount) or via 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, like cell phone use or speeding. 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.

See how Samsara AI Dash Cams improve fleet safety

Protect your brand and exonerate drivers with intelligent dash cams that analyze the road in real time and automatically upload event footage to the cloud.

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why samsara

Samsara Customer Safety Survey Results

>50%

of Samsara dash cam customers have exonerated a driver in the past year

90%

of customers say Samsara has improved safety within their fleet

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Part 3—Select the Right Vendor

What to look for in a dash cam platform

With so many dash cam vendors on the market, it’s impossible to try every single option. How can you narrow it down? Here are a few things to consider when selecting the best dash cam solution for your fleet.

Internet connectivity

Internet connectivity is key for any fleet that wants to use dash cams as a proactive safety tool. Without internet connectivity, dash cams can only store footage on a local memory card—meaning someone has to manually retrieve the footage from the vehicle. On the other hand, dash cams that are connected to a telematics device with WiFi and cell service can auto-upload event footage to the cloud. This makes it possible for fleet managers to coach and exonerate drivers in real time.

Everything you need in one integrated platform

When evaluating dash cam solutions, look for an integrated platform that offers dash cams and connected driver and admin apps in one, unified solution. Why? Beyond consolidating your tools and simplifying your workflows, an all-in-one platform connects the dots between your data, unlocking better insights and larger safety improvements.

Samsara offers an all-in-one platform that is trusted by more than 10,000 fleets, and 90% of customers say that Samsara has helped improve safety within their fleet. Why? Samsara’s telematics device—the Vehicle Gateway—includes a gyroscope and accelerometer that can detect safety-related events, like harsh braking, harsh acceleration, harsh turning, and crashes. When these incidents are detected, the internet-connected Samsara AI Dash Cam automatically uploads 10 seconds of footage from before and after the incident to the cloud, enabling real-time driver coaching and exoneration.

Currently evaluating dash cam solutions? Request a free trial of Samsara today to see how an all-in-one platform can improve the safety of your fleet.

Benefits of an All-in-one Platform

Advanced incident detection

Auto-uploaded event footage

Streamlined coaching tools

Driver safety scores

Analytics & trend reports

Fewer tools to switch between

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See how Samsara AI Dash Cams pay for themselves

The initial cost of a video-based safety solution may seem expensive. Here are four reasons why the investment is worth it.

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Make fleet safety a priority with Samsara

Samsara offers a complete video-based solution for improving fleet safety and reducing costs.

9 out of 10 customers say Samsara helped improve safety
within their fleet

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