According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers incur the highest number of nonfatal injuries and illnesses that require days off from work across all occupations. One out of every six American workers killed on the job is a tractor-trailer truck driver. In 2014 alone, 761 tractor-trailer truck drivers were killed while working. This increased risk has led to an increase in insurance premiums which are hitting the trucking industry hard.
To help combat rising insurance costs, many truckers are opting to install cameras that show forward, back, and both the inside and the outside of the cab during a trucking run. According to Scott Cottingham, a senior broker at Aon Risk Solutions,
“The No. 1 way to go if you’re trying to minimize rate increases is investing in safety technology. In our opinion, the more information, the better. Our advice is to arm yourself with as much information as you can. Some will say, ‘I don’t want to invade my drivers’ privacy.’ That’s fine. That’s your choice. A forward-facing camera is better than no camera.”
Wal-Mart Transportation is leading the way and has rolled out a “soft pilot” program that is designed to offer protection for its fleet and drivers. According to Scott Markley, a spokesman for Wal-Mart,
“Utilizing and testing technology to make our logistics network, a core strength for the company, safer and even more efficient is nothing new at Wal-Mart. We’re always striving to improve, and this is just one of many pilots to learn how we can be even better.”
The good news for truck drivers and carriers is that these efforts and precautions are becoming increasingly successful at limiting liability. On a conference call hosted by Stifel Capital Markets, Todd Reiser, VP of Transportation at Lockton Companies said,
“We’re finding more and more carriers are piloting cameras or have gone ahead and done the full implementation and are seeing significant impacts and frankly, exonerations in cases where the may have been targeted for liability initially…The underwriting community has certainly embraced certain aspects of [truck safety] technology and for the first time … we’ve had underwriters say ‘we will provide some sort of discount or credit when truckers implement the technology.” Drivers have reported reductions by as much as 5% in monthly insurance premiums for installing cameras on their truck.
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