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Friday, December 14, 2012

Camera in your bedroom? For truck drivers, they're coming!
In-Cab Cameras Focused on Drivers

Hang on, they’re coming. Truck drivers are always getting the shaft. For many, the truck is their home, bedroom, dining room and porta-potty toilet! What the hell are they thinking? An interesting response from a DOT "Safety Inspector" follows also!
Article thanks to
A link to their site is provided below:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is very concerned for your safety – after all, it’s in their name. They’re so concerned for your safety in fact that they are allowing a company to do extensive testing to see where exactly an in-cab camera can get the most effective view. The view they’re concerned about isn’t just of the road to be able to accurately record accidents or traffic violations, but also of you. More specifically, they want to be able to “accurately scan facial features for detection of impaired driving.”
Unlike other cab-mounted cameras that are attached at the top of the windshield, these new cameras will be placed at the bottom, requiring an exemption from regulation that prevents items from being placed in a location that would obstruct driver vision. The company responsible for the research, Transecurity, says that the cameras will be placed in such a way that they will not obstruct driver vision or restrict the movement of windshield wipers.
The placement of the cameras is so important because Transecurity wants to be able to get a clear view of the driver at all times. While it’s true that a few other industries have been known to set up cameras to observe employees, a truck is so much more than just a work space for truckers. For the majority of their year, it is their home. The cameras won’t just be rolling on an employee at their workstation (which is bad enough), but on a person in the only private space they have.
The Virginia-based company has been granted a two year stretch of time with which to test their driver-cams to their hearts’ content. So far their grant allows camera installation in up to 500 commercial motor vehicles. Companies with cameras so far include Eagle Transport, H&W Trucking, Associated Grocers, AM Express, and a bus company.

I work in government transportation safety and while I admire privacy and big brother not in my bedroom, most drivers are not in their own truck and company owners also have a right to know what is going on with their equipment.

Drivers who want privacy should get their own equipment or be owner operators. Getting a job at a trucking company is like getting an office job, only the truck is your office and cubicle. Yeah, you may live or sleep in your truck but that's a regulated rest period and if drivers want privacy get a hotel.

I would not want any cameras on me, but I respect the rights of property owners and that a driver makes the choice to be and work in a regulated industry.

As part of my work I give road inspections which include an observation of sleeper birth requirements. I am required to check the area that drivers consider their personal quarters, I would never be able to inspect your bedroom, home, or hotel.

Cameras also help to answer questions when accidents happen, a visual record aids in improving safety, people loosing a loved one deserve answers.

In the end transportation is a regulated function, its a choice drivers decide to work in.

Drivers deserve rights, and i am very supportive of that, I have several as friends and family that drive. But the buck stops with safety and ensuring drivers get rest and knowing what may have caused an accident.
Posted by Joseph "TK Smitty" RL
Lane VanIngen • I can see it now. 

A company uses a in-sleeper video recorder as part of a broader in cab system that also includes a camera on the driver and a camera to capture what goes on immediately in front of the truck. The truck is invovled in a significant wreck, and the company is sued. The video surveillance records are obtained through discovery. The night before the wreck, the driver was in his sleeper getting adequate rest as provided for in the FMCSRs. But now the plaintiff's attorney has information about the length of actual sleep or the quality of rest obtained by the driver that would otherwise be unknown. And though the driver was legal per DOT requirements, the company will now have the perceived obligation to have monitored this data as part of their safety and compliance programs.

I can hear the arguments now.

" If the company would have monitored the video system properly, they would have known the driver was not obtaining adequate rest while in his sleeper berth ".

" If the company would have monitored the video system properly, they should have observed that the driver exibited signs of sleep apnea impacting the drivers DOT physical qualification".

Every company needs to consider the risk / reward aspects of every type of new technology they implement into a commercial vehicle. If you are a fleet operation, get good advice on issues like this from a knowledgeable fleet attorney or testifying DOT subject matter expert. Be sure the benefit you may get from implementing new technology offsets the potential drawbacks it can present. I regularly see that my consulting clients "get sold" on the touted benefits without having thoroughly considered the drawbacks that aren't discussed by the salespeople who are selling these products to them. LV


  1. The same school of wunderkind who thought this up will scratch their heads and puzzle why there's a shortage of drivers.There's about as much science in reading facial expression as there is in phrenology.Too bad that this kind of malarky will probably wreck a whole bunch of careers and lives before some judge has the wisdom to throw it out of court.

  2. Notice that the"inspector" said in his comment that he would not want a camera focused on him? But, it's OK for those lowly truck drivers!

  3. Most of what the Federal Motor Carrier Administration does has nothing to do with Safety. All these new rules are only thought up to take more of your rights away. Plus it's a way for the States to get more money out of your pocket. Remember they know how to make the rules, but really don't know how to play the game. This whole thing is exactly why I retired from trucking, 39 years behind the wheel, and am just got fed up trying to figure out the new rules. You are going to have to a degree in DOT rules and be a certified mechanic, and also a degree in office administration. The list just keeps getting longer, and the pay checks keep getting smaller. OOIDA better get on the defense on this one, and fight it....

    1. I heard on the news last week that the Feds are averaging about 67 new regulations EACH day! This is how our country should be? Noinput from the citizens, no vote by the congress, just make up new regs and shove 'em down our throat!