We all know that Big Brother is watching more and more these days. It’s one thing to have a camera aimed at the road, recording truck and traffic movements. At least that can help the trucking company and the driver out of a jam, like an accident where the other driver is lying. But, putting a video camera on the driver’s face, now they’ve gone too far. The FMCSA is allowing GPS tracking companies to do just that.
On one hand, it can help identify problems with driver fatigue. But on the other hand, that’s like putting a camera in someone’s bedroom.
Just what will they think of next?
As a career trucker for many years, the first thing that crosses my mind is- man, these trucking companies love to cover their rears, and blame the drivers. If there is any way possible, they’ll find it. And it looks like they have.
FMCSA Research & Technology Objective: Produce Safer Drivers:
I have a real problem with the words they use, and the direction the logic takes them. I have to believe there is some hidden agenda here. Their objective is to “produce safer drivers”. Produce? A driver is not some product moving down an assembly line for production.
They call this study, “Light Vehicle-Heavy Vehicle Interactions: A Preliminary Assessment Using Critical Incident Analysis.” In other words, data gathering, for safety studies. The study is described, in their own words:
“The primary goals are to ensure that commercial drivers are physically qualified, trained to perform safely, and mentally alert.”
Uh, huh, that’s what I said- blame the driver if you can.
If you look at the numbers, this is completely stupid. They say so themselves right there on the same FMCSA web page:
Data from a recent FMCSA report on large truck crashes indicate that while only 4 percent of all roadway fatalities involved large trucks, most victims in these crashes were people in the other vehicles, on bicycles, or pedestrians.
In other words, even though truck drivers are the safest drivers on the road, when they do have an accident, it will likely be the other vehicle that is the victim.
Did you notice they used the word “victim” to describe the other vehicle? Is there a victim in an accident? To me, the victim is the one who was not at fault. But I guess to the suits at FMCSA the victim is the opposite of the trucker.
What about when a drunk driver hits a pole? Is he his own victim? Or is the pole the victim?
Light Vehicle vs Heavy Vehicle: Study Conclusions
This, from that same study:
A total of 142 LV-HV (light vehicle- heavy vehicle) interaction-critical incidents were identified in the Local/Short Haul data. The light vehicle drivers initiated 117 (82.4 percent) of these incidents, while 25 (17.6 percent) of the incidents were attributed to the Local/Short Haul drivers.
In trucker-terms, what they just said was, 82% of the time, it is not the trucker’s fault. With that in mind, let’s see if their own numbers add up, and where they lead:
- 4% of all roadway fatalities involve a Large truck.
- 82% of the time it’s not the truckers fault.
- But the smaller vehicle is the victim.
Hmmm, looks like we have a problem Houston. Somebody at the FMCSA thinks their job is to continually make truck drivers better drivers, even though they are already the best. What they ought to be looking at is who are the worst drivers! And help make them better drivers. I’d say start with teens, or drunk drivers, or people who have had several accidents already.
I’d like to compare these truck driver numbers to FMCSA workers- what is their accident stats? Wouldn’t that be a fun study to read?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about safety.
Safety is my middle name. Well, City is my middle name (Big City Driver). But still, to me, safety is a virtue. It’s like, some people don’t lie or steal. I’m safe. That’s what I do. (Well, I try.)
The five camera angles are:
- Forward from the cab
- The driver’s face
- From the rear of the truck or trailer
- The left side of the truck
- The right sides of the truck.
The camera’s record everything, and transmit the data back to the company for analysis. I guess, if the driver could turn it off and on any time he wanted to, it wouldn’t be so bad. But I don’t think he can. (I can’t find that answer.)
Yeah, they’re listening too.
The camera’s also record the driver’s voice, and any other sounds within the cab, from a microphone inside the cab, which records everything, and saves it all on tape.
Of course, they never mention the elephant in the room- the cab of a truck is the driver’s home! And putting a camera in it is a violation of his privacy in my humble opinion. Even the driver’s seat is his private office. I know I did most of my paperwork in the driver’s seat (and some nose-picking, and had a bunch of private phone conversations, and likely a few more unmentionables.) You just never know what a driver does in the privacy of his cab.
It’s all about the money, isn’t it?
As with any money-making idea, all this started with a big light-bulb idea from a GPS tracking company- Transecurity. Their DriveVision Pro is the product in question here. Take a look at what it does here.
Transecurity is conducting research on behalf of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, according to Overdrive Magazine.
What all this adds up to:
Well, to me, it looks like they got some government grant money to make a product they can sell to trucking companies. That’s nice. And at the same time, they can help the big trucking companies blame everything on the drivers. It’s a win-win for big government and big corporations.