Mitigate dangerous driving events with onboard safety technology

By Tim O’Bryan

Utilizing vehicle safety equipment such as onboard recorders, lane departure systems and collision avoidance technology can not only reduce potential claims but improve long-term driver behavior patterns.

While claims are often unavoidable, onboard cameras can provide the opportunity to accurately evaluate a situation, establish a stronger defense, and mitigate costs.

This technology can also be a way to help drivers become more aware of how they handle a coach and what they can do to improve their driving habits. By creating potentially safer drivers down the road, operators will report fewer claims and help maintain insurance costs at a reasonable level.

Most onboard systems will not automatically secure a lower premium from your insurance provider, but with these tools and focusing on driver behavior, hopefully we can reduce the number of future claims. If future claims decrease, the motor carrier should be viewed as a better risk for the insurance providers to insure. Using these tools to go back and retrain the drivers after an event is crucial. It is an opportunity to learn how to avoid these types of situations in the future. And I cannot emphasize this enough: having someone monitoring the cameras is imperative.

I would not buy a camera unless I had someone that was going to review them. If you are going to put a camera in a coach and never check for events or review driver behavior, then it is useless. Onboard technology can provide a lot of information, but you need to have training and supervision over the cameras specifically.

The key is to use recorders and other devices as tools to help with driver training and driver education. Look at what you were doing before an event occurred. Were you fiddling around with something? Were you paying attention? Were you distracted?

As motorcoach operators, we want repeat customers to ask for certain drivers over and over because they did a great job. That is a win for everyone.

The combination of cameras and collision avoidance systems to retrain drivers is an effective tool to help avoid potential claims. In the long run, a lack of claims is the most important factor in obtaining reasonable insurance premiums.

Tim O’Bryan serves as president of Service Insurance Agency. Visit