The benefits of vehicle-mounted cameras and video technology have been laid bare in new research from Brigade Electronics.

A major new survey of the readers of Commercial Motor and Motor Transport found 59% agreed that fitting camera systems and digital recording had reduced collisions or near misses while 55% said it had improved driver behaviour.

Meanwhile, 44% said safety technology had helped with insurance claims, highlighting the benefits of cameras in protecting their drivers from unjustified claims, including crash-for-cash scams.

Clients are also playing an increasing role in the adoption of this technology: 12% of respondents said cameras are a contractual requirement from a client, a 3% rise on 2020.

The survey went on to reveal that one-fifth of operators have no plans to use road safety technology and the most common reason (44%) is that it is not seen as relevant to the operation.

However, changes to the Highway Code that came into effect in November with further new guidance being added on 29th January, will increase the responsibility of commercial vehicle drivers, making it more important than ever before to be able to mitigate risk.

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The new hierarchy of road users means those who are most likely to be seriously harmed, such as pedestrians and cyclists, will have greater priority over other road users – with HGV drivers ranked lowest. This would mean they are more likely to shoulder the blame in an incident, Brigade said, and might be the reason for a higher proportion of smaller operators investing in safety.

Chris Hanson-Abbott OBE, of road safety device experts Brigade Electronics, said: “It’s good to see that the benefits of cameras and other safety technology are being recognised by fleet operators.

“As cameras on their own are a passive technology that does not alert the driver to take action, Brigade always recommends that they are combined with active technology such as sensor systems with driver alerts to reduce collisions.

“Innovative safety tech like Brigade’s SidescanPredict, a major improvement on the current SideScan  detection system, can reduce accidents and insurance claims when combined with cameras.

“However, there is still some way to go. Only 47% of fleets have 100% of vehicles fitted with the technology – despite overwhelming evidence they improve safety and save lives.

“That said, only 2% of operators said their fleets had no safety technology at all, which is encouraging.”

The survey also revealed how customers who start using the technology are quickly convinced of the benefits – on a scale of 1 to 5, 73% rate vehicle camera and recording technology as a 4 or 5.