One topic that has become increasingly controversial in the trucking industry is the use of dashboard cameras. Everyone from drivers and carriers to industry experts has an opinion on the use of these cameras and whether they provide any real benefits. For some, the argument is in favor of dashboard cameras because they can increase protection for the driver and company, while reducing liability. Others argue that dashboard cameras infringe on drivers’ privacy and create distrust between drivers and their companies.  

Pros: Liability and Protection 

People who are pro-dashboard camera believe they benefit drivers by adding a level of safety and increased protection from liability during accidents.  

As truck driver Steve commented on our Facebook poll, “Outward facing cameras are great. They can be used to prove fault in accidents.” 

Even though most people do not realize it, the majority of vehicular crashes involving trucks are actually caused by passenger vehicles. Two independent studies by The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), found that cars are at fault from 71-91% of the time in fatal crashes with trucks. While drivers are often not at fault for the crashes, they, as well as the carriers, often end up being held liable for the accident. For trucks with outward facing cameras, they are most easily able to prove their case and liability status based on footage from the incident.  

They provide a constant eye in the case of danger and damage. 

Dashboard cameras are an important option for protecting truck drivers from wrongful allegations which reduces costs and liability for carriers. With such great benefits, many carriers are opting to install dashcams. 

Cons: Privacy and Micromanagement  

While dashboard cameras can improve safety and protection for drivers during accidents, many would argue that they are an invasion of privacy, especially inward facing cameras, as many drivers’ trucks are also their homes.  

As truck driver GS Bass told us, “I feel the cab is my personal space, private, my domicile while working. I know companies can dip into any inward camera and observe.” Similarly, another driver, Eric, observed, “This is my home when it’s not moving.” 

Most drivers live in their trucks while making hauls, so not only is it their office, but it is also their living room, kitchen, and bedroom. The use of dashcams takes away from drivers’ rights to have privacy and makes their every move available to the carriers, as well as anyone else you could access the camera’s footage. With that said, drivers would have no room to even scratch their nose without someone watching. 

Another argument against dashboard cameras is micromanagement of a driver’s decisions. Let’s say you have a trucker who has been a great driver for over 10 years and has vast experience making sound driving decisions. Dashboard cameras allow the carrier to scrutinize and judge every decision a driver makes, without understanding its nuances and consequences. 

Steve told us, “They make driving less safe because we now drive for the camera. If a traffic light turns yellow and you have to brake even minutely hard, it causes the camera to go off. We then get called in and coached on hard brakes. This coaching gets put in your record and you accumulate points for it. If someone pulls out in front of you, and you hit the brakes too hard, points. If you’re listening to the radio too loud when the camera comes on, or taking a drink of coffee, or looking out your side windows (like checking your mirrors), points.” 

For drivers, this can create frustration as someone who has never driven a rig tries to tell them how to do so.  

A Potential Solution  

While proponents and opponents of the argument each make valid points, there is middle ground that can be reached on the topic of dashboard cameras. Many truck drivers would be amenable to forward-facing cameras if they don’t have to deal with the inward cameras. The benefits of forward-facing cameras are undeniable to both truckers and carriers. If carriers take this too far with inward facing cameras, they will face resistance because of privacy concerns. 

Another consideration is how much flexibility and freedom carriers choose to give individual drivers. If a carrier decides to institute a dashboard camera policy without consulting with their drivers, they will likely see extreme resistance.  

On the other hand, if a carrier allows drivers to make their own decisions about dashboard cameras, and just educate them on the pros and cons, they may find that more and more drivers will voluntarily elect to install cameras. 

6 Trucking Associations to Know in the Industry

Professional associations have been around as long as skilled workers have had jobs. These associations exist to safeguard the profession, and they provide guidance and lobbying efforts and otherwise advocate for the industry’s workers. For many industries, there are several beneficial associations that help support its members and mission. The trucking industry is no exception. There are many groups that exist to help truck drivers find resources to help with their experience within the trucking industry. Here we’re going to explore the basics of 6 trucking associations you need to know.

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1. Women in Trucking (WIT)

The number of female truck drivers continues to rise, and trucking associations like Women in Trucking are playing a role in that. The mission of WIT is to encourage hiring women in the trucking industry, promoting women’s accomplishments, and removing any obstacles the affect women truckers. WIT’s website is full of resources for women in the trucking industry. Female drivers and women working in the trucking industry can find information about training, mentoring opportunities, and events.

2. American Trucking Associations (ATA)

The largest national trucking association is the American Trucking Association. Founded in 1933, the ATA exists to provide a voice to the nation’s truckers. There are affiliate groups of the ATA in all 50 states to help trucking businesses grow. This group helps to advocate and advise truckers, across a broad range of topics specific to these drivers, and the ATA connects and educates members via numerous events, conferences, and councils held each year. There are a number of membership types available representing many facets of the trucking industry. And with over 10,000 members, their collective voices are being heard.

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3. National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC)

The National Association of Small Trucking Companies exists to provide help and support tailored to smaller trucking companies. The NASTC seeks to be the voice for these smaller companies and provides buying power that larger companies are usually afforded. By working as a co-op of over 10,000 companies, members can reap the benefits of larger organization discounts on things like fuel, insurance, and many other trucking company needs. This brings a lot of benefit to smaller companies that need it.

4. Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA)

This network of trucking professionals exists to defend the trucking industry by reducing the cost of claims and lawsuits against it. TIDA has a number of membership opportunities, as well as a mentor/mentee program, which helps new members maximize their membership. Members benefit from education and networking, and TIDA membership also provides endowments and legal resources that members might need. With over 1,500 members, TIDA is committed to working together to defend the industry.

5. Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA)

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is a trucking association that covers all of North America. The CVSA exists to provide improved safety and uniformity across commercial motor vehicle inspection and enforcement activities. The CVSA accomplishes this by providing education and guidance to policy-makers and policy-enforcers alike. Creating common inspection criteria and reducing redundancy across the countries was the primary driver of this group. This group has four different membership types available, and it covers the continent with 5 regional groups.

6. Truckload Carriers Association (TCA)

This trucking association has a singular focus on the truckload segment of the trucking industry. The Truckload Carriers Association started over 80 years ago and is dedicated to the interests of truckload carriers. The TCA represents dry van, flatbed, refrigerated, tanker, and intermodal container carriers. This group provides its members with benefits that can increase profitability, help teach employees, and provides resources and representation in Washington DC to bring positive changes to the trucking industry.

Trucking associations are a positive influence in the overall trucking industry. These 6 associations are a place to start when you’re seeking to find information about groups that your company might want to join. And there are many more groups that exist at the national, state and local level. In many cases, you might need help for something very specific to your location or to very specific issue. Depending on your particular needs in any situation, you might find something more specifically suited to that situation.


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