Three Ways to Address Privacy Concerns with Driver-Facing Dash Cameras (DFC)

Driver privacy concerns is a top challenge related to dash camera use. Here are three tips for introducing dash cameras to your drivers.

Published On: 01/19/2024
Driver with dual-facing dash cam
J. J. Keller Senior Editor Mark Schedler

Written by:

Mark Schedler

Sr. Transportation Management Editor — J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

A recent J. J. Keller Center for Market Insights survey of carriers concerning the use of in-cab technology revealed that “driver privacy concerns” is a top challenge related to dash camera use. Carriers take these concerns seriously as unhappy drivers tend to look for new places of employment.

Yet, there are significant benefits to dash cams that fleets can’t ignore, most notably:

  1. Potential for driver exoneration after a crash,
  2. Stronger carrier defense due to fleet video clips, and
  3. Coaching and training based on event video captures, that result in the
  4. Prevention of crashes and violations.

Dash cam event-based coaching pays enormous dividends for carriers in helping them demonstrate their commitment to safety, drive the continuous improvement of risk results, and a result, disprove post-crash claims of negligent supervision.

These dash cam deliverables and many others create a sense of urgency essential to solving driver privacy concerns. Consider these three tips if driver privacy concerns have presented themselves within your company as a barrier to using a driver-facing camera along with a road-facing camera:

1. Start with the Numbers

Drivers need to see the value in a dash cam coaching program, including driver-facing cameras if used. That said, driver-facing cameras are not always an easy sell.

When presented with some facts, drivers may be convinced that DFCs are worth trying.

Based on DOT crash statistics, the passenger car driver is at fault in at least 70% of fatal truck-passenger vehicle-involved crashes. Hence, the exoneration of the truck driver is a real possibility.

The following statistics are from American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) studies.

  • In the 2022 update of the ATRI Crash Predictor study, the increased probability of having a DOT-recordable was 62 percent greater if convicted of careless or inattentive driving. Driver-facing cameras with proper coaching can help eliminate distracted driving.
  • The April 2023 Survey “Issues and Opportunities with Driver-Facing Cameras (DFC)” study found: DFC footage helps exonerate commercial truck drivers in 49 percent of litigation cases and 52 percent of insurance claims where video footage was available. Approval of driver-facing cameras was 87% higher when carriers used the video footage for safety programs, driver coaching, and training than when there was no proactive safety use.

Want more proof? Visit to the most recent Crash Preventability Determination Program (CPDP) Quarterly Statistics on FMCSA’s website for hard data on RDRs (Requests for Data Review) submitted to the CDCP. Many fleets are taking action and getting results that impact more than just the bottom line. Over 72% of RDRs were accepted as non-preventable under one of the 16 categories. Video footage is a key piece of evidence in the submission of RDRs. That’s because auxiliary cameras provide a 360-degree view for a much more complete picture of the circumstances.

 Consider this summary from the FMCSA on carrier RDR submissions:

  • 47,641 RDRs were submitted to the program by 8,944 unique carriers 
  • 3,672 carriers submitted 1 RDR
  • 4,413 carriers submitted between 2 and 9 RDRs 
  • 859 carriers submitted 10+ RDRs 
  • The highest number of RDRs submitted by 1 carrier is 1,188 RDRs

2. Policy Considerations of Driver Privacy

Along with other important dash cam policy points, some considerations to alleviate driver privacy concerns and increase acceptance of DFCs are:

  • Require written driver consent before collecting, storing, or using video clips or biometric data (fingerprint, retinal scan, voice signature).
  • Include how and when drivers will be recognized and rewarded.
  • Prioritize the focus behaviors (such as distracted or drowsy driving and seat belt use).
  • Avoid excessive coaching for minor incidents.
  • Record video clips for “x” seconds before and after a triggered event for coaching or legal defense, and do not continuously record, especially when the vehicle is stationary.
  • Limit video access to safety managers/directors as much as possible and secure video from unauthorized access.
  • Provide initial and ongoing training of driver coaches on their approach to drivers.
  • Refrain from monitoring drivers in real-time except in a company-determined emergency.
  • Prohibit audio recording to respect driver privacy and avoid legal issues in dual-party consent states

3. Enhance a Bonus and Recognition Program Based on the Avoidance of Unsafe Behaviors

Drivers must care about improving behavior and decision-making. Money in a driver’s paycheck and recognition tied to desired changes are often effective.

To motivate drivers, incentive and recognition program criteria to achieve targets should be easily understood and perceived as fair. Using a weighted average composite score based on a range of key factors to determine a payout may be perceived as more equitable and generate more cost savings than a lost bonus due to one incident. A driver that loses an incentive payment early in a bonus period because of an event, such as an overweight citation, may reduce the focus on safe and efficient behaviors until the new period starts. However, a driver that has a chance at a partial payout even after an adverse incident may choose to do well on other factors, such as fuel efficiency and avoiding triggered safety events.

Recognition and reward programs, combined with a robust performance management process, can aid in minimizing unintended turnover of your safest, most dependable, and productive drivers. Moving individuals from unacceptable or marginal performance to a level of meeting or exceeding standards can reduce turnover and the associated cost of employee churn, increase driver efficiency, and decrease potential liability.

1 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. 2023. “Crash Preventability Determination Program Quarterly Statistics.” Accessed August 1, 2023. < https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/crash-preventability-determination-program-quarterly-statistics>.

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