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Trucking accidents may be documented by DriveCam — if they save the video

As a trucking accident trial lawyer in Georgia, frequently lecturing at trucking litigation seminars around the country, I try to keep up with the latest in trucking safety technology. One recent development is DriveCam, about which my friend Morgan Adams in Tennessee recently wrote on his blog.

DriveCam utilizes a camera mounted in a truck cab that will retain the last few seconds of video of both the driver and what is in front of the truck before and after an emergency event like hard braking, swerving, collision, etc. The information is transmitted automatically to DriveCam headquarters for analysis and then to the truck or bus company. Employers can review data, even when there is not an accident, to analyze what led to the emergency situation. DriveCam thus enables trucking company safety directors to recognize safe drivers and penalize dangerous drivers.

If DriveCam data exists, it can potentially prove or disprove the cause of a collision, eliminating a lot of the swearing contests we encounter now. Some truck drivers may feel that Big Brother is riding with them, but at the same time some may be saved from liability or prosecution by the DriveCam videos. Of course, knowing how many trucking companies destroy records that are not favorable to them, I suspect that the only DriveCam videos we ever get to see will be those that exonerate the driver. If the video shows the driver was falling asleep, I suspect we will either never learn that DriveCam was in the cab or will get a response that, golly, it just wasn’t working that day.

The Shigley Law Firm, LLC, in Atlanta, Georgia, practices in the area of trucking litigation. Ken Shigley is on the Advisory Committee of the Association of Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America, former chair fo the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute, a Certified Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, and  represents people hurt in major trucking accidents all over Georgia, from Ringold to Darien, and from Dahlonega to Camilla. He was president of the State Bar of Georgia in 2011-12.   

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