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Backup Camera + Recording + Dash Cam


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I've been looking around on google and amazon for some kind of system that will record and also have a backup camera.  Anything that says its for towing is very very expensive.

My budget is $200-$250.


Has anyone found anything that works well?  I've heard that having dash cams have saved a lot of money on insurance, and would love to do so, but I have a large fleet, and don't have the money for some of these wildly expensive systems.

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As for not having the money for the "wildly expensive" systems, I challenge you to say that you can't afford to NOT have a good camera system. Yes, it is a sizable investment upfront but the savings you will realize due to reduced claims and better driving behaviors will more than pay for the cameras.


First off, you will not find anything with quality in that price range, especially if it will be used by employees. The decent dash cameras in the $200 range all use sd cards and don't transmit data, so when something bad happens that the driver doesn't want you to see the camera magically failed to record the event. Even in my personal vehicles I have a dual facing (driver and road) dash camera that retails for $250, includes gps and speed data but does not transmit -it relies on a sd card.


Good commercial grade cameras will cost $500 to $1,000 installed, plus $15-$30 per month per unit for service fees. This will allow for remote monitoring of events, forwarding the critical ones to you for further review. There are some less expensive solutions, although the lower the price the less features and less reliable they are.


Now, if you want to try out a decent dash camera, this is the one I use in my personal vehicles as well as take with me when I deliver a sold unit to my customers (I sell and/or deliver sold tow trucks and car carriers). This is a very reliable and rugged camera, however it is a sd card based unit so your drivers can delete data they don't want you to see. You need to order the gps mount (sold separately) if you want the speed and location data, which I highly recommend to support traffic accident and ticket defense.


Vantrue N2 Pro Dash Cam


Preventing just one claim with a camera system can save you thousands of dollars in increased insurance premiums, or maybe even keep you from getting your insurance policy cancelled. Not to mention, when the drivers know they are being monitored and will be held accountable they change their driving habits which results in reduced maintenance costs as well as fuel savings.


Driver Locate has some nice camera systems available, although they definitely are not in the $200 price range. Visit http://www.driverlocate.com for more info, or call Tommy at 815-725-4400.


Below is the text of an article I published in Tow Industry Week back in February or March about event data recorders, including dash cameras and gps location trackers. I hope this helps you make up your mind on the value of these cameras. Not saying you are one of these folks, but I have seen fellas with $10,000 paint jobs and thousands in chrome say they can't afford these devices. Priorities!


By Brian J. Riker


Event data recorders are becoming standard equipment in many large fleets, yet they should have a place in every fleet. It isn't that we can't trust our drivers—we can—but we need to be able to defend their actions. Good drivers are valuable assets; as progressive employers, we must do everything we can to mentor, support and keep these folks employed.


Video image is impartial. Video data with reliable GPS location, speed and acceleration data can paint a clear picture of responsibility—a picture that can save you thousands in false liability claims.


How did your driver react? Were they paying attention? Did they do everything they could to avoid the collision? These are all questions that will be raised during an accident investigation. It is better to have concrete evidence on your side to support your position.


What if your driver's performance is not up to par? Event data recorders are excellent coaching devices when paired with a competent, respectful and compassionate mentor.


It costs several thousand dollars to hire and train a new employee, so why wouldn't you want to spend some of that money on retention and coaching? It is far less costly to coach an existing employee than to hire a new one ... who may have the same or even worse behaviors.


Drivers, this technology is not for your boss to spy on you or babysit you. You are a professional; they know that. This technology is intended to make you even better—more professional—and to defend you from wrongful claims. It's "game-day footage:" the professional athletes review film of their actions looking for ways to improve, so should you. I have had a chance to use some of this technology to monitor my own behaviors. It was eye opening and has caused me to make several improvements in my own driving style.


Wouldn't you rather have an employer that has your back rather than one that will fire you on the spot to appease their insurance company or some lawyer that is threatening legal action?


Investing in training and mentoring of your team is a must-do. You will never have the best of the best if you do not coach your team to bring out their strengths. Savings also result from better driving behaviors: fuel use, out-of-route miles and wear items.


Event data recorders and telematic devices can help you recover a stolen truck quickly. A recent news story told a tale of a thief that had all his actions captured on a dash camera as he went from stop to stop selling off tools from a stolen truck. This gave police the evidence they needed to prosecute him and the people that bought the stolen equipment.


How about that customer that falsely accuses you of being rude or worse? What about being pulled over for speeding when you know you were going under the speed limit? A simple review of the video or check of the GPS data can put a stop to those allegations before they even get off the ground.


Technology, when used properly, can save us all money and improve our performance. As we fall into a routine we tend to get sloppy. Event data recorders do not get tired or have a bad day, they are ever vigilant and will quickly remind us to be safe. Many systems have instant coaching capabilities, meaning they will sound an alert in the cab for following distance, cornering, braking or other safety critical events. Often these simple audible cues are all a driver needs to bring them back around to their best driving performance.


Not every driver will be a fit for every company. This technology can help you make that determination long before a crash or series of citations makes the decision for you.


I use this technology in my personal vehicles, both forward facing (out the windshield) and driver facing, complete with audio.


Event data recorders and active driver coaching will give you an advantage over others that chose to keep doing things the old-fashioned way. If you deploy the technology, monitor the results and take action.


Brian J Riker is a third generation towman and President of Fleet Compliance Solutions, LLC. He specializes in helping non-traditional fleets such as towing, repossession, and construction companies navigate the complex world of Federal and State transportation regulatory compliance. With 25 years of experience in the ditch as a tow operator Brian truly understands the unique needs and challenges faced by towing companies today. He can be reached at brian.riker@fleetcompliancesolutions.net


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