The driver facing cameras do effect the way we drive. We are always conscience of the camera, to the point of being distracted and looking at it frequently to see if we set it off when we just hit a bump. Maybe the overall effect of the cameras is good, which is the claim Saia will make. That may be true... maybe. It seems they adjusted the sensitivity of the cameras in the new Freightliners, which is good... maybe because they were loosing drivers and having difficulty getting and keeping new ones? But even if the overall effect is positive no one should deny that the camera does increase risks in certain ways. It does create a distraction. Every driver looks at the camera multiple times during their trip, taking their eyes off the road. And these instances occur right at the very moment we should be more focused on the road (ie. when we get close to another object, hit a bump or some other occurrence that could trigger the camera).
There another type of incidence which happened to me yesterday. As I'm going down the interstate through a big city the road curves left and you can't see what's ahead until you round that curve. I'm traveling the same speed I always do, normal traffic speed in that area, as I round the curve I see brake lights. I know a hard brake will cause the camera to go off, which of course we all try our best to avoid. So now a mental game gets played in my head, happening at just a second or two. Can I brake enough to avoid hitting the traffic in front of me without setting off the camera? I brake in a way to try to find that fine edge between not hitting the traffic in front of me and not setting off the camera. That didn't work and I finally had to hard brake and set the camera off. Damnit.
Afterwards I started thinking about that little incident. If the camera wasn't there my only goal and focus would have been to avoid a potential rear end crash. I would have braked in a way where that single objective was achieved. But the presence of that camera added another factor I had to consider. That additional factor effected the way I responded to the hazard. Because the camera was there and I didn't want to set it off, I didn't apply the amount of braking the situation called for. As a result, the risk increased as I moved closer to the traffic in front of me. And because of this, I had to apply even harder braking to avoid a crash and came to a stop much closer to the traffic than would have occurred if there was no camera. This is a just instance of a situation where the presence of a camera increased the risk of a wreck. Yeah, maybe the overall effect of the cameras is positive... but also be willing to acknowledge that they pose some negative consequences as well.
Bogie, I'll be the first to agree with you 100%, driver facing cameras should never be permitted in a truck,
I don't know anything about your safety dept. or their driver training method, however if todays drivers
learned the Smith System and practiced it daily, I don't think a camera should be a distraction.
We once had a driver ran an 80k truck down an embankment, totaled truck and had serious injuries.
He told our safety man "instinct" caused the wreck, a deer ran in front of him.
I'm very thankful I never had any instinct like this.
Always get The Big Picture, Leave yourself an Out.