Driver-Facing Dash Cams Now Use A.I. to Catch Truckers On Their Phones
‘If the truck I’m in ever gets a camera installed in it facing me… I will stop the truck and quit on the spot’
Over the last three years, hundreds of thousands of freight trucks in the United States have been equipped with machine learning algorithms to analyze drivers’ behavior. They can detect how many times per trip drivers pick up their cellphone, get distracted while driving, or even just look fatigued when they’re behind the wheel.
The tech is built into driver-facing dash cameras, which have been adopted by the trucking industry over the last 10 years. These cameras have already been a contentious issue in the trucking community. But the ability to proactively recognize behaviors in the cabin using machine learning adds a new layer of surveillance to the cameras. Rather than just reacting to a hard brake or a swerve of the truck, the A.I.-powered cameras respond to the driver themselves.
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Dash camera companies say that their technology makes the 40-ton trucks barreling down our roadways safer, and only alert fleet safety managers to dangerous driver behavior. In fact, companies claim, the cameras protect drivers, too, since footage can exonerate drivers from “nuclear verdicts,” an industry term for lawsuits against drivers involved in accidents with payouts over $10 million. Insurance agencies will also lower rates for fleets with driver-facing cameras.
But the Teamsters, America’s largest trucking union, say that the technology leads to micromanaging and is an invasion of members’ privacy.
In 2017, truck drivers for Sysco in Quebec won a five-year lawsuit over driver-facing cameras, claiming that the…