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Grocontinental opts for on-board cameras

Whitchurch, UK: Grocontinental has been so impressed with the Smart Witness on-board vehicle camera system system that it is installing forward-facing cameras on its entire fleet when it renews its 62 vehicles in August.

Chris Humphreys, transport manager at Grocontinental says that Grocontinental initially installed the Smart Witness cameras in September 2010 on the advice of its insurance broker Beaumonts Group: “I’m 100% happy with Smart Witness: the clarity of the pictures, the information we’re getting, it’s everything we would want from a system…plus it’s maintenance-free,” says Humphreys.

He says that he is impressed by how much information is available from the camera. “We knew that we would get the video footage but we were really surprised by the amount of information we receive…when we downloaded the memory card from the first incident we found we had the GPS, the motion sensor, a speed trace… we just didn’t realise how much information we were going to obtain from the camera.”

Humphreys says the video evidence stops all insurance counter claims. “It stops all the to-ing and fro-ing of who’s to blame and obviously quickens the process from start to finish in processing the claim.”

Humphreys also likes the fact that the cameras can lead complainants to retract or change their stories about Grocontinental’s vehicles. “I think we were in Melton Mowbray and a member of the public rang up and claimed that our driver had jumped a set of lights on a crossroads, and obviously impeded their path…and I said, ‘thank you very much, can you tell me what time this incident took place?’ and she told me and I said, ‘well, all our vehicles have got forward-facing cameras’. She instantly changed her story and said, ‘well, actually I don’t think he did quite jump the lights and I might have been slightly to blame as well’.”

Humphreys says that the cameras are a positive move for both the drivers and the company. “Personally I’m an advocate of the cameras because they can protect the company and the driver. We’ve had a couple of incidents where we have been at fault…it helps us to understand why the incident took place so we can sit down with the driver and look at their speed and position on the road etc.

“From a training and debriefing perspective, it’s second to none, if you didn’t have that detailed information then how could you analyse the incident? With the best will in the world, a diagram or a verbal description would never come close to what you get from the camera,” he says.

Smart Witness cameras typically cost £180 plus VAT for fleets and £40 plus VAT installation unless done in house. “When you consider the payback from the equipment and the data you receive the price is incidental really,” says Humphreys.