One of my favorite aspects about writing for Fleet Service Technology magazine is when someone from the trucking industry says they read the articles. That gives me the perfect opportunity to ask them, “What trends or new technologies are you seeing come out?”
The aftermarket partner that clued me into this new safety retrofit didn’t want credit for the idea, but it did spark inspiration. He said, “Have you thought about mirrors with cameras?” I hadn’t at that point, but because we were at a trade show, I started doing some research. Sure enough, more than a handful of exhibitors were showing side mirrors with cameras built-in. So that sparks the question: Do your trucks have full 20/20 vision?
The safety benefits of adding cameras are well established within the trucking technology arena. Fleets that aren’t adding cameras to their dashes and rearview mirrors are in the minority. Not only does adding the safety technology help with your CSA score, it also minimizes your liability in a crash by providing evidence to prove fault.
Cameras are all over trucks, but adding side mirrors that are camera-equipped only serves to expand the field of vision for your driver and for your crash investigations. There are several aftermarket mirror and camera companies providing sideview mirror camera options. They can be bolt-on or integrated into the mirrors themselves. Both options are available in retrofit aftermarket solutions that can integrate with your existing cameras and telematics systems. The integration is important in telling the full story of a crash, but also to provide training opportunities for drivers.
Many of the training opportunities for existing dash- or rearview mirror-mounted cameras provide following distance, braking and other forward driving lessons. By adding sideview mirror cameras, the training can expand to turning, reversing and parking instruction. A consistently trained, constantly learning driver becomes an asset to your fleet—just as important as having the right equipment.
Sheila Andrews is the director of heavy-duty programs for the Auto Care Association.