On February 17, 2021, Partner Jeffrey L. Oster laid out a convincing argument in support of the inherent value that dashboard cameras can have in a fleet of commercial motor vehicles. In his article, “Why your fleet needs dash cams” (published in the Commercial Carrier Journal), Jeffrey acknowledges that a primary concern often expressed by fleet owners is the possibility that a dash cam will capture content that could be harmful in a future lawsuit.
In response, Jeffrey explained that, “Although a valid concern, our vast experience in representing trucking companies, their drivers, independent contractors and various owner/operators over the years indicates that most commercial motor vehicle drivers are good drivers, and that it is very rare that a motor vehicle collision involving a truck is solely the fault of the truck driver. Therefore, we always tell our clients the same thing: The financial investment in dash cameras will help with future litigation costs and payouts, and there’s a related savings in insurance premiums.”
The article contains various examples of when the presence of a dash camera was beneficial in defending a trucking case, including a lawsuit where a minor iPad reflection on the cab’s windshield, which was captured by a forward facing, mid-cabin dash camera, substantiated the driver’s claim that he was only listening to a football game and not watching it on his tablet while driving as had been alleged. The footage ultimately helped the motor carrier avoid punitive damages that could have resulted in the company facing bankruptcy.
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