HomeResourcesBlogVerizon Connect seat belt study prompts AI Dashcam Integrated Video enhancements
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Verizon Connect seat belt study prompts AI Dashcam Integrated Video enhancements

By Julie White January 5, 2024

New research shows that 10% of commercial drivers operate vehicles without fastening their seat belts. Verizon Connect has introduced several new smart features in its AI dashcam technology to counteract such dangerous driver behavior in a way that aims to better protect both drivers and fleets. These features include enhancements in speeding and unfastened seat belt detection as well as increased video storage capacity and measures to improve dash camera reliability.

In a May 2023 analysis of over 7 million videos from Verizon Connect’s own dashcam footage, the Data Science Team at Verizon Connect found that commercial drivers operate vehicles without a seat belt fastened in one out of every ten instances. The findings reflect a related, worrying trend: a growing number of fatalities among unfastened commercial drivers, with 64 percent of trucking drivers killed in automobile accidents not wearing seat belts.

In addition to these seat belt safety issues, the Verizon Connect study found that vehicles exceeded the posted speed limit in 40% of the videos analyzed. For more than two decades, speeding has contributed to about one-third of motor vehicle fatalities. In 2021, for instance, speeding was a factor in 29% of all traffic fatalities. 

Beyond increasing the risk of fatalities, speeding creates issues ranging from greater fuel consumption and increased stopping distances to a higher potential for loss of vehicle control and reduced effectiveness of occupant safety equipment, the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration reports.

With this new information, Verizon Connect is committed now more than ever to providing additional context in each dashcam video so that fleet managers can more efficiently and effectively analyze, classify and prioritize harsh driving events. 

“Video is a transformational medium for fleets, boosting operations as well as commercial driver safety. Our research and ongoing enhancements to Verizon Connect’s Integrated Video are part of our commitment to provide our customers with a best-in-class experience when it comes to fleet management,” said Lisa Donnelly, Associate Director of Product Management, Verizon Connect. “They will provide greater actionable insights and the ability to improve coaching for drivers, which we know is key for our customers.”

Here is an in-depth look at each of the new safety enhancements launched by Verizon Connect in light of this research.

New AI tags for speeding and unfastened seat belt detection

Verizon Connect’s new AI Dashcam enhancements include dedicated AI tags for speeding and unfastened seat belt detection to help provide businesses with greater operational efficiencies while boosting commercial driver safety and offering additional opportunities for driver coaching. 

Verizon Connect’s Cloud AI (Video Analytics Engine) provides additional context to each dashcam video, helping fleet managers more quickly understand what unsafe driving practices and road incidents need immediate attention. 

With Cloud AI analysis, fleet managers can view each dashcam video with severity labeled alongside additional tags including tailgating, rolling stop and phone distraction. By enhancing its Cloud AI to identify and tag speeding and seat belt safety events, Verizon Connect enables fleet managers to hone in on opportunities to coach better driving behaviors. 

These enhancements further strengthen existing dashcam video advantages businesses can leverage via Integrated Video, including false claim protection.

As Russell Miller, General Manager of Indiana-based Champion Trucking, recently said of installing dash cameras throughout the company’s fleet, “Getting better control over our trucks, while putting ourselves in a better position to defend against false litigation, was one of the biggest reasons I was interested in using video.”

The move also quickly gained driver buy-in after they saw how the company leveraged videos to protect their interests as well as the company’s. “At first, our drivers thought that we were trying to monitor them all of the time,” Miller recounted. “But after seeing first-hand how video can help support both them and the company in the case of a false accusation, they realized it was actually very beneficial.”

Incident videos also provide a wake-up call for drivers. When they see dashcam footage of their behaviors behind the wheel and understand how those actions can undermine fleet safety, they often become partners in building a companywide culture of safety.

Dash camera health and increased storage capacity

Dashcam reliability is key to detecting driver issues, such as seat belt use and speeding. Camera Health quickly alerts Integrated Video fleets to issues with their dash cameras and provides self-remediation steps to resolve those issues. With the diagnosis and self-remediation provided by Camera Health, customers can increase uptime and quickly resolve minor issues that don’t require outside support.

In addition, Verizon Connect now offers a 256 GB SD card option, which gives Verizon Connect AI Dashcam users enhanced dashcam storage and the ability to retrieve more on-demand video clips. With the 256 GB SD Card, dashcams can now store approximately 170 recording hours on a road-facing dash camera and 115 hours on a dual camera.

Dual-view dashcam footage, which enables customers to simultaneously see both the road-facing and driver-facing camera perspectives of incidents, helps provide a more accurate account of circumstances surrounding driving events (such as hard-braking or hard-acceleration), distracted driving behaviors and accidents.

Both front-facing and driver-facing video clips are often used to provide evidence against false claims, recall context of road rage incidents or share dashcam footage of events when driver safety was compromised. This expanded dashcam storage and retrieval option will particularly benefit customers that are out of network coverage for extended periods of time, increasing their ability to capture even more dashcam footage before the vehicles regain network coverage.

By essentially providing fleet operators with the ability to go on virtual ride-alongs with their commercial drivers, AI dashcams power a Video Analytics Engine that helps enhance driver safety. Plus, AI dashcams can mitigate the high-stakes financial impact of work-related crashes, which can cost employers $75,000 per nonfatal injury and $751,000 per death. Fleet dash camera technology programs with Integrated Video also can help transportation firms secure premium discounts from some insurers and avoid damage payouts by disproving false claims with video evidence.

As technology evolves and further research reveals other dangerous driving issues that need to be addressed, Verizon Connect will continue looking at ways to enhance the Integrated Video offering to aid fleet safety efforts.

Julie White

Julie is an experienced product management professional with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry in a variety of customer-facing and technical roles. She is skilled in product management, business analysis, product ownership, enabling sales and customer support management.

Tags: Data & Analytics, Safety, Performance & Coaching, Team Management

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