DriveCam technology assesses car accident risks and helps promote roadway safety

DSC08438.jpgWhen it comes to serious car accidents, our Missouri personal injury lawyers know that teenagers and senior citizens are the two age groups most at risk. Lack of experience and driver distraction are common contributing factors in crashes involving teen drivers, while elderly drivers can be impaired by health factors, like delayed reaction time. Despite the vast differences between younger and older drivers, both groups can gain knowledge and insight about their driving skills through devices like DriveCams.

The DriveCam has become increasingly popular in recent years: annually, DriveCams monitor 20 billion miles of driving and more than 400,000 drivers throughout the country. The device is a small camera that records both the roadway and the driver's behavior continuously. When a dangerous vehicle movement activates the "accelerometer," an LED light changes color on the camera, notifying the driver that a mistake has been recorded. At that point, the footage is saved and sent to professional risk analysts for review.

During the review process, professionals determine what factors contributed to the reckless driving maneuver. Then, they upload both the footage and their commentary onto a website, providing a report card that scores drivers' abilities and assesses their risk level. Ultimately, the device is designed to identify weaknesses and teach good driving skills, reducing accident risks. In young drivers, it also provides parents with a way to hold teens accountable for their behavior behind the wheel.

So far, the devices seem to be effective, particularly in terms of teen drivers. A study published in the Journal of Safety Research found that reckless driving behaviors were significantly reduced in a group of 26 teens monitored by DriveCams. According to the study, "drivers showed the most improvement in negotiating curves and making 90-degree turns, and weekly mentoring sessions between the new drivers and their parents were key to the safety gains."

Because devices like DriveCams are proving to reduce crash risks, many elderly drivers have become interested in the technology for their own learning: the combination of video monitoring and professional coaching offers older drivers an objective assessment of their abilities. In addition, cameras are now widely popular with companies that use large vehicle fleets, and with city transit authorities throughout the country. In Washington D.C., all Metrobuses are now equipped with camera systems, and drivers are rated on their performance over a 12 month period. Between February 2011 and January 2012, about 30 drivers were fired for using cell phones while operating their buses.