The psychology behind the dash-cam

RoadHawk DC-2 image1Over the last 12 months, there has been a huge surge in the uptake of dash-cam technology among fleets and domestic markets alike. The reasons for this mainly being to mitigate responsibility in the event of an accident; more recently to lower insurance premiums, protect your precious no claims bonus and seemingly to provide the internet with hilarious or shocking viral footage! But there could be another reason why the role of a dash-cam is becoming ever more prominent in 2015.

You are sat at the traffic lights and in a rush to get home from work, determined to get ahead of the car beside you. Then you notice that there is an in car camera system fitted to their dashboard. The chances are that you are now conscious that your decision to become Lewis Hamilton and cut in front of their vehicle might not be the best idea, and is likely to land you in the ‘named and shamed’ section of YouTube along with your registration number. In a way, not to dissimilar to that feeling you get when you realise that you are driving in front of a police car.

So what if you are the owner of the dash-cam rather than a star of the footage? On top of providing high definition footage, technology like a RoadHawk camera system also has inbuilt GPS to track location, speed and G-force so that in the event of a collision, an event can automatically be logged. These features are specifically designed to promote better driver behaviour but there is another hidden advantage that can be overlooked.

Psychology: The subconscious impact

The mere presence of the camera actually makes drivers subconsciously aware that their driving behaviour is being monitored, which in turn encourages safer and more efficient driving. Interestingly, this makes the results of dash cam technology very similar to those provided by telematics or black-box technology as it is sometimes known.

This may sound farfetched but evidence of this was demonstrated by B2B delivery company, TNT Express, when they trialled RoadHawk cameras before installing them across their entire fleet. During their nine month trial period, 56% of TNT Express drivers believed that the cameras presence alone had caused them to change their driving behaviour for the better. In addition, over three quarters of staff stated that the dash-cams has improved their personal safety, security and more importantly, their driving style.

The thought that improved driving behaviour can be subliminal, and the psychology behind dash-cam technology is an interesting topic of investigation. The psychological impact of combining vehicle tracking with in-car cameras, is more than plausible, especially in the case of fleet management solutions. Fleet drivers will, in theory, drive as though their fleet manager has joined them on their journey, causing them to drive more sensibly. This should, in turn, keep running costs low, ensure the company is retaining impeccable levels of road safety, protects the entire fleet against any fraudulent claims and improve consideration for other road users.