How Observing Driver Behavior is Improving Safety and Expediting Processing for One Kentucky Weigh Station
Distracted driving continues to be a leading cause of vehicle crashes in the US. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 3,142 people were killed and an estimated 324,652 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2020.
It’s well known that wearing a seatbelt is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash but according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, approximately 14% of truck drivers don’t wear seatbelts regularly and at least 38% of large truck occupants killed in crashes were not wearing a seatbelt.
While driver behavior such as being distracted or not wearing a seatbelt are major factors in the number and severity of crashes, it is difficult for authorities to observe, especially in commercial vehicles. Some of the larger fleets self-police using various onboard safety management systems (OSMS) but most of the trucks on the road today don’t have an OSMS. Overall, there is a severe deficiency in the industry’s ability to collect data on and tackle one of the most preventable causes of highway injuries and deaths.
Recognizing this, commercial vehicle enforcement officers from the Kentucky State Police (KSP) were interested in finding a reliable way to see into a vehicle’s cab as it approached a weigh station. They wanted real-time actionable intelligence so they could be proactive in their enforcement and collect evidence that they could use later. Previously, officers had to use binoculars if they wanted to observe the driver, meaning they had to take their eyes off the road and off the computer which was pulling up the vehicle’s information in real time. They also had no way of providing a driver with proof of an infraction.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) asked Perceptics to install our Driver Focus Camera at their Laurel County I-75 Northbound Weigh Station to help KSP capture near real-time, high-resolution images of drivers as they exited the highway.
As the vehicle approaches the weigh station, Perceptics cameras capture images of the vehicle, the license plate, the USDOT and KYU numbers, and the inside of the cab. These images are fed to the Kentucky Automated Truck Screening (KATS) system where officers can quickly identify the vehicle and decide whether to send the vehicle for inspection. With the addition of the Driver Focus Camera, officers can now see the image of the driver in KATS along with all the vehicle’s information, providing important safety data that was not captured before. Officers can use the image to flag the driver for further inspection or as evidence of a violation during a regular inspection.
The camera has proven to be a useful tool in collecting data that can be used to deter unsafe driving practices. In the first six months of operation, officers issued violations for 137 seatbelt infractions, and several for illegal cellphone use and for drivers not wearing their required corrective lenses.
Additionally, the new camera also allows officers to confirm the identity of the driver to ensure he or she is not exceeding driving time limits. KYTC is planning to install the cameras at its 13 other locations across the state to provide visual evidence that was previously unavailable to corroborate the driver’s logged time.
While collecting more data on vehicles increases efficiency and safety, the new camera gives KYTC and KSP more information on one of the most widespread causes of vehicle crashes – driver behavior. This information can lead to new ways of encouraging safe driving practices to enhance their mission of improving highway safety.
If you’d like to discuss how you might be able to leverage the Driver Focus Camera, please reach out to us at email@example.com.