The Birmingham-based business has installed SmartWitness in-vehicle CCTV cameras in its 40-strong mixed fleet and says it has recouped the cost of the system in just six months.
CRH’s managing director Chris Hetherington says: “We were experiencing three to four cash-for-crash incidents a week at one point and to defend ourselves we had to provide evidence. Our vehicle livery clearly states that we are a HGV driver training school and so clearly our less experienced drivers were being targeted by unscrupulous motorists looking for a pay-day.”
These were often minor claims, such as for broken wing mirrors, he explains, “but on modern cars that would be £300-£400 each time and we had no defence against them. It was cheaper to pay out these claims ourselves rather than go through our insurance company.”
Hetherington is urging other operators to support new drivers with similar technology: “There is a chronic shortage of new drivers in the haulage industry and it’s not difficult to see why, when a whole criminal industry has built up over the past few years of people deliberately crashing into HGVs in order to get an insurance payout.
“We must support new drivers with in-vehicle CCTV cameras so that they know their fleet manager has got their back.”
The Road Haulage Association says the industry is short of 60,000 drivers, with an ageing workforce resulting in a further drop of 40,000 by next year. Hetherington adds: “The cameras are compatible with all telematics systems and so they integrated seamlessly with our current set-up, but their tracking capability has also helped to increase productivity and improve fuel efficiency, so it’s really been a win-win scenario.”