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Cameras vs. Video - Which Changes Behavior?



Welcome to Best Fleet Forward, a newsletter from Lytx that brings you trends, issues and opportunities facing commercial and government transportation, practical and sharable tips from users of the DriveCam® safety program and other Lytx® services, and insights about how video can be used in new and unexpected ways to help organizations improve. This story deals with the latter, addressing the role of video in changing behavior.

Fleets come to us because they want a systematic and measureable way to help them prevent collisions and help their drivers get to their destinations safely. They could buy off-the-shelf dashboard-mounted cameras to get video showing what happened in a collision. They could even face a camera toward the driver, but that doesn’t help prevent the behavior that may have led to the collision. In fact, the key here isn’t the camera…it’s the video itself – plus any data that corresponds to that video — and what happens next. 

Nearly all Lytx clients give their drivers time – usually about a month — to get used to having DriveCam event recorders in their vehicles before any of the resulting video is used for coaching. During that initial phase, an interesting phenomenon happens: At first, safe driving behavior improves and policies are followed, even without coaching, but within a week or so, that trend reverses itself.

While it’s pretty clear that the mere presence of a camera will change people’s behavior at least in the short-term, Ethan Bernstein, a professor of leadership and organizational behavior at Harvard Business School, wrote in a Harvard Business Review article that the real upside of having cameras in the workplace is the potential to spot and reward good work — and to use video to help develop sound employee judgment. In fact, he cited the DriveCam program’s use of video as being particularly well received because it’s integral to having a productive conversation with an employee about how to improve skills, rather than the video being used punitively. 

We know that using video in a coaching session provides the clarity and objectivity about an event that helps put emotions aside. It allows the driver to really focus on what they did during the driving event and what, if anything, they could do differently the next time they get behind the wheel.

It might be helpful to note that the DriveCam safety program is an exception-based system, meaning that video is only captured when there’s a driving event like a hard brake or sudden swerve. It’s not a surveillance program, so when a video clip is shared with a driver in a coaching session, there’s usually something to talk about.

Coaching conversations don’t need to be long. There’s a trick to successful ones, and it’s about quality and frequency. Having regular, brief conversations not only improves relationships between drivers and their coaches, it also measurably improves safe driving behavior. (For some additional insights on quality coaching, check out this blog post about Lytx Coach of the Year, Billy Roach from City of Mobile’s Fire-Rescue Department.)

One group that may get overlooked for coaching are drivers who rarely, if ever, have coachable events. I know, it seems a little counterintuitive – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? But without those regular check-ins, stellar drivers can go unrecognized for their good work and become disenfranchised. And video clips of drivers who do everything right, especially when facing tough circumstances, can be a powerful training tool for others in the fleet. It always helps to be reminded of what truly great driving looks like.

I head up the Client Success organization, which includes a team of client success consultants. They’re charged with helping DriveCam program users get the most from their programs every day, including sharing best practices like these.

To learn more about how video can change behavior, download the Beyond Telematics whitepaper



Risk Management is Easy. Pinpointing it is Hard. Video Clips Add Value to Company-Wide Safety Initiatives The Benefits of Deep Collaboration: Cutting Collision Rates in Half ‘It’s Not Just About a Seatbelt, It’s About Your Life’


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