Camera system saved HGV fleet £1,600 a week in bogus crash claims


CRH Transport saved around £1,600 a week in bogus cash for crash claims after installing vehicle incident cameras.  

The HGV transport and driver training school in Birmingham, which operates its 40-strong mixed fleet from several depots in and around the city, were being inundated with bogus insurance claims before they installed SmartWitness in-vehicle CCTV cameras. 

“We were experiencing three to four cash for crash incidents a week at one point and to defend ourselves we had to provide evidence,” said Chris Hetherington, managing director of CRH.

“Our vehicle livery clearly states that we are a HGV driver training school and so clearly our less experienced drivers we were being targeted by unscrupulous motorists looking for a pay-day.” 

The company suffered small claims for items such as broken wing and had no defence against them, often paying out for repairs as its was cheaper than claiming through its insurance.

Hetherington added: “We have saved the cost of the SmartWitness systems within six months, and now there’s no way I would consider sending out any of our vehicles without a SmartWitness camera installed.”

The Road Haulage Association says the industry is short of 60,000 drivers, with an ageing workforce shedding another 40,000 by next year and Hetherington said to encourage new drivers all UK haulage firms should look to install similar systems to SmartWitness.

He said: “New drivers need support and back-up from their fleet managers and these systems give inexperienced drivers a confidence boost and also will make insurers more inclined to reduce premiums on recently qualified drivers.

“We’ve seen that in over 80% of all road disputes involving HGVs it’s the truck driver that’s blamed for the incident, and in most cases completely without justification, and now we have evidence to prove that.”

CRH Transport now have SmartWitness KP1 forward facing camera in its entire fleet, which includes rigid and articulated lorries, short and long wheel base vans, and cars. The camera has high definition video footage with a 170-degree lens which gives complete pillar-to-pillar coverage, as well as G shock sensors which are alerted to any incident. The system sends video footage plus detailed incident data – speed and force of impact, location, date and time - to the insurer via the 3G/4G dongle immediately after a collision. It means claims can be settled far more cheaply whoever is to blame.

In 98% of incidents captured on a SmartWitness camera there are no disputed insurance claims – against the industry norm of 40% for claims without video evidence. This huge number of disputed claims quickly adds to costs for the insurer which is passed on to the customer in higher premiums.

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