The California Attorney General has stated that the use of driver-facing in cab cameras does not violate any state codes, and may be used to take disciplinary action against drivers. There are a few factors stipulating when and how the video may be used, but the decision makes it clear that – in California at least – a driver-facing camera is not considered an invasion of privacy.
According to the opinion published by the Attorney General, recordings of the driver may only be used by the employer. If it is used by the employer for training or disciplinary purposes, the recording must be made available to the driver and/or the driver’s legal representative. In addition, only 30 seconds before and after an incident may be recorded and kept on file. There is no specific wording for what may or may not be considered an “incident” but they include such things as sudden breaking, swerving, or a collision.
Driver-facing cameras have been a hot-button topic since being introduced, but has been debated more fiercely since large carriers have been experimenting with pilot programs that even go as far as scanning a driver’s facial features to look for signs of fatigue.
Contrary to common belief, a driver-facing camera does not record and store hours of footage at a time. Generally they record in continuous loops and only store data when there is an incident. When the incident occurs, the camera saves the data from a set period of time before and for a set period of time after. The video is then sent to a system operator who saves and files away the recording for later viewing. Depending on the service being used, the operator may then review and/or tag the file to be passed on to the carrier for disciplinary or training purposes.
Concerns have been voiced in the past by drivers who do not want a camera that they have no control over monitoring them and recording them when they are on the job. Many trucking companies feel they have a right to observe and record employees in company-owned work spaces, but some drivers see this as an invasion of privacy – especially considering that the company-owned work space is also where they sleep, eat, and spend free time.
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