Topics:  chris blanchard, in the know

Silent witness is your defence

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SOMETIMES, no matter how many times you proofread the content of a column, something small but significant will slip through.

In Edition 13, July 6 the results of the random roadside drug testing were for the period June 2011 to May 2012, not for the period June to July as appeared. The offending Gremlins will be summarily flogged.

This issue's column is the last to be written as part of the 10 point plan of basic changes the industry can or could implement to improve the safety of the industry and the nation's roads for both the public and drivers alike.

What started as a private email to former Big Rigs editor Chris Smith voicing concerns over the future of the industry and its credibility to be heard when asking for change in light of the two extremely high profile accidents early in the year, has become a series of columns that has taken nearly six months to write that has struck a chord with many readers.

Most responses have been good, some negative, but the most important thing is that it has got many reading this column thinking and also talking about what basic changes can be instigated by the industry to improve safety.

How many of you have had to defend yourself to the boss, the authorities or even to a magistrate when you have acted within the law and in the interests of safety, but have been accused by a individual or even multiple members of the public of doing the wrong thing?

With the technology available through the development of in vehicle cameras, combined with GPS monitoring the opportunity, presents itself to provide us with the means to defend ourselves.

In essence to act as our silent witness but at the moment the two technologies are normally not combined, or used with some vehicle owners running GPS for fleet management or compliance purposes and drivers purchasing in-vehicle cameras separately for their own protection.

What many forget is that if you are doing the right thing as we should be, this technology will work very much as the driver's defence which for us it has many times.

But the problem with GPS is they don't provide continual monitoring, as many systems only log in or record a vehicles speed and position at set periods and not consistently.

This is where onboard video with GPS imprint recording comes into the picture, providing an accurate recording of the actions of your vehicle.

Statistics often show that in the majority of the accidents between cars and heavy vehicles that it is the car at fault, but this is normally only proven after a lengthy accident investigation process which places uncertainty, stress and heartache on those unfortunate to be involved in a serious accident.

Black box recorders are well known for their use within the aviation industry and the answers they can provide when disaster happens and causes need to be found.

Should we be looking at black box style recorders with video and GPS monitoring which are not to be used for road side enforcement but to act as our silent witness for when things go wrong?

They say a picture can paint a thousand words, but with new technology, video can tell the whole story.



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