A haulage firm based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire has reported reducing its annual insurance bill by over £25,900 after installing Smart Witness Incidence Cameras into their fleet of vehicles; comprising 43 lorries and 8 company cars.
The Managing Director of Brian Yeardley Continental, Kevin Hopper, made the decision to install the cameras following an increase in ‘cash for crash’ scams, whereby fraudsters set out to deliberately cause accidents to happen in order to claim for damages and bogus injuries. Mr Hopper was also concerned about conflicting accident reports.
Since installing the cameras in May at a cost of £7,000, Mr Hopper’s insurance bill has reduced from £135,000 to around £110,000.
Hopper said: “I wish I could have installed Smart Witness 20 years ago. Year on year our insurance bill has gone up and up but now it has finally gone down. I would have been happy if the bill had gone down by £5,000 but I never expected it would reduce by £25,900. I believe a significant amount of this reduction is down to the Smart Witness cameras we have installed in all of our company vehicles. Our vehicles are used to transport hazardous chemicals all over Europe and our insurers said that installing Smart Witness had made them feel more comfortable. Our accident rate has gone down by about 50 per cent from 15 incidents last year to seven so far this year. Each accident cost us at least £1300 in excess, so the cameras have saved us a lot of money.”
An added benefit of the cameras has been to deter immigrants from targeting his fleet to travel illegally into the UK from Europe.
“Last year we did over 5,000 crossing both ways across the English Channel and in 2012 we had a total of five immigrants found in our trailers which is not a lot but we do take serious measures to ensure our vehicles are protected and sealed and our drivers are fully trained and aware of the immigrant problems in Calais. Since fitting Smart Witness and fitting the stickers to the trucks and on the rear doors of our trailers where the immigrants normally make entry we have not had any incidents or theft and I do apportion a lot of this down to Smart Witness. Our trucks spend 90% of their lives working in Europe – mainly Spain, Portugal France and Italy. We are constantly trying to ensure our drivers’ safety and welfare is protected.”
Mr Hopper also believes the security cameras have helped to guard against thieves targeting his vehicles – a common problem for drivers in Europe which the Home Office says costs the UK economy up to £250 million each year. Hopper said: “We have stickers on our fleet warning road users that we have Smart Witness cameras and I think it also deters thieves from breaking in.”
Smart Witness managing director Simon Marsh said:
“Our cameras are there to help drivers and their employers in many ways. They not only provide the truth in black and white after a crash but they have helped significantly reduce hefty insurance bills. In this case, it appears they have deterred thieves and have prevented stowaways from trying their luck. We know having our cameras and the accompanying stickers are a powerful visual deterrent to thieves and stowaways. We have seen a 40 per cent rise in sales over the last year and expect to see further increases as drivers strive to minimise the risks they face on the roads.”
The Smart Witness cameras are fitted onto the windscreen and can be either powered through the vehicle’s cigarette lighter or directly wired in. They film the driver’s view of the road ahead and also monitor the car’s location, speed, breaking and impact G-forces. The Smart Witness system is officially approved by Transport for London.
For more information on Smart Witness products go to Smart Witness