Smart Witness cameras save Tristar Worldwide £60,000 a year
Tristar Worldwide expects to save up to £60,000 in repair bills and other costs after fitting Smart Witness video cameras to its fleet of 460 vehicles.
The decision to fit the cameras was prompted by staff concerns about “cash-for-crash” fraudsters, who deliberately cause accidents to file damage and bogus injury claims.
Fleet manager Janusz Kozlowski said he had already noticed many benefits since starting to fit the cameras in May this year. “The cameras have definitely improved the behaviour of the chauffeurs because our at-fault accident rate has reduced by almost half to about four or five accidents per month compared with the same five month period last year,” he said.
“I would estimate we will save about £60,000 a year based on fewer accidents and because we will be less likely to be targeted by cash-for-crash fraud. We also expect our insurance premiums to reduce next year.” And with a reduced accident rate, Tristar’s fleet team are is also spending less time administering claims and trying to establish liability.
Indeed, the cameras have already helped to resolve one dispute after a Tristar vehicle was hit in a motorway collision in September. Kozlowski said: “A car collided with one of our Mercedes as it crossed lanes on the motorway causing about £4,000 worth of damage. The third party drove off but luckily our chauffeur took down the registration number and the driver of the vehicle was tracked down.
“The driver denied any involvement but the evidence was provided by the Smart Witness camera and it was there in full colour footage. Without the camera we would have had no chance of resolving the dispute.”
Prior to installing the cameras, Tristar had been hit by bogus insurance claims. Kozlowski said: “Following an accident, we received multiple whiplash claims but our chauffeur only remembered seeing one person in the other vehicle. However, there was no proof of this.”
Around 550,000 whiplash claims a year are filed in the UK, but insurance experts have estimated that up to 60% are bogus. It makes the cash-for-crash scam a £1 billion-a-year fraud. According to the AA, there has been a 60% per cent rise in the number of personal injury claims since 2006, while the number of reported accidents on UK roads has fallen by 20% over the same period.
To continue reducing their accident rate, Tristar’s chauffeur training team reviews the Smart Witness footage on a monthly basis and sometimes performs spot checks. Kozlowski said: “This helps our road safety team tailor their training to each chauffeur’s specific requirements.”
Smart Witness cameras fit on to the windscreen, are powered through the car's cigarette lighter or can be directly wired. They record the driver's view of the road ahead and also monitor the car's location, speed, breaking and impact G-forces. Smart Witness prices start at £149 for the standard edition going up to £239 for the professional edition.