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Oil & Gas
In April 2004, Dallas and Arin McRae started D&A McRae Inc. with one truck and a step deck trailer hauling flatbed items in the western United States. Dallas did the driving while Arin did all the administrative work out of their house. In August of 2005, the company got the opportunity to haul crude oil and started growing from there. The company has grown to 55 trucks, 83 trailers, and over 100 employees.
A fatal collision is every fleet’s nightmare. That nightmare became a reality for D&A McRae when one of its drivers was involved in a fatal collision during a snowstorm in the Utah mountains. While the D&A McRae driver was okay after another vehicle struck his truck, this kind of traumatic event leaves a lasting effect, raising questions about safety, training, and litigation.
For D&A McRae, it meant re-evaluating fleet technology. Immediately following the collision, the company installed dash cams, so they could capture footage of any future incidents in the event of a lawsuit.
D&A McRae Terminal Manager Rod Conrad recalls installing an interim solution of standalone cameras with micro SD cards. “Once we started using them, that was kind of a natural progression when we knew we were going to be transitioning our ELD system,” explains Conrad. “We wanted the cameras to be more integrated into that system because it makes things a lot easier to manage.”
D&A McRae looked at a variety of dash cam solutions that could integrate with an ELD system. The fleet had been using tablet-based ELD technology and first turned to that vendor for a more robust solution. However, Conrad says the provider’s sales reps tried to push “too much of the stuff we wouldn’t use” and focused the sales pitch on the cost rather than the solution itself.
Frustrated with the existing ELD provider’s sales process, the D&A McRae team looked at new vendors. The company was unimpressed with a vendor that directed the D&A McRae team to a third-party salesperson and yet another that had provided poor customer support in the past.
It wasn’t until D&A McRae spoke with Motive about an integrated ELD and dash cam solution that the company felt comfortable. “With Motive, the sales experience was great. More importantly, the product is great. It worked out really well for us,” says Conrad.
Conrad and team were pleased to see how easy it was to get up and running with Motive, including Motive Smart Dashcam. The company was able to use the technology with the iPads that were already used in the trucks and found it easy to connect. “The product is so intuitive that it’s been pretty easy to transition into,” says Conrad.
And the dash cams have already proven their value to D&A McRae by serving as a key eye witness. One of the company’s drivers was cut off by another truck entering his lane and as he changed lanes to avoid a collision, the rear of his trailer hit a passenger vehicle. Collision footage recorded by the Motive Smart Dashcam showed that, immediately following the incident, the driver in the other vehicle tried to leave the scene. “One of the things our driver said to him as he was trying to leave was, ‘I have it all on camera,’” says Conrad. “And I don’t know if that’s what stopped him, but he ended up staying there until Highway Patrol showed up.”
Initially, Highway Patrol told the D&A McRae driver that he made a lane change and would likely be at fault. But D&A McRae has the Motive Smart Dashcam set up to alert management every time one of its vehicles has a hard braking, cornering, or acceleration event. So D&A McRae management was able to easily download the relevant video clip in the Motive Dashboard and email it to the patrol officer, who made it part of the official report. “Upon seeing the video footage [recorded by the Motive Smart Dashcam], the officer decided not to cite our driver,” recalls Conrad.
Beyond avoiding the traffic citation, which would’ve cost about $300 and hurt the driver’s CSA score, the company avoided potential legal headaches and costs. “Footage from Motive’s Smart Dashcam exonerated our driver on the spot and saved us what could have been close to $50K in damages,” says Conrad. “From this one incident, the dash cam paid for itself.”
D&A McRae takes safety and driver training very seriously, maintaining a solid training program with an emphasis on defensive driving.
“The whole concept of defensive driving is to drive in a way that avoids collisions,” says Conrad. “Part of that is anticipating that truck moving over and taking your lane,” he continues, referring to the incident captured with the Smart Dashcam.
While the experienced D&A McRae driver made the best decision within a split second, reviewing the footage helped coach his defensive driving.
The company makes Motive’s Smart Dashcam an integral part of its driver coaching. Once the software detects a hard braking event, managers can review footage and immediately coach drivers.
Because of these lasting benefits, D&A McRae looks forward to a continued partnership with Motive. Conrad says, “I like the fact that Motive is constantly staying on top and improving and rolling new things out. Whether we use them or not. We’re definitely a company that wants to do the right thing. We need the tools to be able to manage our fleet and drivers — to make them successful and make the company successful. Working with Motive has been a great start.”
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